Illinois is a legal sports betting state.
In June 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the sports betting bill, and the state saw its first legal sports bet in Illinois in March 2020. Online sportsbooks in Illinois started not long after that. Currently, there are 11 retail and six online sportsbooks in Illinois, with more sports betting apps expected in March 2022.
March 2022 is also when online sportsbook registration will take effect once again.
At PlayIllinois, we share how to place bets on your favorite Chicago sports teams and more. This page is updated regularly to provide you with information on new sites, bonus offers and everything you need to know about Illinois sports betting.
Jan. 28, 2022
On Thursday, the Illinois Gaming Board approved BetMGM for a sports betting license. BetMGM will become the seventh online sportsbook to launch in the state, and it will do so via a market access partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.
Expect BetMGM to launch between now and March 5, which is when online registration returns to Illinois.
The Chicago Bears hired a new general manager in Ryan Poles and a new head coach in Matt Eberflus. Yes, another Ryan and a Matt. Eberflus was a favorite in the odds market throughout the process.
Finally, a proposed amendment would make sports betting lottery terminals 20 times cheaper for a potential operator.
One of the most significant differences between online sportsbooks compared with retail is the prevalence of sportsbook bonuses. Because the competition is only a few clicks away, online sportsbooks have to work harder to keep customers interested, happy and loyal.
Here are some of the most common types of promotions you’ll encounter at Illinois betting sites:
The Prairie State is home to legal online and retail sportsbooks.
So far, Illinois has seen the launch of six online sportsbooks. DraftKings, BetRivers, FanDuel, PointsBet, Barstool and Caesars by William Hill have debuted their sports betting products in the state.
|Online Sportsbook||Bonus Offer||Casino Partner||Launch Date|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||$1,050 bonus||DraftKings at Casino Queen||Aug. 5, 2020|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||$1,000 risk-free bet||FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing||Aug. 28, 2020|
|PointsBet Sportsbook||$2,000 in risk-free bets||Hawthorne Race Course||Sept. 12, 2020|
|BetRivers Sportsbook||$250 deposit bonus||Rivers Casino||June 18, 2020|
|Caesars Sportsbook||$300 risk-free bet||Grand Victoria Casino||Aug. 3, 2021|
|Barstool Sportsbook||$10 sign-up bonus||Hollywood Casino Aurora||March 11, 2021|
However, these sports betting giants will have company soon enough. Several other big names in the sports betting industry will be coming to Illinois in the future. They are:
Here are the places where you can enjoy sports betting in Illinois at a nearby casino:
The Hollywood Aurora is home to the Penalty Box Sportsbook & Bar. It features Barstool-branding among two dozen large HDTVs, sports betting kiosks, teller windows and recliners to enjoy the games. Since Penn National Gaming owns the casino, you can bet online with the Barstool sports betting app.
Rivers Casino Des Plaines was the first to open a retail sportsbook in Illinois in March 2020. The retail BetRivers Sportsbook offers a VIP suite, stadium seating, a full bar and a wall-sized LED display. BetRivers online sportsbook went live in June 2020, and most recently, the casino/sportsbook became the official betting partner of the Chicago Bears. Rivers Des Plaines is northeast of Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
In Elgin, Grand Victoria Casino became the third Illinois casino to welcome a retail sportsbook on its premises. Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill began taking sports wagers in August 2021. The sportsbook is on the casino floor at the Grand Victoria. It offers a full-service experience with drinks steps away at the property’s main bar.
DraftKings Sportsbook at the rebranded DraftKings at Casino Queen is the fourth retail sportsbook to open its doors in Illinois. The launch marks one of the only instances where a sportsbook partnership led to the rebranding of the entire property. DraftKings launched its online sportsbook in Illinois almost simultaneously.
FanDuel secured retail market access through Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. In East Peoria, FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook represents FanDuel’s 12th retail sportsbook in nine states.
The retail location of FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing features a 98-inch LED video wall and several TVs. The facility offers 20 kiosks and several betting windows.
Hawthorne Race Course operates PointsBet’s flagship retail sportsbook. Located about 10 miles from downtown Chicago, Hawthorne is in a convenient spot for those seeking sports betting in Chicago. Patrons will be able to bet on sports in the casino and horse races at the track in the same visit, as Hawthorne underwent a $400 million redevelopment project to make it happen.
So far, PointsBet Sportsbook hosts three retail locations via Club Hawthorne in Illinois. Crestwood has 24 75-inch TVs, a mega-wall, five betting kiosks, five counter positions and holds 150 people. Prospect Heights hosts 100 TVs, six self-serve kiosks and four in-person ticket counters.
Since these sites are off-track betting facilities, people can bet on horse races, too.
Argosy Casino Alton was the second casino to launch a retail sportsbook in Illinois. The casino features a riverboat gaming floor on the Mississippi River. Its retail sportsbook features individual viewing stations and 36 65-inch HDTVs. There are also multiple odds-display monitors and convenient access to the Hops House bar next door. This location will partner with Unibet Sportsbook for its online offering, but there isn’t a definitive timeline for launch.
Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Joliet features sports betting terminals and 14 kiosks throughout the casino floor. Patrons can find the sportsbook inside the 99 Hops House at the casino. Like its sister casino, Penn National Gaming owns Hollywood Casino Joliet.
Mobile sports betting might be a curious thing for Illinois sports bettors. After all, if the only sports betting experience you’ve had is inside a retail sportsbook, you might not be comfortable with placing a wager with your smartphone.
However, once you visit one of the Illinois sportsbooks apps or websites, you’ll discover that they are essentially identical and equivalent to any experience you’ve had at a retail sportsbook. In fact, in some ways, they are quite superior.
For one, online sports betting features no shortage of bet types. Whereas a retail book may limit itself to basic spreads, moneylines and totals, most online sportsbooks offer live wagering as well.
The technology allows online sportsbooks to offer betting on micro-events during each game, such as the outcome of individual plays or the result of the next few minutes of play. It is not uncommon for online sportsbooks to offer several wagers on a single contest, so there is always something to bet on when you bet on a legal online sportsbook.
IL sports betting apps can offer cash-out options for open bets that will allow you to realize your profits and guard against any late collapses. A button press on your bet slip can trigger the live ticket system and settle a wager; however, you’ll have to pay a bit of a premium for the privilege.
Mobile sports betting allows you to customize your offerings to improve the betting experience rather than providing the same thing to everyone. For instance, DraftKings offers a betting carousel that suggests wagers based upon your preferences and betting history rather than a blanket of wagering opportunities.
Sportsbook apps work on iPhone / iPad and Android devices. However, the procedure for getting the sports betting app onto your device can vary.
Apple users tend to have an easier time, as most online sportsbooks have dedicated iOS apps that download similarly to other apps. For Android users, you will need to ensure your phone accepts downloads from “unknown sources.”
If you plan to bet on a mobile device, make sure you have the correct sports betting app for Illinois. Although some apps are the same in several states, some sportsbook operators offer state-specific versions. Make sure that the app you’re downloading mentions something about accepting Illinois players before you move forward.
A quick Google search virtually anywhere in the United States will reveal the presence of online sportsbooks. These sites appear legitimate and say all the right things, so you could be confused about why these sites aren’t legal.
The truth is these sites are owned and operated by offshore bookmakers. They are not legal sportsbooks and you should avoid them.
Here are some of the reasons why playing offshore is a bad idea:
Sports betting is legal in Illinois, both in retail locations and online. The Illinois Gaming Board regulates sports betting in the state.
Casinos and racetracks can apply for a license to operate sportsbooks. Somewhat unique to Illinois is that sports venues can also open sportsbooks.
Stadiums and arenas with a seating capacity of 17,000 or more are eligible to apply for licenses to offer sports betting within a five-block radius. That means Soldier Field, Wrigley Field and the United Center could all have sportsbooks in Chicago.
Lottery vendors can offer sports betting kiosks as well, regulated separately by the Illinois Lottery.
An Illinois Supreme Court ruling in April 2020 decided that the skill component of daily fantasy sports (DFS) made them legal in the state. The ruling rejected the attorney general’s 2015 opinion that DFS was illegal gambling.
As mentioned above, the Illinois sports betting law allows online sportsbooks.
As of April, however, you cannot register for an account on your phone. Instead, you must visit a casino, racetrack or OTB site to do so.
However, thanks to HB 3136, online registration will return on March 5, 2022, at the latest.
Sports bettors 21 years or older can bet on professional and collegiate sports in Illinois, as well as on international sporting events. But the law does impose some restrictions on certain types of wagers. Some states allow the following types of bets. However, in Illinois, sports operator licensees cannot accept wagers on:
That latter restriction against betting on non-sports events prohibits accepting wagers on events such as the Academy Awards (permitted in some states, like New Jersey and neighboring Indiana).
Additionally, there are some limits on the types of betting on college sports. Individual props are not allowed, nor is in-game betting on college events.
The Illinois bill that legalized sports betting in the state-mandated tax on sports betting revenue comes from land-based or online sports betting. After all, from the state’s point of view, collecting taxes from the new activity is the purpose of legalizing it.
Although there was much debate in the Illinois General Assembly about exactly how much to tax sports betting, the final version of S 690 settled on an overall tax rate of 15%, regardless of the format in which the betting took place.
The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) oversees Illinois sports betting. The IGB publishes revenue numbers for all gambling in the state monthly.
The Chicago Cub joined forces with DraftKings in September 2020. The deal also was the beginnings of the future retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Bears became “hometown” partners with Chicago-based company Rush Street Interactive (RSI) in June 2021. Because RSI is the parent company of BetRivers and Rivers Casino, this agreement makes BetRivers the Bears’ official sports betting partner and Rivers Casino the Bears’ official casino partner.
Illinois is home to eight major professional sports franchises, all of which are in Chicago. Illinois has been the home of several great sports teams in history. Here is a brief rundown of the major league teams that call the Prairie State home:
Yes, thanks to the passage and signing of the Sports Wagering Act (230 ILCS 45), it is legal for Illinois residents and visitors to participate in sports betting.
You can bet online in Illinois right now. Barstool, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet sportsbooks are accepting wagers online in Illinois.
You can bet at six online sportsbooks, including DraftKings and FanDuel, using your mobile devices. Or you can most Illinois casinos to bet at the retail sportsbook, including DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing in Collinsville, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and Hollywood Casino in Aurora.
Yes, DraftKings Sportsbook launched both online and retail sportsbooks in August 2020.
Yes, the FanDuel online sportsbook went live on Aug. 28, 2020. Its retail offering is located at the former Fairmount Park in Collinsville. It also offers daily fantasy sports action to Illinois residents and visitors.
Playing at an Illinois sportsbook from outside the state is prohibited. Sportsbooks are required to employ geolocation software to verify every player’s location on the site.
Sportsbooks that fail to comply with this requirement will risk fines and sanctions from oversight agencies. So, there will never be a time that the books will take out-of-state play lightly.
Considerable argument and legal wrangling preceded that first sports wager in Illinois. Discussions continued afterward as interested parties further debated how to implement sports betting in the state. Here’s a timeline from 2019 on, which is when significant gaming legislation was passed.
June: Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Sports Wagering Act into law. The law included an 18-month “penalty box” provision, which would not allow online sports betting registration. Illinois sporting venues could apply for retail sports betting licenses, and betting on Illinois college teams would not be allowed.
March: Rivers Casino in Des Plaines accepted the first legal sports bet ahead of March Madness. Shortly thereafter, all Illinois casinos closed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
June: BetRivers became the first online sportsbook to launch in Illinois.
June: Pritzker temporarily waived the in-person registration requirement, allowing people to sign up for sports betting accounts online due to the pandemic.
August: DraftKings and FanDuel became the next two sportsbooks to launch online in Illinois. They found a loophole in the law to partner with casinos in order to gain market access, avoiding the penalty box provision. The moves paved the way for them to become Illinois market leaders.
September: DraftKings and the Chicago Cubs announced they would open a retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field.
September: PointsBet and William Hill became the fourth and fifth online sportsbooks to launch in Illinois.
December: Illinois registered its highest sports betting handle of the year, posting a $491.7 million mark in the final month of 2020.
February: Illinois took in more than $45 million worth of Super Bowl bets.
March: Barstool Sportsbook launched to become the sixth online sportsbook in Illinois.
March: Illinois posted $633.6 million in sports betting handle, the highest monthly mark ever.
March: Illinois passed $2 billion in all-time sports betting handle.
April: Pritzker brought back in-person sports betting registration with COVID-19 vaccines widely available for adults.
June: Chicago sporting venues reopened to 100% capacity.
September: The Chicago Bears and Churchill Downs came to a purchasing agreement for Arlington International Racecourse.
October: The Senate and House passed HB 3136, which puts a March 5, 2022 end date for in-person registration. It also legalizes betting on Illinois college teams with an in-person stipulation.
December: Chicago City Council passes an ordinance that allows retail sports betting at the city’s stadiums.
December: Pritzker signs HB 3136, legalizing bets on Illinois college teams and giving a March 5 end date for in-person registration.