Illinois Online Sports Betting

Illinois seems to be ready for a big boost in revenue thanks to its welcoming and open attitude towards online betting. The Chicago market alone offers huge earnings potential.  As just one example, in September 2020, just as the football season started, Illinois saw over $285 million in betting handle, more than in neighboring Indiana.

Though the Land of Lincoln is in its sports betting infancy, new operators are ready to join the fray and make Illinois a full-fledged online sports betting hub.

Can I Register Online For Illinois Sports Betting?

For now, you need to register in person at an Illinois sportsbook retail location.

However, the Illinois legislature has recently tweaked the bill and will allow online or mobile registration as of March 5, 2022.

Illinois Online Sports Betting Partnerships At A Glance

Online SportsbookIllinois PartnerBonus Offer
DraftKingsCasino Queen20% deposit bonus up to $1,000 + $50 free bet with a $5 deposit
FanDuelPar-A-Dice Casino; Fairmount ParkRisk free bet up to $1,000
PointsBetHawthorne RacecourseBet $20, Get $200 in free bets + $100 uber voucher with code UBERBONUS1
BetRiversRivers Casino Des Plaines (Rush Street Interactive)100% deposit bonus up to $250 with code SHARP250
Caesars Sportsbook By William HillGrand Victoria CasinoFirst bet match up to $1,001 with code SHARPBET
BarstoolPenn National Gaming (Owns Argosy Casino, Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet)$10 free bet + risk free bet up to $1,000

Other Sportsbooks In Illinois

DraftKings At Casino Queen

Claim a 20% deposit match up to $1,000 + $50 free bet with $5 deposit for a total of $1,050 free

DraftKings penned a deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois, to provide technology for the property’s sportsbooks. This includes online sports betting, which allows DraftKings to access the Illinois market as one of the first online sports betting apps. 

DraftKings is an undeniable leader in the sports betting industry and is the first Illinois sportsbook to offer a native iOS and Android app along with a robust website. In addition, a DraftKings-branded sportsbook will eventually open at Wrigley Field

New bettors at DraftKings Illinois can get up to $1,000 as part of a 20% first deposit match bonus plus a $50 free bet with a $5 deposit.

See our complete Review Of DraftKings.

FanDuel Sportsbook

Claim a risk-free bet up to $1,000 when you register at FanDuel Illinois

FanDuel launched its online sportsbook in Illinois on August 28, 2020. This made it the third online sports betting site to go live in the Prairie State.

After weeks of rumored deals, FanDuel finally launched in partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Illinois. The property is owned and operated by Boyd Gaming. Boyd also owns a 5% stake in FanDuel, so the partnership makes sense. Previous rumors hinted at a possible purchase of Fairmount Racetrack in Collinsville, but no new information about that deal has come to light. It could still happen, but for now, FanDuel offers an online book using the Par-A-Dice license.

Bettors can get up to $1,000 in risk-free bets when they sign up for FanDuel’s sportsbook.

See our complete FanDuel Sportsbook Review.

PointsBet Illinois

Claim bonus for $200 in free bets when you bet $20 (win or lose) + $100 uber voucher with exclusive bonus code UBERBONUS1

PointsBet launched Illinois’ fourth online sportsbook. The company inked a deal with Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero, Illinois, just a few miles outside of Chicago. PointsBet also plans to open a few off-track betting facilities in the Chicagoland area in addition to its retail sportsbook at Hawthorne Racecourse. This makes it the closest sportsbook to downtown Chicago.

The sportsbook from PointsBet went live on September 12, just in time for the first slate of Sunday football games for the 2020-2021 NFL season. PointsBet offers both an Android and iOS app. It works seamlessly, and there’s the added bonus of PointsBetting, the company’s unique bet type for high-risk, high-reward betting.

New players at PointsBet Illinois are eligible for a welcome bonus of $200 in free bets when they place a $20 bet. When they enter the bonus code UBERBONUS1 during online registration, they’ll also receive a $100 uber voucher via email for a round trip ticket to their preferred Chicago retail casino. There, they can complete the in-person registration requirement.

BetRivers Sportsbook

Claim a 100% deposit match up to $250 with code SHARP250

BetRivers provides a polished and streamlined sportsbook experience for Illinois bettors.

BetRivers is the official online sportsbook of Illinois’ Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Playing with BetRivers offers some great advantages to players. The site will match your first deposit up to $250, allowing you to double your account value when you first deposit funds. The bonus is a great way to get started with sports betting. The interface is sleek and intuitive. Sports and featured bets appear on a bar at the top of the screen, so you can easily navigate the site to find your favorite bets. 

In June 2021, BetRivers became the official sports betting partner for the Chicago Bears. The brand ambassador is Bears legend, Mike Ditka.

BteRivers launched its full iOS app in September. That means Illinois bettors can access BetRivers on a desktop or mobile browser and through both iOS and Android apps.

See our full Review Of BetRivers Sportsbook.

Other Mobile Online Sports Betting Apps In Illinois

Caesars Sportsbook By William Hill

William Hill (now Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill) joined the Land of Lincoln’s online sports betting scene on September 15, 2020. It became the state’s fifth online sportsbook not long after it launched a retail book at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.

The sportsbook is accessible on both iOS and Android and desktop. It’s possible that could come into play later. For now, eager bettors should stick to mobile devices and tablets.

New players at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill can take advantage of the Caesars Rewards program along with a first bet match up to $1,001 with code SHARPBET.

Caesars Rewards, which officially went live for app users in early September 2021, is a six-tier rewards program that allows users to collect rewards points during gameplay and exchange them later for free gameplay, on-site benefits at 50 Caesars locations, or benefits with Caesars’ partners.

Barstool Sportsbook

Penn National Gaming and Barstool teamed up to provide sports betting and brought an app to the Illinois market. The app went live in the state in mid-March 2021.

Upcoming Illinois Online Sportsbooks

Golden Nugget

In November 2020, Golden Nugget Online gaming announced its intention to enter the Illinois market. It is waiting for licensing approval from the state. They plan to open a casino location in Danville, Illinois, about 140 miles from Chicago, though the timeline is extremely unclear. Presumably, an online sportsbook app will launch prior to the opening of the Danville casino.

BetMGM

Like Golden Nugget, BetMGM has applied for approval from the state licensing board. Once approved, they will be another big name set to enter the Land of Lincoln. Most insiders believe that BetMGM will partner with the Par-a-Dice Casino in East Peoria, as FanDuel partners with Fairmount Racetrack and opens up online rights to another partner.

FOX Bet

FOX Bet is another big contender that’s likely to launch a sports betting app in Illinois, though they have not applied for a license yet. The Stars Group, which owns FOX Bet, is also partnered with Caesars. The company could use that partnership to gain a foothold in the Illinois landscape. 

Whether it’s with Caesars, another partner, or an online-only license, FOX Bet will almost certainly launch a sportsbook app in Illinois. 

History of Online Sports Betting in Illinois

The Illinois online sports betting industry first became a reality when Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 690. The bill expanded Illinois casino laws, allowed for the construction of six new land-based properties, and legalized sports betting in the state. Sports betting in Illinois now includes online sports betting as well.

Developments over the following year shaped the Illinois betting landscape and staged the state to become a midwestern gambling leader. Most notably, BetRivers became the first online sportsbook to launch in Illinois in 2020. FanDuel and DraftKings followed in August with PointsBet and William Hill not far behind in September that year.

Guide To Betting Online In Illinois

Looking to bet online in Illinois? Here’s some helpful information to know.

Sportsbook Bonuses

Online sportsbooks offer lucrative promotions to bettors. Illinois is a particularly competitive market, so you’ll likely find a bevy of great bonuses on the state’s sports betting sites.

See our Guide To Online Sportsbook Bonuses In Illinois.

Deposit Match Bonuses

Deposit match bonuses are common in the online sports betting world. When you sign up and make a deposit, the sportsbook will match that deposit. These bonuses usually have a high maximum, sometimes up to $1,000.

Deposit matches typically only apply to your first deposit with a sportsbook, but some will match your second or third as well if you’re lucky. BetRivers currently offers an initial deposit match of up to $250 in Illinois.

Risk-Free Bets

Risk-free first bets pop up at sportsbooks from time to time, giving you some insurance on your first wager with the site.

With a risk-free bet bonus active, you can place a wager and if you lose, the sportsbook will return the money (or in some cases a portion of it) to your account. If your bet wins, the offer expires. It’s a nice safety net, especially for those who might be nervous to place their first sports bet. FanDuel offers a risk-free bet promotion of up to $1,000 to new sportsbook users in Illinois.

No Deposit Bonuses

No deposit bonuses are small in amount but easy to redeem. Sportsbooks that offer these will usually give you a bonus of anywhere between $5 and $30 just for signing up. No deposit is required, just as the name implies.

There are plenty of other bonus types, though they’re not as common as the ones we cover above. Also, keep an eye out for loyalty and rewards programs at Illinois sportsbooks. These reward you for frequent or long-term play and can earn you special perks.

Betting On Illinois Teams

Because there’s no federal law that regulates sports betting, states can employ their own legislative framework for sportsbooks. As a result, sports betting options can vary from state to state. In Illinois, many sports are available, and there are only a few restrictions.

Da Bears, Da Bulls, And Other Illinois Pro Teams

Illinois is home to five pro sports teams in the four most popular US sports: The Bears (NFL), Cubs (MLB), White Sox (MLB), Bulls (NBA), and Blackhawks (NHL). The state is also home to the Chicago Fire (Major League Soccer) and Chicago Red Stars (National Women’s Soccer League). Suffice it to say that Illinois has a strong professional sports presence.

The good news for fans of Illinois pro sports teams? You can bet on all of these professional sports online in Illinois.

Illinois College Sports

Recent changes to the legislation have paved the way for in-state collegiate sports betting to become legal. In other words, bettors can now place bets on the University of Illinois, Illinois State, Northwestern, and any other college or university located within state borders. However, bets will only be allowed to be placed in person. Also, you can only bet on team performance, not player props.

Esports Betting In Illinois

The possibility of esports betting in Illinois is currently murky at best. While some states with online sports betting include specific legal language about esports events in their legislation, Illinois does not. However, the state does specifically prohibit betting on non-sporting events such as elections and awards show results.

The complete absence of esports from Illinois sports betting legislation could be viewed as a positive sign. The state made no moves to directly prohibit esports from its sportsbooks, so lawmakers could potentially amend the law to allow esports betting in the future.

On the other hand, the legality of esports betting could come down to the definition of esports. If esports are categorized as non-sporting events in Illinois and lumped in with elections and awards shows, betting on them could be prohibited.

BetRivers currently has no esports bets on its online sportsbook, suggesting that operators may opt to wait for official regulations before they offer esports on their sites.

Check out our list of Retail Sportsbook Locations In Illinois.

Legal Betting Vs. Illegal Betting In Illinois

To have the most entertaining experience, and to protect your personal information and your money, it’s crucial to stick to legal sportsbooks.  Legal operators protect your data with high-level encryption and offer plenty of safe payment methods. Legal sportsbooks also have access to official league data, so they can offer in-play and proposition bets.

When you head to a sports betting site, the first thing you should do is scroll all the way down to the bottom of the homepage. Legal and licensed sportsbooks will include licensing information and links to the government agencies that regulate them. The Illinois Gaming Board is also a great resource for determining whether you’re using a legitimate sportsbook. The organization has a full list of sports betting license holders in Illinois. You can check whether your preferred operator is regulated by the IGB on that page.

Why Should I Trust Online Sportsbooks in Illinois?

Illinois sports bettors, especially newcomers to the industry, might be skeptical about using an online sportsbook. Even though offshore and legally iffy operators exist, Illinois has a number of measures in place to reassure you that the state’s online sportsbooks are fair, safe, and secure.

First, the Illinois Gaming Board oversees all sports betting in the state. The IGB uses two independent testing laboratories to check that every operator is fair and reliable in what they’re offering to consumers. The organization also offers a great website full of resources and information. For example, the licensing page lists all Illinois sports betting license holders, their address, and the date the license becomes effective. If you want to be sure your chosen sportsbook is fair and licensed, it’s a great place to start.

Another reason you should trust sportsbooks is because they are incentivized to offer you a reliable and safe customer experience. Sportsbooks, like any other gambling company, operate their businesses for profit. And they only make money if customers use their products. For this reason, sportsbooks have full-time customer support teams dedicated to assisting you with any issues. They include their licensing information on their sites.

How You Get Paid If You Win

Most Illinois online sports betting sites offer withdrawals via direct deposit or online wallet services such as PayPal. If you win a significant amount of money, usually over $1000 or $2000 (limits depend on the sportsbook), you can have a check mailed to you. In some cases, you can funnel your winnings to a debit or credit card. Essentially, legal sportsbooks work hard to give you flexible and easy payment options.

Payouts are handled straight from your sports betting account. Sportsbooks have a dedicated page for deposits and withdrawals where you can view your options for account funding and cash-outs.

How To Install Online Sports Betting Apps On An Apple iOS Device

IL sportsbooks App StoreHere’s a step-by-step breakdown of how you can install a sportsbook app on your iPhone or iPad. 

  1. Choose your preferred sports betting app and download it from the iOS App Store. 
  2. Register for an account. You’ll need to provide some personal information: name, email, address, phone number, etc. You also may need to submit a driver’s license number or social security number to confirm your age. 
  3. Download a Geolocation app. Your preferred sports betting site will give you instructions on how to do this. It’s required so you can verify your location when placing a bet.
    1. Note: some sites just use your phone’s GPS and don’t require a separate download.
  4. Make a deposit and start betting!

How To Install Online Sportsbook Apps On An Android Device

Now that Google Play Store allows gambling apps on its platform, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find your app of choice there. However, if you don’t see it, simply:

  1. Pick your favorite sportsbook and visit its website on your mobile browser. You can also search “[Sportsbook] Illinois Android app” and you should get helpful results. 
  2. Scroll down and you should find an icon that has the Android logo and says “Get it for Android” or something similar. Click on that icon. 
  3. The link will take you to a page with instructions to guide you through the installation process. Follow the steps on the page to download the sports betting app onto your Android device. 
  4. Open the app and sign up for an account using your name, email, etc. 
  5. If necessary/prompted, download a geolocation app. In some cases, the app will ask for your location instead of making you download a separate service. Either way, this confirms you are within the state where you plan to bet.
  6. Connect a payment method, deposit, and place your wager.

What Makes For A Good Mobile Sports Betting App?

Navigation

When you play on a sportsbook app, you should be able to quickly and easily find your desired bet. Or, if you’re just browsing, you should never be lost. A good sportsbook app will have simple but intuitive navigation tools, a clear way to place a bet, and helpful tips for beginners. 

Access To Promotions

From the minute you sign up, sports betting should be rewarding (even if you don’t always win!). Sign-up bonuses and deposit matches show that a sports betting app cares about gaining customers. Loyalty programs and benefits show that they want to keep existing players engaged. Promotions and bonuses make for a better sportsbook experience. 

Seamless Deposits

After you connect your preferred payment method, whether it’s PayPal, your debit card, or online banking, how many clicks or taps does it take to make a new deposit? A top-notch sportsbook app makes this process incredibly easy. Just a few taps of the screen will get you to the deposit page, and you can seamlessly add funds to your account. 

Speed

In any given sporting event, seconds matter. They can make a world of difference and determine the outcome of a match. When you place a bet, especially live bets/in-play wagers, the same is true of sportsbook apps. They must process your transactions quickly so you can log your bet and continue watching the game. Speed is a top priority when selecting a solid sportsbook app.

How Can Players Deposit Money In Online Sports Betting Apps In Illinois?

Sportsbook apps make deposits simple and seamless. There are a number of methods available, so you just have to choose the one you prefer and fund your account.

Methods To Deposit Money Using An Online Sportsbook App

Deposit methods can vary by sportsbook, but most apps allow similar options.  

Online wallet services such as PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller are fairly popular with sports bettors. Among them, PayPal is the most commonly accepted. BetRivers, DraftKings, PointsBet, Caesars by William Hill, and FanDuel all accept PayPal and allow you to quickly connect your account. 

Credit and debit cards are another ubiquitous option for depositing funds. Almost every sportsbook will accept them. Just type in your card information to make your deposit. If you’d rather not use your personal card, sportsbook apps typically accept prepaid cards, too. 

Online banking options such as wire transfer, ACH, and direct deposit are all common in the sports betting world as well. You can connect your bank account and make easy deposits right from your mobile device. 

Apple iOS Users

All of the options above are accessible to anyone using an iOS device. Apple users can connect a payment method and deposit at a sportsbook using a variety of accounts. 

You may wonder if you can use Apple Pay or an App Store Gift Card on an Apple device to fund your sportsbook app account. At this time, it doesn’t look like Illinois sportsbooks apps will accept these methods of payment. Instead, you’ll have to stick to the options above. 

Android Users

Payment options for Android users are the same: PayPal and other e-wallets, credit and debit cards, online banking, prepaid cards, and bank transfers. 

Illinois Online Sports Betting FAQ

What kinds of sports bets does Illinois allow?

Illinois allows a wide variety of bets at its online sportsbooks. Parlays, moneyline bets, spreads, futures, round robins, and many more bet types are available.

In terms of actual sports allowed, Illinois only prohibits bets on youth matches such as high school football or the Little League World Series.

Can I bet on college sports in Illinois?

Yes. NCAA Football, March Madness, and other college sporting events are available on Illinois sportsbooks.

Can I bet on esports in Illinois?

No. Right now, there are no esports bets available in Illinois. In fact, esports are absent from the state’s legislation.

Whether esports betting becomes legal in Illinois could be determined by how lawmakers categorize esports in general. Illinois betting laws prohibit wagering on “non-sporting events” such as elections or awards shows. If esports end up in that same category, they could be prohibited.

However, given the rise of esports in recent years and their mainstream popularity, regulators could flesh out regulations that allow esports betting in the Prairie State. For now, it’s up in the air and could go either way.

What is the tax rate for online sports betting in Illinois?

Fortunately for bettors, Illinois sportsbook operators shoulder most of the tax burden. Operators pay 15-17% on land-based sports betting and 15% for online sports betting. There’s also a $1 million annual renewal fee for operators to stay licensed in Illinois. Initial licensing fees are $10 million for land-based and $20 for online-only sports betting.

If you win significant amounts of money at an Illinois sportsbook, your winnings may be taxed as income by both Illinois state and the federal government.

Who can get a license to run an online sportsbook in Illinois?

Illinois allowed for up to 20 sportsbook licenses as part of its initial legislation: 10 for the state’s existing casinos, three for the state’s racetracks, and up to seven for large sports venues. License holders can also offer online betting.

In addition to those licenses, Illinois is offering three online-only licenses, though they will only be granted following an 18-month waiting period that began in March 2020. This is intended to give in-state operators a head start.

Is DraftKings offering sports betting in Illinois?

DraftKings is live in Illinois. DraftKings formed a partnership with Casino Queen, a land-based casino in East St. Louis, Illinois. The company launched online sports betting using Casino Queen’s license in addition to operating a retail sportsbook on-property.

Is FanDuel offering sports betting in Illinois?

Yes. FanDuel teamed up with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria for an Illinois sports betting license. FanDuel launched Illinois online sports betting on August 28, 2020.

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a Chicago-based freelance writer in the gambling, media, and entertainment space. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Prior to freelance writing, Cole spent seven years in communications at a gambling and lottery supplier. Cole writes for a number of online and print publications, including The Quill To Live, a book review site.