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. FanDuel and DraftKings followed in August with PointsBet and William Hill not far behind in September. We expect other operators to join in soon. It’s also possible to place sports bets in person just outside of Chicago.
As it stands, Illinois seems to be ready for a big boost in revenue thanks to its welcoming and open attitude towards online betting. 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?
The unique circumstances of a 2020 sports betting launch have led to uncertainty in the state. The original Illinois sports betting law required new bettors to finalize their registration in person, at the retail sportsbook or casino. This meant that bettors wanting to register with DraftKings Illinois would need to visit East St. Louis to finalize registration.
In 2020, Governor Pritzker suspended this requirement and allowed Illiinois bettors to finalize their registration online. This is due, in part, to intermittent casino closures, which meant no new online sports bettors could register. On November 19, the Governor closed casinos once again. It is unclear when they will open again. In the meantime, yes, new bettors can register online for Illinois sports betting, at least through January 9, 2021.
Illinois Online Sports Betting
The Illinois sports betting market looks poised to explode with rapid growth as operators prepare to launch. Here’s a rundown of the current market in Illinois, including some operators who haven’t launched yet but are expected to join the market in the coming months. The Illinois Gaming Board offers up-to-date licensing information on its website.
DraftKings Sportsbook launched on August 5, 2020.
In September 2020, DraftKings announced a partnership with the Chicago Cubs to open a retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field. Although not expected to open until 2022, it eventually will provide a retail sports betting space within city limits.
See our full DraftKings Illinois Sportsbook Review.
Bonus: 2 Risk-Free Bets up to $1,500 – Use code BIGBONUS
PointsBet launched in Illinois on September 12. The Australian company partnered with Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney, IL, for a sports betting license. They also plan to open three off-track-betting locations in addition to the sportsbook location at the Racecourse.
PointsBet is the fourth online sportsbook to join the Illinois sports betting scene. The provider features a number of unique and specific betting types for America’s most popular sports, including their PointsBetting system. PointsBetting provides experienced bettors a unique high risk, high reward system.
PointsBet is offering a welcome bonus of up to $1,500 in two risk-free bets in Illinois, including an option to try PointsBetting.
See our full PointsBet Illinois Review.
BetRivers is the official online sportsbook of Illinois’ Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Rush Street Gaming owns a stake in Rivers and operates the casino’s online sportsbook.
June 18, 2020, marked the launch of BetRivers online sportsbook, making it the first to debut in Illinois. Players can access BetRivers via desktop at the sportsbook’s website, on iOS devices via mobile, and on Android devices via mobile browsing or by downloading the Android app from the BetRivers website.
To bet using a mobile device, you first need to register and download a Geolocation app that will confirm you are within Illinois state lines.
See our full BetRivers Illinois Sportsbook Review.
FanDuel locked in a land-based partner after many weeks of rumors surrounding a potential deal with Fairmount Park in Collinsville. Instead, FanDuel opted for a partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. The partnership wasn’t too much of a surprise, considering Par-A-Dice owner Boyd Gaming also owns a 5% equity stake in FanDuel.
FanDuel brought its online sportsbook to Illinois on August 28, 2020, making it the third site to launch in the Land of Lincoln. New bettors can place risk-free bets up to $1,000 when they join FanDuel in Illinois. Par-A-Dice is also operating a FanDuel branded sportsbook at the riverboat casino where bettors can place bets.
See our FanDuel Illinois Review.
William Hill became Illinois’ fifth online sportsbook when it launched on September 15, 2020. The online launch followed the opening of William Hill’s retail sportsbook in partnership with the Caesars-owned Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.
William Hill offers Android and iOS apps, but as of September 2020, there appears to be no desktop option. Still, new players can take advantage of a risk-free bet up to $300 when they sign up.
Upcoming Illinois Online Sportsbooks
Penn National Gaming owns three Illinois casinos: Argosy Casino in Alton and Hollywood Casinos in Joliet and Aurora. The state already licensed the company in Illinois. Penn National partnered with Barstool to provide online sports betting.
There’s no firm launch date set for Barstool sportsbook in Illinois yet, but Penn reopened its Illinois properties on July 1, 2020. This could mean an online sportsbook launch is imminent.
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. Presumably, an online sportsbook app will launch prior to the opening of the Danville casino.
Illinois Online Sports Betting Partnerships At A Glance
|Online Sportsbook||Illinois Partner||Bonus Offer|
|BetRivers||Rivers Casino Des Plaines (Rush Street Interactive)||100% deposit bonus up to $250|
|DraftKings||Casino Queen||20% deposit bonus up to $1,000|
|PointsBet||Hawthorne Racecourse||2 risk free bets up to $1,500 (Use bonus code BIGBONUS)|
|FanDuel||Par-A-Dice Casino||Risk free bet up to $1,000|
|William Hill||Grand Victoria Casino||Risk free bet up to $300|
|Barstool||Penn National Gaming (Owns Argosy Casino, Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet)||TBD|
Guide To Betting Online In Illinois
Looking to bet online in Illinois? Here’s some helpful information to know.
Online sportsbooks offer lucrative promotions to bettors. Illinois will be a particularly competitive market, so you’ll likely find a bevy of great bonuses on the state’s sports betting sites.
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 $1000.
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 up to $250 in Illinois.
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 and PointsBet both offer risk-free bet promotions to new sportsbook users in Illinois. FanDuel is offering up to $1,000 and PointsBet up to $1,500 in two risk-free bets.
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 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
For fans of major Illinois college teams such as Northwestern, U of I, and Illinois State, there are no sports betting options.
Though Illinois’ sports betting law allows for college sports betting, the legislation prohibits wagers on any match involving an in-state school. This includes matches played out of state that include an Illinois college. March Madness and NCAA football are fair game as long as an Illinois school isn’t involved.
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.
Sportsbooks Coming Soon To Illinois
BetRivers, FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, and PointsBet will soon be joined by some major competitors in Illinois as other operators gear up to enter the market.
Penn National Gaming’s Barstool partnership looks like it’ll take shape in Illinois within the coming weeks. Penn recently reopened its three Illinois properties, which could signal a speedy sportsbook launch. We also anticipate that Golden Nugget will launch a sportsbook in Illinois.
Check out our list of Retail Sportsbook Locations In Illinois.
Legal Betting Vs. Illegal Betting In Illinois
To protect your personal information and your money, it’s crucial to avoid illegal, offshore, or grey market sites. Legal sportsbooks have natural advantages over their offshore counterparts.
What To Look For
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. BetRivers, for example, has the Illinois Gaming Board’s seal at the bottom of their page and links to the organization’s site.
The Illinois Gaming Board is 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.
Legal Betting Advantages
Betting with a legal and licensed operator gives you more sports betting options to enjoy. First and foremost, legal operators protect your data with high-level encryption and offer plenty of safe payment methods. Offshore and grey market operators are only beholden to the laws of the country where they base operations, so they’re inherently risky.
You’ll also have more robust betting options. Legal sportsbooks have access to official league data, so they can offer in-play and proposition bets. Illegal operators don’t have the luxury of that data, so their bets are limited.
How Do I Know That Online Sportsbooks In Illinois Are Fair?
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.
The Illinois Gaming Board
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees most gambling operations in the Prairie State. The government organization regulates land-based casino gambling, video gaming (such as video lottery terminals in bars and restaurants), and sports betting.
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 has a great website full of resources and information. For sports bettors, the licensing page is particularly helpful. It 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.
Why Should You Trust Online Sportsbooks?
Sportsbooks, like any other gambling company, operate their businesses for profit. And they only make money if customers use their products. Outside of regulations and laws that require them to adhere to high standards of practice, sports betting operators are also simply incentivized to offer you a reliable and safe customer experience.
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. If you’re on the fence about the trustworthiness of a sportsbook company, consider this: FanDuel once paid out an $82,000 win even though it was caused by a pricing error.
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.
Illinois Online Sports Betting FAQ
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 in-state college teams (even if they’re playing out of state) and youth matches such as high school football or the Little League World Series.
Yes. NCAA Football, March Madness, and other college sporting events are available on Illinois sportsbooks. The catch? You can’t bet on any game or match involving an Illinois school. Unfortunately for fans of Northwestern, U of I, NIU, and other Illinois schools, the Land of Lincoln’s laws prohibit these bets, whether played in Illinois or out-of-state.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.