IllinoisBetting.com is your source for information, factual reviews and updates on the status of legal betting in Illinois.

The first IL sportsbooks launched in March 2020 and were followed by mobile betting three months later. Now, fans can bet on sports online or in-person with sportsbooks that safe, legal and licensed.

Illinois now has a variety of gambling and sports betting options available both online and in-person. Land-based casinos, racetracks with casinos (racinos) and the state lottery comprise the state’s in-person options.

Online betting options include sports betting, daily fantasy sports, horse racing betting and the IL Online Lottery.

Illinois has traditionally taken a progressive stance on gambling and was one of the first states to authorize riverboat casinos back in 1991. Currently, there are 10 casinos operating across the state with more set to open following the passage of a major gambling expansion bill in 2019.

There are also three permanent racetracks in Illinois and they too have been authorized to add casino games and slots.

Update: Remote registration is currently permitted for mobile betting in Illinois. Sports fans may sign up and bet online from anywhere inside Illinois due to an order issued by Governor Pritzker in response to COVID-19 concerns. State law calls for in-person registration, but that provision has been temporarily suspended – allowing fans to register remotely.

Rank
Betting Site
Bonus
Rating
Visit
2
2 Risk-Free Bets Worth up to $1,000
3
20% up to $1,000
4
Bet $200, Get $200 Extra

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) oversees online sports betting across the state. Among other duties, the IGB is responsible for adopting online wagering regulations, issuing licenses and ensuring operators conform to state law.

The first IL mobile sportsbooks launched in mid-2020 to commence online wagering across the state. Customers must be 21 or older and located within state lines to participate.

Currently, licensed betting sites and mobile apps in Illinois include:

  • Launched: June 2020
  • Land-based partner: Rivers Casino Des Plaines
  • iOS users: Visit the BetRivers website to bet online with no download necessary
  • Android users: Visit the BetRivers website to download the dedicated mobile app
  • Visit: il.betrivers.com

  • Launched: August 2020
  • Land-based partner: Casino Queen
  • iOS/Android users: Visit the DraftKings website to bet online and to download the official app
  • Visit: sportsbook.draftkings.com

  • Launched: September 2020
  • Land-based partner: Hawthorne Race Course
  • iOS/Android users: Visit PointsBet.com to bet online or download the official app
  • Visit: join.pointsbet.com/hawthorne/

  • Launched: August 2020
  • Land-based partner: Par-A-Dice Casino
  • iOS/Android users: Visit the FanDuel website to bet online or to download the official app
  • Visit: sportsbook.fanduel.com

  • Launched: September 2020
  • Land-based partner: Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
  • iOS/Android users: Visit WilliamHill.com/ul/il to download the official app
  • Visit: www.williamhill.com

Here’s what else bettors need to know about IL sports betting:

  • Mobile betting launch date: June 2020; law allows licensed casinos to take their sportsbooks online any time now but some will need more time than others to be ready
  • Minimum age to bet online: 21
  • Location/residency requirements: Bettors must be physically located within state lines at the time wagers are placed; state residency is not required
  • In-person registration: Was required for the first 18 months after the first license was issued. Governor J.B. Pritzker rescinded mandatory in-person registration temporarily in 2020 due to extended coronavirus-related casino closures. Currently, Illinois sports bettors may sign up for mobile betting accounts remotely. That means customers may sign up and play from anywhere within state lines. It is currently not necessary to visit a casino to sign up and bet online.

Mobile Betting Licensees and Applicants

The IGB has issued licenses or temporary operating permits to a handful of additional operators to date, clearing the way for more betting sites to go live over the near term.

OperatorBrand NameLicensing Status
   
Rush Street Interactive, LLCBetRiversTemporary operating permit
American Wagering, IncWilliam Hill SportsbookTemporary operating permit
Betfair InteractiveFanDuel SportsbookTemporary operating permit
Crown IL Gaming, LLCDraftKings SportsbookTemporary operating permit
Penn Sports InteractiveBarstool SportsbookTemporary operating permit
PointsBet Illinois, LLCPointsBetTemporary operating permit

Licensed Mobile Sportsbooks

Casinos and racetracks that hold sportsbook licenses may offer statewide mobile betting either on their own or in partnership with a third-party operator.

Additionally, state law has made available three mobile-only licenses that allow up to three online betting sites to offer their services in Illinois without being tethered to a land-based facility. State law mandates that the first non-tethered licenses may only be issued 18 months after the first casino receives a license, giving local operators a head start over the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel.

Sports stadiums with a seating capacity of at least 17,000 may also apply for one of seven licenses to launch on-property sportsbooks and mobile betting within a five-block radius.

The IL Gaming Board (IGB) maintains an up-to-date list of licensed betting sites that bettors can check to verify the legal status of any particular operator.

Read more:

Retail Sportsbooks in Illinois

Legislation approved in 2019 allows casinos, racetracks and stadiums to apply for licenses to launch in-person sportsbooks.

Eight retail sportsbooks are now operational in Illinois:

Ten existing casinos plus up to six additional yet-to-be-built casinos authorized under the 2019 gaming expansion law may apply for sports betting licenses. Currently, casinos that qualify for sports betting licenses include:

  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines
  • Par-A-Dice Casino
  • Grand Victoria Casino
  • Argosy Casino
  • Jumer’s Casino
  • Casino Queen East St. Louis
  • Harrah’s Joliet Chicago
  • Harrah’s Metropolis
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet

Racetracks that may apply for sports betting licenses include:

  • Arlington Park
  • Fairmount Park
  • Hawthorne Race Course

The 2019 IL gaming expansion law calls for up to seven licenses to be issued to athletic venues with a seating capacity of at least 17,000. Eight stadiums fit that criteria:

  • Wrigley Field (partnered with DraftKings for a sportsbook in or near the stadium)
  • Guaranteed Rate Field
  • Soldier Field
  • United Center
  • SeatGeek Stadium
  • Chicagoland Speedway
  • World Wide Technology Raceway
  • AllState Arena

IL Sports Betting Law and Regulations

Sports betting was legalized with the passage of SB 690 in 2019, and the portion relevant to wagering has been codified as the Sports Wagering Act (230 ILCS 45).

The Sports Wagering Act laid the groundwork for the conduct of sports betting in Illinois and the IGB has since issued additional regulations to further refine the rules.

Together, the Sports Wagering Act and additional regulations establish the conditions under which operators may be licensed, how the industry is taxed and how operators must conduct themselves to ensure a safe environment for consumers.

Some of the most noteworthy rules and regulations follow.

  • Wagers on any sport or event in which the majority of participants are under 18 years of age
  • Sports leagues, governing bodies and licensees may request that the IGB consider prohibiting a certain type of wagering or wagers on a certain event if there are integrity concerns
  • Sports betting operators may request that the IGB authorize wagers on a certain type of event, sport, league or competition
  • Wagers on games involving in-state college teams

Regulations issued by the IGB specify that deposits and withdrawals may only be processed through the following methods.

  • Deposits: Credit or debit card, ACH transfer, promotional funds, adjustments or refunds credited to customer’s account, reloadable prepaid card, in-person cash or casino chip deposits,
  • Withdrawals: In-person cash withdrawals, transfer to reloadable prepaid card, bank transfer, cash withdrawals from a kiosk (up to $3,000) and “any other means in the approved internal control system”
  • Sportsbooks shall not accept wagers greater than $500 without first verifying the identity of the bettor against the self-exclusion list
  • Sportsbooks shall not redeem a wager for greater than $2,000 without verifying the identity of the bettor against the self-exclusion list
  • Mobile sportsbooks must prevent individuals on the self-exclusion list from opening new sports wagering accounts
  • Sportsbook licensees may not directly advertise or promote sports wagering to minors
  • Online and mobile sportsbooks must allow bettors to place limits or restrictions on: types of wagers, subjects of wagers, frequency of wagering, dollar amount of wager, prohibiting new deposits and prohibiting all wagering
  • Sportsbooks must use official data approved by the sports leagues for determining the outcomes of in-play wagers
  • Official data must be provided to sportsbook operators at “commercially reasonable terms”
  • Operators subject to a 15% tax plus 2% for wagers that take place within a county with a population of more than 3 million

Illinois Lottery Sports Betting Kiosks

The 2019 gaming expansion bill granted the IL Lottery authorization to enter the sports betting business on a trial basis.

Under the law, the IL Lottery may place up to 2,500 sports betting terminals at authorized lottery retailer locations during the first year. After the second year, the IL Lottery may launch an additional 2,500 terminals for a total of 5,000 at the upper limit.

Aside from the large number of locations, the IL Lottery sports betting program is set to be more limited than what is offered at casinos, racetracks and online. Lottery terminals are only permitted to accept parlay-style wagers and the entire program is only set to last until January 1st, 2024, after which it will need to be renewed or discontinued.

The IL Lottery has shown little interest to date in taking advantage of the opportunity due to the cost involved in getting started and the short period of time during which it would be allowed. The IL Lottery has sought input from the industry and potential service providers, but has so far declined to estimate a start date as it is still early in the information gathering stage.

Horse Racing Betting in Illinois

Horse racing betting is legal in Illinois at licensed racetracks, off-track betting facilities (OTBs) and online betting sites (advance deposit wagering operators or “ADWs”).

The Illinois Racing Board (IRB) governs the racing industry throughout the state and is in charge of enforcing the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 (230 ILCS 5).

IRB duties include but are not limited to issuing licenses to tracks, OTBs, betting sites and personnel, setting race day schedules for licensed tracks, ensuring the integrity of the racing industry and collecting taxes.

Horse races and trackside betting are authorized at three permanent racetracks and three state fairs.

Permanent Tracks:

State Fairs:

Under state law, each of Illinois’ three racetracks may operate up to a certain number of OTB locations:

  • Arlington Park may operate up to 18 OTBs (currently operating 10)
  • Fairmount Park may operate up to 9 OTBs (currently operating 3)
  • Hawthorne Race Course may operate up to 16 OTBs (currently operating 11)

A full list of licensed OTBs and addresses can be found here.

Advance deposit wagering is legal in Illinois for customers 18 or older and state residents. Racing fans can verify the licensing status of any IL racing betting site on the IRB website here.

The largest operators licensed to accept wagers on horse races in Illinois include:

  • TVG.com
  • TwinSpires.com
  • BetAmerica.com

Read more here:

Daily Fantasy Sports

The legality of daily fantasy sports in Illinois has never been definitively settled. Even so, the major daily fantasy sites all operate openly in Illinois and have done so for years with little pushback from state officials or law enforcement.

In 2015, then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion that daily fantasy sports sites constitute illegal gambling and therefore violate Illinois law. The opinion concluded as follows:

“It is my opinion that the daily fantasy sports contests offered by FanDuel and DraftKings clearly constitute gambling under subsection 28-1(a) of the Criminal Code of 2012…

“Absent legislation specifically exempting daily fantasy sports contests from the gambling provisions, it is my opinion that daily fantasy sports contests constitute illegal gambling under Illinois law.”

Lawmakers have introduced legislation several times over the years to formally legalize fantasy sports sites, but those efforts have yielded no success to date. In the meantime, all major DFS sites still accept customers from Illinois.

The biggest penalty DFS operators are likely to face has already come to pass. During the leadup to Illinois legalize sports betting, officials representing local casino interests lobbied lawmakers to include a “bad actor” clause excluding online operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings from participating in the market due to their insistence on offering DFS despite the 2015 AG opinion.

Although the lobbying effort to exclude online-first operators was quite likely motivated by a desire to keep the competition out, FanDuel and DraftKings’ refusal to stop offering DFS in Illinois handed local operators a handy cover story. Ultimately, lawmakers decided to write an 18-month waiting period for online-first operators into the law.

Illinois Gambling Expansion

The legislation that legalized sports betting in Illinois was just one piece of a sweeping gaming expansion law that also deals with casinos, video gaming machines, games at airports and a host of other non-gambling issues.

SB 690 was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker in 2019 and is now enrolled as Public Act 101-0031.

The 800+ page bill is not an easy read, but key points from the bill include:

  • Retail sportsbooks allowed at casinos, racetracks and stadiums with a seating capacity of at least 17,000
  • Licensed sportsbooks may also offer mobile betting
  • Eighteen months after the first sports betting license is awarded, Illinois will award up to three mobile betting licenses to online-only operators
  • IL Lottery may operate sports wagering terminals
  • Licenses will be issued for up to six new casinos in certain locations: Chicago, Danville, Waukegan, Rockford, south suburban Cook County and Williamson County in southern Illinois
  • Businesses may now host up to 6 video gaming machines
  • Maximum wager at video gaming machines increased from $2 to $4
  • Maximum cash award raised from $500 to $1,199 and allows an in-location progressive jackpot of up to $10,000
  • Authorizes up to 50 video gaming machines at the Fairgrounds during the Illinois State Fair and up to 30 machines at the DuQuoin State Fair
  • Allows casino gambling at racetracks; Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course authorized to operate up to 1,200 “positions” (each seat being a seat at a table or a slot machine) and Fairmount Park to operate up to 900 positions
  • Authorizes a standardbred racetrack and casino in one of the following Cook County towns: Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Orland, Rich, Thornton or Worth
  • Authorizes gaming at Chicago airports for customers who are 21 or older and members of a private club