Legal sports betting came to Illinois in two phases over the first half of 2020.
First was the launch of retail sportsbooks at casinos in March and second was the launch of mobile sportsbooks in June. All Illinois sportsbooks are required to hold licenses from the state gaming board, promote responsible gambling and ensure customers are paid promptly.
Licensed Mobile Sportsbooks in Illinois:
Remote Registration Authorized
The opening of the first Illinois sportsbooks was timed to coincide with the start of the March Madness college basketball tournament, but it ended up being an ill-timed launch as the tournament was cancelled at the last minute and casinos were ordered to close indefinitely over coronavirus concerns.
The closure of the state’s casinos put sports betting on hold, but it also prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker to issue an executive order waiving in-person registration requirements for mobile sportsbooks in Illinois.
As a result, customers are permitted to sign up for mobile betting remotely and wager on sports without having to visit a casino in-person to register.
The executive order allowing remote registration was designed to be temporary, which it was. Governor J.B. Pritzker declined to renew the order in July 2020, temporarily pausing remote registration. However, Governor Pritzker reauthorized mobile betting in August 2020. Currently, customers located in Illinois may sign up for sports betting accounts from anywhere within state lines. It is not necessary to visit a casino to sign up and bet online.
In the meantime, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) will continue reviewing licensing applications and issue approvals to other operators that plan to offer online betting.
Mobile Sportsbooks in Illinois
State law allows land-based casinos, racetracks and up to three online-only operators to launch betting sites and mobile applications for customers located within state lines.
The three online-only applications are set to become available 18 months after the start of IL sports betting. Operators who go this route do not need to partner with local casinos. Every other mobile app will be tied to a land-based licensee.
Large licensing fees and an 18-month moratorium on the entrance of mobile-first operators have dampened enthusiasm among operators, but several have applied for Management Services Provider licenses to date that allow them to offer mobile betting on behalf of a racetrack, casino or stadium:
- Crown IL Gaming LLC (DraftKings)
- Betfair Interactive US (FanDuel)
- Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers)
- PointsBet Illinois LLC
- American Wagering, Inc (William Hill)
- Penn Sports Interactive US (Barstool Sportsbook, operated as a partnership between Barstool Sports and Penn National Gaming)
Bettors can view the status of any sports betting license and view a full list of approved mobile sportsbooks on this page at the IGB website.
Chicago’s Rush Street Gaming was the first to market in Illinois with the launch of a retail sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines and mobile betting under the BetRivers brand.
Desktop and mobile betting for iOS and Android devices are supported. Android users can visit the BetRivers website to download the standalone mobile app while iOS and desktop users can visit the website to bet online with no download needed. A standalone iOS app is under development.
DraftKings applied for a Management Services Provider license in April 2020 and later confirmed it would be partnering with Casino Queen in East St. Louis to offer statewide mobile betting. In July 2020, the Gaming Board upgraded DraftKings’ licensing status to “temporary operating permit” and DraftKings officially launched online betting the following month.
FanDuel Sportsbook officially commenced online betting in Illinois in August 2020. Illinois residents and visitors may now visit the FanDuel website to sign up for an account and download mobile apps for iOS or Android devices. In Illinois, FanDuel operates in partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino and is approved by the Illinois Gaming board.
PointsBet offers statewide mobile betting in Illinois and has plans in motion to launch a total of four retail sportsbooks. In Illinois, PointsBet is partnered with Hawthorne Race Course to operate a “premium retail sportsbook” at the track, additional sportsbooks at three off-track betting locations and online betting.
In April 2020, PointsBet submitted an application to for a Management Services Provider license in order to offer mobile betting across the state. The Illinois Gaming Board issued PointsBet a temporary operating permit in July 2020 and PointsBet.com officially launched that September.
PointsBet opened its first retail sportsbook in Illinois at Hawthorne Race Course in September 2020. Additionally, PointsBet will operate three more retail sportsbooks in the following Chicago-area locations:
BetAmerica will likely seek to enter the Illinois market at some point. Parent company Churchill Downs Inc has an ownership stake in two properties in the state, including Arlington International Racecourse.
The BetAmerica brand is well-known in online horse racing with a history dating back to 2008 but shifted to sports betting beginning in 2019
William Hill Illinois
William Hill is very active in the US market with retail sportsbooks and mobile betting in place across the US. The company is partnered with Grand Victoria Casino for mobile betting and to operate a retail sportsbook.
BetMGM is likely to enter the Illinois market soon despite the company’s reticence to comment on its plans. A BetMGM launch here seems likely because Illinois is an attractive market and BetMGM has been aggressive in entering new states across the country following the passage of legislation to legalize online sports betting.
FOX Bet Illinois
FOX Bet has not officially confirmed it will be coming to Illinois, but we believe that will change within the near future. FOX Bet has expanded rapidly since launching in 2019 and shows no signs of slowing.
Barstool Sportsbook Illinois
Barstool Sportsbook operates two retail sportsbooks in Illinois (one at each of the Hollywood Casino locations in Aurora and Joliet) and plans to offer mobile betting soon. Barstool Sportsbook operates as a partnership between Penn National Gaming and noted sports news/commentary brand Barstool Sports.
Retail Sportsbooks in Illinois
Under state law, each of Illinois’ ten land-based casinos, seven of its major stadiums and three racetracks (including their off-track betting facilities) are permitted to apply for licenses to operate on-property sportsbooks.
Only one retail sportsbook was able to get up and running prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in casinos across the country closing, but additional sportsbooks have launched since then as COVID-19 restrictions have eased.
Rivers Casino Des Plaines opened BetRivers Sportsbook in March 2020 to become the first casino in Illinois to offer legal sports betting.
BetRivers Sportsbooks features numerous monitors, a 47-food HD video wall and stadium seating. Rivers Casino completed the construction of a nearly 5,000 square foot “BetRivers SportsBar” in December 2019 and converted it into a full-fledged sportsbook after regulators gave the final OK for operations to go live.
3000 S. River Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018
The Argosy Casino Alton sportsbook opened in March 2020. The retail sportsbook features 36 HD TVs, betting windows and self-service kiosks along with a loyalty rewards program.
1 Piasa Street
Alton, IL 62002
William Hill Sportsbook at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin opened for business in August 2020. The sportsbook features three ticket windows, various seating options including high top tables and plenty of HD TVs to keep fans in the action all day.
250 S Grove Ave
Elgin, IL 60120
DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen opened in August 2020 as the state’s fourth retail sportsbook. Casino Queen agreed to rebrand itself as DraftKings at Casino Queen in order to help DraftKings avoid the 18-month penalty box designed for online-only operators.
200 South Front Street
East St. Louis, Illinois 62201
Barstool Sportsbook opened for business in August 2020 in partnership with Penn National Gaming. Customers can find the sportsbook inside 99 Hops House.
777 Hollywood Blvd
Joliet, IL 60436
The Barstool Sportsbook location at Hollywood Casino Aurora also opened in August 2020 in line with its sister property at Hollywood Casino Joliet.
1 W New York St
Aurora, IL 60506
FanDuel operates the retail sportsbook at Par-A-Dice Casino, which opened in August 2020.
The launch of the sportsbook is just one of several projects the casino has in place over 2020, with the others being major upgrades to the steakhouse, deli and hotel rooms.
21 Blackjack Boulevard
East Peoria, IL 61611
PointsBet manages the retail sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course. The Hawthorne-PointsBet relationship covers statewide mobile betting, the sportsbook at Hawthorne plus three more locations at Hawthorne-associated off-track betting locations (OTBs).
3501 S Laramie Avenue
Cicero, IL 60804
Arlington Park officials have said they plan to apply for a sports betting license, but little has been heard since. Parent company Churchill Downs angered many in 2019 when it revealed Arlington Park would not seek a casino license despite lobbying for expanded gaming for more than a decade.
The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association recommended that the IGB decline Arlington Park’s sports betting license, but further updates have been slow in coming. The future of the proposed Arlington Park sportsbook remains uncertain at this point.
2200 West Euclid Avenue
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Fairmount Park plans to significantly expand its gaming options with the addition of a casino and sportsbook. Track officials have offered few details on what they have in mind for the sportsbook.
Here’s what Fairmount Park spokesman Jon Sloane said of the track’s future shortly after the IL sports betting bill was approved in 2019:
“We’re able to add a casino, a sports book and a great number of increased racing dates. We hope all of those things are going to be worked out fairly soon, and we’re completing plans. We hope to start seeing the changes, and building sometime during 2020.”
9301 Collinsville Road
Collinsville, IL 62234
Other casinos that have not yet detailed their plans for sports betting include:
- Jumer’s Casino in Rock Island
- Casino Queen East St. Louis (master wagering license approved)
- Harrah’s Joliet Chicago Hotel & Casino (master sports wagering license approved)
- Harrah’s Metropolis
Sportsbooks at Stadiums
The IL sports betting law allows for up to seven licenses to be issued to sports venues with a seating capacity of at least 17,000. Sports arenas that obtain licenses will also have the option to offer mobile betting within a five-block radius.
Eight Illinois stadiums qualify to apply for one of the state’s seven stadium licenses based on seating capacity:
- Wrigley Field
- Guaranteed Rate Field
- Soldier Field
- United Center
- SeatGeek Stadium
- Chicagoland Speedway
- World Wide Technology Raceway
- AllState Arena
One stadium (Wrigley Field) has confirmed plans to build an on-premises sportsbook, but other potential candidates have yet to confirm their plans. Below is an overview of the sports venues that have shown the most interest to date.
In 2019, ESPN reported that the Chicago Cubs were considering launching a sportsbook to potentially include betting windows and self-serve kiosks.
The Chicago Cubs declined to offer details at first, but confirmed in September 2020 that it has reached a partnership agreement with DraftKings to serve as the club’s first official daily fantasy and sports betting partner. As a part of the agreement, DraftKings will build a retail sportsbook in or near Wrigley Field and provide mobile betting for visitors in the area.
1060 W. Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60613
According to ESPN, the Chicago White Sox are “examining” any opportunities afforded by the new IL sports betting law, but the team has so far declined to issue a statement confirming any plans.
333 W 35th Street
Chicago, IL 60616
Soldier Field is another stadium reportedly considering a sportsbook, but the Chicago Bears have not commented on the issue.
1410 S Museum Campus
Chicago, IL 60605
The Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks appear interested in sports betting but have not confirmed concrete plans as of yet. Both organizations were among pro five teams that sent a letter to the IGB in December 2019 outlining a list of requests that would need to be met to justify the $10 million licensing fee demanding of stadiums that wish to launch sportsbooks.
Among the teams’ requests were strict enforcement of a five-block exclusivity radius that would prevent competitors from launching sportsbooks or advertising and bettors from placing wagers online.
1901 West Madison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60612
Local media reported in 2019 that the Village of Rosemont, which owns AllState Arena, is reviewing sports betting companies to potentially operate a sportsbook at or within five blocks of the arena.
There have been no major developments since, but Village Spokesman Gary Mack told the Chicago Sun-Times that Rosemont intends to be as “transparent as possible and make sure every possible opportunity to do this the right way is examined.”
6920 N Mannheim Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
Sports betting has been available near the Chicago area since Indiana’s first sportsbooks launched in September 2019. Two casinos with sportsbooks on the shores of Lake Michigan just over the Indiana border are an easy drive from much of Chicago.
On the Illinois side of the border, River Casino Des Plaines serves as the most centrally-located Chicago-area sportsbook. Moving outward from there are the Grand Victoria Casino and two Hollywood Casinos.
Sportsbooks on the Illinois Side of the Border
- PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course
- BetRivers Sportsbook at River Casino Des Plaines
- Grand Victoria Casino
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Hollywood Casino Joliet
Sportsbooks on the Indiana Side (South of Chicago Proper)
- The Book at Horseshoe Hammond
- Sportsbook at Ameristar East Chicago
Mobile Betting in Chicago
Residents in the Chicago area who don’t mind crossing over into Indiana can bet online today without waiting for the Illinois Gaming Board to approve the first mobile sportsbooks.
Indiana has a growing number of mobile sportsbooks and in-person registration is not required. Accounts may even be registered from Chicago, but wagers may only be placed when customers are physically present within Indiana state lines.
The first IL mobile sportsbooks should be launching soon as well, giving Chicago-area gamblers much more convenient access. Mobile accounts must be registered in-person, but this is just a one-time thing. After successfully signing up, mobile users will be free to bet online from Chicago or anywhere else in Illinois.