Illinois is widely expected to be one of THE major players to drive sports betting revenue, going forward.
The Prairie State is the biggest in terms of population (estimated 12.63million in 2020) to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018.
It took Illinois a little while (the market finally opened up in 2020) and there have been hurdles to overcome.
But the future now appears bright, with the state reporting a total handle of $449million for November 2020 alone.
With Chicago at its heart, Illinois is a terrific sports betting and sports media market, with passionate fans and storylines.
The NBA’s Chicago Bulls, thanks to the iconic Michael Jordan and the teams he starred on, are known worldwide. As are the NFL’s Chicago Bears and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Chi town also has two Major League Baseball teams – the Cubs and the White Sox. The Cubs won Chicago’s last professional championship by claiming the World Series in 2016. This ended a 108-year title drought for the team from Wrigley Field.
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes, sports betting is absolutely legal in Illinois, and is starting to thrive.
It took almost two years after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA for things to open up locally, with the first bet placed in Illinois, in March 2020.
Things didn’t really kick into gear until June 2020 when online and mobile betting was launched. The plan initially was that people would have to register for accounts in person, but that was shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The result? A much stronger local market that’s developing fast, as the Gold Rush properly heats up.
Super Bowl LV in February 2021 drew a local handle of more than $45million, with more than $42million of that coming via online and mobile wagers.
Where can I bet in Illinois?
William Hill: Hugely credible name from across the pond in the UK. It’s a recent acquisition for $2.9billion by Caesars, that’s trusted and well worth considering when you’re signing up.
FanDuel: Needs no introduction. The biggest player in the U.S. market right now having been a daily fantasy-sports giant initially. FD boasts a deep product and often good sign-up offers.
DraftKings: Another massive player that’s grown from daily fantasy-sports beginnings.
PointsBet: Originated in Australia, but building a good rep in the U.S. and well worth a closer look as you work out who you bet your dollars with.
BetRivers: The first online sportsbook to open in the state of Illinois. Good product.
NB: Remember, you are not just tied to signing up with one online bookmaker, you can sign up with multiple. Check out our sign-up offers page to get the best deals.
In-person at land-based sites
There are a number of retail sites now offering legal sportsbooks in Illinois:
- Argosy Casino Alton, Alton, IL 62002
- DraftKings at Casino Queen, E. St. Louis, IL 62201
- Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin, IL 60120
- Hollywood Casino Aurora, Aurora, IL 60506
- Hollywood Casino Joliet, Joliet, IL 60436
- Rivers Casino, Des Plaines, IL 600918
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino, East Peoria, IL 61611
- Jumer’s Hotel & Casino, Rock Island, IL 61201
Do you need to be resident in Illinois to bet there?
You do not need to be a resident of Illinois to bet there. You just need to be of legal age and inside state lines when you physically place your bet.
What is the legal sports betting age in Illinois?
You must be at least 21 years of age to bet legally in the state of Illinois.
How do I place a sports bet online in Illinois?
The process is relatively simple, and can be done in minutes:
- Be in the state of Illinois and of legal age
- Visit a legal sportsbook website or download its app
- Register for a sportsbook account
- Deposit funds into your new sportsbook account
- Search the website/app for the sports and events you want to bet on
- Choose the event you want to bet on, and how much you want to bet
- You can now place your first bet
What type of sports bets can I place in Illinois?
- Moneyline: Yes
- Point Spread: Yes
- Parlay: Yes
- Teasers: Yes
- Futures: Yes
- Over/Under: Yes
- Round Robin: Yes
What sports can I bet on in Illinois?
You can bet on all major sports in Illinois, including:
- NFL Football
- NBA Basketball
- MLB Baseball
- College Football
- College Basketball
- NHL Hockey
NB: Only betting on sports is allowed. So you can’t bet on the outcome of The Oscars, for example. Also there is no betting allowed in IL on in-state collegiate sports.
Legal sports betting near Illinois
Although the sports betting market is thriving in Illinois, you still might need to bet elsewhere while you’re travelling for work or a vacation, or any other reason for that matter. So here’s the score in bordering states:
Indiana: Open since the second half of 2020 for online betting, mobile apps, and retail sites. You’ll need to be at least 21 years old to play.
Iowa: Another recent addition to the ‘legal’ states, having gone live in August 2020. Again both land-based and mobile betting is allowed. Once again you need to be 21 or older.
NB: While Michigan doesn’t directly border Illinois, it is just across Lake Michigan. It is now open for online, mobile and retail sites. The legal age is 21 and up.
States set down betting laws based on location – not residency – so as long as you’re in a legal state, you can generally bet there.
Are offshore sportsbooks legal in Illinois?
No, offshore sportsbooks are not legal in the state of Illinois. They are not legal anywhere in the United States. They have no license to operate locally.
This means you have a major problem if you sign up with offshore firms. You have no consumer protection, which means big issues if anything goes wrong.
The nightmare scenario is that you want to withdraw your funds and for some reason you can’t, What do you do next?
So our advice is clear in Illinois and every other legal state. Stick to legally licensed operators to protect yourself. The alternative is really not worth the risk.