Legal sports betting in Illinois is finally here, which means gamblers over 21 can place real money bets online, by mobile, or at their local retail sportsbook.
In passing the Illinois Sports Wagering Act (IWSA), the state became the 15th in the Union to legalize sports betting with many sportsbooks already licensed and accepting wagers.
In this Illinois Sports Betting guide, we will take you through all you need to know about legal sports betting in the state of Illinois.
Table of contents
- Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites
- Best Illinois Sports Betting Apps
- Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Illinois
- Illinois Sports Betting Laws and Regulations
- Illinois Sports Betting Locations
- Possible Online Sportsbooks Coming to Illinois
- Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois
- Are DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbooks Legal in Illinois?
- Illinois Sports Betting FAQ
Best Illinois Sports Betting Apps
So far, all the Illinois sportsbooks that have launched online, also have sports betting apps available on both Android and iOS devices.
Below are the sports betting apps available to play in Illinois.
BetRivers – $250 Deposit Bonus
BetRivers has raced ahead of the pack in terms of sports betting revenue in Illinois. In fact, BetRivers was the first operator to launch an online sportsbook in Illinois. Most other operators offer mobile-only apps.
The Rush Street Gaming brand already has online sportsbooks in states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania and the good news is that the Illinois website and sports betting app is virtually identical to those.
BetRivers offers a broad range of sports and markets to bet on, including the usual baseball, football, and hockey fare. You can also watch selected streams live on the site.
In addition, BetRivers provides one of the best loyalty programs of all the Illinois sportsbooks. With iRush Rewards, you can earn points every time you make a real-cash wager. Collect points and redeem them in the BetRivers Bonus Store.
Find out more about BetRivers Sportsbook in Illinois from our BetRivers bonus code and sportsbook review.
William Hill – Bet $250, Get $500
One of the giants of the UK betting scene, William Hill has made huge in-roads into the regulated US sportsbook market by launching in Iowa and New Jersey, and now Illinois.
William Hill launched its Illinois sports betting app in September 2020, which offers markets on popular sports like football and baseball. Plus, you can enjoy a bet during the game via the Daily InPlay Wagering Menu.
Furthermore, they enjoy a partnership with the Grand Victoria Casino, where they operate a William Hill retail sportsbook.
DraftKings – $1000 Deposit Bonus
The DraftKings sportsbook launched online in August 2020. You can also bet in person at the DraftKings at Casino Queen sportsbook.
The established Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operator runs a successful online and mobile sportsbook where you can bet on everything from NFL and golf to UFC and college football.
DraftKings also runs sportsbook pools where you can create your own real money fantasy contests among friends.
FanDuel – $1000 Deposit Bonus
In the battle of the Daily Fantasy Sports behemoths, it’s a straight run-off between DraftKings and Fan Duel. However, FanDuel is fast becoming one of the biggest online sportsbooks in the regulated US market.
FanDuel launched its FanDuel Par-a-Dice sportsbook app in August 2020 where you can place real money bets in person at the casino or at home.
It was also the first legal sportsbook in the US to provide live streams on sports.
You can also take advantage of FanDuel’s new wallet technology. Switch funds easily between your DFS and sports betting accounts with a few swipes.
How to Bet on Sports Online in Illinois
When sports betting in Illinois was legalized, over-21s in the state were required to register their accounts in person at a licensed retail sportsbook.
However, Gov. Pritzker has made it possible for gamblers to use remote registration as more and more casinos shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.
To sign up, you will need to download a sports betting app or sign up online. You’ll also need to provide some personal details to get started:
- Full Name
- Home Address
- Email Address
- Cell Number
- Last 4 Digitals of Your SSN
Once you’ve confirmed your email, you can make a deposit and claim one of our exciting promo codes.
To download the app, you will have to have an Android or Apple device. Most Illinois sportsbooks offer iOS apps through the App Store. But, Android apps must be downloaded directly from the sports betting site due to betting apps being prohibited on Google Play Store.
If you are downloading an Android betting app, you will need to switch on your ‘Unknown Sources’ setting to allow installation.
Depositing Into Online Sportsbook Accounts
You can fund your Illinois sports betting account via a range of payment methods. Not all IL sportsbooks are the same, and some major banks still decline online gambling payments.
Debit cards: Use your Visa or Mastercard to send cash direct from your checking account.
Credit cards: All Illinois sportsbooks accept Visa and Mastercard, but Discover and AMEX acceptance is more limited. Watch out for cash advance fees when using your credit card.
ACH/e-Check: An e-Check provider like VIP Preferred is a great way of transferring cash straight from your bank account. It also bypasses issues you may have with declined card payments.
Prepaid cards: Prepaid cards like Play+ are already issued by most regulated online casino sites in the US. In time, sportsbooks in Illinois will likely start offering their own prepaid cards. They are easy to use, widely accepted, and you can claim benefits like cashback.
e-Wallets: A virtual e-Wallet like Skrill or PayPal is the perfect way of sending cash online without sharing sensitive card details. Transactions are quick and you can ever use your e-Wallet to make withdrawals.
PayNearMe: PayNearMe is a good deposit option if you prefer to avoid using a bank card online. Simply visit your nearest 7-Eleven store and use cash to pay funds into your sports betting account.
Wire transfer: Some US banks will let you send money straight to an Illinois sports betting site. Use your regular internet banking app to make safe transactions in minutes.
Withdrawing Money From A Sportsbook Account
Good sports betting in Illinois is about getting hold of your winnings quickly. That’s why IL sportsbooks offer a healthy selection of withdrawal options.
Typically, you’ll only be able to cash out using the same method you used to deposit with. Credit card withdrawals are generally prohibited. So, if you used a Visa or Mastercard to make your deposit, the cash-out will usually be processed via bank transfer.
Alternatively, you can use the following withdrawal options in Illinois:
- VIP Preferred (ACH/e-Check)
- e-Wallet (Skrill, PayPal)
- Play+ card / prepaid card
- Check by mail
- Wire transfer
Illinois Sports Betting Age
The legal age for making real money bets in Illinois is 21. You will be required to prove your ID and age when you sign up for an account.
This may involve scanning and sending a copy of your driver’s license or passport. However, the process is pretty quick and the best apps provide an easy document upload tool.
Illinois Betting Boundaries
Legalized sports betting in the US is spreading from state to state. However, just like other recently-regulated states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, you can only log on and make bets if you are within Illinois state lines.
Of course, you can still download a mobile sportsbook app or open your account if you live outside Illinois. Just make sure you’re in the state when you make your wagers.
Illinois sportsbooks use geolocation tools like GeoComply to confirm your location. If you’re using a mobile sports betting app, you’ll need to have your GPS turned on so your location can be pinpointed.
Similarly to other states with legal sports betting, you must register your new account in-person at a partner retail sportsbook or casino. However, due to COVID-19, this has largely been suspended. At this time, you can open a new account through a betting app without needing to register in-person.
Types of Wagers Allowed
You can enjoy a huge selection of bet types at legal Illinois sports betting sites. But, there are some limits on the types of bet you can make, according to Illinois law.
- Game line/Money line: A bet on the outright results of a match or game.
- Over/Under: This is a ‘Totals’ bet on whether you think the total goals or points will be over or under the set amount.
- Point spread: This is a handicap bet offering odds on the underdog or favorite to win after points have been added to or taken away from their total. For example, you bet on the favorite to win with a -2 point handicap, or the underdog to win with a +2 point advantage.
- Parlays: A parlay is a combination bet made up of several different results. The total odds and payout will be calculated in the bet slip.
- Proposition bets: “Prop” bets are special wagers on events taking place during the game. A prop might involve the total number of points for a particular player or combination of players.
- In-game wagering: These are bets placed on a game as it happens.
- Outright/Future: This is a bet on a season winner or event that may not be resolved for a few months. For example, the next Super Bowl champs or the winner of the next Ryder Cup.
Sports Available to Bet On
You can place bets at Illinois sportsbooks on over a dozen different sports. Some college sports betting is permitted, but not on games involving local state sides. In addition, you won’t be able to bet on novelty wagers like politics.
- Australian Rules
- College Basketball
- College Football
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Illinois
Most of the money flowing through Illinois sports betting apps comes from four US sports: football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. You should also expect to see a lot of markets opening up for big soccer tournaments like the 2022 World Cup.
Super Bowl is one of the biggest betting events in the US. No wonder, then, that legalized Illinois sportsbooks have been racing to open in time for the next season finale.
As well as future bets on the Super Bowl winners, you can place single money line bets (“straights”) on the night’s games. Point spreads, Total Points (Over/Under), and Props are also popular NFL options. You can also now bet on college football as long games don’t feature Illinois teams.
Basketball offers some of the fastest sports betting in Illinois. With points changing so quickly, the in-game wagering possibilities on basketball are huge.
Legal sites let you make sports wagers on the Money line, Point Spread, or Over/Under. You can also make Futures bets on the NBA Finals Championship.
Some college basketball is allowed too. But, like college football, you won’t be allowed to make bets involving Illinois state college teams.
The MLB is one of the most popular areas for Illinois bettors. The best sportsbooks in the state of Illinois offer spread markets for individual games, playoffs, and the World Series. You can also place bets on the local, Chicago Cubs.
From the Stanley Cup winners to the winners between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, you’ll have a huge choice of NHL bets. Bet the Puck Line or Over/Under and watch live games to bet on the go.
Soccer provides possibly the widest choice of leagues and markets because you can bet on MLS sides at home or take a chance on overseas leagues in England, Spain, or France.
Bet on Home, Away or Tie, or find hundreds of wagers on the correct score, first goalscorer, or number of corners. And with in-game wagering running on most games, there are more ways to gamble on soccer than ever.
Illinois Sports Betting Laws and Regulations
In August 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill legalizing sports betting in Illinois – the Sports Wagering Act. In doing so, Illinois joined other states like Colorado, New Jersey, and West Virginia in licensing and regulating sportsbooks for online betting.
Under the new Illinois sports betting laws, certain operators are permitted to apply for online sports betting licenses:
- Land-based casinos
- Illinois racetracks
- Lottery outlets
- Online-only operators
As well as expanding the state’s existing casino facilities, the Illinois Gaming Board has the power to issue licenses to sports betting operators located at racetracks and brick ‘n mortar casinos. Sports facilities holding over 17,000 seats can also run their own sports betting operations.
The new Sports Wagering Act also allows for online sports betting in the state of Illinois. Some of the leading operators in the US have already stolen a march on their competitors by launching online sportsbooks.
However, a contentious “penalty box” rule has been employed for online gambling operators who had flouted the law before sports betting was legalized. In 2020, that applies to DFS providers like FanDuel and DraftKings. However, with both big hitters already making deals with existing retail sportsbooks, the penalty box problem seems to have disappeared.
Illinois Sports Betting Locations
So far, most of the major casinos in Illinois have sportsbook operators on board. Gamblers can bet in person or download mobile apps and bet online or on their phones. Major sportsbooks include:
- Casino Queen, St. Louis (DraftKings)
- River Casino Des Plaines (BetRivers)
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin (William Hill)
- Hawthorne Race Course (PointsBet)
- Par-A-Dice Casino (FanDuel)
Elsewhere, Jumer’s Casino-Hotel is in the process of being bought out by Twin River Worldwide Holdings. Twin River is already partnered with major sports betting operators in other states like William Hill and DraftKings.
Other casinos have opened retail sportsbooks, or are in the process of launching:
- Argosy Casino Alton
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Fairmont Park Racetrack, Collinsville
When the Illinois Sports Wagering Act passed, only three of the state’s casinos applied for a license. License fees in the state are steep and ultimately may deter all of Illinois’s casinos from making an application.
Possible Online Sportsbooks Coming to Illinois
There are many legal US sportsbooks already accepting sports bets in Ilinois with BetRivers, PointsBet, and DraftKings among those operating in The Prairie State.
So, who else could we see offering Illinois sports betting in 2020 and 2021?
There are a host of online sports betting operators who have already launched in other regulated states, such as Indiana, West Virginia, and Nevada. Therefore, we could see one or all of these big hitters launching Illinois sportsbooks:
- Fox Bet
- BarStool Sportsbook
Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois
For years, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) was deemed illegal in Illinois under existing laws. However, that didn’t stop established operators like DraftKings and FanDuel continuing to offer their services in The Prairie State.
In 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court decided that DFS was a game of skill. Because players use research and deduction to make their decisions – choosing the right players gives you a head start over your opponent – DFS was deemed to be different from traditional sports betting.
In a compromise, DFS operators were put in a “penalty box” for 18 months before being allowed to provide legal sports betting in Illinois. However, as of October 2020, you can play Daily Fantasy Sports contests at DraftKings and FanDuel and take on your friends for money.
In a DFS contest, you pay a set buy-in and select a team of players in one of the night’s games. You then score points based on your players’ performances. The more points you score, the bigger your share of the prizepool.
Fantasy sports websites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, run hundreds of contests every week, in major sports like hockey, football, and baseball. They also offer big guaranteed prizepools and special bonuses for new sign-ups.
Are DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbooks Legal in Illinois?
As well as being major DFS providers, DraftKings and FanDuel also offer legal online sports betting in Illinois.
The sports betting providers received temporary operating permits in July 2020, paving the way for full operating status in Illinois.
In fact, the pair were among the first legal sports betting operators to open mobile apps in the state. DraftKings has opened a retail sportsbook in partnership with Casino Queen, while FanDuel runs the sportsbook at Par-A-Dice casino in East Peoria.