Legal Illinois sports betting made its debut on the retail front in March 2020 with the online sports betting apps rollout taking place a few months later.
You can now download and sign up to bet on Illinois sports betting apps from anywhere in the state. Illinois requires sports bettors to visit an Illinois casino or racetrack to complete the registration process. Once you’ve downloaded the app and created your account, you will need to visit the partnering casino before you can place a bet online.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about how to bet on sports in Illinois right here, along with any bonus and promotional offers available to new sports bettors.
Top Illinois sports betting sites for 2021
Who can bet on sports in Illinois?
If you’re 21 or older and located within state lines, you’re good to go for betting on sports in Illinois online. Illinois requires in-person registration in addition to the following:
- You can’t be on any self-exclusion lists in relation to gambling.
- Sports league personnel are prohibited from betting on their own sports.
Assuming neither of the above apply to you, there shouldn’t be any trouble signing up to play. The online and mobile registration process is simple and straightforward. We’ll have some details on what you have to do in a bit.
The Illinois sports betting market has attracted a number of the top names in the industry, all of whom have had to undergo a rigorous application process. Those who have received the green light to hang out their shingles had to pony up a whopping $10 million while either having a land-based operation in the state or being partnered with an entity that does.
In the future, online-only licenses are expected to be available, all of which will carry a price tag of $20 million. Gross gambling revenue from sportsbooks is subjected to a 15% tax rate. The regulatory body for sports betting in the state is the Illinois Gaming Board.
Best Illinois sports betting apps for 2021
The official opening of the Illinois online sports betting market was a highly anticipated event. A number of the biggest names in the industry had their sights firmly set on gaining entry, and several have been able to make it happen. Here’s a look at the best sports betting apps available in Illinois, all of which you can get started with quickly and easily.
1. DraftKings Sportsbook
There have been a number of success stories since sports betting in IL began to gain legalization, but DraftKings is among those leading the pack. The platform is highly regarded across the industry, and the company has a history of innovation.
Included on the list of accomplishments is a top-notch live betting feature. This has become a go-to spot for scores of bettors who are interested in this facet of wagering.
DraftKings isn’t shy on the promotional front, either. There’s always lots going on like odds boosts and special parlay offers.
DraftKings has become a market leader in all states it has entered to date, including Illinois since gaining market access via a deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis.
2. FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel shares a lot in common with DraftKings. The two behemoths both made their bones in the world of daily fantasy sports and were ready to pounce once legal sports betting got a green light.
Being quick to market in legal states has helped FanDuel race to the top of the charts, and the company shows no signs of slowing down. The interface is incredibly user friendly and visually appealing while being full of features.
One of FanDuel’s biggest highlights is the single-game parlay feature. The company has arguably become the top name in the game for bets of that nature. FanDuel joined the Illinois marketplace via a deal with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria and has comfortably settled in as a top option in Illinois.
3. PointsBet Sportsbook
PointsBet entered the US as a big unknown back in 2019. That has changed dramatically in a short amount of time. The company has established a big presence in a number of legal states, including Illinois.
This is a company that’s focused on bettors and their experiences. That becomes pretty apparent once you start comparing lines in comparison to others, as well as when you check out the solid array of ongoing promotional offerings.
Australia-based PointsBet has made some tremendous strides since entering the US. The company entered Illinois via a deal with Hawthorne Race Course. It’s available for iOS and Android users and features a solid platform that lets you get down to business quickly and easily.
4. BetRivers Sportsbook
BetRivers may not have the national name recognition that other competitors in the market have, but don’t let that fool you. This is an outstanding offering from a company that knows its way around the gambling sector.
Rivers Casino Des Plaines is the land-based partner, while Rush Street Interactive is the parent company behind the scenes. BetRivers features a clean interface that’s a breeze to use, as well as a great loyalty program for users.
You can earn points for redemption just for placing bets, and there’s always a good selection of other promos going on, as well. BetRivers has been a very pleasant surprise in all the markets it has entered to date. The same story has been developing here in Illinois as the app and online offering have been attracting tons of interest.
5. Caesars Sportsbook
Caesars Sportsbook is a big company getting bigger after its acquisition of famed sportsbook William Hill. The casino giant’s sports betting profile has expanded dramatically due to the purchase, and one of those new Caesars locations is in Illinois.
Caesars offers a solid and functional app, if a bit on the duller side. However, you can now get credit for your play onsite in the Caesars Rewards’ program, which can mean free rooms, food, and entertainment at Caesars properties. Best of all, there is a great promo that Caesars has to welcome Illinois players.
By virtue of its purchase of William Hill’s assets, Caesars land-based partner in Illinois is the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Although Caesars is somewhat new to this particular game, it is no rookie when it comes to sports betting. If you want a name that you can rely upon for safe and honest sports betting, Caesars is a pretty good option to select.
How Illinois online sports betting works
If you meet the requirements — 21 or older, within state lines, not on a self-exclusion list, etc. — then you can register to bet online or via app. The registration process is quick and painless. For starters, use the links above to visit any of the IL sports betting sites.
By taking that step, you’ll be eligible for potential sign-up offers from the top legal IL online sportsbooks. Once you’ve clicked the link, you’ll be brought to a new page where you’ll have to enter a few basic details, including:
- Date of birth
- Last four digits of Social Security number
After all of your information is in, you’ll agree to the terms and conditions and check off any relevant boxes. Your new account will be ready right away. You can take some time to browse around, but be sure to download the app for your device.
The top sports betting apps in IL are available on mobile for iOS and Android users. Once you download the app directly from the sportsbook website, log in on mobile for the first time. You’ll then have access to your book of choice both online and via app.
Funding your account and placing bets will vary slightly by sportsbook, but the general process is the same. There’s usually a separate cashier function available. If not, look in the “my account” section for deposits and withdrawals.
To place a bet, you simply find what you’re interested in and click on the odds for that choice. It’ll go right onto the bet slip. From there, you just have to plug in the amount, verify and click submit. Websites and apps from the top shops are very user-friendly, so you can find what you’re looking for and get down to business quickly.
2021 Illinois sportsbook promotions and bonus offers
As expected, the Illinois online sports betting marketplace has become incredibly competitive. That’s awesome news for consumers. As industry heavyweights battle it out for supremacy, they all have their eyes set on attracting as many users as they can.
To do that, they’re not shy about dishing out sign-up offers for new players. Offerings will vary by sportsbook, but here are some of the top options that you’ll see.
- Free bets: Once you create an account, some shops will give you free funds to play with in the form of site credits.
- Deposit bonuses: Certain sportsbooks will match your first deposit, with the amount of the match varying.
- Risk-free bets: After setting up an account with a book, it will let you place a bet in risk-free fashion. If your bet loses, you get back site credits.
The above offers are just for signing up, but that’s not where it ends on the promotional front. Online sportsbooks are always looking for ways to attract attention, and many of them lean on solid offerings to do so. Here are some examples on that front.
- Odds boost: This is an offer that enhances the returns on a specific wager, such as a player prop or team moneyline bet.
- Parlay insurance: For multi-leg parlays, you can get back your wager amount if you’re incorrect on one of the legs.
- Performance bonus: You can earn extra when a team or player does something significant, such as scoring TDs or making 3-pointers.
Current promotional offerings are generally featured prominently in the main lobby at online sportsbooks. Several books also have dedicated sections that list all of the current promos.
How to deposit and cashout for Illinois sportsbooks
When looking to move money in and out of your sports betting account, you shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to do so. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that with the online betting sites in Illinois. Each has a solid list of options, including:
- Credit and debit cards
- Online banking transfers
- PayPal/other e-wallet options
- Prepaid cards
- Cash at casino cage
It’s important to note that the exact options will vary by sportsbook, but there’s a good chance that you’ll find something that works best for your situation regardless of where you play. Also, keep in mind that not all options will be available for deposits and withdrawals.
What types of sports bets can you place in Illinois?
You’ll have access to all of the bet types and markets you could ask for in Illinois. Here’s a quick runthrough of the most popular bets and a refresher on how they work.
- Moneyline: You pick the straight-up winner between the favorite and underdog.
- Point spread: The side you choose has to cover the spread set by oddsmakers.
- Totals: You decide if the total points scored will be over or under a benchmark number.
- Props: Basically, side wagers on things that may happen, many of which depend on player performance.
- Live betting: Wagers you can place in real time as the action plays out on the field.
- Futures: A lookahead bet on a future outcome, such as the winner of a league championship.
- Parlays: A wager where you include multiple selections on the same slip in hopes of greater returns.
- Pleasers and teasers: Bets that place more control over the spread in the hands of bettors, with returns adjusted accordingly.
Which sports are available for betting in Illinois?
When it comes to sports, you won’t be lacking for options. From the top attractions down to those that are on the obscure side, they’re all here. First up, here are the biggest needle movers at sportsbooks.
The NFL attracts the most betting interest, followed by the NBA. You can bet on college sports in Illinois, but state law prohibits wagering on the in-state teams. For the individual sports, the most action comes around when a big event is on tap, such as a huge fight or a golf major.
- Australian rules football
- Formula One
- International sports
- Table tennis
The above sports fall into the niche category. Interest isn’t as strong in these sports, but some of them have their moments here and there. The exact list of markets will vary by sportsbook, but all of the top books in Illinois have a solid selection to choose from.
Local Illinois teams you can bet on at legal sportsbooks
Illinois is a hotbed for sporting action. That translates into plenty of local favorites to root for, and we can now legally and safely bet on each of them. Here’s a look at the top attractions.
- NFL: Chicago Bears
- NBA: Chicago Bulls
- MLB: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox
- NHL: Chicago Blackhawks
- MLS: Chicago Fire FC
- WNBA: Chicago Sky
As a reminder, you can’t bet on in-state college programs here at home. That means no betting on Illinois, Northwestern or any other Illinois-based school. However, the rest of the college football and basketball landscape is fair game and available for wagering.
Illinois sports betting partnerships
As sports betting continues to go mainstream, several interesting promotional partnerships have emerged. On the national level, a number of top sportsbooks have linked up with top networks.
Down at the local level, the once unheard-of thought of sports betting partnerships with teams is quickly becoming a reality. Here’s what we’ve seen on that front to date in Illinois.
- Chicago Bears — PointsBet
- Chicago Cubs — DraftKings
The deals cover the usual suspects like signage and broadcast placement. In the case of the Cubs, a DraftKings-branded sportsbook is in the works for Wrigley Field. It’s a copycat world when it comes to betting and partnerships, so it’s safe to say these won’t be the last deals we see in Illinois.
How do Illinois sportsbook odds compare to Vegas?
Quite simply, the odds and lines you’ll find here in Illinois stack up quite well with the numbers that come out of the desert. That doesn’t mean they’ll be exactly the same. Due to market action, that’s just not possible.
However, it does mean that the books here in Illinois are on point. You can still see what the oddsmakers out west have to say for research purposes if you wish, but know that the numbers you have direct access to are likely just as good.
Retail sportsbooks in Illinois
While there are plenty of online and mobile options to consider in Illinois, the experience of betting in person can be lots of fun. Several retail locations have already opened their doors.
|Casino Queen||200 S. Front St., East St Louis||DraftKings|
|Hollywood Casino||1 W. New York St., Aurora||Penn National|
|Hollywood Casino||777 Hollywood Blvd., Joliet||Penn National|
|Grand Victoria Casino||250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin||Caesars|
|Argosy Casino||1 Piasa St., Alton||Penn National|
|Rivers Casino||3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines||BetRivers|
|Par-A-Dice Casino||21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria||FanDuel|
|Hawthorne Race Course||3501 S. Laramie Ave., Stickney/Cicero||PointsBet|
PointsBet has also opened up a trio of off-track betting facilities in association with Hawthorne. Here’s where you can find those shops.
- 13148 Rivercrest Drive, Crestwood
- 17W648 22nd St., Oakbrook Terrace
- 1250 River Road, Prospect Heights