Sports betting in the state of Illinois is now legal — including online sportsbook apps — as of 2020.
Legal sports betting debuted in the Prairie State on March 9, 2020. The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines accepted the first ever sports bet in Illinois at its land-based sportsbook. So far, three other Illinois casinos have opened retail sportsbooks.
Online sports wagering went live on June 18, 2020, with the launch of BetRivers Sportsbook. DraftKings Sportsbook followed in August of 2020.
In the spring of 2019, state legislation passed a bill, allowing the use of retail sportsbooks and online sports betting apps.
Where can I bet on sports in Illinois?
There are a few ways to bet in Illinois currently:
Online sportsbooks in Illinois
Online sports betting in Illinois requires bettors to go a physical sportsbook to start an account.
There are currently two online sportsbooks in the state:
- DraftKings Sportsbook: One of the top US sportsbooks, you must complete registration for an account at DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis.
- BetRivers Sportsbook: BetRivers was the first betting app to launch in the state. The Rivers Casino is located just outside of Chicago for registration purposes.
Retail sportsbooks in Illinois
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- DraftKings at Casino Queen
- Argosy Casino Alton
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
Who can have an Illinois sportsbook app
Betting operators like BetMGM already have ties to retail casinos in Illinois. Additional options like FanDuel Sportsbook are likely to expand into the state, as well.
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees sports gambling within Illinois.
Sports betting is permitted at the state’s riverboat casinos, along with online sportsbooks.
BetRivers offered the first mobile betting app in the state in June 2020. Since then, DraftKings Sportsbook has joined the market.
As for retail Illinois sports betting, here are casinos in the state have been approved for a license:
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Hollywood Casino Joliet
- Casino Queen
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
Many other locations can apply for a sports betting license, too. Casinos, racetracks, and some sports venues are all eligible to feature a sportsbook. Other casinos include:
- Harrah’s Joliet
- Harrah’s Metropolis
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
- Arlington Park
- Fairmount Park
Sports venues include:
- Gateway Motorsports Park
- Chicagoland Speedway
- Soldier Field
- Memorial Stadium
- Ryan Field
- Wrigley Field
- Guaranteed Rate Field
- Route 66 Raceway
- Huskie Stadium
- United Center
- Toyota Park
- Allstate Arena
Only sports stadiums that hold at least 17,000 in capacity are eligible. While all of these venues are allowed, there are only seven sportsbook licenses available for sports venues in Illinois. Many of these locations will likely launch a sports betting operation sometime in the near future.
Illinois sports betting online options
In addition to the retail sportsbooks popping up around the state, online sports betting is now legal, as well. Right now, bettors located in Illinois can download and start wagering with the BetRivers mobile app and the DraftKings app.
The state will showcase several new mobile books in the coming months. Since some of these online operators already have partnerships with casinos in Illinois, we have a good understanding about which options might become available. The Grand Victoria Casino is owned by MGM. It seems likely that they will launch the BetMGM Sportsbook together. BetMGM is already offered in New Jersey, West Virginia, and Indiana. Both Harrah’s casinos in Joliet and Metropolis are owned by Caesars Entertainment.
With Caesars’ recent merger with Eldorado Resorts, there are even more possibilities. The two companies have partnerships with FoxBet, William Hill, and Scientific Games. Then, there are operators like FanDuel that have launched in just about every new state with legal betting. Since they’ve had so much success in other parts of the US, it would make sense that they join the Illinois market, too. Even though nothing is definite, these are some of the potential online sports betting apps that will be offered in the state:
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- BetMGM Sportsbook
- Fox Bet Sportsbook
- William Hill Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
Signing up for online sportsbooks in Illinois
Joining an online sportsbook is a simple process that shouldn’t take much time. To get started with any mobile option, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Social security number
Bettors will also need to create a username and password to access the sportsbook each time. After you supply a few security questions, you’re just about ready to start betting. To complete creating your account, you’ll just need to confirm you’re of legal age and that you agree to the online sportsbook’s terms.
Banking with Illinois online sportsbooks
The majority of online sports betting apps provide customers plenty of ways to transfer money to and from their accounts. Once you’ve signed up for an online sportsbook, you’ll be able to make a deposit in a few of the following ways:
- ACH / E-Check
- Online banking transfer
- Credit Card – MasterCard or Visa
- Prepaid card
- Retail casino cashier
Making a withdrawal should be convenient, too. Most online sportsbooks will allow you to cash out some of your funds through a lot of the same ways mentioned. Many will also allow you to receive winnings through a check by mail.
Online Sportsbook promotions in Illinois
Almost every online sportsbook available in the US gives users different promotions to take advantage of. Beyond weekly deals offered for certain sporting events, a lot of online sportsbooks have bonuses in place for new customers. With online betting just becoming legal in Illinois, a lot of sportsbooks will be looking to attract as many customers as possible.
BetRivers has a solid advantage being the first mobile option. DraftKings has excellent features and experience under its belt. However, with other platforms set to launch, customers will be in a good situation. It’s possible that some sportsbooks’ welcome offers are better than usual because there will be so much competition within Illinois. These bonuses typically come in one of three formats:
One of the most popular welcome offers is a 100% deposit match. Online sportsbooks will provide bettors with a full match of their very first deposit on the sportsbook, up to a certain amount. Of course it varies, but some sportsbooks will match customers up to as much as $1,000. This bonus is great because you’re able to control exactly how much you get back. If the online book sets its deposit match bonus at $500, and you deposit the full amount with your initial deposit, you’ll have $1,000 available in your account.
Another commonly found welcome bonus is in the form of a risk-free wager. Just like the deposit promotion, new customers can receive a match on their first bet with the online sportsbook. After making a deposit, the online betting app will match your initial online wager up to a certain amount. If you happen to lose the bet, your account will be completely refunded as if it didn’t happen.
If your bet wins, however, you’ll only get your winnings, but not the free credit.Similar to a deposit-match, this deal allows you to determine how much your bonus is. Sportsbooks vary, but risk-free bets have been listed as high as $500 previously.
In addition to one of the mentioned offers, it’s possible that online sportsbooks in Illinois can also provide new users free credit. This money would be given to you just for creating an account with that specific operator. Although this promo isn’t usually near the same value as a deposit-match or free bet, it is quite useful. Most times, you will be eligible to receive the free-credit bonus without even making a deposit. This allows you to actually use and bet on the sportsbook with real money prior to committing any of your own funds.
Geolocation services for Illinois sports betting apps
Along with being at least 21 years old, Illinois bettors must also be located within the state while betting. When using any online sportsbook, you must be physically located in Illinois in order to place a wager. Since mobile betting apps use geolocation technology, they are able to determine your exact location at the time of accessing the sportsbook. While you may be able to view the odds of games, you won’t be able to place any bets from your online sportsbook if you’re not in the state of Illinois.
What games can I bet on?
Illinois, like many other states, includes specific rulings about wagering on certain college sporting events. Similar to the rules in the New Jersey sports betting market, you are not permitted to bet on any college programs located within that state. That means you’re not allowed to bet on teams like the Illinois Fighting Illini or Northwestern. This applies to all sports involving Illinois schools. Luckily, the state does feature a wide selection of professional teams in every sport imaginable.
- Chicago Bears
- Chicago Bulls
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago White Sox
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago Sky
- Chicago Fire
Illinois bettors should have no issues in regards to the amount of betting types. With some of the best online sportsbooks in the US eventually coming to the state, you will have plenty of options when placing a wager. Most online sports betting apps will include the following betting types:
Since betting terms and odds can be confusing, a lot of online sportsbooks give users a guide to wagering on different sports. These can be very helpful for newer bettors who don’t have a lot of experience. One of the most basic fundamentals of sports betting is understanding how American moneyline odds work.
If the side you’re betting on has odds of -180, that means you’ll need to bet $180 in order to win $100. In the majority of cases, a team with minus odds like this are the favorite. If you decide to take the underdog, you’ll typically win more than you wager. A $100 bet on a team with odds of +125 will win you $125. The other main style of betting is through point spreads and totals. If a side is laying -4.5 in the spread, that means they must win by at least five for the bet to win. The same rule is applied to betting totals, or a game’s over/under. If a total is established at 50 points, then there must be at least 51 combined points in the game for the over to hit.
Live in-play betting one of the most popular styles of sports wagering. Now that online sportsbooks are legal in Illinois, bettors can take advantage of all of the live odds provided by sportsbooks. With live wagers, you’re able to bet at just about any point in a game. Sportsbooks will update the pre-match odds based on the score and action happening in real time.
This is beneficial for bettors in a number of ways. Instead of having a time in which you must have your bet placed, you can put a wager in even after the start of a game. In fact, a lot of bettors actually prefer to wait for games to begin now so that they can get a feel for how it might play out. The best online betting operators feature live odds for nearly every game and sport. Besides providing updated odds for the standard lines like moneyline, point spread, and totals, live markets are often very extensive. Betting options can include several alternates to all of the common odds, along with team, player, and game props.
Those interested in Illinois sports betting should also be aware of any loyalty programs available at online sportsbooks. A lot of operators have rewards systems in place to incentivize those who use their sportsbook often. Although it depends on the operator, most betting apps give customers points just for making new sports wagers. Once you’ve earned enough points, you’re eligible to redeem them for rewards like cash bonuses, free bets, and other prizes. Most online sportsbooks have tiers for their loyalty programs, giving bigger gifts based on your activity level. New bettors should determine if their online sportsbook has a loyalty program and how to access their earned points when signing up.