Legal sports betting in Illinois was a long time coming. Five bills were discussed to various lengths in 2018, but none of them were able to make it through. In the summer of 2019, however, Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signed SB 690 to make betting on sports legal in the state.
The first sports bets were taken at Rivers Casino Des Plaines on March 9, but the fun was short-lived because the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 effectively shut down all sports. Argosy Casino Alton, a Penn National Sportsbook, opened for action on March 12. Chicagoans and other Illinois residents were forced to wait again.
Now that the wait is over, there is no time like the present to sign up for the various Illinois sportsbooks. Here at ATS, we’ve ranked the operators based on a number of different factors, including deposit and withdrawal options, bonuses and promotions, ease of use and accessibility, and so much more.
With BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill, and PointsBet among the major players in the state, there is something for everyone in the Land of Lincoln and we’re thrilled to show you the different options and our reviews of those places to legally bet on sports.
Sports is alive and doing well in Illinois. In fact, Chicago is home to some of the best sports teams across all leagues. These teams don’t disappoint on the field, and they will not disappoint on your sportsbook receipt, either. Here is an overview of the best teams to bet on in Chicago:
These are just some of the teams that you can bet on in Illinois. There are more professional and collegiate teams that you can also bet on, and they are just as impressive as these four.
This is actually a bit of a sticky subject. Like Iowa, Illinois passed sports betting legislation that required users to sign up in-person at the sportsbook of their choice with what is most commonly known as “in-person registration”. Detractors of this plan, who are correct in our estimation, have pointed to how restrictive that stipulation is because it limits who has access to what based on mobility and geographic factors.
The large market of Chicago is so expansive and there are quite a few casinos in the Chicagoland metro area, but a case could be made that it has just been a lot easier to go into Indiana, where “remote registration” is an option, sign up, and then just get over the border to be allowed to access your online account.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced lockdowns and shutdowns across the state of Illinois, including all of the gaming facilities. In the midst of the outbreaks, Governor J.B. Pritzker, who signed the bill for sports betting into law on June 28, 2019, relaxed the in-person registration requirement. That means that Illinois residents can sign up, deposit, and then wager from anywhere in the state.
If that is not the case, then registration will need to be done in-person. At the very least, you can sign up from home, but you need to show yourself and confirm your identity in order to gain full access to your betting account.
In the interim, even if you don’t deposit right away, it is very much in your best interest to download the apps and sign up for them while the in-person registration requirement has been suspended. If you don’t do it now, you may face the hassle of having to go and sign up in person and all of that jazz.
Our suggestion is that you take advantage of that right now.
Deposit and withdrawal methods vary from operator to operator in Illinois. Across the board, most sportsbooks will take Visa, Mastercard, prepaid card, PayPal, bank wires, electronic bank transfers (ACH/e-check), or cash at the casino cage. Other options may be available based on the sportsbook operator or based on your financial institution. Additional deposit methods may be available in the future as well.
The process of making a deposit is very easy. Once you sign up for a sports betting account and confirm/verify your identity, you will be able to go into your account profile and make your deposits. Step-by-step instructions are available on the websites of all of the operators and there are FAQ sections and additional instructions on the mobile apps as well.
This is a process that simply has to be streamlined. Frustrated users are going to move on to something that seems easier, so the apps have a lot of incentive to make this as simple to understand as possible. If you have any questions, customer service is always there to help.
Once you get signed up and registered, you can bet from anywhere. Geolocation technology will ensure that you are within the state borders in order to have access to your real money account. There are three racetracks and 10 casinos in Illinois, all of which will have retail sportsbooks and/or betting kiosks if you want that game day experience or just find yourself near one of those properties.
Otherwise, you can bet from the comforts of home on your computer or on your mobile device. All of these operators have websites that are mobile-friendly or you can download the betting apps. Keep in mind that Android users will have to download the apps from the websites themselves because the Google Play Store does not allow gambling apps to be listed. Apple (iOS) users can simply download the apps from the Apple Store.
Each retail location is partnered with a different sports betting operator. For example, BetRivers has its own Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. PointsBet has partnered with Hawthorne Race Course. DraftKings has partnered with the Casino Queen. William Hill has properties all over the state, including the Harrah’s in Joliet and Harrah’s Metropolis, as well as the Grand Victoria.
Penn National (Barstool Sports) has the Argosy and the Hollywood properties in Aurora and Joliet. Jumers has partnered with Delaware North. Par-A-Dice is with Boyd Gaming. Arlington Park is with Churchill Downs (Bet America). Fairmount Park is aligned with FanDuel.
ATS.io is actually a perfect website when it comes to legalized sports betting in the United States. In fairness, we are a little bit biased, but not only do we provide sportsbook reviews and report on industry news, but we also have lots of free picks, betting tips, game and event previews, and a whole lot more on a daily and weekly basis.
In other words, we are a one-stop shop for legal sports betting content. Our affiliate partnerships with the different sports betting operators mean that we are able to offer the best sign-up and deposit bonuses in the industry to our readers. You’ll also find articles about special promotions and offers from the sportsbooks, including Odds Boosts, Free Bet Promotions, and a whole lot more.
The Chicagoland metro area allowed the state of Indiana to get off to a great start. Places like Ameristar East Chicago and Horseshoe Hammond sit about 45 minutes outside of downtown Chicago and it was clear from the betting handles at those two places that Chicagoans wanted to wager on sports. It was also clear that the state of Illinois needed to get up and running to stop losing money across the border.
Sports betting in Indiana started in a retail capacity in September 2019 and the first mobile sportsbooks went live October 3, 2019. While that was going on, the infrastructure for sports betting in Illinois was being deliberated. Governor J.B. Pritzker actually signed legislation into law in June, but it wasn’t until March 9, 2020 that Rivers Casino Des Plaines took the first sports bet.
What started with retail betting has now morphed into online and mobile wagering with BetRivers officially launching its online capabilities on June 18, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, in-person registration, which was supposed to last for 18 months, was temporarily suspended, allowing Illinois residents to sign up remotely for sportsbooks. Depending on the success of the relaxed policy, perhaps Pritzker makes the change permanently.
The state of Illinois isn’t just the city of Chicago, obviously, but Chicago has the third-largest population in the United States and the Chicagoland metro area is the third-largest in the U.S. These are fertile betting grounds and operators are going to be flocking to the Land of Lincoln to set up shop.
The process has been smoother in a lot of states compared to Illinois. Tensions between DFS operators and the state’s former attorney general Lisa Madigan led to what industry insiders called a “penalty box” for “online-only” operators like DraftKings and FanDuel, but they seemed to find workarounds and got approved for their temporary permits in July 2020. Calling DraftKings and FanDuel online-only operators is kind of ridiculous, given that they’ve operated retail sportsbooks in virtually every state that they have been approved since PASPA was overturned on May 14, 2018.
In any event, with DraftKings and FanDuel approved alongside BetRivers and Penn National, who runs the sports betting for Argosy Casino, Illinois will have all of the heavy hitters as this process moves along. PointsBet has made its way to the Illinois sports betting market. There are retail Harrah’s properties, which are now part of the Eldorado Resorts family, so that means William Hill will also have strongholds in the state.
BetAmerica, Fox Bet, theScore Bet, and others are also going to set up shop in Illinois in due time.
Illinois certainly has a rich history of sports fandom and something of an unspoken history regarding sports betting, as it was a major town for illicit gambling activities in the heyday of the mob. With legalized sports betting now, everything should be on the up and up and Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire, Sky, and Red Stars fans will have all sorts of rooting interest.
While it has taken Illinois a little while to get up and running relative to other states, like bordering Indiana and Iowa, sports betting legislation started before PASPA was even overturned, so there has been a strong push for quite some time to get Illinois another revenue stream. There were five bills in total in 2018 that at least generated enough discussion for things to proceed forward.
The state legislature got sports betting in just under the wire at the end of the legislative session in 2019 and it was signed into law on June 28 by Pritzker.
Original language in the bill gave retail sports betting operators what appeared to be a leg up on the online operators, but DraftKings and FanDuel found their ways into Illinois anyway and will be at the forefront of the market. The language stipulated that only in-state casinos could get licenses, which is why DraftKings and FanDuel had to basically invest in two in-state properties to get approval.
Even though BetRivers was first, DraftKings is a well-known name for DFS reasons, but also because the Ameristar East Chicago property in Indiana is a DraftKings Sportsbook, so those that signed up there when Indiana went live will already have accounts.
Sports betting is live and legal in Illinois and is only going to continue to grow rapidly from here.
|BetRivers||Rush Street Gaming|
|Grand Victoria||William Hill|
|Harrah’s Joliet Eldorado (Caesars)||William Hill|
|Harrah’s Metropolis – Eldorado (Caesars)||William Hill|
|Hollywood Aurora||Penn National|
|Hollywood Joliet||Penn National|
|Arlington Park Racecourse||Churchill Downs Inc. (BetAmerica)|
|Hawthorne Race Course||PointsBet|
Sports betting in Illinois is allowed for anyone 21 or over, they can place bets in the following Illinois Sportsbooks & Casinos:
|Casino Queen||200 South Front Street, East St. Louis, Illinois 62201|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora|
1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506
|Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet||777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436|
The Illinois sports betting bill allows for the following
Yes, the first legal sports bets were taken at Betrivers in Illinois on March 9, 2020
Illinois will collect 15% tax from the licensed sportsbooks. This sports betting revenue will go into a “Rebuild Illinois” Fund.
FanDuel & Draftkings Online Sportsbook and Mobile sports betting apps are were supposed to be in a 18 month penalty box but negotiations cleared the way to allow them to operate.
The legal age to place a sports bet is 21. Restrictions in place apply to athletes, coaches and team owners
Yes the Illinois Sports betting law allows all Division 1 sports. Colleges located in Illinois along with High school and amateur sports are prohibited.
Illinois sportsbooks offer the standard bet types, straight bets, totals, moneylines, futures, parlays, player and game props, teasers, round robins, in play and live wagering