The winds of change that blew through the Windy City when Governor J.B. Pritzker relaxed the In-Person Registration requirement have taken Illinois sports betting from a slow, rolling boil to an outright explosion. Outside of New York City or Los Angeles, no city in the United States would benefit more from online and mobile sports betting from the convenience of home than Chicago.
How to bet on sports in Chicago went from “Sign up and then drive an annoyingly long way to a sportsbook anyway” to “Sign up and bet from home” in the blink of an eye.
Illinois is now a Remote Registration state, which means that you can sign up for a sports betting account from anywhere and it will be validated and registered virtually. Under the past provision, you could sign up from anywhere, but you could not make a deposit or place a bet until you went in-person to the retail sportsbook to have your identity and account verified.
Nobody wants to sit in Chicago traffic to go to the BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines to finish registration. Nobody wants to commute all the way out to DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen in East St. Louis to validate a betting account. A trip to Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero for a PointsBet Sportsbook account even seems like a hassle.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do that anymore.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not had many silver linings to speak of, but one for Illinois residents, including Chicagoans, is that lockdowns, shutdowns, quarantines, and an unwillingness to leave the house or apartment for non-essential reasons forced the governor’s hand into ending the In-Person Registration requirement.
Frankly, it was a shortsighted and ludicrous provision to begin with. What helps sports betting grow into an entity that generates a lot of tax revenue for the state is an open, mostly unrestricted market. For the foreseeable future, Illinois has one of those with sports betting.
Now, Chicagoans can bet on sports from home or from the bar or from Wrigley or from Guaranteed Rate, or from the UC, or from work, or in class at UIC. It doesn’t matter where you are and it doesn’t matter which sportsbook you use. As long as you are in the state of Illinois, you can place legal sports bets.
How to bet on sports in Chicago has become so remarkably easy that it is a simple three-step process:
You can’t bet unless you’re signed up. As mentioned, you used to be able to sign up online or mobile, but you still had to go to the physical sportsbook location to have your identity verified and validated.
Not anymore. Now you sign up online or mobile and you are good to go. State-of-the-art technology will validate your identity, approve your account, and then keep your personal information safe. All you have to do is make a few mouse clicks or push the right stuff on your smartphone.
Once you’re all signed up and your account has been approved, it is time to make a deposit. That could be with a credit card or debit card, an electronic bank transfer like an e-check, an ACH payment, or a bank wire, or some sportsbooks even accept third-party payment processors like PayPal.
Be sure that when you are ready to sign up, you do so through one of our affiliate links at ATS.io. That will unlock special sign-up deposit bonuses and other welcome offers. You can also enter the designed ATS promo code to get your bonus.
Don’t sign up without a sign-up bonus. You’re leaving opportunity on the table when you do.
It is important to know what your goals are when you are ready to start betting. If it’s entertainment and fun money, treat it that way. If you are looking to supplement your income, well, that’s a lot harder to do, but it can be done.
Whatever you do, bet responsibly. Don’t bet what you don’t have. Don’t pick between the rent money and placing a bet. Gamble safely and responsibly.
We’re glad you asked! There are a lot of sportsbook options in Chicago and across the state of Illinois. Some are near and some are far. If you really want the BEST online sportsbook experience, you can get it, but only at certain places. If you want access to all of the major sportsbooks in Illinois, you can do that from the comfort of home or the convenience of your smartphone on the go.
Pritzker’s relaxation of the in-person requirement may not be a permanent thing, but it is a great opportunity for right now. If it becomes permanent, more sportsbooks may move into Illinois to take advantage of the large population of the Chicagoland market.
For now, you still have more than enough excellent options as places to you can go for legal sports betting in Chicago:
BetRivers was actually the first online sportsbook in Illinois through the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. This is probably the most familiar brick-and-mortar place for Chicago residents in the gaming realm. BetRivers is an excellent sports betting app with a great look, lots of betting options, and it has a little bit of that local feel as a company that really got a start throughout the Rust Belt that extends from Chicago through Pittsburgh.
BetRivers has a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 for new sign-ups and runs a lot of good promotions and offers on a regular basis.
2. DraftKings Sportsbook
Everybody knows the name DraftKings from the way it ascended in the sports gambling sphere because of daily fantasy sports. DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen in East St. Louis is the full name for DK in the state of Illinois. Had it not been for the end of the in-person requirement, it would have been a lot tougher for Chicago residents to get with DraftKings.
East St. Louis is a 4.5-hour drive or so from the heart of Chicago on a good day, let alone a bad one. That would have made it extremely hard to validate an account. In fact, it would have been easier to go to Ameristar East Chicago in Indiana, but then you would have to physically be in Indiana to place bets.
Instead, now you can just sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen right from home and that is a huge development for both bettors and the operator.
DraftKings offers up to $1000 in value with a new user sign-up bonus.
3. FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel Sportsbook partnered up with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Illinois to offer sports betting in the state. That isn’t that bad of a trip for Chicago residents, but, again, the end of the in-person requirement makes it so easy and it is in your best interest to sign up before Pritzker has a change of heart.
FanDuel was originally known as a daily fantasy sports operator, but they’ve become the sportsbook with the largest market share in the country. That doesn’t happen by accident. FanDuel was thought to be holding on until the in-person requirement ended, but they were ready to flip the switch and launch and did when Pritzker’s announcement came down.
FanDuel offers a Risk-Free Bet up to $500 for new sign-ups.
4. PointsBet Sportsbook
This is one of our favorites here at ATS.io. PointsBet Sportsbook just has so much to offer. In order to gain access to the Illinois market, they partnered with the Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, a harness racing track. PointsBet offers a ton of daily and weekly promotions, including Illinois-specific offers, and has the innovative PointsBetting system that carries more risk, but more reward, paying bettors out based on how “right” they are. Of course, the downside risk is that you lose more if you are wrong by a lot.
Nevertheless, PointsBet is growing by leaps and bounds in the US and has made a major marketing commitment in recent months to pair with a lot of different sports teams for more access to fans.
PointsBet offers a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 or a couple of Risk-Free Bets worth up to $1000 in value as their two sign-up bonus options.
5. William Hill Sportsbook
William Hill Sportsbook has been open and operating since 1934 and is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. William Hill US has been in operation since 2012 and the company has a license and a partnership through the Grand Victoria Casino. William Hill is a trusted operator with a presence around the globe and a great place to bet on sports.
You can get up to a $500 Risk-Free bet when you sign up at William Hill Illinois.
Additional options will come as sports betting in Chicago and in Illinois continues to grow. These are great options with something for everyone and are among our top-rated sportsbooks.