Anyone 21 Years or older and located within the physical borders of Illinois as of July 1, 2020 can now place a sports bet online or at a casino!
There weren’t many bright spots in 2020 with everything going on around the country and around the world, but Illinois sports betting became a thing that year. The COVID-19 pandemic even brought about a fundamental change to sports betting law in Illinois that helped expedite and facilitate growth in the state.
Originally, Illinois was set to be an In-Person Registration state like Iowa, its neighbor to the west. In-Person Registration means that those that want to bet on sports would be required by law to sign up in person to bet on sports. They would have to go into the retail sportsbooks or to the casino cage and have their identities validated.
Shutdowns and closures forced Governor J.B. Pritzker to relax the requirement, thus allowing residents of Illinois and neighboring states to sign up online or on their mobile devices for sports betting accounts. The comfort and convenience of betting from home allowed Illinois sports betting to have a better first year than expected and the hope would be that the requirement never gets re-enacted.
Even if it does, sports betting is alive and well in Illinois. If you’re new to it, or simply want more information, we’re here to help.
At time of writing, the In-Person Registration requirement was not active, so that means that Illinois residents can sign up for any sportsbook that they want, whenever they want. It also means that those in nearby states can sign up for sports betting accounts in Illinois as well.
It is important to remember that you can sign up, but you cannot make a deposit, request a withdrawal, or place a bet unless you are physically located in Illinois.
It is also important to remember that there are resources to help when it comes to problem gambling and most of the Illinois sportsbooks will have measures in place that will allow users to limit themselves on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
If Remote Registration is once again prohibited by the governor, you can download and sign up for a sportsbook, but you will have to show up in-person to validate your identity and finish your registration.
There are a lot of places around Illinois to bet. Some are in the Chicago metro area and others in along the state borders. As sports betting grows, more places will get involved, but for now, you still have options.
First, let’s look at how to get started:
Each sportsbook is different. Just like an auto manufacturer or a favorite brand or coffee or jeans, you will find something that you like. There is that initial period of uncertainty when you try something out, but we promise you will find a sportsbook that works for you.
Comfort and convenience matter a lot. Betting real money can be stressful and there are a lot of games, a lot of sports, a lot of events, and it can be overwhelming. Find a sportsbook that looks the way you’d want it to look. Some are busier than others. Some are easier on the eyes.
Read through our sportsbook reviews here at ATS.io to see which ones look the best for you. Look at screenshots of the software. Talk to friends that bet. Consider which sign-up bonus(es) make the most sense for you.
Maybe you like the dark grey color scheme with the hints of bright green from DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen. Maybe the black and red of PointsBet is preferable. Perhaps you like betting with a global gaming giant in BetMGM. Maybe BetRivers, the original in Illinois, nestles into a soft spot in your heart.
Whichever sportsbook you prefer, do your research and make sure that you find the right fit.
2. Sign Up at the Sportsbook of Your Choice –
Once you’ve done the legwork and decide on your new place to bet on sports, you’ll have to sign up. As long as Remote Registration remains in place, the process is remarkably simple. Our referral links direct right to the sign-up page at the sportsbooks, so that will be the easiest way to find what you are looking for and to know that you will get a Welcome Bonus.
Basic personal information will have to be entered, but it won’t be anything you haven’t given out before to sign up for something. Each sportsbook has verification technology to make sure that you are who you say you are and that you are of legal gambling age in Illinois.
Personal information and financial information are kept safe behind multiple levels of encryption technology and cybersecurity measures. Consumer confidence means a lot with sensitive info and the sportsbooks don’t cut any corners with that.
3. Make a Deposit and Get Your Bonus
Once you’ve registered and signed up, then it will be time to make a deposit. Deposit methods vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but the basic ones are available across the state of Illinois. Deposits can be made with credit card or debit card, e-check or ACH transactions, and most sportsbooks have set up Prepaid Cards or PayPal capabilities.
Be sure to enter the promo code for your bonus or to click one of our affiliate links here at ATS so that you don’t get shut out and leave your bonus behind. Sign-up bonuses are a great way to get a head start on your bankroll, but to also have some free money with which to feel your way around the site.
You’ll have to meet rollover requirements before you can withdraw, but you’ll be surprised with how quick you can meet those.
4. Start Betting and Have Fun!
Like we mentioned above, make sure that your betting doesn’t become a problem. Never decide between paying a utility bill and placing a bet. If you want to be a more serious bettor, determine that right away so that you can get in the proper mindset. If you just want to have fun, that is a much different kind of mindset.
If you want a few bucks on the Bears, Bulls, or Blackhawks to have a little more than fandom on the line, that’s perfect! Just know what your goals are when you start placing wagers. If it’s about fun, keep it that way. If it’s about trying to make some extra money, keep that in mind.
Illinois is still in the process of growing as a state with legalized sports betting. More operators will flood the market as the years pass and as more people start to dabble in legal wagering.
Feel free to read up more on our reviews, but here are some top-rated Illinois sportsbooks:
DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen has been the biggest benefactor of the relaxed registration requirement. The Casino Queen property is out in East St. Louis on the Missouri border and that can be a hike from Chicago depending on the traffic and the weather.
Because Remote Registration allows users to sign up from anywhere, the Chicago metro area doesn’t have to drive to East St. Louis. Signing up from home with DraftKings is a breeze.
You can get up to a $1,000 Welcome Bonus from DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen with a split between a Risk-Free Bet and a Deposit Match Bonus.
BetRivers was the first sportsbook to launch in Illinois. The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines holds the BetRivers license in Illinois. March 9, 2020 was the historic day for Illinois and the first bet was placed the same week everything shut down.
BetRivers has a good look and offers all the goods, with all of the industry standard bet types and fair odds on the major pro and college leagues.
You can take advantage of a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 at BetRivers.
PointsBet Sportsbook took a different route into the Illinois sports betting market through a partnership with the Hawthorne Race Course. A retail sportsbook and the innovative PointsBet Sportsbook app give residents a lot of different options
PointsBet has offered a lot of Illinois-specific promotions to give users options to increase their bankrolls and will be a major player in this state for a long time to come with the groundbreaking higher-risk, higher-reward PointsBetting system.
Two different bonus options are available with a Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 or up to $1,000 in Risk-Free Bets with up to $500 Risk-Free on your first Fixed Odds wager and up to $500 Risk-Free on your first PointsBetting wager.
William Hill is up and running in Illinois with a license through the Grand Victoria Casino. This is a global sports betting operator with a big presence in the United States in multiple states. The sportsbook opened in August 2020 and should continue to grow over the years.
William Hill is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange and has a reputation to uphold, so it will be a safe and secure place to bet on sports for a long time to come.
You can get up to $500 with your William Hill sign-up bonus.
FanDuel has been running since November 2020 with a license through Par-A-Dice Casino.
More are soon to come.
As long as the Remote Registration capabilities continue, it will keep being very simply and straightforward to sign up and start betting. Even if the In-Person Registration requirement comes back, you can sign up with a promo code for a bonus, but you’ll just have to verify your account in-person at the retail sportsbook.
Operators like BetRivers, DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen, PointsBet, William Hill, and the others that come down the line all provide a safe and enjoyable sports betting experience with money lines, spreads, totals, props, futures, and in-game live betting. You can’t go wrong with any of these sportsbooks, but we certainly encourage you to do your research and find the right fit for you and your betting budget.