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IllinoisBet.com provides the latest information on legal and regulated online gambling in Illinois. Our experienced team can help ensure that you are placing safe and secure wagers from all legal sites, including Illinois sportsbooks.
Our experienced, dedicated team will bring you the latest updates on gambling in Illinois. Since betting is legal, we will also be heavily reviewing all operators. These in-depth reviews will provide you with the insight you need to make an educated decision on where to put your money.
Plus, we'll make sure you start out with the opportunity to learn useful skills and tactics that enable you to be a smart bettor. Every online gambling site we recommend have been licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board.
IL Gambling in a Nutshell
Before you begin to dive into online gambling in IL, there are a few important details to know about - particularly in relation to betting.
- Online sportsbooks must be partnered with an Illinois casino, racetrack or sports venue (one mobile "skin" per retail operator). Three online-only licenses will become available no earlier than the end of 2021.
- In-person registration was mandated by Illinois sports betting law, then suspended several times by Gov. J.B. Pritzker due to COVID-19. It was reinstated in April 2021 but should expire by the end of the year.
- For sports betting, a 15% tax rate on gross gaming revenue and up to $10 million for a licensing fee, which increases to $20 million for an online-only license. For casino gaming, Illinois has a graduated percentage tax based on casino gross gaming revenues, ranging from 15% to 50%.
- In February 2021, a bill was introduced in the Illinois House to legalize online casino games and online poker in the state. Illinois is currently home to 10 retail casinos (mostly riverboat) and has authorized up to six more, including a new venue in Chicago. Should Illinois legalize online casinos, it would be just the second Midwest state to do so, joining Michigan.
- The state is home to 10 commercial casinos (mostly riverboat), which may offer slots, table games and poker. Legislation in 2019 authorized up to six new land-based casinos and permits Illinois racetracks to become racinos with electronic gaming devices and table games.
- Online purchase of Illinois Lottery tickets is permitted.
Illinois Gambling Launch Dates
The Illinois Lottery began operations in 1974. The state’s first riverboat casino opened in 1991, a year after the Riverboat Gambling Act became law. In 2009, the Video Gaming Act paved the way for video gaming terminals to operate in bars, clubs, truck stops and some retail shops. The first Illinois retail sportsbook opened in March 2020, followed by online sports wagering three months later. Could online casino games be the next domino to fall? A breakdown for each:
Illinois State Lottery: First ticket sold in 1974.Today, in-state draws, the Mega Millions and Power Ball is legal.
Illinois Online Lottery: Illinois was the first state to allow internet lottery sales in 2012. Instant-play games are available; of which, many revolve around a theme.
Retail Sports Betting: First legal wager was placed at Rivers Casino Des Plaines on March 9, 2020.
Online Sports Betting: BetRivers IL Sportsbook was the first app to go live on June 18, 2020.
Daily Fantasy Sports: Operates in a gray area since 2015 advisory opinion by state attorney general concluded that daily fantasy sports violated Illinois state law. In 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned parts of that opinion. Through it all, major daily fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings Illinois and the IL FanDuel betting site have continued to operate in the state.
Online Horse Racing: Illinois allows wagering on horse racing through online sites such as TVG, TwinSpires and Xpressbet. The law was made possible by an amendment in 2000 to the Interstate Horse Racing Act.
Retail Casinos: Illinois legislature approved Riverboat Gambling Act in 1990. State’s first casino, Argosy Casino Alton, opened in 1991.
Online Casinos: Not legal. Internet Gaming Act bill filed in 2021 would authorize a casino or racetrack to offer internet gaming. For now, Illinois residents can play free online casino games for prizes at social sweepstakes online casinos such as Chumba and Slotmania.
Online Poker: Not legal. Available at some social sweepstakes online casinos in IL.
Live Poker: Some IL casinos do offer live poker games. These include Harrah's Metropolis and the Hollywood Casino Aurora.
Who Regulates Online Gambling in Illinois?
The Illinois Gaming Board regulates all gambling operators in the state. This includes land-based casinos, sportsbooks, the lottery, and so forth. Apart from delegating the initial licenses, the board also ensures all operators are maintaining fair gaming practices. A committee established by the Illinois Gaming Board reviews legislation, before and after its passing, to determine what rules need to be set in place. Taxes, fees, and other important measures are also established.
Legal Illinois Gambling Sites
When it comes to legal online gambling sites in Illinois, you will find those related to betting. At this time, there are six licensed operators. At additional three, BetMGM, Unibet and TheScore Bet – either have partnership deals in place or applied to the Illinois Gaming Board for a license. Legal operators include:
DraftKings IL is one of the leading gambling sites in Illinois. They avoided the 18-month waiting period for an online-only license by striking a partnership deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, where the operator also operates a retail sportsbook.
This national betting powerhouse is a close No. 2 in the Illinois market. To get a footing in the state, FanDuel Illinois has retained a gambling license under FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing, formerly known as Fairmount Park, in Collinsville. This was the operator's first investment in a racetrack.
Owned by Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive, BetRivers sports IL was the state’s first app to go live. Partner of Rivers Casino Des Plaines, it is a fast-growing gambling operator, with a mobile sportsbook now available in more than a half-dozen states.
This legal gambling site has partnered with Hawthorne Race Course, one of the state’s thoroughbred tracks. PointsBet Illinois offers unique features in which bettors can win more or less than their original wager depending on how right or wrong their wager is.
Global sports betting giant and third-largest online sports wagering company in the U.S., William Hill IL, was recently purchased by Caesars Entertainment. Its partner is Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, where it also operates a retail sportsbook.
Why Choose Legal Gambling Over Offshore Sites
As Illinois progresses with its' online gambling regulations, not everything is legal. For those who are seeking IL casinos online, the idea of turning to an offshore operator might feel tempting. We would caution, albeit urge, against using these sites.
- Offshore sites have no oversight or regulation in Illinois or any other U.S. state. This can make it difficult to spot a rogue site that is looking to take your money and run.
- Making transactions can be difficult, and carry high fees or charges. Moreover, you might never see your winnings because American banks are federally prohibited from allowing transactions with offshore gambling sites.
- With no oversight, there is a high risk of encountering unfair gaming practices, extremely low return to player percentages or odds, and no way to get a hold of someone when an issue arises.
Gambling Revenue in Illinois
In the fiscal year 2020, the state’s share of tax revenues from wagering in Illinois totaled $1.215 billion, a 13% decrease from the previous year due to negative effects of the pandemic, according to the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. Gambling expansion, the growth of sports wagering and the end of the pandemic is likely to lead to future gains, especially once the in-person requirement for registration ends.
Illinois Gambling FAQ
Not all types of online gambling are legal. For example, you cannot play at an online casino - these are illegal. Just as you cannot play poker online. You can place sports bets online in Illinois.
Sports betting was made legal in 2020. Right now, you can visit any legal sports betting operator via the desktop or app.
You must be at least 21 years of age to gamble online in Illinois.
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees all licensing and regulation in Illinois.
At this time, bettors will be able to place bets on a mobile device. No casino apps are allowed.
Responsible Gambling In Illinois
The state provides several problem gambling services and access to support groups. Among them is the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery. The Illinois Gaming Board allows bettors to enroll in a self-exclusion program or video gaming problem gambling registry.