The United States legalized sports betting in 2018 after the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional. PASPA was passed in 1992 and this act outlawed sports betting throughout the majority of the country.

Following the PASPA decision in 2018, there was a rush by countless states to legalize sports betting. Sports betting had the potential of being a very lucrative business throughout the United States so there was a race to enact legislation. The Illinois legislature was one of the states that acted swiftly to bring sports betting to their state.

Not all states have legalized sports betting, but the legalized form of gambling is growing its presence throughout the United States. Illinois is one of the states that has facilitated the growth of legal sports betting throughout the country. 

Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker signed the state’s sport betting bill into action in June of 2019. The first legal sports bet was accepted in the state on March 9, 2020 at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Online sports betting didn’t go live in the state until the summer of 2020. However, Illinois now has a massive online sports betting market.

Seven of the ten riverboat casinos in the state have obtained a sportsbook license thus far. Five online sports betting providers are currently offering mobile gambling in Illinois. The beginning of sports betting in Illinois has been very successful so the future is bright for the state’s gambling economy. 

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Start Your Illinois Sports Betting Here

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Steps to Start Legal Illinois Sports Betting

The Illinois sports wagering process is very easy to complete. Bettors must pass a few requirements in order to start gambling. These are common requirements that are fairly uniform across the nation in states where sports betting is legal. Bettors have the option of gambling online or in person at a retail sportsbook location. Illinois has plenty of options for people within state borders who want to test their luck on sports. 

People can register to bet on sports from anywhere in the state. This could change when the country returns to complete normalcy following the COVID pandemic. Illinois may require bettors to go register in person at a landlocked sportsbook. As of 2021, the entire registration must be done online. 

You have the option of registering on any legal sportsbook in the state. There are five online sportsbooks operating in the state. You would choose one of these sportsbooks and register directly on the company’s website or mobile app. To register in Illinois, you must be 21 years of age. This coincides with the state’s minimum casino gambling age requirement.

If you’re betting in a landlocked sportsbook, you don’t have to worry about the state’s boundary requirement. This will only apply to bettors placing online wagers. You don’t need to be a resident of Illinois to bet in the state. 

To place an online bet, you must be within the legal limits of the state. If you’re outside of the Illinois border, you can view a legal sportsbook. Unfortunately, you’re unable to place a bet. Your mobile device will utilize its’ GPS service to determine if you’re within state borders. If you don’t grant the sportsbook access to your location, you won’t be able to place a bet even if you’re within legal limits.

1)    Make sure you’re 21 years of age and inside Illinois borders. 

2)    Choose your preferred legal sportsbook. 

3)    Register on a sportsbook that’s legal in Illinois.

4)    Deposit money into your account and begin betting.

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Mobile Betting Apps in Illinois

If bettors want to place a mobile wager in Illinois, they’re in luck. There are five Illinois online wagering options that people in the state have the option of utilizing. The five companies are DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, and PointsBet.

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DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the leading gambling providers in the United States. The Illinois branch of DraftKings is partnered with Casino Queen in St. Louis. DraftKings excels because of its massive sports betting menu. DraftKings gives bettors countless wagering choices, but is still simple to navigate.

In 2021, DraftKings Sportsbook is matching deposits up to $1,000. The bonuses that DraftKings offers are superior compared to other books because of the revenue the company generates. DraftKings started solely as a Daily Fantasy provider so the transition to sports betting was simple. 

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook is similar to DraftKings in the sense that the company is also a massive sports betting brand. FanDuel has great bonuses and countless props so you will never be bored while betting. FanDuel is partnered with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. 

FanDuel’s betting menu for the major professional sporting events is one of the best in all of sports gambling. FanDuel made it a point to be great when it came to offering a lot of betting options for domestic sports.

FanDuel will match 20% of your first deposit up to $500. This is good, but not on the same level as DraftKings Sportsbook.

William Hill 

William Hill is one of the most prestigious names in sports betting. The company began in England in the twentieth century, but has spread its wings to the United States. William Hill provides bettors with a phenomenal gambling experience.

The book is partnered with Grand Victoria Casino. William Hill Sportsbook knows how to give proper customer service. The company offers tremendous support so if you have a problem, it will be fixed instantly. 

Since the book originated in Europe, William Hill dominates when it comes to soccer betting. They’re the leading sportsbook for soccer betting in the United States. The company isn’t great when it comes to bonuses. This is evident with their risk free bet up to $300, but the overall experience is superior on William Hill.  


PointsBet utilizes a unique form of sports betting called points betting. PointsBet also offers traditional sports wagering. People bet on PointsBet because of points betting. This is a riskier form of gambling, but it can result in some big paydays.

PointsBet is partnered with the Hawthorne Race Course which is one of three tracks in the state. PointsBet has a three-tier welcome bonus depending on your initial deposit. If you deposit $250, you will receive a $500 bonus. The PointsBet company consistently runs amazing promotions to keep you betting on their book. 

BetRivers Sportsbook

BetRivers Sportsbook was the first book to open in the state, but it’s not the most popular. Corporate giants like DraftKings and FanDuel have overrun BetRivers. Despite this, BetRivers still provides bettors with an above average gambling experience. 

The book is partnered with River Casino Des Plaines which is located very close to Chicago. BetRivers offers a $250 bonus depending on your initial deposit. The book separates themselves because of their IRush Rewards Program. The more you play on the book, the more rewards you will earn. The IRush Rewards Program can be very beneficial to bettors who frequently gamble on the BetRivers book. 

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Physical Locations to Bet on Sports in Illinois

There are currently nine landlocked locations to bet on sports in the state of Illinois. All the physical locations are tied to a sportsbook that will eventually be able to provide an online gambling product in the state. For example, Penn National who operate Barstool Sportsbook has three retail locations. The Barstool Sportsbook app isn’t live yet, but it’s coming to Illinois in the future. Retail gambling facilities are currently closed because of an order from Governor Pritzker. 


Casino Kings

DraftKings Sportsbook offers a retail location at Casino Kings. The facility is undergoing construction amidst the COVID closures, but there are televisions and premium seating so bettors can enjoy the action. You can place bets in person at the book, but you can also play on the DraftKings mobile app at Casino Kings in order to place quicker bets.

Hollywood Casino Aurora & Hollywood Casino Joliet

Hollywood Casino’s two sportsbooks are operated by Penn National. Penn National owns Barstool Sports so they use Barstool branding for their sportsbook. You have the ability to bet, eat, drink, and watch the games at both of these sportsbooks. Every weekday, from 5:00 – 6:00 PM, you’ll be able to find reduced odds at the Hollywood Casino Sportsbook. This promotion is called Barstool Power Hour.

Grand Victoria Casino 

The Grand Victoria Casino hosts a William Hill retail sportsbook. The sportsbook is located directly on the main casino floor. It is steps away from the Grand Victoria Casino’s main bar. You can place a bet in person and collect your winnings by mail. However, this could take up to ten days to process.

Argosy Casino

The Argosy Casino partnered with Penn National to bring Barstool Sportsbook to their property. The sportsbook at Argosy Casino has 36, 65+ inch television for bettors viewing pleasure. Argosy offers individual viewing stations and odds display monitors throughout the sportsbook. Argosy offers the same Barstool Power Hour that the Hollywood Casino provides bettors from 5:00 to 6:00 PM every weekday. 

Rivers Casino

Rivers Casino has one of the nicest retail sportsbooks in the state of Illinois. You must reserve your seat at the BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino because of the luxury accommodations on the property. The sportsbook has an LED High Definition television wall. Odds monitors line the room as well. You can also play video poker at the sportsbook bar when you’re betting on the game. If you want to bet at a retail book in Illinois, Rivers Casino should be at the top of your list. 

Par-A-Dice Casino

The Par-A-Dice Casino partnered with FanDuel to create their retail sportsbook. The hours at the FanDuel Sportsbook at Par-A-Dice Casino aren’t great. The sportsbook is only open from 3:00 PM until 11:00 PM during weekdays. This eliminates early weekday sports betting for casino visitors. However, FanDuel is a phenomenal sports betting provider so the experience at Par-A-Dice Casino is better than other retail books in the state. 

Hawthorne Race Course 

Hawthorne Race Course partnered with PointsBet to provide a terrific sportsbook experience for local bettors. There are also three Club Hawthorne locations in Oakbrook, Prospect Heights, and Crestwood. At the PointsBet Sportsbook, new members receive two risk free bets up to $1,000. There is also casino gaming coming to the Race Course in the near future. When all this is combined with horse racing, Hawthorne is an outstanding choice for gamblers located near Chicago.


Future Illinois Sports Betting Venues & Locations

The sports betting market in Illinois is still growing so more retail sportsbooks are expected to enter the state. There are still five casinos and tracks that have the ability to open up a landlocked sportsbook. This comes at a hefty fee. The application fee for a sportsbook in Illinois is $10 million. Additionally, seven sporting venues in the state will have the ability to open up sportsbooks within a few blocks of the stadium.

These sportsbooks will not need to be run under a casino brand. Independent sports betting operators will get to open these sportsbooks outside of the various venues. Illinois has nine professional sports teams and countless minor league teams so these sportsbooks could be very lucrative for the state. It doesn’t appear that restaurants or bars will be able to open up their own retail sportsbooks in the near future.

–       Harrah’s Joliet

–       Harrah’s Metropolis 

–       Jumers

–       Arlington Park

–       Fairmount Park

–       Soldier Field 

–       United Center

–       SeatGeek Stadium

–       Wrigley Field

–       Guaranteed Rate Field 

–       Wintrust Arena

–       Parkway Bank Sports Complex

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Illinois Sports Betting Regulation & Laws

Illinois started the sports betting legalization process in 2018 after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned. It took legislators a year to legalize sports betting in the state of Illinois. Representative Lou Lang was the first legislator to propose a sports betting bill in the Illinois state government.

This bill was titled the Legalization and Regulation of Sports Betting Act. The bill was a desperate attempt to quickly legalize sports betting in the state. It was only five lines long when it was first introduced. Four bills followed Lang’s legislation in 2018 that built off of his ideas except for one that was proposed by Senator Don Harmon.

Harmon’s bill didn’t even legalize sports betting. It gave the Illinois Gaming Board the power to authorize or prohibit sports betting. This bill was titled the Sports Betting Consumer Protection Act. 

Substantial progress was made later on in the 2019 legislative session. Governor Pritzker wanted to see potential revenue figures within the year’s sports betting bill. Representative Mike Zalewski introduced House Bill 3308 which dealt with sports betting. Yet, five amendments were proposed in a single meeting which showed the divide in the House.

Zalewski dwindled these five amendments down to two and introduced a revised bill. There was still a lot of backlash from his fellow representatives. Part of the tension was outside of the government as well. Illinois’ largest casino, Rivers, didn’t want to allow DraftKings and FanDuel to open a sportsbook in the state. This is because Rivers Casino believed that DraftKings and fanDuel illegally offered daily fantasy sports in the state. 

This was a way for Rivers to dominate the Illinois sports betting market. A compromise was drafted that included DraftKings and FanDuel being forced to pay a $20 million license fee. Other changes were also made to the bill including a 15% tax rate on betting revenue and a mandatory payment made to professional sports leagues offered on the individual books. Representative Bob Rita was the catalyst behind creating peace between Rivers and the two betting conglomerates. He also proposed the final financial changes in the Sports Wagering Act.

Governor Pritzker officially signed The Sports Wagering Act into law on June 28, 2019.

The Illinois Gaming Board oversees legal sports betting in the state. Wagers are not allowed on in state college teams or non-sporting events like awards shows. The Rivers Casino was the first sportsbook to accept a bet on March 9, 2020. 

What are the Tax Rates for the Retail and Online Sports Betting Operators in Illinois? 

The tax rate was a heavily debated topic during the legislative process. Legislators had trouble deciding if the tax should be constant for retail and online sportsbooks. Representative Bob Rita took the reins in this area in order to assure a sports betting bill was passed. 

Rita established a 15% tax of gross adjusted gaming revenue. Gross adjusted gaming revenue is the amount left over after payouts have been made for winning bets. The 15% is constant for retail and online sportsbooks. 

Legal Illinois Sports Betting Timeline

–       The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018 which gave states the jurisdiction to legalize sports betting.

–       The first sports betting bill was proposed in 2018 by Representative Lou Lang.

–       Four bills followed Lang’s in 2018, but no real progress was made during the legislative session.

–       Representative Mike Zalewski introduced House Bill 3308 in 2019. 

–       Republican Bob Rita takes over the bill late in 2019 to fix issues between Rivers Casino, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

–       Final touches were made to the Sports Wagering Act.

–       Governor Pritzker officially signed The Sports Wagering Act into law on June 28, 2019.

–       The first sports wager in the state was accepted at the BetRivers Sportsbook on March 9, 2020. 

List of Sports Wagers Allowed in Illinois 

–       Moneyline: Picking a winner straight up. 

–       Point spread: An amount that a team must win by or be within. 

–       Totals: The most common total is the over/under.

–       Props: Side wagers on things that may happen. Typically revolve around players.

–       Live betting: Real time wagers with constantly changing odds. 

–       Futures: A bet on a future outcome.

–       Parlays: A traditional wager grouped together. All legs must hit for a successful bet.

–       Teasers: Spread or total bets where the bettor can put the odds in their favor. 

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Illinois Sports betting Bonuses & Bonus Codes

Betting in Illinois is a tremendous opportunity to receive financial bonuses. There are five online sportsbooks within the state that offer competitive bonuses and promotions. For Illinois online betting, you’re going to want to research all the possible free bets that you can take advantage of when wagering. Free bets increase your chance to win because you’re playing with house money.

Illinois sports wagering has a lot of hometown professional sports franchises. Some of the books will often offer promotions on hometown teams. You may receive a bonus for betting the Bears, Cubs, or White Sox. Bonus codes are used on legal Illinois betting sportsbooks. When you input these codes, you will see bonuses flow into your account. If you’re not utilizing Illinois sports betting bonuses from legal sportsbooks, you must start because you will see your winnings increase. 


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Illinois Promos, Promo Codes and Promotions

Illinois sports wagering is known for a vast amount of bonus opportunities. Sportsbooks in the state give welcome bonuses to new members who sign up for a specific platform. These vary amongst the different books. Although, all legal Illinois online betting platforms provide bonuses for new players. Depending on the sports season that’s occurring, Illinois sports betting sites will run unique promotions. Free bets may be provided during the Super Bowl or World Series to entice bettors to wager. 


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Best Illinois Sports Betting Cities

Illinois is the home of a few massive sports cities. The biggest is Chicago, but there’s also a few cities in the outskirts of Chicago that post big sports betting numbers like Aurora and Des Plaines.


Chicago is the biggest city in Illinois. It has a population that’s just under 2.7 million people. Most of the state’s professional sports teams play in the Chicago area. The most popular teams are the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Black Hawks. Bettors in Chicago will be able to wager at sportsbooks near the professional sporting venues when these books begin to open. 


Aurora is on the outskirts of Chicago. No professional sports teams play in Aurora, but people in this area support the teams in the Chicago area. People near Aurora can bet at the local Hollywood Casino. Penn National partnered with the Hollywood Casino to open a Barstool Sportsbook.

Des Plaines

Des Plaines sits at the northern portion of Chicago. Des Plaines is in the metropolitan Chicago area. Residents of Des Plaines favor all the team’s in Chicago. A drive to one of these sporting venues isn’t very far from Des Plaines. Des Plaines is the home of Rivers Casino which is the biggest gambling location in the state. BetRivers Sportsbook is a fantastic retail betting location on Rivers’ property.

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IL Teams to Bet On

Unfortunately, people betting in the state can’t bet on local college teams. The University of Illinois as well as Northwestern University are not able to legally be wagered in Illinois. Nevertheless, Illinois does have seven professional sports franchises that are frequently bet by people in the state. 

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs were established in 1876 and have been playing under their current name since 1903. The team plays at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Cubs compete in the National League Central Division of the MLB.

Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are the other MLB franchise in Illinois. The White Sox play at Guaranteed Rate Field. The team is a member of the American League Central Division.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are one of the most successful teams in Illinois. The team won six NBA Championships between 1991 and 1998. The Bulls play at the United Center and compete in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference.

Chicago Sky

The Sky are the sole WNBA franchise in the state. The Sky play inside Wintrust Arena. The team won the Eastern Conference title in 2014.

Chicago Bears

The Bears are the only NFL franchise in IL. The Bears play in the NFC North. The Bears have won one Super Bowl Championship. NFL legend, Mike Ditka, was the head coach of the team when they won Super Bowl XX in 1985.

Chicago Blackhawks 

The Blackhawks compete in the NHL’s Central Division. The team shares the United Center with the Bulls. The Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cups in franchise history. 

Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire was established in 1997. They compete in the Eastern Conference of the MLS. The team hasn’t won a championship as of 2020.

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Illinois Sports Betting Revenue Numbers

Illinois had a slow financial start when it came to sports betting revenue. The first wager was accepted in March of 2020 right before the pandemic destroyed economies all over the nation. There has almost been one billion dollars in sports wagers since March 9th when BetRivers opened its doors. This handle has resulted in close to $60 million in revenue. $60 million has translated into $10 million in taxes for the state. The state experienced a sports betting surge in the summer that lasted through the fall. 

–       July 2020 Handle: $52,524,612.38 

–       August 2020 Handle: $140,065,648.61

–       September 2020 Handle: $305,223,938.25

–       October 2020 Handle: $434,567103.01

Quick Glance at Illinois Gambling & Industries

The IL gambling economy is much larger than just sports betting. Here’s a look at some of the other gambling industries in the state. 

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Illinois Horse Racing Status

Horse racing and horse race betting is legal in IL. Horse racing has been occurring in IL for over 120 years. There are three large racetracks in the state: Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, and Hawthorne Race Course. All of these tracks provide bettors with an exceptional horse race betting experience. The Hawthorne Race Course has been operating since 1891. It’s the oldest track in the state. This is where the Illinois Derby is run every year.

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DFS / Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois

Daily Fantasy Sports has been a controversial topic in Illinois for years prior to the legalization of sports betting. DFS is considered a game of skill so states were able to offer it before sports betting was legalized. A DFS case went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. The state court ruled that DFS was indeed a game of skill and not luck. This allowed people to continue playing DFS. This case was caused because a person was seeking to be reimbursed for their losses in a head-to-head DFS match in Illinois. DFS is very popular in Illinois today and it has grown in relevance since sports betting was legalized. 

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IL Online Casino Play

There are no online casino gaming options that are legal in the state. If a person wants to play a legal casino game, they must do so in a physical casino. The 2019 Illinois Gambling Act legalized sports betting, but it didn’t grant people access to online casino gaming. This is likely to change in the future. 

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Illinois Online Lottery

The Illinois lottery is accessible on online platforms. To buy online lottery tickets for Powerball®, Mega Millions®, and Lotto games, as well as subscriptions to Lucky Day Lotto®, Pick 3 and Pick 4 you just need an online account. It’s free to register for an online lottery account. The Illinois Lottery was established 47 years ago. To play, you must be at least 18 years of age.  

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Illinois Poker Rules

Illinois poker is legal at a state regulated casino’s poker room. Poker can also be played for real money at a charityevent. You can’t legally play poker in your home in Illinois which is surprising. Social gambling isn’t clearly legal in the Illinois Constitution. People still play poker in a domestic setting, but the most popular areas for poker are inside the state’s casinos.

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Illinois Esports Scene

The Esports scene wasn’t very popular in Illinois until the pandemic. Sports betting launched in March of 2020 right before COVID halted professional sports. If people wanted to bet, they were forced to do so on Esports. This was the only game in town. Sports betting revenue figures were small in the early spring, but many people still bet on Esports to fill the void. 

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How to Become a Sports Betting Affiliate in Illinois

The top corporations in the betting industry have made their way to Illinois to open up retail and mobile sportsbooks. If a sportsbook wants to become an affiliate in Illinois, they must undergo a tedious process. It costs $10 million to submit an application in the state. A sportsbook must have their own Illinois casino or be partnered with a state casino. 

In the future, online only licenses are expected to be granted by the state. It’s predicted that these will cost $20 million. The Illinois Gaming Board regulates the entire casino industry in the state. Affiliates will need to pay 15% in taxes on gross adjusted revenue. 

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FAQ for Illinois Betting

1.     Is it legal to bet on sports in Illinois?

Yes, it has been legal to bet on sports in IL since June 28, 2019.

2.     Does Illinois offer mobile sports betting or retail only?

Illinois offers both mobile and retail sports betting.

3.     Can I sign up to bet on sports in IL remotely or do I have to physically visit the retail sportsbook location?

You can bet on sports at a retail sportsbook or remotely on a mobile sportsbook.

4.     Who regulates Illinois sports betting?

The Illinois Gaming Board regulates the state’s sports betting industry.

5.     When was Illinois sports betting legalized?

Illinois sports betting was legalized on June 28, 2019.

6.     Who placed the first bet in the state of Illinois?

Eddie Olczyk placed the first bet in the state on March 9, 2020 at the BetRivers Sportsbook.

7.     Can you bet on “in state” college games in Illinois?

You can’t bet on “in state” college games in Illinois.

8.     Are wagers for all professional sports leagues and teams accepted in IL?

Yes, wagers for all professional sports leagues and teams are accepted in Illinois. 

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Latest Illinois Sports Betting News

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