Legal Illinois Sports Betting

Sports betting launched in Illinois on March 9, 2020, with the first land-based sportsbooks taking action. Mobile betting would come a few months later, launching officially in June. There are currently seven of the 19 casinos in Illinois that offer sports betting operations. The regulations allow each casino to operate a maximum of three sports betting skins. This allows a lot of variety in terms of options for Illinois sports betting. In addition, online sportsbooks based overseas also provide some of the best betting action available in the Prairie State. Bettors also have a lot of options in terms of banking methods as well, as these sites are the only Illinois sportsbooks that accept Bitcoin for sports betting. Fr om bonuses to banking variety, Illinois sports betting sites are the best way to play.​

#1

Bovada Sportsbook

Illinois’ Top Tier Sportsbook

While Illinois bettors have plenty of options at their disposal when it comes to sports betting, none offer the same options and features as Bovada. Bovada has been a trusted legal sportsbook for over a decade, and consistency brings the best odds and betting options to Illinois bettors. Bovada users can enjoy their amazing user interface, with features like the prop builder, and live betting suite at their disposal. Additionally, Bovada is perfectly legal to use in Illinois and has been serving customers here for over a decade. Signing up for Bovada takes minutes & bettors can wager many different ways, including Bitcoin.

Rating: 5 Star Rating

  • Leading Site Interface
  • Live Betting Suite
  • Mobile Betting Availability
  • Bet With Bitcoin
  • Live Customer Service Chat

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#2

SportsBetting Sportsbook

Safe, Legal, and Fair-Priced Odds For Illinois Bettors

When looking to bet on sports, it only makes sense to consider the legal online sportsbook with sports betting right in the name. The sportsbook at SportsBetting.ag is one of the newest and best legal options for Illinois bettors. The site stays true to its name, offerings hundreds if not thousands of betting lines on nearly every sport around the world. Bettors can wager on all of the Illinois teams, including the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks, Illini, and many more. Betting at SportsBetting has become such a top-ranked experience thanks to the small details of the site, which really go the extra mile. 

Ratings: 5 Star Rating

  • Bet All Of Illinois’ Teams
  • 24/7 Uptime
  • High Connection Speeds
  • Friendly Customer Service
  • International Betting Odds

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#3

MyBookie Sportsbook

Illinois’ Preferred Sports Betting Operator

The folks over at MyBookie have continues to increase the value of their product each and every year. Those living in Illinois have probably tried out the state-sponsored options by now, and are likely unimpressed with what they have to offer. MyBookie is here to quench the thirst of dedicated sports bettors who know what a great sportsbook experience looks like. At MyBookie, bettors can enjoy thousands of odds on all the best teams, and even the not-so-good teams. Betting at MyBookie is 100% legal. MyBookie has all the necessary features like mobile and live betting, in addition to constant bonuses for their players.

Ratings: 5 Star Rating

  • Legal In All 50 States
  • Exclusive Prop Bets
  • Live Betting Capability
  • No App Download Required
  • Valuable Bonus Offers

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Illinois Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

Illinois requires that casinos be located near flowing bodies of water with the exception of Lake Michigan. The only exception to his law is if a county’s population exceeds 3 million people, in which case land-based venues are allowed. The betting age is set at 18 for everything except casino-style gaming and sports betting, for which you will need to be 21 years of age. Charitable gaming and pari-mutuel wagering on horses are also available in the state, and the Illinois Gaming Board oversees all gambling activities (except the state lotto, which is managed by the Illinois Lottery Control Board). The Illinois Gaming Board also regulates sports gambling now that the pastime has been legalized and licenses are being distributed. For more information about Illinois’ changing gambling laws, you can consult Illinois Compiled Statutes §720 5/28-1.

How To Bet On The Fighting Illini In Illinois

Citizens living in Illinois often wonder why they are unable to wager on their favorite in-state college teams. This is a result of state laws, which prohibit bettors in the state from betting on colleges based within the state’s borders. Sports bettors in Illinois that are looking to bet on Illinois Fighting Illini or Northwestern Wildcats games can still look to overseas-based sportsbooks like Bovada, which are not under the jurisdiction of Illinois’ state laws.

Where To Bet On Sports In Illinois

Seven casinos have received a master sports betting license—the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Argosy Casino in Alton, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Hollywood Casino in Joliet, Casino Queen in East St. Louis, and Par-a-Dice in East Peoria. Rockford, a town roughly an hour and a half west of Chicago, has plans to build its own casino with a sportsbook as well, but there is no timetable on that yet. If none of these sounds appealing, or if you simply don’t want to have to leave your house to place a bet. Betting online carries some danger if you don’t use a licensed operator, so be sure to stick to licensed sites. Illinois currently has one state-licensed online operator—BetRivers, which launched in June 2020—but residents can also access dozens of internationally licensed sportsbooks.

What Teams Can I Bet On?

Illinois is home to many professional sports teams, as the city of Chicago represents nine professional teams just by itself. These include the Chicago Bears (NFL), Chicago Cubs (MLB), Chicago White Sox (MLB), Chicago Bulls (NBA), and Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) on the major league side, with the Chicago Sky (WNBA), Chicago Fire (MLS), Chicago Red Stars (NWSL), and Chicago Bandits (NPF) among the lesser-known leagues.

Moreover, universities flood the state, with over a dozen different teams representing the NCAA at the Division 1 level and supported by fans all over the country. The Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois are the most popular, of course. Generally speaking, sports fandom runs strong in the state, as residents passionately follow many teams and love to support their local clubs. Of course, that also means that local books – once they open – are going to have pretty expensive prices on all the lines associated with those local teams. Home crowds always skew sportsbook odds, which is why it’s important to shop lines and compare local options to offshore prices. Remember, online sportsbooks offer thousands of lines every day from sports and teams all over the world!

Popular Illinois Sports Betting Teams:

Chicago Bulls (NBA) Chicago Bears (NFL) Chicago Fire (MLS)
Chicago Cubs (MLB) Chicago White Sox (MLB) Chicago Sky (WNBA)
DePaul University Blue Demons (BIG EAST) University of Illinois Fighting Illini (B-10) Northwestern University Wildcats (B-10)
Northern Illinois University Huskies (MAC) Illinois State University Redbirds (MVC)  

Betting On The NFL In Illinois In 2021

Illinois residents have plenty of options for betting on the NFL in 2021. Not only are their land-based sportsbook options, but they also have a handful of state-sanctioned mobile sports betting platforms. Outside of those, there are always the sports wagering websites that remain safe and legal in the state to use for gambling on the NFL with a mobile device. Some of the greatest odds and wagers are posted by these books including tons of props per game for football fans in Illinois when gambling on the NFL. These same methods can be taken for people looking to bet on Super Bowl 56 in Illinois.

Illinois Sports Betting Revenue

Illinois managed to meet its stated goal of launching sportsbooks prior to the beginning of the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness. This was important, as March Madness is the second-largest betting event of the year, trailing only the Super Bowl. With a huge metropolitan market like Chicago, sports betting in Illinois could potentially be a huge cash cow, especially if operators can follow in the footsteps of those in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Biloxi and turn their casinos into a tourist attraction. Sports wagering revenue in Illinois will be taxed at a flat 15%. Only three casinos are set to receive licenses right now, but that could expand in the future. Using per capita averages, Illinois projects to handle $1.91 billion in betting action, earn $131.2 million in revenue, and collect $19.7 million in taxes annually.

Online & Mobile Sportsbook Options In Illinois

Statewide mobile betting is available in Illinois and there are currently 6 active mobile sportsbooks live. Sportsbooks are required to have bettors physically travel to the casino operation that the mobile app is backed by in order to register for mobile betting. DraftKings, for example, will see local bettors travel to the Casino Queen casino before they are able to download and place action on the DraftKings mobile app. Legal online sportsbooks allow bettors to partake in statewide betting without the need for a physical registry.

Barstool Sportsbook
BetRivers Sportsbook
Caesars Sportsbooks by William Hill
DraftKings Sportsbook
FanDuel Sportsbook
PointsBet Sportsbook

Where’s The Closest Place To Me To Bet?

Illinois has a handful of different retail casino sportsbooks — mainly centered around Chicago and the Missouri border. As one of the largest cities in the country and a hub for both college and professional sports, Chicago figures to be the hub of sports betting in Illinois moving forward, and the distribution of sports betting throughout the states shows that. More licensees are likely on the way, but the process of distributing licenses has been slowed considerably by COVID-19. The only currently operational retail sportsbook is Rivers Casino Des Plaines but six more locations are going to open their own sports betting lounges in the near future.

If none of those options sound particularly appealing, the convenience and accessibility of online sportsbooks are unmatched, as are the promotions and bonuses they offer to players. If the retail sportsbook atmosphere is something that’s important to you but you don’t like the in-state options, border states Indiana and Iowa also have legal sports betting, with a wider array of options than Illinois offers. Additionally, Rivers Casino in Des Planes has now launched its own sports betting app, BetRivers, allowing Illinois residents to bet from the comfort of their own homes.

Sportsbooks in Alton

Argosy Casino Sportsbook

The Argosy Casino was planned to launch on March 16, 2020 but could not meet that deadline because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Once launched, this sportsbook will feature a wide assortment of betting options and 36 large-screen HD TVs.

Sportsbooks in Aurora

Hollywood Casino Aurora Sportsbook

The Hollywood Aurora sits atop an island in the middle of the Fox River. Although its sportsbook has not yet launched, it received a temporary license from the state of Illinois and will likely accept wagers once sports resume.

Sportsbooks in Des Plaines

BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino

The BetRivers sportsbook features a sleek, modern lounge that looks like it was ripped from a Hollywood spaceship design, offering a fantastic space to bet from. BetRivers is also a well-established sports betting brand and comes with a host of convenient features.

Sportsbooks in East Peaoria

B Connected Sportsbook at Par-a-Dice Casino

Par-a-Dice is partnered with B Connected, one of the largest sports betting operators in Las Vegas. After the end of the COVID-19 quarantine and Illinois is re-opened to large gatherings, expect Par-a-Dice to launch a world-class sportsbook with B Connected

Sportsbooks in Elgin

Grand Victoria Casino

The Grand Victoria is one of Illinois’s premier riverboat gambling destinations, but its sportsbook has yet to launch. After the COVID-19 lockdown ends, it could launch its sportsbook, as it has already received a license to do so.

Sportsbooks in Joliet

Hollywood Joliet Casino Sportsbook

The Hollywood Joliet Casino is on the west side of the Des Plaines River in southwest Chicago. Its sportsbook has not yet launched, but the casino received a license for sports betting and could launch once the state reopens for large gatherings.

If none of those options sound particularly appealing, the convenience and accessibility of offshore sportsbooks are unmatched, as are the promotions and bonuses they offer to players. If the retail sportsbook atmosphere is something that’s important to you but you don’t like the in-state options, border states Indiana and Iowa also have legal sports betting, with a wider array of options than the three in Illinois. Once in-state mobile sports betting launches, you will be able to place bets from the comfort of your own home after registering an account in-person at one of the casinos.

Horse Racing Betting In Illinois

Horse racing betting in Illinois is a thriving industry and legal throughout the state. The state boasts over two dozen pari-mutuel wagering facilities – also called OTBs or off-track betting sites – where horse races are simulcast for all to enjoy. Two major horse tracks are located outside of Chicago. These are the Hawthorn Racecourse and Arlington Park, which are easily accessible for residents in the suburbs. The state’s other track, Fairmont Park, is located in Collinsville, which is across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. While horseracing season is limited to seasonal months, that doesn’t have to stop you from betting on horses, as the online operators listed here also offer racebooks with action from dozens of tracks throughout the US and the rest of the world!

Daily Fantasy Sports In Illinois

Illinois daily fantasy sports (DFS) is an interesting topic, as the state allows for operators and players to participate; however, the Attorney General is on record giving an unfavorable opinion on the matter. Regardless, DFS operators like FanDuel and DraftKings do business in the state, and they offer prizes ranging from a few bucks to several hundred thousand dollars! Some contests are free to join, while others are paid, though they both provide sign-up and friend-referral bonuses.

Interestingly, as a result of Illinois’ “gray area” DFS climate (there are no laws regulating or criminalizing the industry), several local casino operators were able to get the state to lock out DraftKings and FanDuel from operating IL sportsbooks for the first 18 months of the state’s legal sports betting calendar. Though controversial, this move has not been challenged, meaning that these particular seasoned bookmakers will not be offering wagering products in IL in the short-term future. That said, you can still enjoy the full gamut of their free and paid DFS services!

Legal Illinois Sports Betting FAQs

Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In Illinois?

Real money sports betting in Illinois is available through multiple outlets. There are retail sportsbooks, mobile apps provided by the state-sanctioned industry, and internet sports wagering websites, all available to sports bettors for gambling real money on sports in Illinois.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe In Illinois?

Whether using a state internet sportsbook platform or another legal online sports betting operator like Bovada, BetOnline, MyBookie, SportsBetting, or XBet, all of these platforms are 100% safe for gamblers to use in Illinois. Each operation makes customer safety a top priority so the only thing bettors in Illinois need to worry about is choosing the right teams for a wager to get a nice payout.

What Is The Legal Sports Betting Age In Illinois?

Pari-mutuel betting has a legal age set at 18 while casino and sports betting require gamblers to be 21+ in Illinois. Legal internet sportsbooks set age of 18 for their players but gamblers in Illinois should wait until they reach the required legal age of the state before joining one of these outlets.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In Illinois?

Illinois has so many options that every place could be considered the best place to bet on sports. Going to a retail establishment is great but so is using a mobile sports betting platform. And shopping lines among various operators including internet sportsbooks make all three choices the best place for Illinois sports bettors to get in on the action of the games.

Should I Use A Local Bookie In Illinois?

No, local bookies are not licensed and regulated in Illinois, meaning they do not have to pay you your winnings if they do not want to. There is no need to go this route for residents of Illinois as every other way to gamble on sports is quite literally legally available to them.

When Did Sports Betting Become Legal In Illinois?

Sports betting became legal in Illinois for both retail and mobile sportsbooks on June 28, 2019.

Do Any Casinos Have Sportsbooks In Illinois?

Yes, Illinois is home to three sportsbooks within commercial casinos statewide, and tribal gaming facilities also have sportsbooks open. More locations will be opening in the future. There are ten riverboat sportsbooks and more than a handful of mobile sportsbooks open to gamblers of Illinois to utilize through the state’s legal sports betting industry.

Can I Bet On Sports With Friends In Illinois?

Yes, gambling on sporting events in Illinois with your friends is completely legal because there are no laws prohibiting it. And you’d have to imagine it would be either way if it’s okay to wager using a local sportsbook or faceless mobile application.