Online Sports Betting in
Is sports betting legal in Illinois? Yes – both online and in person
Bet online on legal sportsbooks in Illinos
It has hard to pick one online sportsbook that stands out as the best. Five online betting websites have launched so far: BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill.
The sports betting rollout is rather slow in Illinois: the first retail sportsbooks opened in March 2020 which means some online sportsbooks might not come until September of 2021.
Casinos such as Rivers Casino Des Plaines were able to roll out their BetRivers app sooner since both the casino and the app are owned by Rush Street Gaming which is based in Illinois.
But, popular sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Pointsbet, and William Hill have secured deals with casinos and racetracks and have received licenses from the IGB. Unibet has also secured market access through a deal with Penn National Gaming.
Governor Pritzker did suspend the rule for in-person registration in June 2020 but it was brought back a month later after casinos reopened. He has recently gone back on that decision and now again allows for remote registration. He has renewed this order every month since.
Where can you bet on sports while in Illinois?
If you prefer to bet in person instead of on an online betting site or app, there are seven casinos that have in-person betting licenses:
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- Argosy Casino Alton
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Hollywood Casino Joliet
- Casino Queen, Inc.
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
There are also racetracks with sportsbooks:
- Hawthorne Race Course
- Fairmount Park
The first casino to launch a land-based sportsbook in Illinois was Rivers Casino Des Plaines. They did so a week before March Madness 2020 was supposed to take place. The tournament, however, was unfortunately canceled.
The most recent casino sportsbook to launch is Par-A-Dice Casino which partnered with FanDuel.
Hawthorne Race Course has a partnership with PointsBet and launched just in time for NFL kickoff. Other racetracks can also open a sportsbook by law. Certain other locations that are approved to open a sportsbook in Illinois still haven’t been built quite yet. They were part of the Rebuild Illinois Plan.
The Chicago Cubs have also announced building a sportsbook at Wrigley Field, as they have partnered with DraftKings. But these plans have yet to fully develop as they need city approval.
What are the best land-based sportsbooks in Illinois?
Simply put, the best legal sportsbooks in Illinois are the ones that are currently open. BetRivers at Rivers Casino Des Plaines was the first to open so it is, perhaps, the most known.
Fans of different sportsbook operators might enjoy other venues. William Hill operates in Grand Victoria Casino, DraftKings operates out of Casino Queen, and Argosy Casino has its own in-house brand.
There are 10 existing casinos that could potentially open a sportsbook in Illinois. There are also casinos that haven’t been built yet that plan to open with sportsbooks. As the industry grows, check back here because we will list all the top operators.
Illinois Sports Betting News
Illinois Sports Betting FAQs
What is the legal sports betting age in Illinois?
To bet on sports at Illinois leading sportsbooks, you have to be 21 or older.
Can I bet on sports online in Illinois?
Yes! SB 690 passed House and Senate votes in early June 2019 and was officially signed into law by Gov. Pritzker on June 28, 2019. Thanks to those moves, online sports betting in Illinois is legal. But, the only legal options at the moment are DraftKings, BetRivers, Fanduel, PointsBet, and William Hill. Other sports betting sites still need to get approval from the IGB and launch.
Who is in charge of sports betting in Illinois?
The regulatory body in charge of sports betting in Illinois is the Illinois Gaming Board. They are the ones who issue out sports wagering licenses to gaming operators that hope to open either an online or offline sportsbook in the state.
When did sportsbooks in Illinois launch?
Land-based Illinois sportsbooks launched a week before March Madness in 2020. Those locations had to close due to COVID-19 concerns but have since reopened. Online sports betting in IL launched in June 2020.
The Road To Sports Betting in Illinois
Sports betting became legal in Illinois during the summer of 2019, with the introduction of laws that will allow casinos, racetracks, off-track betting facilities, and even professional sports stadiums to house their own sportsbook.
Although it took a few weeks after the legislature passed a bill with sports betting provisions on it, Governor Jay Robert Pritzker signed Senate Bill 690 (SB 690) into law on June 28, 2019, as part of a $45 billion capital plan.
With all the necessary documents signed and a legal framework in place, several casinos launched Illinois sportsbooks on March 9, 2020. As a result, residents in the Chicago area as well as in other parts of the Prairie state have somewhere to go to bet on sports. More land-based sportsbooks in Illinois are poised to open in the near future.
Online sports betting in Illinois launched a little over three months later.
Unlike some states which took years to vote in favor of regulated sports betting, Illinois was relatively quick off the mark. In fact, at one point in 2018, there were five separate bills on the table. To see how things went from illegal to legal, check out the timeline below:
In January 2018, Illinois had five sports betting bills up for consideration and lawmakers, casino owners, and residents were routing for Illinois to start to legalize sports betting. However, disagreements between sports leagues and other interested parties meant an agreement couldn’t be reached before the end of the year.
In an effort to keep the state’s sports betting hopes alive, Rep. Robert Rita shifted the focus towards a casino expansion bill. Previously filed in 2017, the bill was designed to give Chicago a new casino but Rita added some placeholders. Although blank, he pushed the House Gaming Subcommittee to consider the inclusion of online gambling, sports betting and daily fantasy sports at a later date.
In essence, Rita knew there wasn’t enough time in the legislative session to formulate clear regulations. However, by offering up the placeholders as a potential talking point, he effectively gave Illinois sports betting supports renewed hope.
At the start of 2019, various potential frameworks were discussed within the House and Senate. However, as the disagreements between interested parties continued, the road to regulation started to look less likely.
It wasn’t until the final hours of the legislative session that things changed. With Gov. Pritzker throwing his support behind regulation with a $200 million budget plan, Rep. Rita made a move. Following a series of amendments, the casino expansion bill with its new provisions was accepted.
After passing through the House on May 31, the Senate gave the green light on June 2. Part of a capital funding bill, the sports betting legislation was sent off to Gov. Pritzker.
Having previously shown support for a sports betting expansion bill, Pritzker put his John Hancock on SB 690 on June 28, 2019. In signing the bill, the Governor authorized a $45 billion capital plan designed to use revenue from legal sports betting to boost the state’s school, amenities and more.
After months of regulatory measures such as conducting public hearings, reviewing applications, and issuing licenses, the first sportsbooks in Illinois launched on March 9, 2020.
Unfortunately, on March 12, the NBA and almost every sports league in the U.S. suspended their season because of COVID-19 precautions. To add to this, casinos in Illinois were ordered to shut down as a way to stop the spreading of the virus.
A timetable for when these Illinois sportsbooks will be able to reopen is still a bit unclear.
The first online sportsbook in Illinois, BetRivers, launched on June 18, 2020. Although many were worried how the in-person registration requirement would work when casinos were still closed, Governor Pritzker alleviated those concerns.
Governor Pritzker suspended that requirement by executive order weeks prior to the launch.
With sports such as UFC, NASCAR, The PGA Tour, and major European Soccer leagues starting to come back into season, sports bettors in Illinois were welcomed to a number of different options.
While the suspension of in-person registration for online sportsbooks in Illinois helped in the short term, it only helped BetRivers.
Days before July ended, Governor Pritzker brought back the requirement. DraftKings, which had just signed a deal with Casino Queen, was expected to launch just days after that decision was made. A timeline for when they will launch or any other sports betting app will launch is in limbo.
Draftkings ended up launching their mobile sports betting app despite their registration limitations. But, it wasn’t long before the company created a petition in order to get J.B. Pritzker to go back on his decision.
For all the people that signed a petition, it automatically generated three separate emails. One email went to the signee’s local representative, one went to their state senator, and one went to Governor Pritzker himself.
After just a few days, Governor Pritzker brought back remote registration to the state. Sports bettors from all over the state can now sign up to use DraftKings or any other app from the comfort of their home. The executive order will last a month, after which, the Governor will need to approve it again.
With Illinois sports betting in full swing, some lawmakers wanted to carry that momentum and expand the amount of betting options.
House Rep. Michael Zalewski introduced HB 0849 which would allow sports bettors in Illinois to bet on teams based in Illinois like the Northwestern Wildcats or the Illinois Fighting Illini.
The bill has only been heard by a committee once but has not moved since. Zalewski’s goal is to have it passed before or during the March Madness tournament.