Seeking the best online betting sites in Illinois? This guide has all the info on sports betting in the Land of Lincoln, covering markets, bonuses, and more.
Can you bet on sports in Illinois? Absolutely – both in person and online. The latter lets you place wagers on your favorite sports wherever you are, from your computer or mobile device.
But, which are Illinois’ best online betting sites? You can compare them right here, but first read on for information on important aspects of sports betting, from the markets on offer to the kinds of bonuses available to bettors in the Prairie State.
Are online betting sites legal in Illinois?
Yes they are. Sports betting was given the go-ahead back in the summer of 2019 when Governor JB Pritzker signed a gambling expansion bill that legalized sports betting in Illinois. The first legal wager was placed the following year at Rivers Casino, Des Plaines by Chicago Blackhawks announcer Eddie Olczyk, inaugurating the new era. The first online sportsbook went live a few months later.
Betting sites in the state are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), which ensures that sportsbooks operate with integrity and provide a safe, fair gambling space for people in Illinois.
The law states that players must be at least 21 and located within the state to place legal wagers. On top of that, you must register in person for an online sportsbook account by visiting the site’s land-based casino or racetrack partner. The good news is that this stipulation will end on 5 March 2022 – at the latest – meaning you’ll soon be able to register at Illinois betting sites online.
Why play at a licensed Illinois online betting site?
As we mentioned above, all legitimate Illinois online betting sites are licensed and regulated by the IGB. By sticking strictly to these sites, you can feel safe in the knowledge they’ve been carefully vetted by the Gaming Board and must operate according to the stringent terms of the law.
You won’t be vulnerable to unfair gambling practices, your details will be kept secure, and you’ll be able to report any serious issues or complaints about misconduct to the IGB directly.
Why should I avoid offshore online sportsbooks?
Offshore sportsbook sites can be accessed by sports fans in Illinois, but we do not suggest it. These sites can certainly look respectable and offer tempting bonus packages, but they should always be avoided. Offshore gambling sites exist outside the bounds of Illinois law, and may indeed not be regulated by any gambling authority whatsoever. Such sites can’t be counted on to operate in a fair way.
Betting markets may be manipulated, withdrawals might be delayed, or fraudulent operators may simply steal your money. You’ll also have a tough time complaining or holding them to account since they’re outside the jurisdiction of the Gaming Board.
How to identify a legal online betting site in Illinois
Since there are several legal Illinois betting sites now operating, there’s really no need to put yourself at risk by joining offshore sites. It’s easy to tell if a site is legitimate, simply look on the homepage for mention of licensing by the Illinois Gaming Board. You can also head over to the IGB website for a list of all licensees. Alternatively, stick with the sites we recommend right here at Gambling Spotlight, as we will only ever discuss legitimate Illinois betting sites.
Which online betting sites can Illinois residents play at?
While there are fewer online sportsbooks in Illinois compared to some other states, there’s still plenty to interest sports fans. Here are some of the top options:
One of the biggest names in US sports betting has set up its stall in Illinois, and it’s welcoming new members with a 20% matched deposit bonus up to $1,000. Another optional new customer bonus gives you the potential to win a $100 free bet bonus if you place a moneyline bet on any NBA, NFL, college basketball, or college football game, and either team scores.
Beyond that, DraftKings treats members to profits boosts and access to free-to-play pools with cash prizes. Market coverage is thorough, with plenty of live betting options to choose from, too.
Another top brand, FanDuel clearly understands that many bettors in Illinois feel frustrated by the state’s cumbersome in-person sign-up stipulation. That’s why the sports betting site provides players with $100 in free bet credits when they complete the registration process at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (formerly known as Fairmount Park). This is on top of the risk-free offer which will refund you up to $1,000 if your first bet loses.
You’ll be able to bet on everything from the major US leagues to soccer World Cup qualifiers, with perks like parlay insurance and live streaming of certain events adding to the experience.
BetRivers has an eye-catching 100% up to $250 matched deposit bonus available for new members. As the official sports betting partner of the Chicago Bears, the sportsbook also provides a 25% moneyline profit boost on every Bears game during the season. Daily odds boosts are up for grabs to BetRivers customers, along with other regular promos like weekly profit boosts. The site has a particularly strong live streaming section, letting you watch NHL, tennis, soccer, and other events as you place your in-play bets.
This sportsbook sets itself apart, and not just because of its striking black and red aesthetic. There’s also an intriguing USP known as ‘Points Betting’, where how much you win or lose from a wager is determined by the margin of your victory or loss.
You can try this out risk-free, as PointsBet will refund up to $1,500 of your first Points Betting wager if it’s a loser.
PointsBet also empowers users to create their own bespoke betting markets through the ‘Request Your Bet’ feature, and you can quickly cut your losses on live bets with the cash-out option.
Caesars is a betting brand that needs no introduction, even if it’s more known for casino games than sports betting. Joining the brand’s Illinois sportsbook, you can take advantage of a risk-free first wager which covers you up to $300.
The site provides numerous ways to wager, from totals to futures to parlays, and one of the major selling points is that you can rack up Caesars Rewards loyalty points. These can, in turn, pave the way for extra bonuses, sports tickets, and VIP experiences.
Illinois land-based bookmakers
In-person sports betting is very much a thing in Illinois. Here’s where it happens.
|Rivers Casino||3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018|
|DraftKings at Casino Queen||200 S Front St, East St Louis, IL 62201|
|Argosy Casino||1 Piasa St, Alton, IL 62002|
|Grand Victoria Casino||250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436|
|Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino||21 Blackjack Blvd, East Peoria, IL 61611|
|Hawthorne Race Course||3501 S Laramie Ave, Stickney, IL 60804|
|Club Hawthorne Crestwood||13148 Rivercrest Dr, Crestwood, IL 60418|
|Club Hawthorne Oakbrook Terrace||17W648 22nd St, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181|
|Club Hawthorne Prospect Heights||1250 S River Rd, Prospect Heights, IL 60070|
|FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing||9301 Collinsville Rd, Collinsville, IL 62234|
How to bet on sports with real money
Here are the steps to follow to enjoy the best sports betting sites in the state of Illinois.
- Browse Illinois betting sites here at GamblingSpotlight. You can weigh up the welcome bonus deals and select what you like the look of.
- Use our link to head straight over to the sign-up page. Here, you’ll just have to input some personal details and show any ID documents requested. Remember to enter the welcome bonus promo code if required.
- You’ll need to complete the registration process by visiting the corresponding land-based sportsbook in person. The exact validation requirements vary – it may be enough to simply arrive at the property and share your location through the sportsbook app.
- If you’ve been given a no deposit free bet bonus, you can place your bets now. Otherwise, head to the cashier page to deposit funds into your account.
- You’re now set to place wagers on your favorite betting markets. Good luck!
Which sports can I bet on in Illinois?
The best online betting sites in Illinois bring plenty of choices when it comes to sports wagers. Options typically include:
- Football (incl. NFL)
- Basketball (incl. NBA)
- Baseball (incl. MLB)
- Hockey (incl. NHL)
- Soccer (incl. MLS)
- Motorsports (incl. NASCAR)
You’re allowed to bet on college sports events unless they feature Illinois college teams. This restriction will be eased from 5 March 2022, when in-person betting on Illinois college team events will be permitted. Online wagers on these teams will continue to be off the cards.
Local sports teams to bet on
The major league Illinois teams are:
- Chicago Cubs (MLB)
- Chicago White Sox (MLB)
- Chicago Bulls (NBA)
- Chicago Sky (WNBA)
- Chicago Bears (NFL)
- Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
- Chicago Fire (MLS)
- Chicago Red Stars (NWSL)
Once the regulations change in 2022, you’ll also be able to place bets on these home-grown college teams:
- Bradley Braves
- Chicago State Cougars
- DePaul Blue Demons
- Eastern Illinois Panthers
- Illinois Fighting Illini
- Illinois State Redbirds
- Loyola Ramblers
- Northern Illinois Huskies
- Northwestern Wildcats
- Southern Illinois Salukis
- SIUE Cougars
- UIC Flames
- Western Illinois Leathernecks
The choice of markets at Illinois betting sites means you’ll have plenty of ways to flex your sporting knowledge and keep things interesting. Here are the most popular types of wager:
- Moneyline – This is a simple bet on who you think will win an event
- Point Spread – You’ll back the favorite to storm ahead by a minimum number of points or bet on the underdog to either win outright, or lose within a determined points margin
- Props – Bets on particular details that aren’t connected to the final result, such as how many corners are taken in a soccer game, or a quarterback’s passing yards
- Futures – With this market, you’re putting your money on the outcome of a future event, such as the winner of the NBA Finals
- Totals – Commonly dubbed ‘over/under bets’, you bet on how many times something will happen. For example, whether the number of points scored in total will be over or under a stated amount
- Parlays – You can try reaping the rewards of combined odds by putting multiple selections on the same bet slip. However, every leg of the parlay has to come good for you to win
- Live betting – as the name suggests, this is where you place bets while the event is underway, potentially taking advantage of shifting odds
Mobile betting apps in Illinois
Many sports bettors enjoy the freedom of being able to place wagers on the move. This can be as much about practicalities as preference. For example, you want to put down some in-play bets when a football game is underway, but you’re not anywhere near a computer. The good news is, Illinois betting sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers have native apps you can download to iOS and Android devices.
These apps provide swift access to bonuses and betting markets, and you’ll be able to activate push notifications so you’re kept in the loop on the latest offers.
Illinois betting payment methods
The best online betting sites in Illinois accept a range of deposit and withdrawal methods. These may vary from site to site, as will the processing times for cashouts (deposits are typically instant). Let’s see what’s available:
Not all of the following will be available at every Illinois sportsbook, but these are among the most common deposit methods supported:
- Debit and credit cards (for example Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover)
- Prepaid Play+ cards
- Online bank transfer
- Cashier cage at land-based casino/sportsbook
There are usually fewer withdrawal methods at sports betting sites in Illinois, with potential options including:
- Cashier cage at land-based casino/sportsbook
- Online bank transfer
- Prepaid Play+ cards
- Check by mail
History of sports betting in Illinois
For anyone curious, here’s how sports betting came to fruition in the Prairie State.
2018 – Legal sports betting in Illinois becomes a viable prospect after the Supreme Court strikes down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) as unconstitutional. PASPA had previously outlawed sports betting across most of the United States.
2019 – In June, Governor JB Pritzker signs a gambling expansion bill into law, legalizing sports betting in the state of Illinois.
2020 – In-person sports betting commences in March, while Illinois online betting sites launch from June onwards.
2021 – Bill HB 3136, which will end the requirement for in-person betting account registration and allow for betting on in-stage college teams, passes both the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives.
Problem gambling support in Illinois
Gambling should be a source of fun, not stress and worry. It’s important to recognize the signs of problem gambling habits, such as spending more than you can afford and neglecting other areas of your life in favor of gambling. If you feel that gambling is starting to have a negative impact on you or those around you, these organizations can provide confidential help, support, and advice:
Illinois Council on Problem Gambling
217 Winston Ave, Bartonville, IL 61607
National Council on Problem Gambling
Ready to discover Illinois betting sites?
If you feel ready to try out some Illinois betting sites for yourself, you’re in the right place. Check out our list of the top sportsbooks, compare the welcome offers, and click through to begin creating your account.
Is online betting legal in Illinois?
It certainly is. As long as you’re 21 or over and physically within state lines, you can create an online sportsbook account and start placing wagers on a huge range of betting markets.
How do I know if I’m playing at a licensed Illinois online sportsbook?
Look on the sportsbook’s homepage to see that it mentions being licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board. Any site we recommend will be licensed, so you don’t have to worry.
Will I be taxed for my gambling winnings?
Yes, gambling winnings in Illinois are subject to both federal and state taxes.
What other forms of gambling are allowed in Illinois?
While both online and in-person sports betting is allowed, you’re only able to play casino games in land-based venues – online casinos haven’t yet been legalized. You can also place pari-mutuel horse racing bets, and play the Illinois State Lottery.
Do you need to be in Illinois to play at an Illinois online sportsbook?
Yes, you will need to be located within state lines to place real money wagers at Illinois betting sites. If you’re using a mobile app, geolocation software will verify your location.
Is Illinois online betting fair?
It is, as long as you ensure you only place bets at sportsbook sites that are licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board. Using offshore sportsbooks may leave you vulnerable to unfair and fraudulent practices.
Which is the best online betting site in Illinois?
Everyone will have their own opinion on this one! Some may love the look and feel of one site, others may be swayed by the welcome bonus of another.
Fortunately, you don’t have to settle on just one sportsbook. Bettors can try out different sites to see which one they like best.
Are there any new online betting sites in Illinois?
Yes – both Caesars and Barstool sportsbooks launched in 2021. Other well-known sportsbook brands, including BetMGM and Unibet, are expected to launch in the Prairie State in the near future.