State of Play in Illinois
Sports Betting in Illinois
Illinois legalized sports betting in June 2019. Both retail and online sportsbooks are authorized to operate in the Land of Lincoln.
The first wave of Illinois online sportsbooks went live in summer of 2020.
Daily fantasy sports sites are also legal in Illinois.
Sportsbooks in Illinois
- How old do you have to be to bet online in Illinois? The legal minimum age to place a bet online in the state of Illinois is 21 years of age. This is also the age that is set for retail sports betting, and visiting a casino has the same age requirement. The 21-year-old age requirement is pretty standard throughout the United States, but there are some places that allow 18-year-olds to bet on sports.
- Can I bet on college sports in Illinois? Yes, college sports betting is legal in Illinois, but there are some interesting rules in place. Betting on in-state college teams is now allowed in Illinois, but all of those bets must be placed in person at a retail sportsbook. You are only able to place single pre-game wagers on in-state college teams, and this rule change will be studied again at a later date.
- Can I use DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois? Absolutely, and DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the biggest names in the Illinois sports betting scene. The DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen in East St. Louis is also one of the top retail locations in the state, and it draws customers from the state of Missouri as well.
- Is the Barstool sportsbook app available in Illinois? Yes, the Barstool Sportsbook app is available in Illinois because of the partnership with Penn National Gaming. Penn National owns and operates the Hollywood Casinos in both Aurora and Joliet.
- How do I get paid if I win? All of the online sportsbooks in Illinois will have their own banking options available to them. Since online sportsbooks in Illinois are all tied to a casino property, visiting the casino and making a withdrawal request in person is going to be an option that is available. If there is a problem with a payment then it is best to reach out to that site directly to try and correct the issue.
Illinois Sports Betting
The Illinois sports betting industry stands as one of the biggest U.S. markets. Only New York and New Jersey take more legal online sports bets than Illinois.
Illinois sports betting apps launched in summer of 2020, and the state immediately emerged as one of the most vibrant sports betting markets in the U.S. The Illinois Gaming Board regulates the mobile sports betting industry in the state.
Illinois Sports Betting: Popular Sports Teams
When looking to do some legal sports betting in Illinois, you will find no shortage of teams to wager on. Illinois is home to a long list of professional sports teams, and some popular college programs will attract wagers as well.
Betting on Illinois-based college programs is only available at retail sportsbooks, per Illinois sports betting law.
The Chicago Bears of the NFL are the most popular team in the state as they are a staple of Illinois sports culture. The Bears have just one Super Bowl title in franchise history (1985), but they have made some recent playoff appearances.
In the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls were the kings of the NBA as they won six titles in a span of eight years. The 2021-22 Bulls team made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, ending a long postseason drought.
There are two MLB teams in the state of Illinois, and the Chicago Cubs compete in the National League Central Division. The Cubs famously ended a 108-year championship drought by winning the World Series in 2016. That started a run of dominance for the Cubs, but the winning has slowed down a bit since the 2020 season.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are the other MLB team in Illinois and they compete in the American League Central Division. The White Sox last championship season happened in 2005, but the current roster is expected to contend for the playoffs.
The NHL team in the state of Illinois is the Chicago Blackhawks, and they are extremely popular. Chicago won three Stanley Cup titles in the 2010s (2010, 2013, 2015), but they haven’t been very competitive since that time. The Blackhawks are an original-six member of the NHL and compete in the Central Division in the Western Conference.
The Chicago Fire is a team that competes in Major League Soccer. Chicago started play in 1998 and won the MLS Cup that season. Since that time, the Fire has also gone on to win four different U.S. Open Cup titles.
The Chicago Sky compete in the WNBA, and they recently won the 2021 WNBA Championship. Wintrust Arena is the home of the Sky, and they have built up a large following due to their recent success.
Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illinois Fighting Illini are the most popular college team in Illinois, especially when it comes to football and basketball. There hasn’t been much success on the football field in the 21st century, but the basketball team has been one of the best in the Big Ten Conference over the last few seasons.
Northwestern is another Big Ten school in Illinois, but it is largely overshadowed by the University of Illinois. The Wildcats have had more success on the football field than on the court, but they are not a big name on the national level.
St. Louis Cardinals
Even though there are two MLB teams in the state of Illinois, the St. Louis Cardinals have a major following as well. St. Louis is just across the Mississippi River, and Southern Illinois is loaded with Cardinals fans. The Cardinals are one of the most successful teams in NL history, and they have a heated rivalry with the Chicago Cubs.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is extremely popular in Illinois as South Bend is not far from the Chicagoland area. Notre Dame is one of the most successful programs of all time, and the football team continues to play as an independent team.
Best Illinois Online Sportsbooks
Illinois Legal Sportsbooks
The Rivers Casino Sportsbook officially launched on March 9, 2020, becoming the first option after Illinois made sports betting legal. This launch was made possible after lawmakers passed the Illinois Sports Wagering Act in 2019, expanding gaming options in the state.
When Governor J.B. Pritzker took office in Illinois, he made it his mission to find new sources of revenue, and he turned to legal sports betting. Pritzker included new gaming options in his budget, and it was eventually approved by lawmakers.
The launch of sports betting on March 9 was short-lived as the Rivers Casino Sportsbook was shut down just days later. Retail sportsbooks would remain closed for months, but it prompted the launch of online sports betting.
All retail and online sportsbooks are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. Illinois sports betting law allows sports bettors to register, deposit, bet, and cash out from Illinois online sports betting sites from anywhere within state borders.
Illinois Sports Betting Sites
BetRivers Sportsbook was the first online option to go live after Illinois made sports betting legal. BetRivers started taking bets in June 2020. BetRivers is owned and operated by Rush Street Gaming and is the online sports betting arm of the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois. The BetRivers sports betting site had an early jump on the competition, and it remains a popular option among Illinois sports bettors.
The BetRivers new player bonus is presented as a 100% deposit match up to $250. With just a 1x playthrough requirement, the bonus is one of the most player-friendly of any Illinois sports betting app.
DraftKings Sportsbook became legal in Illinois through a partnership with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis. DraftKings is a massive name in the U.S. industry, and also operates the land-based Casino Queen sportsbook.
New sports bettors can unlock a 20% deposit match up to $1,000 upon signup at DraftKings Sportsbook.
FanDuel Sportsbook also launched in August 2020 after partnering with the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. It wasn’t long before FanDuel changed up its partnership and now has an online license through Fairmount Park. FanDuel is the online market share leader when it comes to sports betting in the United States.
FanDuel Sportsbook welcomes new bettors with a $1,000 risk-free bet as a new player bonus.
PointsBet Sportsbook is an Australian-based company, but Illinois was one of the first states that it targeted. PointsBet reached an agreement with Hawthorne Race Course to receive an online sports betting license. This operator is known for having great promotions and offering the “PointsBetting” wagering style.
PointsBet offers a $1,500 risk-free bet on any PointsBetting wager, as well as a $500 risk-free bet on a fixed-odds wager as a welcome bonus.
Barstool Sportsbook is a product of Penn National Gaming which owns multiple casino properties in the state. Barstool was able to offer online sports betting through the online skin provided by Hollywood Casino Aurora. This sportsbook is known for targeting a younger demographic of sports bettors.
BetMGM Sportsbook received the first online-only license in Illinois, but it has also partnered with the Par-A-Dice Casino. BetMGM launched in March 2022, just days before the start of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. This company has a massive presence in the online gaming space and is a leader in sports betting.
Caesars Sportsbook was able to enter Illinois after taking over William Hill in 2021. The partnership with the Grand Victoria Casino carried over, and Caesars has also partnered with Harrah’s Metropolis and Harrah’s Joliet. Caesars has seen massive growth since 2020.
The welcome bonus available on the Caesars online sports betting app changes from time to time, but often comes in the form of a risk-free bet.
Retail Sportsbooks in Illinois
- Rivers Casino Sportsbook: The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois was the first to open, officially going live on March 9, 2020. BetRivers is the sports betting operation that runs the sportsbook on-site, and Rush Street Gaming is the parent company.
- Sportsbook at Argosy Casino Alton: Alton is in the southern part of the United States, and Argosy Casino first launched retail sports betting on March 12, 2020. Since going live, the Argosy has now partnered with Barstool Sportsbook as it is owned and operated by Penn National.
- DraftKings at Casino Queen: The Casino Queen in East St. Louis has since been renamed “DraftKings at Casino Queen.” This was a popular casino in Illinois, and it has been improved with the partnership with DraftKings. Because it is located just across the river from Missouri, this location attracts business from that state. This launch took place on August 5, 2020.
- Grand Victoria Casino: The Grand Victoria Casino initially launched retail sports betting through a partnership with William Hill, but it is now partnered with Caesars Sportsbook. Retail sports betting at the Grand Victoria first became legal on August 6, 2020. This property is located in Elgin, Illinois.
- Hollywood Casino Aurora: The Hollywood Casino in Aurora first started accepting retail sports wagers on August 20, 2020. Since this casino is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, Barstool Sportsbook is the brand that is available on site.
- Hollywood Casino Joliet: The Hollywood Casino in Joliet launched on the same date as the one in Aurora, and nearly everything is the same at these two locations.
- Par-A-Dice Casino: The Par-A-Dice Casino is located in East Peoria, Illinois and it is the top spot for those in the central portion of the state. Retail sports betting first opened at the Par-A-Dice on September 10, 2020. FanDuel initially offered retail betting at this location, but that has since been transferred to BetMGM.
- Hawthorne Race Course: The Hawthorne Race Course is located in Cicero, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. PointsBet controls the retail sports betting on-site, and this is the closest location to the Windy City. This site started accepting sports wagers on September 30, 2020.
- Fairmount Park: Fairmount Park is located in Collinsville, which is about 15 miles from St. Louis. Retail sports betting began at Fairmount on April 27, 2021, making it the newest sports betting option. FanDuel Sportsbook purchased this facility and it is now called FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing.
Details of Illinois Sports Betting
The Illinois Gaming Board is in charge of overseeing and regulating sports betting, but it is the lawmakers that create the sports betting rules and regulations. The legal gambling age is set at 21 years of age, and betting is open to both residents and visitors of the state.
After lawmakers made online sports betting legal, mobile sportsbooks had to be partnered with a casino or race track before they could go live. Professional sports stadiums are also able to offer sports betting, but none have taken advantage of this yet.
There was an 18-month waiting period before online-only license applications could be accepted, and BetMGM was awarded the first of these licenses. Each casino or professional sports team is given just one online skin.
The rules on college sports betting have changed in Illinois as in-state college teams were initially off-limits. Retail sportsbooks can now accept bets on college teams from the state, but only pre-game single wagers are available to Illinois sports bettors.
Getting Started at Illinois Sports Betting Apps
Before you even begin placing bets at a legal Illinois online sportsbook, there are some steps that you will have to take. Along with that, some general background knowledge is needed to help you become successful when betting on sports.
Registering at an Illinois Sports Betting Site
Registering for an Illinois online sportsbook account is a relatively simple process, and it can be done in a matter of minutes. This wasn’t always the case though as Illinois initially had a rule in place that required in-person registration.
The Illinois online sportsbook apps for Apple devices can all be found on the App Store, but that might not be the case with an Android device. Most online sportsbooks will have a link to download on their site, and then that app will have to be installed.
After downloading the app, there will be a series of questions to answer before choosing a username and password. Your identity will have to be verified, and location services will need to be enabled before a bet can be placed.
Make Your First Deposit
Before you can place a bet at an online sportsbook, you will have to have some money in your account. This is called making a deposit, and you should look for promo codes at each site for potential deposit bonuses before making that initial deposit.
You will need to be logged into your account as well, and then you can simply use one of the deposit options that are available. The standard minimum deposit is usually $10, but each site will be able to set its own requirements.
BetChicago will have special promo codes that will unlock player bonuses for new customers at Illinois sports betting apps.
Here is a list of some of the top deposit options that you will find:
- Online bank transfer
- Cash at casino cage
- Prepaid card
- Credit/Debit Card
Illinois Sports Betting: Plenty of Betting Options
When you are looking to make a bet at an online sportsbook in Illinois, you are going to have plenty of options to choose from.
- Moneyline: A moneyline bet is the simplest form of betting as you are only required to pick the winning team or individual in a sporting event. There will be an underdog and a favorite in each matchup, and the potential payouts will vary based on which side you are betting on.
- Point Spread: Betting against the spread is a popular way to bet on sports, and this is a step up from betting the moneyline. With a spread bet, the final margin of victory is what is wagered on, and you can actually successfully bet on either the winner or the loser.
- Totals: Totals betting doesn’t focus on the winning or losing team at all, but instead focuses on the total number of points, goals, or runs that are scored. This bet is sometimes called an over/under because those are the two betting options that exist.
- Live Betting: Live or in-play betting generally focuses on the three main betting types that are discussed above. Live betting lines change quickly, and most will be changing with every single play that occurs.
- Parlays: A parlay wager is a combination bet that can be made by combining small individual wagers into a larger bet. When it comes to parlay betting, there can be the potential for a pretty massive payout.
- Futures: A futures wager is much different than most on this list as it doesn’t focus on one specific game or event at all. Instead, a future wager focuses on the conclusion of a season, and wagers are usually placed on the eventual league champion.
- Props: Prop betting is available on either teams or individuals, and it’s a unique way to bet on sports. This type of betting focuses on individual happenings in a contest, or on a specific statistical category.
Making a Withdrawal From Illinois Sports Betting Sites
After you have won some money at an online sportsbook, the next step will be to make a withdrawal. Each site will have a slightly different process for this, but it won’t ever be a hassle.
As long as you are logged into your account then you can simply select a withdrawal method and then choose how much money you are wanting to withdraw. Here are some of the most common withdrawal options you will find.
- Cash at Casino Cage: For sportsbooks that have a casino partner, you can visit the retail sportsbook and receive your winnings in cash for an immediate payout.
- PayPal: PayPal has quickly become one of the best ways to send money back and forth to an online sportsbook. Some sites will send money almost immediately to your PayPal account, and you can then do what you want with it from there.
- Online bank transfer: Depending on your banking institution, the funds could arrive within a day or two, or it could be a major delay. You might also have to provide some additional information to the sportsbook before you select an online bank transfer.
- ACH/eCheck: This is a common withdrawal option, and getting your winnings within 72 hours is common if using an ACH option.
- Play+: For sites that offer the Play+ Prepaid Card, funds can be sent back and forth quickly and easily. If you use this withdrawal option then you could see the funds almost instantly.
- Check by mail: Most sportsbooks are trying to get away from this option, and it can take up to a week before you receive your payment.