In 2019, Illinois moved to significantly expand its gambling industry, with the introduction of the Illinois Gambling Act. The new legislation allows for the expansion of the state‘s commercial riverboat casinos. It also legalized sports betting in the Prairie State, both at retail locations and online. Now Illinoisans can legally gamble online at state-authorized sports betting sites.
Furthermore, Illinoisans can play lottery online legally, with the state being the first to allow its residents to buy tickets on the internet and mobile. Still, Illinois continues to take a hard stance against online casino gambling and poker sites. In this Illinois online gambling guide, we‘ll introduce you to the best online gambling sites for Illinois residents. We‘ll share the best gambling bonuses and delve into online gambling laws in Illinois.
- We have deep understanding of the Illinois gambling laws and follow the changes in the legislation and the activity of the Illinois Gaming Board.
- We keep up with the gambling-related news by following trusted local news media such as the Chicago Tribune and The Center Square, Illinois.
- We have extensive experience in creating free gambling guides and operator reviews. Some of our most popular articles are our best online slots sites and real money roulette sites guides.
Online Gambling in Illinois: Legal Products and Best Sites
Online gambling in IL is legal, but only for certain products. In the next sections of this guide, we will explore each type of online gambling in detail. We will discuss the legality of online casinos, poker, sports betting, lottery and daily fantasy. We will help you understand what types of online gambling games you can enjoy legally in the state.
We will also list the best online gambling sites Illinois has to offer. We have selected Illinois gambling sites that are safe, secure, and operate legally within the state. We have reviewed the selection of gambling games, payouts, and bonus offers to bring you the top gambling sites in IL for 2021.
Sports Betting Sites in Illinois
Sports betting in Illinois became legal in 2019, with the passing of the Illinois Gambling Act. Now, Illinois residents can bet on sports online legally. We have reviewed safe and licensed sports betting sites in Illinois to find the best options. Here are the best sports betting sites in IL:
|Illinois Betting Site||Welcome Bonus||Pros and Cons||Test Score||Trusted Link|
|PointsBet||$2000||All Your Favorite Sports, Risk-Free Bets, No Daily Fantasy Sports||4.9/5||www.pointsbet.com|
|BetRivers||$250||Top Sports Betting App, Live Betting, Skrill Not Accepted||4.8/5||il.betrivers.com|
Our recommended Illinois sports betting sites offer a wide range of sports and markets. You can bet on NBA, PGA, NFL, and many other US sporting competitions. They also feature popular international sports markets, such as the English Premier League and the UEFA Nations League. Our featured Illinois online gambling sites are mobile-friendly and offer generous welcome bonuses to reward new players.
Daily Fantasy Sites in Illinois
Many states consider daily fantasy sports as games of skill, rather than games of chance. As such, they are permitted in many places, even where online gambling is not available. Still, in 2015, the Illinois Attorney General released an advisory memo with the conclusion that daily fantasy in Illinois constituted illegal gambling games under state law.
That did not stop leading DFS operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in Illinois, yet their operations fell into a legal grey area. The argument was taken to the Illinois Supreme Court, who ruled that certain types of daily fantasy contests do not constitute illegal gambling. This decision, along with the new legislation permitting sports betting in IL enables Illinoisans to enjoy these types of contests, and we expect to see more DFS sites opening their doors to Illinoisans soon.
Lottery Sites in IL
Illinois has a long-running state lottery, which has been in operation since 1974. Since 2012, players in the Prairie State can play lotto online in Illinois. The sale of Lotto and Mega Millions tickets on the internet made Illinois the first state to sell US lottery tickets online. You can buy tickets for the Illinois Lottery on the official website and mobile app.
Illinois online lottery games include big money US jackpot games, Mega Millions and Powerball. The state lottery also offers a wide variety of instant win games and scratch-offs. The lottery generates significant funding for education and community projects in IL. You can find out more about playing online lottery in Illinois in our dedicated guide.
Casino Sites in Illinois
Illinois legalized riverboat casinos in 1991. There are now ten land-based casinos in IL. However, online casinos in Illinois are not legal. Despite plans to expand the gambling industry in the state under the Illinois Gambling Act of 2019, the laws do not permit online casinos in the state. We will delve into more details about online casino laws in Illinois later in this guide.
Online Poker Sites in IL
In the same way as online casinos, online poker sites are not legal in Illinois. Poker games are available at selected casino venues in the state, yet you cannot legally play poker online. Later in this guide, we will explore online poker laws in IL, to give you a complete view of the current legal landscape.
IL Online Gambling Bonuses & Promo Codes
Online gambling in Illinois is not only a convenient way to experience the thrill of gambling with real money, but it can also be rewarding too. Illinois online gambling sites offer bonuses to attract and reward new players. You can take advantage of bookmaker offers and get more bang for your buck.
To find the best gambling bonuses in Illinois, you need to check the terms and conditions. There you will find important details, including the wagering requirements, minimum deposit, and validity. Checking for convenient conditions is the key to getting the best value for your money. For your convenience, here are the best online gambling bonuses in Illinois:
|Illinois Gambling Site||Bonus Amount||Bonus/Promo Code||Ideal For||Min Deposit||Validity||T&C|
|BetRivers||Up to $250||250 MATCH||Sports Betting||$10||30 days|
As more operators begin to offer their services on the legalized online sports betting market in Illinois, you can expect to see more offers for players to choose from. Most online gambling bonuses will match your first deposit with bonus funds. To stand out from the competition, some operators also offer a no-deposit bonus, simply for signing up.
A deposit bonus is the most common type of online gambling bonus you will find in Illinois. The operator will match your first deposit with a certain percentage, up to a specified maximum amount. Most deposit bonuses come with a 100% match, meaning that the operator will match your cash dollar for dollar. Most bonuses can be claimed with a minimum deposit of just $10 – $20.
No Deposit Bonus Offers
A no deposit bonus does what it says on the tin. Such offers award a free play bonus before you commit to playing with your own cash. No deposit bonuses are usually smaller in size than deposit bonuses. Yet, they give you the chance to try out top online betting sites before you deposit and play with your own money.
Illinois Gambling Apps – Bet on the Go
Thanks to mobile betting apps, it has never been more convenient to enjoy online gambling in Illinois. The Illinois Lottery offers a mobile app for buying lotto tickets on the go. You can also bet on sports with your mobile phone or tablet at the best sports gambling sites in Illinois.
Top Illinois gambling sites offer you instant access to their gambling games through your mobile browser. As such, betting apps are compatible with virtually all iOS and Android devices. Some operators have also developed native apps for different operating systems. You can download the apps for one-tap access to online gambling products. Here is our recommended mobile betting app for Illinois:
Best Mobile App
We considered various factors to find the best gambling app in Illinois. We checked for a stable, secure, and reliable mobile platform with an intuitive, user-friendly layout. We also assessed the variety of mobile-friendly gambling games and bonus offers. Having reviewed all key criteria, we selected the best mobile gambling app for Illinois.
Live Gambling in Illinois
Many gamblers prefer to play live casino games. They combine the thrill of a real casino atmosphere with the convenience of playing online. However, live online casino games are illegal in Illinois. As such, the only way to enjoy playing casino games with real dealers is to head to one of the state’s riverboat casino locations.
Thanks to the new legislation that permits sports betting in IL, live sports betting is available in the Prairie State. At top sports gambling sites in Illinois, you can stream live sporting events as they happen. You can put your sporting knowledge and gut feeling to good use, by watching the game in real-time and placing in-play bets.
Live sports betting is available on a wide variety of sports. Not only is it an exciting way to place your bets, but it also offers the chance to watch various international sporting competitions, that you may struggle to find on TV. At the same time, the many different types of in-play bets give you even more reason to cheer on your favorite teams.
Available Payment Methods for Illinoisans
To play at Illinois gambling sites, you will need to fund your player account with cash. The good news is that the best online gambling sites in Illinois support various convenient and secure payment methods. Most operators accept debit/credit cards, e-wallets, online banking, and e-checks. Many operators also support Pay With Cash, allowing you to pay at a wide selection of retail locations that support a cash payment service.
Whatever secure payment option you choose, depositing at a gambling site is quick and easy. Plus, with deposits processed instantly, you can start enjoying real money gambling online right away. PayPal is preferred by many online gamblers in IL. The e-wallet is extra secure, given you do not need to share your bank details to deposit. This also provides enhanced privacy.
Best PayPal Site
To deposit at an IL online gambling website, you will first need to sign up. Creating a player account is a simple process. Fill in the registration form, and you are good to go. Trusted operators will require account validation before you can deposit and play. This step is in place to make sure that only state residents that meet the legal Illinois gambling age can gamble online.
When the time comes to withdraw your winnings, you will usually cash out using the same method used to deposit. This is a security requirement and anti-money laundering measure. Once you request a withdrawal from the banking cashier, it will be sent to the operator for approval. Once approved, you should receive your money within a few days. For the fastest withdrawal timeframes, e-wallets are the best option.
Payouts and Odds at Illinois Online Gambling Sites
If you want to win money when gambling in Illinois, then you need to know about how the different types of gambling games payout. When you play casino games at any of Illinois’ riverboat casinos, each game has a return to player rate programmed into the game rules.
Expressed as a percentage, RTP tells you how much of all wagers on a particular game will be paid back to players as winnings over the long run. The fraction that is kept by the casino as profit is referred to as the house edge. By checking the RTP of casino games, you can determine which games have the best-expected profitability and are therefore the best games to play to win money.
When it comes to sports betting, again, RTP provides an insight into how much of the money you bet will be returned to you as winnings. Sportsbooks ensure they maintain their profit margins, or house edge, through the odds that are offered for different sports markets. We have provided an overview of average RTP rates for popular casino games and sports betting markets in IL.
The Payout Levels for Casino Games and Sports Betting:
Sports betting payouts fluctuate regularly, yet the figures listed above give you a good idea of the average RTP you can expect to find. The RTP of casino games, on the other hand, are set according to fixed mathematical principles and as such, do not fluctuate. Yet, you may find variants of certain games offer a higher RTP than others. As such, it is recommended to check the RTP of casino games before you start playing to choose variants with the most favorable odds of winning.
How to Gamble Online in Illinois
If you want to bet on sports online in Illinois, the state’s gambling laws require players to register in person at the casino affiliated with the betting site. This provision is set in place for the first 18 months of legal online sports betting in IL. After which time, players will be able to register online, without the need to visit a gambling venue.
However, owing to the COVID-19 epidemic, Governor J.B. Pritzker amended the rules temporarily to allow online registration. As such, Illinois residents can sign up at IL online gambling sites remotely. In essence, the process is similar for all types of online gambling in Illinois. To help you get started, here is a step-by-step guide on how to bet on sports online in Illinois:
- Register a player account at a gambling site. Be sure you choose only trusted operators who are licensed and legal in Illinois. You will need to provide your name, address, age, and social security number during the registration to validate your account.
- Make your first deposit by opening the secure banking cashier and selecting your preferred payment option. Be sure to opt in to any welcome bonus offers which are available upon making a first deposit.
- Pick a sports category to bet on. Betting sites usually list all sports categories alphabetically on the left-hand side of the page, so you can quickly and easily select your preferred game to bet on.
- Assess the available betting lines for the sport. You will see many different types of bets with their odds. Select your bets and add them to your betting ticket.
- Enter how much you want to stake on your bets. Once you enter the wager, the system will automatically update your ticket to show how much you will win with your stake at the current odds.
- Double-check the information on your betting slip and when you are ready, confirm the bet. Any winning bets will be automatically be credited to your player account.
As you can see, it is simple to get started with online gambling in Illinois. The sign-up process takes just a matter of minutes, and you can start gambling right away. Whatever type of online gambling games you play, the most important thing to remember is to gamble responsibly. Set yourself a budget and stick to it, to make sure that online gambling stays safe and fun.
The Advantages of Online Gambling in IL
Online gambling in Illinois has many advantages. The main pro is that you get convenient, instant access to gambling games, without having to travel to a gambling venue. Still, not all types of gambling are legal online in IL. Plus, offline gambling has its own pros that are worthy of mention. We have compared online vs land-based gambling below:
|Online Gambling||Offline Gambling|
|• Sports betting, DFS & lotto only||• You can also play casino games & poker|
|• Generous welcome bonus offers||• No welcome bonuses|
|• You can gamble on your mobile||• Interact with real dealers as you play|
|• Convenient and easy||• Less convenient than online gambling|
|• Many payment methods supported||• Social atmosphere|
If you want to bet on sports, DFS or lottery, Illinois online gambling sites offer many benefits. You can bet anytime, anywhere, with reliable gambling apps. You can also claim juicy bonuses. Still, if you want to play real money casino games or poker in Illinois, then land-based gambling venues are the only legal option.
Riverboat Casinos, Lottery Kiosks, and Racetracks
Illinois offers various options for gambling at land-based venues. The state currently has 10 riverboat casinos, which are licensed and regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. The first of which, Argosy Casino Alton opened in 1991. While the state’s most recent riverboat casino, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, opened for business in 2011. Each casino is permitted to offer up to 2000 gaming positions.
The Illinois Gambling Act of 2019 authorizes up to 6 more land-based casinos. Illinois residents can also enjoy casino games through electronic gaming devices (video gaming terminals) at various retail locations, including bars and restaurants. At the end of 2019, 33,294 VGTs were in operation at 7,180 venues throughout the state.
Illinois is home to three established racetracks. Following the 2019 gambling expansion legislation, these racetracks are now permitted to become racinos, offering full-scale sports betting and casino games. Two of the three established racetracks have applied for racino status. Further opportunities for land-based gambling are available through the Illinois Lottery’s retail venues, with hundreds located in convenient locations throughout the state.
Illinois Gambling Laws
There are various gambling laws in Illinois which permit certain types of gambling and forbid others. The Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990 allowed up to 10 casinos to apply for a license to operate legally in the state. The Video Gaming Act was introduced in 2009, allowing electronic gaming devices to be installed at authorized establishments, such as airports, truck stops, and bars.
The Illinois Lottery Law permits a state-run lottery. The Illinois Lottery was launched in July 1974, and since 2012, Illinoisans can buy lottery tickets online through the lottery’s app and website. Horse racing betting is also permitted under the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975. Daily Fantasy has long been available in the state, despite the State Attorney General’s opinion in 2015 that DFS constituted illegal gambling in IL.
Significant enhancements to Illinois online gambling laws were introduced in 2019, with the passing of the Illinois Gambling Act. Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law on June 28, 2019. The law makes sports betting in IL legal, at both land-based venues and online. The Act contains provisions to expand the state’s gambling industry, authorizing more casino venues and gaming positions. Online casino gaming and poker, however, remain illegal in Illinois. As such, online blackjack, roulette, and slots are not available in the state.
Online Casino Laws in IL
Casinos in Illinois are permitted under the Riverboat Gambling Act 1991. There are ten riverboat casinos which are licensed and regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. With the introduction of the new Illinois Gambling Act in 2019, the IGB quickly responded to implement the expansion plans brought forward by the legislation. The new gambling act permits a total of 5 new casino licenses to be issued between the cities of Aurora, Rockford, and Waukegan, and the counties of Cook and Williamson.
A further license for a mega-casino in Chicago is also included in the legislation. Licensed casinos can also apply to increase the number of gaming positions, from a maximum of 1200 under the Riverboat Gaming Act to a maximum of 2000 under the new legislation. The gambling expansion bill has a clear focus on land-based casino gaming. Online casinos are illegal in Illinois, and there is no indication that the legal landscape is set to change anytime soon.
Online Sports Betting Laws in Illinois
Since the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting in 2018, many states have taken steps towards legalizing sports betting. Illinois was one of nine states to legalize sports betting during 2019. With the introduction of the Illinois Gambling Act 2019, sports betting is now legal in Illinois.
Illinois commercial casinos and racinos are permitted to provide sports betting services at their venues. Furthermore, these licensed casinos and racetracks are permitted to provide online sports betting in IL. Online sports betting is permitted exclusively to these land-based companies for 18 months. After the 18-month period, the IGB can award up to 3 further online-only sports betting licenses. BetRivers launched its online sportsbook in June 2020, becoming the first legal online sports betting site in IL.
Daily Fantasy Laws in IL
The legality of daily fantasy in Illinois has fallen into somewhat of a grey area over the years. Daily fantasy sites operated in Illinois, under the proviso that they provide games of skill, and as such, are exempt from any federal gambling bans. Yet DFS in IL was dealt a blow in 2015. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan provided an opinion that daily fantasy sports contests constituted gambling, and as such, were illegal under Illinois law.
Regardless of the opinion, DFS sites continued to operate in the state, and many Illinoisans continued to play without legal repercussions. A significant moment in DFS laws arrived in April 2020. On the back of the legalization of sports betting, the Illinois Supreme Court partially overturned the AG’s opinion. Now, daily fantasy sites can operate legally in IL, albeit limited to head-to-head contests.
Online Poker Laws in Illinois
Poker and casino games fall under the same category according to Illinois gambling laws. Illinoisans can play poker legally at the state’s licensed casino venues. Many of the authorized riverboat casinos in the state offer poker rooms, with various poker games and tournaments. However, online poker is illegal in Illinois.
The Illinois Gambling Act of 2019 brought various provisions to expand gambling in IL. Yet the sweeping legislation brought no amendments to the legality of online poker games. While Illinoisans can play poker online at some unregulated, offshore sites, they do not provide a safe and reliable option for playing poker online in IL.
Online Lottery Laws in Illinois
Residents of the Prairie State should feel lucky compared to most of the territories comprising the US because here, online lottery has been completely legalized for quite some time now. In fact, Illinois was the very first state where it was made legal out of the entire country. The first Illinois online lottery ticket was sold on March 25, 2012.
As time has passed, more and more options have become available for Illinoisans wanting to test their luck and win life-altering amounts from either the US Powerball or the Mega Millions lotto. The Illinois Lottery offers many conveniently located retail locations. Players in IL can also buy tickets on the Illinois Lottery website and using the official mobile app.
History of Gambling in Illinois
Gambling in Illinois has its roots as far back as the 19th century, and the industry has seen many changes in legislation come and go over the years. Though casinos in Illinois started springing up in the 1880s, it wasn’t until the 1920s when horse race betting was legalized that the Illinois gambling industry was truly able to flourish.
|1880s||Despite their illegality, many riverboat casinos operated throughout Illinois, attracting gamblers from all over the nation.|
|1927||The first gambling laws introduced in the state legalized horse race betting.|
|1974||The Illinois Lottery is launched, and first-year sales top $129 million.|
|1975||The introduction of the Illinois Horse Racing Act further regulates the races and transforms the industry into a major tourist attraction.|
|1990||Riverboat casinos are officially legalized, thanks to the Riverboat Gambling Act.|
|1999||Previous restrictions requiring riverboats to be in motion for gaming to commence are repealed, meaning players can enjoy table games and slots even on docked riverboat casinos.|
|2009||The Video Gaming Act is introduced, allowing liquor-pouring establishments to feature video gaming terminals for use by their patrons.|
|2012||The Illinois Lottery becomes the first US lottery to sell lotto tickets online.|
|2015||Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, provides an opinion that daily fantasy sports constitute illegal gambling in IL.|
|2018||The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is repealed, paving the way for more changes to legislation in the near future.|
|2019||Sports betting, both land-based and online, becomes legal under the Illinois Gambling Act 2019.|
|2020||The Illinois Supreme Court partially overturns the opinion of DFS, ruling that certain types of daily fantasy contests are legal in IL.|
Illinois State Facts
Illinois officially became a state in 1818, and today is the sixth most populous state in the union. Its official state slogan is “Land of Lincoln”, referring to its status as the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Throughout its history, the state has been known as a valuable industrial hub. It is also known as the home of jazz and blues music.
|Offline Location||Rivers Casino Des Plaines|
|Commissioner||Illinois Gaming Board|
|Languages||English – 78.26%, Spanish – 13.2%, Polish – 1.5%|
|Local Team||Chicago Bulls|
|Tax Authority||Illinois Department of Revenue|
|Gambling Winning Tax||25%|
|Famous Local Gamblers||Wyatt Earp|
Illinois Gambling Age
As with most states, the legal gambling age in Illinois depends on which game you plan on playing. For lotteries, pari-mutuel betting, bingo and pull-tab games, players need only be 18 years of age. However, when it comes to playing on any of the state’s many river-based casinos, you’ll need to be 21 years of age. The same age limit applies for playing on Video Gaming Terminals.
As for online gambling, players in Illinois must be at least 21 years old to bet on sports or daily fantasy. Illinois online gambling sites carry out age and identity verification to ensure that underage gambling does not take place on their sites. The Illinois Gaming Board can impose big fines for any operators that allow underage gambling to take place.
Online Gambling Age:
Responsible Gambling and Addiction Prevention
There are many resources available for problem gamblers in the state of Illinois. The Illinois Council on Problem Gambling is the main resource for awareness and education about problem gambling in the state. Anyone affected by gambling addition can also contact the National Council on Problem Gambling, through their website or helpline.
As of 2002, the Illinois Gaming Board operates a statewide riverboat casino voluntary self-exclusion program. In 2018 the board introduced a voluntary, confidential problem gambling registry. By entering into the registry, players in need of help can receive informative emails about treatment resources and addiction prevention. Those entered into the register can also remove themselves at any time.
Upcoming Regulation and Expected Changes
Illinois gambling laws have recently been given a major overhaul. The legislation introduced in 2019 has given the green light to the expansion of the commercial casino industry in Illinois. Sports betting is permitted under the law, and the first land-based and online sportsbooks have begun taking wagers.
Illinois has continued to take a hard stance against online casino gaming and poker sites. Yet allowing the state’s commercial casinos to provide online sports betting is likely to fuel the debate about legalizing online casinos. We are closely monitoring the legal landscape and will update this page with any upcoming regulatory changes. You can also check our legal guide to the best online gambling sites, for more useful information.
Our Most Popular Gambling Guides
We have reached the end of our Illinois online gambling guide. But before you leave, why not check out the following FAQ section. We have collated the questions that are most commonly asked about online gambling in IL. Our team of editors have provided concise answers with all the details that you need.
What are the best online gambling sites in Illinois?
The best Illinois gambling sites are those that are licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board. This guarantees that the sites are legal, safe, and fair. Illinois gamblers can choose from sports betting, lottery, and daily fantasy sites. We have listed the best online gambling sites in Illinois. Our featured operators are legal and offer generous welcome bonuses to new players.
Is it legal to gamble online in Illinois?
Online gambling in Illinois is legal for certain types of gambling products. Residents can play the Illinois Lottery online. Furthermore, new Illinois gambling laws were introduced in 2019, which make it legal to bet on sports online. For a sports betting site to operate legally in IL, it must be partnered with one of the state’s commercial casinos and be licensed by the IGB.
What is the gambling age in Illinois?
The legal Illinois gambling age varies depending on the type of gambling product. As a general rule, you must be 21 years or above to gamble in Illinois. This age limit applies to playing casino games and to betting on sports. There are some exceptions. For instance, you must be at least 18 years old to play the Illinois Lottery.
How do Illinois legal gambling sites make money?
Illinois online gambling sites make money through their house edge. Operators calculate the odds they offer on each sports betting market to ensure that they make a profit. Players can check our overview of payouts at IL gambling sites to find out which markets offer the highest payout rates.