In the last couple of years, online gambling in all forms has started to spread throughout the United States. More and more states were patiently waiting for the approval of the institutions and the full legalization of online casinos and sportsbooks. Finally, the time has come for the state of Illinois as well. Online sports betting went live in the summer of 2020, and IL residents have the option to intensify the thrill of watching their favorite sports teams with an online wager.
In the following Illinois sports betting review, our team of industry experts will dig deep into this lightning-speed developing industry. We will give you our recommendation for the best Illinois online sports betting site, and we will explore the most important features, markets, sports and betting categories. Stay with us to learn everything important about Illinois sports betting and the best Illinois betting sites.
- We use trusted and reliable sources such as ESPN to gather any relevant industry information and keep you up to date with the latest developments and betting trends.
- We aren’t just experts in sports betting, we have dedicated teams across the gambling sector, including for popular casino games like slots. We provide informative and helpful articles and reviews, such as our online roulette guide.
- We keep on top of all upcoming legal changes by closely following legislative revisions through the Illinois Government.
Top Illinois Online Sports Betting Sites
As one of the United States’ major metropolises, all major sports leagues have teams headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. IL residents are very passionate about a number of sports, and as we all know, sports and sports betting go hand in hand. Unfortunately, for many years, they only had the option to place sports wagers at land-based establishments, but that is no longer the case. Bettors physically located within the state’s limits are permitted to wager through desktop, mobile or tablet devices at last.
- BetRivers – Great Betting Markets and Competitive Odds
As the Illinois online sports betting industry is still making its first steps, it is understandable that, for now, there is just one top-quality online sportsbook. BetRivers is a fantastic brand that has been around for enough years to understand what the regular bettor needs and looks for. IL residents can enjoy a plethora of betting markets with competitive odds and can make the most of online betting from the comfort of their homes.
Illinois Sports Betting Rules: Available Sports and Top Leagues
As we said, Illinoisians are passionate sports fans, and the state is home to some of the biggest names in the sports world. Illinois has a rich legacy of baseball with two separate major league teams and a range of semi-professional teams. Similarly, basketball and football are two top choices in the state, being home to both the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Bears. Sports enthusiasts can also participate in a range of other sports throughout the year, including horse racing, golf, ice hockey, and the fast-gaining popularity soccer.
In the following paragraphs, we will have a look at the most popular sports in the state, and will give you some interesting details about the most successful teams and players. And while we are eager to dive in, we would like to share with you that the number of other states that can grant you amazing online betting opportunities is getting bigger and bigger. In case we lit up your curiosity, why don’t you check out what sports betting in Delaware can offer you?
1. American Football Betting – NFL, Superbowl, NCAA & More
American football is arguably the most popular sport in Illinois. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as the sport is watched and loved by millions of Americans. The most famous and successful team in Illinois are certainly the Chicago Bears. They have been competing in the NFL since 1920, making them one of the oldest teams in the league. The Bears have won nine NFL Championships, including one Super Bowl, and hold the NFL record for the most enshrinees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the most retired jersey numbers.
Some famous Chicago Bears Hall of Fame members include George Blanda, Dick Butkus, Guy Chamberlin, George Connor, Jimmy Conzelman, Richard Dent, and Mike Ditka. The Bears still sit atop the NFL record books in several categories, leading the league in more seasons than any other team in scoring, touchdowns, first downs, rushing and fewest rushing yards allowed.
IL punters can bet not only on games from the NFL but also on college football and other football championships outside the country. BetRivers offers very good odds and very attractive markets, and allows punters to bet through mobile devices too. Live betting is also possible, and we strongly recommend the usage of the useful betting feature cash out.
2. Basketball Betting – NBA, WNBA & More
Founded in 1966, The Chicago Bulls is one of the most popular and well-known professional basketball teams. During the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls were credited with popularizing the NBA worldwide. They are known for having one of the NBA’s greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. Of course, a major part of this success played arguably the greatest player of all-time – Michael Jordan.
The Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships and never lose an NBA Finals series in their history. The Bulls were also the first team to win more than 70 games in a season. Some of the other world-known stars who have worn the red and white jersey are Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoc. Sadly, for the millions of Bulls fans, the team hasn’t had any success in the past twenty years and have made it past the conference semifinals just once.
Illinois residents can place betting predictions on games from the National Basketball Association, the WNBA, NCAA college basketball (including NCAA March Madness), European basketball championships and more. As we all know, the NBA features plenty of regular-season games and suspense-filled postseason, so there are plenty of betting opportunities and valuable markets. Outright bets are very popular, so are DFS tournaments, where knowledgeable IL punters can make their own dream teams. In case you’re a fan of daily fantasy sports, you can head over to our dedicated review about the best DFS sites in Illinois.
3. Baseball Betting – MLB, NCAA & More
Based in Chicago, the Chicago Cubs compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The team plays its home games at Wrigley Field, located on the city’s North Side. The Cubs are one of two major league teams in Chicago; the other, the Chicago White Sox, is a member of the American League (AL) Central division. Before the Cubs had this nickname, they were actually known as the Chicago Orphans, Chicago White Stockings, and the Chicago Colts. The Cubs have appeared in a total of eleven World Series and hold the record for the most wins in a single season – 116 games.
At the 2016 World Series, the Cubs finally ended a 100-years drought by winning the Series and re-captured the attention of the whole state. Since then, baseball betting has drastically increased, and the majority of the wagers are in favor of the Chicago-based team. BetRivers Sportsbook offers many valuable and alluring baseball markets, so IL punters only have to make the right prediction.
4. Ice Hockey Betting – NHL & More
Founded in 1986, the Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago. They have won six Stanley Cup Championships and are one of the “Original Six” NHL teams. Known colloquially as the Hawks, they first made their mark in 1963/64, setting an NHL record for most consecutive home wins with 11. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 1961 and also made the finals in 1962 and 1965.
In recent years, they are the most successful team in the state, winning three Stanley Cups in the past eleven years. The team has seen their share of great hockey players, from Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. BetRivers offers many interesting bets for ice hockey games, so you can bet on the Hawks matches, and you can even place wagers on the performances of the players.
5. Soccer Betting – MLS, Premier League & More
Soccer, more commonly known as football outside of the United States, is probably the fastest developing sport at the moment not only in Illinois but in the whole country. The Chicago Fire is a member of the MLS and has been one of the most successful and best-supported clubs in the state and the league. It was founded only in 1997, which further shows the rising interest in soccer in the past twenty years.
Nowadays, more and more Illinoisians are watching soccer games, and with the legalization of online betting, the wagers keep pouring in. After all, soccer is the most popular sport in the world and the one that accumulates the largest number of bets. The diversity of betting markets is tremendous, and even though the most famous soccer leagues at the moment are the European championships, we expect MLS betting to get a bigger popularity soon.
Illinois Sports Betting on Mobile
Now that we have listed the top five most popular sports in Illinois, it is time to turn our attention to the most important features of the online sports betting industry. Obviously, the fact that now Illinois online betting is legal has many perks, and mobile gambling is one of them. Nowadays, we all spend an enormous amount of time on our smartphones, so having a sports betting application and access to online betting markets feels necessary.
- BetRivers – User-Friendly App with Wide Mobile Compatibility
The BetRivers mobile application is free to download and has been perfectly optimized for both iOS and Android devices. IL punters can make online wagers regardless of their destination, as long as they are on the territory of the state. The app is easy to use, and players can access the full amount of sports and betting markets through their portable devices.
Best Betting App
IL Sports Gambling Bonus Offers and Promotions
Of course, another one of the biggest perks of online legal sports betting in Illinois is the opportunity to take advantage of bonuses and promotions. When you make your first deposit at BetRivers Sportsbook, you can grab a 100% bonus of up to $250. This way, you’ll be able to double up your bankroll from the very beginning and play with bigger bets.
|Illinois Betting Site||Bonus Offer||Bonus/Promo Code||Wagering Requirements||Min. Deposit||Validity|
|BetRivers||Up to $250||250MATCH||1X||$10||30 Days|
Just like at any other welcome bonus, this one has certain terms and conditions that IL punters should be aware of. First of all, the minimum deposit amount is set at just $10. You get your welcoming amount in bonus funds, and you have to wager them only once to fulfill the playthrough requirements. The validity of the bonus is 30 days, so you will have more than enough time to find the perfect betting market. All of these requirements make this bonus incredibly attractive, so don’t waste any more time and make the most of it.
Free Sports Betting with No Deposit – Are There Any Offers?
Unfortunately, at the moment, there aren’t any no deposit bonuses available to punters in Illinois. Such offers are not very common, especially when we talk about online sportsbooks, and not online casinos (where usually there are free spins bonuses). Nevertheless, BetRivers offers many bonuses to regular punters, that don’t require making a deposit. Contests, profit boosts and odds boost can be seen at the promotions page of the site quite regularly.
As we already mentioned earlier in our Illinois sports betting review, we are always trying to keep you up to date with the latest trends, features and offers in the industry, so as soon as such bonus pops up, we will inform you straight away.
Deposits and Withdrawals at Online IL Sportsbooks
Obviously, when you play at online sportsbooks, you always think about the safety of your transactions and bank details. We are happy to inform you that when you play at the best Illinois sportsbook, your banking transactions are 100% secure. You can pick from a plethora of payment methods, including some of the most popular and used options in the world. You can choose between Visa, MasterCard, PayNearMe, eChecks and Rivers Prepaid Cards. You can also top up your account at the cash desk of any land-based BetRivers casino.
Best PayPal Betting Site
As for the withdrawals, it’s a bit more complicated. Unlike the deposits, which normally happen instantly, you will have to wait a couple of days to receive your money. The minimum amount to cash out is just $10, just like the deposit, and you have to use a payment method that has already been used for funding your account. The fastest way to receive your funds is at the cash desk of a BetRivers casino, where all you have to do is enter your account details, and you will receive the requested amount in a matter of minutes.
Live Sports Betting in Illinois
Live betting is probably the most preferred way of online betting globally, especially by more experienced punters. It gives you the chance to make more accurate predictions based on the live performances of the players and teams you’re watching. Punters in Illinois have the opportunity to bet on live games at BetRivers, and there are more than enough sports and valuable markets to choose from.
Live betting in Illinois is as popular as in any other US state, where online betting has been legalized. This type of wagering highly increases the thrill and excitement of watching a sports game, and most of the time, you get better odds than the ones prior the game. Bear in mind that a stable internet connection is required, as the odds are constantly changing, and you need to be in tune to take advantage of opportunities and beneficial odds as they pop up.
Top Live Sportsbook
Illinois Land-Based Sportsbooks & Locations
Illinois is the home of more than ten riverboat casinos, and most of them have obtained licenses to operate sportsbooks. There are also three racetracks, all of which have submitted applications and are waiting for the approval of the Illinois Gaming Board. Sports facilities also have the opportunity to set up sportsbooks at or within five blocks of their arenas and stadiums. In the table below, we have listed the most popular land-based sports betting facilities on the territory of Illinois.
|Illinois Sportsbook||Casino Partner/Racetrack||Launch Date|
|Rivers||Casino||March 9, 2020|
|Argosy||Casino||March 12, 2020|
|Grand Victoria (William Hill)||Casino||August 3, 2020|
|Draftkings (Casino Queen)||Casino||August 5, 2020|
Undoubtedly, the number of land-based sports betting destinations, along with the number of online sportsbooks, will only grow in the future. For example, states like Pennsylvania that have been able to enjoy legal sports betting for some time now have more than a dozen brick and mortar sportsbooks and probably twice as many legal sports betting sites. If you want to learn more about the thriving sports betting industry in Pennsylvania, check out our dedicated PA sports betting review.
Sports Betting Law in Illinois
Legal online sports betting launched in Illinois in June 2020. The current IL law includes a provision that prohibits online-only operators to operators on the territory of the state. At least for now. In other words, only the state’s retail entities may be granted online betting licenses in an 18-month window. Initial legislation required restrictive in-person registrations, meaning the IL punters had to physically visit a land-based sportsbook in order to make a registration at the Ullinois online sports betting site. Governor J.B.Pritzker suspended the requirement on a couple of occasions later on.
Legal Online Sports Betting Age in Illinois
In order to be able to place a sports bet in Illinois legally, you have to be at least 21 years old. 21 is the minimum age to legally participate in casino games as well. The current minimum betting age for lottery betting, consisting of State Lottery, Mega Millions, Powerball multistate lotteries and video lottery terminals, has been determined as 18 years of age. If you want to learn more about playing lotto in Illinois, you can visit our informative Illinois lottery online review.
Sports Betting AgeThe legal betting age for casinos and sports is 21 years.
Alcohol AgeThe legal drinking age in Illinois is 21 years.
Weed AgeAs of 2014, Illinois legalized marijuana for medical purposes only.
Taxes on Your Winnings: Do You Have to Pay Anything?
The sports betting tax in Illinois is 15%. Taxes are taken on by the sportsbook operators, not the bettors. On top of that, casinos that incorporate sports betting sections have to pay up to $10 million for getting the license from the Illinois Gaming Board. These taxes are actually a bit high, compared to other states where sports betting has been legalized. Usually, lower rates create a better overall market, so we expect these taxes to get lower in the following years.
Benefits of Legal Sports Betting in Illinois
The benefits of legal sports betting in Illinois are many. IL residents love all kinds of sports and the fact that the government allows them to place legal sports wagers shows that it cares about them. They no longer have to look for unauthorized sportsbooks and risk their safety. In the table below, we have listed some of the other advantages of legal Illinois sports betting.
|Satisfied Residents||It is surely much better to have residents that are happy with the provided services on the territory of the state they live in. After all, it’s a matter of choice whether to participate in sports betting activities or not, and just having the option to choose is an advantage.|
|Increase in Revenue||The sports betting industry is a multi-billion business. The sports betting taxation will help the state increase its budget and invest in other industries and trades.|
|More Job Opportunities||Creating new brick and mortar gambling facilities that offer sports betting services will create more job opportunities and will help decrease the number of unemployed residents in the state.|
|Safe Market for IL Punters||Being able to play at legal sportsbooks is a huge advantage for the punters. They don’t have to worry about scams, and they know that they invest their money in a regulated market. By being able to legally place a wager, you don’t have to worry about your personal and bank details, and you know that you’ll receive your winnings.|
|Responsible Gambling Friendly||A regulated sports betting market will easier detect problem gamblers and will provide opportunities and services for help. Most legal online sportsbooks screen players for problem gaming and work closely with plenty of responsible gambling organizations.|
These are just a few of the advantages of having a legal and regulated sports betting market. It is no wonder that after so many years of sports betting restrictions in Illinois, and in the whole country, finally, state governments have decided to turn things around. One by one, they legalize online sports betting and gambling in general. Bolstering the state economy and simultaneously making punters happy are certainly the biggest benefits of having a legal sports betting industry.
Local History of IL Sports Betting
Lawmakers in Illinois first expressed interest in legalizing sports betting in all forms in 2018 by introducing five new bills. They were actually trying to explore the industry and the potential interest in it. In the following year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the legislature to legalize sports betting by including revenue from it in his budget proposal. Have a look at the table below to learn more information about the history of sports betting in Illinois.
|1920||Horse racing betting legalized in Illinois with five tracks throughout the state and an additional 37 legal off-track betting locations.|
|1990||The Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990 made it legal to open casinos on riverboats, sitting on the water. More than ten of these exist today with over 9000 slots options, and approximately 500 table games spread among them.|
|2009||The Video Gaming Act of 2009 allowed certain businesses to host five lottery terminals within their establishments through centralized slot machines available in 5,600 locations.|
|2019||1House Bill 19-1327 is introduced – the bill made it legal for limited sports betting licenses. At the beginning of the following year, many casinos incorporated sports betting services and online sports betting went live.|
Is Online Sports Betting Legal Outside of the State?
As we already mentioned a couple of times in our Illinois sports betting guide, more and more states are making steps toward legalizing online sports betting. At the moment of writing, more than fourteen states have already legalized online sports betting. The state of New Jersey was one of the first to jump on the train, with sports betting in NJ becoming legal in 2018. Among the neighbouring states of Illinois, currently the Iowa sports betting industry is a bit ahead.
Future of Online Sports Betting IL
No one knows what the future holds. The online sports betting industry is one of the fastest developing businesses in the United States, so we expect that online betting will become more and more popular in the near future. IL punters are currently able to make registrations at Illinois sportsbooks from their homes, but not long ago, they had to visit a land-based location in order to open an online account. The future of online gambling in Illinois certainly looks bright, not only in the sports betting section but as a whole. We will keep you updated with all developments and changes.
Sports Betting Guides for Neighboring States
Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Online Betting Sites
As the time has come for us to wrap it up, we think it’s appropriate to finish with a FAQ section where we will answer the most commonly asked questions regarding sports betting in Illinois. Spare a few more minutes with us, and you might end up learning some interesting facts about the industry.
What is the best Illinois sportsbook?
The best Illinois sportsbook is BetRivers. The operator provides plenty of betting opportunities with valuable odds and alluring markets. IL residents can pick from a range of sports such as football, basketball, ice hockey, baseball, soccer and more. We expect more Illinois sportsbooks to join the race for the first place very soon.
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes, sports betting in Illinois is absolutely legal. IL punters are finally able to place sports wagers at online Illinois sportsbooks and don’t have to worry about the authenticity and safety of the platforms. For more information about the legal situation in the state, check out our paragraph about the sports betting law in Illinois.
What is the best sports betting app in Illinois?
BetRivers offers tremendous sports betting apps for both iOS and Android users. The apps are free to download and are very easy to use. Players in Illinois can place bets through their portable devices regardless of their destination, as long as they are on the territory of the state.
What sports can you bet on in Illinois?
Players in Illinois have access to pretty much every single sport that comes to mind. The top Illinois sportsbook offers betting markets on different sports like American football, basketball, soccer, box, horse racing, baseball, tennis, UFC, rugby, car racing and many more.
Is Illinois applying a sports betting tax on winnings?
At the moment, players in Illinois don’t have to pay tax on their winnings. Sportsbooks, on the other hand, need to pay 15% tax plus an additional fee (up to $10 million) for applying for a betting license. As the industry is still relatively new in the state, we expect some changes in the future.
What are the sports betting locations in Illinois?
At the moment, there are more than ten riverboat casinos in Illinois, and most of them are providing sports betting services. There are also a few racetracks that have applied for licenses and expect to get them in the near future. But with the legalization of online betting, land-based sportsbooks are loosing a bit of their popularity.