Illinois online gambling is moving forward with a variety of measures that allow residents and visitors of the Prairie State to enjoy gambling and sports betting online.
Home to a number of casinos and a growing demand for online gambling among residents, Illinois is quickly becoming a Midwestern gaming hub. Players in the state can already enjoy a lottery and land-based casinos.
Just last year, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law that legalized sports betting in Illinois. The bill also allowed for new casinos and expanded the number of gaming terminals in the state.
Legal online sportsbooks started to launch in 2020, with more on the way. As much as legal online casinos for real money are not an option for Illinois players, Illinois offers casino games online at various sweepstakes casino sites.
Illinois Online Gambling
|Online Gambling Type||Status In Illinois|
|Online Sports Betting||Legal in Illinois|
|Sweepstakes Poker Sites||Available to Illinois players|
|Sweepstakes Casinos||Available to Illinois players|
|Online Horse Race Betting||Legal in Illinois|
|Online Lottery||Legal in Illinois|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||Available to players in Illinois|
|Online Casino||Illegal in Illinois|
Best Sites For Casino Gaming Online:
The best option for Illinois players is to play casino games online for cash prizes at one of these top sweepstakes casino sites:
- Chumba Casino – Best for slots and table games
- LuckyLand Casino – Best for slots
- Global Poker – Best for online poker games
Illinois Online Gambling – What’s Available
DraftKings followed BetRivers, becoming the second online sportsbook to launch in Illinois. Casino Queen in East St. Louis is the land-based partner of DraftKings. FanDuel followed closely, launching in partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino. PointsBet launched with Hawthorne Race Course and William Hill went live in partnership with Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.
See our complete guide to Illinois Online Sports Betting
Illinois Online Horse Racing
Online horse race betting is legal and available to anyone 21 years old within state lines.
The state has three racetracks and various off-track betting facilities as well.
Racing enthusiasts should have no trouble finding a site that powers horse race betting in Illinois. TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires are all live in the state.
The best part? These sites don’t limit you to races held in-state. They offer races from around the globe. This includes high-profile derbies and festivals. BetAmerica, for example, features wagering options for all three Triple Crown races.
Choosing a horse race betting site in Illinois is simply a matter of preference. They all offer live streams and a plethora of betting options.
Online lottery is still somewhat rare in the US, with a few regions offering limited options. Illinois is one of the exceptions to that trend. Players 18 or older in Illinois can purchase lottery tickets online.
Whether it’s through the Illinois Lottery app or website, purchasing tickets is easy. Players need to register first, a process outlined on the Lottery’s webpage.
Players can purchase single drawings or subscriptions to Powerball, Mega Millions, and lotto games online in Illinois. Subscriptions to Lucky Day Lotto, Pick 3, and Pick 4 are also available online.
Once you’ve created an account, you can also:
- View previous wins/check your numbers
- Receive deposits immediately for any win up to $600
- Set notification reminders for draw times and any wins
In recent years, Illinois has tried and failed to formally legalize Daily Fantasy Sports. There’s no law that expressly prohibits DFS operators from providing their services in Illinois. However, the Attorney General issued an opinion that DFS was illegal in 2015. More recently, the Illinois Supreme Court declared that some DFS contests require skill, thus making them legal in Illinois.
The state legislature’s move to legalize sports betting added more complexity to the DFS issue. The Illinois sports betting bill originally included a suggested 18-month penalty for illegal DFS operators wishing to launch online sportsbooks in the state. The penalty did not formally make the final draft of Illinois’ sports betting law.
However, the final legislation does include a stipulation that allows three online-only sports betting licenses to be granted in the state 18 months after the initial launch of sports betting. This led FanDuel and DraftKings to seek land-based partners in Illinois in order to circumvent any waiting period.
With regard to DFS, that legal battle rages on and there’s no clear indication of how it will turn out. For now, FanDuel, DraftKings, and other operators offer DFS to Illinois players unhindered.
Illinois Online Casino Sites
Players purchase in-game currency, which can be used to play casino games. While the currency (usually called “coins”) costs money to buy, they have no monetary value and cannot be redeemed for cash. However, with each purchase, players also receive a small amount of “Sweeps Coins,” a second type of currency that can be redeemed for cash prizes.
Anyone using a sweepstakes casino can also mail in a request for a small number of Sweeps Coins for free. This is what allows these operators to provide their site to Illinois players. They use a sweepstakes model to grant prizes, and because it’s possible to get Sweeps Coins for free, they’re allowed to operate their sites.
What Casino Games Can I Play In Illinois?
Global Poker is the most popular sweepstakes poker site available in Illinois because it is set up very similarly to a traditional online poker platform. However, you have to play with the site-specific currency Gold Coins or Sweeps Coins.
To exchange the Global Poker currency for a cash prize or gift card, you need to win Sweeps Coins. The more Sweeps Coins you win, the higher your prize.
At Global Poker, you can play Ring Games, Sit ‘N’ Go, and multi-table tournaments. The available formats are Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple. Buy-in ranges from micro to high-roller.
In most states, online poker is illegal. But Global Poker is available in every US state and Canadian province except for the State of Washington and Quebec, meaning it has one of the biggest user-bases for a legal poker site in the world.
Online Casino Games
The setup is the same as Global Poker, where you have to win Sweeps Coins to receive a cash prize or gift card. Global Poker and Chumba Casino share a parent company, but LuckyLand is a separate entity despite using the same sweepstakes casino model.
Chumba Casino is not the Facebook app or mobile app with the same name. This is its own website that’s only available at ChumbaCasino.com. The other Chumba does not offer cash prizes or gift cards that are redeemed through Sweeps Coins.
The FendOff sweepstakes sportsbook is most popular in states that do not have legal real-money sports betting sites. Illinois is not one of those states, so most people who like to make sports picks will enjoy apps like BetRivers, DraftKings, or FanDuel. But online sports betting in Illinois is limited to players over 21 years ago. Sweepstakes sites are open to players over 18.
However, you can win cash prizes at FendOff without making a purchase, so it’s still likely worth it. All you have to do is create an account, and you’ll receive Sweeps that you can use to make sports picks. If you get it right, you win Sweeps that can be redeemed for a prize.
How Are Sweepstakes Sites Different Than Online Gambling Sites?
Traditional online gambling sites use real-money currency. You deposit money into your account, you place bets in the currency you deposited, then you withdraw whatever is leftover. It’s simple and straightforward.
With a sweepstakes sites, it’s a bit less straightforward. You receive Sweeps Coins and Gold Coins for free or by making a purchase. You can then exchange winning Sweeps Coins for a cash prize.
Because of this distinction, sweepstakes sites are legal in 49 of 50 US states. Meanwhile, legal online casinos are only available in five, online sports betting in around a dozen states, and online poker in four.
Winning For Free
At some online gambling sites, you can receive what’s called a no-deposit bonus. Just for creating an account, you can receive free betting credits that you can use on the site.
This bonus is tied to a playthrough requirement, which is how many times you need to bet the no-deposit bonus amount before you can withdraw. So if you receive $25 and the playthrough is 15x, you’d need to bet $375 before you can withdraw.
At a sweepstakes casino, the Sweeps Coins only have a 1x playthrough requirement. So you can use your free credits to play the games, and if you win the minimum required for a redemption, you can redeem for a cash prize.
Can You Win Real Money At Sweepstakes Casinos And Poker Sites From Illinois?
You can win cash prizes at sweepstakes casinos and poker sites from Illinois. But you can’t deposit, play, and withdraw using real-money. Instead, you need to use the site’s currency, which is Sweeps Coins and Gold Coins.
Gold Coins are strictly for fun play. They cannot be used to redeem for cash prizes. That’s why you’ll receive thousands or millions of gold coins when you purchase a package, which can include Sweeps Coins.
Sweeps Coins are what you use to win a cash prize. But you have to play with them before they can be redeemed.
For example, Chumba Casino offers a free Sweeps Coins every time you log in. You can’t just log in for 100 days in a row, then redeem for a cash prize. Those credits need to be played on the site before they qualify for redemption.
Alternatively, you can exchange your Sweeps Coins for a gift card. This requires a much smaller number of Sweeps Coins. At Chumba Casino, the cash prize minimum is 100 Sweeps Coins, but the gift card minimum is 10 Sweeps Coins.
The same is true for LuckyLand. However, the cash prize minimum is 50 Sweeps Coins, which is half that of Chumba.
What Kinds Of Bonuses Do Sweepstakes Casinos And Poker Sites Offer To Players In Illinois?
When you first join a sweepstakes site, you’ll receive free Gold Coins and free Sweeps Coins. This satisfies the Illinois law that a sweepstakes can’t require a purchase for participation.
Below are the welcome bonuses available at the four major sweepstakes sites. No purchase is required; however, you may need to verify your identity before the credits are added to your account. At Global Poker, this requires a photo of your ID.
|Sweepstakes Site||Free Gold Coins||Free Sweeps Coins|
|Chumba Casino||2 million||2|
You can also receive free Sweeps Coins by mailing in a request to their PO box or by participating in their social media contests. See the specific info on the sweepstakes site to learn more, as you have to follow very specific instructions to qualify.
At Chumba Casino, you receive free Gold Coins and one free Sweeps Coins every day that you log in. There’s no restriction to how many times you can do this, so you could presumably get 365 free Sweeps Coins per year.
LuckyLand’s login bonus is a bit different. You receive 0.30 Sweeps Coins every day that you log in. But if you do so seven days in a row, you receive one free Sweeps Coin. Then the cycle resets.
However, to redeem for a cash prize, you need to play using your free Sweeps Coins. But if you play games with high return to player (RTP), you could turn around 100 free Sweeps Coins into 100 cleared Sweeps Coins with a bit of luck.
Aside from the first signup bonus, Global Poker and FendOff do not have daily login bonuses.
A purchase bonus at a sweepstakes site is a reduced price on a Gold Coins package that includes Sweeps Coins.
For example, you can receive a $40 coin package at Global Poker for $20 after the initial welcome bonus of free coins. That means you receive 200,000 Gold Coins and 40 Sweeps Coins for half the price.
Chumba Casino and LuckyLand also regularly have discounted coin packages. You’ll be notified by email, so make sure to move their communications into your contacts. Otherwise, limited-time offers can go unnoticed in your spam folder.
What Kinds Of Games Are Available At Illinois Sweepstakes Poker Sites?
Global Poker is the most popular sweepstakes poker site for two key reasons: it has the largest number of players, and it’s set up like a gambling poker site. Here are the three different types of games.
Ring Games are where you can sit down at the empty seat of a game that’s already in motion, play some poker, and leave at any time.
The types of games available are Texas Hold’em and Omaha. While Crazy Pineapple is also technically an option, there’s rarely a Crazy Pineapple ring game going on at Global Poker.
The four sizes of Sweeps Coins buy-ins are:
- Micro (SC 0.05/SC 0.1)
- Low (SC 0.5/SC 1)
- Medium (SC 2.5/SC 5)
- High (SC 10/SC 20)
To exit a Ring Game, click the arrow in the upper right side of the screen. If you simply press the back button, you may still be at the table. You have to manually exit to remove your obligation to the blinds.
Sit ‘n’ Go and Jackpot Sit ‘n’ Go
Sit ‘n’ Go tournaments are single-table tournaments with buy-ins that range from SC 0.25 to SC 250 or more. Everyone’s buy-in is pooled together, and the last player standing gets the pool of Sweeps Coins.
A Jackpot Sit ‘n’ Go is structured the same way, except the total jackpot is randomly generated before the start of the game. Rather than simply the pool of Sweeps Coins, the winner gets a jackpot up to 250,000 Sweeps Coins.
Tournaments are multi-table competitions. While the last player standing receives the grand prize, you receive Sweeps Coins for winning tables on your way to the final round.
Tournaments buy-ins range from SC 0.11 to SC 218. You can also play freeroll tournaments that don’t require any buy-in.
What Kinds Of Slots Can I Play At Sweepstakes Casinos?
You can find a wide range of slots at Chumba Casino and LuckyLand. Much like a traditional online casino, slot machines represent the biggest variety out of all the types of sweepstakes casino games.
The types of slots available at Chumba Casino and LuckyLand are classic three-reel slots, standard video slots, 3D slots, and progressives. Unsurprisingly, the progressive slots are the most popular.
How Progressives Work At Sweepstakes Casinos
Every time a player uses Sweeps Coins on a progressive and Chumba or LuckyLand, the total jackpot increases. One percent to ten percent of each Sweeps Coin amount that the player risks is added to the running total. When a lucky person hits the jackpot, it resets at its starting amount and continues to increase.
In some cases, a progressive jackpot is shared between more than one slot. At Chumba Casino, some of the highest progressives are shared between two slots. At LuckyLand, there’s usually a slots tournament going on with a prize pool that’s on top of the progressive jackpots. The players with the most points share a slice of the total, which can be hundreds of Sweeps Coins.
The Most Popular Sweepstakes Slots In Illinois
Slots lovers in Illinois appreciate huge win potential. That’s why the most popular slots are the ones with the largest progressive jackpots. Therefore, the most popular slot can change on a daily basis.
But in general, the biggest potential prizes are Chumba Casino. At the time of writing this article, the biggest progressive at LuckyLand was SC 72,000 (Neon Valley) while the biggest at Chumba Casino was over a million Sweeps Coins (Western Gold).
In fact, Chumba Casino had six different progressive slots with a jackpot over SC 200,000:
- Western Gold
- Stampede Fury
- Triple Double Fever
- Dancing Gold
- Stallion Grand
- Reelin n’ Rockin’
Winning a progressive jackpot win at Chumba Casino could mean redeeming for a cash prize that makes you a millionaire.
What Other Casino Games Can I Find At Sweepstakes Casinos?
Sweepstakes Blackjack and Caribbean Poker
You can play sweepstakes blackjack at Chumba Casino and Global Poker.
At Chumba, the blackjack has a table minimum of SC 1 and maximum of SC 500. Dealer stands on soft 17, you can double down on 9, 10, or 11, and blackjack pays 3 to 2.
At Global Poker, you can choose between blackjack classic and blackjack premium.
The classic variation has a table minimum of SC 0.50, but dealer hits on soft 17 and doesn’t peek for blackjack. The premium version has a table minimum of SC 25, but dealer stands on soft 17 and peeks for blackjack. Both Global Poker blackjack variations are 3:2.
Global Poker also offers Caribbean Poker, where two pair doubles your Sweeps Coins and a royal flush awards a 200 to 1 payout.
Chumba Casino is the only place where you can find sweepstakes roulette.
They offer standard American roulette, which has two green pockets, the worst odds of any roulette variation. The best odds are single green pocket roulette, which is featured on European and French roulette variations.
The other roulette variation at Chumba Casino is 2x American roulette, which has a separate win opportunity with a dice roll. It’s a unique side bet that’s akin to craps.
Sweepstakes Video Poker
Chumba offers Jacks or Better video poker, which is one of the most overlooked games at the casino. Played using best strategy, Jacks or Better has one of the best RTP rates.
In fact, you have better odds of more consistent wins on Jacks or Better video poker at Chumba than any of the other sweepstakes table games aside from blackjack premium at Global Poker. Wagers range from is 1 SC to 5 SC.
Illinois Online Gambling History
Online gambling is a new frontier in Illinois’ rich gambling history, which has roots that reach as far back as 1927 with the advent of pari-mutuel horse race wagering.
The state evolved throughout the past 100 years, offering new forms of gambling in a slow trickle of legislation.
The biggest spark that drove Illinois to embrace online sports betting was the United States Supreme Court decision in May 2018 that declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional.
While many believe this legalized sports betting across the United States, the truth is a bit more complex. Instead, The Supreme Court decision on PASPA opened the door for each individual state to makes its own ruling on sports betting. In the two years since, 22 states and Washington D.C. have authorized some form of legal sports betting. Illinois is among them.
In June 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act. The law both expanded land-based gaming in the state and finalized Illinois’ sports betting framework.
The Prairie State is just beginning to see the fruits of this bill. Two online sportsbooks launched in the first half of 2020 and three more followed later in the summer. More are on the way, marking a new era for Illinois betting enthusiasts.
Live Gambling In Illinois
Illinois launched regulated horse race betting in 1927. That was the only form of gambling available for some time, until 1974 when the state launched its lottery.
In 1990, Illinois became the second state (following its neighbor Iowa) to authorize casino riverboat gambling. Riverboat casinos still have a large presence in the state.
2009 brought another win to Illinois: The Video Gaming Act. The law allowed retail locations such as bars, restaurants, and truck stops to place a limited number of VLT (video lottery terminals) on their properties. VLTs look and play like slot machines, but they use lottery math models.
In 2012, Illinois shook things up by authorizing online lottery sales. Only a small selection of states offer this option to this day.
Finally, in 2019, Illinois passed its law regulating sportsbook for both the retail and online markets.
Illinois Gambling Overview
|Is lottery legal in Illinois?||Yes, both retail and online|
|Does Illinois have racetracks?||Yes|
|Does Illinois have casinos?||Yes|
|What is the minimum gambling age in Illinois?||21 (18 for lottery, horse race betting, and Daily Fantasy Sports)|
|Who regulates Illinois gambling?||The Illinois Gaming Board|
|Where else can I gamble in Illinois?||Offtrack betting facilities (horse racing). Bars, restaurants, truck stops (Video Lottery Terminals). Online horse race betting sites. Online sportsbooks (not yet launched).|
The Prairie State hosts 10 casinos. More are on the way as part of the recent bill that also legalized sports betting. The Illinois Gambling Act approves six more casinos in the state, including one near Chicago.
Here’s a rundown of Illinois casinos:
|Casino Queen||East St. Louis|
|Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel||Joliet|
|Grand Victoria Casino||Elgin|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||Joliet|
|Rivers Casino||Des Plaines|
|Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino||East Peoria|
|Harrah’s Metropolis Casino and Hotel||Metropolis|
|Jumer’s Casino and Hotel||Rock Island|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||Aurora|
Casino Companies In Illinois
A number of gaming industry juggernauts control Illinois casinos. Most of the casino owners are big-name corporations, but a few of Illinois’ casinos are outliers.
Churchill Downs owns a controlling stake in Des Plaines’ Rivers Casino as well as the Arlington International racetrack nearby. Rush Street Gaming operates Rivers Casino as a minority owner.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation is heavily invested in Illinois casinos. It owns both Harrah’s properties (Joilet and Metropolis) and Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Caesars came to own Grand Victoria through its merger with Eldorado Resorts.
Penn National Gaming owns both Hollywood casinos in Illinois: Aurora and Joliet.
Three other companies each own a single casino in Illinois: Boyd Gaming owns Par-A-Dice, Delaware North owns Jumer’s Casino and Hotel, and Casino Queen in East St. Louis is employee-owned.
Laws To Know
Anyone 21 or over can play at an Illinois casino with proper identification.
Illinois prohibits smoking in gambling properties.
The Illinois Lottery launched in 1974 and has been active ever since. In 2012, the state changed its laws to allow the online sale of lottery games. Now, players can purchase and play lottery games on the internet and even collect prizes up to $600 directly on the Lottery’s website.
The Illinois Lottery website is a great resource for players. It includes how-to-play guides for each game. Plus, you can purchase tickets for many draw games right on the site. If you are a frequent player, you can set up a subscription to purchase tickets on a regular basis.
Huge jackpots are available in Illinois games like Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lotto Extra Shot. These games offer massive prizes, but they have the slimmest odds. Simply pick your numbers and keep your fingers crossed they hit when the time comes for the drawing.
Pick 3 and Pick 4 offer smaller but more frequent prizes of up to $500 and $5,000, respectively. Both games have drawings twice daily for maximum chances to win.
Instant tickets offer prizes up to $1 million, and they’re easy to purchase and play. However, instant tickets are not available online. Players have to purchase them at a licensed retail location, which can be found on the Illinois Lottery website or app.
Illinois Horse Racing
Horse racing has long been engrained in Illinois gambling culture. The state began allowing pari-mutuel racing bets as early as 1927.
Illinois has three racetracks in addition to various off-track betting facilities.
|Arlington International Racecourse||Arlington Heights|
Horse race betting in Illinois is allowed for anyone 18 or above. The state allows online horse race wagering through sites like TVG, Xpressbet, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires.
Illinois Gambling Information
- Illinois Gaming Board Website
- Illinois Racing Board Website
- Illinois Lottery Homepage
- Chicago Sun-Times Casino & Gambling News Hub
Illinois Online Gambling FAQs
Yes. Illinois authorized riverboat casinos in 1990. It was the second state to do so after its midwestern neighbor, Iowa. Ten casinos currently operate with full licenses in the state
In June 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law that expands casino gaming in Illinois. The bill, which also legalized sports betting, authorizes the construction of six new casinos in Illinois. The move drastically expands Illinois gambling presence.
DraftKings has both a Daily Fantasy Sports app and a sportsbook app for Illinois players. There’s a legal back-and-forth between DFS operators and state lawmakers that puts DFS on shaky ground.
The DraftKings sportsbook app launched in August 2020 and is available on Android or iOS devices. The company is partnered with casino Queen in East St. Louis.
Yes. Online sports betting is legal in Illinois. There are currently five online sportsbooks live in the state as of September 2020: BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill. You can sign up via an operator website or by downloading an Android or iOS app.
Penn National Gaming owns two of Illinois’ casinos. Caesars owns both Harrah’s properties plus Grand Victoria Elgin, which it acquired via its merger with Eldorado.
Churchill Downs owns Rivers Casino as well as Arlington International Racecourse.
Boyd Gaming owns Par-A-Dice, Delaware North owns Jumer’s Casino and Hotel, and Casino Queen in East St. Louis is employee-owned. Par-A-Dice announced its partnership with FanDuel Sportsbook in late August 2020.
You’ll find a wide variety of games offered at Illinois’ casinos. Blackjack, roulette, craps, poker variants, and many more are available in The Prairie State’s gambling properties. Slots are common as well, with some casinos offering more than 1,000 machines.
No. Though many other forms of gambling both in-person and online are available to Illinois players, the state remains steady in its stance against online casinos.
Sweepstakes casinos are available, but they use a unique model that allows players to win cash prizes by playing with special in-game currency.
It’s possible that Illinois could legalize online casino gaming for real money in the future, but that looks to be a distant possibility rather than a near-future one.
18. You need to be at least 18 years old to play at a sweepstakes site in Illinois. The site will likely have you verify your identity before a cash prize is awarded. At Global Poker, you must verify your age and identity before you receive your free Sweeps Coins bonus.
In Illinois, the online gambling age is 21. If you’re under 21 and want to win cash prizes by making sports picks, you’ll need to play at FendOff rather than an online sportsbook.
You can win a cash prize at sweepstakes casinos from Illinois by playing at Chumba Casino or LuckyLand, two of the top-rated sweepstakes sites available in the state. To redeem for a cash prize at LuckyLand, you need at least 50 Sweeps Coins. To redeem at Chumba Casino, you need at least 100 Sweeps Coins. For a gift card, you can redeem for 10 Sweeps Coins at both sites.
Over a million. Global Poker boasts a user base of over a million members. While that’s not indicative of their monthly users, that’s a massive number of profiles that few other poker sites can claim. Day or night, you can find a large number of ring games going on at Global Poker. They also host tournaments that start as late as 3 AM and start as early as 5 AM.
To redeem a cash prize at sweepstakes casinos or poker sites, you need to have a minimum number of cleared Sweeps Coins in your account. Free Sweeps Coins are not cleared for redemption until they’re used to play the games. The sweepstakes site will then send you your money via Skrill e-wallet. From there, you can transfer the cash prize to your regular bank account.