Illinois is rising in the ranks of gambling-friendly markets. The Prairie State has long had casinos and racetracks. Now, it’s staged to become a gambling leader with the introduction of Illinois online sports betting.
BetRivers was the first online sportsbook in Illinois. The sportsbook launched in June 2020, making it the first online sports betting site to come to the Land of Lincoln.
Governor J.B. Pritzker legalized sports betting in Illinois when he signed a gambling expansion bill in the last year. The bill also included provisions that allow for six new casinos to be built in Illinois.
Since legalizing sports betting, Illinois has launched a number of retail and online sportsbooks.
BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill are all live online sports betting in the state. The Prairie State is quickly becoming a midwestern sports betting hub.
Legal Online Sportsbooks In Illinois
Right now, Illinois has five online sportsbooks. Here’s a rundown of the current Illinois landscape.
BetRivers launched its online sportsbook in June 2020. BetRivers is the online sports betting site for Illinois’ Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. The property is partially owned by Rush Street Gaming, who developed the BetRivers app in Illinois and other legalized states.
BetRivers offers a 100% deposit match bonus (up to $250) when you sign up. It’s a great way to kickstart your sports betting account.
DraftKings was the second company to launch online sports betting in The Prairie State. Casino Queen in East St. Louis is DraftKings’ land-based partner.
DraftKings gives new players up to $1,000 in welcome bonuses via a 20% deposit match up to $500 plus a risk-free bet up to $500.
In late August 2020, though, FanDuel announced its partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, putting the rumors to rest. FanDuel launched its online sportsbook app in Illinois before the close of the month, becoming Illinois’ third online sportsbook.
Australia-based sportsbook operator PointsBet recently inked a deal with Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney, IL. The company launched its online sportsbook in September 2020.
PointsBet also offers some of the most competitive sign-up bonus offers for new bettors. Their best sign up bonus offers up to $1,500 in 2 risk free bets. See our review for more details
With competitive odds, unique features, and an in-person registration (if Governor Pritzker re-instates this requirement) location close to Chicago, PointsBet is staged to become a sports betting leader in Illinois.
William Hill launched Illinois’ fifth online sportsbook in September. Caesars-owned Grand Vicrotia Casino in Elgin is the company’s license partner. William Hill has a retail sportsbook at Grand Victoria to complement its online offering.
Sportsbooks In Illinois: Companies To Expect
Though Illinois already has five online sportsbooks, it’s reasonable to expect more big players in the industry to launch in the market as soon as possible. Illinois will offer three online-only licenses 18 months into its sports betting tenure. For now, launches will be tied to a land-based tether-property. Here are a few possible online sportsbook launches to look out for in Illinois.
The Stars Group runs FOX Bet as its US online sportsbook in many regulated states. For now, it’s unclear who will partner with FOX Bet in Illinois. However, it’s highly likely that FOX Bet will launch in the state regardless.
Penn National Gaming/Barstool
Penn National Gaming owns both of Illinois’ Hollywood Casinos (in Joliet and Aurora). The company also has a deal with Barstool, so we expect the team to launch and online sportsbook at some point. Penn has been rather hush-hush about its plans in the state, but that could change before the end of 2020.
What Online Sportsbook Bonuses Are Available In Illinois?
Illinois bettors have access to a wide variety of bonuses, and that pool of promotions will only grow as new sportsbooks launch.
There are plenty of different bonus types, and sportsbook operators will often provide really competitive and lucrative promotions to gain new customers. Below are some of the most common types of bonuses and how they work.
No Deposit Bonus
This is the simplest bonus type you’ll find at an online sportsbook. Once you sign up, the site will give you a small dollar amount for free before you even make a deposit. Typically, you’ll receive between $10 and $30, enough to place one bet (or a few small ones).
No deposit bonuses are fairly straightforward, but they tend to be more common at online casinos 9where available/legal) than sportsbooks. There isn’t usually a catch, but always check the fine print when you sign up to be sure you don’t miss anything.
Many sportsbooks offer risk-free bets to get you started. This type of bonus requires you to place a bet with your own money, and the risk-free amount is typically capped.
With a risk-free bet bonus, you first need to select a bet. Once you identify one and place a wager, you wait for the match to play out and the result to come in. If your bet loses, the sportsbook will refund the amount you wagered back into your account. DraftKings currently offers a risk-free bet of up to $500 for new players in Illinois.
If your bet wins, the risk-free offer goes away and you continue betting as you normally would. On a loss, you’re refunded the amount per the bonus terms and conditions, and the offer then expires.
Deposit matches can be found on a number of regulated online sportsbooks. They can be some of the most valuable bonus offers available to players.
Deposit matches offer you a chance to add to the amount of your initial deposit into a sportsbook account. The dollar amount can reach up to $500, especially with the biggest operators.
How it works: you make your first deposit using any of the approved deposit methods for the sportsbook making the offer. The sportsbook then adds a percentage of that deposit to your account. For example, if you make your first deposit for $200 at a site that offers a 100% deposit match, your wallet will jump to $400.
Watch for specific conditions surrounding these offers. Some operators require you to make your first deposit within a week from the date you create your account. Others offer a smaller percentage match.
For example, BetRivers offers a deposit match of 100% up to $250 while DraftKings matches 20% up to $500. If you’re willing to shell out $2,500 on a single deposit, DraftKings makes it worth your while. BetRivers, on the other hand, is the more sensible option for bettors on a budget.
Refer A Friend
Refer a friend bonuses can be a nice boost to your sportsbook account.
The terms vary by operator, but the idea is the same across the board. Refer a friend to your favorite sportsbook using a unique link or code. Once your friend signs up and makes a deposit beyond a certain threshold (sometimes as low as $10), you both receive a bonus.
If you have friends interested in sports betting, these bonuses can be great. Some offer up to $50 for each friend you refer, and your friend gets a bonus, too.
What Sports Can You Bet On In Illinois?
In 2018, the Supreme Court’s decision to rule the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional paved the way for states to build individual legislation to regulate sports betting. As a result, each state that has regulated has specific stipulations related to sports wagering.
The primary inter-state difference to keep an eye on is available sports. Not every state allows every sport at its online betting sites, and Illinois is no different. The Land of Lincoln has its own restrictions on betting.
Betting On US Pro Sports In Illinois
The good news for pro sports fans in Illinois is that there are virtually no restrictions in place on pro sports betting. Illinois bettors will be able to bet on a wide variety of professional US sports leagues, including:
- Major League Baseball
- National Football League
- National Hockey League
- Major League Soccer
- National Basketball Association
- Golf (PGA Tour and other events)
Professional sports undoubtedly capture the largest numbers of bettors, and Illinois looks like it will continue that trend. The state will offer plenty of pro sports bets, for both teams located in Illinois and in other states.
College Sports Betting In Illinois
Fans of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports have a few restrictions to keep in mind. Illinois law allows betting on NCAA contests as long as they don’t include any in-state colleges.
Unfortunately, fans of Northwestern, The University of Illinois, and other in-state colleges will be unable to place bets on matches involving Illinois schools.
Still, fans of the larger NCAA scene will find plenty to enjoy in Illinois. Out of state matches will feature sports betting. Games and tournaments like March Madness that garner national attention will surely make waves among Illinois bettors.
What International Sports Can You Bet On In Illinois?
US sportsbooks have a large library of bets for international sports. Most state sportsbooks have plenty of less common sports bets on offer, and Illinois looks as though it will follow suit.
Illinois betting enthusiasts can find bets for cricket, darts, rugby, table tennis, and many other sports popular around the world.
Will Illinois Have Esports Betting?
Whether esports betting will come to Illinois is unclear right now. However, most signs point to a “yes.”
Many states include specific legislative language either barring or allowing bets on events that are not labeled typical sports. Illinois’ law doesn’t make any mention of esports, so it’s likely esports wagering will come to Illinois.
With no strict prohibitions in place, operators will probably offer esports betting in Illinois. The fact that the law makes no mention either way with regards to esports bodes well. The absence of prohibitive language suggests a positive outlook on esports betting in the state. Once the bets are out in the open, it seems unlikely lawmakers will add restrictions surrounding esports.
What Else Can I Bet On In Illinois?
Mixed martial arts, NASCAR, boxing, motorsports, and other less traditional competitions will be available to Illinois sports bettors.
Some sportsbooks offer horse race betting as well. Illinois operators may provide these options to players, though horse racing fans already have plenty of online options for betting on those events via TwinSpires, TVG, and BetAmerica.
Bets on non-sporting events such as the Oscars (and similar awards shows) or elections are off-limits at Illinois sportsbooks.
Do Illinois Online Sports Betting Sites Offer Mobile Apps?
Illinois’ licensed sportsbooks offer mobile apps. All five of Illinois’ online sportsbooks have apps for iOS and Android. William Hill is unique in that it currently only offers betting via app or retail; it doesn’t have a desktop sportsbook yet.
There was a glimmer of hope for mobile bettors earlier this year when Governor Pritzker issued an executive order suspending the need for in-person registration. He later let the order lapse, resuming the in-person requirement. But the roller coaster continues. In August 2020, Pritzker re-issued the executive order suspending in-person registration. As a result, players can now create an account completely online without visiting a land-based property. This remains in effect until November 14, 2020, at which point in-person registration could return or Pritzker could extend online sign-ups once more.
Apple allows gambling apps on its iOS App store as long as they’re developed in Apple’s native programming language. This may seem restrictive, but the good news is that most sportsbook providers already have apps live on the iOS App marketplace. They’ll be able to launch in Illinois without issue.
If an operator doesn’t have an iOS app, your best bet is using a mobile browser or playing from a desktop computer. Fortunately, most providers have invested in iOS apps. All of Illinois’ sportsbook currently have iOS apps.
Google takes a slightly more prohibitive stance than Apple. It completely restricts regulated gambling apps from the Google Play Store.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s still relatively easy to get a sportsbook app for an Android device. Once they launch, operators will have a “download for Android” page on their websites. Visit the page from your mobile browser and follow the prompts to install the app on your Android device.
If you see apps like DraftKings or FanDuel in the Google Play Store, those are the companies’ Daily Fantasy Sports apps, not full-fledged sportsbooks.
What Is The Biggest Online Sportsbook In Illinois By Revenue?
It’s still early, and some sportsbooks have just entered the market. We will update this page to show market leaders as Illinois sports betting matures.
A number of factors contribute to success in a given sports betting market, including launch timing, bettor acquisition, registration requirements, and more.
BetRivers originally looked staged to be a leader in Illinois, but it’s now joined by big competition. DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill are all big names in the sports betting world, so it could be a tight race between the five sportsbooks.
Bottom line: it’s early on in the Illinois online sports betting race, but a few companies are ready to take the market by storm.
Of course, industry leaders FOX Bet, BetMGM, and others will come ready to win in Illinois, so the crown is up for grabs. Illinois is sure to host an intriguing and competitive sports betting landscape.
What Do I Need To Create An Illinois Online Sports Betting Account?
To sign up for an Illinois sports betting account, you’ll need to provide some personal information to confirm your identity. Usually, this means providing your social security number. It’s helpful to have your social security number and a government-issued photo ID ready when you register. You’ll also have to input the following information:
- Username (not every sportsbook requires this, but some ask that you create one)
- Password (you’ll create one)
- Email address
- First and last name
- Phone Number
- Date of Birth
- Last 4 of your SSN
Right now, you can sign up online without a visit to a retail sportsbook. Online only sign-ups are slated to continue at least through October 17. it’s possible Governor Pritzker could extend online sign-ups once again after that deadline, though.
If you’re ready to make a deposit, remember two things. First, have a payment method handy: credit/debit, PayPal, bank account info (for ACH transfer), Play+, and many other methods are accepted at major sportsbooks. Second, check for promo codes that offer deposit matches or risk-free bets. Once you register, you can take advantage of those offers.
After you’ve made a deposit and created your account, you can place a bet.
Legal Online Sportsbooks Versus Illegal Online Sportsbooks In Illinois
Compared to their illegal and offshore counterparts, regulated sportsbook apps offer higher levels of safety and a number of benefits.
First, legal sports betting sites can draw on a wealth of data from sports leagues, including real-time updates. This means they can offer live and in-play betting (wagers on a match that’s already in progress), something their grey market competitors can’t provide.
On a safety level, regulated sportsbooks go above and beyond. This is because they are required to and because they care about building an audience of loyal players.
At legal sports betting sites, your data is protected by high-level encryption technology. The Illinois Gaming Board, a government agency, also oversees sports betting in the state, and sportsbook providers are heald to a high standard of technology and player protection. Every operator goes through a rigorous licensing process during which their sports betting offer is vetted by experts to ensure compliance with all state and federal laws.
Offshore sites, meanwhile, have no such safeguards in place and are only responsible for upholding the laws in the country where they operate. Without dedicated oversight, they’re a much riskier option than government-sanctions sports betting platforms.
Illinois Online Sports Betting FAQs
Anyone in Illinois who wishes to participate in legal sports betting must be 21 years old or above. When you sign up for a sports betting account, you will be required to verify your age with proper ID.
Other forms of gambling available in the state, including the lottery and horse race betting, allow anyone 18 and older to participate.
Yes. DraftKings was the second online sportsbook to launch in Illinois.
DraftKings is partnered with Casino Queen in East St. Louis. You can bet online using DraftKings’ desktop site or mobile app on iOS and Android.
For new players, DraftKings offers up to $500 as part of a 20% first deposit match bonus and up to $500 more as a risk-free bet. Take advantage of the bonus offer here.
Yes. FanDuel is legal in the state and launched the end of August 2020 through a partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Illinois.
In terms of deposit methods, yes. Most Illinois sportsbooks will accept credit cards as a form of payment.
If you’re looking to wager on credit (bet with credit money now and pay later if you lose) at an Illinois sportsbook, you may not find much luck. Currently, major sportsbooks do not offer betting on credit. For now, you’ll have to stick to funding an account before you place a bet.
Yes, but with restrictions.
Illinois will allow wagering on college matches. But bettors will not be able to wager on any college match that 1) includes an in-state school or 2) takes place in Illinois. Instead, college sports fans will have to focus on out-of-state match-ups when betting.
No. As of right now, you can register online without visiting a land-based casino.
Keep an eye out for new developments, though. The in-person requirement has been suspended, lifted, and resuspended all within three months. Governor Pritzker could eventually reinstate the requirement. The lesson here is to sign up online quickly, while you still can.