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Sports betting in Illinois is now a reality thanks in the main to efforts by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who was instrumental in pushing the Illinois sports betting legislation over the line.
The Prairie State will now join other states across the country with legal, regulated sports betting.
The Illinois sports betting bill was approved in June 2019 and includes numerous gambling options. Legalized sports betting in Illinois officially began when BetRivers sportsbook, located at Rivers Casino Des Plaines, took the state’s first legal wager. Since then, the rivers sportsbook Illinois has turned into one of the most popular sportsbooks in the state.
There are now 5 legal sports betting sites and apps available for bettors in Illinois, they are:
Retail wagering is already live in Illinois. Rivers Casino accepted the first legal bet in the state in March 2020, and it is expected that brick-and-mortar casinos will continue to appear throughout the state. Numerous properties have obtained temporary permits, which allows them to begin retail betting. Online IL sports betting and betting apps were still a long way from being introduced to the Illinois gambling market, but this has been scrapped due to the ongoing pandemic.
Players wanting to sign up for a mobile or online sportsbook had to register in person at one of the state’s casinos, but this has now been waived and players can register online and via mobile apps.
In other related IL sports betting news, operators such as DraftKings Illinois and FanDuel, who rely heavily on mobile sports betting apps, can now sign up online and mobile and no longer have to travel sign up for an account. DraftKings has struck an agreement with Casino Queen in East St. Louis. New bettors were required to travel from Chicago, which is a considerable journey, to sign up for an account, but this has now been scrapped. There are offshore sites such as Bovada, but these are not safe, and your personal information is not protected.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, casinos in Illinois have started to re-open. The Illinois Gaming Board has given the go-ahead as long as each property maintains strict social distancing measures, including the casino operating at a limited capacity.
BetRivers was the first sportsbook to launch online in Illinois, going live on June 18, 2020. Governor J.B Pritzker reacted to the difficulties COVID-19 presented by removing the need for in-person registration, allowing bettors to sign up for an account remotely. Like most US states, the gambling age in Illinois in 21, and you need to be 21 or over to be able to wager on any of the sportsbook apps.
By late this year (2021), three online sportsbook licenses will be available. Physical casinos in Illinois were given an 18 month head start compared with the online market. As the U.S. tries to recover from the pandemic, major sports are set to resume. This is likely to lead to additional IL sports betting apps going live in the state.
There are now five live IL sports betting apps. The best so far is from BetRivers, which is built on the Kambi platform. Following the recent sports betting Illinois news that bettors cannot register online, they are now required to travel to Rivers Casino Des Plaines to register their accounts.
PointsBet launched its sportsbook online and mobile in the state on September 12, 2020.
Caesars sportsbook is now available in Illinois, having taken over the William Hill brand. They become the latest sportsbook to offer online and mobile betting in IL. The William Hill Sportsbook at Grand Victoria Casino is the operator’s partner to offer wagering in the state.
As it stands, there are 5 sports betting apps available to bettors in IL, they are:
While Illinois waits for more operators to go live in the state, residents have other betting options nearby. Illinois residents can download Indiana sports betting apps, such as BetRivers Indiana, then drive over state lines and take part in legal sports wagering.
The Hoosier state has an active online and retail sports betting market already. As long as you are over the age of 21 and are physically located in Indiana, you can place as many wagers as you like. It is not a legal requirement to be a resident of Indiana; visitors are eligible to place bets as well. Anyone who wishes to do this must first download one of the sports betting apps in Indiana, create an account, and then deposit.
The sportsbook apps live in Indiana adopt geolocation technology to verify your location, so you cannot attempt to play if you are not in state lines. If you are playing in Indiana, you will have access to the full range of betting options and sports markets.
Betting on sports in Illinois is now a straightforward task. Those looking to place a wager on their favorite sports team can do so online, from a computer or mobile site & app, or at one of the sportsbooks located through the casinos in the state. Illinois mobile sports betting has proved to be the most popular option for betting fans in the state with over 70% of all bets being placed online.
IL residents or visitors to the state need to download a betting app or visit a sportsbook online. They can then register and verify an account. It is then a simple matter of funding the account and placing a bet on the desired outcome.
It’s also possible to place wagers at any of the sportsbooks in the state which are located in several casino properties. You do need to be aged 21 or over to place a bet inside of a casino.
In order to join an online sports betting site in Illinois, players were required to visit one of the state’s casinos and join there. Joining online was not allowed. This move was to try and encourage players to visit casinos and for online and mobile not to take too much business away from sportsbooks located inside cases. The national pandemic made this impossible and as such, the need for in-person registration has been placed on hold.
To date, this has been the 7th time the remote registration has been extended. It is possible that remote registration in IL will be scrapped altogether in the near future.
Different states have different rules towards what sports you can wager on. In Illinois, you can legally bet on the following sports:
Gambling Illinois options include ten riverboat casinos, of which seven have acquired licenses to operate sportsbooks. There are also three racetracks that have applied for a sportsbook license but are awaiting approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. Before the pandemic took hold and caused casinos to shut their doors and sports to be suspended, only two sportsbooks opened.
Seven sports facilities can set up sportsbooks within five blocks of their location. Below is a list of where you can currently (or soon) be able to bet on sports in Illinois:
Rivers Casino Illinois – Rush Street Gaming
Argosy – Penn National
Casino Queen – DraftKings
Grand Victoria – William Hill
Harrah’s Joliet – Harrah’s
Harrah’s Metropolis – Harrah’s
Hollywood Aurora – Penn National
Hollywood Joliet – Penn National
Jumers – Delaware North
Par-A-Dice – Boyd Gaming
Arlington Park – Churchill Downs
Fairmount Park – N/A
Hawthorne – PointsBet
Horse betting is legal in Illinois and goes back a long way in the state. There are three active racetracks in the Land of Lincoln, Hawthorne Racecourse, Arlington International Racecourse, and Fairmount Park. Horse racing in Illinois dates back to 1891, when the oldest family-owned racetrack in the US, Hawthorne, opened its doors. Parimutuel wagering was legalized in 1927, and Illinois has enjoyed a thriving horse betting market ever since.
There are several off-track betting facilities in the state, and the tracks are able to offer Illinois sports gambling. Online sites such as BetAmerica, TwinSpires, and TVG are available to residents and visitors to Illinois who want to bet on horse racing.
In-play or ‘live’ betting is one of the most popular types of legal sports betting options available. These types of bets take place once a game or event has already started. Players can follow the changing odds as the action is taking place. This opens up far more markets such as the next player to score a touchdown, the score at the end of the quarter, who will win, and more. It adds an element of excitement, and most online sportsbooks offer numerous live betting options.
Since going live in 2020, sports gambling in Illinois has really taken off. The state now falls into the top 5 of the biggest sports betting states in the US. The future looks very bright for online sports betting in Illinois.
Where can I place a sports bet in Illinois?
Two casinos have active online sportsbooks along with one live Illinois sports app. However, more are expected to launch soon, so watch this space.
How to register for online sports betting in Illinois?
There is currently a hold on the in-person registration requirement for all wagering options in Illinois. This means if you want to sign up for an account you can do so online and mobile. Previously you had to visit a casino and do so in-person.
How old do I need to be to bet in Illinois?
Illinois gambling laws state players need to be at least 21 to place sports bets in Illinois.
When will Illinois have sports betting?
Illinois currently has sports wagering options, but this is limited to two retail sportsbooks and one sports app. It is legal and live in the state, but there is a lack of options. This will change as more operators launch their platforms in the coming months and years.
Can I bet on sports using my phone in Illinois?
You can as long as you are located within the state’s borders. You will need to create an online account with the sportsbook of your choice, and download its app or play via your web browser.
Can you bet on Illinois sports teams?
Yes. The law allows bettors to bet on home teams such as the Chicago Bears (NFL), Chicago Cubs/Chicago White Sox (MLB), and the Chicago Bulls (NBA). At the moment, it is legal to bet on all collegiate teams, but that could change.
Is DraftKings legal in Illinois?
Yes, they sure are. The operator has been licensed in the state since 2020 by the Illinois Gaming Board.