Top Choice Illinois Sports Betting Sites
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 like New Jersey and New York with legal, regulated sports betting. Illinois betting apps are now available throughout the state, allowing patrons to participate in legal online sport wagering. The Illinois sports betting revenue continues to grow each month as people become more comfortable and accustomed to online wagering.
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. Illinois casinos have not yet been legalized, but hopefully we’ll see that change in the near future.
Illinois sports bettors have more choice than ever, with numerous sports betting legal options in the state.
Illinois sports betting sites & apps
- Superb range of sports
- Enticing rewards program
- Extensive catalogs of betting markets
- Accepts deposits as low as $5
- Hefty welcome and referral bonuses
- Available in 22 US States
- Great Mobile App
- Brilliant Welcome Bonus
- Range Of Bet Types
- Massive Choice of Sports
- Daily Odds Boosts
- Convenient Banking
There are now over 4 legal sports betting sites and apps available for bettors in Illinois, they are:
The best Illinois sports betting app is subjective, but the brands above all provide an excellent online betting experience.
When did Legalized Sports Betting start in Illinois?
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. Illinois sports betting law now allows for mobile registration.
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. FanDuel teamed up with Par A Dice Casino to launch in Illinois. 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.
Illinois Sports Betting Apps
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.
There are now seven 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.
DraftKings sportsbook went live mid-way through August 2020 and has gone down a storm with IL punters, despite the delays and problems with the initial in-person sign-up requirements. The daily fantasy sports giant secured market access in Illinois via an agreement with the DraftKings at Casino Queen, located in St Louis.
The BetMGM app is one of the best legal sports betting options on the market and offers one of the biggest and best new player free bet offers going. BetMGM Illinois will be expected to become a hugely popular choice in the state.
The Barstool sportsbook Illinois launched in conjunction with the Hollywood Casino Aurora/Hollywood Casino Joliet.
PointsBet launched its sportsbook online and mobile in the state on September 12, 2020. PointsBet Illinois is expected to become one of the most popular platforms in the state, thanks to its unique ‘pointsbetting’ system.
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.
Which betting apps are available in Illinois?
The Prairie State offers legal online and retail sportsbooks. Below is a list of locations, excluding the seven professional venues, that can accept on-site sport wagers and pursue online betting. Caesars was formerly William Hill.
- BetRivers sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
- FanDuel sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
- BetMGM Sportsbook
Barstool Sports was the latest to launch an Illinois sportsbook, going live in March 2021 via a partnership with Hollywood Casino, owner by Penn National Gaming. However, these sports betting brands will have more competition soon enough. Numerous other big names in the sports betting industry will be coming to Illinois soon. They are:
- theScore Bet: Has market access via a deal with Harrah’s Joliet Casino.
- Fox Bet: Joint venture between The Stars Group and Fox Sports.
- Unibet Sportsbook: Secured market access through a partnership with Argosy Casino Alton, owned by Penn National.
The above companies will have ground to make up, as other sportsbooks like FanDuel Illinois, BetRivers Illinois, and Caesars Illinois are now firmly established in the market.
Indiana Sports Betting an Option for Illinois Players
While Illinois waits for more operators to go live in the state, players have other betting options nearby. Illinois sports bettors 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.
Downloading an app is straightforward, Android users can head to the Google Play Store, while iOS users can visit the App Store and download from there.
How to bet on sports in Illinois
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. Once you have done that, you can use the sportsbook bonus, whether that is a free bet or a no deposit offer.
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.
Illinois Online Sports Betting Mobile Registration
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.
Available sports to bet on in IL
Different states have different rules towards what sports you can wager on. In Illinois, you can legally bet on the following sports:
- Football (NFL)
- Basketball (NBA)
- Baseball (MLB)
- Hockey (NHL)
- Soccer (MLS & other leagues)
- MMA (UFC)
- Drone Racing
Look out for sportsbooks offering promotions on significant events such as the Super Bowl. As an Illinois resident, you can download a sportsbook app of your choice and gamble on the go.
Illinois Sportsbooks & Casinos
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:
Illinois Professional Teams to Bet on
Illinois is home to eight major professional sports franchises, all based in Chicago. The state has been the home of several storied franchises throughout history. Below is a list of the major league teams that are based in the Prairie State:
- Chicago Bulls (NBA) Likely mostly known as being the primary NBA team for Michael Jordan, widely recognized as the greatest player of all time. They won six NBA championships in the 1990s.
- Chicago White Sox (MLB) Won the World Series in 2005 and are very popular worldwide.
- Chicago Cubs (MLB) The other Illinois baseball team. The Cubs won the 2016 World Series.
- Chicago Bears (NFL) Before the NFL merger in 1985, the Bears won nine NFL championships. The Bears also have more former players in the NFL than any other club.
- Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) One of the most successful NHL teams in history, winning six Stanley Cups, including three since 2010.
- Chicago Fire (MLS) This team got off to a storming start, winning the MLS Cup in 1998 in their first year of existence. The name pays homage the famous Chicago disaster.
- Chicago Sky (WNBA) The Sky won the 2014 conference championship and are one of a couple of WNBA teams without NBA team affiliation.
- Chicago Red Stars (NWSL) Their name was chosen by a fan vote and they appeared in the first league finals in 2019.
- 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 Race Course – PointsBet
Horse Racing in Illinois
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.
Look Out For In-Game Betting
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.
Illinois Sports Betting History
Efforts to create a legal Illinois sports betting market began in 2018, but things didn’t really start to gain momentum until a year later. A challenge by Gov. J.B. Pritzker pushed lawmakers to create some measures to legalize mobile sports betting apps in the state. Below is a brief rundown of how we got to this state of legal online sports betting in Illinois.
2019: Gov. Pritzker signs a bill into law that will legalize online sports betting in Illinos.
2020: The first retail sportsbooks open at Argosy Casino Alton and Rivers Des Plaines, however, COVID closes the facilities down. The in-person registration requirement is suspended in the lead up to the launch of online sports betting. BetRivers becomes the first app to launch in the state and more follow before the year is out.
2021: The in-person registration requirement is rescinded and in-person pregame betting on Illinois college teams is allowed.
2022: In March, the in-person registration requirement officially ends. Following that decision, the first month of remote registration generates a handle of $971.3 million, setting a new record.