Introduction and History

In 2015, DraftKings and FanDuel blazed a trail across the States with their fantasy sports betting-based online gambling model.

Senators in Illinois tried to claim the new business was illegal, with varying degrees of failure. Both companies continued to operate in the state without major repercussions despite local judges ruling against them several times.

This eventually led to them to team up, pushing for full sports betting legalization in Illinois in 2017.

However, local land-based casino operators, such as Chicago’s Rush Street, objected to the legislation. They claimed that any sports betting bill would give FanDuel and DraftKings an unfair advantage, as they had an effective two-year head start on building a customer base in the state.

Fast forward to 2019 when sports betting was legalized across Illinois, and even Rush Street put aside its objections and joined in on the action with its BetRivers brand.

In fact, Rush Street got the last laugh over its originally fantasy-sports-only rivals. BetRivers became the first company to accept a real sports wager online in Illinois in March 2020.

DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and the latest addition, William Hill, all joined the party in 2020, too.

This leaves Illinois players with five legal sports betting operators to choose from. However, there are no online casinos in sight yet.

Online sports betting is now entirely legal in Illinois. However, online casino gaming is not.

There are also a few rules governing sports betting in Illinois. You’re not allowed to put wagers on:

  • Illinois-based collegiate sports teams
  • Matches of any sport you are professionally involved in
  • Non-sport bets, such as politics or TV

Sadly, online casino gambling doesn’t look likely in the rest of 2020 or 2021.

The Illinois Assembly returns in January 2021. However, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the settling dust of the 2020 Presidential election, we won’t hold our breath for online gambling legalization in Illinois in the near future.

Illinois Online Betting

Currently, you can bet on sports online in Illinois through the following operators:

  • BetRivers
  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • William Hill
  • Points Bet

On top of their desktop sites, all five operators offer iOS and Android apps to let you bet on the go. However, you need to enable location tracking on your device to ensure you’re inside the state borders.

Each operator also owns a physical location in Illinois. As of October 2020, you don’t need to visit them to confirm your online registration because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, new customers may soon face this rule once again.

You can also use physical shops to bet in person or deposit cash to top up your online account.

The operators are available at the following physical locations:

  • BetRivers at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines
  • FanDuel at Par-a-Dice in Peoria
  • Draft Kings at Casino Queen Riverboat in St. Louis
  • William Hill at The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin
  • PointsBet at Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney, Chicago

Illinois Online Casinos: Speculation

DraftKings and FanDuel run online casino operations in other legalized states.

It’s logical to assume that they would do the same in Illinois, where they already enjoy a large presence, if the state’s online gambling laws allow casino gaming in the future.

Other companies that have heavily invested in offering their services in legal states include:

  • MGM
  • William Hill
  • Unibet
  • Caesars
  • Golden Nugget

Most of those companies would likely try to move into Illinois if the market became legal.

They may offer online casino games from some of the world’s biggest developers, as they do in other states.

As one of the richest states in the central US, Illinois will likely prove a similarly – if not more – attractive market for the big players.

These might include live casino and slot games from well-known names, such as:

  • Playtech
  • Microgaming
  • Evolution Gaming
  • NetEnt

Today, you can’t play any of the above developers' games legally from Illinois.

However, if you’re excited to hit those one-armed bandits and can’t get to a physical casino, there is one operator that has found a way to legally serve you online slots: Chumba Casino.

Chumba Casino lets players “social game” from within Illinois. You don’t directly gamble for cash, but you can enjoy slots with real cash prizes! Check out our review to learn how this works.

Online gambling deposits and withdrawals in Illinois

The choices of the current online sports betting operators in Illinois indicate what payment options we can expect from online casinos if they become legal here in the future.

These methods are:

  • Bank cards, such as Amex, VISA, or Mastercard
  • E-wallets like Skrill or Neteller (PayPal is a rarer option for gambling sites)
  • Checks, which are the slowest option
  • PaySafe or PayNearMe Cards, which you can top up with cash at gas stations or convenience stores
  • Cash transactions at an operator’s land-based venue in Illinois

The last option is not guaranteed if online casinos are legalized in Illinois. Most states require online casinos to pair with a land-based operator in the same state.

That’s the route sports betting legislation mandated, and it’s the most likely way things will go for potential online casinos.

Online Gambling Bonuses for Illinois players

Nearly all online casinos in the newly regulated US states offer bonuses from the following pool:

  • Deposit matches where the casino gives you bonus money equivalent to your initial deposit
  • Free spins on a selection of slot games – usually between 10 and 50
  • Cashback offers that give you back a percentage of any losses you might make over a specified period
  • VIP rewards for regular or high-rolling players, such as loyalty points for customized bonuses or holiday competitions

These bonuses are sure to come with a wagering requirement.

For example, consider a $10 deposit match with a 10x wagering requirement.

Imagine you won $100 from your initial $20. You’d then need to wager ten times your deposit ($10x10 = $100) at least once before withdrawing.

FAQs

What gambling is legal in Illinois?

Land-based casinos, racetracks, and lotteries have all been legal in the state for years.

Online and store-based sports betting has been legal since 2019. However, you can’t bet on a sport you’re involved in or wager on Illinois’ collegiate teams.
Land-based casinos, racetracks, and lotteries have all been legal in the state for years.

Online and store-based sports betting has been legal since 2019. However, you can’t bet on a sport you’re involved in or wager on Illinois’ collegiate teams.
Online casino gaming remains illegal. A few sweepstakes-based casino sites allow social slot gaming, including Chumba Casino and Luckyland Slots.

What Games Might be Available if Online Casinos are Legalized in Illinois?

The most popular online casino games in legal states right now are:

Blackjack
Roulette
Video poker
Live casino versions of the above
Slots

You’re likely to see all of those games if online casinos are legalized in this state.

What about offshore online casinos? Are they safe?

No. Even if they legitimately pay out (which is doubtful), they could be closed by international authorities or court cases at any time.

If you want some casino action in your life, there are plenty of land-based venues in Illinois. Alternatively, you could check out Chumba Casino for something a little different.

How old do I have to be to gamble in Illinois?

Twenty-one, whether it’s at an online sportsbook or a land-based casino. If online casinos are legalized in the future, 21 will most likely also be the legal age.

When Will Online Casinos be Legalized in IL?

Possibly within the next few years, though we wouldn’t bank on it happening in 2020 or the first half of 2021.

Will Online Poker Launch in Illinois?

Online poker is currently illegal in Illinois

It could be included with future online gambling legislation as it has been in other newly legalized states. However, the poker market is a lot smaller than that of online casinos. This means poker is not likely to be a priority for operators.