Online sports betting has been legal in Illinois since July 2019. There are now five licensed operators that accept sports wagers from individuals in the state.

Sports betting sites must be partnered with physical gambling venues, such as betting shops, casinos, or racetracks.

Previously, prospective Illinois sports bettors needed to visit a physical store or casino to confirm their online registration. This changed after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many physical venues to close or reduce capacity.

From June until at least the middle of October 2020 and possibly longer, you can sign up and start betting in Illinois without leaving your house.

Online casino games are not legal in Illinois. However, there are a few workaround social gaming exceptions, which we will outline below.

Operators & Sports Betting Apps in Illinois

PointsBet

PointsBet is an Australian-founded company that is now one of the fastest-growing gambling operators in the US.

In Illinois, PointsBet is partnered with Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney near Chicago. Players can choose from desktop betting or PointsBet’s fantastic mobile apps, which offer props, futures, and all the other expected markets.

The operator even offers its own unique high-risk and high-reward way of betting.

PointsBet sponsors NBC Sports, college basketball teams, and various other sports-related activities across the US. Its management includes former Nevada Gaming Control Board head, Becky Harris.

DraftKings

Another fast-growing sportsbook nationally, US-based DraftKings started out as a fantasy sports site. It entered the Illinois sports betting market in 2020, partnering with St. Louis-based riverboat venue Casino Queen.

DraftKings also offers both iOS and Android mobile betting apps for Illinois players. Interestingly, DraftKings was the first sports betting operator in Illinois to offer in-play betting. This allows players to bet on markets such as the next scorer or half-time leaders.

DraftKings operates in all 16 legal sports betting states. In mid-2020, it hired Chicago Bulls and NBA superstar Michael Jordan as a special advisor and investor.

FanDuel

FanDuel is a New York-based sportsbook that started out as a fantasy sports site. It’s also popular in many legal US markets. In 2018, it was bought out by Flutter Entertainment, a huge European gambling umbrella group.

FanDuel Illinois partnered with Par-A-Dice Casino in the city of Peoria. FanDuel is known for its crazy welcome offers, such as the current Illinois promotion of up to $1,000 back if your initial bet loses.

The operator’s Android and iOS apps also give bettors excellent specials, such as the 25:1 it offered on any main-event fighter at UFC 251.

William Hill

This old-school British bookmaker has been heavily investing in the newly legal US markets for the past five years.

Mr. William Hill first opened his sportsbook doors in Ireland in the 1930s. This makes his namesake company the oldest Illinois sportsbook operator on this list.

In 2020, William Hill was bought out by Las Vegas-based Caesars in a multi-billion-dollar deal.

In Illinois, William Hill is partnered with Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, just North-West of Chicago. William Hill Illinois offers a polished Android and iOS app that features licensed team logos and the same massive range of sports and bet types as its competitors.

BetRivers

The BetRivers online sportsbook app was the first of its kind to debut in Illinois. It is a locally born organization, having operated Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the northern suburb of Chicago, since 2011.

BetRivers’ Illinois app provides one of the best welcome offers of any sportsbook in the state. The operator matches 100% of your first deposit up to $250.

However, the real kicker is the 1x rollover requirement. If you bag a big win with your bonus money, you only need to wager another $250 to withdraw the cash.

Chumba Casino

The only legal way to play online casino games in Illinois is via Chumba Casino. It uses an innovative social gaming system that can still give you cash prizes despite no real-money wagering being involved.

As an independent operator, Chumba doesn’t offer major licensed slot games, but it boasts several dozen fully animated slot games that certainly look the part. You can win upwards of $10,000 in some of the jackpot games at Chumba from the comfort of your own home.

Sports You Can Bet on in Illinois

Football

Football is America’s national sport, and the National Football League is the most popular game to bet on in the US.

In Illinois, you’re not allowed to bet on any of the state’s collegiate football teams, like the Fighting Illini or the Wildcats.

Chicago’s own Bears haven’t set the NFL alight over the past few seasons, although we’re sure they still have a strong following in both bets and fans.

Horse Racing

Illinois boasts a proud hundred-plus-year history of horse racing and still houses three operating tracks in 2020:

  • Arlington International Racecourse
  • Fairmount Park Racetrack
  • Hawthorne Race Course

You can bet online on exciting races at any of these almost every day of the week and through any of the operators listed above.

Basketball

Basketball enjoys a massive national following, but it’s particularly popular in Illinois because of the world-famous late 80s and 90s title-winning dynasty – the Chicago Bulls.

Michael Jordan himself has seemingly taken a liking to DraftKings. However, you can bet on NBA games, including the nowadays less successful Bulls, at all the Illinois online sportsbooks we listed above.

MLB

The Chicago Cubs have become one of the recent big success stories of Major League Baseball. After the team went 100 years without a trophy, 5 million people lined the streets of Chicago when they took home the 2016 World Series.

You can bet on MLB, props, futures, and even in-play MLB markets at all the Illinois sportsbooks listed above.

You need to pay taxes on any sports betting wins if you’re a resident of Illinois. Part of the state licensing conditions for online sportsbooks is that all winners are reported to the Illinois Gaming Board.

You pay a flat 25% income tax on all sports betting wins over $600 scored within Illinois borders. If you’re an Illinois resident, you even need to pay taxes on winnings you make in other states with legal online gambling.

There are four main categories you might be able to bet on elsewhere but not at Illinois online gambling sites:

  • Real-money online casino games.
  • Collegiate sports games taking place within the state.
  • Entertainment, politics, and other non-sports markets.
  • A sport you’re professionally involved with, whether as an investor, player, referee, coach, or otherwise.


Besides these exceptions, online gambling at the licensed sports betting sites we listed above is fully legal in Illinois.

Banking and Bonuses – What’s Available

Bonuses

Illinois’ legal online gambling sites, including all sportsbooks, offer a range of bonuses. Some go down the big-cash deposit match route, such as BetRivers’ $250 offer.

Others give you money back on your first lost wager – up to $1000 in the case of FanDuel.

Several operators focus on monthly or weekly promotions with special odds offers.

Most Illinois online sportsbooks put out special odds offers during big betting occasions, such as the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup Final, and the World Series.

Payment Options

Most sportsbooks in Illinois feature a solid range of payment options.

Amex, VISA, and Citibank are standard options for instant deposits and quick withdrawals.

You should also find e-wallets for fast online transactions, such as Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal.

FAQ Illinois Online Sports Betting

Yes, but only sports betting. Online casino games, like blackjack or slots, remain illegal in the state.

Where can I bet on sports in Illinois?

There are around a dozen land-based venues where you can place sports bets in IL in 2020. Additionally, there are five online operators that accept sports bets from Illinois bettors. The first to launch was BetRivers, and the most recent to enter the market was William Hill.

Can I put down wagers outside of Illinois?

Not at IL-specific sites. There are 15 other states that offer legal online gambling, but each has its own sites (or subsites) for players within its borders.

You must verify your location with geolocation technology before you can bet at IL sites.

What can’t I bet on online in Illinois?

You can’t bet on online casino games, collegiate sports involving Illinois teams, anything other than certified sports, or any games in which you are professionally involved.

Yes. You can place almost any sports bet at DraftKings from anywhere in IL.

In fact, Illinois and global basketball legend Michael Jordan began investing in the company in mid-2020.

Sports betting is a major pastime for people in Illinois.

Casino games such as slots and blackjack are legal at land-based “riverboat” venues. However, they remain illegal for online operators and players.

There are three venerable horse racing tracks, plus the state’s famous Riverboat Casinos. Arlington Park Racecourse in Arlington Heights, Chicago, was the first racecourse in the US to run a million-dollar prize pool race.

Online betting only started when the state became the 15th to legalize online sports betting in 2019.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Sports Wagering Act in June of that year. In March 2020, BetRivers became the first online sportsbook to accept a bet in Illinois.

Each online operator must pair their business with a local Illinois casino or betting venue.

Online sports betting has been legal in Illinois since July 2019. There are now five licensed operators that accept sports wagers from individuals in the state.

Sports betting sites must be partnered with physical gambling venues, such as betting shops, casinos, or racetracks.

Previously, prospective Illinois sports bettors needed to visit a physical store or casino to confirm their online registration. This changed after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many physical venues to close or reduce capacity.

From June until at least the middle of October 2020 and possibly longer, you can sign up and start betting in Illinois without leaving your house.

Online casino games are not legal in Illinois. However, there are a few workaround social gaming exceptions, which we will outline below.

Operators & Sports Betting Apps in Illinois

PointsBet

PointsBet is an Australian-founded company that is now one of the fastest-growing gambling operators in the US.

In Illinois, PointsBet is partnered with Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney near Chicago. Players can choose from desktop betting or PointsBet’s fantastic mobile apps, which offer props, futures, and all the other expected markets.

The operator even offers its own unique high-risk and high-reward way of betting.

PointsBet sponsors NBC Sports, college basketball teams, and various other sports-related activities across the US. Its management includes former Nevada Gaming Control Board head, Becky Harris.

DraftKings

Another fast-growing sportsbook nationally, US-based DraftKings started out as a fantasy sports site. It entered the Illinois sports betting market in 2020, partnering with St. Louis-based riverboat venue Casino Queen.

DraftKings also offers both iOS and Android mobile betting apps for Illinois players. Interestingly, DraftKings was the first sports betting operator in Illinois to offer in-play betting. This allows players to bet on markets such as the next scorer or half-time leaders.

DraftKings operates in all 16 legal sports betting states. In mid-2020, it hired Chicago Bulls and NBA superstar Michael Jordan as a special advisor and investor.

FanDuel

FanDuel is a New York-based sportsbook that started out as a fantasy sports site. It’s also popular in many legal US markets. In 2018, it was bought out by Flutter Entertainment, a huge European gambling umbrella group.

FanDuel Illinois partnered with Par-A-Dice Casino in the city of Peoria. FanDuel is known for its crazy welcome offers, such as the current Illinois promotion of up to $1,000 back if your initial bet loses.

The operator’s Android and iOS apps also give bettors excellent specials, such as the 25:1 it offered on any main-event fighter at UFC 251.

William Hill

This old-school British bookmaker has been heavily investing in the newly legal US markets for the past five years.

Mr. William Hill first opened his sportsbook doors in Ireland in the 1930s. This makes his namesake company the oldest Illinois sportsbook operator on this list.

In 2020, William Hill was bought out by Las Vegas-based Caesars in a multi-billion-dollar deal.

In Illinois, William Hill is partnered with Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, just North-West of Chicago. William Hill Illinois offers a polished Android and iOS app that features licensed team logos and the same massive range of sports and bet types as its competitors.

BetRivers

The BetRivers online sportsbook app was the first of its kind to debut in Illinois. It is a locally born organization, having operated Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the northern suburb of Chicago, since 2011.

BetRivers’ Illinois app provides one of the best welcome offers of any sportsbook in the state. The operator matches 100% of your first deposit up to $250.

However, the real kicker is the 1x rollover requirement. If you bag a big win with your bonus money, you only need to wager another $250 to withdraw the cash.

Chumba Casino

The only legal way to play online casino games in Illinois is via Chumba Casino. It uses an innovative social gaming system that can still give you cash prizes despite no real-money wagering being involved.

As an independent operator, Chumba doesn’t offer major licensed slot games, but it boasts several dozen fully animated slot games that certainly look the part. You can win upwards of $10,000 in some of the jackpot games at Chumba from the comfort of your own home.

Sports You Can Bet on in Illinois

Football

Football is America’s national sport, and the National Football League is the most popular game to bet on in the US.

In Illinois, you’re not allowed to bet on any of the state’s collegiate football teams, like the Fighting Illini or the Wildcats.

Chicago’s own Bears haven’t set the NFL alight over the past few seasons, although we’re sure they still have a strong following in both bets and fans.

Horse Racing

Illinois boasts a proud hundred-plus-year history of horse racing and still houses three operating tracks in 2020:

  • Arlington International Racecourse
  • Fairmount Park Racetrack
  • Hawthorne Race Course

You can bet online on exciting races at any of these almost every day of the week and through any of the operators listed above.

Basketball

Basketball enjoys a massive national following, but it’s particularly popular in Illinois because of the world-famous late 80s and 90s title-winning dynasty – the Chicago Bulls.

Michael Jordan himself has seemingly taken a liking to DraftKings. However, you can bet on NBA games, including the nowadays less successful Bulls, at all the Illinois online sportsbooks we listed above.

MLB

The Chicago Cubs have become one of the recent big success stories of Major League Baseball. After the team went 100 years without a trophy, 5 million people lined the streets of Chicago when they took home the 2016 World Series.

You can bet on MLB, props, futures, and even in-play MLB markets at all the Illinois sportsbooks listed above.

You need to pay taxes on any sports betting wins if you’re a resident of Illinois. Part of the state licensing conditions for online sportsbooks is that all winners are reported to the Illinois Gaming Board.

You pay a flat 25% income tax on all sports betting wins over $600 scored within Illinois borders. If you’re an Illinois resident, you even need to pay taxes on winnings you make in other states with legal online gambling.

There are four main categories you might be able to bet on elsewhere but not at Illinois online gambling sites:

  • Real-money online casino games.
  • Collegiate sports games taking place within the state.
  • Entertainment, politics, and other non-sports markets.
  • A sport you’re professionally involved with, whether as an investor, player, referee, coach, or otherwise.

Besides these exceptions, online gambling at the licensed sports betting sites we listed above is fully legal in Illinois.

Banking and Bonuses – What’s Available

Bonuses

Illinois’ legal online gambling sites, including all sportsbooks, offer a range of bonuses. Some go down the big-cash deposit match route, such as BetRivers’ $250 offer.

Others give you money back on your first lost wager – up to $1000 in the case of FanDuel.

Several operators focus on monthly or weekly promotions with special odds offers.

Most Illinois online sportsbooks put out special odds offers during big betting occasions, such as the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup Final, and the World Series.

Payment Options

Most sportsbooks in Illinois feature a solid range of payment options.

Amex, VISA, and Citibank are standard options for instant deposits and quick withdrawals.

You should also find e-wallets for fast online transactions, such as Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal.

FAQs

Is online gambling legal in Illinois?

Yes, but only sports betting. Online casino games, like blackjack or slots, remain illegal in the state.

Where can I bet on sports in Illinois?

There are around a dozen land-based venues where you can place sports bets in IL in 2020. Additionally, there are five online operators that accept sports bets from Illinois bettors. The first to launch was BetRivers, and the most recent to enter the market was William Hill.

Can I put down wagers outside of Illinois?

Not at IL-specific sites. There are 15 other states that offer legal online gambling, but each has its own sites (or subsites) for players within its borders.
You must verify your location with geolocation technology before you can bet at IL sites.

What can’t I bet on online in Illinois?

You can’t bet on online casino games, collegiate sports involving Illinois teams, anything other than certified sports, or any games in which you are professionally involved.

Is DraftKings legal in IL?

Yes. You can place almost any sports bet at DraftKings from anywhere in IL.
In fact, Illinois and global basketball legend Michael Jordan began investing in the company in mid-2020.