Online Gambling in

Illinois

The Land of Lincoln is the fifteenth state to launch legal sports betting. In-person bets are accepted at retail sportsbooks in Illinois with statewide mobile betting set to launch in 2021.

Illinois

Sports betting legal at retail books. In-person betting only.

ILLINOIS ONLINE GAMBLING GUIDE

Illinois Online Gambling

Illinois has officially joined the growing list of states to launch regulated sports betting.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines played host for the state’s first-ever sports wager: Chicago White Sox to win the American League Pennant.

The Land of Lincoln is the 15th US state to roll out a legal market since the repeal of PASPA in May 2018.

The state introduced a new law - the Illinois Gambling Act of 2019 - to expand its gambling options. As part of the legislation, online sports betting is legal but cannot launch until 2021.

Online casino games or online poker is not legal under the terms of the new bill.

IL LEGAL GAMBLING 2020 OPTIONS

SPORTS BETTING

  • Retail ✅ - Three casinos available to bet at
  • Online ❌ - Mobile betting not permitted until 2021

CASINO GAMES/POKER

  • Retail ✅ - The state's ten riverboat casinos are available to play at
  • Online ❌ - No legislation for casino or poker online

ILLINOIS LOTTERY

  • Retail ✅ - Available at various locations
  • Online ✅ - Majority of games available

HORSE RACE BETTING

  • On-site ✅ - Three horse racetracks
  • Online ✅ - Via state's racetracks

IL online gambling legislation

Gambling-friendly Illinois has expanded its gambling industry to include legal sports betting at retail locations and online.

Sports fans in the Prairie state can visit Rivers Casino in Des Plaines to place a legal wager on their favorite team. Online sports betting is expected to launch in 2021.

Gambling options in Chicago and the state of Illinois already include horse racing betting, the Illinois Lottery and casino games and slots at the state’s 10 riverboat casinos. Now, sports betting can be added to that list.

IL GAMBLING LAW: THE SHORT VERSION
  • Retail sports betting permitted
  • Mobile betting to launch in 2021
  • 3 online-only licenses to be issued
  • No betting on IL collegiate teams
  • No online casino/online poker
  • Market ruled by Illinois Gaming Board

The new legislation will see six new casinos built in the state and three online-only licenses issued to online operators. Other brands will need to partner with a land-based operator.

The law also permits casinos and racetracks in Illinois to expand on existing gambling options.

Money generated from additional gambling channels will help fund a $45 million infrastructure plan that will allow the state to build new roads, bridges, hospitals, and housing.

Mobile sports betting in Illinois

As mentioned, Illinois online sports betting will launch in 2021. The staggered launch is a trend many states have adopted to gauge the industry and guarantee a safe and successful online market.

When IL mobile sports betting does arrive, it’s anticipated the open market will attract many of the big players including FanDuel, DraftKings, and PointsBet.

For the time being, bettors in Illinois must visit a retail casino to create an account and place a bet.

These are the current sports betting locations in Illinois:

  • Rivers in Des Plaines
  • Grand Victoria in Elgin
  • Argosy Casino in Alton

Three more Illinois casinos and a racetrack have also applied for sports betting licenses.

Illinois mobile sports betting apps or Illinois sports betting sites are not available at this point.

However, having said this, there is nothing to stop you from taking a simple drive into Indiana and using your mobile phone to bet on sports from there.

Statewide mobile wagering has been available in the Hoosier State since October 2019 via Indiana mobile sports betting apps that include DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet.

Casino gambling in Illinois

Unfortunately, the gambling-expansion of 2019 did not include legislation for online casinos or online poker. It remains to be seen if this is something added after IL online sports betting comes into effect.

But for now, retail casinos remain the only place you can play casino games and slots.

Here’s a list of Illinois casinos you can visit in-person:

  • Argosy Casino Alton
  • Casino Queen (East St. Louis)
  • Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin)
  • Harrah’s Casino & Hotel Joliet
  • Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet
  • Jumer’s Casino & Hotel (Rock Island)
  • Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino (East Peoria)
  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines

Much like online casino gambling, there’s no mention of online poker in the legislation. But poker is available at the existing casinos in Illinois, listed above.

How to bet on Illinois sports teams

In total, Illinois is home to six franchises spanning the four major leagues and the MLS. The country’s third most populous city, Chicago, is the base for the Bears, the Blackhawks, the Bulls, the Cubs, White Sox, and Chicago Fire to leave sports fanatics in Illinois spoilt for choice.

Major league sports teams in Illinois

  • Chicago Bears (NFL)
  • Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
  • Chicago Bulls (NBA)
  • Chicago Cubs (MLB)
  • Chicago Fire (MLS)
  • Chicago White Sox (MLB)
IL teams 2

How to bet on the Bears

    Point spread betting is by far the most popular form of wagering when it comes to high-scoring sports, such as basketball and football. But does require a little understanding beforehand.

    This type of betting aims to level the playing field between and provide the bettor with a reason to play money on both teams. For instance, it's very common for games between two teams of contrasting ability to offer little value. The favorite will be low odds and the underdog priced high.

    An example always helps. Take a look at the one below:

    • Chicago Bears -10
    • Oakland Raiders +10

    Here, the Bears are the favorites on the spread. We know this because of the minus (-) sign which always indicates the side expected to win.

    For the Bears to win the wager, a winning margin of more than 10 points is required.

    For the Raiders to win the line a defeat of fewer than 10 points is required.

    Should the points difference be exactly 10 at the end of the game, the wager is declared a ‘push’ which means nobody has won the bet. The amount you have staked is returned.

    How a points spread bet works

    For betting newbies, getting used to how the odds are displayed can be kind of confusing initially but it’s an easy one to grasp:

    • Team or player deemed the favorite: expected to win and listed with a minus (-) sign.
    • Team or player viewed as the underdog: expected to lose and listed with a plus (+) sign.

    Naturally, putting money on the minus side (the favorite) will pay out less. This is because the favorite is expected to win and so backing them should, in theory, carry a smaller risk.

    The underdog, meanwhile, as an outsider carries more risk attached. More risk, the higher the potential payout.

    Given the underdog pays out more money per unit than a wager on the favorite, playing the Underdog is extremely common among bettors.

    How to bet on the Cubs

    Over/Under wagers, also known as Totals, are popular when it comes to betting on the MLB.

    For this type of wager, you're betting on the total number of runs scored in a game - you must call whether the total will finish higher or lower than the line set by the sportsbook.

    For instance, let’s say the line is set at seven runs and you put your stake on Over. A final score of 5-4 wins you your bet, as does a scoreline of 8-0. This is because you have bet OVER 7.

    If the match finishes 4-3 for example, the bet is neither a winning or losing one and is therefore declared a 'push' or a 'tie'. This means you receive your stake money back.

    IL teams 1

    How to bet on the Blackhawks

    As a low scoring sport, a regular point spread isn’t a viable option for NHL betting. No worries there though because hockey has its version - the puck line.

    A cross between the money line and point spread, the puck line is unique to NHL betting. Like the traditional point spread its purpose is to bridge the gap between the favorite and underdog and bring more value in terms of betting.

    To win a puck line bet, the favorite will need to win the game by more than 1.5 goals, by 2 in other words (there’s no such thing as half goals in hockey but .5 is used to determine the winner and avoid a tie).

    Let’s take a look at the example below and a match between the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks.

    • Arizona Coyotes +1.5
    • Chicago Blackhawks -1.5

    The Blackhawks are favorites, the -1.5 on the puck line indicating so. This means the Hawks need to win by 2 goals to cover the spread. The bet is lost if this is not the case.

      Puck line betting explained further

      If you’re almost certain the favorite will convincingly win the game, betting the puck line is advised. However, if there’s an ounce of doubt, stick to the relative safety net of the money line.

      The best aspect of this wager is the extra reward you can gain if you predict a team is going to win decisively.

      It’s not always about betting the favorite though. Here’s what would happen if the favorite were to lose and you wagered money on the underdog (+1.5 on the puck line):

      • Arizona beat Chicago by any margin = bet won
      • Arizona beat Chicago by one goal = bet won
      • Arizona lose to Chicago by one goal = bet won
      • Arizona lose to Chicago by two goals or more = bet lost

      Your FAQ about Il online gambling

      Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

      Yes. Illinois sports betting was made legal in June 2019 as part of a gambling expansion in the state.

      When did Illinois sports betting start?

      The first legal sports bet was placed on March 9, 2020, at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

      Is online gambling legal in Illinois?

      It has been made legal. But you will have to wait until 2021 for online sports betting to launch.

      Can I bet on my mobile?

      Not right now but Illinois mobile sports betting apps are not too far away from being made available.

      What is the minimum legal gambling age in Illinois?

      Players must be at least 21 years of age to gamble legally.

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