The Illinois Casino Scene
Illinois online casinos are not yet legal. However, there are plenty of people - lawmakers included - who would like to see this change.
The state of Illinois has had a limited gambling industry since 1990. That was when a Riverboat Gambling Act allowed for a riverboat in Alton to begin offering casino gambling. Gambling was limited to riverboat locations until 1999. That's when it was announced that these boats could be docked and still offer casino gambling.
In 2009, the Video Gaming Act was passed. This allowed video gaming terminals to be set up at retail locations. These locations included bars, restaurants, and truck stops. These terminals were extremely effective and provided a huge boost to the economy in the state.
Illinois had a very limited gambling industry until 2019, when state lawmakers were able to pass an expanding gambling bill. Governor JB Pritzker wasted little time signing that bill into law, and the gaming industry has been thriving ever since.
One thing that the expanded gambling law did not legalize was online casino gambling. Sports betting was legalized in 2019, and the industry launched on March 9, 2020.
There are almost 20 land-based casinos in operation in the state of Illinois. If online casino gambling is eventually legalized, several of those venues will want to make the most of the opportunity.
The expanded gambling law also allowed for a handful of new casinos to be built in the state. A new property is planned for the city of Chicago, but that has yet to get underway.
All of this means that sports betting is the only form of online gambling that is legal in the state. Illinois also has a state lottery, but instant-win tickets are not sold online.
The Best Illinois Online Casinos
Even though Illinois does not currently have any online casinos, when it does you'll want to play at the best. In our experience, that means picking venues which excel in several specific areas. Allow us to take you through those now so that you know what to look for in the future.
The most important thing to look for when choosing an online casino are the games. Specifically, at the range of games that are available. Most online casino sites will offer the same basic genres, but there will be plenty of variation between sites.
You want to choose a site that has the type of games that you are most interested in playing. Some online casino sites specialize in offering a wide variety of slots. Others specialize in poker or table games such as blackjack and roulette.
In a crowded and competitive market, bonus offers help online casinos to set themselves apart from the competition. Things to look for are deposit bonuses and free bets, which are good things no matter what games you play. If you want to you can even join several casinos just for the promotional deals they offer.
Safety and Support
Choosing an online casino that is properly regulated will provide safety, but reputation also matters in the industry. Finding reviews at an expert site such as this can also help you to finding the safest venues. Equally important is to check and see if any casino you are considering has reliable customer service and support.
Another thing to look at are the options that are available for mobile gaming. All of the top online casino sites will have mobile apps that can be downloaded for Android and iOS devices. If playing on your mobile is important to you, you'll want to see how good those are.
Finding an online casino site with banking options that work for you is also important. First, be sure to only choose a site that is regulated by the state of Illinois. Proper regulation ensures that it is both legal and secure. Then see if any of your favorite bankings methods can be used. If they can, the casino could well be a good fit for you, at least in this respect.
If you are new to online casinos, you might want to choose venue that explains how different games work. Whether or not you're new, you'll want a casino that is easy to find your way around. Consider how user friendly a venue is before signing up, and not when you've already made a deposit.
Illinois Online Casino Bonuses
In states where online casinos are already legal, bonuses are everywhere. Casinos offer bonuses as a way to attract new players as well as keep their current members happy.
Before registering with an online casino, you will want to check out what types of bonuses are offered. There are generally two different types of casino bonuses available, as follows:
No Deposit Casino Bonus
A no deposit casino bonus will reward you just for signing up. No deposit is necessary, hence the name. An example of a no deposit casino bonus could be a certain number of free spins. There are playthrough requirements with this type of bonus, but the bonus itself is risk free.
First Deposit Casino Bonus
A first deposit bonus is the most common of the two types. This will reward you for making a first deposit of your own money.
Some online casino sites will offer a first-deposit match up to a certain dollar amount. Others will reward you with a risk-free bet or credits, depending on how much you deposit. Be sure to read the terms of these bonuses so that you can make the most of them.
Signing Up with Illinois Online Casinos
The registration process at Illinois online casinos will likely be very similar to signing up for a sports betting account. Currently, due to Covid-19, registration can be completed online or through a mobile app. However, under normal circumstances, Illinois law requires in-person registration.
This means that a customer will need to go to a land-based casino to sign up for an account. Customers will not be limited to just one account, but will be able to sign up at several different locations.
Out-of-state bettors will also be able to sign up for an account. However, location services will have to be enabled before any bets can be made on the mobile apps. This is the same protocol that is in place for mobile sports betting.
The amount of information you will need to give to create an account will be minimal. Casinos will need only your name, date of birth, social security number and physical address.
You will also need to choose a username and password to access the online casino site. Some online sites will allow you to add additional security to your account by creating a two-step login process.
After signing up, the next step would be to make an initial deposit and then begin betting.
Visiting a physical casino to sign up might seem like a hassle, but it's a one-time thing. Even better, the entire process usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
Banking at Illinois Online Casinos
Online casinos are all about money changing hands. For that reason, it's important to look at the different banking options that are available. Banking options will vary between opoerators, but there are broad similarities that you can count on.
There are plenty of different ways to get money into your account. Using credit cards used to be the best, but there are now other options that are even more efficient.
Here is a brief look at the deposit options you are most likely to see at Illinois online casinos:
Credit/Debit: Most online casinos will accept both Visa and Mastercard
E-Check: Make a payment using an e-check through your bank.
Online Bank Transfer: This allows you to connect your banking institution to your online casino account
PayPal, Neteller, Skrill: Online banking apps that can allow you to send money back and forth
Casino Cage: Visit the retail casino and make a deposit through one of the tellers at the casino cage.
There are various ways of withdrawing some or all of your winnings. Typically, the deposit method that you chose will determine the withdrawal methods that are available to you.
Here are some of the most common withdrawal options available:
E-Check: Online casino sites can send you an e-check that you can then deposit through your banking institution.
Online Bank Transfer: If you have already connected your bank account to your online casino account, then this is an option that is available to you.
PayPal: If you deposited money through PayPal, you can use this method to request your winnings as well.
Check By Mail: Online casino sites can send you your winnings through the mail. This process could take almost two weeks.
Casino Cage: You can visit the retail casino to request your winnings. This can be paid out in either cash or check.