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Illinois Sports Betting: Online IL Sportsbook Guide

Illinois sports betting became legal in March 2020. However, the timing for top online sportsbooks in the Prairie State was a bit off. It was also the start of the pandemic and the new legislation made in-person sign-ups an inconvenient requirement for potential wagerers. Add to that the time delays and legal complications, it’s fair to say that sports betting in the state didn’t take off too well to start with. 

 

Thankfully, things changed for sportsbooks in Illinois over the next couple of years and they are now able to operate at full throttle. In this detailed guide you’ll learn how to pick the best Illinois sportsbook for your online needs and preferences. In addition, you’ll find out which operators are legal and safe, the sites and apps that offer the best bonuses and promotions, and which operators you can trust.

 

In other words, with our Illinois sports betting guide you’ll learn the most important details about wagering online, having fun, and winning some extra bucks in the Prairie State.

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Is Sports Betting Legal in Illinois

To begin with, the original legislation for sports betting required in-person sign-ups. Needless to say, this made the adoption of online sportsbooks in Illinois and sports betting less inclusive. The good news is that the creases have all been ironed out and now, effective March 5 2022, Illinois sports bettors can register online rather than having to register in person at a physical sportsbook location.
Another sticking point is the steep fee of $75,000 that potential sportsbooks have to pay for a sports betting license. Thankfully, this sum of money hasn’t put too many sportsbooks off and many of the major sports books have signed up and registered to be part of the Illinois market. So far, things are looking good for the state and it’s set to become a big player on the online gambling USA scene.

Legal Illinois Sports Betting Sites & Apps

Illinois SportsbookOnline/ Mobile Launching DatePartner OrganizationLocation
FanDuel Sportsbook IllinoisAugust 2020FanDuel Sportsbook amd Horse Racing (Fairmount Park)21 Blackjack Blvd, East Peoria, IL 61611, United States
DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois (previously known as William Hill Sportsbook Illinois)August 2022Casino Queen200 S Front St, East St Louis, IL 62201, United States
Caesars Sportsbook IllinoisMarch 2022Grand Victoria, Harrah's Metropolis, Harrah's Joliet250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120, United States
BetRivers Sportsbook IllinoisJune 2020Rivers Casino Sportsbook 3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 
PointsBet Sportsbook IllinoisSeptember 2020Hawthorne Race Course3501 S Laramie Ave, Stickney, IL 60804, United States
BetMGM August 2020Online only license
Barstool Sportsbook Illinois March 2021Hollywood Casino Joliet, Aurora, Argosy Casino Alton1 Piasa St, Alton, IL 62002, United States

Top 5 Illinois Sports Betting Sites and Apps

At the time of writing this How To Bet sports betting guide, there are 7 legal Illinois sports betting sites and apps in operation. Each of them has its individual qualities and strengths, including promotions and bonuses, good odds, and user-friendly web pages.

For this section, we’ve narrowed the selection down to the Top 5 Illinois sports betting sites and apps. Keep in mind that many promotions and bonuses will vary and change over time.  

FanDuel Sportsbook Illinois

FanDuel Sportsbook Illinois initially announced a partnership with the Fairmount Park Racetrack. However, Fairmount didn’t receive its sports betting license until October 29, 2020. Such a lengthy wait for approval meant FanDuel had to enter a co-branding situation with Par-A-Dice Casino in August 2020. 

Fairmount Park was eventually granted a license which meant Fanduel Sportsbook Illinois could transfer its sports betting license to the horse racing track in Fairmount Park after all.  

One of FanDuel’s biggest attractions for Illinois sports bettors is that it’s a household name that offers an excellent DFS platform and robust mobile app with a generous risk-free bet for new bettors. Other key features include enticing “same game parlays” with insurance promotions for various sports, free-to-play betting alternatives for wagering without risk, and site credit that’s similar to a real money account. 

In addition, you can always expect some brilliant welcome bonuses and a smooth and intuitive wagering experience when you get stuck into the Illinois sports betting experience at FanDuel. 

DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois

DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois, commonly referred to as DK, is also a big name when it comes to sports betting. It reached a partnership agreement with the Casino Queen-East St. Louis, which is now known as the DraftKings at Casino Queen, making it the second online sportsbook to launch in the state. 

Whether you find yourself using the main website or the DraftKings mobile app you’ll find it easy to navigate around and the bet slip is really easy-to-use. DraftKings is possibly best known for the brilliant fantasy football program it runs. Other features worth a mention are the special bonuses when “mission” activities are complete and the fact that you can use winnings from the DFS platform on the sportsbook platform as well

Caesars Sportsbook Illinois

Caesars Sportsbook was able to enter the Prairie State after purchasing William Hill (it was previously known as William Hill Sportsbook Illinois) and then rebranding it. Its app appeared live in Illinois in March 2022, although it opened its retail sportsbook on August 1, 2020. 

There are lots of features that help to make Caesars one of the biggest online sports betting operators in the state. Let’s start with the competitive odds and the Caesars Rewards program. Add to that one of the biggest welcome bonuses, for new bettors, frequent promotions, big market depth, and easy-to-navigate and use layout, and you’ll appreciate that Caesars took the William Hill experience and made it even better. 

PointsBet Sportsbook Illinois

PointsBet is an Australian-based company that does things a little differently to some of the other sportsbook sites. It made a notable splash on its September 30, 2020 launch at Hawthorne Race Course. Initially, there was a sports betting area in the lobby, before the venue was turned into a racino. 

It’s received a lot of positive feedback with regards to its betting and gaming options. This provider ensures users have access to the most advanced tech features to enhance their gaming and betting experience.

It is known for having the best odds for NFL games, including “no-juice” odds for all regular-season matchups. PointsBet also offers points betting, which is a unique betting style that you’ll only find at this site.   

BetRivers Sportsbook Illinois

BetRivers was the first to enter the Illinois market and hold a sports betting license. It’s the sports wagering arm of the BetRivers Casino Des Plaines.

You can expect a pretty good welcome bonus from the BetRivers Sportsbook Illinois and it's the only sports gambling operator in the state to offer a 100% deposit match. Another great feature of this site are the odds boosts that are available every day.

BetRivers has formed a sports betting partnership with the Chicago Bears which is quite a scoop and gives this operator a massive advantage, given the Bears massive popularity.  

BetRivers is rated among the top sports apps because of its many choices of bets, live betting and variety of sports on which you can wager. Among these are minor sports such as volleyball and snooker.

Other strengths for BetRivers include its number of prop bets, odds boosts, and live streaming of events on your phone. For the NFL it shows the down and distance of games live and lists all the plays in which points have been scored.

IL Sports Betting: Online Bonuses and Promo Codes

There’s a lot of competition in the online sports betting world which means individual sportsbooks have to attract new punters with tempting bonuses. The biggest one to date is the Caesars $1,100 free bet insurance which is for newcomers to this sportsbook. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the other offers available for Illinois sports bettors.  

Just don’t forget to use How To Bet’s links and promo codes to make sure you are getting the best bonus possible.

Illinois SportsbookBonusPromo Code
FanDuel Sportsbook IllinoisBet $5, Get $150 in site credits regardless if your bet wins or loses.Use Link
DraftKings Sportsbook IllinoisBet $5, Win $200 on any MLB moneylineHTBDK
BetRivers Sportsbook Illinois100% First Deposit Matching Bonus250MATCH
BetMGM Sportsbook Illinois$1,000 Risk-Free BetHOWTOBETMGM
Caesars Sportsbook Illinois$1,100 Free Bet InsuranceHOWTOBETCZR
PointsBet Sportsbook IllinoisUp to $2000 Risk Free BetUse Link
Barstool Sportsbook Illinois$500 Risk-Free BetBarstool Sportsbook Illinois promo code is (?)

How to Pick the Best Illinois Sportsbook for You

There are a whole range of things to consider when choosing the best sportsbook Illinois can offer you. Here at How To Bet, we pride ourselves in our selection process. We deep dive into every aspect of each sportsbook before we recommend anything to you. Some of the key things we look out for are:

  • Pricing - A sportsbook should have fair odds and lines. Most sites have fairly similar odds for each event, but some offer better lines than others. Some even offer things such as odds boosts, which see low odds increase to entice bettors into wagering money. 
  • Safety - We only review sportsbooks that are 100% legal. Strict gaming laws ensure punters are treated fairly, so you shouldn’t use an Illinois sportsbook that isn’t How To Bet approved. 
  • Mobile Experience - In this modern age, more bets are placed using mobile devices than ever before! This means the quality of Illinois sportsbook apps is very important. Placing a bet should be fun, not a chore. 
  • Bonuses and Promotions - Bonuses are a key part of IL sports betting. Essentially, they are often what gets you through the door. Most sites offer a range of bonuses and promotions, each with their own pros and cons. 

Let’s take a closer look at these and some additional factors you should bear in mind when choosing your Illinois online sports betting site.  

Ease of Use

No one wants to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to place a bet instead of concentrating on trying to make a successful wager. Although they can vary a bit and people will have their own personal preferences, the operators that were the first to offer sports betting in Illinois have well-designed apps that make it easy for gamblers to bet and manage their accounts.

Betting with ease is particularly important for making in-play wagers where time is a factor because the game is unfolding live. You also want to use an app where it's easy to quickly find the updated odds for the obvious reasons of increasing your chances for higher winnings. Furthermore, you want an app that provides up-to-date information on things such as injuries and weather conditions that may influence your bet.

It's also important to fully understand exactly what kind of bet you are making, especially for novice gamblers. Make sure the sportsbook has a section that provides customer service to have any questions answered. If it has an on-line chat room where you can get questions answered immediately, that’s even better.

Promotions and Bonuses

All the operators offering Illinois online sports betting give them in some form or another for the obvious reason they want to attract (and keep) your business. Keep in mind many of the bonuses and promotions will change over time, so you need to make sure which ones are currently active in our Free IL Bets and Promo Codes page.

Codes that give you access to these bonuses are usually very easy to find on the main page. As a general rule, promotions tend to rotate more and be smaller than bonuses. Bonuses often refer exclusively to welcome bonuses, which are a set amount of money you will receive for either making a deposit or simply setting up an account. The sites will offer different amounts of money and often they will depend on how much you actually deposit.

Similarly, sites will have deposit bonuses, which matches a percentage of how much money you placed in your account. Additional bonuses can include reloading bonuses, free bet bonuses and loyalty bonuses that reward a bettor for making frequent wagers. Some sites also have high-roller bonuses for gamblers who wage large amounts of money. Additional options may include refer-a-friend bonuses, boosted odds bonuses, rewards for using cryptocurrencies and parlay insurance bonuses that return some of your money for getting part of a parlay bet right.

Banking Methods

While these can also vary according to the app, there are many ways to make deposits and withdrawals on IL sports betting apps.

  • Electronic wallet such as PayPal – By far one of the most common options. Advantages with these include the fact they are easy to set up, affordable and secure.
  • Credit/debit cards such as American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Discover.
  • Prepaid cards in which you load your card with funds from your bank and use it with your sportsbook.
  • Online banking transfers where bettors use their bank accounts to place money in their sportsbook account.
  • ACH or e-check – An e-check is simply an electronic funds transfer (EFT) that utilizes the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network.

You want depositing money to be easy to save time and avoid headaches, and for the most part it is by simply going on the sportsbook site and hitting the deposit button. The speed by which your money is deposited and withdrawn is usually pretty fast, although withdrawals can take a little longer. Electronic transfers tend to occur faster than other ways such as a money order or check.

Most online Illinois sports gambling sites have numerous ways in which you can make withdrawals. How fast you receive your money can depend on the fees that are charged. You can often receive your money more quickly by paying an extra small fee.

Legality, Safety and Security

When the first six operators obtained their licenses for online sports betting Illinois, bettors benefited from peace of mind knowing their funds and personal information were secure. This is because all of them are well-established and trusted sites. Unlike offshore ones, they are also licensed and approved in the Prairie State, which means they have to answer to the state law enforcement if a problem were to arise.

There are two main reasons for doing business with a secure website. In addition to the obvious one of knowing your money is safe, you want your personal information to be safely stored. Having someone gain access to your banking account or credit card information can become an absolute nightmare. Make sure the Illinois sports betting apps and sites you pick have a section that deals with protecting your security and a two-step verification system in place. It's also a good idea to use a password that is virtually impossible to guess.

Customer Service

Customer service can often be extremely important when you create an online Illinois sportsbook account. Questions can arise about banking methods as well as placing bets, particularly for the novice gambler. Operators want to help you in order to keep your business and the better ones are usually very responsive to your questions. The last thing a sportsbook wants is to lose you because you are stressed out or unhappy with the way you are treated. Don't be afraid to ask so-called ‘dumb questions’. It's your money and you have every right to be sure. Pick a IL sports betting site or app that offers you 24/7 support with knowledgeable agents speaking different languages.

How to Start Your Online Sports Betting Illinois Journey

Starting your sports betting journey in Illinois is very simple, once you’ve taken the first steps and picked the right sportsbook for your needs and preferences. The process is very smooth and quick from start to finish. Our guide would not be complete without showing you these easy four universal steps, so take note and be ready to place your first wager today.

Visit your preferred sportsbook’s site or mobile app

After a detailed research and following our guidance, enter in the site of the Illinois sportsbook you have picked or download the app. Just remember to use one of How To Bet’s exclusive promo codes and links in order to get the best sign up offer possible.

Sign up for your betting account

Register for an account at your preferred Illinois sports betting apps and sites. Some pretty basic information will be required from you to verify your identity. Now is the time to provide our bonus code.

Make a deposit at the online sportsbook

We already made some remarks on this subject. You should know that most Prairie State online sportsbooks give you an array of options and depositing money is really easy, simple and fast.

Place your bet

Once you have found your way navigating the menu and find the wanted sport or prop market, use the bet slip and voila – you have made your first wager online in the state of Illinois. Now all that is left for you is to win.

Benefits of Using Legal Illinois Sports Betting Apps & Sites

Once you start your online sports betting Illinois journey, you’ll enjoy many advantages. These are bound to keep you satisfied. Here are the most important benefits.

  • Convenience – The Illinois sports betting sites and apps will make your life easier because all the tools you need to place a winning wager are close at hand. The latest odds, the most up-to-date team & game info is offered to you on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. And, most of all, you get to save time and money because you don’t have to visit a land-based sportsbook. Gas, parking, food, drinks/beverages, waiting in lines, driving, etc. – all of this is history now and you should rejoice.
  • Safety – Using legal IL sports betting apps and websites will provide you the fundamental security you need in order to be a calm and successful bettor. Those online operators that are regulated by the state strictly follow all the respective laws and protocols. This allows you to deposit and withdraw money really safely and swiftly, which may not be the case with offshore or overseas sportsbooks.
  • Easy usage – Choosing to bet with a legal Illinois online sports betting site will also give you smooth operating experience in navigation and wagering. You won’t get that easiness in a land-based venue.
  • Bumper bonuses and promotions – Retail sportsbooks rarely give such generous offers to new customers so it would be wise to take advantage of those provided by online operators.

Sports Betting in Illinois Compared to Other States

In terms of sports betting, Illinois ranks as a top state in the country. We at How To Bet grade it with a more than deserved A-. if you’re wondering why, check out the reasons.

Diversity – The attractive conditions make all of the best US sportsbooks want to join the party. Who knows how many operators will be providing services legally in the Prairie State before too long. 

Deposits and withdrawals – Making them is swift and simple at all licensed online sports betting Illinois operators, with multiple methods being available for your convenience.

Odds – Because of the competitive market, the Illinois sportsbooks odds are attractive and this gives bettors plenty of options to shop for the best lines.

Bonuses and promotions – It’s logical with any opening new market that the operators fight for customers, so for sports betting Illinois is blessed with more than generous bonuses and promotions for new bettors.

Offerings – You can bet on dozens of sports in the state and the only thing that’s not legal is wagering on in-state college teams programs (live betting on them included).

Using official league data – The state requires sportsbooks to do it when determining betting results.

Retail sportsbooks – Sports betting is available in land-based operators as it’s indeed where it all began.

Brief History of Illinois Sports Gambling

Way back in 2018, five sports betting bills were introduced in Illinois. However, they received very little attention. It wasn't until a year later when a new governor took his seat that things ended up on the right track, eventually leading to the legalization of sports wagering in the Prairie State.

The state legalized sports betting in 2019, as part of a larger gaming expansion package called the Illinois Sports Wagering Act. Bill H 3308 was officially signed by Governor JB Pritzker on June 28 of that year.

Is sports betting legal in Illinois? Yes and the sports betting industry is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. Retail sports gambling was able to launch first, but online sportsbooks weren’t far behind. To begin with, wagerers had to complete the registration process and place bets at a land-based venue. However, from March 2022, everything can be done online, as long as bettors are within the borders of the Prairie State. 

Illinois Online Sports Betting Recap

  • You must be at least 21 years old to participate in Illinois online sports betting.
  • The gambling industry in this state is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. 
  • You do not have to be a resident of Illinois to bet, but you do need to be in the state when you place wagers.
  • Bets can be placed on NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, NCAA, soccer, tennis, golf, MMA, NASCAR, WNBA, and much more.

Illinois Sports Betting FAQ

Can you sports bet in Illinois?
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Absolutely, yes you can. Illinois sportsbooks and sports betting has been legal in the state since 2019.

When will sportsbooks open in Illinois?
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Retail Illinois sportsbooks have been available since March 2020, while the first online sportsbook launched in June of the same year.

When can I bet on sports in Illinois?
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The legal age for sports betting in Illinois is set at 21, however, the legal age for daily fantasy sports is just 18.

Where to bet sports in Illinois?
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Retail betting is available in Illinois, however, most of the action takes place at online Illinois sports books. Retail betting is currently available at casinos throughout the state, as well as selected professional sports stadiums.

Does Illinois have sports betting?
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Most definitely Illinois does offer sports bettors plenty of opportunities when they want to place a bet, either online or in person.

Can you use FanDuel Sportsbook in Illinois?
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Yes, FanDuel is just one of many sportsbooks you can use in Illinois.

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