Illinois Online Sports Betting - All You Need to Know -

Illinois Online Sports Betting

Illinois online sports betting hasn’t been legal for long, but it is establishing itself remarkably quickly. The Illinois sports betting industry officially launched on March 9th, 2020, and it took just a few months for the online portion of the market to get going. Online sports betting has dominated the industry since launch, and that is expected to continue in the coming months and years.

Illinois currently has just five retail and mobile sports betting options, but that number will continue to grow in the coming months. Illinois has also proven to be a massive player in the industry as this is a state that has a huge culture in sports and gambling.

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Illinois Online Sports Betting Legislation

Illinois lawmakers originally created some strange and strict rules for the sports betting industry. Fortunately, some of these have already been amended. A $750,000 licensing fee is one of the highest in the country, but it has not kept some of the biggest names from applying for an Illinois online sports betting license.

Another thing that the sports betting law states was that online-only operators could not apply for a sports betting license for at least 18 months after the first bet was placed. This was originally set to keep DraftKings and FanDuel out of the state, but that clearly didn’t work.

State lawmakers also required in-person registration when signing up for a mobile sports betting account. However, that rule has almost been overlooked. Governor J.B. Pritzker has waived that requirement a number of times, which has allowed the mobile sports betting industry to thrive. 

Illinois Online Sports Betting: The Facts

  • 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 bets.

Best Illinois Online Sports Betting Sites

Sports betting in Illinois officially launched on March 9, 2020. There hasn’t been a ton of growth since that time in terms of the number of operators. The Illinois Gaming Board takes a long time to review and approve applications, but there aren’t that many licenses available.

There are just five retail and mobile sportsbooks available in Illinois. That will continue to be the case as we head into 2021. There will be others that will join the market next year. However, each operator will have some work to do to compete with the established leaders. 

BetRivers Sportsbook

BetRivers is the sportsbook arm of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. It was the first retail sportsbook in the state. It was also the first sports betting app available in Illinois.

This operator is live in several other states throughout the US, but it’s not a big name in the industry. BetRivers got off to a huge start in Illinois, but it has now been passed up by some of the bigger names. 

BetRivers does offer a solid bonus for new customers, and that has drawn in some bettors. The operator offers a 100 percent first deposit match up to $250. 

DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook has partnered with the Casino Queen, which has allowed the operator to build up a strong customer base in the St. Louis area. DraftKings went live on Aug. 5, 2020, becoming the second sports betting option in Illinois.

New customers at DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois are being offered up to $1,025 as a welcome bonus. That offer comes in three different forms.

When customers sign up at DraftKings they will be eligible to receive $25 just for creating an account. The other $1,000 comes in the form of a first deposit match up to $500, and a $500 risk-free bet. This is a great way to build up your account before ever making a wager. 

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel initially partnered with the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria to break into the Illinois market. Since that time, the operator has also partnered with Fairmount Park near St. Louis, and that is where it will really focus its retail sports betting operation.

FanDuel became the third mobile sports betting app available in the state of Illinois at the end of August. Retail sports betting at the Par-A-Dice Casino also became available on that date. 

FanDuel offers new customers a risk-free bet up to $1,000 depending on the amount of money that customer deposits. There is no deposit match or free bets offered as a part of the welcome bonus from FanDuel. 

PointsBet Sportsbook

PointsBet is an Australian-based operator that broke into the US in New Jersey in 2018. The company was looking to expand into other states, and it chose Illinois through a partnership with Hawthorne Park.

PointsBet launched in September 2020, just one day after the official start of the NFL season. This operator takes a unique approach to sports betting, and it has the widest range of promos available each week. 

The initial welcome offer from PointsBet is a $250 deposit match, and risk-free bets are also included with this offer. PointsBet has changed up its welcome bonus a handful of times since joining the industry in Illinois. 

William Hill

William Hill was the fifth and final sports betting operator to enter the market in Illinois. This company has partnered with the Grand Victoria Casino. 

This is one of the biggest sports betting operators in the world. It became a key player in Illinois as soon as it launched. William Hill is currently offering a risk-free bet up to $300 for new customers in Illinois. 

Illinois Online Sports Betting Opportunities

The Illinois sports betting law is very progressive, and that allows sportsbooks plenty of freedom when setting betting lines. This means that sports bettors in Illinois have plenty of sports to bet on. Almost all of the most popular options available. 

The four major professional sports leagues in the US, MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL, are all offered in Illinois. Live betting can be offered for all of these sports as well. Other leagues such as MLS, WNBA, PGA Tour and NASCAR are also able to be bet on in the state of Illinois.

The sports betting law in Illinois also allows for betting on NCAA events. However, bets cannot be placed on teams from the state of Illinois. Bettors cannot place a single-game wager on the Illinois Fighting Illini or the Northwestern Wildcats.

Esports is another form of betting that has not been legalized in Illinois, and that is actually a large betting market. Look for Illinois lawmakers to explore legalizing this form of betting at some point in the near future. 

Outside of the sports and leagues mentioned above, different sportsbooks will take bets on a number of different events. It is best to check with each operator for a complete list of betting options. 

Choosing an Illinois Online Sports Betting Site

Choosing a sports betting site can be difficult, especially in a state like Illinois that has so many great options. The great thing is that you are not limited to just one sports betting account. On the contrary, you can check out all five of the sportsbooks discussed above.

There are some specific areas that you need to take a close look at before ultimately choosing a sportsbook to use. There will be plenty of similarities found in the industry, but some sportsbooks will stick out in areas as well. 

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when finding the sportsbook that is right for you. 

Game Selection

The Illinois Gaming Board regulates the sports betting industry in the state. That group is responsible for determining which betting markets can be featured. Betting on college sporting events is legal in Illinois, except for single game wagers featuring in-state teams.

PointsBet and William Hill are both international operators. Their focus is therefore on more international competitions than the other sites. BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel also offer international betting markets, but they tend to focus on the major American sports. 

Betting Lines

Illinois online sportsbooks are able to set their own betting lines, but most of them are exactly the same. Each sportsbook will slightly alter lines or odds, but it’s rare to see a major difference between different sites.

Games featuring teams from Illinois will have some different lines listed as the sportsbooks want more action on these matchups. 

New players bonuses

Bonuses and promotions are one of the best ways for sportsbooks to attract new customers. This is especially true in such a competitive market. All of the sportsbooks mentioned will have some sort of new player bonus. Finding the best offer can help get you off to a great start in the industry.

When it comes to new player bonuses, no one does it better than DraftKings Sportsbook. DraftKings offers new players up to $1,025 in bonuses, which is easily the best offer in the industry.

New customers will receive a free $25 just for signing up for an account at DraftKings. That money will be available as soon as a customer logs into their account for the first time. 

DraftKings also offers a first deposit match up to $500 along with a risk-free bet up to $500. This is quite an offer from DraftKings. It's also one of the maint reasons why this operator is a leader in the industry. 


The next area that you want to look at is the promotions. All of the Illinois online sports betting sites do things differently in this area. That said, PointsBet offers the largest list of daily and weekly promotions.

Odds boosts are a common promotion that you will find offered by sportsbooks. They are a great way to get boosted odds on big events. Sites will also risk-free bets from time-to-time, and parlay insurance is another common promotion that you will find.

When you are taking advantage of a promotion from a sportsbook make sure that you read all of the terms and conditions before placing a bet. 

Customer Service

Customer service is not something that most bettors think about when choosing a sportsbook, but this can be extremely important. If you are ever looking for answers, you will want to know how to get in touch with the customer service department. 

Most sportsbooks offer a live chat feature. All of the Illinois sportsbooks also have an email address dedicated to customer service. Calling a customer service representative is becoming a thing of the past, but may still be an option at different sites. 

Banking at Illinois Sportsbooks

The online sports betting industry is obviously based around money. Before you can place any bets, you need money to have some money in your account. You also need an easy way to get hold of your winnings after you make a number of terrific bets. 

The banking process is extremely simple and easy as operators don’t want you to be stressed about any of this. The banking options used to be extremely limited in this industry, but that is no longer the case. 

There are plenty of different banking options available, and you will almost certainly find something that meets your needs. Each operator will offer different banking options, but there are plenty of similarities throughout. 

How to Deposit Money

Credit/debit card payments used to be the most popular forms of deposit, but that is no longer the case. Now there are much better options that are simpler and can get completed in a much shorter amount of time. 

Here are some of the available deposit options that you will find at sportsbooks in Illinois:

  • PayPal
  • Online Bank Transfer
  • ACH Transfer/eCheck
  • Play+ Prepaid Card
  • Visa/Mastercard
  • Skrill
  • Cash at Casino Cage

How to Withdraw Money

There aren’t as many withdrawal options available, but that is pretty typical in the sports betting industry. That doesn’t mean that you won’t find a reliable withdrawal method as there are at least six different options offered in Illinois

Some of these methods take longer than others. Some of them might also require a minimum amount to be withdrawn. 

Here are the common available withdrawal methods offered from sportsbooks: 

  • PayPal
  • Online Bank Transfer
  • ACH Transfer
  • Play+
  • Check By Mail
  • Cash at Casino Cage

The Benefits of Legal Online Sports Betting

There were many reasons why the United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting. Safety was at the top of the list. Bettors throughout the US were betting through offshore betting sites, and that created all sorts of problems and legal issues. 

Lawmakers understood that bettors were always going to find a way to place these bets. Giving bettors a safe and legal alternative to offshore sportsbooks was just a sensible thing to do. Bettors in Illinois can have peace of mind when placing a bet through a legal and regulated sportsbook.

Another reason to legalize online sports betting is that it is a huge revenue source. This is especially so for a state like Illinois that is staring at a massive budget deficit. Sportsbooks have to pay a licensing fee to operate, and they also pay a tax on gross gaming revenue.

Banking institutions enjoy legal sports betting sites as well because they are no longer dealing with international operators. Some banks would immediately flag these types of transactions in the past. However, they now allow bettors to make payments to legal sites. 

Finally, legalizing online sports betting was a huge win for the bettor because it is simply much more convenient. Bettors can download an app and place a bet from their couch. That's far more convenient than travelling to a retail casino or retail sportsbook to make a bet. 

Illinois Legal Sports Betting Timeline

The entire United States started exploring the legalization of sports betting when the US Supreme Court lifted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in Spring of 2018. This gave states the right to come up with their own rules and regulations regarding the sports betting industry.

New Jersey was the state that initially challenged this ruling, and the state faced opposition from all of the major professional sports. New Jersey was eventually successful in its appeal, but it helped out states throughout the country.

In 2018, lawmakers in Illinois began exploring the legalization of sports betting, but bills didn’t get very far. It took a change in governor to put pressure on lawmakers to really get things done in regard to sports betting. 

Sports betting was eventually added into a much larger gaming expansion bill that was supported by Governor Pritzker. When lawmakers were able to pass that bill, it was quickly signed into law by Pritzker. 

Sports betting became legal in June 2019, and the industry officially launched in March 2020. Mobile sports betting got going in June 2020, and the fifth operator launched in September 2020. 

Illinois Online Sports Betting FAQ

Is online sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes. If you are aged 21 or older, and physically in the state of Illinois, online sports betting is legal.

Can I use FanDuel sportsbook in Illinois?

Yes. FanDuel is one of five sportsbooks currently operating in Illinois.

What sportsbooks are legal in Illinois?

The sportsbooks currently operating in Illinois are:

  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • PointsBet Sportsbook
  • BetRivers Sportsbook
  • William Hill Sportsbook

And there are more to come in 2021.


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