Illinois Sports Betting Review: Legal Online Sports Betting

Fact Checked by Lou Monaco

What are the best sports betting apps in Illinois? Now that online sports betting has been made legal throughout the Land of Lincoln, sports bettors are looking at the top mobile sportsbook apps for the best overall action. And with the biggest barrier of entry falling (with the end of the in-person registration requirement), there’s never been a better time to sign on with a legal online sportsbook and enhance your sports spectating experience. We’re going to go over the biggest names on the scene and let you know what they offer sports betting fans so you can decide for yourself where to take your money.

Top Licensed Sportsbooks in the Illinois Sports Betting Market

Online sportsbooks in Illinois first went live in 2020, overseen by the Illinois Gaming Board. The laws allowed casinos, racetracks, and large capacity sports venues to apply for a license to operate a sportsbook. Currently, there are seven online sportsbooks running in Illinois which all offer sports betting through web platforms as well as mobile apps. These are some of the biggest names in the online sportsbook industry, working in partnership with Illinois casinos. Notably, the biggest hurdle is coming down, as the in-person registration requirement is ending, and Illinois bettors will be able to register for a new account by the time you read this.

Caesars Sportsbook Illinois

Use our Promo Code USBETTING1000 to get your Illinois welcome bonus.

Few brand names are as synonymous with gambling as Caesars, so it’s no surprise that they’ve made their presence known in Illinois. Caesars Sportsbook offers a truly enticing welcome bonus and is affiliated with Caesars Rewards, one of the most popular loyalty programs in the industry. In 2021, Caesars acquired William Hill, the popular English gambling operator, and rebranded their US brands under the Caesars banner. This included the partnership William Hill enjoyed with the Grand Victoria Casino.

Current Offer:See details in banner below
 States Available:AZ, CO, IA, IN, IL, IA, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY, KS
 App Offered:iOS and Android
 Partner:Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin
 Review:Read our full review of the Caesars Sportsbook app

DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois

DraftKings Sportsbook made an early splash in the Illinois market, taking advantage of its name recognition value as a Daily Fantasy Sports operator. A tempting welcome bonus and huge variety of options puts DraftKings Sportsbooks at or near the top of the best sports betting apps lists. In addition to their retail sportsbook, DraftKings at Casino Queen, they’ve signed an agreement to open another brick and mortar location in the shadow of Wrigley Field. This, as you may expect, is related to their partnership with the Cubs.

Current Offer:See details in banner below
 States Available:NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, IN, IA, NH, IL, CO, MI, CT, WY, AZ, KS
 App Offered: iOS and Android
 Casino Partner:DraftKings at Casino Queen, East St. Louis
 Team Partner:Chicago Cubs
  Review:Read our full review of the DraftKings Sportsbook app
Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook Illinois

Another gambling operator that began as a Daily Fantasy Sports house, FanDuel has spread rapidly through the US states that enjoy legal sports betting. Illinois sports bettors can expect to get some exciting perks through betting with FanDuel on the Bulls and the Blackhawks, thanks to a partnership with the United Center. FanDuel recently announced a plan to open a retail sportsbook lounge inside the venue to boost the entire experience that much more. As far as their online sportsbook goes, the intro offer is a great initial risk-free bet, and the app itself is incredibly user-friendly and features loads of options for fans of same-game parlays.

Current Offer:See details in banner below
  States Available:NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, LA, CT, WY, MI, IL, IN, CO, IA, KS, AZ
 App Offered:iOS and Android
 Casino Partner:FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing, Collinsville
 Venue Partner:United Center
 Review:Read our full review of the FanDuel Sportsbook app 
Must be 21+ and present in VA. T&Cs apply.

BetMGM Sportsbook Illinois

Use our BetMGM sportsbook Bonus code USBETTING to get your BetMGM Illinois welcome bonus.

One of the biggest names in the sports betting industry, BetMGM plans to open up shop in Illinois in March of 2022. The BetMGM app promises Illinois bettors a beginner-friendly sports betting experience with plenty of banking options and plenty of options in the biggest sports betting markets. The option to stream international sporting events enhances the live betting options, and they’ve partnered with East Peoria’s Par A Dice Casino. Getting the foothold at Par A Dice Casino from FanDuel was a crucial part of their strategy. Entering the market when the other big names are already here could open up some sweet promos, as BetMGM tries to poach players from the other online sportsbook apps. 

Current Offer:See details in banner below
 States Available:AZ, CO, IN, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, WA, WY, KS
 App Offered:iOS and Android
 Casino Partner:Par A Dice Casino, East Peoria
 Review:Read our full review of the BetMGM app
Visit BetMGM.com for T&Cs. Must be 21+. VA only. New Customer Offer. All promotions are subject to qualification and eligibility requirements. Rewards issued as non-withdrawable bonus bets. Bonus bets expire in 7 days from issuance. Please Gamble Responsibly. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

BetRivers Sportsbook Illinois

If you root root root for the home team, BetRivers may be your pick. They’re a product of Rush Street Gaming, which is headquartered in Chicago. They used their hometown cred to become the official gambling partner of the Bears, and are also affiliated with the Rivers Casino Des Plaines. Their low playthrough introductory bonus is easy on new bettors, and gives some great profit bonuses just for logging in on certain days of the week. You can stream sports from around the world, and they recently added jai alai to their already impressive list of sports to bet on.

Current Offer:See details in banner below
 States Available:AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, WV, VA
 App Offered:iOS and Android
 Casino Partner:Rivers Casino, Des Plaines
 Review:Read our full review of the BetRivers Sports Betting app

Sportsbooks That Could Launch Later

The market is already intense, and the Illinois Gaming Board has only issued licenses for the above operators. But expect the competition to heat up further in the next year as TheScore and Unibet plan on entering the marketplace in 2022, and other operators like Fanatics and Bet365 could get in the ring in the near future. Watch this space.

Illinois Sports Betting Law: Is Illinois Sports Betting Legal?

As long as you’re at least 21, betting on sports is legal in Illinois. You can use an online gambling site or mobile app, or you can visit a retail sportsbook in a gambling destination like the DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook, or the Hawthorne Race Course.

There are a couple of caveats to keep in mind, all regarding betting on college sports. Currently, bets on college sports are limited to in-person betting at a retail sportsbook – no mobile betting is allowed. All bets must be placed prior to start of the game – live betting on college sports is prohibited. Finally, no prop bets around individual college performances are allowed – so no player props in college sports.

Illinois Sports Betting Apps: Betting Legal in Illinois

The best way to bet in Illinois is on mobile apps. Retail sports betting is a perfectly good way to do things, but the apps have plenty of advantages you won’t find at retail sportsbooks. All you need to do is download the app from the iOS App Store or Google Play to your preferred device and log in. In most cases, you’re going to get the same options you’d get on the house’s website, and probably many more than if you’d bet through the retail sportsbooks. It’s a great way to get your action anywhere you go, even if you’re only going as far as your couch.

Illinois Sports To Bet Online

🏈 Football Betting

The biggest betting market in the United States, hands down, is NFL Football. Wherever you decide to bet online, you’ll find endless options on every NFL game, including live betting. Expect to see a huge promotional push kick in when football season gets back in gear, particularly from BetRivers and the Bears. But even in the off-season you’ll find team and player futures, awards around the 2022-23 season, and even action on who’s going #1 in the draft.

🏀 Basketball Betting

Second only to the NFL in the U.S. in terms of betting volume, the NBA provides sports bettors a long regular season and postseason. With games nearly every night during the season, basketball bets are especially parlay-friendly. The pace of the game itself also lends itself well to in-game live betting, so Bulls fans will find a lot to like here.

⚾ Baseball Betting

It’s hard to say when there will even be an MLB season given the current dispute. Assuming games eventually take place, the relaxed pace and long season of our National Pastime makes for a great way to learn the basics of online sports wagering. And in due time Cubs fans be able to enjoy the DraftKings Sportsbook experience from a retail location in the shadow of Wrigley Field.

🏒 Hockey Betting

While hockey doesn’t bring in the volume of bets that football does, if you know the game inside and out, experts claims hockey is especially well-suited for live bets and strategic picks. Even non-fans of hockey admit that there’s nothing like the postseason. So the only way to make playoff hockey more exciting is to put a few bucks on it, and a winning bet can certainly cushion the blow of it not being the Blackhawks’ year.

🥍 College Sports

The Illinois sports betting law around college games is a little tricky compared to some other states. According to a recently changed Illinois law, bets on in-state college games must be placed in-person at one of the state’s retail sportsbooks, and are limited to betting on the outcome of the game (i.e. spreads, moneylines and over/unders). As inconvenient as this is, it still beats the old laws, where Illinois bettors were prohibited from betting on in-state college games at all.

In spite of the regulations set in place by the Illinois Gaming Board, college football and college basketball still provide plenty of opportunities for action, and more than one online sportsbook offer action on college hockey, and college lacrosse.

Illinois Teams Sports Bettors Can Bet On

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears date back to 1920 when they were still the Decatur Staleys. They have built as storied a history as any team in the NFL, including 8 championships prior to the merger, and Super Bowl XX. The Monsters of the Midway are counting on Justin Fields to end their playoff win drought as he readies for his second season.

Chicago Bulls

The third NBA franchise to call Chicago home, the Bulls are best known for making lemonade after the Blazers snagged Sam Bowie in the ’84 Draft. Those ’90s teams went on a dominant run reminiscent of the Lakers of the ’80s or the Yankees of the ’20s. A recent resurgence anchored by Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan is producing excellent results and should give the team a solid seeding as the playoffs get underway.

Chicago Cubs

Sellers at the last trade deadline, the Cubs shipped off some of the core of their 2016 Championship team. When the season comes around, they’ll have an exciting new ace in Marcus Stroman, and new signee Yan Gomes will provide as reliable a backup catcher as there is. It may be a while before they can get another playoff run, but even a rebuilding year provides plenty of fun from a betting perspective.

Chicago White Sox

The reigning division champs reloaded in the off-season, adding Kendall Graveman to the bullpen and giving the infield some flexibility with Leury Garcia. The White Sox are one of the most exciting teams in Major League Baseball and should be able to pick up where they left off when the season gets underway.

Chicago Blackhawks

Dating back to the 20s, the Blackhawks are as much a part of the identity of Chicago as giardiniera and Dennis Farina. This season has been one to forget, frankly. But there are still exciting opportunities for online betting, especially live bets, as they play out the string and look forward to a fresh start with a new GM and a new full-time head coach, whether Derek King gets the nod or not.

Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire was founded in 1997 and won both the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup in their first season. Recent years haven’t been so kind, as they haven’t made the playoffs since 2017. The recent return to Soldier Field puts the fire back in one of the most iconic venues in American sports, and soccer’s standing as the #1 betting market worldwide means the action around the Fire is an underrated way to play.

Northwestern Wildcats

Although subject to the restrictive Illinois sports betting law around college sports, the Wildcats hold a special place for college football fans in the Chicago area. They’ve qualified for ten Bowl games since Pat Fitzgerald assumed head coaching responsibilities and have won their last four.

Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illinois Gaming Board saw fit to keep close watch on college games, but the Fighting Illini continue their winning ways on the basketball court, even as their football program struggles. The men’s basketball team walked away with the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament championship in 2021 before being upset by Loyola-Chicago in the Round of 32.

Other Popular Betting for Illinois Sports Bettors

Daily Fantasy Sports

In Daily Fantasy Sports games, players can draft a new lineup every day and score points based on the performance of their team. In an April 2020 ruling, head-to-head Daily Fantasy Sports games for money were declared by Illinois courts as “games of skill”, and as such, legal. That cleared the runway for DFS operators like FanDuel, DraftKings and Monkey Knife Fight to open up shop in Illinois.

Horse Racing

Betting on horse racing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the sport. In Illinois, thoroughbred, quarterhorse and harness racing all take place, and betting on horse racing is legal. Wagers can be placed at the racetracks, any of several OTB sites, and through a handful of online apps specific to horse racing.

Elections

Some offshore gambling operations allow for wagers on American political elections. Betting on American elections is illegal in Illinois and everywhere else in the country. So don’t do it.

Pop Culture Ceremonies

Betting on Pop Culture Ceremonies such as the Academy Awards is legal to people in New Jersey. But if you’re reading this, you’re probably in Illinois, so that doesn’t help you much. You won’t find action on pop culture ceremonies through legal Illinois sportsbooks.

Esports

The sports betting bill signed into law in Illinois did not provide for wagering on esports. The industry is exploding, but the board didn’t establish esports as a betting market in the state. The laws are frequently being revised as the governing bodies try to figure out how to best serve all the stakeholders, so betting on esports may come to Illinois in the future.

Promotions & Bonus Offers From Illinois Online Sportsbooks

When you open an account at an Illinois sports betting site, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take advantage of any welcome bonus code that’s offered. And the houses are constantly offering promotions to players with the hope of attracting and retaining your gambling attention. Familiarize yourself with the most common types of promotions and be sure to use the ones that work best with your playing style.

🔥 Risk-Free Bets

A Risk-free bet is, by now, industry standard as a welcome bonus to new customers. Basically it means that you get your stake back if you don’t win your bet. That’s going to come back as a credit, not cash. The largest Risk-Free Bets are going to be offered at signup, but plenty of books offer smaller risk-free wagers on a frequent basis. But don’t expect the $1,000 risk-free bet if you’ve already been using an app for a while.

🔥 Deposit Match

The other common signup bonus offered by an Illinois sportsbook is the Deposit Match. Simply, the operators match the amount of money put into your account. Be sure to check the terms, as it might not be a one-for-one arrangement. For instance, DraftKings Sportsbook does and initial deposit match, but it’s a 20% match – you’d need to deposit $5,000 to get the $1,000 match. Free money is free money though, and to have it dropped right into your bankroll is pretty great. That may be why not every sportsbook even offers a promo like this.

🔥 Referral Bonuses

A referral bonus is a great way to give yourself a little boost to your bankroll by bringing some friends in the door. It’s as simple as convincing your friends to sign up through a link given to you by the sportsbook. When they make a deposit past a certain threshold, you (and usually your friend) get a bonus as thanks.

🔥 Odds Boosts

The odds boost is another promotion you’ll commonly see in mobile sports betting. Simply put, the operators shift the betting odds to more favorable lines for the bettor. This will normally eliminate the juice, and always pay off better than usual should the bet hit. Any book that offers odds boosts will present at least one on a daily basis, while books like Caesars Sportsbook frequently present several dozen a day.

How To Choose An Illinois Online Sportsbook?

When it comes to sports betting in Illinois, the variety of apps through which you can bet is a true strength. There are plenty of online betting apps and sites, and all of them have their own advantages and drawbacks. Here’s what we think separates the good ones from the great ones.

Variety Of Bets Allowed

You’re not going to find much difference in the Illinois online sports betting scene when it comes to the basic bets across the most popular American sports. Anyplace will let you take the Chicago Bears to cover the spread, the White Sox on the moneyline, or the over on the Bulls vs. the Heat.

But the variety of international sports and the actual bets you can place on the games themselves are also important. A sportsbook that offers a few dozen bets on a soccer match might be enough, and that’s fine. But a book like BetRivers that slates over 300 options on a single match may be a difference maker for you.

Competitive Lines and Odds

Of the most common bets, you’re most likely to find -110 odds on either side of a moneyline or an over/under. That’s as close to a straight up bet as you’re likely to find with those 10 points going to the house. Moneylines are going to vary more. That’s why we recommend keeping an eye on the betting odds at more than one operator, so you can make sure the lines you’re getting are, at worst, fair and in line with the competition.

As a quick refresher, American odds (the default for sports betting in Illinois) are expressed by a plus or minus sign and a number. The plus in front of a number tells you what you’d get in winnings based on a $100 bet, while the minus refers to how much you’d have to wager to win $100 on top of your stake. So if you put $20 on the Bears to win the NFC North at +650, and they pull it out, you’d get $150 – $130 in winnings and your original stake of $20.

Frequency Of Betting Bonuses

Illinois sportsbooks have been starting with generous welcome bonuses, but in the long run, it’s also smart to find a place to bet on sports that reward long term players. The more competition there is, the more likely you’ll find a bonus that will tickle your fancy.

There’ll be some kind of bonus at any place we recommend. The deposit bonus is a favorite, because free money is as good as it gets. We also like the big risk-free bets that are industry standard, and we won’t recommend a sportsbook that doesn’t have one or the other.

Friendly User Interface

When you want to bet on sports, you want to be sure that your bet is recorded as soon as you try to place it. A responsive experience that quickly enters your wager is crucial to a satisfying time. The feel and look of a site or app is also something to consider. You’re not going to use a clunky app that looks like a high school kid designed it in 1997. Find an experience that’s easy to use across on your mobile app and your web browser for the most flexible and therefore best results.

Ease Of Deposits and Withdrawal

While you’re going to find banking options that are right for you, we find that when you’re getting used to a sportsbook, the ease of making deposits and withdrawals from your account is vitally important to a strong experience.

In going over the many Illinois sportsbook options, we look for tried and true methods of accessing bankrolls, whether that’s through debit cards, prepaid cards or online banking options.

Customer Support

You hope nothing goes wrong. But it happens, and that’s why you need to know that customer support is responsive and effective. Every operator offering sports betting in Illinois has some form of customer support for users who run into trouble. Our preference is a live chat feature where a rep can quickly take care of small hiccups. When it comes to serious issues or large amounts of money, we prefer to get customer support through email, as that makes it easier to keep records of communications.

Bet Types & Sports Wagers At Sportsbooks Legal in Illinois

✅  Moneyline

The moneyline bet is the most straightforward way to bet on a sporting event. Choose the side you think will win and if they do, so do you. This is why the betting lines will have considerably more variance than other common popular bets.

✅ Parlays

A parlay is a series of bets, combined so that they’re dependent on each other to pay off. Each individual wager, called a leg, must hit for the parlay to succeed. The odds and potential payout increase for each leg, but if even one misses, the bet is a loss.

 ✅ Totals

A totals bet is a wager on the combined final score, normally at the end of a regulation game (meaning, before any overtime or extra innings). This is also commonly known as the over/under. For instance, a popular sportsbook set the line for totals bets for Super Bowl LVI at 48.5 points. With the final score of 23-20, the winning bet here was the under.

✅ Point Spreads

The point spread refers to the predicted difference between the final scores, and is the most common way to bet on basketball and football. So if the Bears are listed as -6.5 against the Giants, as they were in Week 17, that means that for that bet to pay off, the Bears would have to win by 7 points or more. Folks betting on the Giants to cover the spread would hit as long as Big Blue didn’t lose by more than 6 points. That half point is there to prevent a push.

 ✅ Futures

A futures bet is simply a wager on an event that isn’t around the corner. A common futures bet is picking the league champion before the season start, but bettors can frequently find futures around player awards and stat leaders.

 ✅ Prop Bets

A prop bet is a wager not tied directly to the final outcome of a sporting event, and are common now in all pro sports. Prop bets can be range from everything from “Will the Bulls reach 50 points before the Heat do?” to “Will Julianna Peña’s title defense go the distance?”

✅ Live Bets

Live betting is an exciting new wrinkle that is facilitated by online gambling apps. Bettors can now place wagers on a game while it’s still in progress. Apps and sites feature tabs of games where live betting is available, and bettors can watch as the lines move to match the action. Several operators also stream events from around the world to make the live betting experience that much more immersive.

❌ Prohibited Bets

There are some things you just can’t bet on in Illinois due either to the bylaws around operators qualifying for a sports betting license or other factors. For instance, betting on in-state college teams through an app is not allowed, which also prevents live bets on the same. You also won’t see action around high school sports, esports, elections or award shows.

Illinois Online Sports Betting Legislation

The legalization process for online sports betting was a tortuous and confusing one with a lot of squabbling and some strange concessions made in the spirit of getting a deal done. A hurdle was set up to delay FanDuel and DraftKings from setting up shop. An in person registration requirement was put in place to placate the retail sportsbook operators. Betting on in-state college teams was banned. And the sportsbooks operators are required to purchase official league data.

Those were the big stumbling blocks but eventually there was a bill enough people could live with and the Governor signed it. Just another day at the office for state politics.

The first legal bets in the state were taken March 9, 2020 at the Rivers Casino Des Plaines. A few days later, the sportsbook at the Argosy Casino Alton was up and running until COVID-19 shut down everything. It was a fun couple of days, though. Eventually casinos and sportsbooks reopened, and DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet and William Hill (recently rebranded as Caesars) launched their apps in Illinois.

The in-person registration requirement will be off the books the by time you’re reading this. And the in-state college team prohibition has morphed into an series of odd restrictions. The Daily Fantasy Sports houses found an way around their “penalty box”. And the official league data requirement is in place for Tier 2 wagers (Bets not dependent on a sporting event’s final result, or placed during an event). The point being, things are evolving after a weird start, and if there’s money to be made, someone will find the political will to do it.

Who Regulates Sports Betting Sites Legal in Illinois?

The Illinois Gaming Board regulates the entire gambling industry statewide. The IGB regulates everything from the games in the brick and mortar spots like the Grand Victoria Casino to the video poker machines in bars to the sports gambling operations, both retail and online. This means they handle the sports betting license applications and decide who gets to open up shop.

Illinois Sports Betting Revenue Projection

In 2021, Illinois recorded over $7 billion in sports wagers, third in the country behind Nevada and New Jersey. With the end of in-person registration as a barrier to entry, not to mention a hot run by the Bulls, you can safely expect an even greater number when 2022 goes into the history books.

The state got their cut from the books too, getting nearly $85 million in tax revenue added to the coffers, and $100 million in 2022 isn’t out of the question.

Illinois Legal Online Sports Betting Tax Rate

In Illinois, the tax rate around legal sports betting is set at 15% of adjusted gross revenue, with another 2% off the top for any gambling activity in Cook County. Both numbers are fairly middle of the road, roughly on par with what the operators pay in traditionally gambling-friendly New Jersey.

Illinois Sports Team Partners: Legalized Sports Betting Apps

Sportsbooks are reaping the benefits of partnerships with teams, leagues and sports venues. For instance, FanDuel was able to partner with the Washington Football Team and bring in roughly half of the handle when online betting was legalized in Virginia. Fans can expect all kinds of perks when betting their favorite teams through their partners. Here are the partnerships that have come to Illinois, and if you don’t see your team here, it’s probably just a matter of time.

Chicago Bears – BetRivers

The Bears jumped in with the local boys over at BetRivers. The multiyear partnership was announced in June of 2021 and gives BetRivers all manner of promotional opportunities, including a free to play game on the Bears app and team-related prizes at BetRivers.

Chicago Cubs – DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings and the Cubs’ business relationship dates back to the days when DraftKings was only operating Daily Fantasy Sports games, and they ink their sportsbook deal in September of 2020. In addition to the usual team-related perks and boosts for player, plans are in the works for a retail sportsbook lounge just outside Wrigley Field.

United Center – FanDuel Sportsbook

Another common practice now is a sportsbook partnering with a venue for signage and other promotional opportunities. New York’s Madison Square Garden has a deal with Caesars as well as the teams who play there. FanDuel has the beginnings of something similar in the United Center, including an agreement to open a sportsbook lounge for use during Blackhawks and Bulls home games. No team partnerships announced as yet.

The next moves should be interesting. Does FanDuel shore up their United Center footprint with a partnership with the Bulls and Blackhawks? Who’s going to to Southside to hook up with the White Sox? Does the Chicago Fire FC have enough heat (sorry) to attract the attention of a major player?

How to Deposit and Withdraw from Illinois  Sports Betting Sites

It has never been easier to get your money in and out of gambling sites. The banking options will vary by operator but every one should have some of the most common types (debit card, pre-paid debit cards, eCheck). 
Please make note of the withdrawal options available to you as well. It should come as no surprise that electronic withdrawals are going to move much more quickly than waiting for a paper check in the mail. If nothing else, get a sense of how long the transaction will take, so you’re not anxiously waiting for the cash to drop back into your bank.

Payment Methods Accepted On Illinois  Sports Betting Sites

PayPal

PayPal is becoming more common among the operators as it’s quick and secure.

 Visa

Visa is a commonly accepted method of funding a gambling bankroll.

 MasterCard

MasterCard is also a popular funding method and accepted by most if not all of the houses.

 Amex

American Express can be used to fund your bankroll for several online gambling sites, but it’s not universally accepted. You may need to find another method if your favorite app doesn’t take American Express

 Wire Transfer

Wire transfers are common and popular for their speed. A majority of the bigger banks in the U.S. will perform a wire transfer with no issue, but double check with your bank. Not every bank wants to deal with the gambling industry.

 Neteller

Neteller and other digital wallet services provide a quick and easy way to move money to and from your bankroll.

 Pre-Paid Card

Pre-paid debit cards from Play+ and similar services also allow for a seamless deposit experience.

 PayNearMe

Using the PayNearMe service (at participating 7-Eleven and CVS stores) is a less common but still effective funding method.

 eCheck

Electronic fund transfers through eChecks are commonly used to bank with many gambling apps.

 Casino Cage

If you happen to live near your favorite sportsbook’s casino partner, you should be able to bank instantly at the casino cage.

How Illinois Sports Betting Compares to the Other Legal States

The landscape of sports betting in Illinois is improving. The arduous requirement of in-person registration is gone, which should provide a significant boost in sign ups. A marketplace with 7 different operators provides plenty of options and chances to take advantage of promos without a completely saturated market. The overhead to get in without a casino partner is steep for a reason, and time will tell if that was a shrewd strategy.

Retail Sports Betting VS Mobile Sports Betting Apps in Illinois

Try retail sports betting if you like, but we definitely prefer the mobile sports betting experience. It’s even better now with the in person registration requirement removed – now you don’t ever have to go to a casino if you don’t feel like it.

For one thing, the options and promotions offered on the best sportsbook apps are second to none. Live betting was made for mobile apps, and can make a great game even better. And we’re shameless line shoppers. Flipping through a handful of phone or tablet apps is a lot easier (not to mention cheaper) than driving all over the state.

The retail sportsbook experience is worth trying, especially if you’re out with your friends. And especially if you want to bet on Illinois college teams. As previously detailed, the only legal way to bet on Illinois college teams is in person, before the game starts. Look, it’s still better than it used to be.

Illinois Legal Sports Betting Legislation Timeline

  • 2019 – A legalized sports betting bill is written into a budget proposal.
  • June 2019 – The bill legalizing sports gambling is signed into law.
  • March 2020 – The first legal retail sports bet is taken in Illinois ahead of the Men’s NCAA Basketball tournament.
  • June 2020 – BetRivers launches in Illinois as the first online sportsbook in the state, followed quickly by several other operators
  • 2021 – Barstool Sportsbook becomes the sixth sportsbook to launch in Illinois, and the only one that year.
  • October 2021 – The assembly votes to end the in-person registration requirement and allow in-person wagers on in-state college teams.
  • March 2022 – The in-person registration requirement officially ends, allowing bettors to sign up for accounts anywhere in the state.

Responsible Illinois Sports Betting

Gambling on sports can be a fun pastime that enhances the sports watching experience. It can also be addictive and potentially destructive behavior. Every operator in Illinois will have resources for players who want to limit their play or take a timeout from betting entirely.

If you think you may have a gambling problem, please visit the Illinois Gaming Board page for resources.

Where To Bet in Illinois Now

Visiting a sportsbook in a casino can be a great way to make a day of sports gambling, or just give you a change of scenery from the table games. Each of the sportsbook operators in Illinois opened thus far enjoys a partnership with a physical casino. See where your favorite app’s casino partner is located, and drop in if you’re in the area. We’re sure they’ll be glad to see you.

  • Barstool – Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Casino Joliet
  • BetMGM – Par A Dice Casino, East Peoria
  • BetRivers – Rivers Casino Des Plains
  • Caesars – Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin
  • DraftKings – Casino Queen, East St. Louis
  • FanDuel – Fanduel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (fka Fairmount Park), Collinsville
  • PointsBet – Hawthorne Race Course, Stickney

Illinois Sports Betting FAQ

Author

Peter Mooney

Peter has more than 15 years of experience as a copywriter and a sports reporter. Other specialties include email marketing, proofreading and copy editing.As a user of ESPN BET, DraftKings, FanDuel and other online sportsbooks, he writes reviews for US Betting Report using firsthand experience. He also reports on market launches in the gambling industry.Peter resides in Massachusetts with his wife and son.