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Illinois Sports Betting


Sadonna Price

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

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Illinois is not new to gambling action. The first wagers were cast when riverboat casinos were legalized in this state back in 1990.

It didn’t surprise us at all when Governor Pritzker signed the bill, SB 690, into law in 2019. This move paved the way for what is now one of the biggest sports gambling markets in the United States.

Two factors drive this massive demand for sports betting services in Illinois. First is the accessibility of gambling platforms, and the second is the wide range of markets you can bet on.

Illinois plays host to some of the biggest names in sports betting, including DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers.

With such a wide variety of options, finding your ideal site will not be difficult.

Pros & Cons Of Betting On Sports In Illinois


  • Offers a wide range of betting markets.
  • Features the best operators in sports betting.
  • There are many bonuses you can claim.
  • You have access to many secure payment options.


  • The exorbitant fees force sportsbook operators to cut down on bonus options.
  • A lengthy pending period is required before sportsbooks are licensed.
  • No betting on in-state college sports.

Would We Bet On Sports At Illinois Sportsbooks?

Yes! Illinois is a fast-growing sports betting state. More online sportsbooks are signing up to service this market and it’s easy to see why. More still, are waiting on the fringes for their registration processes to be approved.

We expect to see massive movement in Illinois sports betting with the granting of three mobile-only licenses later on in 2021. So far, the biggest brands in sports betting are already plying their trade here. DraftKings and FanDuel have already penned agreements with local establishments and built up a healthy customer base.

Bettors in Illinois have no problems when it comes to finding where to bet. The challenge is with the unfriendly, in-person registration requirements, which could do with a revision.

But it looks as if this rule will die a natural death with the launch of mobile-only sports betting sites. Exciting things are ahead for sports betting in Illinois.

How To Sign Up At A Betting Site

According to Illinois state law, bettors looking to place wagers need to register in person at their sportsbook of choice. However, they had to set aside this rule because of the COVID-19 pandemic onset in 2020, and bettors had been registering new accounts remotely.

But from April 2021, the in-person registration is applicable once again. The law also states that online registration will only be allowed when mobile-only sportsbooks are opened in Illinois.

According to concessions made when the current gambling bill was being crafted, fully online sportsbook licenses will be issued 18 months after June 2020, when the first online sportsbook was opened.

Unless Governor Pritzker comes up with another reprieve, it looks like in-person registration will be with us until December 2021. We will keep you updated if anything changes.

Now, even with the in-person requirement in place, registration on Illinois sports betting sites is a breeze. Some operators have even come up with ways to make it less of a hassle, allowing you to drive into the car parking lot and register using a dedicated Wi-Fi connection.

The registration process in Illinois requires two steps. You can initiate the process on your phone or desktop, but in most cases, you will need to go into a land-based sportsbook to complete it.

First, you need to download the sportsbook app onto your device. Remember, gambling privileges in the United States are location-specific, so you need to activate location services.

The sportsbook will ask for your full name, physical address, email, date of birth, and social security number. Make sure you provide accurate information to avoid delays in verifying your account.

You then need to head over to the sportsbook with your government-issued photo id. They will verify your identity in person and activate your fully registered account.


If you have ever tried your hand at online gambling, you will have heard the term GeoComply.

This is a geo validator, which means it’s software that can figure out your location with precision. Many people use a range of applications to mask their actual location when transacting online.

Yes, this is a common practice, but it’s not tolerated on online gambling sites in the United States. Geocomply can detect if your device is using virtual private networks (VPNs) or remote desktop programs. If it suspects any case of VPN fraud, it will automatically lock you out of the sportsbook.

So, how do you get GeoComply on your device? This is an important question because without it you cannot access online sports betting services in Illinois. Luckily, the process is straightforward, only requiring just a few steps to complete.

If you are on your mobile phone or tablet, you need to turn location services on from the settings menu. Desktop users need to download and install a browser plugin first. Once you have it set up, you can access your sportsbook with no problems at all.

To some, even this simple process might seem unnecessary. Well, it isn’t, and without it, you can’t take part in online sports betting in Illinois. Some states in the US still outlaw gambling and don’t take lightly people participating in sports betting activities within their borders.

GeoComply is necessary because it assures all stakeholders that the law is being adhered to. Even in jurisdictions where online sports betting is legalized, regulators want to ensure that the host state is benefiting from all wagering activity within its state lines.

Sports Betting Apps

Most of the land-based sports betting sites listed above have running sports betting apps. The ones that don’t, have plans to offer mobile services in the future.

With sports betting apps, players can easily access betting options while on the go or from any room in the home.

Pros & Cons Of Sports Betting Apps


  • Betting apps are convenient as long as you are within state lines.
  • You have access to an array of quality payment services.
  • Online sportsbooks usually offer better bonus promotions.
  • You have access to pre-game and in-game statistics.
  • Betting apps have a live stream service.


  • Betting apps only work where there is a reliable internet connection.
  • Glitches in the connection may mean your bets don’t go through.
  • Some betting apps are not available on iOS.
  • The betting experience on apps is not as exciting as a real sportsbook.
  • Betting apps make it more difficult not to gamble if you have a problem.

All the apps on the market so far are linked to a land-based sportsbook operator. Illinois law states that starting in December 2021, three fully mobile sports betting operator licenses will be issued.

DraftKings Sportsbook App

The initial intention of DraftKings was to get a fully independent mobile operator sports betting license. But upon realizing that this would only happen in December 2021 at the earliest, DraftKings went into partnership with Casino Queen.

Now DraftKings sportsbook app is up and running, offering bettors a slick interface, live betting, pools, and a lot more.

FanDuel Sportsbook App

FanDuel came into Illinois through an initial agreement with Fairmount Park race track. The co-branding agreement with Par-A-Dice Casino only came as a result of delays in Fairmount getting its license.

The FanDuel sports betting app is beautifully designed and carries betting options from a wide range of markets. Players also enjoy regular odds boosts to add to the overall winnings.

BetMGM Sportsbook App

BetMGM is live in Illinois. This company is set to take over operations at Par-A-Dice after FanDuel transferred its license to Fairmount.

Judging by how popular the BetMGM app is in other states, bettors in Illinois will benefit. In nearby Indiana, this app has consistently brought in the third-largest handle.

BetRivers Sportsbook App

Parent company Rush Street Interactive has launched a BetRivers sportsbook in Illinois. The mobile platform provides an intuitive interface with seamless navigation.

Easily access live betting as well as review current market odds in the NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, and additional leagues.

PointsBet Sportsbook App

Pointsbet was founded in Australia. This operator has found its way into Pennsylvania and other US states like Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and New Jersey. Pointsbet is the fastest growing operator in the United States, and it’s easy to see why.

It is number one in the country when you consider the number of bet types on baseball, basketball, hockey, and football. These are the four most popular games here.

How To Fund Your Betting Account

Adding or removing funds in Illinois sportsbooks is effortless. You just need to follow a few simple steps.

Let’s look at depositing first:

  • Find and click on the ‘Deposit’ button in the cashier section of the site.
  • Select the payment method you prefer from the list provided. Choose wisely as you may need to use the same method for withdrawals.
  • If you select a third-party service like PayPal, you will need to provide extra permissions for the transaction to complete.
  • Enter the amount you want to deposit. Note the bonus deposit limits if you are looking to claim.
  • Click confirm and the transaction will complete.
  • Your balance will reflect the transaction.
  • An email confirmation will be sent to your inbox for your records.

Withdrawals follow an equally simple process:

  • Find and click the ‘Withdraw’ button.
  • Select the withdrawal method you want to use. Remember, you may be required to use the same service you used for depositing.
  • Enter the withdrawal amount.
  • Make sure the amount you enter is within the sportsbook limits. Also, ensure that the funds you wish to take out are not subject to any wagering requirements.
  • Click submit and check for the on-screen confirmation that the transaction went through successfully.
  • You may need to wait for a pending period while the sportsbook verifies your identity.
  • Your balance will be debited with the requested amount and you receive an email confirmation.

Online Sportsbook Payment Process

The list of online payment services in regulated sites is unmatched. You have options spanning e-wallets, debit cards, credit cards, and more.

Whether you are depositing or withdrawing makes no difference at all. You have a plethora of options at your disposal.

Here is a list of the most popular payment services in Illinois sportsbooks.

  • Play+
  • Discover
  • PayPal
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • PayNearMe
  • Online banking
  • Echeck
  • Skrill
  • Paper check
  • Cash at the casino cage

How Do Sports Betting Sign Up Offers Work?

Promotions are one of the main reasons players bet online. Sportsbook operators offer sign-up bonuses to all new players. This is a common way to get new customers through the door.

Once you have taken advantage of new player deals, sportsbooks provide continual offers to help boost your bankroll.

Below are a few examples of the common types of sign-up offers you will find at Illinois online sportsbooks.

First Deposit Offer

This bonus is for new bettors registering in the sportsbook for the first time. You need to make a minimum deposit for you to qualify for this offer. The sportsbook will match your deposit with a set percentage of bonus cash.

You can’t redeem bonus cash as real funds; you can only do this after completing wagering requirements.

You can, however, use it to bet. An example of this deal would be a 100% match on a deposit worth up to $300. Add up to $300 to your account, and the sportsbook gives you the same amount in bonus cash.

No Deposit Offer

You can place a bet in the sportsbook without depositing. All you need to do is open an account and claim a no deposit offer. Even though you get this bonus for free, you still need to deposit as part of completing the wagering obligations.

You cannot access your winnings until you complete these requirements. The no deposit bonus is a great way to try a site at no cost to you.

If you lose the bet, it is of no consequence to you as the cash was provided by the sportsbooks and not your bank account.

Bonus Bet

Sportsbooks also have another way to entice you to bet without giving you bonus cash first. When you claim a bonus bet, you wager on your desired event using your own funds. The bonus bet bet kicks in if you lose.

You recover all your net losses up to a set maximum. However, there are restrictions to what you can bet on. An example of this bet would be an offer worth up to $100.

Place a bet up to $100 and if you lose, the sportsbook provides you with the amount of the loss in bonus cash.

Be sure to read the terms and conditions for each deal you plan to claim. Wagering requirements are often connected to a deal and must be completed before winnings can be cashed out.

Some deals require you to bet the bonus and deposit amount a certain number of times. Reviewing the terms and conditions helps you to better understand the deal and how to clear it correctly.

Where Can I Place A Bet In Illinois?

Illinois has a very active casino gambling scene; it is made up of multiple establishments.

If in-person sports betting is more up your alley, retail sports betting facilities are also available at most of these sites. Below, we list your land-based gambling options in Illinois.

  • Casino Queen
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet
  • Argosy Casino Alton
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Hawthorne Race Course
  • Par-A-Dice Casino
  • Grand Victoria
  • Rivers Casino Sportsbook

Illinois Sports Betting Laws And Tax Rates

Illinois is notorious for having some of the most stringent laws in sports betting. For starters, bettors are required to register in person at land-based sports betting sites.

They will only lift this clause when fully independent mobile-only sportsbooks open. This move is unique to Illinois. Most jurisdictions did not provide for mobile-only sites.

All operators in these states need to be affiliated with a local gambling business. The gambling age in Illinois is 21 years.

But even if you are well above this age, there are still limits to what you can bet on. Placing wagers on in-state college teams is illegal. You can bet on college sports, but not on events featuring college teams from this state.

Professional league matches are obviously open to everyone. Illinois gambling laws also dictate that sportsbooks should purchase official league data.

Illinois is not the cheapest jurisdiction to operate in either. It plans to give out a maximum of 23 master licenses and three mobile-only licenses. Operators with mobile-only licenses will need to pay $20 million.

To protect local businesses, Illinois legislators also implemented the Penalty Box. This rule stipulates that mobile-only sports betting sites would be licensed after 18 months. The counter started when the first land-based linked online sportsbook opened its doors.

This is 18 months from June 2020. Professional teams and established casino sites looking to provide sports betting services need to pay $10 million.

These figures place Illinois up there with some of the most expensive jurisdictions to operate in the United States. The state only allows one mobile skin per provider. It also applies a standard tax rate of 15% on all earnings.

Gambling Problem? Find out how to exclude yourself from betting sports in Illinois.


About the author

For almost two decades, Sadonna has remained at the forefront of the gambling industry in the US and abroad, covering the latest news and legal update...

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