Illinois Online Casinos
Online casinos are not legal in Illinois – yet. The state remains one to keep an eye on for online casinos in the future. With online sports betting thriving and a nearby state (Michigan) with online casinos and online poker up and running, Illinois lawmakers will be able to observe the positive effect on the state’s bottom line and, naturally, want the same for themselves.
With that being said, Illinois is still home to online sweepstakes, social casinos, and an online lottery. There are tons of in-person betting options as well.
Here at PlayUSA, we provide you with the most recent news on Illinois gambling, how sweepstakes sites work, the latest on Illinois online casinos, and more.
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What’s happening with Illinois online casinos right now?
- Mar. 17, 2023 – Both online casino bills in the Illinois General Assembly have run into problems in their respective chambers. At this point, the Senate bill (the Internet Gaming Act) seems to have more life than its House counterpart. Further developments are expected soon.
- Mar. 2, 2023 – The House version of a bill to legalize online casinos in Illinois is showing positive momentum in the lower chamber. It is possible that Rep. Edgar Rodriguez’s HB2239 might receive a vote before adjournment on May 19. However, the Senate version remains stalled in committee, and indications are not as promising for its success.
- Feb. 24, 2023 – The Joliet City Council approved a plan to move the Hollywood Casino Joliet to a 309-acre piece of land near the I-55/I-80 interchange. The imminent move will keep the casino in Joliet but move it off of the waterfront.
- Feb. 17, 2023 – The Illinois Gaming Board has approved several supplier licenses in connection with Bally’s proposed temporary casino in Chicago’s historic Medinah Temple. Though Bally’s has not secured its own approval to open there yet, company officials are hoping to open the temporary facility in Summer 2023.
- Feb. 8, 2023 – State Sen. Cristina Castro has filed a bill to allow online casinos to become legal in Illinois. The bill contains several industry-friendly provisions, including a low license fee, low 15% tax rate, and allowances for as many as three skins on each operator license.
- Jan. 16, 2023 – The State of Illinois is missing out on as much as $105 million in tax revenue by not legalizing online casinos. The figure comes courtesy of a report from a new American Gaming Association study performed by The Innovation Group.
- Jan. 10, 2023 – The final legislative action on 2021’s Internet Gaming Act occurs with a sine die adjournment. However, there is an expectation that a new version of the bill might be coming sometime in 2023.
Illinois gambling headlines
|Type of Gambling||Is it Legal?||Legal Age|
|Real Money Online Casinos||No||N/A|
|Online Sports Betting||Yes||21|
|Retail Sports Betting||Yes||21|
Sweepstakes and social casinos in IL
If you’ve never heard about sweepstakes casinos and social casino sites before, they may seem a bit hard to believe. You can play some pretty entertaining online slots in Illinois and it’s completely legal.
Your top options for sweepstakes and social casino sites in Illinois are the following:
- Chumba Casino (social casino)
- Global Poker (online poker)
- LuckyLand Slots (social casino)
- Funzpoints (sweepstakes site)
Essentially, as long as you can play for free and the prizes are awarded as advertised, the site is good to go. Sweepstakes and social casino sites can offer a host of online casino games and poker through a dual-currency system, like coins, that allows their classification to remain valid. You can win real cash prizes at these sites.
Here are some of the options you have at your disposal:
- Slot Games: These are indistinguishable from their online casino counterparts. They can be played with both play money and real money equivalents and offer big payouts and progressive jackpots like a normal online casino. You can also find video poker games on sweepstakes sites, too.
- Table Games: Options for table games are decidedly more limited, but you can still find them if you prefer to play that way. Blackjack is the most common game to find, but you can also see options for roulette, keno and Caribbean stud poker on various sites.
- Online Poker: Poker games are almost exclusively found on Global Poker, unsurprisingly. Global offers the ability to play no-limit Texas hold ’em, pot-limit Omaha and Crazy Pineapple in a cash game, tournament and sit-n-go formats.
Other legal gambling options in Illinois
There are multiple types of online and land-based gambling options that Illinois inhabitants can enjoy.
Online sports betting launched in Illinois in June 2020. BetRivers Illinois Sportsbook, owned by Rush Street Interactive (which also owns Rivers Des Plaines), became the first sports betting app to launch in the state. Since then, seven apps have joined the party, including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet and Caesars. More sports betting apps should enter Illinois now that the in-person registration requirement expired as of March 7, 2022.
Retail sports betting is now present at most Illinois riverboat casinos, is available at racetracks and OTBs and may even be available at major sports arenas throughout the state.
Riverboat casinos have been fixtures in the Land of Lincoln for more than 30 years. There are 11 properties scattered throughout Illinois, although most are around Chicago and St. Louis, the latter across the Mississippi River in Missouri and Iowa.
Alongside the riverboats are scads of locations with video lottery terminals (VLTs). VLTs are electronic lottery machines that have little difference, functionally, from a regular slot machine. They have been part of life in Illinois since 2009 and gained full legal status thanks to the massive expansion of gambling in 2019.
In addition to the state lottery, Illinois residents and visitors can also bet on horse races through the TVG racing site. Online horse betting is available in the Prairie State through various sites.
Finally, Illinoisans and guests to the state can also play daily fantasy sports if they choose. An Illinois Supreme Court ruling in April 2020 definitively identified DFS as not gambling and has legitimized the notion of playing the game in some capacity in Illinois.
Casinos in Illinois
The casinos each offer various options for gaming, but, in general, they have slot machines and table games in wide varieties. Whether they have sports betting and poker onsite is a different matter, however.
Here are all the casino locations in Illinois:
|Casino Name||Casino Address||Sportsbook?||Poker?|
|Argosy Casino Alton||1 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002||No||No|
|Bally's Quad Cities Casino & Hotel||777 Ballys Blvd., Rock Island, IL 61201||No||Yes|
|DraftKings at Casino Queen||200 S. Front St., East St. Louis, IL 62201||Yes||No|
|Grand Victoria Casino||250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin, IL 6012||Yes||No|
|Hard Rock Rockford Casino (temporary site)||610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford, IL 61107||No||No|
|Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel||151 N. Joliet St., Joliet, IL 60432||No||No|
|Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel||100 E. Front St., Metropolis, IL 62960||No||No|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||1 W. New York St., Aurora, IL 60506||Yes||Yes|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||777 Hollywood Blvd., Joliet, IL 60436||Yes||No|
|Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino||21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria, IL 61611||Yes||No|
|Rivers Casino Des Plaines||3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018||Yes||Yes|
All 11 have a variety of slots, including reel slots and progressive slots, plus video poker.
The Illinois Gambling Act authorizes six additional casinos to be built in Illinois in the following locations:
- Williamson County (near Carbondale)
- Cook County in either Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton or Worth
The new law also allows the riverboat casinos to finally become land-based after paying a fee and obtaining regulators’ approval to do so.
The existing casinos will be allowed to expand their operations from 1,200 to 2,000 “gaming positions” should they desire, with such expansion also requiring the payment of a position fee for every added position.
Meanwhile, the new Chicago will be much bigger, with 4,000 gaming positions.
Responsible gambling in Illinois
Illinois has several measures in place to protect and assist problem gamblers.
In 2002, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) launched the Statewide Riverboat Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program for Problem Gamblers, known as SEP.
The program allows those who determine they are problem gamblers to self-exclude themselves from Illinois casinos and sportsbooks. In 2018, the IGB established the Problem Gambling Registry for Video Gaming.
Those who enroll receive regular emails providing information about problem gambling with links to problem gambling prevention and treatment resources in the state. The program is available both to Illinois and out-of-state residents.
The Illinois Department of Human Services has also developed a website to provide support and advice for problem gamblers — WeKnowTheFeeling.org — that also invites problem gamblers to contact them by phone at 1-800-GAMBLER.
The IGB site also provides additional information regarding these programs and other help for problem gamblers.
Historical overview of legal gambling in Illinois
Legal and regulated pari-mutuel horse race betting in Illinois dates back to 1927.
Illinois first introduced the lottery in 1974, joining the first big wave of states to do so. Later in 2012, Illinois became the first state to offer online lottery ticket sales and is still one of a limited number of states that do.
Riverboat gambling has been legal in Illinois since 1990 and, in fact, Illinois was the second state in the US to legalize riverboat gambling after Iowa. A year later, the first riverboat casino opened, the Alton Belle (then to become the Argosy Casino Alton).
For the first several years, the boats were required to leave docks and set sail at regular intervals, but that is no longer the case. At present, 10 riverboat casinos are operating either on boats or docked barges or on what are essentially land-based properties resting in shallow water.
In 2009, the Video Gaming Act was enacted in Illinois, allowing the placement of VLTs in licensed retail locations, truck stops, and veteran and fraternal establishments.
In June 2019, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act, a law allowing for significant gambling expansion in the state. The new law permits six new casinos, including a large casino in Chicago.
It also allows the existing casinos and racetracks to expand the number of “gaming positions” they can offer, including allowing the tracks to become “racinos” by adding slots and table games.