Illinois Sports Betting
Illinois residents, it’s time to bet! Inhabitants of Illinois are now able to bet in both retail and online sportsbooks in the Prairie State. Thanks in part to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois has joined other states with legal, regulated sports betting. In June 2019, Pritzker signed a $45 billion capital plan, part of which included sports betting.
Illinois sports betting made its official debut in March 2020, as BetRivers Sportsbook welcomed the state’s first legal wager.
Online sportsbooks went live in the summer of 2020, with in-person registration required for online betting. Then, on March 5, online registration and account activation became available throughout the state and eliminated the need to visit a local casino before placing that first bet.
The guide below is your complete resource for all things sports betting in Illinois. We have all the latest in updates, news and great bonus offers from the top online sportsbooks in the Land of Lincoln.
Best sports betting sites in Illinois
What you can bet on right now in Illinois
Updated: March 2022
As of March 5, online sports betting registration is permanently back in Illinois. BetMGM Sportsbook has launched, becoming the seventh online operator in IL. Another big name, Caesars Sportsbook, relaunched its app in Illinois days after the in-person registration requirement became a thing of the past. As part of the launch, Caesars also debuted its new Liberty technology platform.
There could be more online sportsbooks on the way, as there are currently three anonymous pending applicants for online-only licenses.
Last year, Illinois set a then-state record with $633.6 million in March sports betting handle. With in-person registration in the rearview mirror, IL could shatter its monthly sports betting records in March 2022.
Illinois sports betting apps
Illinois casinos and racetracks offer online and retail sports betting.
Operators have partnered with international brands to deliver some of the best sports betting apps in Illinois. Those new to sports betting as well as old hands will find that online sports betting is much more entertaining than it used to be.
1. DraftKings Sportsbook
Bonus: $50 + $1,000
Bonus Code: Click to Claim Promo
One of the top sportsbooks in the nation made its online and mobile debut in Illinois in Aug. 2020. DraftKings, off of an access deal with Casino Queen in East. St. Louis, has quickly become a go-to option. The IL sportsbook app, which has continually received high marks, is available for both iOS and Android users.
Features abound with everything you need to get down to business being easily accessible to boot. Top options include live betting, where you can stay on top of current offerings with ease. Placing bets is a snap, and winning wagers are paid out in a flash. The same holds true for all of the other markets and bet types available.
An exclusive deposit offers is available for our readers. You’ll get a $50 free bet for doing so, as well as a 20% match on your first deposit up to $1,000.
2. Caesars Sportsbook
Bonus: $1,500 risk-free bet
Bonus code: LEGAL15
Caesars Sportsbook has been active in Illinois for some time, but its new incarnation and new technology platform came online in March 2022, shortly after Illinois’ in-person registration requirement dissolved. Caesars owns three casino properties in the state. The app itself is available through both iOS and Android formats and receives decent ratings on both platforms.
The launch of the new tech platform, named Liberty, is a very solid sportsbook with easy navigation and more odds boosts and other promotions than you’ll find almost anywhere else.
If you still aren’t sure about trying out Caesars, consider its bonus offer as a reason to give it a try. Caesars is providing a risk-free first bet that you make on the app — all the way up to $1,500. In other words, if you place a wager up to that amount and lose, you’ll receive a Free Bet voucher for the same amount. Just use promo code LEGAL15 to activate the deal when you register. At the very least, you can have another bite at the apple.
Read our Caesars Sportsbook Illinois Review
3. BetMGM Sportsbook
Bonus: $1,000 risk-free bet
Bonus Code: PLAYBONUS
BetMGM made its long-awaited debut in Illinois in March 2022 off of an access deal with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. As has been the case in other legal markets, the sportsbook is expected to become one of the top options for bettors in the state.
It’s available on both the web and via app for iOS and Android devices. BetMGM brings to the table a big menu of sports and all of the bet types that you could ask for, as well as unique features like ‘edit my bet’ and ‘one game parlay’ options.
When you’re ready to sign up with BetMGM, click on our links to gain access to a great risk-free bet offer. It’s good for up to $1,000 with your initial deposit. If your first placed bet is a loser, BetMGM will refund your stake up to the max of the offer in site credits.
Read our BetMGM Sportsbook Illinois Review
4. PointsBet Sportsbook
Bonus: Get 2 risk free bets up to $2,000
Bonus code: BETBONUS
Australia-based PointsBet entered the US market as a relative unknown in Jan. 2020. That has changed in big league fashion in a short period of time. PointsBet has expanded operations across several states, including Illinois. The official launch took place in Sept. 2020 via a deal with Hawthorne Race Course.
PointsBet has quickly established a presence on the retail, online, and mobile fronts. The app is slick and intuitive and available on both iOS and Android. Our readers can gain access to an exclusive sign-up offer in the form of risk free bets worth up to $2,000 when using our link. These risk free bets are broken down like so a fixed odds wager up to $500 and a pointsbetting wager for up to $1,500.
The platform itself is a solid one, and the company has even introduced a whole new way to get in the game. Known as PointsBetting, users can adjust the risk to their comfort level and be rewarded accordingly for winning wagers. PointsBet has become a very popular destination for sports bettors, and it’s more than worth taking the time to check it out.
Read our PointsBet Sportbook Illinois review
5. BetRivers Sportsbook
Promo Code: PLAY250
BetRivers was the first to make its debut in Illinois. The online arm of Rush Street Interactive has been a quiet but quality app in most markets it has entered to date. Illinois residents have found a lot to love about the online and mobile offering.
The app is available for both iOS and Android users. When you’re ready to get started, click through on our exclusive links to complete the registration process. BetRivers is offering our readers a deposit bonus of up to $250 on their first deposit, so be sure to take this step before signing up.
Note that the funds will arrive in your account in the form of bonus money but it could take up to 48 hours. The bonus has a 1x playthrough requirement.
Read our BetRivers Sportsbook Illinois Review
How geolocation and remote registration work in Illinois
The Illinois Sports Wagering Act, which allowed for online sports betting in Illinois, initially contained a frustrating provision that required players to register in person for the first 18 months. As of March 5, 2022, that is not longer the case. Bettors can now sign up, activate their account and start betting at their favorite sportsbook completely online.
It is necessary to be inside state lines to play, though. Each online sportsbook in Illinois uses geolocation verification software to confirm that you are physically within the borders before you are permitted to place a wager.
Though having to identify your precise location might seem invasive, it’s the price you must pay for remote access and online sports betting. No wagers can cross state lines, and it is incumbent upon the books and the regulators to ensure that every bet is in compliance.
How do I bet on sports in Illinois?
Illinois law states that:
“Sports wagering includes, but is not limited to, single-game bets, teaser bets, parlays, over-under, moneyline, pools, exchange wagering, in-game wagering, in-play bets, proposition bets and straight bets.”
Therefore, some of the most popular bet types in the state are:
- Moneylines — Beginners often start with moneyline bets. These are simple bets on which team will win a match.
- Totals (over/under) bets — You don’t need to care which team will win with an over-under or totals bet. This is a bet on whether the combined score of both teams will be more or less than a number — the line — set by the bookmaker.
- Spreads — In a spread bet, you bet on whether your team will score more or less than the number set by the bookmaker. The favorite team has points over the line. The underdog has points under the line. If the favorite wins by more than the number of points above the line, the spread is covered and you win, and vice versa.
- Parlays — Parlay bets provide some of the best entertainment for your dollar. In a parlay bet, you link several bets together. To win the bet, you must predict all six winners correctly. In parlays, you can win a lot of money for a small bet, but the odds are against you.
- Propositions — Propositions, or prop bets, are the catch-all term for any bet that does not fit into one of the categories above. More generally, a prop bet is a wager on events ancillary to the outcome of the game. Any kind of weird bet, combo bet or side bet is usually going to be a prop.
- Live betting — One type of prop bet is quickly becoming one of the dominant forms of sports betting in Illinois. Live, or in-game bets are played after a sporting event begins. No longer do bets close at the start of play.
Futures betting in Illinois
One type of wager deserves its own attention. The futures bet, which is a wager on events occurring far down the road, is a bet that is good for all seasons.
Futures bets are the answer for people who want to bet on their favorite sports team, regardless of the season. Even though the Chicago Bears may not be playing, you can still make a wager regarding the team’s chances to win the Super Bowl.
So, even if the Bulls miss the playoffs, there’s always next season. You can always put money on the Blackhawks bringing home the next Stanley Cup.
A futures bet can also be on individual players. If you feel confident that Yu Darvish might win the Cy Young award, there’s a bet for that. If you want to put money on Jose Abreu to win the MVP award, you can.
There are tons of different ways to bet on futures in Illinois. Here are some of the wagers you can make:
- Super Bowl champion
- NBA Finals champion
- World Series champion
- Stanley Cup champion
- Conference or division winners
- Win totals from regular season
- Individual award winners
- Statistical leaders
- Player benchmark achievements
What you can’t bet on in Illinois
There are a few restrictions on betting in Illinois by law or rule.
The biggest no-no is on in-state collegiate sports. Unfortunately, Illinois residents cannot bet on the University of Illinois or Northwestern while inside their home state.
Wagers must also be on sporting events only. No betting on awards, elections or any other non-sports event is permitted.
Finally, if you’re involved in a particular sport as a player, referee, coach or other principal, you can’t bet on your sport. Every other sport is fine, but there’s too much of an issue with conflicts of interest for your own sport.
Current legal Illinois sports betting options
Illinois has plenty of locations for placing wagers throughout the state. There are casinos, racetracks, off-track betting sites, and online sites themselves.
This section should serve as your guide for everywhere you can place a bet on sports in Illinois. We are also including a section on horse betting, even though live and online horse betting exists in a separate realm from true sports betting and has a different legal status.
However, before we get into all the different places to go, let’s discuss the state of popular sports in Illinois.
Popular legal sports to bet on in Illinois
Since Illinois is home to Chicago, the third-largest city in the US, it’s no surprise that there are numerous professional sports teams to follow and games to bet. Below is a guide to all those organizations and their pertinent details.
Most betting types are available for these teams’ games when they are in season. However, the realities of some of the sports, like baseball and hockey, mean that there have to be slight alterations in the typical bets offered.
So, just be aware of the fact that some betting types might not stretch across all sports. Here are the relevant teams in Illinois.
NFL betting in Illinois
Illinois is home to a single NFL team:
- Chicago Bears: Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, IL
The Bears are one of the oldest teams in the NFL and one of its most storied franchises. More Bears reside in the NFL Hall of Fame than players from any other team.
Betting on NFL games tends to revolve around the teams, of course, but also some of the statistics unique to football. Bets on stats like a quarterback’s yards or a receiver’s touchdowns are common. The practice of holding numerous NFL games on Sundays means that parlay wagers are also a popular option for betting on football games.
MLB betting in Illinois
Due to Chicago’s size, it is one of the few cities to host not one, but two Major League Baseball franchises. They are:
- Chicago Cubs: Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, IL
- Chicago White Sox: Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL
Both teams have won World Series trophies in the last 20 years, and both are looking to repeat. Although the two teams rarely meet, they enjoy a bitter rivalry with one another. DraftKings struck a deal with the Chicago Cubs to bring a DraftKings Sportsbook to Wrigley Field.
If you want to bet on Major League Baseball, you may find a particular oddity in place of the typical spread bet option. Because of baseball’s low scoring, sportsbooks in IL will use what’s known as a run line. A run line sets the spread at 1.5 runs, but alters the payout to be more like a moneyline than a true spread bet.
NBA betting in Illinois
There is one NBA team that calls Illinois home, but it is a legendary franchise.
- Chicago Bulls: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL
The Bulls ascended to heights few can claim in the 1990s. Michael Jordan, the player widely considered to be the greatest to play the game ever, played the vast majority of his career as a Bull and guided the team to six titles during the decade.
Betting on NBA games is fairly straightforward. In fact, because there is so much scoring during NBA games, there are many opportunities to wager on totals, individual props and so forth.
NHL betting in Illinois
Illinois is home to a single NHL team:
- Chicago Blackhawks: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL
The Blackhawks are one of the original NHL teams and one of its most successful in recent years. The 2010s saw the Blackhawks take home the Stanley Cup three times, and the team’s six Stanley Cups make it tied for fourth-most Cups in NHL history.
Like baseball, hockey is a low-scoring affair and creates a challenge for Illinois sportsbooks who want to create a spread bet. So NHL bettors will find that they can use a bet called the puck line. It behaves identically to its run line counterpart in baseball.
How to sign up for an Illinois online sportsbook
Now, that the in-person registration requirement is over, signing up for Illinois’ online sportsbooks is a simple process.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Choose one of the Illinois sports betting sites from the list above. It’s important to use our links, as some bonuses are available for our readers alone. Also, take note of any bonus code that we’ve listed. Click the “play now” button.
- Pick the app format that is proper for your device, and download the app.
- Go through the installation process as you normally would. Android users may need to set their phones to allow downloads from unknown sources.
- Open the app, and look for the registration button. It will usually be in the top-right corner of your display, and will be labeled as “sign up,” “join,” “register” or something similar. Press the button.
- The app should whisk you to its registration page(s) at this point. You will need to fill out your personal information as requested by the blanks. Be prepared to submit personal details like your name, address, phone number, email and Social Security number.
- Make sure that you enter any bonus codes that you have into the optional space provided. They can be worth free dollars in your account.
- After you submit your registration, you may have to verify your email address.
- Then, you can play with any bonus dollars you have, or you can make a deposit through the cashier function onsite.
How deposits and cashouts work when betting online in Illinois
Moving money into and out of a site might seem intimidating for new sports bettors in Illinois. However, the process is largely the same as it is with any online merchant.
Sportsbooks have a vested interest in casting as wide a net as possible for banking. You should be able to find multiple options that work to deposit and withdraw on your chosen site. All legal Illinois sportsbooks are safe and secure. This means your funds are guaranteed.
Here are some of the typical banking methods that you will find on Illinois sportsbook apps:
- Credit or debit cards — Usually, sportsbooks will accept Visa and Mastercard transactions. However, check with your issuing bank for restrictions and fees on your card.
- Electronic checks — These work exactly like the paper version. You issue the check, and it must pass through a clearinghouse to clear. However, you can speed the process along by pre-verifying your account, in some cases.
- Online banking — You can fund your account through your bank’s online bill pay. Or, failing that, you can issue a wire transfer request to the sportsbook.
- Electronic wallets — E-wallets are online way stations for your money. Sites like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller are happy to help you make all manner of transactions online, including at Illinois sportsbooks.
- Cash — It is possible to make a cash deposit into an online account. One way to do so is through PayNearMe, a service that allows you to make transactions at most 7-Eleven convenience stores. You can also make a deposit directly at your sportsbook’s land-based counterpart. Simply visit the cage to initiate the transaction.
- Check/money order/cashier’s check — Although these methods are slower and antiquated, they will work for deposits to your sportsbook account. Many sportsbooks will also process your withdrawal requests as paper check transactions, so be aware that there may be a delay in getting your money out of a site, depending on the method you choose.
Sportsbook locations in Illinois
The list of possible locations for sportsbooks in Illinois is quite long due to a particular quirk of the state sports betting law. Under the statute, the state’s casinos and racetracks can offer sports betting, which is no surprise.
However, the state is also allowing up to seven of its largest sports complexes to offer sports betting, as well. So it could be possible to bet on games that you’re attending in the very near future.
For the time being, only the following retail sportsbooks are open for business in Illinois:
- Sportsbook at Argosy Alton, Alton
- BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Des Plaines, Des Plaines
- DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook, East St. Louis
- Caesars Sportsbook at Grand Casino Victoria, Elgin
Betting on horse races in Illinois
Illinois is a state blessed with several options for betting on horse racing. In fact, it is one of a handful of states to have the triple threat of wagering on the ponies: live racing, off-track betting, and online horse betting.
The easiest way to bet on horse races in the Prairie State is to do so through your phone or mobile device. Many of the top horse betting sites in the nation are more than happy to do business with Illinois inhabitants.
Of the sites, however, it is hard to recommend any other site over TVG. TVG is the top horse betting site in the country, and it doubles as one of the only 24-hour networks dedicated to horse racing that you can find.
Although there are other horse betting sites in Illinois, there’s no reason to mess around with second-best. If you want to bet on simulcast races from around the country on your smartphone, do it with TVG. You won’t be disappointed.
There are also several options for visiting horse tracks with live racing in Illinois. In fact, there are three active horse racing facilities in the state.
Unsurprisingly, two of them are in the Chicago area. The third serves the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Illinois is home to several illustrious annual horse races. In fact, there are three Grade I races and eleven Grade 3 races each year.
Two of the tracks also feature simulcast racing. So it’s not necessary to pick a live race day if you’re in the mood to bet.
Below are the racetracks in Illinois:
- Arlington International Racecourse: 2200 Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights, IL
- Fairmount Park Racetrack: 9301 Collinsville Road, Collinsville, IL
- Hawthorne Race Course: 3501 S. Laramie Ave., Cicero, IL
Off-track betting in Illinois
According to the Illinois Horse Racing Act, the state’s racetracks are each allotted a certain number of OTB slots that they can use to open off-track betting locations. Under the law, it is possible that the tracks could potentially open as many as 43 off-track venues in the state.
However, the three tracks have not chosen to do so just yet. State records indicate that Arlington Park has opened 10 sites, Hawthorne Race Course has 10 as well, and Fairmount Park owns three. These numbers are likely to expand or contract according to the demands of the market, so the list below is just a snapshot. Here are the OTB locations in Illinois:
- Time Out OTB: 315 Belle St., Alton
- The Piazza: 85 Executive Drive, Aurora
- Corliss OTB: 11203 S. Corliss Ave., Chicago
- Trackside at Joe’s Bar: 940 W. Weed St., Chicago
- Crestwood OTB: 13148 Rivercrest Drive, Crestwood
- Post Time Sports Bar & Grille: 13860 Rockland Road, Green Oaks
- Trackside at Salerno’s: 9301 63rd St., Hodgkins
- Trackside at the Saddle Room: 2559 Pratum Ave., Hoffman Estates
- Bookie Magee’s: 2450 Jefferson St., Joliet
- Black Eyed Susan: 17030 Torrence Ave., Unit G, Lansing
- Salerno’s Pizzeria and R Bar: 621 Ridgeview Drive, McHenry
- Stoney Point Grill: 19031 Old LaGrange Road, Mokena
- Blono Pizza Co.: 1304 Cross Creek Drive, Normal
- The Turf Room: 650 Randall Crossings Lane, North Aurora
- Oakbrook Terrace OTB: 17W648 22nd St., Oakbrook Terrace
- Furlong’s Sports Grill & OTB: 110 W. Etna Road, Ottawa
- Bullpen Bar & Grill: 3225 N. Dries Lane, Peoria
- Players Pub & Grill: 1250 South River Road, Prospect Heights
- Don Carter Lanes: 4007 East State St., Rockford
- Route 3 OTB: 2400 Mississippi Ave., Sauget
- Capital Teletrack: 1766 Wabash Ave., Springfield
- Trackside at Crazy Pour: 105 East North Ave., Villa Park
- Trackside Waukegan: 630 S. Green Bay Road, Waukegan
States with Legal Online Sports Betting
- Colorado Sports Betting
- Indiana Sports Betting
- Iowa Sports Betting
- Michigan Online Sports Betting
- Nevada Sports Betting
- New Hampshire Sports Betting
- NJ Online Sports Betting
- Ohio Sports Betting
- Pennsylvania Sports Betting
- Tennessee Online Sports Betting
- Virginia Online Sports Betting
- West Virginia Sports Betting
Illinois sports betting law and framework
Legal gambling in Illinois is a hot topic. Sports betting became legal as the result of its inclusion in a 2019 capital funding plan. The $44 billion plan, signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, allowed for sports betting at casinos, racetracks, select sports facilities, and lottery vendors throughout the state.
The lottery vendors won’t be regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board, but by the Illinois Lottery. They will only offer “parlay wagers and fixed-odds parlay wagers.”
Bets can be placed at terminals in up to 2,500 lottery shops in the first year, with the possibility to expand this to 5,000 in year two.
Casinos and racetracks can apply for a license at the bargain price of $10 million, or 5% of their revenues — whichever is lower.
Sports venues will pay the same price for a license that permits them to offer live and online sports betting within a five-block radius of a stadium.
Over and above these licenses, there are three available for online-only providers. These cost $20 million each, without the option.
The future of sports betting in Illinois
Illinois’ population bodes well for the long-term success of sports betting in the state. The number of people and the multiple homegrown professional teams that can be the subject of bets means that there will always be something to interest players in the Prairie State.
The only hang-up is the complicated political landscape that is a fixture in Illinois. The tentative situation with remote registration, for instance, indicates the potential for lawmakers to stick their fingers unnecessarily into the sports betting pot.
As long as regulators and overseers can relax, Illinois should become a haven for sports bettors in the next few years.