Illinois Sports Betting

Legal online sports betting and mobile apps in Illinois

Thanks in part to Gov. JB 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, but users must register their accounts in person in order to start wagering. The first Illinois sports betting apps to go live were BetRivers and DraftKings Sportsbook.

Legal sportsbooks available in Illinois

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Legal Illinois sports betting live as of 2020?

Retail wagering made its Illinois debut in March 2020 as Rivers Casino accepted the first legal bet. Online betting apps are expected to be close behind.

Unfortunately for bettors, you must go to the physical sportsbooks in order to register your account and start betting.

IL Sports Betting Updates

Last updated: August 5, 2020

DraftKings at Casino Queen has become the second online betting app in Illinois. Located in East St. Louis, DraftKings will have to rely on customers making the five-hour drive from Chicago to sign up in-person.

Last month, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker rescinded remote registration for the state, meaning customers must now register in-person to activate their mobile sports betting accounts.

Rivers Casino with its BetRivers mobile app and DraftKings are the only retail/mobile sports betting operators in the state.

Latest news from PlayIllinois.com

Casinos in Illinois have begun to reopen following the announcement by the IL Gaming Board. Strict social distancing measures and other safety measures will be in place and casinos must operate at a limited capacity.

Can I bet on sports in nearby Indiana?

Yes. While the rest of the state waits for the first sportsbooks to go live, Illinois residents have another option nearby. You can download Indiana sports betting apps and make the short drive into Indiana. This should be relatively painless for in the Chicago area residents.

As it turns out, the Hoosier State has both online and retail sports betting up and running already. Anyone over the age of 21 whose body is inside Indiana is eligible to place bets until their heart’s content.

It is not necessary to be an Indiana resident. This is especially helpful for Chicagoans since you only need a quick drive down I-90 or east from East Side. This drive will open all the sports betting options that Indianans enjoy from their homes.

Your first step in betting online is to download one of the sports betting apps in Indiana. From there you only need to create an account and make your first deposit. The apps available include:

These sportsbooks do use geolocation software to verify your location, so don’t try to cheat the system just because you’re close to the line. However, once across the Indiana border, the full suite of products is available.

Meanwhile, if you’d prefer to place bets in a more tangible setting, you’ll be pleased to know that almost every Indiana casino has opened a retail sportsbook now. Two of them, Horseshoe Hammond and Ameristar East Chicago, are just a few minutes away, on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Either way you want to bet on sports, there’s no reason for Chicago-area residents to wait for regulators and operators in the state to get their collective acts together. Head southeast, and bet freely.

What will Illinois sports betting look like?

The specifics of Illinois sports betting all appear in the final law. Stakeholder interests have shaped a law that is actually quite complicated.

Sports betting will be licensed at the following venues:

  • Casinos and racetracks
  • Sports venues with a capacity of over 17,000
  • Lottery vendors

The lottery vendors won’t be regulated by the IGB, 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 percent of their revenues—whichever is the 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 the stadium.

Over and above these licenses there are three available for online-only providers. These cost $20 million each, without the option.

Illinois sports betting apps

The casinos and racetracks in the state can also offer online sports betting. Illinois has avoided demanding that bettors sign-up for accounts in person. Since around 80 percent of sports betting now goes online, that will help get market traction right from the off.

Apart from the basic sports betting at the lottery sites, the sports betting apps in Illinois will be hi-tech and very up-to-date.

The licensees will partner with technology platforms and international brands to deliver their sports betting apps. Those new to sports betting as well as old hands will find that modern sports betting is much more entertaining than it used to be.

Here are the sportsbook apps that are live in Illinois:

  • DraftKings Sportsbook: In order to sign up for a DraftKings account, you must visit DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis.
  • BetRivers Sportsbook: BetRivers is the sports betting app from Rivers Casino Des Plaines. You can sign up by visiting the casino just outside of Chicago.

In-game betting is a major attraction

Even bettors used to betting at illegal offshore sites will welcome the new opportunities for in-game betting.

In-game bets are played after a sporting event begins. No longer do bets close at the start of play.

Modern real-time data feeds allow operators to rapidly re-calculate odds. This means that during a game players can bet on the final score, who will win, what the score will be at the end of the quarter and even which player will score next.

Each operator offers its own range of in-game bets and sports fans can use them to add entertainment value while they are watching a match, or to reduce the risks of the bets they made pre-game.

If a customer bets on his or her team to win and the game starts to go the wrong way, in-game betting offers the opportunity to place another bet to hedge the risk of the first bet going wrong.

OTHER POPULAR BET TYPES

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.”

The most popular bet types that will be on offer when sports betting starts are:

  • Moneyline bets—Beginners often start with moneyline bets. These are simple bets on which team will win a match.
  • 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.
  • Spread bets—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.
  • Parlay bet—Parlay bets provide some the best entertainment for your dollar. In a parlay bet you link several bets together e.g. bets on the winners of six matches taking place in one day. 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.
  • Futures—Much of the entertainment value of sports betting comes from anticipating results a long way in advance. Who will win next year’s Super Bowl? Which baseball player will hit the most home runs in the season? A futures bet is one you make on an even where the outcome will not be known for some time.

SPORTS BETTING DEPOSIT BASICS

If you want to begin wagering in Illinois once sports betting starts, the first step is setting up an account and setting up a way to fund your account.

After registering at your favorite location, assuming it launches mobile wagering, users can deposit funds with which to wager. The apps allow bettors to do so in the following ways:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover

Additional payment options like PayPal could and might be added going forward. Users can set limits on the size of deposits, bets, and losses.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF BONUSES AND REWARDS

State entering the sports betting market launched with and still push promotions, bonuses and rewards. It’s expected that Illinois will do the same.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Who is allowed to operate sportsbooks in Illinois?

The three categories for master license holders mean that the following entities are eligible to apply for licenses:

CASINOS

Casino City County
Casino Queen East St. Louis St. Clair
Harrah’s Joliet Joliet Will
Harrah’s Metropolis Metropolis Massac
Hollywood Casino Aurora Aurora Kane
Grand Victoria Casino Elgin Elgin Kane
Hollywood Casino Joliet Joliet Will
Argosy’s Alton Belle Casino Alton Madison
Rivers Casino Des Plaines Cook
Par-A-Dice Casino East Peoria Tazewell
Jumer’s Casino & Hotel Rock Island Rock Island

RACETRACKS

  • Arlington Park
  • Fairmount Park
  • Hawthorne

SPORTS VENUES

Venues with capacities over 17,000 are:

Venue City Capacity
Gateway Motorsports Park Madison 78,000
Chicagoland Speedway Joliet 75,000
Soldier Field Chicago 61,500
Memorial Stadium Champaign 60,670
Ryan Field Evanston 47,130
Wrigley Field Chicago 41,160
Guaranteed Rate Field Chicago 40,615
Route 66 Raceway Joliet 30,000
Huskie Stadium DeKalb 24,000
United Center Chicago 23,500
Toyota Park Bridgeview 20,000
Allstate Arena Rosemont 18,500

Only seven licenses are available for sports venues so not all of these will enter the market.

WHICH CASINOS WILL APPLY FOR LICENSES?

It’s a fair bet that every casino will apply for licenses even at the $10 million price point.

All three racetracks are expected to apply, and at least five of the eligible sports venues.

It is too early to predict the eventual shape of the market but it looks like there will be plenty of competition.

The casinos need partners to provide the sports betting technology, and in other states, this means that many international brands could appear in the market. Illinois demands that the casino or sports venue brand is primary, but you are likely to see the technology provider brand displayed as well.

Caesars Entertainment owns Harrah’s Joliet and Harrah’s Metropolis. It is merging with Eldorado Resorts. Between them the two have sports betting partnerships with The Stars Group (which uses the FoxBet brand), William Hill and Scientific Games.

Illinois Sports Betting FAQ

How old do I have to be to place a legal sports bet?

You have to be at least 21 years old to place a bet in Illinois.

Can I place bets on my account when I am outside the state?

No, you have to be within state borders to place any and all wagers.

Do I have to live in Illinois to bet?

Absolutely not! You can open an account even if you are just visiting the state. But as soon as you exit the state you won’t be able to place any more bets — the geo-location technology is extremely accurate.

What do I do if I am currently using an offshore account?

Our recommendation is to shut it down. As soon as legal sports betting launches, there is no point in continuing to bet at an illegal offshore sportsbook site where you have no legal protection.

Will online poker and casino games be available?

Sadly only sports betting will be legal in Illinois.

Is it legal to wager on Illinois sports teams?

As the law is written, retail and online sports betting in Illinois allows for wagering on hometown teams like the Chicago Bears (NFL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Fire (MLS), Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and Chicago Cubs/Chicago White Sox (MLB). Currently, all collegiate teams are also in the mix but that could change in the future.