Best bonus offers, apps and legal betting sites in IL
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, and can take remote registrations for online betting through at least Sept. 19 thanks to a new executive order from Pritzker.
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.
DraftKings Sportsbook has brought its innovative and exciting business to Illinois. The app, which is available on iOS (Apple) and Android devices, features a betting carousel that customizes the site for every single player.
Right now, you can potentially put more than $1,000 extra into your pocket with the welcome offers at DraftKings. Along with a $25 no deposit bonus, DraftKings will also match your first deposit up to $500 and allow your first bet to be risk-free up to $500.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended his executive order allowing remote registration for sports betting through Oct. 17. This allows customers to sign up for online/mobile accounts from anywhere in the state.
William Hill became the fifth online sportsbook in Illinois after launching on September 15.
Illinois sportsbooks collected $52.5 million in bets during the first full month of sports betting according to data released by the Illinois Gaming Control Board.
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% 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 high-tech and very up-to-date.
The licensees will partner with technology platforms and international brands to deliver their Illinois sports bettingapps. 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.
Best IL sports betting apps for 2020
DraftKings: DraftKings is an exceptionally sleek app with intuitive features and accessible navigation. It is available for both major formats of device (Apple and Android), and in each case, the sportsbook’s display has been optimized to fit your screen maximally. There is no reason that you cannot make DraftKings your sports betting home in Illinois.
FanDuel: If you’re looking for a clean and easy-on-the-eyes app to use, look no further than FanDuel. The smooth design and lack of clutter make moving around to different parts of the site a breeze. Plus, if you’re looking for a little something extra, FanDuel usually has a promotional offer to cover whatever type of bet you want to make.
BetRivers Sportsbook: BetRivers Sportsbook was the first sportsbook to debut in Illinois. It brought a host of excellent features to the Prairie State, and has a clean and smooth design. At present, the app is only on Android, but Apple users can download Geoguard and play through their browsers.
Pros and cons of Illinois online sports betting apps
Quick navigation and access to betting.
Live betting options greatly expand choices for wagering.
Easier to shop for odds with multiple books a button press away.
Lack of social engagement.
Apps take up space on phone and could cause storage problems.
May be intimidating for new bettors.
How geolocation and remote registration work in Illinois
The Illinois Sports Wagering Act, which allowed for online sports betting in Illinois, contains a rather frustrating provision for proponents of the proliferation of sports betting in the state. The law requires that players register in person at the home casino of their chosen sportsbook for the first 18 months after the passage of the law.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown inspired Gov. Pritzker to rescind the provision temporarily. So, for now, Illinois residents can register for online sportsbook accounts from anywhere in thestate.
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.
“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 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 futuresbet, 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:
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 eventsonly. 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, coachor 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 the 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 horsebetting, 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 ofFame 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
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 runline. 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.
The Bulls ascended to heights few can claim in the 1990s. MichaelJordan, 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.
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 StanleyCup three times, and the team’s six Stanley Cups place 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
Whether you sign up during Pritzker’s brief remote registration window or make the pilgrimage to one of the home casinos for Illinois’ online sportsbooks, the process for registering for an account will be mostly the same.
So, here’s what to do:
Choose one of the Illinois sports betting sites from the list above. It’s important to use ourlinks, 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 registrationbutton. 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 you funds are guaranteed.
Here are some of the typical banking methods that you will find on Illinois sportsbook apps:
Creditor 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
William Hill 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 horseracing 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 RacingAct, 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 10sites, 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 atJoe’s Bar: 940 W. Weed St., Chicago
Crestwood OTB: 13148 Rivercrest Drive, Crestwood
PostTime 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 Pizzeriaand 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
The lottery vendors won’t be regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board, but by the IllinoisLottery. 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 PrairieState.
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.
Illinois Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes! Sports betting became legal in Illinois in 2019.
Are FanDuel and DraftKings legal in Illinois?
Yes. FanDuel and DraftKings are both legal in Illinois, and are available in both their sports betting and DFS versions.
Are offshore betting sites legal or safe?
No. Many players use offshore betting sites without incident, but as is the case with every site, there is always the potential for something to go wrong. The problem is that offshore sites are not subject to US law, and you might not be able to get any kind of relief from them in a court if you have a dispute. You also never know if state or federal law enforcement is going to reinterpret the law and decide that you’re on the wrong side of it. It’s best to stick to the legal Illinois sportsbooks.
How do I download an IL sports betting app?
In general, you use our links and follow the same procedure that you do for other apps. The only difference is that Android users might need to tell their phone to accept downloads from unknown sources.
Is cashing out available at IL betting sites?
It depends on the site, but you can find a cash out feature on some sites in Illinois.
Is it legal to bet on horses in Illinois?
Yes. It is legal to bet on horses in Illinois at racetracks, off-track betting parlors and online.
Is PayPal accepted at IL online sportsbooks?
It depends on the sportsbook. Check with each site and look for the PayPal logo.
What types of sports bets are legal and illegal in Illinois?
Most bets are completely legal in Illinois. The only types of bet that you cannot make are on in-state collegiate teams and high school sports. Otherwise, have at it.