Thanks in part to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois will soon join other states with legal, regulated sports betting. In June 2019, Pritzker signed a $45 billion capital plan, part of which included sports betting.
The package is quite extensive and includes several gambling options.
Illinois sports betting made its official debut in March 2020, as BetRivers Sportsbook welcomed the state’s first legal wager.
Retail wagering made its Illinois debut in March 2020 as Rivers Casino accepted the first legal bet.
Brick-and-mortars will continue to crop up throughout the state. Argosy Casino Alton, for example, will open its opertation a day before March Madness tips off. Several other properties have received temporary permits to begin retail betting.
Online betting apps, however, still remains a ways off from launching, it seems. The official timeline for mobile wagering in Illinois is unknown at the time.
That said, Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Carlin announced during the BetRivers opening that customers could begin setting up their online sportsbook accounts.
Last updated: March 9, 2020
Rivers Casino became the first property to launch retail sports betting with the opening of its BetRivers Sportsbook. Also announced by Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, was the ability for customers to begin signing up for online sports betting accounts. However, customers won’t be able to place online wagers just yet. It is still unknown when mobile wagering will begin in IL but experts predict later this year.
The next property to launch retail sports betting in Illinois will be Argosy Casino Alton, which is set to begin accepting wagers on Monday, March 16, the day before the start of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Temporary permits to operate sports betting have also been issued to Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet, Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino in Peoria, and Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.
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.
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:
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.
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, sports betting offers will be hi-tech and very up-to-date.
The licensees will partner with technology platforms and international brands to deliver their sports betting offers. 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.
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.
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:
If you want to begin wagering in IL 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:
Additional payment options like PayPal could and might be added going forward. Users can set limits on the size of deposits, bets, and losses.
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.
The three categories for master license holders mean that the following entities are eligible to apply for licenses:
|Casino Queen||East St. Louis||St. Clair|
|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|
Venues with capacities over 17,000 are:
|Gateway Motorsports Park||Madison||78,000|
|Guaranteed Rate Field||Chicago||40,615|
|Route 66 Raceway||Joliet||30,000|
Only seven licenses are available for sports venues so not all of these will enter the market.
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.
You have to be at least 21 years old to place a bet in Illinois.
No, you have to be within state borders to place any and all wagers.
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.
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.
Sadly only sports betting will be legal in Illinois.
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.