Illinois sports betting has exploded in popularity since legalization in 2020. Fans across the Prairie State are looking to get closer to their favorite teams.
Sports Betting Dime can help you get started with everything you need to know about betting on sports in Illinois.
Read on to find the best IL betting apps, lucrative bonus offers for new users, how to sign up, and much more. If you want to start wagering right now, visit one of our trusted partners from the list below.
Best Online Sportsbooks in Illinois
DraftKings started as a daily fantasy site and launched their IL betting app in 2020 via a partnership with Casino Queen in East St. Louis. You can sign up for DraftKings IL and their generous sign up bonus from anywhere in the state.Promo: Up to $1,050 Free!
William Hill has exported its well-known sportsbook brand to the US, offering one of their most lucrative offers with their IL sports betting sign up bonus. Once registered, look forward to one of the biggest futures, props, and in-play betting markets in the industry.Promo: $500 Risk-Free Bet!
FanDuel's impressive sports betting platform is built on their daily fantasy success and now available anywhere in Illinois. Sign up today to take advantage of their excellent IL sign up bonus and user-friendly betting app.Promo: $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
PointsBet launched in the US in 2019 and expanded to Illinois in 2020. Illinois sports bettors will a user-friendly and innovative PointsBet betting app, and can enjoy the innovative and unique PointsBetting wagering style.Promo: Deposit $250 & Get $500 in Free Bets!
BetRivers was the first online sportsbook to launch in Illinois, and it remains the most popular among sports bettors in Chicago and throughout the state. The BetRivers IL promo code also offers a healthy sign up bonus for new users.Promo: Up to $250 Deposit Match
Key IL Sports Betting Info
This in-depth page has all the key information about betting on sports in Illinois.
If you know what you’re looking for, skip ahead to learn more:
Illinois bettors have the flexibility to wager from their phones anywhere, at any time.
These days, most of us connect with sports primarily through our mobile devices. You already use your phone to check the score, watch highlights, and join the conversation on social media.
Fully remote betting is a must for any state that wants to prevent residents from visiting unlicensed offshore operators or driving across state lines into, say, Indiana or Iowa. Unfortunately, in Illinois, you still need to visit the partner casino to register for your online sportsbook account, at least for the time being.
It’s worth the effort, though, because the best sports betting apps offer highly valuable bonuses and promotions. Plus, sportsbook apps make it easy to browse the odds and betting options on the go. They support the same functionality as their desktop-version counterparts and typically have the same look and feel, making it easy to switch between devices.
Top sportsbooks have optimized their apps to provide lightning-fast updates required to support the pace of live betting. You can sit at Soldier Field amongst 60,000 people and place your bets in real-time.
If you’re looking for an app with a simple, intuitive design, we recommend FanDuel Sportsbook. It’s easy to navigate with features like a sticky menu at the bottom and a straightforward bet slip. We found it effortless to begin using right after downloading. It also works in any state that FanDuel operates in, whereas some competitors require you to download a separate app for use in each state.
No matter which app you choose, always sign up using the unique links below. It’s the simplest way to make sure you get the best welcome bonus available.
Here are the best sports betting apps available in Illinois:
|Betting App||App Store Rating||State-Specific?||Get Started|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||4.8/5||No||Get App|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||4.8/5||No||Get App|
|BetRivers Sportsbook||3.8/5||Yes||Get App|
|PointsBet Sportsbook||4.4/5||No||Get App|
|William Hill Sportsbook||4.5/5||Yes||Get App|
Note that the BetRivers mobile app is available for Android users only, while all others are available for both iOS and Android.
Top Illinois sportsbooks all have bonus offers ready to attract new customers. The reality is the heavyweights are all competing for your loyalty.
Pro tip: Taking advantage of lucrative promotions should be part of your sports betting strategy.
Beginner’s luck: Sign-up bonuses are the most valuable of all. You can get a head start with promos that can add thousands of dollars to your bankroll.
Sports Betting Dime has partnered with Illinois online sportsbooks to bring you the best offers available to new customers. Here’s our starting five:
|Betting Site||IL Sign-Up Bonus|
|Deposit Bonus up to $1,050|
|Deposit $250 & Get $500 in Free Bets!|
|$1,000 Risk-Free Bet|
|$500 Risk-Free Bet|
|$250 Deposit Match|
To make sure you’re getting the best offers available today, simply sign up for a new sports betting account using the unique links above. Most Illinois sportsbook bonuses do not require a promo code.
Veteran savvy: Even once you’ve exhausted your sign-up bonuses, you can still get free bet credits, boosted odds, referral bonuses, and more at IL sportsbooks. See the latest promotions available via our Illinois bonus page.
Once you’ve chosen an Illinois sportsbook, how’s here to get started and redeem your sign-up bonus.
- Sign up for a new account with a top-rated legal sports betting site such as DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll need some basic info ready, such as your full name, address, date of birth, and SSN.
- You will need to visit the sportsbooks’ partner casino to verify your account and make your first deposit. We recommend doing this right away to take full advantage of the sign-up bonus. Here are the most common and convenient deposit methods accepted at Illinois sportsbooks:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- ACH eCheck
- Prepaid card
- Keep in mind that the amount you deposit typically determines the value of your sign-up bonus.
- Place your first bet(s)!
The Illinois sports betting market continues to develop, with new sportsbooks launching and regulations shifting frequently. This section recaps all the latest IL updates to keep you up to speed.
May 31, 2021 – Amendments to Illinois Senate Bill 251 pass in the House. If approved by the Senate and signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the bill will create a trial period for allowing wagers on in-state college teams. The trial would run until July 1, 2023. Wagers on in-state college teams would be limited to retail sports betting locations only, so bettors won’t be able to bet on Illinois colleges online.
April 12, 2021 – For the first time in nine months, Illinois does not break its monthly record in sports betting handle. Still, the state’s handle exceeds $500 million for a second time as the Illinois Gaming Board reports $509,794,592 in wagers for February. The handle may drop somewhat in the months ahead as the state switched back to in-person registration requirements.
April 4, 2021 – Illinois lawmakers allow Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order calling for remote registration to expire. All new users must now register or verify their accounts in person before betting on sports in Illinois.
March 12, 2021 – Illinois reports a new state record of $581,553,300 in betting handle for January 2021. It is the fourth state to eclipse the $500 million mark in a single month. The state is now on pace to take in more than $7 billion in wagers in 2021.
November 20, 2020 – The Golden Nugget secures 20 years of guaranteed access to the Illinois sports betting market. The cost? Agreeing to commit $30 million to the construction of a new Golden Nugget casino in Danville. The deal allows the company to launch a statewide online platform and offer in-person sports betting at the new casino.
The path to sports betting legalization in Illinois was full of overly personal debate and consideration of many interests. The legislation is among the most complicated sports betting laws in the country.
While the law supposedly offers a fair shake to smaller operators and protects consumers, the extremely high regulatory burden may have the opposite effect. Only companies with huge amounts of funding manage to establish themselves in an increasingly competitive market.
Sports betting in Illinois is authorized under the Sports Wagering Act (230 ILCS 45), and permanent rules were adopted on June 4, 2020. You can review them in detail, or read on to get the scouting report with essential info summarized below.
In-Person Registration Required
You need to visit an Illinois casino to complete the sign-up process for online sports betting.
The goalposts keep shifting with regards to registration. Illinois initially instituted an 18-month rollout period for online betting, requiring bettors to visit a retail sportsbook location at a casino or racetrack to verify their online betting accounts.
Governor J.B. Pritzker lifted and re-imposed the restriction several times during 2020 to provide easier access to sports betting during the coronavirus pandemic. The market boomed with fully remote registration, but unfortunately, it is currently unavailable in Illinois.
Illinois online sportsbooks are required to check your location whenever you attempt to place a wager or fund your accounts.
Geo-comply software will ping your location frequently when visiting your sportsbook of choice. Most betting apps have integrated this functionality with the location services on your mobile device, while computer users will generally need to download an unobtrusive software package directly from their sportsbook website.
Who Can Bet on Sports in Illinois?
Getting in on the action is as easy as signing up for beer league: Most adults who are of legal gambling age (21+) can bet on sports so long as you are not on a self-exclusion list.
Note that you do not need to be an Illinois resident to use a betting app or online sportsbook in the state. Location requirements apply to your physical presence within state lines rather than your regular place of residence. Sports fans in neighboring cities like St. Louis, Milwaukee, and beyond are welcome to bet on sports when visiting Illinois.
Which Events Can I Bet on in Illinois?
The Illinois Gaming Board states that “The Sports Wagering Act and the proposed rules allow master sports wagering licensees to offer wagers on any professional sport, any motorsport, and any collegiate sport excluding those involving Illinois collegiate teams.”
The broad mandate allows wagering on a huge range of events from around the world, including all the biggest events such as the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the World Cup, and more. However, there are some exceptions.
No Betting on Illinois College Sports Teams
Following in the footsteps of sports betting behemoth New Jersey, Illinois does not allow sports bets on collegiate events that include a team or athlete representing a college or university in the state.
Illinois is home to many popular NCAA teams, so this limitation is unfortunate. It would have been nice to see IL replicate MI sports betting rules, which allow wagers on in-state college teams.
If you want to put money on the likes of the Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois Fighting Illini, you’ll need to take a drive across state lines to Indiana or Iowa. From there, use Indiana online sportsbooks or Iowa mobile betting apps to bet on Illinois college teams.
Other Events of “Relative Skill” May Be Allowed
While the Sports Wagering Act explicitly allows professional sports and (most) collegiate with no need for individual approval, sportsbooks can apply for permission to offering wagering on other events of “relative skill.”
It will be interesting to see how the Illinois Gaming Board interprets this element of the legislation. In theory, it could allow betting on emerging categories such as eSports.
Which Types of Wagering Are Allowed on These Events?
Illinois allows all the most popular wagering types, meaning there are many ways to get in on the action and feel closer to your favorite teams.
Want to back the underdog Bears against the Packers? You’ll find moneylines, spreads, and totals lines at every Illinois sportsbook.
Watching the Crosstown Classic? You’ll love the extra excitement that comes with live betting.
Think the addition of Candace Parker will lead the Sky to their first WNBA title? Put money on it with a futures bet.
Got a hunch Zach Levine is about to drop 40 points on his former team when the Timberwolves are in town? Take a look at the available prop bets.
If you’re feeling bullish and want more risk for more reward, parlays might be your thing. Check out options for pleasers and teasers, too.
The examples above are by no means exhaustive, so suffice to say there are plenty of betting options available at Illinois sportsbooks. The Illinois Gaming Board has reserved the right to ban any form of wagering they find contrary to the public interest over time. Thus far, however, all wagering types are fair play at Illinois sportsbooks.
The Illinois market is one of the most expensive and heavily regulated for operators, but the sheer size of the Chicago sports scene has motivated big online players to step up to the plate and make their platforms available quickly.
Despite the willingness of the nation’s biggest sportsbook operators to pay up, exceedingly expensive regulations have undeniably hampered the growth of the Illinois sports betting market. The Sports Wagering Act put in place a complex process to award online betting licenses in the state.
To operate an online sportsbook in Illinois, businesses must hold a “master license.” Only existing casinos, racetracks, and professional sporting arenas are eligible to apply for these permits.
Master licensees are authorized to launch just one online platform per license. Therefore, each of the state’s existing casinos can either partner with a single existing online brand or create their own online platform.
Unlike in most other states with legal online sports betting, Illinois casinos cannot use their license to offer multiple online “skins” (brands). What’s more, they must receive separate approval for their chosen online platform after receiving a master license.
To make matters worse, Illinois sports betting licensing fees are among the highest in the nation. Master license fees for existing casinos, racetracks, and sporting arenas depend on their existing revenue and are capped at $10 million. Online licenses cost $20 million on top of that.
Compared to other states that offer legal online betting, sports betting taxes in Illinois fall towards the middle of the pack. The Illinois sports betting tax rate is 15% of adjusted gross revenue, or the amount left over after winnings are paid.
While they aren’t the highest in the country, these financial hurdles are significant enough to limit Illinois’ online market. Lower taxes and licensing fees mean more competition and space for smaller start-up operators, which leads to better odds and juicier bonuses for Illinois sports bettors.
On the horizon: Thankfully, three additional online-only licenses will be made available later in 2021.
Check the scoreboard: Wondering who your fellow Illinoisans prefer to bet with? Well, BetRivers had an early home-field advantage, but DraftKings is now firmly in the position of the most popular sports betting app in Illinois. The daily fantasy sports (DFS) giant is one of the most recognizable sportsbooks in the nation, so it’s not a huge surprise to see it finding success in IL.
For more on the business of sports betting, peruse the latest stats and expert insights on our Illinois revenue page.
Finding a place to bet on sports in person is relatively easy in Illinois. And while it’s hard to match the convenience and flexibility that comes with the ability to bet from anywhere online, visiting a casino or racetrack does have its advantages.
Nothing can replace a brick-and-mortar sportsbook if you’re looking to soak up the excitement of a room full of bettors anxiously keeping tabs on the action.
Several Illinois casinos surrounding Chicago and further afield have received the master licenses required to operate retail sportsbooks. Some offer the classic riverboat casino gambling experience.
In Illinois, you need to visit the partner casino to register for your online sportsbook account. So, when deciding between in-person betting locations, consider the integration with an online platform – and vice versa.
Retail locations partnered with an active online operator will often let you use the same bankroll, whether wagering in-person or through your mobile app. You can also take advantage of online sportsbook promotions and bet on the go in between weekend trips to the casino.
If you’re from the Chicago area, we recommend signing up with BetRivers Sportsbook by Rush Street Interactive. It’s headquartered locally, offers an excellent sign-up bonus for new customers, and is partnered with Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. You can complete your in-person registration with a relatively short drive from the city. The casino is right next to O’Hare International Airport and a mile from the Rosemont “L” station.
To help you pick a sportsbook with a retail partner located near you, here’s a list of current Illinois sports betting license holders and their online betting operators:
|License Holder||Address||Online Betting Partner|
|Argosy Casino Alton||1 Piasa St, Alton, IL 62002||Barstool Sportsbook|
|Grand Victoria Casino||250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120||William Hill Sportsbook|
|Hawthorne Race Course||3501 S Laramie Ave, Stickney, IL 60804||PointsBet Sportsbook|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506||Barstool Sportsbook|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436||Barstool Sportsbook|
|Rivers Casino-Des Plaines||3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018||BetRivers Sportsbook|
|Casino Queen||200 S Front St, East St Louis, IL 62201||DraftKings Sportsbook|
|Par-A-Dice Casino||21 Blackjack Blvd, East Peoria, IL 61611||FanDuel Sportsbook|
Reference the map below to find the retail sportsbook closest to you.
If you don’t have time to catch all the action, here are the highlights.
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes! Legal sports betting launched in Illinois in 2020. You can bet online or in-person at select retail locations.
How old do you have to be to bet on sports in Illinois?
To legally place bets on sports in Illinois, you must be at least 21 years old.
How can I start betting online in Chicago?
You might want to revisit this section of the article with instructions on how to sign up for a premier online sportsbook.
What sports can I bet on in Illinois?
You can bet on most largely popular events in Illinois, such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, MLS, and more. However, unfortunately, you cannot bet on any teams or individuals representing a college institution in the state of Illinois.
Chicago is home to some of the nation’s most beloved and successful professional sports teams.
A look at the list below probably brings back fond memories of the Michael Jordan era Bulls dynasty, the Cubs’ epic World Series win in 2016, or Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup three times in six years. (Let’s not talk about the Bears…) Sharp bettors know there’s value hiding in plain sight with Chicago’s two women’s professional teams, the Sky (WNBA) and the Red Stars (NWSL).
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago White Sox
- Chicago Bears
- Chicago Bulls
- Chicago Sky
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago Fire
- Chicago Red Stars
The latest trend: The US sports betting industry has a rising number of online sportsbooks engaging in partnerships with professional sports leagues and teams. Even in the not-yet-launched MD and AZ sports betting markets, formal partnerships are already taking shape. In many cases, these partnerships result in special promos and odds boosts for wagers on hometown teams.
Check the table below to see which sportsbooks have partnered with local teams in Illinois:
|Sportsbook||Local IL Partners|
Local partnerships often sweeten the pot, meaning you can get more bang for your buck when backing the Bears and Cubs.
Bet slips and cracker jacks: You’ll soon be able to place a wager using betting kiosks at Wrigley Field thanks to the Cubbies’ deal with DraftKings.
Prep for success: As MJ himself once said, “Champions do not become champions when they win an event, but in the hours, weeks, and months, and years they spend preparing for it.”
No matter which teams you support, we’re here to provide the data and analysis you need to bet confidently and intelligently.
SportsBettingDime.com is the best place for betting tools and editorial coverage you can use to gauge the betting value of your favorite teams. We have a huge roster of “How-To” betting guides that can help anyone from rookies to experienced bettors find an edge over the sportsbooks.
Find the Best Legal Betting Apps for Every State
SportsBettingDime.com is your source to find the best online sportsbooks wherever you live or are traveling to. You can find detailed sportsbook reviews from our list of the best online betting sites, with crucial information on bonuses, banking, downloading the right apps, and more.
If you’re looking to stay on top of the latest regulatory updates or are wondering where sports betting is legal, our sports betting legal tracker can help.
Whether betting in Illinois or beyond, have fun and enjoy the action out there!