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Sports betting in Illinois

Legal sports betting in Illinois became a reality in June 2019. Retail sports betting launched in March 2020 and online legal sports betting in Illinois launched in June 2020. There are now seven sportsbooks available in the Prairie State and retail wagering is also available at locations throughout the state. March 2022 saw the ending of registration at land-based locales, as now bettors can open a sportsbook account online or through their mobile phone. 

This in-depth guide will show you all you need to know in terms of legal sports betting in Illinois. You will get important info related to tax and legal issues, the sportsbooks available, the future of sports betting in the state, a timeline of events, and answers to frequently asked questions. After that the guide will even show you how you can set up a sportsbook account, so you can start online legal sports betting in Illinois. 

All legal sports betting options in Illinois 

The legal situation on Illinois sports betting

The fight to get sports betting legal in Illinois was a long and contentious process. However, on June 3, 2019 Governor J.B. Pritzker signed bill SB690 into law legalizing sports betting. The bill was part of a huge capital bill in the state and it was put in there to pass while there was a legislative session that was extended. According to SB690 sports betting can be online, at retail sportsbooks, racetracks, betting parlors (off-track), and at places that are the home for the professional sports teams. 

There are three stand-alone online sports betting licenses available in Illinois while the others are granted to land-based gaming locales and the pro sports stadiums. There was an 18-month waiting period for the online operators to open up shop after the first license was granted to BetRivers in June 2020. However, FanDuel and DraftKings found a way to enter the market sooner.  BetMGM became the first online-only sportsbook to go live in the state, which happened in March 2022. 

The fees for a sports betting license, non-stand alone, is 5% of the current annual handle on the previous year with a maximum fee of $10 million. For the three stand-alone licenses the fee is $20 million. Both types of sports betting licenses in the state are for four years with a renewal fee of $1 million. The Illinois tax on sports betting is 15% of gross revenue and for live sports betting official league data must be used. 

The Illinois Gaming Board oversees all sports betting activity in the state and is the body that grants licenses as well. 

🛑 What you can’t bet on from online sportsbooks in Illinois

While not many of them there are some restrictions on what you can bet on in Illinois. In terms of the issue of betting on in-state teams it is legal to do so in the Prairie State but they have to be made in person and they have to be pre-game bets. That means there are no online or live bets available for in-state college teams such as the University of Illinois, Northwestern, and Loyola of Chicago. Also, there are no proposition bets available for Illinois college teams.

Here are the restrictions on what you cannot bet on in Illinois : 

  • Entertainment bets such as for the Emmys and Oscars 
  • Political bets such as the U.S. presidential election 
  • Prop bets (team and player) for Illinois collegiate teams. 
  • Online bets for In-state college teams 
  • Live betting for in-state college teams 

🟢 What you can bet on from online sportsbooks in Illinois    

  • NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Baseball (not in-state online but you can make wagers on in-state teams at retail locations). 
  • Major Domestic Leagues, including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, MMA, UFC, etc. 
  • Major International Leagues, including England Premier League, Italy Serie A, Spain La Liga, etc. 
  • Major sports events, including NBA playoffs and finals, Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, The Masters, Olympics, etc.
  • Most betting types, including spreads, moneylines, totals (over/under), parlays, futures, proposition bets (no in-state college props), and live bets (no in-state college live betting) . 
  • eSports 

What is the tax situation in Illinois     

In Illinois there is a 15% sports betting tax on gross revenue for both online and retail wagering. The tax money goes into the Capital Projects Fund, which helps for improvements to such things as roads, bridges, and mass transit and also goes to the state’s schools and universities. Since launching Illinois has taken in over $130.3 million in taxes from sports betting.

All the available sportsbooks in Illinois       

  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • Caesars 
  • DraftKings 
  • FanDuel 
  • PointsBet
  • Barstool Sportsbook 

Forecasts about the future of online gambling in Illinois       

The future is very bright for sports betting in Illinois. The online books have to be partnered with land-based casinos and there are currently 10 of them in the Prairie State with seven of them having retail sportsbooks. However, one part of the bill that legalized sports betting also allowed for the creation of six more casinos. Each casino can have one skin and while there are seven online sportsbooks up and running in Illinois more are sure to come soon. The reason is that Illinois is a popular state and has already taken in nearly $11.5 billion in wagers since sports betting was legalized. 

It will also be soon where sports betting will be available at the major pro venues such as Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, and the United Center. The retail sportsbooks in Illinois are located at: 

  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines
  • Casino Queen, East St. Louis 
  • Argosy Casino Alton 
  • Grand Victoria 
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet 
  • Par-a-Dice Casino 
  • Hawthorne Racecourse 
  • Fan Duel Sportsbook and Horse Racing 

Timeline of main events in Illinois      

  • March 2022 – Law passes marking the ending of registration at land-based locales
  • February 2022 – FanDuel announces plans to have a sportsbook in the United Center home to the Chicago Bulls 
  • June 2020 – Online sports betting launches 
  • March 2020 – Retail sports betting launches 
  • June 2019  – Sports betting legalized 
  • March 2019 – Mandate that online sportsbooks must purchase official league data from the major professional sports leagues 
  • May 2018 – The Supreme Court overturns Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made sports betting legal on a state-by-state basis

How do I start betting online in Illinois        

It is a quick and easy process to start betting online in Illinois. The first step you need to take is to pick and sign up for an account at one of the seven state-licensed online sportsbooks. After that the sportsbook will verify your ID and they do this by asking for info such as: 

  • Full name
  • Birthday 
  • Social Security Number 
  • Personal verification information 

If the ID verification process is a success the sportsbook will send you a confirmation email saying so. Then you can go to the sportsbook and start betting on your favorite sports. 

FAQs

Who regulates the legal online sports betting in Illinois?

The  Illinois Gaming Board  regulates all online and retail sports betting.

Are the odds the same while betting in Illinois as in any other state?

Yes. If the sportsbook brand is in multiple states, such as DraftKings Illinois and DraftKings Michigan the odds will be exactly the same. The odds may differ between different sportsbooks but not by much at all.

What are the differences between sports betting in Illinois compared to any other state?

Until a law passed in Illinois in March of 2022 you had to register for an online sportsbook account at a land based locale. The state is rather restrictive when it comes to in-state college football betting. You can only make bets on in-state college teams at retail locations and there is no live college betting and college props are restricted. Soon, Illinois will also be one of the few states that allows for sports betting and professional team venues.

Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes. In June 2019 Governor J.B. Pritzker signed bill SB690 into law legalizing sports betting.

How old do you need to be for online sports betting in Illinois?

You must be 21 years old to wager on sports in Illinois.

Where can you bet online in Illinois?

If you are 21 or older you can bet online at any of the state-licensed online sportsbooks.

Do I need to be a resident of Illinois to bet at Illinois sportsbooks?

No. You do not have to be a resident of the Prairie State to bet at Illinois sportsbooks. However, because of geolocation technology you have to be within the states borders to make bets.

Can I access my Illinois sportsbook account in other states?

Yes. You can access your Illinois online sportsbook account out of state but you cannot make bets unless you are physically in the state. Still, you can do other things outside of the state borders such as check odds, make deposits and withdrawals, and contact customer service.