They legalized sports betting in Illinois in 2020, with the first sports bet made in person at the Rivers Casino De Plains. Since then, several online sports betting platforms have launched in the state, giving players a fantastic range of sportsbooks to consider. To help new players make an informed decision, we have put this guide together.
Below, you will find out everything you need to know about sports betting platforms in Illinois. This includes the markets you can bet on, the promotions you can claim, and various other important aspects of a sportsbook. Whatever type of sports betting experience you are looking for, make sure you read our guide first.
Bet $5 or More for a $200 Bonus
New players only, must be located in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, VA, WY, or WV. Must be 21+ or 18+ in WY. Bonus bets are valid for seven days or 168 hours from when the bet appears in your account. Complimentary bet values are not included in returns or winnings from any wager. The bets are non-transferable, non-refundable, and cannot be transferred for cash. One welcome bonus per customer.
- Refer a Friend for a $100 Complimentary Bet
- Daily Free-to-Play Prize Pools
- Enjoy a Variety of Promotions During Important Sporting Events
$3,000 Risk-Free First Bet
New players only. Place your first wager at the FanDuel Sportsbook for a risk-free first bet worth up to $3,000. Must be over 21 years of age and physically located in AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, and WY. To qualify, you must deposit at least ten dollars on any sporting event at FanDuel. If your wager loses, you can get up to $3,000 in extra bets.
- Place a $20 Four+ Leg Parlay on College Football and get $10 in Complimentary Bets
- Refer a Friend for a Bonus Worth $75
- Place an NFL 4+ Leg Same Game Parlay and a Second Chance if your Wager Loses
$500 Risk-Free for New Players
New members can get their first bet matched up to $500 if the wager loses. Available to any new player 21 years of age or older. Must be in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or West Virginia. When making your first deposit, use code SPORTS to receive your bonus.
- Start With a $500 Risk-Free First Bet
- Place Three NBA Same Game Parlays for a Bonus Bet
- NHL First Goal Insurance
Best Sportsbook for Illinois Players
There are many aspects to consider when joining an Illinois sportsbook. Each sports betting site has a different welcome bonus, an exclusive collection of sports, and some exciting promotions to claim. On top of that, sportsbooks have unique designs, a variety of payment methods, and several tools to help make betting easier. Below, we have an overview of each service, plus we go into greater detail throughout this guide.
|1||DraftKings||AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY||Bet $5 or More for a $200 Bonus|
|2||FanDuel||AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY||$3,000 Risk-Free First Bet|
|3||BetRivers||AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, WV||$500 Risk-Free for New Players|
|4||Caesars||AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY||Get a Second Chance Bet Worth up to $1,250|
|5||BetMGM||AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY||Start With a $1,000 Risk-Free|
|6||Barstool||AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV||$1,000 New Player Bonus|
|7||PointsBet||CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, WV||Get up to $500 in Extra Wagers|
The DraftKings Sportsbook is incredibly popular across America for several reasons. For starters, DraftKings handles one of the best daily fantasy sports services. Plus, it has branched out over the past few years into various other avenues. It operates an exceptional online casino in select states and an NFT Marketplace for sports fans to try out.
Looking at the sportsbook, there are a lot of positives to mention. In Illinois, DraftKings has a fantastic selection of sports for fans to bet on. Plus, the sportsbook has consistent odds across multiple events. The result is bets are often more profitable when placed at DraftKings compared to the competition. Besides the odds, the sports betting site has a great range of wagers for you to consider and they have increased the number of promotions available. If you have sports betting experience, DraftKings is one of the best services in the state.
- Read our full DraftKings review.
Whenever we talk about FanDuel, people want to know how it compares to DraftKings. If you want a more detailed summary, make sure you check out our review. If you don’t fancy additional reading, there is not a lot in it. They both have a great range of sports to bet on, with DraftKings usually offering a better selection. They have very similar odds, with once again, DraftKings narrowly coming out on top. The actual difference is FanDuel is much easier for new players to use.
The way how they organize the lists of wagers is a lot easier for new players at FanDuel, plus the live betting service is significantly better. You can find detailed stats, a useful animated graphic to show each play, and even live streams; something you won’t find at DraftKings. Both sportsbooks are good at offering promotions, although there are better options in Illinois. There is no doubt if you joined either platform, you would have an excellent sports betting experience. However, we recommend new players join FanDuel and confident players should join DraftKings.
- Read our full FanDuel review.
BetRivers is an excellent sportsbook with around 25 sports for players to bet on, the most in IL. This includes popular events, such as NASCAR, baseball, and football, plus obscure sports like bowling, Jai Alai, and surfing. The sportsbook also features boosted bets, where players can find wagers with increased returns for specific markets.
One of the most impressive parts of the sportsbook is the stats they provide to players. This is where you can check important information about each team, helping you make a winning wager. You can access this info before and during a live event to guide you through the hundreds of different bets you can place. The live betting at BetRivers is also excellent, as you can watch games using a live stream or 3D visuals. BetRivers was also the first service in the state, making it a trusted favorite in Illinois.
- Read our full BetRivers review.
Another popular service in Illinois is Caesars Sportsbook. The sports betting site has 21 events for fans to bet on, including a good mix of different motorsports. Caesars has an exciting reward system where players can earn points by making sports bets or playing casino games. You can then exchange these points for a variety of prizes, such as free accommodation or cheap airfare.
The sportsbook is another with a fantastic section for live betting, but it does not offer live streams. Instead, it has a vast selection of stats on the current game plus data on each team’s performance. You can also find an enormous collection of boosted bets for multiple sports. This includes same game parlays on the NBA, proposition bets on the NHL, and moneyline boosts for soccer games. If you are looking to join one sports betting site for all your gambling needs, Caesars is the way to go.
- Read our full Caesars review.
The BetMGM Sportsbook is another with around 23 events for bettors to choose from. It is an active sports betting site for promotions, as players will often find boosted bets or a range of exciting bonuses to claim. This can include opportunities to claim free bets and bet insurance for soccer or MLB games.
If you are a fan of live bets, BetMGM is another exceptional option. The sportsbook offers live streams for most sporting events and a similar animated graphic to the ones we have already mentioned. Plus, they offer all players access to a wide range of statistics. This is where you can find details about each player’s form and the performances of a team over the season. If that’s not enough to convince you, BetMGM also operates a reward system like Caesars. This is where loyal players can claim free hotel stays or complementary meals.
- Read our full BetMGM review.
The Barstool Sportsbook is widely available across the United States. It is another service that has stepped up with the number of promotions available to all players. Previously, the best promotions only applied to the casino, leaving sportsbook players with nothing to enjoy. But over the past few months, there have been several opportunities to claim free bets across a multitude of exciting sporting events.
The sportsbook does not have the widest collection of events to bet on, but it is one of the best on mobile devices. There are several tools and features to help make your betting experience as smooth as possible. This includes a slider to adjust the spread bet without having to scroll through dozens of options. Plus, you can easily find the sports or events you want to bet on without having to browse through clutter. If you are looking for your first sports betting experience, Barstool is another excellent place to start.
- Read our full Barstool review.
If you are looking for a sportsbook that offers something a little different, PointsBet could be the way to go. The sports betting platform has a reward system, something you will find at most sportsbooks in Illinois. However, this reward system ties in more directly with sports betting. Once you have collected enough points, you can exchange them for a free bet to use on any event at PointsBet.
Besides a regular way for loyal players to claim free bets, there are other features that make PointsBet special. For example, PointsBetting is when bettors can win more depending on how correct their prediction is. If you bet on 224 points scored in the NBA, for every point scored above your prediction, you win more money. However, if your prediction is wrong, you will pay more than the stake.
- Read our full PointsBet review.
8. Hard Rock (Applied for License)
The next sportsbooks on our list are in the process or have currently applied for a sports betting license. That means they, at one point or another, intended to launch online or retail sports betting in Illinois. According to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), Hard Rock applied for a sports wagering license on August 16, 2022. Although they applied over nine months ago, getting approved and launching an online sportsbook takes time in Illinois. If Hard Rock launches in the state, we will update our guide.
9. Circa Sports (Applied for License)
Just like Hard Rock, Circa Sports applied for a license to operate in Illinois back in August 2022. We still have no word about how far along the application process Circa Sports is, so we do not know when the platform will officially launch. If we were guessing, residents of Illinois should see the sportsbook take bets in 2023. However, the period between applying and a service taking sports bets takes time. It might be some time before this sports betting platform is available in the state.
10. Bally Bet (Applied for License)
According to the IGB, Bally’s applied for a license in September 2022. Just like the other two services we have mentioned, there is no news or confirmation of an official launch. If anything changes over the next few months, you will be the first to know. In case you were wondering, the process in Illinois seems slow, meaning it could be some time before Bally Bet launches.
11. WynnBET (Applied for License)
As we have mentioned, the application process in Illinois is not quick. WynnBET applied for a sports betting license back in November 2021. Since then, there has been no news. We do not know if WynnBET has any intention of operating in IL. This could just illustrate how much time it will take to meet the standards set in the state, or WynnBET might have given up on bringing a sportsbook to Illinois.
12. Unibet (Applied for License)
Unibet is the final sportsbook to mention when talking about sports betting in Illinois. That is because the company applied for a license on November 16, 2020. Now, are not sure if this application is dead in the water as there has been no news or talk about the sportsbook launching. It is safe to assume that if Unibet were going to launch in this state, it would have done so by now.
History of Sports Betting in Illinois
Sports betting was illegal across most of the United States until 2018. This is when the Supreme Court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The Supreme Court ruled that each state may legalize and regulate sports betting if they wish, which has led to a lot of confusion for Americans. Seeing as each state can regulate sports betting, each one has undergone a unique journey to get there. That means some states took several years before residents could make sports bets.
In this section, we have a timeline of important sports betting events just for the state of Illinois. This is where you can find out the launch dates of each sports betting site, plus other historically important moments for legal sports betting in IL.
- Feb 1991: Senator Dennis DeConcini proposes the PASPA to the Senate. They will decide whether sports betting remains legal in the United States.
- Jun 1992: After a lengthy deliberation, the Senate votes overwhelmingly in favor of passing the act.
- Oct 1992: With this much support for the PASPA, it did not take long for the President of the United States to sign the act into law. Sports betting is no longer legal in most of America.
- Jun 2017: Years go by with many failed attempts to legalize sports betting until the Supreme Court entertains oral arguments against the PASPA.
- May 2018: The Supreme Court rules against the PASPA because the act is not constitutional. This allows each state to legalize sportsbooks if they wish.
- Jun 2019: Illinois votes to legalize sports betting with an official launch date set in March 2020. The law will allow retail locations to take sports bets as well as allow residents to place wagers online.
- Mar 9, 2020: Retail sports betting is now legal in the state, with the first bet placed at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.
- May 2020: The requirement for players to register for sports betting in person is removed after the beginning of Covid lockdowns with online sportsbooks set to launch next month.
- Jun 18, 2020: Online sports betting is now legal in Illinois, with BetRivers becoming the first sportsbook in the state.
- Aug 5, 2020: DraftKings secured a deal with Casino Queen to bring online sports betting to Illinois.
- Aug 28, 2020: FanDuel becomes the third online sportsbook in IL.
- Sep 12, 2020: PointsBet is the latest service to take sports bets in Illinois.
- Sep 15, 2020: William Hill launches in Illinois. The service will relaunch in a few years under a new name, Caesars Sportsbook.
- Mar 7, 2022: BetMGM is now available for residents to place online sports bets.
- Mar 9, 2022: Caesars Sportsbook launches in the state, taking over from William Hill.
- Mar 11, 2022: The Barstool Sportsbook is now operational in Illinois.
- May 2023: Five sports betting platforms have license applications in place without fully launching in the state. Only time will tell if they can secure a deal to launch an online sportsbook in IL.
Illinois Sports Betting Apps
If you are looking to make sports bets in 2023, there are several convenient ways for you to do so in Illinois. Perhaps the easiest way is to download a sportsbook on your mobile device. Most sports betting platforms in IL have a dedicated mobile app for you to use anywhere in state lines. Below is a list of all the services you can get on your Android or iOS device.
Android and iOS
Launch Dates of Illinois Gambling Websites
In Illinois, they legalized retail sports betting before players could make sports bets at home. That means there are several retail locations in the state available to bet in person. The advantage of these lounges is that they often accept cash payments, something you can’t easily do with your online account. Plus, you can also watch sports on the big screens available in the sportsbook. Most of these establishments are in a casino, meaning you can try your luck at the slots or various table games.
|Sports Betting Site||Retail Location||Sportsbook Open Date|
|Barstool||Argosy Casino Alton||March 12, 2020|
|Barstool||Hollywood Casino Aurora||August 19, 2020|
|Barstool||Hollywood Casino Joliet||August 19, 2020|
|DraftKings||Casino Queen||March 29, 2022|
|BetRivers||Rivers Casino Des Plaines||March 9, 2020|
|FanDuel||Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino||September 10, 2020|
|FanDuel||FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing||March 15, 2021|
|PointsBet||Hawthorne Race Course||March 16, 2021|
|PointsBet||Club Hawthorne Prospect Heights||March 16, 2021|
|PointsBet||Club Hawthorne Crestwood||January 26, 2021|
|PointsBet||Crazy Pour in Villa Park||January 13, 2023|
|Caesars||Grand Victoria Casino||August 3, 2020 (Relaunched October 2022)|
|Caesars||Harrah's Joliet Casino & Hotel||(Temporarily Unavailable)|
|Caesars||Harrah's Metropolis Casino||(Not Available)|
|Bally Bet||Bally's Quad Cities Casino & Hotel||(Coming Soon)|
Who can Legally bet in Illinois?
Each state in America has different rules for sports betting. However, there are some common rules shared across multiple regions. For example, nobody under the age of 21 can gamble. Others will have their own set for residents to follow. This could include restrictions on where you can place a sports bet in the state. Below is some helpful information if you want to bet in Illinois.
- Legal Age: The legal age to place a sports bet in Illinois is 21 years of age or older. That applies to online sports betting and retail locations. Plus, the age limit is also in effect in casinos across the state.
- Mobile Betting: Originally, Illinois only allowed players to make bets in person. Now, players can use their mobile devices to place sports bets. Seven licensed services are operating in the state, with up to five looking to join the action.
- State Lines: To place a valid bet in Illinois, you must be within state lines. You can access your account out of the state to deposit or withdraw your funds.
- Remote Registration: When sports betting launched in the state, players would have needed to register in person to bet online. However, the Covid pandemic caused lockdowns, which forced the legislation to change for everyone’s safety. Now you can register anywhere in state lines.
- Retail Locations: There are 12 retail locations available right now for players to visit and make sports bets in person. Plus, there are three establishments with applications to open up new sportsbooks pending.
Online Sports Betting Markets IL
There are seven online platforms taking bets in the state of Illinois. However, not every service will have the same range of events to choose from. Some sites will have an immense collection of markets from around the world. This could include baseball games in Japan, soccer games in South Africa, or basketball in South America. To help you find the events you want to bet on, we have created a helpful table.
In the table above, you will see the sports available for players to bet on. This list is subject to change throughout the year, as most sports are seasonal. Meaning they temporarily remove events from the sportsbook when in the offseason. This is common practice and several of the obscure sports may appear or disappear throughout the year. Sportsbooks with the most options usually fluctuate the most throughout a season.
What can’t you bet on in Illinois?
Every state has events that residents can’t bet on. Some states allow college-level betting and wagering on eSports events, whereas others don’t. Below is a list of the various events you cannot wager on in Illinois.
- Online bets on in-state college teams
- Award ceremonies
The restrictions in Illinois are some of the most common you will find across America. Most states don’t allow bets on eSports or award ceremonies like the Oscars. The restrictions around college betting are unique to this state. There are regions where betting on college teams from the same state is not allowed. However, in Illinois, you can place in-state college bets in person. You cannot make these wagers using an online sportsbook.
Types of Bets at Illinois Online Sportsbooks
Instead of focusing on what they do not allow in Illinois, let’s examine the wagers you can place in every sportsbook. Most of the wagers listed below apply to a wide range of sports. However, there are some events where certain wagers won’t appear. Soccer games do not accommodate spread bets and you won’t find a total bet wager for tennis tournaments.
- Proposition Bets
- Spread Bets
- Over Unders (Total Bets)
- Live Bets
- Same Game Parlays
- Round Robins
Sports bets vary in their complexity. Some are straightforward, meaning you are betting on one team to win an overall match. Others can be a little more convoluted. A same game parlay is one of the most complex wagers you can have in sports betting. The wager involves predicting several aspects all to occur in one game. You can pick as many legs to your parlay as you want, but if one fails, you lose the bet.
Tax Rates for Online Gambling Illinois
In case you did not know, gambling winnings are taxable in Illinois. That is because, in the eyes of the law, gambling is a source of income and you must declare it when filing your taxes. The amount you pay varies in every state. Some states have a graduated tax system, where higher earners pay more in state tax. Others opt for a flat band no matter how much you earn annually.
Illinois has a flat tax band for all residents. That means whatever you earn from gambling is taxed at a rate of 4.95 percent. However, that is not the only tax consideration you need to make. As well as state tax, residents of Illinois will also have to pay federal and FICA tax, which scales depending on their income. If you want an accurate estimation of how much tax you will pay, use an Illinois income tax calculator.
Illinois Online Sports Betting Revenue
Illinois legalized sports betting a couple of years ago, meaning there is a plethora of data out there. The amount spent by players and the amount kept by the sportsbook is on the Illinois Gaming Board’s website. To save you the hassle of navigating the government website, we have gathered three recent months of sports betting activity in Illinois.
|December 2022||January 2023||February 2023||Total|
Looking at the table, the people of Illinois spent $87.3 million placing sports bets in the past three months. That includes the total of all retail and mobile bets in the state. Many states spend way more than this total in one month alone, so you can't draw comparisons easily. The values in the table above are what the sportsbooks handled. This is not an indication of the profit made by the platforms.
Payment Methods at IL Sportsbooks
New players might not give much consideration to the payment methods available at a sports betting site. That is because it is easy to assume each service will make it as easy as possible to deposit and withdraw funds. However, depending on your access to debit cards or online banking, making a deposit might not be as straightforward as you think. Some sportsbooks are not as accommodating as others when depositing your cash, and even less so when you want to withdraw your winnings.
We recommend all new players examine the following tables to find the service that is right for you. You do not need to join a sportsbook with the most payment methods, just look for one or two that meet your needs. If no payment method suits you, then you could create a Play+ or PayPal account. Both these methods are widely accepted and proven to be one of the quickest ways to deposit or withdraw funds.
Checking the deposit methods before you sign up is crucial if you want to avoid wasting time. Looking over the table below will help you find the services that accept the deposit options most convenient to you. If you are looking to bet using cash, we recommend visiting a retail location or looking for the PayNearMe service. You will find these machines in convenience stores across the state, allowing you to bet with cash for a small fee.
Sports betting is a straightforward process if you find the sportsbook that is right for you. Some sites will not support your preferred payment method and will make it difficult for you to withdraw. It is worth taking the time now to ensure the service is right for you before you register.
Most payment methods are available in your account instantly, allowing you to place the bets you want without trouble. However, getting your winnings out of a sportsbook can be time-consuming and difficult, depending on where you sign up. Each platform individually approves withdrawal requests. Some of the approved methods take longer than others. In our experience, digital wallets like PayPal are the quickest way for you to withdraw your funds.
Some sportsbooks have security measures in place you should know about. This restricts your withdrawal options even further. Most platforms will not allow you to withdraw via a method until you have made a deposit using that process. Online banking and PayPal accounts are just two examples of withdrawal options that might not appear until you have used them to add funds to your account.
Promotions and Bonuses at Illinois Betting Websites
If you are looking to join a sports betting site for the first time, it’s time to examine the promotions. Each sportsbook will have a different range of promos, some give them out more regularly than others. However, if you are looking at the bonuses for the first time, how will you know what is a good deal? To help you avoid dud promos, we have some useful information below.
Best Sportsbooks for Free Bets
The free bet is an excellent promotion, as it allows you to bet with no risk of losing your cash. Instead, a free bet is like a coupon, allowing you to place any wager you like for free. The only downside is you do not get to keep the value of a free bet as it disappears when you place the wager.
If you had a $25 bet and you placed it on a wager worth +150, you would win $62.50 if the bet came true. Of your winnings, $37.50 is profit, and the rest is the amount you staked. When placing a $25 free bet, you only win $37.50. If you are unsure what the American odds system represents (+150) here is a helpful way to remember. When you see the plus symbol, it means you will win more than what you staked. If it’s +100 exactly, then you will win exactly what you staked as profit. This wager being +150 means you win the value of your stake and then half on top.
- FanDuel: New players who sign up and bet $5 will receive $150 in free bets.
- BetRivers: Place three MLB same game parlays in a week for a $10 free bet. Plus, if you place a live bet during the NBA playoffs, they will match half of your wager with a free bet.
Best Sportsbooks for Odds Boosts
Odds boosts are common across Illinois. Most sportsbooks have dedicated sections to all the boosted bets across multiple sports. This includes popular events like the NBA, NFL, and MLB, as well as other markets from around the world, such as soccer matches. Besides the sportsbook increasing the odds of certain bets, they may also give you the chance to boost your wagers.
Sports betting sites give players profit boosts to use on bespoke wagers. This is where you can create a same game parlay, straight bet, or multi-sport parlay and increase your payout. Profit boosts increase the returns of your wager should it come true, giving you more winnings to enjoy. Some profit boosts only apply to certain parlays, others are free for you to use on any wager you want. Always read the fine print before claiming a profit boost.
- Caesars: Any player can claim three profit boost tokens with 25% to use on any sport and any wager at the sportsbook.
- DraftKings: Get a 100% profit boost to use on an MLB same game parlay plus a 33% NBA profit boost to use on live same game parlays.
Best Sportsbooks for Risk-Free Bets
Risk-free bets are fairly common across Illinois. You will most likely see this promotion used as a welcome bonus to help new players get started. The size of this promo varies drastically depending on where you sign up. Some sportsbooks will offer a welcome bonus worth around $100, while others can stretch over $1,000. Don’t get fooled by the size of the promo. It might cover your losses up to a large amount, but only bet on what you can afford to lose.
The risk-free bet is like a free bet in terms of being able to place wagers freely. However, there is a risk involved as you could lose your actual cash after completing the promotion. Say you bet $500 as your first bet and you lose. You will then have a $500 free bet to use or a series of smaller free bets equaling up to $500. To make your money back, you would either need to win one important bet or win a series of wagers to cover your stake.
- Caesars: New players will get 1,000 reward and tier credits plus a risk-free bet worth up to $1,250.
- BetMGM: Sign up to BetMGM for a $1,000 risk-free bet and you can $25 claim bet insurance for your MLB same game parlay.
- Barstool: Register for Barstool to claim a $1,000 risk-free welcome offer. You can also get any-time goal insurance in the NHL and first-basket insurance in the NBA.
Comparison of Illinois Online Sportsbooks
We have explained various details that comprise a sportsbook. Now it’s time to look overall at each service. For starters, several sports betting sites offer retail locations where anyone can bet in person and watch the game in style. Plus, some sportsbooks have a much larger selection of events than others. Below is a table looking at these features, to see which sites have the most sports you can bet on.
|Sportsbooks||Number of Sports||Retail Location||Fantasy Sports|
If you are contemplating which service suits you the best, you can always join more than one. Most mobile sportsbooks allow players to download the app and look around without creating an account. Even if you decide to register, you can hold off with your deposit to see how easy the service is to use. Then you can delete any that feel confusing and stick with the app that suits you.
Best for Sports
The next few sections are here to help players who are looking for a specific type of service. Say you want to join a sportsbook with the most events available; well, any of the options listed below are the best in Illinois. As we have mentioned, some sports disappear from a sportsbook's roster throughout the year, so bear that in mind. However, the services listed below have the most options all year round.
Best Fantasy Sports
Fantasy sports are legal in Illinois, but it is a bit of a grey area. In 2015, they considered daily fantasy sports as gambling, resulting in a ban on all residents. In 2020, Illinois ruled that some parts of DFS are a game of skill and therefore should be legal in the state. All this confusion means very little nowadays, as anyone in the state can sign up for fantasy sports if they wish.
Two services offer fantasy sports and sports betting in Illinois; FanDuel and DraftKings. Both services have a cult following with over a million loyal players each, but which one is best? If you are just starting, FanDuel is a safer option. That is because there are more levels and features to help you match up against players of a similar skill level. However, DraftKings offers larger prizes and more contests for fans to choose from. Either way, you are joining an excellent DFS provider, no matter which one you register at.
Best Mobile App
Any new player is best off joining a service that is easy to use. Below is a list of sports betting platforms that we have found the most accommodating. That means it would be the easiest service for someone who has never seen an online sportsbook before. Any of the platforms listed have tools to help you find the sports and bets you want to place without having to scroll through hundreds of different options.
How to Get Started at Illinois Sportsbooks
Any new player might not know the process you need to follow if you want to register at an online sportsbook. Some services are straightforward, only requiring a few bits of information before you can place a bet. However, there are several that require you to enter a code to receive your welcome bonus. Often, this code is only available during the registration process, leaving you wondering where your bonus has gone. If you follow the steps below, we guarantee you not to miss out on anything.
- Step 1: The first step before registering is to check out the current welcome offer and the promotions available. This is where you should read the fine print and find out what exactly the promotion entails. The aspects to look out for include the mention of a code to sign up with and what conditions you have to meet to claim the promo. If you forget any of these terms, you can always check them later before you make a deposit.
- Step 2: You can now start registering for the sportsbook. This will include entering an email, choosing a password, and pasting a promo code if your sports betting site requires one. If you have a friend who has already registered, they can give you a referral code to enter this box as well. The referral code will give you and your buddy a bonus to enjoy at the sportsbook.
- Step 3: The next stage of the registration process involves entering your personal information. Your full name, address, and date of birth are just some details you must provide to register for online sports betting. They will also ask you for the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Sportsbooks use the SSN to confirm your identity and eligibility to gamble remotely. Some services may allow you to use other forms of identification at this stage.
- Step 4: Next, you will need to confirm your account via email or enter a code sent to your mobile device. You won’t be able to make a deposit and use the sportsbook until you have verified your account. Once you have completed this step, read the fine print one more time for the welcome offer. That’s because they usually require players to deposit a certain amount or have a first bet with odds greater than a defined number. Failing to meet this rigid criterion will cause you to lose your bonus.
- Step 5: You are ready to make your first bet and enjoy the sportsbook. Remember to check out the responsible gambling tools. These are useful features to help control and monitor how much you are spending and your success rate. You can also limit your activity or restrict the amount you can deposit to the sportsbook.
Responsible Gambling Illinois
Now that you are ready to enjoy online sportsbooks in Illinois, let us give you some parting advice. The first section to check after you have made an account is the responsible gambling tools. Some of these tools can help you set limits for your deposits or screen time. Others will help you keep track while you bet over the next few weeks or months. Whatever tools are available in your sportsbook, check them before you deposit.
If you are looking for some tips before you bet, then you have also come to the right place. We here at Bet Station have placed more wagers than we would like to admit. However, we can use our experience to help you avoid making unnecessary losses. There is no guaranteed way to win wagers, so don’t trust anyone who tells you they know how to beat the bookies.
In our experience, sports betting usually involves loss streaks. Whether you are betting safe or making large multi-sport parlays, there will be times when you can’t seem to win, no matter what you bet on. Some people would say to stick through it, but we have found the best way to deal with the losses is to take a break. The times when we would miss out on a week or even a day of betting would often save us a lot of money. The wagers we were considering all came up false, so it felt like a win. Whether or not you follow our advice, please only gamble what you can afford to lose.
Illinois Frequently Asked Questions
Can you bet on sports in Illinois?
Yes. Sports betting has been legal in Illinois since 2020. For the first month of legal sports betting, only retail locations could take bets. A couple of months later, the first online sportsbook opened in the state. Since then, they have launched seven online platforms for residents of Illinois to use.
Is DraftKings sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes. DraftKings launched an online sportsbook in Illinois on August 5, 2020. As part of the launch, they secured a partnership with Casino Queen. If you visit the casino in East St Louis, you can place sports bets at the DraftKings retail location.
Is Bet365 legal in IL?
No. Bet365 does not have a license to operate in Illinois and the sportsbook is yet to apply for a license. It is unlikely that we will see Bet365 taking sports bets in the state anytime soon.
Does Illinois allow online gambling?
Yes. Residents of Illinois can make sports bets online using a smartphone or PC. You do not need to visit a retail location to place a sports bet. You can download an application to your cell phone and place wagers anywhere in the state.
Is Unibet in Illinois?
No. Unibet applied for a license to bring sports betting to Illinois back in November 2020. However, seeing as the service has not launched in the state, it is safe to assume it won't be coming to IL anytime soon.
Who can gamble in Illinois?
Anyone 21 years of age or older can gamble in Illinois. You can register for online sports betting by downloading a mobile application to your cell phone. Or you can visit one of the 12 casinos with a retail sportsbook in the state and gamble in person.
Do you have to pay taxes on sports betting in Illinois?
Yes. Your gambling winnings are taxable in the state of Illinois. They classify winnings as a source of income and you must declare it when filing your taxes. The income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95% and that applies to all residents no matter how much they earn annually.
Do you have to register in person to bet in Illinois?
No. When sports betting first launched, the original requirement was for players to register in person for online sports betting. However, the lockdowns caused by Covid forced the authorities to rethink the law. Now, players can register for online sports betting anywhere in the state.
Is William Hill legal in Illinois?
Yes, and no. William Hill originally began taking sports bets in September 2020. However, Caesars acquired the service and relaunched it under a new name, Caesars Sportsbook. So, yes, William Hill is legal in Illinois, but under a new name.