Illinois Sports Betting

Online Illinois sports betting is now available as well as in-person sports betting. On March 9, 2020 saw Rivers Casino Des Plaines take its 1st ever legalized bet in the state of Illinois. In the summer of 2020, online sports-betting in Illinois was finally ready to launch live.

In the spring of 2019, the State’s Law makers passed a bill that allowed for Illinois residents to enjoy sports-betting at horse racetracks, riverboat casinos and other gambling entities. This ‘fight’ was initiated by governor J B Pritzker, and finally, in June 2019, the bill was signed into law.

Illinois Legal Sports Betting Journey

Over the course of years, laws governing sports-betting Illinois have expanded and changed severally. Some of the notable changes are listed as below:

2018: The state legislature started a conversation around legalizing Illinois Sports-Betting. A total of 5 bills, all exploratory in nature, were introduced. Napolean Harris, an NFL linebacker formerly, made the most notable bill. He was the first individual to factor in concessions and integrity fees to pro-sport league lobbyists.

2019: J B Pritzker, the governor then, called for legalization of sports-betting in Illinois, and went ahead to include the revenue that would be generated in that year’s budget proposal. From here, 5 proposed amendments emerged, and by May, they had reduced to 2. Eventually, after a series of changes, the final bill that legalized Illinois sports-betting was passed.

2020: Rivers Casino Des Plaines made history when the 1st lawful sports bet in Illinois was made here. Shortly afterwards, BetRivers launched their first online-app in Illinois.

Online Illinois Sports betting

Bettors in Illinois can attest to the fact that the state’s online betting kick started on an interesting note. BetRivers paved the way, and currently, there are a total of 5 apps in the state. The other four include William Hill, FanDuel, PointsBet and DraftKings. Illinois residents and guests are all welcome to enjoy game play in these sites. The only requirement they need to meet is that they have to first register or sign up for an account at a racetrack or casino associated with the sportsbook app.

Land-based Sportsbooks & casinos- Illinois

The state of Illinois boasts ten riverboat casinos. Seven out of these have legal permits and licenses to run sportsbooks so far. In addition to these riverboats, the state has 3 racetracks. All of them have sent in applications to operate sportsbooks, but they are yet to receive the required approval from the IGB (Illinois Gaming Board). Before the Corona Virus pandemic struck, there were only two sportsbooks that had successfully opened. Other sporting facilities that have the potential to open sportsbooks are Soldier Field and Wrigley Field.

Legal Illinois Sports Betting Options and Restrictions

If you are within Illinois’ boarders, you can enjoy wagering on collegiate, professional as well as international events. The only requirement legally is that you need to be at least twenty one years of age. Additionally, you need to be within the state lines and your name should not appear in any self-inclusion list.

Restrictions to betting:

  • Players can only wager on sporting activities and not on events such as the Oscars or elections as they are non-sporty in nature
  • People that are directly involved in sport leagues such as coaches and team officials cannot place wagers on their individual sports
  • You cannot bet on in-state (Illinois) collegiate teams.
  • Not all off-shore websites can offer sports betting platforms to residents of Illinois. It is safer to play within state regulated sites as they tend to be more reputable and professional in approach
  • Players are required to register physically at their sportsbook’s home casino as per the laws stipulated by the Illinois Sports Wagering Act
  • Mobile betting in Illinois is governed by geo-location software as a user verification measure. As such, you are required to be within the state’s boundaries if you are to place a wager in Illinois
  • There is no wager that is allowed to cross the state’s lines. As such, regulators oversee compliance of each and every single bet by ensuring that they verify the exact location of all bettors.

Popular Wagering Sports in Illinois

Being the 6th most populated state in the US, it is no surprise that Illinois enjoys a beautiful mix of both popular and successful teams in most major sports if not all. Here, the debate on which team is the state’s favorite is insanely intense, as all seem to be on the number one spot. Things further complicated fans, as they remain forever loyal even if their favorite teams end up losing. Illinois is home to America’s 3rd-largest city, Chicago. As such, you can expect to find tons of professional sporting teams and events to bet on.  

Players can enjoy almost all bet types on the teams here, which gives them quite an impressive array of betting activities to indulge in. The only difference that they can experience arises from the nature of certain games such as hockey and baseball, which require some slight adjustments.

NFL betting

In Illinois, NFL means nothing without The Chicago Bears. While the team’s last NFL play-off happened over a decade ago, the Bears remain a favorite team for most. Their last win in a championship was back in 1985, when they won the ‘Super Bowl Championship’ under the leadership of Coach Mika Ditka. Players in Illinois can enjoy placing their wagers on the Bears, just to feel closer to home.

MLB betting

As any Illinois resident, and they will attest to the fact that their relationship with the Chicago Cubs is the perfect epitome of a love-hate situation. They truly love them as they do hate them. After a series of disappointments, the Cubs redeemed themselves by winning in the 2016 World Series, capturing the state’s attention in a way no other team ever has. As you can imagine, betting on any of their events is highly thrilling. The championship parade is usually attended by over five million people, with fans flooding Wrigley Field, every baseball fan’s mecca.

NBA betting

NBA betting is undoubtedly enthralling given the Chicago Bulls fame and reputation. Thanks to notable players such as Michael Jordan, the debate on whether or not the Bulls are the state’s favorite team continues, as heated as ever. You know where to head if you want to experience thrilling wagering.

NHL betting

In Illinois, NHL is almost synonymous to The Chicago Blackhawks! In the recent past, this team has soared taking home 3 Stanley Cups in a span of eleven years.  Despite fading to the pack’s back, they are a wonderful team whose game play bettors enjoy wagering on.

Leading Sports-Betting Apps


If you are in search of an easy-to-use and visually appealing App, then look no further. FanDuel application comes with stunning graphics and a smooth layout free of unnecessary clutter. This way, navigation feels like a walk in the park. Just to keep you motivated, the app features wonderful incentives on your betting options, so be sure to check those out.


BetRivers has a strong foundation in Illinois, seeing as it was the 1st sportsbook to debut in the state. BetRivers brings residents of this Prairie State a brilliant combination of stunning features, graphics, theme and layout. While the App is only available on Android, IOS users can enjoy BetRiver’s game play by downloading Geoguard and playing on their browsers.


DraftKings is a rather sleek app that boasts easy navigation and stunning features. It is available both on IOS and on Android. The display has been curated in such a way that it fits your screen perfectly. With this sportsbook, you will be sure to take your gaming to a whole new level, especially when you are in Illinois.


Australian Sportsbook PointsBet is taking the US by storm. With its neat design and great promotions PointsBet has quickly become the American gamblers new favorite sportsbook.

William Hill

William Hill Sportsbook is live in Illinois. William Hill aka Will Hill is one of the oldest and largest sportsbooks in the world, founded in the UK. They have a strong presence in the US both online and offline through several partnership with large US casino groups.

Pros & Cons of using Sports Betting Apps in Illinois


  • Quick access to betting
  • Easy navigation for enjoyable game play
  • In-Play wagering options which majorly expand betting choices
  • Multiple odds, all which are just a click away
  • A great way to welcome new bettors


  • Could lead to reduced social engagement.
  • App may take up phone space

Sign up process for an Online Sportsbook

With recent legalization of sports betting in the state, it is hard to contain one’s excitement. You might want to sign up for an account, just so you are among the first residents to support the launch, or you might do it for the sake of trying out the entire experience. It does not matter what your reason for signing up is; the process is simple and straightforward.

Estimated time needed to register and fund your account: 3 minutes.

Below are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose your preferred betting sportsbook from our list above.

    Be sure to look out for the site with lucrative incentives as that will not only leave you feeling welcome, but it will also keep you well motivated

  2. Settle for the App format that best suits your device.

    Download the App, Go through App installation as usual

  3. Open the App then proceed to register. Usually, the ‘Register’ / ‘Join Now’/ ‘Sign Up’ button is at your display’s top right corner.

    You are prompted to a page that requires you to provide personal information including name, email, physical address, phone number, social security number and such like information.

    If you have any bonus codes, be sure to provide them on the space labeled ‘Optional’. These could earn you a few extra dollars, so do not disregard them.

  4. Submit your details and verify your account.

    Before you can start to play you need to verify your email address.

  5. Fund your account and start playing!

    The sportsbooks offer a wide range of deposit methods

Acceptable Betting Options in Illinois

Illinois sports wagering law states the following, “Sports wagering includes, but is not limited to, single-game bets, teaser bets, parlays, over-under, money line, pools, exchange wagering, in-game wagering, in-play bets, proposition bets and straight bets.”

As such, below are some of the most popular and legal betting choices in the state

Money lines

This is usually the starting point for most novices in the world of Sports Betting. The betting option here is simple enough; predicting which participating team will win the match.

Totals (over/under) bets 

This is an ideal bet for players who are not familiar with the playing teams’ strengths or weaknesses. It is a bet in which you predict that the total score from both teams will either be over or under the figure set by the bookmaker.


A spread bet requires bettors to wager on whether or not their preferred team will score more or score less than the bookmaker’s set figure. The underdog has certain points below the set line while the favorite has them above the line. If the favorite ends up with points above that line, the player wins as it means that the spread has been covered. The opposite is true with the underdog.


If you are looking for an entertaining and highly thrilling betting choice, be sure to try out parlay betting. This is a bet that strings together multiple other bets. You need to get all the bets right for a win. In the case where this does not happen, you lose it all. Here, you can earn a lot from a small bet; the only catch is in the fact that the odds are not exactly in your favor.


Sometimes referred to as prop bets, propositions are the catchiest of them all. If there is a bet that does not fit in any category, it falls into this class. It can be a combo bet, a weird bet or even a side bet. The only thing here is that the bets are linked to the game’s overall outcome.

Live betting 

In game bets, as they are popularly known, are becoming increasingly popular in the sports-betting scene. These are wagers that you can place at any point in the game, even after the game has started. Today’s new trend is that bets do not necessarily have to close just because the event or game has started.


If you are looking for a wagering option that is good all season long, then be sure to go the futures way. This bet choice rightfully deserves to have its own kind of flair. If you are a loyal fan and you want to bet on your favorite team all the way, then this right here is the answer you seek. Even if they are not playing in a given game, you can wager on them winning in a certain tournament.

A future bet does not end with the team, it can also be a bet on a particular individual, for instance your favorite quarterback. You can bet on them winning a particular award, or on them scoring a given number of points. In Illinois, you can place futures bets on the World Series Championship, The Super Bowl Championship, The Stanley Cup Championship or even the NBA Finals Championship. In addition to this, you can wager on Division or Conference winners, Individual Award Winners, Win Totals from the Season, Player Benchmark Achievements or Statistical Leaders.


Where can I wager on sports in the state Illinois?

Currently, given the COVID-19 pandemic, players can sign up anywhere within the state’s boarders. However, previously they were required to present themselves physically to a land-based casino for registration.

Is sports-betting lawful in Illinois?

Yes. March 2020 saw the first ever legal wager in the country being taken. Ever since, there have been an array of casinos and gambling establishments offering sports-betting.

What is the legal age requirement for betting on sports in Illinois

You need to be at least twenty one years of age before you can wager on sports in this state

Who is in charge of sports betting Illinois regulations?

The body tasked with this responsibility is the IGB (the Illinois Gaming Board)

Are the offshore sportsbooks lawfully acceptable in Illinois?

No. if there are any off shore sportsbooks that are serving residents in Illinois, they are in major violation of the state’s as well as federal laws. While the bettor may not necessarily find themselves in trouble for this, they need to understand that this activity is illegal.

Can I use my phone for sports-betting in Illinois?

Absolutely! The only requirement here is for you to be within the state lines.

What can I not bet on?

The good thing with Illinois Sports-Betting scene is the fact that there are not very many restrictions. The only thing you need to remember is that betting on in-state College sports is not allowed. Residents cannot place bets on North-western or University of Illinois games while within the state lines. Additionally, you can only bet on sporting events and not on competitions such as elections or film awards. If you are a coach, a player, a referee or any other principal in an event, you cannot wager on your own sport given the conflict of interest.