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Best Illinois Sportsbooks: IL Sports Betting Apps (May 2023)

Sports betting is legal in Illinois

Following a number of prospective bills introduced in 2018 to legalize it, sports betting is now legal in Illinois. In June 2019 Gov. Pritzker signed S 690 into law, therefore legalizing sports betting at physical locations across the state. Legal online sports betting followed later in the year and now it is legal to create online sports betting accounts anywhere in the state.  

This page has all the information you need about online sports betting in Illinois. We take a close look at the history of gambling in the state right up to the Supreme Court decision which changed the game in 2018. We also discuss exactly what the current situation is, and what we can expect for the future of sports betting in Illinois. We’ll explore some of the most popular sports that Illinois residents can expect to bet on when sports betting is finally legalized and we’ll also break down the situation when it comes to whether betting on fantasy sports and DFS is legal in Illinois. 

Sports fans in Illinois have a lot to look forward to since the opening of the sports betting market. Chicago is home to some of the sporting world’s biggest and oldest teams including the MLB’s White Sox, the NHL’s Blackhawks, the NFL’s Chicago Bears, and the NBA’s Bulls. Every one of these teams are considered among the best in their respective leagues and they all call Chicago home.  

If it has to do with sports betting, daily fantasy sports, or promo codes in Illinois you can find it on this page. If you’re curious about other parts of the country, check out our state by state guides to legal US sports betting.

Best Online Sportsbooks in Illinois

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Illinois by the numbers 

Quick Facts about Online Sports Betting in IL
Population 12,671,821
Median household income $65,886
Sports betting legal since Spring 2019
Online betting legal since June 18, 2020
Sports betting tax rate 15% (paid by sportsbooks, not bettors)
Common forms of withdrawal eChecks, PayPal, online banking, in-person cash
Common forms of Deposit Online banking, credit/debit card, PayPal, prepaid cards, wire transfer, cash at the cage
Licensed sportsbooks DraftKings Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, PointsBet, Barstool

The History of Online Sports Betting in Illinois

June of 2020 BetRivers Sportsbook became the first online sportsbook to go live in the state meaning that people wanting to bet online or their mobile devices can now do so. But getting to that stage was not an easy thing. Below is a brief history on how sports betting came to the Land of Lincoln.

Sports betting has been illegal in Illinois for a long time. In fact, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), signed into law in 1992, made sports betting illegal in almost every state in America. PASPA, which had effectively banned sports betting in almost every state in the country since it was signed in 1992, was overturned by the Supreme Court in May 2018. What this effectively means is that there is now no federal barrier to legalizing sports betting anywhere in the US. Now the decision rests with each state independently.

Plenty of states have wasted no time getting in on the action. Right across the US sports betting bills are being debated, prepared, passed, or enacted. Since the SCOTUS decision, some states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have already implemented fully legal sports betting. Others are just waiting on the red tape to be completed. Some have stayed away altogether and plenty more are still debating the form sports betting should take before a bill is introduced and voted on.

As it stands now online betting and mobile betting on sports is a legal activity in is legal in the State of Illinois.

Illinois a Historically Friendly Attitude to Betting

Illinois currently has 15 active casinos, offering everything from slots to table games and live poker. The casino tradition began in 1991 when the first riverboat casinos were established. Another important thing to understand about Illinois is that casino revenues are taxed at one of the highest rates in the entire country. This suggests that while not averse to gambling, the Prairie State likes to make sure it generates money for public services. Since Illinois is clearly motivated by tax revenue, sports gambling has to be appealing to the state’s budget makers. It’s also in keeping with the state’s historical attitude towards gambling that the move towards legalized sports betting has been methodical and well thought out. Horse racing has been legal in Illinois since the 1920s and remains a hugely popular form of gambling today. Illinois was also one of the first to introduce a state lottery, which has been in effect since 1974. The lottery even has an online component, a hint that the state was ready to embrace online sports betting from an early point.

Legalization Arrives

After the passage of PASPA there was nothing to stand in the way of legal sports betting in Illinois aside from state politics. In 2019 after much brinksmanship and watching of other states legalizing, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who was key to the passage of the legislation, signed S 690, which legalized sports betting, into state law. The passage of the law saw the Illinois Gaming Board being put at the head of regulation enforcement of sports wagering in the state, including at all the state’s casinos such as Rivers Casino including Des Plaines as well as Casino Queen as well as oversight in relation to sports wagering via betting apps as well.

Having the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) in place ensures that only operators who’re fully licenses can operate legal online sportsbooks in the state.

The Current Online Sports Betting Situation in Illinois

Sandwiched between two sports wagering friendly states, Iowa and Indiana, Illinois was primed to become a master sports betting state. Sports betting was legalized in Illinois in late 2019 and was realistically available for online Illinois bettors in the state by late Summer 2020. With the opening up of sports betting in the state there was a rush on the newly minted Industry on a population of nearly thirteen million residents who for the first time were available to place sports wagers.  Before the coronavirus, there was an in-person registration law in the state that made it so any person wanting to register for online sports betting account had to go in person to the sportsbook’s brick and mortar partner and sign up in person.

Bettors attempting to place wagers during the era of covid-19 found their options limited to betting via online sportsbooks and betting apps as the Illinois Gaming Board ordered the closure of in-person betting as casinos.

Gov.  J.B Pritzker issued an executive order suspending the in person requirement for safety reasons, in the process instantly making Illinois one of the most mobile sports betting friendly states in the US.   With this new executive order in place, anyone in Illinois can now open new accounts for online sportsbooks from anywhere in the state at any time.  Currently, the tax levied on sports betting activities is 15%, a figure that is slightly higher than the national average. This slightly higher tax rate had a lot to do with why sports betting was legalized in Illinois in the first place since allowing taxation for public projects like schools was a large part of the argument to legalize.

IL Sports Betting

Illinois may be new to the sports betting market but that doesn’t mean that the state wasn’t quick to take on a variety of sportsbooks. Among the first to open shop in the state were DraftKings and BetRivers. BetRivers actually took the first legal sports bet by an Illinois bettor in the state.  To find the best sportsbook in Illinois continue reading to find the best sportsbook sign up bonuses and promos to get started.

If you are looking to bet on the move, take a look at our best mobile sports betting apps guide to find the best sportsbook app in Illinois.

Sportsbook apps are now using location authenticators in order to confirm that where you say you are betting from is actually where you are betting from. This has become necessary because many people have been using VPNs in order to spoof their location in order to bet in states with legal betting. Check out our guide on location authenticators if you would like to learn more.

Does Illinois have In Person Registration Requirements?

Illinois residents were compelled to go to retail sportsbooks under a person registration requirement before being allowed to conduct mobile sports betting on their mobile app of choice but that law was worked around by Governor J.B. Pritzker during the coronavirus pandemic as an unnecessarily dangerous hurdle for bettors to jump through in order to sign up to an online sportsbook app

Retail Sportsbooks in the State of Illinois

Sports bettors looking to partake of sports wagering on professional sports at Illinois casinos can check out this list of physical betting options. All of these locations are in the State of Illinois and have been issued sports betting licenses by the Illinois Gaming Board.

  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines
  • Hawthorne Race Course
  • Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin
  • Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet
  • DraftKings at Casino Queen, East St Louis
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Argosy Casino Alton
  • Par-a-Dice Casino, East Peoria
  • PointsBet Sportsbook
  • Harrah’s Casino

Best Illinois Sports Betting Promos

Every sportsbook wants your business and a great way to attract new customers is to offer sign up bonuses and promos. Illinois is new to sports betting but the sportsbooks that have moved into the state are old hands when it comes to promos and offers. Check out the table below to find the best promos.

Take a look at the list we’ve put together with some of the best sports betting bonuses available in Illinois.

What Sports Can You Bet on Online in Illinois?

Illinois has a huge sports culture including pro franchises and popular college teams. Now that sports betting is a reality the wide array of sports teams that call Illinois home have been welcomed with open arms by millions of sports fans eager to place bets on their favorite teams. In this section, we’ll run down the most popular teams and sports in Illinois that we expect to attract the most action.


Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the major sports teams in Illinois are based in Chicago. In the NFL, the Chicago Bears are one of the most storied franchises in the history of the sport. For this reason, we expect a lot of people in Illinois to be interested in legal ways to bet on the NFL and states where betting on college football is legal.

The Bears have nine division titles, and one Super Bowl in 1985. Playing out of Soldier Field, the Bears have the highest number of players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If you’re a Bears fan, check out our guide to the best Chicago Bears sports betting promo codes!

You can expect some bets on them adding to their haul of titles once sports betting comes to Illinois. College Football is popular in Illinois too, with the Illinois Fighting Illini and Northwestern Wildcats programs both competing in the Big Ten Conference.

With major sports having been on hiatus for so long do to the pandemic WSN wanted to do something special for the fans. That’s why we set up the free-to-play NFL Pick’ em Contest where you get a chance to win a $200 Amazon voucher every week no strings attached! After that, if you’re ready to place real bets with sportsbooks then check out our list of the best promo codes and bonuses for NFL sportsbooks where you will find the most accurate bonuses and promo codes for NFL sportsbooks available now!


Thanks in large part to one Michael Jordan, Chicago is home to what might be the most iconic team in NBA History. The 90s belonged to the Chicago Bulls when they picked up an incredible six NBA Championships in eight years. In 1996 the Bulls set win records that would not be broken until the current Golden State Warriors 2016 campaign. Led by Jordan, the Chicago Bulls became one of the most recognizable and marketable teams in all of the sports. The Chicago Sky represents the city in the WNBA.


From that mid-90s Bulls team, we know that Chicago residents are no strangers to amazing sporting stories. The most recent one came in 2017 when the Chicago Cubs ended their record 108-year MLB World Series drought. Millions of people flooded the streets of Chicago, in one of the biggest parties in sporting history. The Cubs home in Wrigley Field is one of the most well-known in Major League Baseball. That victory brought the Cubs World Series total up to 3, tying them with their local rivals the Chicago White Sox. The heated crosstown rivalry between the two teams means that there will be a lot of Chicago residents just waiting to bet against their rivals as soon as legal sports betting is introduced. There are also almost a dozen more minor league teams scattered around the state.


Of course, being so far North means that Illinois’ destiny would be entwined with the NHL. Chicago is home to one of the Original Six NHL teams: the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks have an impressive six Stanley Cups to their name, including three victories since 2010. They currently share their United Center home with the Chicago Bulls. The sheer concentration of some of the biggest names in American sports shows that Chicago is a sports-mad city. The Chicago Wolves and the Rockford IceHogs also represent the state in the AHL.

Other Sports

Soccer is popular in Chicago, with the City playing home to the Chicago Fire. The Fire have won one MLS cup in their time and have attracted some of the biggest names in European soccer to the city towards the end of their careers. College sports are also popular in Illinois, with the state currently home to 13 programs that compete in the NCAA Division 1. There are a number of race tracks in the state which have hosted NASCAR and other motor racing events. Golf is a popular pastime for Illinois residents, and there are several top-level courses to choose from. The state has hosted the US Open 13 times.

Is Betting on Fantasy Sports Legal in Illinois?

All the major DFS sites including FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook currently accept players from Illinois so for now, at least you can bet on fantasy sports. The actual laws around it, however, are something of a grey area. Currently, there are many thousands of fantasy sports players who are currently wagering real money in Illinois with no problems but there is no law that explicitly indicates that fantasy sports are legal to bet on. A couple of bills have been introduced in the last number of years, but none have passed. So even though the current legal situation isn’t 100% clear, any bill to legalize sports betting would likely clear up the issue once and for all.

What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in Illinois?

Now that sports betting is a reality in the Land of Lincoln there is nowhere to go but up. With the tax revenue on sports betting that was once going overseas now going to the state treasury we can expect the industry to become more entrenched in the state.  This could take the form of official partnerships between sporting franchises like the Chicago Bears and a sportsbook, or perhaps an NHL team and a sportsbook. In other states, teams have made partnerships with sportsbooks.

Illinois Sports Betting FAQs

Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes, as of late 2019 sports betting has been a legal activity in IL.

How old do you have to be to open a sportsbook account?

You must be 21 years of age to bet online or in person in Illinois.

Do you have to live in IL to bet online?

Yes and No. You do not have to live in state to place bets in Illinois but you do have to be within state lines when betting.

What sports can you bet on in IL?

Most sports including college sports (excluding home state teams) are available for betting.

Do you pay taxes on sports in IL?

The short answer is no, but someone does. Sportsbooks are responsible for paying a 15% tax on revenue in IL.

Where can you bet on sports in IL?

You may place bets with Illinois sportsbooks anywhere within Illinois.

Do you have to sign up for a sportsbook account in person?

The answer for this is no at the moment. IL is currently under an executive order to waive the law that states that an account must be made in person. It is unclear how long this order will stand.

Is it legal to bet with offshore sportsbooks in Illinois?

Engaging in sports betting with offshore sportsbooks is illegal and dangerous since there is no guarantee of being paid your winnings.

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Richard Janvrin

375 Articles

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.

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