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The Essentials About Illinois Sports Betting

Information about Illinois sports bettting services, law, and FAQs.

Information about Illinois sports betting services, law, and FAQs.

Illinois bettors can choose from a number of excellent sports betting options. The Prairie State legalized online sports betting in 2019, and the first legal wager was placed on March 9, 2020, at Rivers Casino Des Plaines.

Illinois online sports betting followed in 2020 with the launch of BetRivers’ digital sportsbook. Now, Illinois is home to five online sportsbooks in 2021:

  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • PointsBet
  • William Hill 

More will inevitably come to the Land of Lincoln, giving bettors even more sites to bet on. Each Illinois sportsbook has its distinct advantages and perks. Here’s a look at each platform available for Prairie State bettors. 

DraftKings Illinois

DraftKings began as a Daily Fantasy Sports company, but it has since grown to become one of the top sports betting companies in the United States. DraftKings Illinois is renowned for its sleek and streamlined user interface both on desktop and mobile. It also features excellent bonuses, including up to $1000 for new bettors as part of a 20% deposit match promotion. 

DraftKings is partnered with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, but bettors can sign up online without a visit to the property, as Governor Pritzker keeps extending online registration in the state. 

DraftKings has some high profile partnerships in place aimed at winning the favor of Chicago sports fans. The company has teamed up with the Chicago Cubs and NBA-legend Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, to name a few.

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BetRivers Illinois

BetRivers Illinois was the first sportsbook to go live on June 18, 2020. It has continually trounced to competition to become the state’s top-earning sportsbook, but other operators are working on closing that gap. 

BetRivers is well-positioned in Illinois, however. Rush Street Interactive, a Chicago-based organization, operates the sportsbook. In other words, BetRivers has its finger on the pulse of Illinois’ sports betting scene. 

Illinois bettors are treated to a 100% deposit match up to $250 at BetRivers. That bonus comes with only a 1x playthrough requirement, making it one of the easiest sports betting bonuses to claim. 

PointsBet Illinois

PointsBet has risen from relative obscurity to find the spotlight over the past few years. The Australia-based company opened a US headquarters in Denver and has launched in multiple markets over the past few years. Illinois is one such market, and PointsBet has made quite a splash in the state. 

PointsBet Illinois is partnered with the Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney, IL, making its retail sportsbook the closest to Chicago (though Rivers is also an easy drive for Chicagoans). The sportsbook also has some key partnerships in place, including one with Chicago Bears speed-demon extraordinaire Devin Hester. 

Nee bettors can get up to $2000 in risk-free bets at PointsBet’s Illinois sportsbook.

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FanDuel Illinois

FanDuel joined Illinois alongside archrival DraftKings. The sportsbook is partnered with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria Illinois.

FanDuel Illinois is one of the most streamlined and user-friendly sports betting apps. You can find markets in a matter of seconds with only a few taps of the screen or clicks of the mouse. On top of that, FanDuel has an impressive promotional offering, including a risk-free first bet up to $1000 and ongoing bonuses for existing bettors. These include parlay insurance, free bets, odds boosts, and much more. 

William Hill Illinois

William Hill’s Illinois sportsbook launched in partnership with the Grand Victoria Riverboat Casino in Elgin. William Hill brings its industry heritage to the Prairie State with particularly good market depth for international sports. New players can nab a risk-free bet up to $300 in Illinois. 

William Hill doesn’t have the best in-app experience, but if you’re looking for specific markets on globally popular sports, it gets the job done.

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Governor Allows Mobile Registration

Over the course of 2020 and into early 2021, Governor Pritzker renewed Illinois’ “temporary” suspension of in-person sports betting registration a total of seven times. And he’s expected to do so again in February (and March, and April). With the requirement lifted, bettors can sign up online without visiting a casino in person. 

However, there’s an 18-month moratorium on the in-person requirement in Illinois anyway. After 18 months of legal online sports betting, Illinois will allow up to three online-only sportsbooks to launch in the state. At that point, because those sports betting sites won’t be tethered to a land-based property, the state must allow users to register without a trek to a casino. 

Illinois Sports Betting Law

The laws around sports betting in Illinois have changed and expanded several times over the last few years. Some of the essential law changes include:

  • 2018 – Lawmakers started to express interest in calling legal sports betting in Illinois. Five bills were introduced of an exploratory nature. The most notable came from former NFL linebacker Napolean Harris and was the first to include an integrity fee and other concessions for lobbyists of pro sports leagues.
  • 2019 – Governor Pritzker called for legislation to legalize sports betting and included revenue from it in his budget proposal. Five proposed amendments were introduced and taken down to two by May. The final bill was changed numerous times to pass and make sports betting legal in the state.
  • 2020 – The first legal sports wager was made at Rivers Casino Des Plaines on March 9. Later in the year, BetRivers provided the first online app on June 18.
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Illinois Sports Betting FAQ

  1. Where can I bet on sports in Illinois?

Right now, users can sign up for sports betting accounts from anywhere in the state. At this point, it seems unlikely that governor Pritzker will ever reverse this decision. He has continually renewed online registrations in Illinois. 

  1. Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes. The first sports bet taken legally in the state happened in March 2020, and several casinos offer sports betting. Illinois also has five online sportsbooks. 

  1. Is online sports betting available everywhere in Illinois?

Yes. Right now, betting online can be done from anywhere in the state. Your location will be confirmed by a geolocation app or your phone’s GPS whenever you sign in to place a bet. 

  1. Who can bet on sports in Illinois?

Any person who is at least 21 years of age can bet legally on sports in the state of Illinois.

  1. Who regulates Illinois sports betting?

The Illinois Gaming Board makes regulations for sports betting in Illinois.


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