Online Poker in Illinois & The Best Poker Sites in IL 2020

The state of Illinois has quite the long history with gambling, and this relates to the poker scene as well. In recent times, it has also moved to expand the number of places that gambling is provided at and types of gambling that are legal within. This all came about thanks to the 2019 Illinois Gambling Act, which saw it become one of the locations to legalize sports betting. So, what does this mean for online poker in Illinois?

While live poker may have been made legal within the state’s land-based casinos, what about in an online scenario? Well, we’re going to be taking a look at The Prairie State and its poker laws here. Plus, we’ll give you some information on some of the best and most recommended poker rooms to sign up to from within Illinois.

Top 3 Online Poker Sites For Players From Illinois in 2020

There are various online poker rooms that provide their services to residents of Illinois. This means that you can access online gambling of this variety if you’re based in the state, although the sites themselves are based offshore. This is due to lawmakers not introducing the capability to play poker or casino games in an online situation just yet.

However, these online poker sites don’t only cater to people based in Chicago or indeed within Illinois itself, but to various US states and other locations. Therefore, you’ll find that you can play online poker regardless of your location in most instances. Below, we’ve got a few of the best poker providers servicing Illinois residents for you to check out.

  • Slot Title
  • Pay Back
  • Key Features

  • Anonymous Tables
  • Payout Speed: <24 hours
Poker bonus: 100% first deposit bonus up to $3,000Play NowOur score:
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  • Superb player traffic
  • Payout Speed: Instant
Poker bonus: $2,000 in deposit bonusesPlay NowOur score:
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  • Fast-Fold Zone Poker Options
  • Payout Speed: Instant
Poker bonus: 100% first deposit bonus up to $500Play NowOur score:
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Is Online Poker in Illionis Legal? No!

Illinois hasn’t quite managed to reach the online poker stage just yet, although it has taken many steps over recent years towards bringing in legal forms of other gambling. This means that there is still plenty of potential for it to be one of the first US states to incorporate internet gaming options since the overturning of the PASPA law in 2018. However, for the time being, online poker remains illegal, although you don’t really stand the chance of being persecuted for participating in such activity.

Illinois Online PokerThe state has actually proved to be a popular location for people to travel to for gambling opportunities, with locations like The Windy City of Chicago and Decatur bringing in tourists from many other states and farther afield. This is because Illinois state law simply states that gambling is any activity where a player “knowingly plays games of chance or skill for money or other thing of value”. Violation of that section of the law is considered to be a class A misdemeanor. Games of skill are also listed under the definition of gambling in The Prairie State too, and while this does make it illegal for a company to operate Illinois online gambling sites, Illinois has brought in laws that allow such in land-based establishments.

Let’s take a bit more of a look at what exactly Illinois has legalized in terms of gambling, and what remains inaccessible from within, too.

The new Illinois Gambling Act of 2019 – it’s very own gambling expansion bill – has made it possible for legal sports betting operations to be set up within the state, and these can be operated online as well. That same act does not legalize online casino games or online poker, though. At the same time, the Illinois Lottery, which is basically a state lottery, allows residents and visitors to access games like the Powerball, Mega Millions and various others, which can be accessed in the form of iGaming. It’s also possible to bet on horse racing online, either via one of the state’s three racetracks or at the various off-track betting locations instead.

Further to this, Illinois allows its residents to partake in daily fantasy sports (DFS) as well. Therefore, you can wager on your own created fantasy sports teams easily. Last of all, social casino options can be accessed, which offer free play casino games to you to play online.

The state also allows its citizens to access 10 riverboat casinos, which all come with slot machines, table games and more to enjoy. Those casinos include the following options:

  • Casino Queen, East St. Louis
  • Harrah’s Casino & Hotel, Joliet
  • Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel, Metropolis
  • Hollywood Casino, Aurora
  • Hollywood Casino & Hotel, Joliet
  • Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Rock Island
  • Rivers Casino, Des Plaines

Thanks to the Riverboat Gambling Act, all of these casinos come with intriguing games for visitors to access. Blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, Texas hold’em poker and much more are available within.

Senate President John Cullerton has been responsible for much of the drive towards introducing new forms of gambling to Illinois. Therefore, without him, it’s likely that Illinois players wouldn’t have much to access by now. He opted to move forward with looking at accessing gambling opportunities through the means of the internet. Of course, this is still something that is progressing for various areas.

Some of the riverboats in question feature their own poker rooms for you to access. It’s important to note that Illinois law does not allows casinos to remain open on a 24/7 basis. They instead close their doors for between 2 and 4 hours every day, usually in the early morning hours. At the same time, the 2019 Act afforded six new casinos to be constructed in Chicago, Danville, Waukegan, Rockford, Williamson County and Cook County. The riverboat casinos can also opt to pay a fee and obtain regulators’ approval in order to become land-based establishments, too. A new Chicago mega-casino will be introduced with 4,000 gaming positions incorporated into it as well.

Sports betting in Illinois launched in March 2020, with two of the state’s casinos opening retail sportsbooks in the same month. Since that time, two additional establishments have opened their own sports betting opportunities, and five online sports betting sites exist within, too. The Illinois Gaming Board is responsible for monitoring both land-based and online operations.

Even though online poker is not available from an internet site within Illinois at the moment, players can still access offshore sites with ease. They allow you to get your necessary poker room fix alongside other players.

Our Recommended Online Poker Site in Illinois

Our Rating

  • Large player pool
  • Guaranteed daily tournaments
  • Good reputation
  • Welcome bonuses up to $3,000
ignition poker

The Top 3 Out-Of-State Online Poker Sites Overview

So, when it comes to online poker and the offshore sites that provide it, which ones do we recommend that you join? Well, there are numerous platforms providing such, but we have a team of experts that have sought out the very best for you to experience. Together, they have joined and reviewed all of the online poker gaming opportunities and this list has been created for you to find a site that suits you. So, here are the best online poker sites in Illinois for real money gamers.

1.Ignition Casino - The Best for Its Anonymous Tables and Tournaments (Poker bonus: 100% first deposit bonus up to $3,000)

If you’re looking for an online poker room that provides you with a completely compelling experience, then Ignition has to be the one for you. It features a welcome bonus of 100% up to $1,000 for you to claim, and you can add an extra 25% on top of that if you decide to deposit through Bitcoin, too. Speaking of which, the site outrightly supports cryptocurrency transactions, whilst also providing speedy withdrawals in 1-2 business days. Ignition Poker also provides some of the most appealing tournaments to join, with $10,000,000 on offer per month in GTD Hold’em and Omaha options.

Online Poker in Illionisf Ignition

What we like:

  • Anonymous tables in operation
  • Huge tournaments with millions of GTD rewards
  • Exciting welcome bonus with extra for Bitcoin
  • High-quality mobile poker client

What we don´t like:

  • Few reload bonuses available

2. Intertops Poker – The Best for an Experienced Online Provider (Poker bonus: $2,000 in deposit bonuses)

Signing up for an account at Intertops Poker will allow you to really get to grips with an experienced provider. It’s a part of the Horizon network, and it provides you with a welcome bonus consisting of 200% up to $1,000 to benefit from. Intertops has been operating for over 30 years already, so if you’re a fan of accessing long-running poker rooms, this is one to check out. The site offers 36% rakeback to its players, which is paid out daily, while the attached sportsbook and casino sites make it even more appealing. As well as all of that, Intertops knows how to keep its poker players fixed, with various reload bonuses and promotions being on hand.

Online Poker in Illinois Intertops Poker

What we like:

  • Over 30 years of experience
  • Many reload and promotional bonuses
  • 200% welcome bonus up to $1,000
  • Great daily rakeback of 36%

What we don’t like:

  • Fairly restrictive poker table limits

3. Bovada Poker – The Best for Its Zone Poker and Mobile App (Poker bonus: 100% first deposit bonus up to $500)

Bovada is a name that has become quite synonymous with online gambling in general, so it makes sense that its poker room is provided to players from Illinois, too. While it features a 100% welcome bonus up to $500 for you to benefit from, it also has an exceptionally good pay-out process and a great mobile app for you to utilize. The fast-fold Zone Poker options add to the platform’s appeal, and with its anonymous tables, Bovada is able to present a great welcome to newcomers. You’ve also got the option of joining in on the sportsbook, racebook and casino options at Bovada, too.

Online Poker in Illionis Bovada’s poker room

What we like:

  • Quick and painless withdrawal process
  • Exciting Zone Poker games
  • Anonymous tables in action
  • Jackpot Sit and Go options for alternative play

What we don´t like:

  • Bonus expires after a 30-day period

How We Rate the Best Online Poker Sites in Illinois

It’s one thing to consider is online poker legal in Illinois. But it’s quite another to consider certain things when you’re deciding upon a site to join. We’ve got some guidance for you on this, so that you can choose a regulated and legitimate online gaming site providing poker. So, you should look out for:

  • Exceptional poker games and tournaments
  • A high-quality site design with easily navigable sections
  • Friendly and dedicated customer support team
  • Welcoming and ongoing special offers
  • A VIP scheme and/or loyalty program
  • Seamless mobile compatibility
  • High-quality security measures
  • Support for numerous payment methods
  • Speedy withdrawal process
  • An official gambling license or high level of self-regulating repute

What to consider when choosing a Poker Site

To be sure that we’re providing you with information on the very best platforms for Illinois poker players, we have an expert team that reviews each of the available options. So, what process do they go through in order to ensure that they’re giving relevant information and know that these sites are offering the best? Well, they seek out the following features at the poker rooms:

Licensed and Regulated

It’s integral that a poker room is licensed and regulated by an official jurisdiction. Or if not, then the site should be functioning at a very high level and hold great levels of repute with its players. If this is not the case we would never recommend such a site.

Banking methods

Depositing and withdrawing money to and from your chosen poker room is an integral part of gaming. Therefore, this process should be as easy as possible, and you should be able to select from a variety of supported payment methods. In this day and age, poker rooms should be providing options like card payments, bank transfers, e-wallet transactions, cryptocurrency deposits and more.

Safety and Security

You need to know that the site you’re playing at is safe and secure. This is where some top-quality security measures come into play. Essentially, the poker room must make sure your transactions are sent in encrypted format to keep your details out of third-party hands, whilst also operating a secure server site.

Bonus and rewards

Signing up to an online poker room should also come with exciting and compelling promotions for you to claim. This means that you shouldn’t only receive a welcome offer as a newcomer, but also be able to acquire reload bonuses, cashback, rakeback and so on as you continue playing. Our experts have sought out the best sites for this.

Customer support

If you come to a point of needing some assistance from your chosen site, then there should be a customer support team on hand. They should be reachable through live chat, telephone, email and even social media. Furthermore, it’s even better if they’re accessible on a 24/7 basis.

Diversity of Poker Games

It’s all fine and well to offer an online poker room, but there needs to be a good range of diverse poker games on hand. This means that you should be able to play Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud and many other options. The network that the site utilizes for its poker options should be providing a great selection for you.

The Future of Online Poker in Illinois & Online Gambling

While online gambling is currently restricted to sports betting and lottery games, there remains room for Illinois to continue expanding this. Casino games are supported at the riverboat casinos, which are also able to expand to become known as land-based establishments, too. At the same time, pari-mutuel wagering is accepted, charitable gambling is available and much more. So, it seems like it may only be a matter of time before poker is welcomed into the online world of The Prairie State.

When that may happen is anyone’s guess, although Illinois sits in a much better position for this than many other places in the United States. For the time being, online poker players can access the offshore sites to get their fix of poker and casino gaming, so there’s nothing that restricts such gameplay in huge numbers.

Where Else is Online Gambling Legal in the US?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

Online Poker in Illinois – The Bottom Line

Online poker may be taking its time coming to Illinois through channels of legality, but the bottom line of it all is that it’s not entirely outcast. The offshore platforms remain in operation, providing residents with a great location for their favorite poker gaming. Time will tell if the state decides to pick online poker and casino gaming up completely, although it’s one of the better US states with regard to its stance on gambling in general.

FAQs

Is Online Poker Legal in Illinois?

Online poker is considered illegal gambling at the moment in the state, although offshore platforms exist that provide such opportunities to players.

When Was Gambling First Legalized in Illinois?

The Illinois General Assembly first legalized pari-mutuel gambling on horse racing back in 1927. It was also one of the first states to offer a state lottery, which came into effect in 1974.

Will Legislators Ever Allow Online Poker to Become Legal?

There hasn’t really been any dramatic push for legal online poker in the state. The 2019 bill that was brought into law focused pretty much entirely on sports betting opportunities for residents, so online poker remains on the sidelines for the time being.

Why Can’t I Access PokerStars in Illinois but I Can in New Jersey?

The state of Illinois attempted to regulate online poker in 2013, and at that time, it proposed a ban of 10 years for any company that violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). PokerStars was one of the sites that accepted bets from US players after that bill was passed, putting it in direct violation of the law. The poker room may have settled its indictment with the Department of Justice, but some states have held its past deeds against it, with Illinois potentially being one of them. Nevada, for example, has done exactly that, and some California tribes also don’t wish to work with the site, either.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Gamble in Illinois?

The legal age for gambling on poker in riverboat and land-based casinos is 21. To purchase lottery tickets, you need to be 18.

What Payment Methods Are Usually Supported at Offshore Poker Rooms?

Frequently, you’ll find such sites providing you with the capability of depositing via e-wallets, cards, bank transfers, cryptocurrencies, prepaid cards and more.

Jack Schiffko

About Jack Schiffko

Jack S. is a seasoned gambler and writer with over 10 years experience within the iGaming industry. He has written for several online casinos, bookmakers and iGaming news outlets. His favorite subjects are slots and live casino games. Find out what kind of games he recommends and prefers.