Illinois Sports Betting & The Best Sports Betting Sites in IL 2020

With the introduction of 2019’s Illinois Gambling Act, The Prairie State has been able to provide its residents with legal sports betting opportunities throughout. This move occurred so as to expand the legal gambling options for Illinois bettors. And it didn’t just ensure that land-based sports betting was possible, but online possibilities alongside. Since then, various operations have been set up to cater to the state’s sports betting fans and the Illinois Sports Betting scene, with casinos and racetracks being able to offer their own sportsbooks to the area.

New sports betting kiosks have been set up at licensed locations within Illinois too, with limited forms of sports betting being offered through such.

Let’s take a closer look at The Prairie State and all of its online betting opportunities. We’ll also be informing you on the Illinois state laws regarding sports gambling and other forms of betting, so that you can become familiar with what’s available and what isn’t.

Top 4 Sports Betting Sites For Players From Illinois in 2020

Since the legalization of sports betting throughout the United States and the uptake of such by Illinois, various platforms have become available for players to engage in such activities at. Many of these remain active from within the state, while others remain active in foreign-based locations. The latter of these are also accessible to players based in multiple other states around the USA, and we’ve got a few of them highlighted for you below. This way, you can sign up for an account and enjoy some of the best real money sports betting providers in the state.

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Is Illinois Sports Betting Legal? Yes!

As it happens, online sports betting is now a legal activity in the state of Illinois. The introduction of the Illinois Gambling Act 2019 allows online sports betting to be provided by licensed operators, and this officially launched in March of 2020. Two casinos in the state launched their sportsbooks in that same month – Argosy Casino Alton and Rivers Casino Des Plaines. There were some slight delays with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic being felt throughout the world, but since the March 2020 launch, two more casinos have introduced their own sports betting platforms as well – Grand Victoria Casino Elgin and Casino Queen.

Illinois Sports BettingThese sportsbooks are operated from within the state, being available via land-based establishments. However, there are others that were setup to cater to the online sports betting scene as well, and they join offshore platforms like Bovada and Intertops Sports as options for Illinois residents. At the moment, five online sportsbooks are accessible from within the state too, which include BetRivers, DraftKings and Fan Duel, while William Hill launched via the Grand Victoria Casino in September of 2019. At the same time, the Casino Queen is expected to launch its own online service in the near future, working with the DraftKings sportsbook for this.

Along with the casinos and racetracks in Illinois, certain sports venues also have the option of applying for a gambling license, too. Lottery vendors also have the ability to accept wagers on sports and will proceed with offering a limited range of wagering options for sports bettors. These consist of parlay wagers and fixed-odds parlay wagers only. The introduction of the 2019 law also gives allowance for 2,500 kiosks to be placed in lottery retail locations within its first year, while another 2,500 can be introduced until June 2021.

The first online sportsbook launched in June of 2020, which was the BetRivers sportsbook, and others swiftly joined in on the party soon after. It’s likely that most of the casinos based in Illinois will also have retail sportsbooks available at them before long, potentially in both a land-based and online setup.

Other Gambling Options in Illinois

It’s not only sports wearing that lawmakers have made available in Illinois, though. The state has a rich collection of gambling options for players to access. Coronavirus may have put a stop to some of them for a time period, but they’re thriving even after that, with some of them also being accessible online. Since 2009 for example, video gaming terminals (VGTs) have been available to access throughout licensed retail establishments in Illinois. Meanwhile, daily fantasy sports (DFS) are also offered, due to the fact that The Prairie State hasn’t outrightly brought any prohibitions into place against them. A few attempts have been made to fully legalize DFS options, although the last push came in 2015, and this fell through.

Various forms of charitable gaming can be accessed in the state as well, such as bingo and raffles. Poker games can be played in land-based and riverboat casinos throughout Illinois, although this is not something that has been made legal online. The same goes for casino games as well – these cannot be accessed in an online or mobile situation unless as a social gaming platform. That being said, Harrah’s possesses two casinos in the state, and there are also two Hollywood casinos establishments that provide poker options for residents and visitors. And don’t forget about the Illinois state lottery either, because this has been running since the 1970s.

Our Recommended Illionis Sports Betting Site in 2020

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The Top 4 Out-Of-State Sports Betting Sites Overview

Online sports betting has definitely seen its fair share of interest from residents of Illinois, and that’s great. Of course, there are various offshore sites competing with the online sports betting options from within the state’s borders, too. That’s all good though, as residents have their choice of accessing a variety of legal and regulated options. Keep in mind that the offshore ones are also available to all other US states and multiple worldwide locations, too.

1.Bovada – The Best for Its Speed Pay-Outs and Bitcoin Bonuses (50% first deposit bonus up to $250)

You can’t really go far wrong with the Bovada platform for any of your online gambling needs. Whether you’re a sports betting fan, a casino enthusiast or poker player, you’ll find that Bovada caters to your needs. It features some wonderful bonus offers for newcomers, especially when you utilise Bitcoin as your chosen payment method. Not only that, but it has a good range of sports markets for you to wager on, including options like Politics and Entertainment to bring a bit of uniqueness to its selection. Live sports wagering is also available, ensuring that you can participate in the in-the-moment scenarios, too.

Illinois sports betting at Bovada

What we like:

  • Supports cryptocurrency transactions
  • Provides multiple online gambling options
  • Exciting bonus offers for Bitcoin users
  • Wide range of sports betting markets

What we don´t like:

  • Has a tendency to impose limitations

2. Intertops Sportsbook – The Best for Experience and Longevity ($20 free bet)

The Intertops brand should never be bypassed by avid sports bettors because it is able to provide you with quite the experience. It features a great choice of sports for you to wager on, and its longevity in the gambling field is unmatched by many other brands. It doesn’t have any problems surrounding its withdrawal process, which is rare today, and it ensures players always have something exciting to claim in terms of promotions. With such a good choice of sports, you’ll have no issue with supporting the Chicago White Sox or the Chicago Cubs if you’re looking to back an Illinois side.

Illinois sports betting at Intertops

What we like:

  • Long-running gambling brand
  • Exceptional withdrawal process and speed
  • Consistent and inviting special offers
  • Provides a great customer experience

What we don’t like:

  • Small welcome bonus in comparison to others

3. Sportsbetting.ag – The Best for Swift Payments and Recreational Bettors (Welcome Bonus: 50% Up to $250)

Sportsbetting.ag presents all of its newcomers with a 50% up to $1,000 welcome bonus, allowing you to really get to grips with engaging in sports betting. It’s an excellent site for recreational sports bettors to access, and provides early odds for many events, too. You’re able to place maximum deposits of $25,000 into your account, whilst being able to cash out $10,000 of your money per transaction. Bitcoin and Litecoin are nicely supported at the sportsbook as well, so if you want to utilize a secure payment method, Sportsbetting.ag is the one for you.

Illinois sports betting

What we like:

  • Established in 2001
  • Support for cryptocurrency transactions
  • One of the fastest paying sportsbooks
  • Early odds on hand for most events

What we don´t like:

  • Support team could do with improving
  • Previous issues relating to poker players

4. Grand Victoria Casino/William Hill – The Best for a Novel Sports Betting Experience (Welcome Bonus: Free Bet of Up to $300)

One of the newer online sportsbooks in this list, the Grand Victoria Casino offers sports betting via its land-based site, and also through the downloadable William Hill sports betting app. After signing up for such and making a first deposit, you can look forward to obtaining a free bet worth up to $300 as a welcome after placing your first bet. That’s great to be able to obtain a risk-free bet from the site. You’ll be able to wager on options like basketball, baseball, football, golf, hockey and many more markets. William Hill is a well-known name in the world of sports betting, so it’s unsurprising that it linked up with a US casino like the Grand Victoria for its services. This is one you won’t want to miss out on registering for.

Illinois sports betting

What we like:

  • Well-known sports betting brand in William Hill
  • Downloadable sportsbook apps for Android and iOS
  • Available at land-based Grand Victoria casino
  • Intriguing free bet welcome offer

What we don´t like:

  • Unavailable as an online sportsbook, only mobile
  • Not accessible 24/7

How We Rate the Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites

To be sure that we’re providing you with the very best online sportsbook recommendations, we have a team that has readily reviewed and rated the various platforms available to Illinois residents. This is how we have come up with the aforementioned sportsbooks as the very best available to residents. Our team has therefore gone through various processes in order to check into the features of the sites, and this is what we’ve looked for:

  • Appropriate security measures to keep you safe
  • High level of sports, markets and great odds
  • Mobile compatibility for Android and iOS devices
  • VIP schemes and loyalty rewards to benefit from
  • Great welcome offers and ongoing promotions
  • Well-designed sites and mobile betting apps
  • Various payment methods supported and speedy transactions in operation
  • At least one high-profile gambling license or high level of repute from players
  • Friendly and helpful customer support agents

What to consider when choosing a Sports Betting Sites

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 our mission to seek out the sportsbooks that come with at least one official license to regulate them. Those based within Illinois, such as the Grand Victoria Casino in connection with William Hill, will be licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board. If a site does not possess an official certificate from a jurisdiction, then it needs to have high levels of repute from its players with regard to its self-regulating procedures.

Banking methods

Adding funds to your account and withdrawing them from an online sportsbook are two processes that will take up some of your sports betting time. These processes should be swift and easy, and this means that an online site should include a variety of payment methods for you to make use of for such. We’ve sought out the platforms with these, ensuring that you can use cards, bank transfers, cryptocurrency transactions and much more.

Safety and Security

Your safety and security should be 100% paramount to an online sports betting operator. Therefore, it should have incorporated various security measures to keep you and your personal details safe. This includes a secure server for you to do all your betting and transactions on, as well as high-quality data encryption technology catering to all of your deposits and withdrawals being done privately.

Bonus and rewards

Whether it’s a deposit match, a free bet, cashback or anything else, promo needs to be available for those bettors who want them. Online operators usually have different options available depending upon the site in question, so you’ve got the possibility of seeking through them to find one that really caters to your needs in this area. From sign up bonus rewards to match bonuses and more, special offers will always be welcomed at online sports betting sites.

Customer support

If you ever need assistance while placing your sports bets, then you can guarantee that you’ll obtain it at the recommended sportsbooks. Illinois bettors need to be sure that they’re receiving the best help as well, so we’ve tested the customer support features ourselves to be certain of this. Regardless of if you’re gambling online or using one of the mobile sports betting apps, support should be readily available.

Range of Betting Markets

There needs to be a plethora of sports and different events associated with such for you to access at an online sportsbook. Otherwise, what’s the point? Fortunately, our team has sought out the platforms with the best selection of these for you within Illinois. The betting sites that we recommend all have large quantities of markets and exceptional odds associated with them.

The Future of Illinois Sports Betting & Online Gambling

Things are fairly topsy-turvy for the gambling world around the globe at the moment, considering that the pandemic is halting things and postponing others. Illinois hasn’t evaded such either, especially with regard to the fact that the sportsbooks within the state have an in-person registration requirement in effect at the moment. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been criticized for placing the health of Illinois residents at risk, as they must visit establishments to register their details for accessing online sports betting opportunities via their respective casino establishments. Remote sign up was allowed foe a brief period of time, but this was stopped in August as coronavirus cases continued rising.

There’s a hope that this remote sign-up will return to operation in the very near future, as it’s better for people to be able to register from home than have to go out unnecessarily.

It’s also hoped that there will be some moves towards the legalization of online casinos and online poker rooms within Illinois, too. For the moment, casino games and poker games can only be conducted from riverboat casinos or other land-based establishments. So, for the moment, online casino and poker games can only be accessed from offshore sites instead. Illinois is in a good position where gambling is concerned though, as it’s one of the more liberal states for this.

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

The Bottom Line

Illinois has a great selection of land-based and online sportsbooks that players can choose from for sports betting options. It’s also in a great position to expand even further with its gambling opportunities, and there’s definitely a hope that online casino and poker gaming will be brought into effect throughout. The bottom line is that it could be a lot worse. It’s not in the same situation as Hawaii or Utah, for example.

Illinois Sports Betting FAQs

What US Sports Are Available to Wager on at Illinois Sportsbooks?

As a bettor in the US, you can bet on sports leagues like the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB and various others alongside international sports.

Which Casinos Provide Sports Betting from within Illinois?

There are a few land-based casinos that have also opted to incorporate sports betting opportunities into their options for bettors. They are Casino Queen located in East St. Louis, Argosy Casino in Alton, River Casino in Des Plaines and Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Other online sportsbooks like BetRivers casino, DraftKings, Pointsbet and FanDuel Sportsbook have partnered up with casinos to provide their sports betting services, too. Other casinos, such as Par-a-Dice in East Peoria only provide casino gaming for the time being.

When Did Sports Betting Go Live in the State?

Sports betting first started operating in Illinois in June 2020. Since that time, five online sportsbooks have started providing their services to the state’s residents.

What Racetracks Exist in Illinois?

Illinois currently has three horse racetracks, which are Arlington International Race Course in Arlington Heights, Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville and Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero. You’ll also find that there are 24 off-track betting (OTB) locations in the state, including The Piazza in Aurora, Club Corliss in Chicago, Mac’s Time-Out Lounge in Alton, The Turf Room in North Aurora and Bookie Magee’s OTB Parlor in Joliet.

Which Illinois Sports Teams Can I Bet on at Online Sportsbooks?

Generally speaking, all of them can be wagered on online, providing that the platform you’re registered at hosts betting on their respective sports. This means that you can bet on the Chicago Bears NFL team, Chicago White Sox and Cubs baseball teams, the Blackhawks hockey team, Bulls basketball side and many others.

Can I Access Illinois Sportsbooks from Other States?

The offshore sportsbooks can be accessed from most US states, although the ones operating from within won’t be accessible if you cross state lines. Therefore, if you reside in nearby Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin or so on, you’ll need to cross the state lines into Illinois to utilize the sports betting options there. The other nearby states with legal gambling options are New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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.