Illinois online sports betting laws
Chicago is “my kind of town” and Illinois is our kind of state. Sports betting went live in March 2020, with online sports betting following three months later. Which is great news for the many sports fans in the sixth biggest state in the US.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois sports betting was legalized in March 2020.
Is online sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois online sports betting went live in June 2020.
How old do I have to be to place a bet in Illinois?
You have to be aged 21 or over to be able to enjoy Illinois sports betting.
In-person registration is required in Illinois for online sports betting accounts, so start by choosing an Illinois sportsbook you want to use and visiting one of the state’s licensed retail locations.
Register for an account; you will need proof of ID and age.
Put some money in the account and take advantage of any sign-up offers.
Make your first selection and start betting.
Even before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was ruled unconstitutional in 2018, moves had begun towards the legalization of Illinois sports betting. Exploratory bills had been tabled earlier that same year and by the end of 2018 five had been introduced in the state legislature.
Given the immense potential of the Illinois sports betting industry, efforts to legalize it were stepped up in 2019. Progress was stalled because of wrangling over Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites and the legality of their operations in the state up to this point.
One of the consequences was that, when sports betting was legalized in March 2020, you had to register for an account in person at one of the premises licensed to take bets, or do your betting there. This became problematic when the Covid-19 pandemic forced casinos to shut their doors.
State Governor J. B. Pritzker and the Illinois Gaming Board temporarily lifted that restriction, but that ended in April 2021, which means in-person registration is again required for online sports wagering accounts in the state. Despite the shaky start to life as a state that allows sports betting, Illinois is already seeing a monthly handle in excess of $500 million.
Online sports betting was allowed under the Illinois Sports Wagering Act. Initially, however, you had to sign up for Illinois online betting in person at a casino – which became tricky when they were all closed by Covid-19.
That restriction was lifted on a month-by-month emergency basis by the state governor, however the in-person registration requirement was re-instated in April 2021. One element that will stay constant after the pandemic is the requirement to be within state lines when placing a bet with an Illinois sportsbook.
Make sure your geolocation technology is switched on when signing up for an account and when enjoying a sports wager.
Several of the biggest names in sports betting moved swiftly to enter this incredibly promising market. Brands like William Hill, FanDuel and DraftKings quickly signed deals with land-based casinos to allow them to offer the people of Illinois online sports betting opportunities.
Three online-only sportsbooks will be up for grabs in late 2021 under the terms of the Illinois Sports Wagering Act. Competition will be fierce. This is the largest state in terms of population to legalize sports betting, so the Illinois market could be the biggest in the nation within a very short space of time.
Yes, they are. The IRS views any money you make from any form of gambling as taxable income. Make a note of any wins you have from Illinois sports betting. The sportsbook you play with should withhold a percentage of your winnings for tax purposes – but you may still owe additional money when you file your tax return.
Nobody under the age of 21 can place a sports bet in the Prairie State. You will have to prove your age when you sign up with a sportsbook.
Today’s geolocation technology means that sportsbooks should be able to check where you are – even if you are not actually in a casino licensed to make sports bets.
It’s important that you keep this switched on when betting remotely, otherwise you may be unable to place your wager. You don’t have to be a resident of Illinois to bet in the state but if you want to play with an Illinois sportsbook, you have to be within state lines.
Anyone whose job sees them involved in sports is disqualified from wagering on sporting events where they or their team is participating, or they otherwise may have non-public information. That includes players, coaches, and team officials.
You may not bet on sports events involving teams from Illinois colleges. Given the large number of programs that field sides at several levels of the NCAA, this is quite a large restriction. Note that this prohibition does not include wagering on the final outcome of a series or combination of sports events such as a tournament or season outcome that includes both Illinois and non-Illinois collegiate teams or individuals, so long as no wager is accepted on the Illinois participant.
The Sports Wagering Act permits wagering on professional sports or athletic events, collegiate sports or athletic events, motor race events, or any other event or competition of relative skill authorized by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). The IGB may grant requests by sports wagering licensees to offer wagers on non-sporting events or competitions, and once a request is granted, any master sports wagering licensee may offer wagering on the event or competition in question.
Long-running confusion over the legality of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Illinois led to some protracted wrangling around the legalization of sports betting in the state.
Illinois’ attorney general had issued an opinion finding that DFS was illegal gambling in late 2015. This lead to some DFS operators to end or avoid operation in the state, although several continued to offer DFS in Illinois despite the opinion. Five years later, the state’s supreme court ruled that at least one form of DFS was partly skill-based, in a case deciding whether the loser of a $100 head-to-head matchup could recover their losses based on a theory that the matchup was illegal gambling.
Because it only considered one type of DFS matchup, this case does not completely clarify whether DFS is considered illegal gambling in Illinois. However, leading DFS operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel have continued to operate within the state without any legal repercussions, taking advantage of the enormous passion for sport among the people of Illinois.
Games around football, basketball, baseball, and hockey all have healthy followings in the Prairie State.
The Chicago Bears are the state’s NFL team and they enjoy huge support from the people of Illinois. So do the many top-level college teams in the state, including the Northwestern Wildcats and the Fighting Illini from the University of Illinois.
It’s essential that there is a strong focus on responsible gambling in the Windy City and beyond. The Illinois Gaming Board oversees several resources to help anybody who believes they may be developing an unhealthy relationship with sports betting.
The board has a long-standing self-exclusion program. When sports betting was made legal, it was incorporated into this program. There is also a voluntary, confidential problem gambling registry on offer.
The state has also launched a website to focus specifically on issues caused by problem gambling. It offers help, support and advice, as well as a 24/7 helpline and text service. You can also access national and local support through organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous, the National Council on Problem Gambling and Gam-Anon.
Five bills are introduced into the state legislature to test the appetite for legalization.
After much legal wrangling, a bill is passed to legalize sports betting and signed into law on June 28.
2020 - March
Sports betting commences at casinos in the state – which are almost immediately closed down because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
2020 - May
State governor J. B. Pritzker lifts the restriction on in-person registration – only to re-impose it a few weeks later, before lifting it again in time for the NFL season. It was extended on a month-by-month emergency basis but reimposed in June.
There are currently seven locations, plus two racetracks, where you can enjoy Illinois sports betting in person. All have online sportsbooks associated with them.
It is expected that more locations with sportsbooks will become available soon. A full up-to-date list can be found here.
|Casino/Retail Sportsbook||Retail Sportsbook Partner||Address||Online Sportsbook Partner|
|Rivers Casino Des Plaines||BetRivers||3000 S River Road, Des Plaines IL 60018||BetRivers|
|Argosy Casino Alton||Penn National||1 Piasa Street, Alton IL 62002||Barstool|
|Grand Victoria Casino Elgin||William Hill||250 S Grove Avenue, Elgin IL 60120||William Hill|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||Penn National||1 W New York Street, Aurora IL 60506||Barstool|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||Penn National||777 Hollywood Boulevard, Joliet IL 60436||Barstool|
|Casino Queen Inc.||DraftKings||200 S Front Street, East St Louis IL 62201||DraftKings|
|Par-A-Dice Casino||FanDuel||21 Blackjack Boulevard, East Peoria IL 61611||FanDuel|
|Hawthorne Race Course||PointsBet||3501 S Laramie Avenue, Stickney IL 60804||PointsBet|
|Fairmount Park Racetrack||FanDuel||9301 Collinsville Road, Collinsville IL 62234||FanDuel|
There are several Illinois betting sites run by online sportsbooks, such as PointsBet, FanDuel, and Draft Kings, who are licensed partners of casinos and racetracks that are licensed to offer sports betting in the state. For several months during the pandemic, you were able to register for an account online, however that temporary allowance has recently ended, and you are again required to register in person at one of these retail sportsbook locations.
Yes, you can. Illinois online betting was legalized as part of the 2019 legislation that saw bets start to be taken in 2020. Several online sportsbooks have partnerships with land-based casinos and other locations to allow you to enjoy Illinois online sports betting.
The list of Illinois betting sites where you can wager on sports is not a long one – yet. Several online sportsbooks have struck deals with land-based betting locations, allowing them to run online betting operations. The list is likely to become much longer in the near future, given the potential size of the Illinois online betting market.
At the moment, Bet365 is not one of the operators licensed to offer Illinois online betting services. However, three online-only licenses are due to be issued later in 2021 and Bet365 is likely to make a move for an opportunity to access this promising marketplace.