Full Review on Illinois Online Sports Betting Apps And Sites

Following the lawsuit going on the Illinois Supreme Court involving the fantasy NBA League in 2016, the government passed the landmark judgment by legalizing contests involving placing bets on sports in April 2020. Governor JB Pritzker was the driving force behind the passing of this executive order, nullifying the requirement for in-person registration for licenses due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

After negotiating continuously, the Illinois lawmakers had pushed the legal sports betting on the 3rd of June 2019 through the state legislature. SB 690, the bill comprises 900 pages discussing sports betting laws in the state. Nine months later, before the shutdown of professional sports due to the pandemic, the first wager was placed at Rivers Casino on the 9th of March 2020, which showed that sports betting was legalized previously. The law allowed online and retail sports betting at off-track betting parlors, racetracks, casinos, and venues that house professional sports in the state.

In the following review of online sports betting in the state of Illinois, you will discover more about:

  • The legalities involved in the executive order
  • Where and how to bet on sports in Illinois
  • What should you look for in online platforms
  • The future of mobile betting in IL
Table of Content

Best Sports Betting Sites

BetAmerica Online Casino

BetAmerica Online Casino

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Bally’s Online Casino Software Provider

Bally’s Online Casino Software Provider

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Caesars Online Casino

Caesars Online Casino

$300

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Legalities Involved in The Executive Order by Government of Illinois

License For Rhode Island Online Casinos

Before June 4, 2020, only individuals who got themselves registered in-person could gain access to wagering on games. But another executive order was put in place, allowing the eligible state population to register online due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. As for the licensing requirements for the sports betting platform providers, they were granted Master Sports Wagering Licenses. 7 Illinois-based casinos could obtain licenses, one of the qualifications made mandatory by the Gaming Commission of Illinois to operate as Online Sports Betting Providers. Of the seven license holders, BetRivers Casino became the first establishment to bring sports betting online in the form of BetRivers.com, falling within the legal framework of the state. Illinois is not the first American state to legalize online sports betting as 14 other states allow casinos, race tracks, and sports venues that hold over 17,000 people to operate a sportsbook. As per the official state website:

  • Sports wagering has been legalized under Senate Bill 690.
  • Once the Illinois Gaming Board grants the license, the license holders can go online.
  • The Gaming Board will only accept three more applications for the license once the first licensee has been operating for 540 days.
  • The operators can use data from official leagues.
  • The ban on betting on college sports teams will be imposed.
  • A lottery wagering for sports will be created to allow the master license holders to establish 2,500 lottery betting terminals in the first year and another 2,500 in the second.
  • 15% of taxes will be levied upon the wagering receipts with an additional 2% for Cook County. The receipts from wagering taxes will be used for the much-needed infrastructural development in the state.

Online Sports Betting Illinois: Where And How to Gamble

Concerning the legal sports betting in Illinois, if you are located within the state’s geographical boundaries, you can place your bets on professional and international, and college-level sporting events. You may or may not be a permanent resident of the state, you should be over 21 years of age, located within the state borders, and should not be on the self-exclusion list. The restrictions you should know about are:

  • Only bets on sporting events are legal, and one cannot use the liberty to bet on non-sporting events, for instance, the Oscars or elections.
  • The officials, coaches, and players cannot place bets on their own sports.
  • The collegiate teams that play within the state cannot be subjugated to betting.

If you fulfill all the above requirements but have betted on an offshore website that is not licensed by the state of Illinois, the state holds no responsibility for your monetary loss. For legal sportsbooks, you will have to register with the platform and transfer funds into your account.

The funding methods you can use include online banking, Credit and Debit cards, Cash at 7-11, PayPal, Cash at Cage, Wire Transfers, buy Prepaid Cards. The most-trusted methods here can be PayPal and online banking, as they allow you to easily transfer money in and out of your account. The sportsbooks use similar methods for facilitating withdrawals as well. You can potentially place various bets: in-game bets, game props, player props, totals, teasers, futures, money lines, totals, and spreads in Illinois.

Out of the ten licensed riverboat casinos in Illinois, only seven have successfully obtained licenses to carry sports betting online. Amongst them, River Casinos is the first one to go live with BetRivers.com.

Registration For Online Sports Betting in IL

Since SB 690 has legalized online sports betting in IL, all adults (over 21 years of age) in the state boundaries can register for online betting by signing up on the mobile platforms offered by operators. The in-person registration was cancelled with an Executive Order due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. If one decides to get registered in-person, the registration will only hold validation for the specific sportsbook operator. Online registration will ask bettors to fill out a form with their name, address, DOB, and last four digits of Social Security number. This will help the website verify their age.

Aspects to Consider Before Choosing an Online Betting Site in IL

With several online betting sites available on the web, it can become difficult for the bettors to decide which one they should place their wager upon. Hence, here are a few aspects that help determine a trusted site.

  • Safe banking methods
  • Security
  • Promotions and Welcome Bonuses
  • Reputation and Legal Recognition
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Customer Support
  • Choice of sports
  • Availability of mobile apps
  • Software

BetRivers: The First Legal Mobile Sports Betting Platform in Illinois

Flag of IllinoisBetRivers is a popular casino brand operating its online sportsbook in several other states, and now they have launched their mobile betting app in Illinois as well. They have taken the first-mover advantage of the legalization of sports betting in April 2020. Theirs is the only app that went LIVE and is now laden with individuals trying their luck on sports betting.

App

The BetRivers App was launched last month for iOS and Android. The Android users can download the app from the official website directly, whereas the casino app for iOS can only be downloaded after location verification. Since the lockdown, there are not many sports activities to bet on. Then again, the platform has taken the Illinois residents by storm, and many have signed up.

Software

The mobile app is user-friendly, allowing even individuals with no tech history can use the app. Plus, each kind of sport is separated by tabs, so one can click on them to access their favorite sport. The in-built geo-location software and age verification process ensures that only individuals in Illinois can register themselves over 21 years of age.

Promotions and Bonuses

On signing up for the first time, bettors will receive a $250 bonus. Even when the bonus is lesser than that offered by other platforms, one has to only wager $250 on making withdrawals.

Choice of Sports

The sportsbook of BetRivers allows you to bet on various sports, including Hockey, MMA, Football, Baseball, Tennis, Golf, Motorsports, Soccer, Basketball, and Baseball. They can be local, collegiate, and inter-state leagues. In-city collegiate and high-school sports are not a part of it. Apart from a plethora of sports, you can choose from various types of bets as well – Spread, Total, Moneyline, Futures Betting, Live In-Playing Betting, Parlays, Teasers, Round Robins, and many more.

Safe Banking Methods

The deposit and withdrawal methods used by BetRivers include eChecks, Cash at Rivers Casinos, Rivers Prepaid Cards, Visa or Mastercards, Pay NearMe. All of these methods are trusted and safe so that you are aware of where your money is going.

Customer Support

As for the customer support offered by BetRivers, it is at the disposal of the users 24/7. They can be contacted via live chat, chatting on the phone, and email address.

Reputation and Legal Recognition

As discussed earlier, the BetRivers app is operating successfully in various other states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and more. The app was developed by Rush Street Interactive, operating in various states and launched its first platform – SugarHouse Casino4Fun in July 2005. They call it a social gaming site. As for the loyalties programs, BetRiver is still new to the Illinois market and might come up with a loyalties program in the future, but there are none active for now.

Online Gambling Illinois

Sportsbooks Operating In The State

Apart from BetRiver, the other sportsbooks operating in this state are: 

  • PointsBets: It is a leading operator globally, including Illinois, and has partnered with Hawthorne Race Course. On registration, players get two risk-free bets up to $2000. The first one is $1500 on points betting and then up to $500 on the first fixed odds wager. They have odds boosts, local flare, live customer chat support, and parlay boosters.
  • BetRivers: BetRivers came up with their app in June 2020, after which it became the first one to go live. Its owner Rush Street Gaming is located in Chicago, offering retail and online sports operations in many states across the US. The welcome bonus offered by the site is up to $250 on the first deposit, which punters can use to bet on sports in Illinois.
  • William Hill: It is another Illinois online gambling site acquired by Caesars Entertainment in 2021. It is one of the top bookies operating in this state and many other places. The site was first launched in 1934 and expanded to nine states after overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018. It gives a welcome bonus of up to $5000 risk-free bets, and the promo code to use is BDOTCOMRF.
  • DraftKings: The state started its operation in August 2020, and they have signed a partnership with Casino Queen. They are prominently known as DFS providers but offer sports betting as well. The site gives a welcome bonus of a 20% deposit bonus up to $1000. Players get to explore reliable and fast payouts, attractive rewards, and a robust user experience.

 Deposits and Withdrawals Methods For Illinois’ Gamblers

Since most services are going online because of the global lockdown, online payment gateways will be the only way in which deposits and withdrawals will take place. Finally, mobile betting’s success depends upon whether the pandemic will subside enough to let sports league take place in the near future. If not, mobile sports betting platforms might take over a year to establish themselves.

How To Register At Illinois Sportsbooks?

Registration at online sports betting sites in Illinois does not take much time, provided you have all information. Firstly, you have to pick a legal site operating in the state that offers the best welcome bonus. After that, click on the signup button and enter the details as asked. The particulars to provide are name, address, age proof, email ID, phone number, etc. Once it is done, you have to wait till the operators verify your account for further playing.

Land-Based Sportsbooks In Casinos

Gamblers wishing to play at the land-based casinos can do so by visiting the location. They are: 

SportsbookCasinoOpening DateLaunch of Online Sportsbook
DraftKings SportsbookDraftKings at Casino Queen, East St. Louis8/5/20208/5/2020
BetRiversRivers Casino Sportsbook3/9/20206/18/2020
Barstool / Penn NationalHollywood Casino Aurora       8/20/2020TBD
Penn NationalSportsbook at Argosy Casino Alton3/12/2020  TBD
William HillGrand Victoria8/6/20209/15/2020
FanDuel SportsbookPar-A-Dice Casino9/10/2020  8/24/2020
Barstool / Penn NationalHollywood Casino Joliet8/20/2020TBD
Points Bet SportsbookHawthorne Race Course       9/30/2020  9/12/2020

 Partners Of Local Sportsbooks

  •     Rivers Sportsbook – Casino Des Plaines
  •     Caesars Sportsbook (formerly William Hill) – Grand Victoria Casino
  •     FanDuel Sportsbook — Par-a-Dice Casino
  •     PointsBet Sportsbook — Hawthorne Race Course

How to be Careful while Using Online Betting Sites

Sports and betting promote a surge of adrenaline in the human body, and one can only imagine the situation when the two are brought together. However, one should protect themselves from falling prey to fraudulent sports betting portals. Here are some ways one can safely bet on sports online.

  1. One must go through the license of the sportsbook website to check whether they are operating legally or not. It is also important to check if the website has been established over the years and has positive feedback from the consumers. Once the website is found legit, then only bettors should register themselves.
  2. One should make sure that the website uses no other means than international KYC (Know Your Customers) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) to verify its consumers’ identities. This saves the users from falling prey to online frauds, but it also discourages illicit platforms that are not compliant with regulations.
  3. The data between the website and user should also remain private, and for this, one should check if the website is offering SSL protection. If not, we would advise against registering on them.
  4. One must ensure that the platform has a dedicated customer service department that is at their disposal 24/7. This comes in handy when one faces trouble with the transfer of funds or discovers someone using unfair means on the platform.

Apart from the above pointers, one must keep their personal information as confidential as possible on such platforms as some malicious minds are waiting to rip others’ of their money.

Sports That You Can Bet on in Illinois

Thanks to its active population and promotion of sports and physical activity at an early age, Illinois has several successful teams in various major sports in the US. All of them have faithful fan bases that support them even when they lose.

NFL 

Chicago Bears is the National Football League team from the state. But, they have been able to qualify only for the playoffs once in the past decade. This doesn’t get the spirits of fans to die as they worship their beloved Da Bears as much as before.

MLB 

The Chicago Cubs broke the 100-year old curse on the sport in the state by bringing in the winning trophy in the 2016 World Series. This is why Illinois residents can never hate their MBL team. Their unexpected victory prompted over 5 million fans to attend the winners’ parade. Now, watching a baseball match at the Wrigley field has become a dream of every fan. Chicago White Sox follow the Chicago Cubs in popularity as they brought the World Series Title home in 2005, first in 88 years.

NBA

The 6 NBA titles during the 80s and 90s are the only claim to fame for the Chicago Bulls, which were bagged by the team with the superstar player Michael Jordan in their team. After his glorifying 13 years, the team has barely made it to the conference semifinals once.

Types Of Bets Available In IL

  • Parlay: It is a single wager but is linked with more than one game. For players to win the bet, they have to get all wagers correct. The payoffs are higher when they include more teams.
  • Point Spread: A team is always favored by a specific number of goals. Players have to select the underdog or favorite with the respective odds.
  • Under / Over: They are also referred to as total bets instead of over-under. The bet represents the combined score of both teams, and you have to decide whether it will be more or less. If the team scores the predicted number, then it is a tie.
  • Moneyline: Place a bet on the team that you think will win the match. The best sportsbooks specify the Moneyline odds in Illinois.
  • In-Game Betting: These wagers are placed after the event has started. Based on the computer algorithms, the operators set in-game betting odds.

Illinois Teams To Bet On

  • Chicago Bears: They are the former winners of the Super Bowl and have been popular on the field for a long time. They have a largely impressive winning streak and have finished first in the 2018 NFL Season for the NFC Conference North Division.
  • Chicago Bulls: The team is famous with basketball fans worldwide and has been credited for popularizing the National Basketball Association beyond the American borders. In this league, they are one of the most successful teams, with six NBA Championships in a decade. Of late, the Chicago Bulls have not won an NBA Championship.    
  • Wolves: In the AHL, the Chicago Wolves have been the best team and have earned impressive scores. They won the Turner Cup Championship in 2000 and 1998 and four Calder Cups in 11 seasons. They have won more than a thousand regular-season matches.
  • Chicago Cubs: They are one of the two winning baseball teams who represent Illinois in MLB. For a long time, it has been seen that the team is falling on the sidelines. However, in 2016, they made a comeback and won the World Series Championship.

College Sports

Placing wagers on college sports through Illinois betting sites is granted but not on college teams. The lawmakers have compromised on this aspect, but still, they offer “college carve-out” instead of eliminating it. In addition to all these, one more clause was included, and it is to go for in-person registration for a mobile account.

Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports

Even if a bit obscure, the Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois are popular too. DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo!, and Fantasy Draft are platforms that allow registered users to create their teams online and gain from speculation. In April 2020, with the legalization of online sports betting in Illinois, the state validated the DFS websites. The grounds of validation provided by the Illinois Supreme Court were that DFS is more skill-based and cannot be categorized as illegal gaming.

The Legality of Horse Racing in Illinois

horse bettingSince the state has recently legalized online sports betting, it might be a surprise to you that betting on horse races has been legal in Illinois for over a century. Three racetracks in Illinois – Arlington International Racecourse, Fairmount Park, and Hawthorne Race Course hold races every year and invite people to place their bets. Apart from wagering on the tracks, there is provision for off-track betting, allowing individuals to place their bets from far away. Some famous platforms for online horse race betting are TwinSpires, TVG, and BetAmerica.

The Future of Mobile Betting in IL

As discussed earlier, seven casinos have obtained the master licenses for operating sports betting in Illinois. Only Rivers Casino has entered Mobile IL sports betting for now after Governor JB Pritzker’s executive order. Now, the applicants who have already received the license will be vetted by Illinois Gaming Board before they can also benefit from Pritzker’s move. The Board will only give out three licenses for mobile online betting platforms that would be available for a mind-numbing $20 million. IGB has time till Spring 2022 to decide upon the casinos that will receive mobile sports betting licenses apart from BetRivers. Currently, everything is shut because of the pandemic, giving BetRivers the perfect opportunity to expand its customer base even when no major leagues or tournaments are taking place.

The Benefits Of Betting Online In IL

As per stats, around 80% of the bets are placed in the US through smartphones and computers. So, the popularity of the games is quite understandable. On that note, let us talk about some of the benefits of Illinois online sports betting:

  • Convenience And Access: With the legalization of online sports wagering, bettors can wager from anywhere from their smartphone or laptop. They no longer need to visit a land-based casino to place legal sports bets in Illinois.
  • Payment Options: Many banking options are available to make withdrawals and deposits from the account. In addition, the transactions are instant, so no one has to wait for a long time.
  • Value: Having accounts on different Illinois sportsbooks will help punters compare the offers and decide which one gives the maximum benefit. With that, they can grab the promotions and start betting. All these things are never offered at land-based casinos.

Latest Sports Betting News In This State

A few components about the sports betting law are:

  • In-person registration is needed for mobile-only sites that are licensed
  • After 18 months of retail sportsbooks, the mobile sites can go live.
  • Sports betting revenue will help in improving education, road improvements, etc.
  • The number of master licenses allowed is 23.
  • The tax rate is 15%, and the licensing fees range from $3 million to $20million.

State Sports Betting Revenue

The month of June showed progressive growth across Illinois, as the gaming board of the state has reported a revenue of over $47.5 million. The 9.97% on the traditional handle of $476.5 million was the highest in the state since it started accepting wagers in March 2020. The state finished third nationally after NJ and Nevada. In 2021, it became the fourth state crossing $3 billion alone.

What’s Next? Future Development Of Sports Betting In Illinois

It would not be wrong to say that the sports betting industry in Illinois had a turbulent start. After lawmakers approved the law to legalize sports betting, many physical sportsbooks started offering wagers. Initially, the licenses were not given to online sportsbooks and they could not operate. But now, they are functioning legally in the state. After a few months, the mobile apps will also be available for players.

Want to play online casino games and bet on sports with your mobile legally and safely, but not sure if it’s allowed in your state? We got what you need:

FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes, with effect from April 2020, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 690, making sports betting legal.
Do I have to live in Illinois to bet?
Yes, while you do not have to be the resident of Illinois when placing the bet, you have to be within the state's state borders.
Do I have to register in-person to bet online in IL?
Earlier, the regulation was to register oneself for online betting in person. Since the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on daily movements, you can register online by signing up on the online betting app.
Should I be 21 years old to have the right to bet?
Yes, no one below 21 years of age is allowed to bet in the state of Illinois.
What companies will offer mobile sports betting in IL soon?
Out of the ten riverboat casinos in Illinois, seven have obtained the license to offer mobile sports betting in IL, namely: Rivers Casino, Des Plaines, Argosy Casino Alton, Grand Victoria Casino, Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Casino Joliet, Casino Queen, Inc., Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino. Amongst them, only Rivers Casino and Argosy were able to launch their operations relating to sports betting before the pandemic, of which Rivers was able to go online recently with their BetRivers platform.
How can I start placing bets in Illinois?
You can begin placing wagers in sports by signing up on Illinois online sportsbooks.
Who can bet on sports in Illinois?
Punters who have attained the age of 21 years can bet on sports in the state.
Who oversees sports betting in Illinois?
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees sports betting in the state.
Can I bet on sports with my smartphone in Illinois?
Yes, you can wager through Illinois sports betting apps. But for that, you have to complete in-person registration.
Are offshore sportsbooks legal to use in Illinois?
No, offshore sites are not legal.
How do I get started with sports betting in Illinois?
You must complete the signup process on a legalized gambling site to start betting.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports betting allowed in Illinois?
Yes, DFS betting is allowed. DraftKings, Yahoo, and FanDuel are some of the sites where you can play.
Is eSports betting allowed in Illinois?
Yes, eSports betting is permitted in Illinois.
How much revenue does sports betting generate in Illinois?
In June, the gaming board of the state reported revenue of 0over $47.5 million and the number is going to increase over time.
Are FanDuel and DraftKings legal in Illinois?
Yes, they are legal in the state.
How do I download a sportsbook app?
Downloading a mobile app is easy, and to do so, you must proceed to the Google or Apple Play Store.
Can I bet on sports legally in all states?
Yes, you can bet on sports in these states where sports betting is approved.

Written by:

Andy is a skilled recreational gambler for more than 11 years. His primary focus is on the regulated US online casino and poker markets. Editor-In-Chief at Gamblerzz.com.
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