With more and more states getting into the action with sports betting, people in Illinois may be wondering “Where can I get involved with all this sweet Illinois sports betting I’ve heard so much about?” And it’s a good news/bad news situation for IL sports betting and online sports betting. The good news is Illinois is likely to have sports betting available at some point in 2019 or 2020. The bad news is we’re not quite there with the availability of IL sports betting thus far with some legal and procedural hurdles that remain.
Is Illinois sports betting legal?
The Illinois Senate passed legislation supporting sports betting that is, as of publication, on the desk of Governor J.B. Pritzker awaiting his signature. Once Pritzker’s signature is on the dotted line, the preparations to offer IL sports betting to eager bettors can begin. Current reports indicate a hope to allow licensed sports books to take bets by the beginning of NFL season — a big boon to local fans who want to pair their love for Khalil Mack with Illinois sports betting like a fine red wine with a steak — but it remains to be seen if those lofty goals will be met in time for the Packers’ season opening matchup vs the Bears at Soldier Field.
Who will be the first book to offer legal IL sports betting?
The Illinois legislature passed a bill allowing for IL sports betting at riverboat casinos, horse racetracks and sports facilities in 2019. Gov. Pritzker signed S 690 into law in June 2019. Less than a year later, Rivers Casino Des Plaines took the first legal sports bet in the state — March 9, 2020.
The first sportsbook to allow betting in person and via mobile was Bet Rivers. BetRivers owns Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, and as the first sportsbook in Illinois, has had a big head start on the competition.
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DraftKings Sportsbook is partnered with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois and became the second sportsbook to allow mobile registrations in Illinois. This is essential, as the sports betting laws in Illinois prohibit online-only sportsbooks from entering the market in the first 18 months, giving physical locations a head start. Of course, the pandemic has made this a lackluster head start.
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To read our review of the DraftKings Sportsbook, click here.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN). 21+. NJ/PA/WV/IA/IN/CO/IL/TN/MI/VA only. Min. $5 deposit required. Deposit bonus requires 25x play-thru. Deposit bonus issued as site credits. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
FanDuel joined the party in September 2020 becoming the third legalized mobile sportsbook in Illinois. They are currently offering a risk free bet up to $500.
Is IL sports betting also legal online?
Much as it was the first to accept a sports wager in the state, BetRivers was No. 1 again — this time in being the first to launch online sports betting in Illinois on June 18, 2020.
For the time being, Illinoisans can register online, make a deposit and start placing bets at BetRivers.
With the Coronavirus pandemic hitting the United States as it did, Gov. Pritzker responded by issuing an executive order that nixed in-person registration requirement … for now. It will likely come back once the COVID-19 pandemic is more under control. The order supersedes the law that states for the first 18 months, bettors must register for online sports betting in person.
Three online-only sportsbooks licenses will be available in the latter portion of 2021. The brick-and-mortars in Illinois were given an 18-month head start on the market.
As major sports begin to resume play in the US after the pandemic, more and more Illinois sports betting apps are destined to become available online. However, the only option, for now, anyway, is BetRivers.
What are some of the more convenient places expected to have IL sports betting?
Because casinos and racetracks will be available for licenses, there should be a litany of expected spots to offer Illinois sports betting spread across the state. However an interesting wrinkle of proposed legislation is that seven Illinois sports venues that have capacities of 17,000 or more will also be eligible to open a licensed sports book. That means that sports fans may be able to indulge in the finest IL sports betting at popular places like Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, the United Center, the Chicago Fire’s Seatgeek Stadium and Joliet Speedway.
However, college-affiliated fields that pass the “capacity of 17,000 or more” threshold such as Northwestern’s Ryan Field will not be allowed to partake; the legislature prohibits any Illinois licensee to take bets on anything involving Illinois schools.
What are the best options for IL sports betting in person?
The expectation is to have dozens of options to place a bet at a brick-and-mortar location available across the state, so it may be a matter of personal preference for people who favor a convenient location to ones worth more of a drive. Given the quality of Jumer’s Casino Rock Island and its popularity with visitors, one would expect them to bring a comparably luxurious sportsbook experience in line with the best of what other top casinos offer. The familiarity of Harrah’s Joliet should stand to bring in a good amount of regulars looking to try out the new Illinois sports betting offers with both their Joliet and Metropolis locations likely to get in on the fun early.
On the race track side, perennial favorite, Arlington Park, will likely bring the best mix of a beloved horse racing venue with some of the automated wagering that people have grown to expect. Arlington Park has been called one of the most beautiful tracks in America and with a ton of dining options, they may find themselves as one of the premier sports book options out of the state’s dozens of race tracks (with neighbor Arlington International Racecourse and its vaunted Million Dollar Room likely to not be too far behind).
Is there anything else to know about IL sports betting?
Now that you know that Illinois sports betting is on the pathway to becoming legal and readily available, what to look out for in the future with online IL sports betting sportsbooks, and where you’ll be able to find some of the best IL sports betting promo codes, you should know everything you need to get ready for what’s to come. Use the sports betting resources we provide here at Awesemo to help guide your bets and bet responsibly!
If you have an issue with betting or a gambling problem, please contact 1-800-GAMBLER to speak with someone right now and get help.