Illinois Sports Betting: How to Bet in IL

The Illinois sports betting market is massive, and it’s one that keeps growing. Find out why Illinois sportsbooks continue to put up great numbers and what the future holds.

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The sports betting industry in the United States continues to experience rapid growth, particularly in the Midwestern region. Among these states, Illinois stands out as one of the top performers, currently holding the second-largest market share nationwide.

Despite launching its market in March 2020, Illinois has already reached an impressive handle total in 2023. However, it still trails behind the leading state of New York by a significant margin.

Fortunately, new laws have been implemented in Illinois which will help drive further growth in the market towards the end of 2023 and beyond. As more states begin to legalize sports betting, they will likely look to Illinois as a model for achieving success in this industry.  So, there is a great potential for Illinois to maintain its position as one of the leading states for sports betting in the Midwest

The Evolution of Sports Betting in Illinois

Illinois has a rich history in gambling, but it wasn’t until recently that the state began to embrace sports betting. Like many other states, gambling was initially restricted to riverboats, but regulations have since been relaxed.

In 2018, after the federal ban on sports betting was lifted, discussions about legalizing the activity began among lawmakers in Illinois. While there was some initial resistance, a bill was eventually passed to legalize sports betting.

In May 2019, sports betting was officially legalized, and later that year, the Illinois Gaming Board was put in charge of regulating the industry. However, it took some time for them to finalize regulations and prepare for launch. This was further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down casinos just days after the launch of retail sports betting in March 2020.

Initially, registration for online sports betting was required to be done in person, but Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an Executive Order to allow for remote registration. Online sportsbooks began launching later that summer, but as of August 2023, there are only seven operating in the state. However, with new laws and potential for further growth, the future of sports betting in Illinois looks bright.

The Legalization of Sports Betting in Illinois

In May 2019, Illinois officially legalized sports betting with the passing of Senate Bill 690. The bill was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, who had expressed his support for sports betting during his campaign.

However, it wasn’t until 2021 that operators were able to apply for online-only licenses. This was due to a two-year ban on these licenses, initially put in place to prevent DraftKings and FanDuel from entering the state’s market.

In March 2022, the in-person registration requirement was finally lifted, leading to the launch of BetMGM Sportsbook. Efforts have also been made to allow for betting on in-state college teams, but no changes to the law have been made at this time. 

Where to Bet in Illinois

The sports betting market in Illinois is continuously growing, with more options becoming available in the coming months. While there are currently seven online sportsbooks operating in the state, this number is expected to increase by the end of 2023.

Despite the limited number of options, Illinois bettors have not been disappointed, as the state offers some of the best sportsbook choices in the industry. Here are the current online sportsbooks available in Illinois:

  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetMGM Sportsbook
  • BetRivers Sportsbook
  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • PointsBet Sportsbook

Note that both Barstool and PointsBet will soon be rebranded, and new operators have recently received their sports betting licenses.

In addition to online sportsbooks, there are also several retail options available in the state. However, these may change as partnerships between casinos and operators evolve. Here are the current retail sportsbooks in Illinois:

  • DraftKings at Casino Queen
  • FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (Fairmount Park)
  • Grand Victoria
  • Hawthorne Race Course
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet
  • Par-A-Dice Casino
  • Rivers Casino Sportsbook (Des Plaines)
  • Sportsbook at Argosy Casino Alton

Key Regulations and Rules in Illinois Sports Betting

The Illinois Gaming Board serves as the regulatory body for sports betting in the state, establishing rules and regulations to govern the industry. While some of these may seem unusual, there are also many similarities to other markets.

To legally participate in sports betting in Illinois, one must be at least 21 years old, whether it is through online or retail sports betting. While there are a variety of betting types and markets available at Illinois sportsbooks, there are also some restrictions in place.

Online sportsbooks are prohibited from accepting wagers on in-state college teams, regardless of where the game is being played. However, retail sportsbooks may offer this type of betting for pre-game standard bets.

Sportsbooks must pay a 15% tax on their gross sports betting revenue, which is relatively low compared to other states. However, obtaining an online-only sports betting license requires a hefty fee of $20 million, making it a high-cost market to enter.

Popular Sports and Events to Bet On in Illinois

Illinois has quickly become a thriving sports betting market, with its major city of Chicago playing a significant role. The city is home to professional teams in all four major sports leagues, including two popular MLB teams.

The most popular team in the state is the Chicago Bears, especially when they are performing well on the field. As the team is projected to continue its success in upcoming seasons, they are sure to attract plenty of betting action.

Following closely behind is the Chicago Bulls, with a packed United Center for every home game. Though not as popular for betting purposes, the Chicago Blackhawks also have a large fan base in Illinois.

In terms of MLB teams, the Chicago Cubs reign supreme in popularity within the Windy City. However, the Chicago White Sox also have a strong following, leading to a heated rivalry between the two teams.

In Southern Illinois, the St. Louis Cardinals also drive sports betting activity, with DraftKings operating a retail sportsbook in East St. Louis. Additionally, Illinois is known for hosting major events such as the Big Ten Tournament for men’s college basketball, which draws in a large audience and betting action.

Tips for First-time Bettors in Illinois

Starting out in the world of sports betting can be intimidating, but there are helpful tips that can turn you into a successful bettor from the get-go. The most crucial step is actually related to managing your funds rather than making bets.

Creating a bankroll management plan is essential in finding success in this industry. This should include  the amount of money you are willing to invest and bet with.

Another helpful tip for beginners is to seek out free betting tips or picks on a daily basis. It is important to ensure that the source providing this information is reliable, and keep track of how accurate their picks have been.

The Future of Sports Betting in Illinois

Illinois has been a powerhouse in the sports betting market and shows no sign of slowing down. While other states may be experiencing a negative trend, Illinois continues to thrive.

In the coming years, there will be even more online sportsbooks available, with some operators rebranding for a better customer experience. One such example is Barstool being replaced by ESPN BET, and other big names like Betway, Circa, Fanatics, and Hard Rock Bet are also expected to enter the market. However, it may take some time for all of these sportsbooks to become fully operational.

With popular professional teams driving the industry’s success in Illinois, there is no doubt that the future of sports betting in this state will continue to be bright and full of exciting options for bettors. 

The expansion and evolution of the sports betting industry in Illinois is a clear indicator that it will remain a major player in the market for years to come. With its popular professional teams, major events, and constantly growing list of sportsbooks, Illinois provides a diverse and thriving environment for bettors. The state has consistently demonstrated its strength in the sports betting industry, with impressive numbers since its launch and continuous growth. With new developments in both online and retail wagering, Illinois is poised to maintain its position as the second-largest market in the country.

Paid in bonus bets if your bet wins.

21+ and present in select states. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as nonwithdrawable bonus bets that expire 7 days after receipt. See terms at sportsbook.fanduel.com. FanDuel is offering online sports wagering in Kansas under an agreement with Kansas Star Casino, LLC. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit FanDuel.com/RG (CO, IA, KY, MI, NJ, OH, PA, IL, TN, VA, VT), 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXTSTEP to 53342 (AZ), 1-888-789-7777 or visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 or visit ksgamblinghelp.com (KS), 1-877-770-STOP (LA), visit www.mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), 1-800-522-4700 (WY), or visit www.1800gambler.net (WV).

Betting Ladies members get a bonus! Available in all states but NY, DC, MS, PR and NV.

Use our code BETLADY when you sign up!

Must be 21+ and present in CO, IA, IL, IN, LA, MI, OH, NJ, NY, or VA. Void where prohibited. T&C Apply. If you or someone you know in CO, IL, LA, OH, or NJ has a gambling problem, Call or TEXT 1-800-GAMBLER. In IA, call 1-800-BETS-OFF. IN call 1-800-9-WITH-IT. In MI, call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Gambling Disorder Help-line at: 800-270-7117. In NY, Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369). In VA, call 1-888-532-3500.

Receive $150 as bonus bets. Deposit required. Paid in bonus bets. New customers only. Other Ts&Cs apply.

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