Are Sports Betting Apps Legal In Illinois?
Illinois legalized sports betting in 2019, and sports betting apps launched starting in 2020. Now, Illinois sports bettors have access to six apps, and more are on the way. DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, William Hill, BetRivers, and Barstool Sportsbook are all live and taking bets in the Land of Lincoln.
Unfortunately, in-person registration requirement was reinstated on April 4, 2021. To sign up for a sports betting app, you have to visit the retail sportsbook location located inside an Illinois casino.
Top Online Illinois Sportsbook Apps August 2021
Illinois currently has five online sports betting apps available:
- William Hill
- Barstool Sportsbook
In-Depth Online Illinois Sports Betting Apps & Bonus Offers
The Illinois sports betting market is constantly growing. As of right now, there are six sportsbook apps, each with its own advantages.
- In-Person Registration: Fairmount Park (Collinsville, IL)
- Bonus: Up to $1,000 in risk-free bets
- App: iOS, Android, Desktop
- Launch Date: August 31, 2020
- Why we like FanDuel: FanDuel offers special teaser bets that combine two wagers, plus there’s an eve-rotating list of fantastic promotions
- Visit: FanDuel Sportsbook Illinois
FanDuel is one of Illinois’ best sportsbook apps. It offers wagers on countless sports and leagues, including globally popular match-ups for sports like soccer and cricket. Bet boosts and special promos are commonplace at FanDuel, and the user experience is one of the industry’s best.
- In-Person Registration: Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, IL)
- Bonus: Risk-free bet up to $300
- App: iOS, Android
- Launch Date: September 15, 2020
- Why we like William Hill: William Hill’s app is sleek and streamlined, allowing you to quickly place bets
- Visit: William Hill Illinois
William Hill was the latest sportsbook to join the Illinois market. It partnered with Caesars-owned Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. It doesn’t provide the best app experience overall. However, there are plenty of home team specials, and the $300 risk-free bet welcome bonus is a nice way to kickstart your sports betting.
- In-Person Registration: Casino Queen (East St. Louis, IL)
- Bonus: 20% deposit match up to $1000 + $50 free bet with a $5 deposit
- App: iOS, Android, Desktop
- Launch Date: August 5, 2020
- Why we like DraftKings: DraftKings has a great slate of promotions and a solid welcome bonus. It has bets available for hundreds of games and matches
- Visit: DraftKings Illinois Sportsbook
DraftKings is partnered with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois. It was the second online sportsbook to launch in the state following BetRivers. DraftKings offers an intuitive app interface and a variety of helpful beginner guides for new sports bettors. Seasoned fans will enjoy DraftKings too; its market depth is hard to beat. Overall, DraftKings is a strong sportsbook with features that’ll please all types of bettors.
- In-Person Registration: Rivers Casino (Des Plaines, IL)
- Bonus: 100% deposit match up to $250
- App: iOS, Android, Desktop
- Launch Date: June 18, 2020
- Why we like BetRivers: BetRivers has Illinois’ most accessible welcome bonus. The deposit match of up to $250 only requires 1x playthrough. Plus, BetRivers has great promos for Illinois sports fans
- Visit: BetRivers Illinois
BetRivers was Illinois’ first online sportsbook, and it continues to lead the market in many areas. Its welcome bonus is prime, and members of the iRUSH reward program can connect their accounts to earn points as they bet. BetRivers’ app is functional, though it isn’t quite as streamlined as its competitors’ mobile experiences.
- In-Person Registration: Hawthorne Race Course (Stickney, IL)
- Bonus: Up to $1,000 in risk-free bets
- App: iOS, Android, Desktop
- Launch Date: September 12, 2020
- Why we like PointsBet: PointsBet offers some of the best specials on Illinois teams. During the NFL season, the operator gives great Bears specials, a trend we expect to carry over to other Chicago teams when other seasons kick-off.
- Visit: PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook
PointsBet’s Illinois sportsbook is top-notch. The app is simple and easy to navigate. It’s especially great for Illinois bettors because PointsBet offers special bets on Chicago teams, including no-brainer bets like the Bears +86 point spreads. Like its competition, PointsBet has bets available for nearly every sport imaginable. It’s a fantastic choice for Illinois bettors.
- In-Person Registration: Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Casino Joliet
- Bonus: Risk-free bet up to $1,000
- App: iOS, Android
- Launch Date: March 9, 2021
- Why we like Barstool Sportsbook: Clean design meets fun, eccentric brand personalities alongside competitive odds across a wide range of markets
Barstool Sportsbook became the sixth online sportsbook in Illinois after months of a five-sportsbook landscape. The app is owned by Penn National Gaming, which also owns Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino Aurora, and Hollywood Casino Joliet. Barstool Sportsbook Illinois brings plenty of personality, tons of promos, and impressive odds to the state.
Full List Of Illinois Sportsbook Apps
Although our full list of Illinois sports betting sites looks a lot like our best-of list, this will change as more online sportsbooks launch in the state:
- William Hill
- BetMGM (Pending State Approval)
- Unibet (Pending State Approval)
- Barstool Sportsbook
Everything You Need To Know About Sports Betting In Illinois
Here are some quick facts on Illinois sports betting to help you get familiar with the state’s rules, regulations, and perks. As of April 4, 2021, in-person registration is required for all online sportsbooks in the state.
What Can I Bet On In Illinois?
Illinois allows a whole slew of sports bets. Fans of Illinois pro teams can bet on their favorites with no restrictions. This includes:
You can also bet on international sports, the Olympics, and various other events.
College sports come with an unfortunate catch. You can’t bet on any college match that includes an Illinois school. So fans of Northwestern, U of I, or ISU won’t be able to wager on those teams, even if they’re playing out of state.
However, this may change due to some promising legislative movement. We’ll update this page if the restriction on in-state college betting changes.
Non-sporting events such as political elections or awards shows are off-limits in Illinois.
Illinois Sports Betting Laws
The main laws to be aware of in Illinois are location, age requirement, and the necessity to register in-person:
- You need to be at least 21 years old to place a bet, which is confirmed by proving your SSN.
- You must be physically located within Illinois state lines, which is confirmed by use of geolocation technology.
- You have to visit the brick-and-mortar casino associated with your sports betting app to register.
While Governor J. B. Pritzker suspended the in-person requirement repeatedly throughout the COVID pandemic via executive order, he let the suspension expire in April 2021. Sports bettors again have to register by traveling to a casino and completing registration.
Sports Betting Bonuses In Illinois
Illinois bettors have plenty of excellent bonuses to choose from. Risk-free bets are the most common, and they’re available at DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, William Hill, and Barstool.
Deposit matches are also fairly easy to find. DraftKings and BetRivers each offer one, though they differ greatly. DraftKings’ is a 20% match up to $1000 with a 5x playthrough requirement. BetRivers offers a 100% match up to $250 with a 1x playthrough requirement.
Refer-a-friend bonuses are available at PointsBet, FanDuel, and DraftKings. They usually earn you and the friend you refer a free bet between $50 and $100.
Betting At Retail Sportsbooks In Illinois
Each Illinois sportsbook app is tethered to a land-based casino partner. There are also a few retail sportsbooks that have opened but have yet to launch an online offering.
|Live Sportsbook||Online Partner||Illinois Location|
|Rivers Casino||BetRivers||Des Plaines|
|Grand Victoria||William Hill||Elgin|
|DraftKings at Casino Queen||DraftKings||East St. Louis|
|Hollywood Aurora||Penn National||Aurora|
|Hollywood Joliet||Penn National||Joliet|
|Arlington International Racecourse||Churchill Downs||Arlington Heights|
|Jumer's||Twin River||Rock Island|
|Fairmount Park Racetrack||Unknown||Collinsville|
Illinois Sports Betting History
Illinois’ foray into the sports betting world was relatively recent. Following the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional, it was up to individual states to legalize sports betting.
Illinois did so in June of 2019, when Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 690. The bill authorized sports betting in Illinois and gave the green light to construct six new casinos in the state, pending proper licensing.
In December 2019, Illinois kicked off the licensing process for sportsbooks, then in March of 2020, BetRivers launched the state’s first retail sports betting location.
In June, BetRivers followed with its online sportsbook, Illinois’ first. Now, five online sportsbooks are available to Illinois bettors, and more are on the way.
Are Online Gambling Apps Legal In Illinois?
Online casinos are still prohibited in Illinois, but players can enjoy sweepstakes casinos without issue. There are also online lottery sales and online horse race betting. In short, the Land of Lincoln has a variety of options for online gaming enthusiasts outside of sports betting.
Top Illinois Online Casino Apps
There are no legal online casino sites in Illinois, but sweepstakes-model sites are allowed. The top sites available for Illinois players are:
- Chumba Casino
- LuckyLand Slots
- Global Poker
In-Depth Illinois Online Casino Sites & Bonus Offers
Here’s a rundown of sweepstakes casino sites available to Illinois players.
Status Of Online Gambling In Illinois
Online casinos are prohibited in Illinois, and that doesn’t look like it’ll change any time soon. The state remains focused on ramping up its online sportsbook presence.
However, sweepstakes sites offer a great alternative. They allow you to play online casino games for play money and earn a chance at cash prizes with a currency called sweeps coins.
You earn sweeps coins by purchasing gold coins, the primary in-game currency used to play games on a given casino site. When you play with sweeps coins, you can redeem any winnings for cash prizes. You can also get free sweeps coins via a mail-in offer.
You must be at least 18 years old to play at sweepstake casino sites in Illinois.
Chumba Casino is one of the top sweepstakes casinos available. It has a full library of excellent slot themes and table games, including blackjack and roulette.
When you sign up for Chumba, you’ll receive a welcome bonus in the form of 2,000,000 You’ll also get 2 sweeps coins You can use the gold coins to play games for fun. If you purchase more, you’ll get more sweeps coins, too. Play with those, and you can redeem them for cash prizes.
Of the sweepstakes casinos available for Illinois players, Chumba is one of the best. It has polished and fun games, and the variety ensures every type of player will find something to enjoy.
LuckyLand will start you off with more than 8,000 gold coins plus 10.30 sweeps coins if you connect your phone number to your account and confirm it. As you might have guessed from the site name, LuckyLand focuses heavily on slots, with a few dozen games to choose from.
It also features a handful of scratch tickets and bingo-style games similar to those you’d find from the Illinois lottery. These are a nice break from the more traditional casino style games.
Funzpoints’ in-game currency is called…wait for it…funzpoints. You get 1,000 for signing up, but the site will give you a variety of offers to purchase more and take advantage of special deals. You can also spin a wheel every three hours to get a random prize, which is usually more funzpoints or tickets. Tickets are entries into a jackpot drawing that gives winners cash prizes.
Funzpoints has a premium version, which is its equivalent of playing with sweeps coins. Wins in this mode will allow you to redeem your winnings for cash prizes.
If you ever need help figuring out how Funzpoints works, there’s an FAQ page and a helpful “How It Works” option in the menu.
Online Poker In Illinois
Online casino gaming and online poker usually go hand-in-hand, legislatively speaking. So Illinois currently has no online poker rooms available.
The bright side is that Chumba Casino and LuckyLand owner VGW Malta, Ltd. also has a sweepstakes poker site. Global Poker is a great alternative for Illinois poker players looking to play a few hands online.
It functions much like its sweepstakes casino counterparts. You can play poker with gold coins for fun or play with sweeps coins for a chance at cash prizes.
Though it’s not the same as real money online poker in legal markets like New Jersey or Pennsylvania, Global Poker still offers an excellent way to enjoy a few poker hands for Illinois players.
Other Illinois Legal Online Gambling Options
Illinois’ online gambling portfolio is somewhat of a mixed bag. The state widely supports certain forms of online gaming and staunchly opposes others. However, with the current landscape showcasing the rapid growth of online gaming, Illinois is likely to draft new legislation to take advantage of digital gambling opportunities in the future.
Online Casinos In Illinois
Illinois prohibits online casinos. There are a number of land-based properties that offer slots and table games, but the state has shown no intent to legalize them online. The state has shown a growing interest in gaming as a whole, however. And with the introduction of online sports betting, it’s possible Illinois could loosen its laws to allow for online casinos in the future.
For now, players can find play-for-fun casino apps or the sweepstakes-model casino sites we outline below.
Like online casinos, online poker rooms are prohibited to Illinois players.
Legislation often pairs online poker and online casinos. If Illinois moves to legalize online casino gaming, it’s likely that poker will be included (or follow quickly).
Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports
Illinois’s legislation is murky with regard to Daily Fantasy Sports contests run by the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel. In 2015, the state’s attorney general issued an opinion declaring DFS illegal under Illinois law. Just recently, however, the state Supreme Court partially reversed that decision by stating that some DFS contests require skill and are legal in Illinois.
When the state legalized sports betting, it only made the issue more complex. The law originally suggested an 18-month penalty period for operators who offered illegal DFS sites during the period when the state deemed such sites illegal. Essentially, violators from years past would need to wait a year and a half before launching an online sportsbook in Illinois as a retroactive penalty.
FanDuel and DraftKings, among others, still offer DFS in Illinois. As the state legislature is still working out the legal kinks, Illinois players should use the sites with caution.
Online Horse Racing In Illinois
The Illinois Racing Board governs online horse race betting in the Prairie State. Sites like TVG, NYRA Bets, and TwinSpires Horse Racing offer online horse race betting to Illinois at least 18 years old.
Illinois Online Lottery
Illinois lottery players have the benefit of online play for draw games such as Powerball and Mega Millions. The state lottery also sells instant games online. The digital offering makes Illinois one of only six states where online lottery play is widely available to residents.
Online Sports Betting Bonuses In Illinois
Sportsbook operators are constantly in competition with one another. They compete to draw players to their sports betting sites, which often means lucrative bonuses for new and loyal bettors alike.
Illinois is no different. Once online operators join the state’s betting landscape, they will likely offer similar bonuses and offers.
When you start sports betting, you’ll find a variety of offers and bonuses available to you. Taking advantage of them is a win-win because you receive extra benefits for playing, and the sportsbook gets your business. Playing on multiple sportsbooks can maximize your bonus potential.
Here are some of the most common bonus types you’ll encounter:
First Deposit Match
Many sportsbooks will match a percentage of your first deposit (or two). Once you make your initial deposit, the operator will match the advertised percentage and credit it to your account. DraftKings currently offers a 20% deposit match up to $500 while BetRivers offers a 100% match up to $250.
Always check the terms and conditions surrounding deposit matches. You usually need to wager a certain multiple of your deposit before the bonus will hit your account.
Risk-free bet offers require you to first place a bet with your own money. Operators will usually cap how much you can wager for your risk-free bet, so check the conditions surrounding the offer.
How they work is fairly simple. If your risk-free bet loses, the sportsbook will refund it in the form of another bet. It’s basically a second-chance offer in case your first wager doesn’t win. PointsBet, DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill all offer risk-free first bet bonuses to Illinois players.
Some sportsbooks offer bonuses for every friend you refer to their site. For example, PointsBet will give you and your friend each a $100 free bet if your friend signs up with your link and makes a $50+ deposit. FanDuel offers a $50 referral bonus to you and the referred user once that person makes a $10+ bet.
These bonuses are a great way to add value to your account.
Why Should I Trust Regulated Betting Sites?
Legal, regulated betting sites have distinct advantages over offshore or grey-market providers. There are plenty of reasons to stick with above-board sportsbooks.
Legal sportsbooks offer top-notch customer service, usually 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. This is because customers are important to sportsbooks; bettors drive revenue. If you ever have an issue or dispute, it’s in the sportsbook’s best interest to resolve it quickly so you don’t stop using the platform. Offshore operators offer limited support options while legal sportsbooks have live chat, phone lines, and email systems in place to help you.
Regulated Illinois sports betting sites have access to official sports league data. This means they can offer accurate and up-to-date odds for in-play bets on games that are in progress.
Offshore providers have no access to this data, so their odds on in-play matches, if they have them at all, can rarely be trusted.
Sportsbooks use industry-standard encryption to protect your data and transitions. The encryption tool most use is called SSL. It essentially encrypts all of your data as it travels from your device to the sportsbook so hackers can’t access any of your info while it’s en route to the sports betting site.
It’s near impossible to tell what measures offshore sites take to protect your data, if any at all. Stick to legal sites for a safe and secure experience.
Illinois sportsbooks are licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board. It’s a government organization that puts operators through an arduous review process before allowing them to operate their betting sites.
Grey market providers aren’t subject to licensing fees or processes, so there’s no way of knowing if they’ve been properly vetted.
Illinois Online Gambling FAQ
Sports betting sites are regulated by government agencies. The Illinois Gaming Board is in charge of regulating sportsbooks in the state. They grant licenses only to those operators who adhere to the state’s laws and regulations governing sports betting.
Sports betting sites in legal jurisdictions also use high-level encryption to protect your data and payments. This is a standard that offshore or grey market sportsbooks do not uphold.
Yes. DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, William Hill, and BetRivers all have sports betting apps live in Illinois. They all offer iOS and Android apps.
You must download Android apps directly from provider websites. Google doesn’t allow regulated gambling apps in the Play Store.
Not just yet. Illinois prohibits online casino and poker games.
The sports betting legal landscape is complex in Illinois, so legislators and operators have a lot to work out. Once mobile and retail sports betting are active and in full swing, it’s possible that Illinois could revise its laws to allow online casinos.
For the time being, sweepstakes casino and poker sites remain the only option for players.
Yes, the requirement for in-person registration was reinstated in April 2021. All new members of an online sportsbook must visit the retail sportsbook location located inside an in-state casino before placing a bet.
To play at a casino or participate in sports betting in Illinois, you must be 21 years or older.
Horse racing and Daily Fantasy Sports are notable exceptions. Anyone 18 years or older can participate in those forms of gambling.
For now, this remains uncertain.
Illinois law will place certain restrictions on some operators involved in a Daily Fantasy Sports dispute, but many operators will launch online sportsbooks in the state whenever they can.
It’s reasonable to assume big operators like FOXBet, BetMGM, and many others will join the online sportsbook landscape in Illinois alongside DraftKings, PointsBet, FanDuel, William Hill, and BetRivers as soon as they’re able.