Best Illinois Sportsbooks & Betting Sites


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Illinois Online Sportsbooks & Betting Sites

illinois sports betting guide

The sports betting revolution continues sweep across America and the legalisation of the past time has opened up a myriad of opportunities for sports betting fans.

Illinois are one of the latest states to get on board with the growing trend and the bill passed in 2020 allows sports bettors to gamble both in-person and online within the state.

Whilst Illinois as a state isn’t known for its liberal approach to certain vocations, the multi-cultural epicentre of Chicago has embraced the sports betting revolution wholeheartedly.

More than half of the 7 licensed Illinois sports betting in-store institutions are located in Chicago and its location on the Michigan state border enables punters to move freely between state lines to place bets. The other 3 retail betting operations are dotted around Illinois, with two situated down in Alton and the other one in Peoria.

In-person sportsbook betting has become big business in Illinois and with online betting now part of the sports betting fabric in the state, the industry looks set to go from strength to strength in the Prairie State.

Legality of Sports Betting in Illinois

In comparison to some of the other states in America, Illinois was quite slow to the draw on the sports betting trend and the legality of punting in the state remains of much conjecture.

There are vocal opponents to sports betting in Illinois, from all across the political landscape in the state and enforcing sustained good betting habits is one of the key mantras state governors hold.

Sports betting was made legal in Illinois in the summer of 2020, while America was gripped by the COVID 19 pandemic and initial progress within the industry was slow. By September 2020 however, most of the major sportsbook in America and the wider world had launched their operations in Illinois, which proved to be an inspired move.

Governor J.B Pritzker initially had placed an in-store registration requirement for all punters to prove their identity but his removal of this law at the end of the year saw exponential growth of sports betting in Illinois.

Online registration is now allowed by all punters based within Illinois state lines and provided age and identity verification requirements are met, punters can open an account relatively easily in Illinois.

Illinois Online Sports Betting

Despite being quite restrictive to punters initially when sports betting was first launched in the state, Illinois’s lawmakers have relaxed some of the initial restrictions to seemingly good effect.

Illinois is the 4th highest state when it comes to how much money is being wagered on sports monthly, representative of the appeal of the vocation in one of America’s sporting hotbeds.

There are some restrictions placed on Illinois punters though and they operate under the following rulings:

  • Geolocation Required – Governments are heavily reliant on state lines when it comes to policing their sports betting and the requirement to be physically located within the state of Illinois to place a bet. All online betting companies/casinos will look to track the whereabouts of any given punter before accepting any funds or bets from them. There is no requirement to be an Illinois resident however to place a bet, meaning visitors to the Prairie State can open an account and place a bet.
  • Remote Registration Now Allowed – The initial ruling placed on Illinois punters prevented them from being able to place an online bet if they hadn’t registered/verified their identity with an in-store betting operation. This regulation was outlawed at the back end of 2020, allowing punters to create accounts online, which has transformed the betting landscape in Illinois both in terms of convenience and revenue streams.

Illinois state governors have copied the growing trend of many other states by requiring all online sportsbooks to affiliate with in person casinos in Illinois in order to offer out online betting services. As a result, all major national bookmakers must partner with a local Illinois casino in order to launch branded sportsbooks and online betting apps in the state. This law gives protection to both the local casino operation and the country-wide conglomerates as it allows both parties to have a sense of security and it presents a level playing field under Illinois state law.

Online only operations are in discussions in Illinois, with governors seemingly convinced by the fiscal benefits of online betting, coupled with the security measures all online casinos work hard to put in place and by the end of 2021 online only sportsbooks could well be given the green light in Illinois.

Who can bet on sports in Illinois?

The absence of national betting rulings can make keeping abreast of the sports betting rules within each American state can become tricky for punters to establish who can and can’t bet on sport, in a given state.

Illinois is a state that is emerging within the sports betting industry and their financial returns have been staggering since their online launch in 2020.

Like most states, punters must be at least 21 years of age to legally place a sports bet in Illinois and all of the major in-store and online sports betting companies require verification and identification before a new customer can start betting with their company.

The geolocation technology used by betting companies in Illinois makes it very easy to enforce the state boundary betting rules, with punters having to be situated in the Prairie State to be able to access the betting markets. Michigan borders Illinois and with similar betting regulations across both states, residents can easily pop from state to state and keep betting.

Punters do not however need to be a resident of Illinois in order to bet there, the regulations work on the physical location of the gambler at the time a bet was placed.

Illinois Online Betting Sites

As a relatively new player on the sports betting scene, Illinois has wasted no time in creating a presence for all the major online bookmakers to operate from within the state.

All of the below sites are national operations but must affiliate with local, Illinois based sportsbooks in order to be able to offer services from the Garden state:

  • Points Bet
  • William Hill
  • Fan Duel
  • Bet Rivers
  • Draft Kings

The legislation change with punters now able to register for online betting accounts remotely has revolutionised the sports betting picture in Illinois and the revenue streams associated with sports betting in the state are now worth billions of dollars. Linking with local casinos allows in-state operations to continue functioning smoothly, particularly as Illinois recovers from COVID 19 whilst national online betting companies can reap the rewards of being able to offer sports betting markets to all punters in Illinois.

What sports can you bet on in Illinois?

With nearly 10 million residents within the city and the surrounding district, Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the world.

Its status as a sporting hotbed is well documented and some of the most infamous sporting institutions are based in the Windy City.

Professionally, Chicago plays host to some of the biggest franchise in both American and world sport. The Chicago Bulls are arguably one of the biggest basketball teams in the world and their presence in the NBA has long been felt thanks to Michael Jordan’s success with the side back in the 1990’s.

The fierce rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox is infamous across Major League Baseball whilst the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Blackhawks are consistent and well-supported sides in the NFL and NHL, respectively.

Soccer has become a big deal in Chicago too, with the Chicago Fire performing well in the MLS and the Chicago Red Stars are one of the teams to beat in the NWSL.

Betting staples such as tennis, golf and horse racing can all be accessed through online and in-person sports betting operations in Illinois, as the state looks to cater for the gambling needs of every sports betting enthusiast.

It isn’t possible to bet on college sports in Illinois across the board which is one of the few restrictions placed on punters as more niche offerings such as boxing and darts betting are also offered up by Illinois sportsbooks.

What types of sports bet can you place in Illinois?

Catering for the needs of every punter is a key component of every sportsbook’s operation and all of the major sports bets are offered up by bookmakers in Illinois.

The thrill of standing on a sportsbook floor and watching your chosen pick come in is hard to beat but the diversity within the online sportsbook market in Illinois is certainly appealing to all levels of gambler.

Straight win bets continue to be the most popular gambling medium in Illinois, with packed fixture lists presenting the opportunity to win big whilst accumulator betting has also grown in notoriety as part of the online betting boom.

College sports betting is one of the only restrictions Illinois punters face with bets available in-play on a plethora of sporting markets whilst Moneyline and spread bets remain popular for every gambler.

Parlays, teasers, and props are all offered up by sportsbooks in Illinois and the overall strength of the sports betting offering in the state continues to grow.

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About Sam Hayes

Combining his sports coaching career with freelance journalism, Sam is a sports betting writer for various online publications. He is looking to develop both his respective coaching and writing careers, whilst incorporating his other huge passion - travelling the world. Sam currently lives and works in Milan, Italy and playing/following/writing about cricket, football (soccer), tennis, formula 1 and golf continue to take up much of his spare time.