Illinois is a state with a rocky history when it comes to gambling. It was among the first states to offer an online lottery in 2012 and the second to legalize riverboat gambling in the 1990s, after Iowa.
With the recently-passed Illinois Gambling Act expanding the legality of casinos and sportsbook gaming across the state, Illinois will continue being at the forefront of gaming in the midwest moving forward.
Illinois Casino Legalization
The history of Illinois casinos starts on the race track in 1927. Then, it introduced the official state lottery in 1974; Illinois was also the first state to host an official online lottery in 2012.
By the early 1990s, Illinoisans had become just the second state to allow access to gambling by riverboat in Illinois. In fact, the state is home to ten riverboat gambling sites. These are the only physical Illinois casinos at the time of this writing.
In 2009, the state introduced VGTs. VGT stands for video gaming terminals, which essentially were electronic lottery machines. However, their gameplay was more closely reminiscent of slot machines.
Most recently, the Prairie State’s governor, J.B Pritzker, introduced the Illinois Gambling Act in 2019. This legislation paves the way for the future of betting in Illinois, both online and in-person.
The Illinois Gambling Act legalized sports betting in late 2019 and planned six new land-based casinos across the state. This act includes the blueprint for a “mega-casino,” which will be located outside of Chicago. None of these six casinos have been built at the time of this writing.
This legislation also expanded the number of gaming positions that Illinois casinos are permitted to have. It also gives riverboats complete access to moving to a physical, on-land location (provided they pay a fee).
Currently, IL online casinos are still illegal. You may only access Illinois online betting through sportsbooks or lottery games. Illinois online casinos are only available through sweepstakes sites. Look for this to change soon.
Best Casinos in Illinois
Now, if you want to get into Illinois online casinos, first you will want to look into the casinos that are already in the state. You will want to do this because many times the already existing casinos will become the best online casinos. So, becoming familiar with the best casinos in the state of Illinois will prepare you for those online casino launches.
Harrah’s Joliet Hotel and Casino / Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel and Casino
The Illinois casinos Harrah’s Joliet Hotel and Casino and Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel and Casino are names you should get to know. The Harrah’s Casinos via Caesars sports are expected to launch Illinois sportsbooks online very soon. So, that means that these casinos could become some of the best online casinos in the state once online casinos are legalized.
Hollywood Hotel and Casino Joliet
The Hollywood Hotel and Casino Joliet is another of the Illinois casinos you will want to get to know. The Hollywood Casino already has its own sportsbook brand that has launched in PA, meaning it could be one of the first USA online casinos to launch in Illinois once it is able to legally. So, you should check out the Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Joliet before that happens.
Rivers Casino Des Plaines
The Rivers Casino Des Plaines is another casino to look into if you are curious about the best online casinos. This is because the Rivers Casino Des Plaines is set to launch their BetRivers sportsbook in Illinois. So, that means that one of the most popular USA online casinos, the BetRivers casino, could be launched in Illinois as soon as it is legally able to.
List of Illinois Casinos
At the time of writing, there are only ten Illinois casinos that have a physical location. Out of these ten, all of them are riverboats. However, the Illinois Gambling Act has allowed for the construction of six physical, land-based Illinois casinos. The following is a list of the locations for the planned Illinois casinos:
Out of these six Illinois casinos, keep an eye on the one planned near Chicago. The state has already permitted them to build a “mega-casino” that features twice as many games as others.
Betting in Illinois on riverboats has been a state-wide custom since the 90s. Here’s a list of the current Illinois casinos on riverboats:
Out of these ten, the Grand Victoria Casino, Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel, Hollywood Casino Aurora, and Jumer’s Casino & Hotel are the only ones to offer full poker rooms.
Casino Games Available
One of the most important factors that you will face when choosing from the legal Illinois online casinos when they open will be which games are offered. So, you should learn about the casino games that are typically available on most online casinos. Then, you will know what to look for when Illinois online casinos become a reality in the state.
Many of the casino games you will find on online casinos are games of skill. But, you will also find casino games that are games of luck. It is best to figure out your own particular skill set and interest when choosing which casino game is for you.
Slots and Video slots are very popular games at casinos and online casinos alike. With slots, the customer pulls a lever and tries to match a certain number of pictures that scroll by in different columns. Slots is a game of chance, not a game of skill, like many of the other games you will find at Illinois online casinos.
Table and Card Games
Table and Card Games that you will find at online casinos resemble the classic casino games. So, these refer to card games like Blackjack for instance. Blackjack is a fairly easy game for new users to learn, but a hard game for users to master.
Poker OptionsPoker is one of the most popular casino games and online casino games that you will find. Many customers join online casinos simply to play poker and video poker. Poker is so popular that some online casino and online sportsbook operators offer whole sites dedicated to poker. Poker is the ultimate casino game of skill. When playing poker in a casino or on an online casino, you will want to make sure you understand the rules. Poker can take a long time to master, so you should make sure to learn all the rules and ways you can win.
Illinois Casino Apps
Now, as we discussed before, Illinois online casinos are not yet legal in the state. So, that means that Illinois online casino apps are also not yet legal in the state. But, we can look at the online casino operators that are most likely to move into the state when they are legally able to launch.
So, the same possible online casino operators we discussed before are very likely to launch Illinois online casino apps when they are able to. This includes BetRivers, Harrah’s via Caesars online casino, as well as the Hollywood Casino. Because these operators are likely to open up Illinois sportsbooks online in the state, we can expect to see online casinos from these operators when they can legally launch in Illinois.
Once these operators are able to launch their online casinos legally in Illinois, we can expect the casinos apps soon after. Many online casinos already have apps launched in other states that are associated with their online casinos. So, it would be fairly easy for these operators to launch their online casino apps in Illinois when they are legally able to.
Illinois Online Sportsbooks
Now, as discussed before, Illinois has recently legalized online sports betting in the state through Senate Bill 690, also known as SB 690. So, we can expect Illinois sportsbooks to be flooding the state very soon. And, we can look at the operators in other states to see which online sportsbooks are likely to launch.
Just as we mentioned before, we can expect to see online sportsbooks from a few different operators first. It is anticipated that BetRivers, Harrah’s via Caesars Sports, and the Hollywood Casino will be some of the first Illinois sportsbook operators. And, once they launch their online sportsbooks, we can expect accompanying sportsbooks apps to launch as well.
There are plenty of online sportsbooks operators in other states with legal sports betting. So, it is a good idea to do your research on the online sportsbooks that are already in operation in other states. That way, you will know all about these online sportsbooks when they finally become available in Illinois.
FAQ Online Casinos
Do you still have any questions related to Illinois online casinos? Check out this quick list of frequently asked questions about Illinois online betting.
Are online casinos legal in Illinois?
No. Illinois online casinos are illegal at the time of this writing. That being said, players can access Illinois online betting on casino games through sweepstakes sites. These sweepstakes sites are essentially IL online casinos that don’t require any purchase or deposit to play.
Are land-based casinos legal in Illinois?
Yes. Although Illinois online casinos are illegal, players will soon access physical casinos across the state.
What kinds of games can I play online in Illinois?
Illinois online betting sites like BetRivers offer lines and odds for sports.
What are the age requirements for online casinos in Illinois?
When betting in Illinois through sportsbooks, lotteries, and most other methods, you must be 21 years or older. However, due to the grey area within which sweepstakes sites work, you only need to be 18 to access them. Look for this to become more concrete with the addition of more Illinois online casinos.
Final Thoughts on Casino Gambling in Illinois
Illinois online casinos enter 2021 in an interesting position. They’re the last of the classic betting formats that still remain illegal in the state. However, with the Illinois Gambling Act being passed in 2019, the legality of Illinois online casinos, as well as their land-based counterparts, has become far more lenient.
We’d expect there to be an increased demand for licenses for IL online casinos in the coming months and years. The state government has the added benefit of seeing how some neighboring states are handling virtual casinos before going all-in on Illinois online casinos.
Regardless of where and how you choose to play, make sure you’re doing so safely. The burden of responsibility is aided by various sites and their programming but ultimately rests on your shoulders. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when the gambling world is growing at such a rapid pace.