Sports betting has arrived in Chicago and all of Illinois, and not a moment too soon! In 2019, agreements were made to allow for IL online sports betting, provided that users register in-person. That restriction was temporarily changed by an executive order from Governor Pritzker. However, despite a short rollback, bettors can once again register for mobile Illinois sports betting online! Currently, BetRivers, PointsBet, DraftKings at Casino Queen, and FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook are the four sportsbooks to launch online in Illinois.
Top Online Sportsbooks in Illinois
At first, only BetRivers Sportsbook made it online in Illinois for remote registration. As the first movers for online sports betting in the Land of Lincoln, sports fans can expect a top-notch mobile betting experience. BetRivers already operates in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and – most recently – Colorado, so you know they have the sportsbook chops to deliver competitive odds and betting lines. Check out BetRivers IL today and get a 100% deposit match up to $250 when you sign up for a new account. And make sure to check back here soon as more online sportsbooks launch in Illinois!
That said, DFS fans can attest that the newly minted DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook is an awesome option for mobile sports betting. DraftKings has a galaxy-brain level of expertise in all things sports, so it makes sense that their online sportsbook is intuitive, fresh, and streamlined. With their top-notch platform, start placing your bets quicker and easier. Plus, sign up for a new account and you can get up to $1,000 signup bonus! Make sure to read our full DraftKings review to get the full details on snagging your welcome offer and why you should check out DraftKings IL.
Also, it's worth noting that DraftKings at Casino Queen is located in East St. Louis, IL, so neighbors in the Show-Me State are actually closer than their betting peers in Chicago! Remember, anyone age 21 or older within Illinois state borders can bet online. If you're still waiting for Missouri online sports betting, go grab some Chicago-style pizza and check out Illinois online sports betting apps today.
Likewise, FanDuel at Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, IL, is now live online for Illinois bettors. Visit FanDuel IL online and sign up today to get a $1,000 risk-free first bet. With online registration in IL, anyone in the state can fully sign up for a new online sportsbook account, including at FanDuel. Just like their sportsbook in other states, FanDuel IL offers sports fans one of the best US online sportsbooks around. Again, new users can get their first bet risk-free. That means if your first bet loses, you'll be refunded with site credit, up to $1,000. Check out FanDuel IL today and place your wagers from anywhere in Illinois.
The newest sportsbook in Illinois is PointsBet. Illinois marks the fourth operational state for PointsBet’s sports betting product, following successful launches in New Jersey, Iowa, and Indiana. In addition to launching the PointsBet mobile app and digital product, PointsBet’s convenient retail presence in Chicago will soon debut at four sites that flank every corner of Chicagoland. Hawthorne Race Course (Stickney, IL) represents the flagship retail location, and additional off-track betting (OTB) premium sportsbooks will debut in Prospect Heights, Oakbrook Terrace, and Crestwood.
Illinois Sports Betting: A Recent History
Governor JB Pritzker signed the Illinois Sports Wagering Act (ISWA) into law in mid-2019, making provisions for legalized IL sports betting starting in 2020. One clause to these expanded gambling provisions was the “bad actor” clause, essentially barring online-only platforms from operating in Illinois for 18 months after the ISWA became law.
A Caveat to the “Bad Actor” Clause
Though Gov. Pritzker suspended the requirement for in-person sports betting registration, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) still needs to issue so-called “Master Gaming Licenses” before online betting can take place. Many operators have already taken the first step in applying for licensure, referred to as the “management services provider” license. So far, DraftKings, along with FanDuel and PointsBet, have qualified for a temporary permit to operate.
It’s likely that we’ll see Illinois online sports betting go completely mobile with no in-person registration required now that the provision has been suspended again. However, online-only platforms previously designated as “bad actors” will still have difficulty getting through the IGB; more on that later.
Sportsbooks in the IL Sports Betting Market
There are plenty of options for in-person betting in the Prairie State, and some of these casinos are aligned with well-known national brands. Once these operators meet the IGB requirements for a license, we’ll see them offer online betting with fully mobile registration options.
Here’s a list of operators that either are or will likely be offering Illinois sports betting online:
Play DFS in Illinois
DraftKings & FanDuel Labeled “Bad Actors”
These two hugely popular, online-only operators got a bit of a “slap on the wrist” for offering daily fantasy sports in Illinois, which were determined to be “illegal gambling” by the Illinois legislature in 2015. The legality of online sports betting (particularly daily fantasy sports or DFS) was not exactly clear before the repeal of PASPA, so both DraftKings and FanDuel attempted to continue to offer real-money daily fantasy sports competitions.
When Illinois sports betting became legal in 2019, the previously mentioned “bad actors” were given an 18-month restriction on launching their Illinois platforms. The legislature imposed this restriction by requiring all Illinois sports betting account registrations to be done in-person, functionally banning the online-only providers from participating.
However, when Gov. Pritzker called off this restriction in spring 2020, DraftKings and FanDuel made quick moves to gain IGB licensure to offer Illinois sports betting online. With the in-person registration requirement scrapped, DraftKings IL is now live, with FanDuel sure to follow any day now. We’ll keep you updated on who will be allowed to offer IL online sports betting in future, so check back with us.
What’s Next For Illinois Sports Betting?
At the moment, only three Illinois sports betting platforms are active. As mentioned above, IL players can bet with BetRivers online sportsbook, DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook, PointsBet at Hawthorne Race Course and FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook. Two others have also received temporary operating permits: PointsBet and Penn National’s proposed Illinois sportsbook, which will likely be branded under the Barstool Sports trademark. Expect these operators to offer Illinois sports betting online very soon.
BetRivers has a well-received sports betting platform in other states and offers competitive odds, simply acquired bonus promotions, and app support across most major devices.
Experienced operator Penn National has finalized plans to acquire Barstool Sports as their main sports betting brand, and the partnership is likely to be a success in the Prairie State. The Illinois sports betting fanbase is ready and waiting, and it’s just a matter of time before users get access to a multitude of easy mobile sports betting options.
Plus, state economies get a considerable boost by allowing gambling for their citizens, as is evident with bordering states. As far as the midwest is concerned, Iowa sports betting is a fantastic revenue source for the Hawkeye state, while Indiana online sports betting is bringing in millions in tax revenue for Hoosiers.
Illinois would highly benefit from these sources of internal revenue, so it’s expected that most of the previously mentioned operators shouldn’t have too much trouble moving forward.
Expected Features of Illinois Sports Betting Sites & Apps
Taking cues from platforms that exist in other states, we can expect a few things from these experienced sports betting operators. Primarily, any modern sports betting platform worth its salt will offer apps for Android and iOS in addition to web browser support.
More competitive online sports betting platforms seem to have a few things in common. Namely, 24/7 live chat customer support and a robust offering of bet types, payment options, and promotions are hallmarks of a good sports betting choice.
Users should have easy access to information, funds, and incentives to stay with their platform of choice. Because of this, look for providers that offer e-wallet support like PayPal, a good selection of games, and a user knowledge base. Check back with us for more information on promotions and support options with Illinois sports betting platforms as soon as they go live!
IL Online Sports Betting FAQ
Take a look at the FAQ about IL online sports betting below. You might find a piece of information you are looking for.
Are sports betting sites legal in Illinois?
Yes. With the passing of the Illinois Sports Wagering Act (ISWA), sports betting became legal in Illinois in 2019. However, individual sports betting operators have to pass a stringent licensure process in order to fully qualify to go live in Illinois. As a result, there are now three IL online sportsbooks: BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel.
What do I need to register at an online betting site in Illinois?
In order to register at any legal online gambling website (or app) in Illinois, you’ll need to be 21 or older and physically located in the state specified by the website or app. Additionally, you’ll need to provide identity verification details and share your location in order to stay compliant with state and federal laws.
Why were DraftKings and FanDuel designated as “bad actors” by the ISWA?
DraftKings and FanDuel offered real-money buy-ins and prizes for “daily fantasy sports” (DFS) before the repeal of PASPA overturned the law that banned sports betting. As it was unclear whether DFS was classified as betting or a bona fide contest of skill, DraftKings and FanDuel continued to offer their service in Illinois. In 2015, the Illinois legislature decided that DFS contests did not count as contests of skill, and were therefore illegal.
When sports betting became legal on a federal level and Illinois was in the preliminary stages of writing a sports betting law, the 2015 situation with DFS providers became an issue of contention. Because of this, DraftKings and FanDuel were essentially identified as “bad actors” under the 2019 Illinois Sports Wagering Act.
To give Illinois-based sports betting providers a leg up and to delay DFS providers like DraftKings and FanDuel from entering the market, an 18-month restriction was placed on all online-only account registrations. Functionally, this made it impossible for DFS providers to sign on new users. For more about DFS and how it works, check out our Monkey Knife Fight review.
When Gov. Pritzker suspended the restrictions on online account signup, what did that mean for Illinois online sports betting?
When this suspension was in effect, it meant that all sports betting providers in Illinois could register users online without needing to set foot in a casino. DFS providers are attempting to apply for licensure with the IGB as well, so the lifted restriction also made it easier for DraftKings and FanDuel to enter the Illinois online betting market sooner than previously thought. Many operators have pending applications with the Illinois Gaming Board, and a few have even secured temporary licenses. Unfortunately, this suspension has ended, so you must register in person for any sports betting in Illinois.
Final Thoughts on Betting in Illinois
Illinois online sports betting will be a new and interesting adventure. Gambling is already a well-established activity, especially with sports fans. Legalizing sports betting in Illinois will make sure that revenue will be kept in-state. The ‘bad actor’ clause will allow local betting providers to have a chance to compete with more nationwide sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel, who are online-only platforms.