Illinois Online Betting Sites

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins

Last Updated:

Read Time: 6 minutes

Illinois online betting sites have taken a big step to bring sports gambling to the state. A range of online sportsbooks have gone live in the Prairie State.

On this page, we break down where you can place your sports wagers in Illinois!

Offshore Betting Sites and Illinois
Individuals residing in Illinois can participate in betting at offshore sportsbooks. However, these sportsbooks, being located outside the U.S., do not fall under the jurisdiction of Illinois or any U.S. laws. They are regulated by the laws of the country where they are based.

State Regulated Illinois Sports Betting

When the US government withdrew the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, Illinois was one of the first states to locally regulate sports betting. Because Illinois has a reputation as a sports-mad state, it is unsurprising that lawmakers moved to get sports betting live here.

As of June 2019, residents have been able to gamble on sports in the Prairie State, but bettors still need to sign up with bookmakers in person. As a result, players have to visit one of the casino venues that is linked to a sportsbook. From here, bettors could create an account and sign up with a bookmaker.

In 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, the state withdrew this rule and players signed up to betting sites remotely. However, the rule was re-introduced in 2021.

Some of the sports gambling laws in Illinois are unique and different from any rival US state. For example, one part of the legislation was to include sports venues as potential licensed sports betting locations. This was the first such language in any of the sports betting legislation seen up until it’s passing in the United States.

The best Illinois Online Betting Sites for Sports

While sports betting has been available for some time in Illinois, online sportsbooks are a fairly new addition. Illinois online betting sites for sports are live, and they have been since late 2021.

There is a wide range of Illinois betting sites sportsbooks available, with some high-profile, quality platforms in operation. Many offshore sites are also available, among them are:

Unlike local operators, each offshore betting provider runs odds for various sports and some also have markets for special events, like TV and Film.

Can you bet on horse racing in Illinois?

Horse racing has had a long, storied history in the Chicago area, and that continues today. Way before Illinois online betting sites, the state was running horse race events.

In fact, horse racing was the first legal gambling activity to run in Illinois. In 1927, The Illinois General Assembly legalized betting on pari-mutuel racing. Notable tracks like Arlington Park and Hawthorne have been home to Illinois’s famous horse racing scene for nearly a century.

More recently, players have accessed alternative betting options at tracks and via off-track betting sites. Here, bettors have the chance to bet on races happening all over the country, and in other countries at some venues.

Illinois horse racing sportsbooks

When it comes to online horse racing, Illinois is one of the few states that is very open about letting its land-based facilities offer online betting. Each of the tracks offers its own mobile and online operations. Also, players in the state have the option of using one of the offshore companies to make their bets online.

In recent years, the rise of Illinois online betting sites and sportsbooks has given more choice to Prairie state bettors. This includes horse racing as some online sports betting sites run odds for US and international horse races.

However, offshore sites have in-depth, dedicated areas on their platforms for horse racing. Also, these go beyond simply listing odds, with tips, blogs, and news all available.

Land-Based Illinois Casinos

Illinois has been a progressive state when it comes to all forms of gambling. In addition to the modern advancements of Illinois online betting sites, the state has been open when offering in-person, casino gambling.

Initially, many casinos opened on riverboats. This was part of legislation in 1990. Although these venues had been around since the 1800s, the new laws made them technically legal. From there, the casino landscape expanded to on-land facilities. In 2011, a new bill was passed to allow the building of five new land-based properties.

Further additions to this bill included the racetracks, which were also allowed to add casino games to their floors. As part of the new legislation that passed in June 2019, two new full casinos were approved in the state. One of these is set to launch at the Hawthorne Racetrack.

Currently, the biggest Illinois casino is the Hard Rock Casino Rockford. This venue has around 1500 gaming machines and more than 55 tables.

When will Illinois online casinos be state regulated?

There is no current timeline on when online casinos will be legal in Illinois.

When the discussions and debates took place about regulated sports betting, there were hopes that casino sites would join. However, the main discussions centered on sports betting only. As a result, Illinois online betting sites are restricted to sports gambling for now.

At present, residents in the Prairie state will have to play poker, blackjack, and other table games at the offshore casinos.

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Illinois Lottery Online

The Illinois Lottery is one of the oldest in the country. In 1974, the state lottery was first established and it is still a source of funding social programs. In 2017, the state lottery generated over $700 Million in funds.

Players in the state can play the US-wide Powerball and Mega Millions games. But Illinois-only games like Pick 3 and 5 draws are also available.

Also, Illinois is one of the few states to offer online Lottery sales. Since 2012, bettors have been able to set up a subscription online to buy draw tickets.

As part of the 2019 legalization of sports gambling, lottery retailers have also been able to provide sports bets.

Illinois online betting sites FAQs

How can you bet on your phone in Illinois?
Once Illinois residents set up their sportsbook account, they can download the app on their mobile device and place wagers. However, any bettors looking to join a sportsbook must sign up in person at a retailer first. Then, they can access bets, accounts, and other features online or via apps.
What is the best Illinois sportsbook?
There is no out and out best Illinois sportsbook. Different bettors have their own opinions on the best sportsbook provider and people look for alternative features. For instance, one customer may want the most competitive odds and deep markets. Another may prefer consistent bonuses and quick payouts. Not all betting platforms offer the same experience. So, our advice is to check out our unique and easy-to-follow US bookmaker guides to help with the decision.