Chicago, Illinois is home to some of the country's favorite sports teams. Whether you enjoy baseball, basketball, football, or hockey, there’s something for every sports fan in Chicago. But the question is, can you bet on sports in Illinois?
In Summer 2019, a bill was passed to allow sports betting in the state of Illinois. As of March 2020, the first legal sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, has opened in the state of Illinois with a second shortly behind at Argosy Casino.
However, sports betting in the state of Illinois seems to have stopped just as quickly as it started due to the coronavirus pandemic. More will pop up as time goes on, but with COVID-19 pressing pause on much of the world, we don’t expect to see many more until 2021 possibly.
Can I bet on Sports in Illinois?
Yes, sports betting is legal in the state of Illinois.
Efforts to legalize sports betting in the state of Illinois have failed over years’ past, but since May of 2018, when the Supreme Court lifted the ban of sports betting in the United States, states have been slowly passing sports betting laws. The states legalizing sports betting are seeing exponential revenue coming in, so struggling states find that very appealing.
The only caveat to the sports betting laws is that the state prohibits wagering on any of the state’s collegiate teams. Bettors will not be able to place wagers on DePaul, Illinois, Northern Illinois, Northwestern - any college team within state lines. If you planned to bet on your favorite local college team, you would need to sign up at an offshore sportsbook.
Offshore sportsbooks are technically legal in the state of Illinois. Online sportsbooks can be intimidating and scary because you feel like you might get scammed, but legitimate, reputable sportsbooks like Bovada or BetOnline are perfectly safe to gamble at.
We would never promote a sportsbook that wasn’t 100% safe and secure. Online sportsbooks have so much to offer: better odds, great bonuses that pad your bankroll, and a variety of deposit and cashout options.
The best part? You can bet from the comfort of your own home.
Top Online Sportsbooks for Betting in Illinois
If you choose to not bet at the state’s legal physical casinos and prefer to bet from your phone, online sportsbooks are the way to go. When selecting an online sportsbook we focus on a few specific criteria that we feel are most important.
First, you want to look for a sportsbook that is available to use in your state, as some have restrictions. Second, ensure your sportsbook accepts your preferred deposit option. Some sportsbooks only accept prepaid credit cards or Bitcoin, so having that information before you sign up can be important.
If you’re planning to bet frequently you want to ensure you look at the bonuses, as they can pad your bankroll and help you win more money overall. Our sportsbook reviews are detailed and provide all of this information to help you select an online sportsbook that’s right for you.
Illinois Casinos and Sportsbooks
There are currently two legal sportsbook venues in the state of Illinois.
Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois opened their sportsbook called BetRivers Sportsbook in March 2020, just ahead of March Madness - which inevitably didn’t happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will also offer an online betting product so that users will be able to bet from their smartphones.
The Argosy Casino in Alton, Illinois has a sportsbook that really didn’t get a chance to get off the ground due to the pandemic. They planned to open March 16th which was basically the same day every state went into lockdown. Their sportsbook offers easily accessible betting stations, and spaces to view the games on big-screen televisions.
Betting on Illinois Sports Teams
The Chicago Cubs are one of the oldest teams in Major League Baseball. They finally won a World Series in 108 years in the fall of 2016. Fans flock to the stadium to watch the Cubs play and many of which are lifelong fans. The dedication to a team that had a drought of over 100 years, is unheard of. Chicago loves the Cubs and betting on the Cubs since their World Series win has been a bit of a rollercoaster.
The other Chicago-based MLB team is the Chicago White Sox, who are going on 120 years in the league. They have won three World Series titles, their last one being in 2005. They’ve been overshadowed slightly by the Cubs win in 2016, but hoping to win back the Chicago love in the coming years.
Chicago is home to the NFL’s Bears, who have won nine NFL championships, and the most NFL Hall of Fame inductees. They are one of the oldest teams in the NFL, so their rich history in the community bred generations of lifelong fans and traditions.
The Chicago Bulls are the resident NBA team based out of Chicago. They are known around the world due to Michael Jordan’s residency in the ’90s, where he and the Bulls won six NBA titles in seven years, and is still to this day, the biggest dynasty in the world of basketball.
Hockey fans flock to the Chicago Blackhawks, the state’s only NHL team for some puck line action. As one of the Original Six NHL teams, the Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cups, with three of them being within the last decade. They have young talent, and continue to improve – we foresee them hoisting Lord Stanley a few more times in the coming years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes, sports betting is legal in the state of Illinois as of June 2019. The first sportsbook opened in March 2020, and at least five more will be opening in the next few years.
Can I bet on sports online in Illinois?
Yes, you can bet online at offshore sportsbooks until the local sportsbooks begin to offer their online sportsbook products. Offshore sportsbooks will also allow you to bet on college sports.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports legal in Illinois?
Technically no, but as of April 2020, there was a huge Supreme Court ruling around Daily Fantasy sports being a game of skill, and not gambling, which would most definitely pave the way for DFS to be legal in Illinois in the near future.
How many sportsbooks are in Illinois?
There are currently two land-based sportsbooks in Illinois in Des Plaines and Alton. There will likely be six sportsbooks by 2022.