Illinois Sports Betting Guide - Best Illinois Sportsbooks

Illinois Sports Betting Guide - Best Illinois Sportsbooks

Illinois Sports Betting Guide - Best Illinois Sportsbooks

Illinois sports betting has taken off since it first became legal in 2020. The state now has a handful of online sportsbooks in addition to retail sportsbooks. Plus online sports betting in Illinois is expected to explode when the state lifts restrictions on online registration in 2022.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Illinois sports betting and reveal the 10 best Illinois sportsbooks.

The Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites List 2021

Before we explain the details of how Illinois sports betting works, let’s jump right into our list of the 10 best Illinois sportsbooks in 2021:

  • BetOnline – Top Rated Illinois Sports Betting Site in 2021
  • Bovada – Best Illinois Sportsbook for Live Betting
  • MyBookie – Huge Range of Prop Bets and Odds Boosts
  • BetUS – Illinois Sportsbook with up to $7,500 in Bonus Cash
  • XBet – Best Sportsbook for Off Track Betting in Illinois
  • Intertops – Best Illinois Sportsbook for Esports Betting
  • Sportsbetting.ag – User-friendly App for Betting on the Go
  • BetNow – Very Competitive Odds for NBA and NFL Betting
  • GT Bets – Simple and Fast Sportsbook Payouts
  • BUSR – Top Sportsbook for First-time Bettors

Is Sports Betting Legal in Illinois?

Sports betting is legal in Illinois. Legal online sports betting in Illinois began in March 2020, and you can now place bets either in-person or online.

There is one wrinkle to answering the question, “Is betting legal in Illinois?” Before you can start betting with an online sportsbook in Illinois, you first have to register at one of the state’s physical casinos. This rule is designed to give casinos with sportsbooks in Illinois a headstart on the state’s sports betting market.

The in-person registration rule was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has since been reinstated, so some bettors have to travel for hours just to register for an online account. The requirement for in-person registration is expected to end on March 5, 2022.

Bettors can wager on most sports within Illinois, but there are some limitations. Illinois sports betting sites cannot offer wagers on non-sports events, such as US politics, the stock market, or news. They also cannot offer bets on in-state college teams. There is currently an Illinois sports betting bill that has been passed – but not yet signed into law – that would allow for pre-game bets on Illinois college sports.

Online Sportsbooks

There are currently 6 legal online sportsbooks in Illinois:

  • BetRivers Sportsbook (Partner: Rivers Casino in Des Plaines)
  • DraftKings Sportsbook (Partner: Casino Queen in East St. Louis)
  • Fanduel Sportsbook (Partner: Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria)
  • PointsBet Sportsbook (Partner: Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney)
  • Caesars Sportsbook (Partner: Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin)
  • Barstool Sportsbook (Partner: Hollywood Casino in Joliet)

All of these Illinois sports betting sites have partnered with land-based sportsbooks in Illinois to offer online betting, as required by the state’s betting laws. Importantly, you must visit the physical casino partner of a sportsbook in order to register for that online betting site in Illinois. So, if you want to sign up for DraftKings, for example, you must visit Casino Queen in East St. Louis.

The in-person registration rule will end on March 5, 2022. Many additional online sites for sports betting in Illinois are expected to open after that date.

Land-based Betting

There are currently 8 land-based casinos with sports betting in Illinois:

  • Rivers Casino (Des Plaines, IL)
  • Casino Queen (East St. Louis, IL)
  • Par-A-Dice Casino (East Peoria, IL)
  • Hawthorne Racecourse (Stickney, IL)
  • Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet (Joliet, IL)
  • Argosy Casino (Alton, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora (Aurora, IL)

Horse Racing & Off Track Betting

Illinois also has 3 world-famous horse race tracks:

  • Arlington Park (Arlington Heights, IL)
  • Fairmount Park (Collinsville, IL)
  • Hawthorne Racecourse (Stickney, IL)

You can place bets on horse races at any of these tracks. There is also a wide selection of sites for off track betting in Illinois:

  • Time Out OTB (Alton, IL)
  • Aurora: The Piazza (Aurora, IL)
  • Trackside at Joe’s Bar (Chicago, IL)
  • Corliss OTB (Chicago, IL)
  • Crestwood OTB (Crestwood, IL)
  • Post Time Sports Bar & Grille (Green Oaks, IL)
  • Trackside at Salerno’s (Hodgkins, IL)
  • Trackside at the Saddle Room (Hoffman Estates, IL)
  • Bookie Magee’s (Joliet, IL)
  • Black Eyed Susan (Lansing, IL)
  • Salerno’s Pizzeria and R Bar (McHenry, IL)
  • Stoney Point Grill (Mokena, IL)
  • Blono Pizza Co. (Normal, IL)
  • Oakbrook Terrace OTB (Oakbrook Terrace, IL)
  • Furlong’s Sports Grill & OTB (Ottawa, IL)
  • Bullpen Bar & Grill (Peoria, IL)
  • Players Pub & Grill (Prospect Heights, IL)
  • Don Carter Lanes (Rockford, IL)
  • Route 3 OTB (Sauget, IL)
  • Capital Teletrack (Springfield, IL)
  • Trackside at Crazy Pour (Villa Park, IL)

Timeline of Illinois Sports Betting Legislation

Illinois sports betting officially launched in March 2020, but the process for legalizing it started well before that. In addition, future legislation that would expand sports betting in Illinois even further is still being debated right now. So, it’s worth looking at a brief history of how sports betting has taken shape in the state:

2018: Illinois sports betting legislation was hotly debated in 2018, as 5 bills were introduced to the legislature. None of these bills were voted on, but they paved the way for future legislation.

May 2019: The Illinois sports betting bill was introduced to the legislature by Rep. Mike Zalewski. The bill included several unusual provisions such as high fees and an 18-month period in which only retail sportsbooks would be granted licenses. The bill was loudly criticized by online sportsbook operators.

June 2019: A version of Zalewski’s bill was passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker. The new sports betting law would require online sportsbooks to initially partner with physical sportsbooks, and offer only 3 online-only sportsbook licenses after 18 months.

March 2020: Legal sports betting in Illinois launched right before the state shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 2020: Governor JB Pritzker suspended the requirement for bettors to register in-person in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The requirement was reinstated in June, but suspended again in August.

April 2021: The requirement for bettors to register at in-person sportsbooks was reinstated.

October 2021: The state passed Illinois sports betting legislation that set a sunset date for the in-person registration requirement: March 5, 2022. The legislation also allows for pre-game (not live) betting on in-state Illinois college sports.

Offshore Betting in Illinois

Offshore sportsbooks offer an alternative way to bet online in Illinois. With an offshore sportsbook, you can sign up right away – there’s no need to spend hours traveling to one of the state’s sportsbook casinos. Offshore sportsbooks also allow you to bet on in-state college teams, both pre-game and live as matches unfold.

That said, using an offshore sportsbook for online betting in Illinois is not legal. The state has only legalized sports betting in the case that wagers are placed with approved, state-licensed sportsbooks. Offshore betting sites have long been used by Illinois bettors and legal cases are very rare, but it’s important to know that these gambling sites are outside the state’s gaming laws.

Are DFS Legal in Illinois?

Daily fantasy sports are legal in Illinois. Currently, the state has 3 DFS sites:

  • DraftKings
  • Fanduel
  • Monkey Knife Fight

In years past, Illinois has had a complex legal fight against daily fantasy sports. DraftKings and Fanduel both launched in Illinois in 2015, but the state’s attorney general at the time said that they violated Illinois gambling laws. The platforms continued to operate while a state lawsuit against them proceeded.

In April 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that daily fantasy sports are legal in Illinois since they are games of skill, not chance.

In the meantime, the state legislature punished DraftKings and Fanduel through the bills that legalized sports betting in Illinois. The provision that online sportsbooks would be required to partner with physical casinos for the first 18 months of betting was in large part targeted at DraftKings and Fanduel.

Illinois Casino Laws

Illinois has legal casino gambling, but only at the state’s 10 licensed physical casinos. Online casino gambling for real money is illegal in Illinois.

That said, you can play casino games online in Illinois through social casinos. Social casinos don’t pay out real money through games, although you can earn real money through sweepstakes and other prizes. Social casinos offer slots, table games blackjack and roulette, and poker.

You can play with offshore casinos in Illinois for real money, but these sites are not legal.

Online Casinos

There are currently no legal real money online casinos in Illinois. Social casino sites in Illinois include:

  • Chumba
  • DoubleDown Casino
  • Big Fish Casino
  • Slotomania

Offshore online casinos are also available in Illinois and allow you to play casino games for real money. These sites are not legal to play with in Illinois.

Land Based Casinos

There are currently 10 land-based casinos in Illinois:

  • Rivers Casino (Des Plaines, IL)
  • Casino Queen (East St. Louis, IL)
  • Par-A-Dice Casino (East Peoria, IL)
  • Hawthorne Racecourse (Stickney, IL)
  • Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet (Joliet, IL)
  • Argosy Casino Alton (Alton, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora (Aurora, IL)
  • Bally’s Quad Cities (Rock Island, IL)
  • Harrah’s Metropolis (Metropolis, IL)

Of these, all but Bally’s Quad Cities and Harrah’s Metropolis operate retail sportsbooks.

How Gambling is Taxed in Illinois

Illinois levies a lot of taxes on sports betting. Casinos have to pay $10 million each for a license to open a sportsbook, and they pay an additional 15% tax on all sportsbook revenue. The state’s 3 online-only licenses, which have not yet been awarded, are expected to cost $20 million each.

For bettors, though, the taxes aren’t anything special. Illinois taxes winnings from sports betting just like regular income. You need to report your income from sports betting on both state and federal tax returns, and you can use losses to offset the amount you won. The only catch is that you can’t use a net loss from sports betting to offset other types of income.

Best Illinois Sportsbooks Reviewed

Now that you know more about sports betting in Illinois, let’s take a closer look at several of the top online sports betting sites in Illinois right now.

1. BetOnline – Top Rated Illinois Sports Betting Site in 2021BetOnline Sportsbook Homepage

BetOnline is our overall #1-rated site for online gambling in Illinois today. BetOnline offers wagers on more than 20 sports, including college sports and Esports. You can wager on all the best sports for Illinois players, including local teams the Bulls, Cubs, and Bears, and BetOnline offers very competitive odds. The sportsbook also takes live bets as well as parlays, teasers, and if bets.

BetOnline is extremely easy to use, and the sportsbook offers one of the best Illinois sports betting apps for players on the go. You can wager with just a few taps on either iOS or Android, and the platform offers a simple parlay builder for complex mobile bets. BetOnline also makes payments easy by accepting credit cards, debit cards, and a wide range of cryptocurrencies.

New players at BetOnline can get a welcome bonus worth up to $1,000. The sportsbook will match 50% of your first deposit with promo code BOL1000. You can play the bonus on any bets with odds of -200 or greater, but you must play through the bonus amount 10 times within 30 days.

Click here to visit BetOnline.

Pros:

  • Wide range of sports to bet on
  • Mobile betting app for iOS and Android
  • Accepts most major cryptocurrencies
  • $1,000 welcome bonus

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer sports news or live streaming

2. Bovada – Best Illinois Sportsbook for Live Betting

Bovada Sportsbook

Bovada is our top pick among Illinois sportsbooks for betting on live games as they’re underway. That’s because this sportsbook offers a wide range of live bets, including prop bets, for most live games. Even better, Bovada is one of the only online sportsbooks in Illinois that lets you stream live games on your desktop or smartphone. So, you can easily place bets as you watch matches unfold.

Bovada has an enormous selection of sports to wager on, including some niche sports like skiing, beach volleyball, and futsal. You can assemble parlays that cross over between multiple sports, which makes for some exciting bets with big odds. Bovada also helps you plan out your bets with an Illinois sports betting news feed.

This sportsbook offers new players a 100% deposit match bonus worth up to $750. To claim the bonus, you must deposit Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Litecoin – credit and debit card deposits won’t qualify for the deposit match. Bovada’s welcome bonus funds can be played on any wagers with odds of -200 or greater and there’s no time limit to meet the wagering requirement.

Click here to visit Bovada.

Pros:

  • Stream live games in HD
  • Huge number of live wagers
  • Includes a sports news feed
  • $750 crypto deposit bonus

Cons:

  • Not always the best odds for live bets

3. MyBookie – Huge Range of Prop Bets and Odds BoostsMyBookie Sportsbook

MyBookie is another top platform for sports betting in Illinois. With this online sportsbook, you can wager on more than 20 different sports, including leagues like the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, UFC, tennis, golf, and much more. You can also bet on college sports, including Illinois college sports that aren’t available through state-approved sportsbooks.

MyBookie stands out for its enormous range of prop bets. For regular season NFL and NBA games, you’ll find dozens of prop bets to pick from. Even better, you can combine multiple props into a parlay or teaser easily with MyBookie’s bet builder. If you want a potentially bigger payout, MyBookie lets you purchase an odds boost for your bet.

This sportsbook offers new players a $1,000 bonus as a dollar-for-dollar match on your first deposit. You can pay with credit card, debit card, bank transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, or Litecoin. Use promo code MYB100 and bet on anything at the sportsbook with odds of -250 or greater.

Click here to visit MyBookie.

Pros:

  • Dozens of prop bets for NFL and NBA games
  • Purchase an odds boost for parlays
  • User-friendly parlay builder tool
  • $1,000 welcome bonus

Cons:

  • No mobile apps for iOS and Android

4. BetUS – Illinois Sportsbook with up to $7,500 in Bonus CashBetUS Sportsbook

BetUS leaves all other Illinois betting sites in the dust when it comes to bonus offers. At this sportsbook, all new players can claim a 125% welcome bonus up to $2,500 with promo code join. You can use any deposit method to claim the bonus, but you must play through the funds in 14 days and wager on odds of -280 or greater.

Once you finish the first bonus, you can claim up to 2 more $2,500 bonuses when you deposit cryptocurrency. BetUS accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Even after you’ve claimed $7,500 in bonus cash from the sportsbook, all crypto deposits going forward still qualify for a 20% cash boost.

BetUS gives players plenty of ways to use all this bonus money. You can wager on a whopping 22 different sports, and the sportsbook offers live betting and tons of prop bets. BetUS also makes it easy to assemble parlays and teasers. The sportsbook has recently been adding Esports tournaments to its wager rolls, so it boasts a wide range of digital gaming bets.

Click here to visit BetUS.

Pros:

  • Up to $7,500 in deposit bonus offers
  • Wide range of Esports bets
  • Streaming sports analysis programs
  • Accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum

Cons:

  • 14-day time limit to meet bonus wagering requirement

5. XBet – Best Sportsbook for Off Track Betting in Illinois XBet top bets

XBet is one of the top platforms for mobile sports betting in Illinois, especially if you want to wager on horse races. You can bet on races at any of the 3 big tracks in Illinois, as well as on races from across the US. XBet doesn’t stop there, either – the sportsbook carries wagers on harness and thoroughbred races in the UK, Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and more. All off track bets with XBet qualify for a 7% cash back rebate.

XBet also carries wagers for all your favorite Chicago and St. Louis teams, plus growing sports like soccer, rugby, and Esports. The sportsbook carries a wide range of prop bets for every game and makes it incredibly easy to put together parlays. Like at MyBookie, XBet allows you to purchase odds boosts to increase your potential payout if a parlay or teaser bet wins.

XBet offers new players a $500 welcome bonus as a 100% match on your first deposit. That’s less than what other sportsbooks offer, but XBet lets you wager on any bets with odds of -200 or greater. The sportsbook also offers a $250 reload bonus every time you add funds to your account.

Click here to visit XBet.

Pros:

  • Bet on horse races around the world
  • 7% rebate on horse race bets
  • Parlays with odds boost option
  • $500 welcome bonus

Cons:

  • No sports analysis or news feed

Illinois Betting Sites Comparison

Now that you’ve read more about our favorite sites for sports betting in Illinois, let’s see how they stack up on key features:

Welcome Bonus Promo Code Number of Sports Markets Live Streaming Payment Methods
BetOnline 50% deposit match up to $1,000 BOL1000 20 No Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin,  Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin
Bovada 100% Bitcoin deposit match up to $750 BTCSWB750 22 Yes Credit card, debit card, Zelle, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin
MyBookie 100% deposit match up to $1,000 MYB100 18 No Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin,  Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin
BetUS 125% deposit match up to $2,500 JOIN125 22 No Credit card, bank wire, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin
XBet 100% deposit match up to $500 Not required 21 No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin,  Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin
Intertops 100% deposit match up to $500 INSIDERS 17 No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Skrill
SportsBetting.ag 100% deposit match up to $1,000 KICK100 16 No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple
BetNow 100% deposit match up to $500 BN100 10 No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash
GT Bets 100% deposit match up to $500 BOS50 18 No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple
BUSR 20% deposit match up to $500 WELCOME20 17 No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Litecoin

How to Get Started with a Illinois Sportsbook

Ready to start betting on sports in Illinois? We’ll show you how to place your first wager with BetOnline, our #1-rated site for sports betting in Illinois online.

Step 1: Sign Up with BetOnline

To get started, head to BetOnline’s website and click ‘Join Now.’ In the registration box, enter your name, email, phone number, birthday, and a password to create your new online sports betting account.BetOnline Create Account

Step 2: Verify Your Email

BetOnline asks all new players to verify their information. To complete this step, just check your inbox for an email from BetOnline. Open it and then click on the link inside.

Step 3: Make a Deposit

You can deposit as little as $10 to get started with BetOnline. The sportsbook accepts credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. Keep in mind that the bigger your initial deposit, the more bonus cash you’ll get. BetOnline will match your deposit 50% up to $1,000 with promo code BOL1000.Make a Deposit to BetOnline

Step 4: Start Betting

Now you’re ready to start betting on sports in Illinois. In the BetOnline lobby, you can see all ongoing and upcoming games. Search for a team or browse through the list of games until you find one to bet on. Then click on it to see the available wagers.BetOnline Types of Bets

Once you find a bet you want to take, just click on the odds to add it to your bet slip. Enter the amount you want to wager, then click ‘Place Bets.’

Conclusion

Sports betting in Illinois has become hugely popular, and it’s likely to become much easier once the state lifts its requirement for players to register in person. The range of sports you can bet on in Illinois is enormous, and many top online sportsbooks offer welcome bonuses to help you get started.

Ready to place your first bet? Sign up with BetOnline and use promo code BOL1000 to claim a $1,000 welcome bonus today!

FAQs

Can you legally bet in Illinois?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Illinois. To bet, you must wager at an in-person sportsbook or sign up for an online sportsbook by visiting its physical casino partner.

Can I bet on sports online in Illinois?

Yes, online sports betting in Illinois is legal. To bet online, you must first visit an online sportsbook’s physical casino partner and register for an online account. The requirement to register in person will end on March 5, 2022.

Which betting apps can you use in Illinois?

You can legally wager on sports in Illinois with betting apps like DraftKings, Fanduel, and BetRivers. You can also use offshore betting apps like BetOnline and Bovada, although these are not technically legal.

What are the best sportsbooks in Illinois?

We think the best sites for sports betting in Illinois are BetOnline, Bovada, and MyBookie. All 3 of these sportsbooks offer competitive odds, generous welcome bonuses, and huge selections of bets. They’re also very easy to use, even for first-time bettors.