Illinois Sports Betting 2020: A Complete Guide

Illinois sports betting was legalized earlier in 2020, with the first wager being placed in March the same year. Online betting was given the green light a few months later, and Illinois residents can now legally sign up to several sports betting sites. 

Gov J B Pritzker was influential in the drafting of a sports betting bill and the subsequent legalization of Illinois sports betting, adding revenue in it to his budget proposal. After being changed multiple times, the final bill was finally passed in 2020. BetRivers launched its first app on June 18 and more quickly followed suit. 

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at everything you need to know about Illinois sports betting. We’ll take a look at the top 5 sports betting apps, how online betting works in Illinois, and we’ll also be answering your most popular questions.

Online Sports Betting In Illinois 

Top 5 Sports Betting Apps

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1

MyBookie

  • 100% match deposit bonus up to $100,000
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • Great mobile client
  • Massive welcome bonus

2

Bovada

  • 50% match deposit bonus up to $250
  • Easy payouts
  • Excellent reputation
  • Bitcoin accepted

3

BetRivers

  • 100% match deposit bonus up to $250
  • Top user interface
  • Jackpot parlay
  • Lots of banking options

4

BetNow

  • 100% match deposit bonus up to $1,000
  • Good betting software
  • Prop builder available
  • Great customer service

5

XBet

  • 50% match deposit bonus up to $300
  • Competitive odds
  • Huge sports variety
  • Hassle-free sign-up process

How Online Sports Betting Works In Illinois 

Sports Betting Launch 

Sports betting has come a long way in Illinois in recent years, but the wheels never started moving properly until 2018, when lawmakers expressed concern that sports betting was still illegal in the state. 

Subsequently, 5 bills were introduced, each of them with an exploratory nature. Perhaps the most eye-catching of these was the one drawn by former NFL star Napoleon Harris, which came with numbers concessions for lobbyists, including an integrity fee. 

A year later, Gov J B Pritzker demanded that sports betting should be legalized. To that end, he added revenue from it into his budget proposal. A further 5 proposed amendments were brought into play, and by May, they had been taken down to 2. A final bill was put on the table, and after it was altered multiple times, it was passed and made sports betting legal in Illinois.

Fast-forward to 2020, and the first-ever legal sports bet in the state was made at the Rivers Casino Des Plaines in March. By June, BetRivers launched the first-ever online sports betting app in Illinois. 

How To Bet On Sports 

Now that sports betting is legal in Illinois, the next bit of good news is that betting on sports is a simple step-by-step process: 

Choose a sportsbook that’s right for you. You can take a closer look at the top 5 sports betting apps we listed earlier in the article.

  • Create a free account
  • Make your first deposit and grab the welcome bonus
  • Take a look at the sports betting options
  • Decide on a game you want to wager on
  • Check the odds – are they worth it?
  • Enter your stake
  • Press ‘place bet’

Which Casinos Have Sportsbooks? 

There are now multiple casinos that you can legally place sports bets with in Illinois:

  • Ameristar Casino
  • Resort (DraftKings sportsbook)
  • Belterra Casino Resort (FanDuel Sportsbook)
  • Blue Chip Casino (FanDuel Sportsbook)
  • French Lick Resort Casino (Rush Street Interactive)
  • Harrah’s Hoosier Park (Caesars Sports)
  • Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg (Kambi)
  • Horseshoe Hammond Casino (Caesars Sports)
  • Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel & Casino (Caesars Sports)
  • Indiana Grand Racing & Casino (Caesars Sports)
  • Majestic Star Casino (USA Sports Gaming)
  • Rising Star Casino Resort (BetAmerica)
  • Tropicana Evansville Casino (William Hill)
  • Winner’s Circle Clarksville (Caesars Sports)
  • Winner’s Circle Indianapolis (Caesars Sports)
  • Winner’s Circle New Haven (Caesars Sports)

Online Sports Betting Partnerships

By law, any Illinois-based sportsbook must partner with a land-based gambling entity until 2022. 

At the time of writing, Illinois has 2 online sports betting partnerships:

DraftKings Sportsbook 

DraftKings has partnered up with Casino Queen. The Illinois DraftKings sportsbook app was launched in August 2020, and the partnership was quickly signed with Casino Queen, which operates as a riverboat in East St. Louis. 

DraftKings is most famous for its daily fantasy sports, but it’s also now a reputable and trustworthy sports betting site.

BetRivers

BetRivers was the first online sports betting app launched in Illinois. It arrived in June 2020 and partnered with Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Chicago. 

BetRivers is owned and run by Rush Street Gaming, which is also based in Chicago, but which has multiple sports betting sites and apps across the U.S. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the major American sports leagues, such as the NHL and the NBA, have signed partnerships with casinos or sportsbooks. For instance, the NBA has partnered up with MGM Resorts. 

What Can You Bet On Right Now In Illinois? 

You can bet on practically any sport in Illinois that you can think of. However, the exact sports you can bet on will depend on the sportsbook you sign up to. This is because each sportsbook offers a different variety of sports, although they all offer the major ones. 

Here is a rundown of most of the sports you can bet on in Illinois:

  • American football
  • Athletics
  • Aussie Rules
  • Badminton
  • Bandy
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Beach volleyball
  • Bowls
  • Boxing
  • Chess
  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Darts
  • eSports
  • Fishing
  • Soccer
  • Formula 1
  • GAA
  • Golf
  • Greyhounds
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Horse racing
  • Ice hockey
  • MMA/UFC
  • Motorsports
  • Netball
  • Pool
  • Rugby league
  • Rugby union
  • Snooker
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • WWE

As well as sports, you can also wager on sporting events/tournaments. These include:

  • The World Series
  • Super Bowl
  • World Cup
  • U.S. Open
  • French Open
  • PGA Tour
  • NBA playoffs
  • March Madness

You can also bet on things like politics and entertainment (including reality TV shows) if the betting site offers such options. 

Indeed, the things you can wager on are practically limitless, and it’s important that you find a sports betting site that offers the sports you’re interested in. 

What Bets Are Available At Illinois Sportsbooks? 

Like the things you can bet on, the actual bets you can place at Illinois sportsbooks are varied. That said, some sportsbooks offer more betting options than others, so again this is something you need to check before signing up. 

Here are some of the bets available:

  • Moneyline – The moneyline is perhaps the most popular bet in Illinois. Essentially, you’re betting on one thing – the outcome of a match. For example, you might have the Lakers to beat the Bulls, the Bills to beat the Bears, and so on. It’s the most basic wager you can have, and it’s available on all sports.
  • Over/under bets – Another popular wager that’s available on most sports is the over/under. Before a match starts, the betting site will set a number associated with something specific related to the sport.

    For example, in the NBA, they will set a total number of predicted points scored by both teams. Let’s say the Lakers are playing the Clippers. The sportsbook predicts there will be 188 total combined points. It’s then up to you to decide whether the true outcome is over or under that total.

  • Point spread – The point spread bet is popular with Illinois bettors, but it’s mostly used on specific sports, such as the NFL and the NBA.

    Before a match starts, the sportsbook determines a favorite and an underdog. Then, they’ll decide by how many points they think the favorite might win the match by. You then need to decide whether you think the sportsbook is right, almost right, or not quite right.

    Here’s an example: Let’s say the Dolphins are playing the Raiders. They’ve posted a spread of 7 points in favor of the Raiders, which means they think the Raiders will win by that many points. You then need to decide whether you think this is too high, too low, or on the money.

    One of the reasons the point spread is such a popular wager is because, while it’s similar to the moneyline wager, it offers more value.

    Futures bets – A futures bet is another popular wager with Illinois bettors, and it’s available at all the best sportsbooks. Basically, you’re betting on a sporting event that is a few days, weeks, or months away from taking place.

    For example, you might place a futures bet on who will win the NBA Finals, even though the NBA season has only just started. Or you might place a futures wager on who will win the English Premier League, even though the teams have only played one game.

    The exciting thing about a futures wager is that there’s lots of value to be found, and the payouts can be huge if you get them right.

Taking Advantage of Bonuses and Rewards 

Now that sports betting is now being legalized in Illinois, it means that you can take advantage of bonuses and rewards. 

Each sportsbook offers a number of bonuses and rewards. We’re going to cover some of the most popular ones in this section, but it’s really important that you take a closer look at a sportsbook before you sign up. This will allow you to check whether or not the bonuses and rewards are worth it. 

Welcome Bonus

All sportsbooks offer a sign-up bonus to new players. This is typically a match deposit bonus that matches a percentage of your first deposit with extra cash. For example, Bovada is currently offering a 50% match deposit welcome bonus up to $250. This means you can deposit as much as $250 to grab the bonus 

Reload Bonus 

The reload bonus is similar to the welcome bonus, but the percentage is usually a bit lower. A lot of the time, the sportsbook will guarantee to match your second and third deposit with more ‘free cash.’ 

Both the welcome and reload bonus come with terms and conditions that you should read beforehand. 

Free Bets

All the best sportsbooks treat their customers to a risk-free wager every now and then. These free bets are usually small (often no more than $1), and they can only be used on specific sports and sporting events.

Bonus On Loss

Otherwise known as cash rebates, a bonus on loss gives you the chance to recoup a small percentage of your losses on specific sports.

For example, a sportsbook might offer a 10% “bonus on loss” on all tennis matches you wager on this weekend. This means that 10% of all your losses will be automatically added back to your account. 

This type of bonus is hugely beneficial and is definitely worth looking out for when you shop around for your next sports betting site. 

Loyalty Bonuses/VIP Bonuses 

The top sportsbooks come with VIP programs/loyalty schemes that are open to all sports bettors. All you have to do is make deposits and place bets regularly, and you will be invited to join. 

The exact details of each loyalty scheme vary from site to site, but the best ones offer lots of exclusive perks, rewards, and promotions that keep bettors smiling. 

Illinois Sports Betting Laws 

Illinois sports betting was formally legalized in 2020, and the first bet was placed in March. By June, the first sports betting app was launched. It is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. 

Illinois sports betting laws are, by and large, similar to the ones in other U.S. states. However, while some states prohibit betting on local teams, Illinois does not. 

This means you can bet on teams like the Chicago Cubs and the Indiana Pacers. 

You can also bet on Indiana college football and basketball teams, Chicago and Cincinnati pro teams, as well as Notre Dame college football and basketball teams. 

You must also be at least 21 years old in order to place a bet, and you must either be a resident of Illinois or within the state when placing a bet. Once outside Illinois, you are subject to other state betting laws. 

Illinois Sports Betting FAQ 

Is Sports Betting Legal In Illinois? 

Yes. Sports betting has been legal in Illinois since spring 2020. 

When Can Illinois Residents Start Placing Bets? 

Illinois residents can start placing bets anytime they like! All you need is a sports betting account, and you’re free to start betting. Online betting apps have been available in the state since the summer of 2020. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Legally Bet In Illinois?

You must be at least 21 years of age in order to bet in Illinois legally. 

Do I Have To Live In Illinois To Bet Online? 

No. Online sports betting is legal in many states across the U.S. 

However, you must abide by each state’s laws wherever you are. 

Is Mobile Sports Betting Available In Illinois? 

Yes, mobile sports betting is available in Illinois!

Gov J B Pritzker actually made an emergency declaration back in 2020 that meant Illinois residents no longer had to register for mobile sports betting in person. 

However, the requirement was altered and put back in place in July 2020, with the consequence being that bettors had to visit a physical casino in order to register for a mobile betting app.

Thankfully, this has been amended yet again, and bettors can now register online for a mobile app. At the time of writing, this current situation hasn’t changed. 

Can I Bet On Teams Based In Illinois? 

Yes, you can bet on sports in Illinois involving local teams. Whether you want to bet on the Bulls, the Cubs, the Bears, the Blackhawks, or the White Sox, you are free to do so in Illinois. 

Can I Bet At a Sports Venue? 

Illinois is, of course, home to some of America’s most famous sports venues. At the moment, Illinois betting laws are such that sports venues which have a capacity of at least 17,000 are allowed seven betting licenses. 

While none of Illinois’s stadiums currently has a betting license, it surely won’t be too long before the likes of the United Center apply for one. 

Final Word On Illinois Sports Betting

Sports betting in Illinois is now legal, and the sports betting industry here is booming.

Your next step should be to take a look at the online sportsbooks we laid out at the start of this article and decide which one is right for you. Then, create an account, make a deposit, grab the welcome bonus – and have fun.

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