HomeDaily Fantasy Sports in Illinois

Illinois daily fantasy sports

In this guide, we will explore the history and current legal scene of Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois. You can learn about the kinds of fantasy leagues available to bet on, as well as the main DFS sites to choose from.

| Last Updated:
Table of contents

Best Daily Fantasy Sports sites in Illinois

The best betting sites in Illinois that offer DFS contests are DraftKings and FanDuel.

🎰 DraftKings DFS Illinois ⭐ Best DFS site in Illinois overall
🎰 FanDuel DFS Illinois ⭐ Generous welcome bonus

DraftKings Illinois logo


DraftKings is a major sports betting site in all of the US and leads with its DFS offering in Illinois as well. It is the king of Fantasy Sports as it brings more action and variety than just about any other site out there.

FanDuel illinois logo


FanDuel is the other leading DFS site available to Illinois bettors. The platform is excellent and offers a wide array of fantasy leagues to bet on. Moreover, you will most often find a generous sign-up bonus when you create your first DFS account.

What is Daily Fantasy Sports?

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is a beefed-up variant of traditional fantasy sports that are conducted over short-term periods, such as a week or single day of competition rather than seasonal fantasy sports leagues played across an entire season.

Participating in Daily Fantasy Sports is not explicitly legal in Illinois, but there is no law that forbids it either.

The Illinois Supreme Court has declared that at least certain DFS contests involve skill on the part of the players. Hence, Daily Fantasy Sports cannot be ruled out as illegal under Illinois gambling laws.

Consequently, major DFS providers like FanDuel and DraftKings are available to state residents who want to participate in these contests and place bets.

List of Daily Fantasy Sports sites in Illinois

The spirit of competition runs deep in the heart of Illinois, and nowhere is it more evident than in the world of daily fantasy sports.

For those eager to showcase their sports acumen, Illinois offers a dynamic arena of DFS platforms, each bringing unique games and challenges to the table.

Below, we've assembled a list of daily fantasy sports sites that accept players from Illinois:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Yahoo Daily Fantasy
  • Fantasy Draft

DFS contests exist for pretty much every popular North American sport out there. Below is a walkthrough of the most popular DFS leagues in Illinois:

  • UFC - The UFC is the leading MMA organization in the world. In order to win, you simply need to pick fighters who will feature at the top of the stats board on a given day. This is unlike the case for season-long fantasy contests, where only the points at the season's end matter.
  • NFL - The NFL is the most popular major sports league throughout the US. Millions of people take part in DFS contests for the NFL every year. For each NFL season, you can pick your favorite players and collect points over the course of a day or a week.
  • NBA - The NBA is the second most popular sports betting market in the US. You can play against millions of other players. In order to win, assemble a team that will include the highest-performing players for the day beforehand.
  • PGA Tour - The name of the leading golf league and schedule in the United States is the PGA Tour. Once you've picked your players, you can track their stats on a per-day basis, and sometimes weekly.

Timeline of Daily Fantasy Sports legislation in Illinois

  • 2006 - A national-level Act restricts gambling over games of chance, barring Fantasy Sports under certain provisions. The legalization of DFS is up to the individual states to decide.
  • 2015 - The Illinois state attorney general issues an opinion to ban DFS contests on the grounds that they are games of chance. The DFS industry in the state as a whole suffers as a result.
  • 2016 - Legislation goes underway to outlaw Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois. But success is not achieved as the session closes before the matter is put to voting.
  • 2017 - Regulatory efforts are underway once again, but this time they aim to legalize DFS instead. Not much progress takes place in the end, however.
  • 2020 - The Illinois Supreme Court finally declares that DFS contests are not entirely games of chance. Following this, major DFS providers find relief, and bettors begin to feel safe to take part in these games.

Tips when playing DFS in Illinois

Below are our best tips if you want to succeed when playing DFS in Illinois:

Single entry vs. Multi entry

The majority of DFS contests are either single or multi-lineup GPP events, and Illinois DFS gamblers need to understand the difference between the two.

  • Single-entry contests are the best for beginners as the contests are limited to just a single entry. These contests usually don’t have the same size jackpots that the GPP offers, but it does level the playing field, and everyone has an equal chance to win the top prize.
  • Multi-entry contests are usually large contests offering life-changing money to the winner. These contests sometimes allow up to 150 entries, and the odds of winning rise with the number of entries, but they should be avoided if the DFS player cannot place the maximum number of rosters.

GPP advice

Generally speaking, taking down a GPP Tournament requires rostering low-owned players who exceed their value by 2.5 times their assigned salary. If Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields has a salary of $6000, the DFS GPP player expects Fields to score a minimum of 15 points or 2.5 times his salary.

The DFS player would then build the rest of his lineup with the same expectation for each player; all nine roster spots must exceed 2.5 times value to take down a large GPP event usually.

Our best advice for DFS players hoping to take down a significant GPP player is to consider players in exploitable matchups that no one else is talking about. It could be a QB like Fields, or it could even be the Bears' defense. Whoever it is must be in a good matchup in a game where Las Vegas has posted a high-point total.

Cash game advice

Playing cash games, double-ups, and 50/50’s are a terrific way of building an Illinois DFS bankroll, and there are some ways an Illinois grinder can enhance their chances of winning.

Unlike the GPP Tournaments, cash games are smaller tournaments where the top 50% of the field usually doubles their stake. Winning players aren’t interested in value as consistently, and the best selections are generally players with a high floor or minimum average of points.

In the previous example, we used Fields as the QB, but he isn’t consistent enough to play in a cash game, and a successful cash game player would usually side with the safer, consistent play like Jalen Hurts or Patrick Mahomes. The Illinois DFS player would then select players with similar high-floor players throughout the DFS roster.


What is the minimum age to play DFS in Illinois?

The minimum age to play DFS in Illinois is 21, but there is actually no law that regulates this. Sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings operate in Illinois under the requirement of only accepting players of 21 years or older, which is the minimum age to participate in sports betting.

Do I pay taxes when I profit on Daily Fantasy Sports in IL?

All withdrawn winnings that derive from Daily Fantasy Sports require a 15% tax in Illinois if it exceeds more than $600 per year. You should report the winnings as "other income" on your tax return.