At this moment, there are more than 7 gambling sites that accept players from the Prairie State, and more are expected to launch in the next few years. On this page, you can find everything there is to know about the legal status of online gambling in Illinois.
Before we jump to the best real-money online gambling sites in Illinois, we have to draw your attention to a serious matter. When you place sports bets or gamble online in general, make sure that you do so with a legitimate, licensed operator. You can find information about the licenses in the About Us section on their websites.
The websites below are the best online gambling sites at the moment in Illinois:
TVG is the biggest online gambling site for horse race betting in Illinois. It belongs to the FanDuel company, and it is exclusively for horse and greyhound racing. They always have racing happening. They have partnered with more than 150 racetracks, and they offer many bets. You will find popular racing, such as the US Triple Crown, as well as smaller ones anywhere in the world.
TVG has an excellent website and app. Specifically, the app has a race alert, so when the race you want to watch starts, the app notifies you, so you do not miss it. You can watch the races live on the website and on the app. The live streaming runs smoothly and in high quality.
Currently, Unibet is not available online in Illinois. It's made inroads into other states, so it's possible to see what this site will offer once it does launch. Part of the reason for the delayed IL release is the fact that mobile betting accounts must be registered in person.
With Unibet Illinois partnered with Argosy Casino Alton, 300 miles from Chicago, it's hard for many players to achieve this. That being said, the site is likely to launch in early 2023. As it's already available in other states, IL players can expect a wealth of sports events and betting markets worldwide. Unibet offers live betting, the ability to edit bets, and various strong bonuses.
Online gambling is legal in Illinois, but only some forms of it. Online sports betting is legal, but online casinos are not. It is also legal to bet on horse races, play the lottery and participate in Daily Fantasy Sports contests.
The bill that legalized online betting sites in Illinois included a section for online casinos too. But until today, they are not legal.
Type of gambling
Legal in IL
Horse race betting
Daily Fantasy Sports
So, it might be strange that online sports betting is legal, but online casinos are not. How does the state explain the halfway legitimization of online gambling?
At first, only horse racing was legal, much because it became very popular in the 1920s. Up to recently, all the other forms of gambling were illegal. After the legalization of physical casinos and sportsbooks, it was high time to legalize them in their online form as well.
As aforementioned, in 2019, online sportsbooks finally became legal. The Illinois Gaming Board was responsible for presenting to the State House the bill, the 2019 Illinois Gambling Act — SB 690.
Below we explain how the online gambling laws of Illinois work at this moment:
Besides sports betting, there are a few other forms of online gambling that are available in Illinois. These include lottery and horse racing.
The Illinois State Lottery was founded in 1974, but it started selling tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions only in 2010. It constitutes a part of the state’s $3 billion in the annual lottery. The online lottery provides standard tickets, multi-state, raffles, and instant games.
If you are a resident of Illinois, you can buy your tickets online. However, note that it is illegal to participate in a lottery held in a foreign country. The Illinois lottery is generous in offering promotions to returning customers. The only thing you have to do is to sign up at the Illinois Lottery and start playing.
Horse race betting has a long tradition in Illinois. It dates back to the 1920s. Today, horse racing takes place in five local racetracks and 37 off-track betting (OTB) venues.
Luckily, you do not have to visit these places in order to place a bet, you can do it online. That way, you will find many options available, not just for races that take place in the state but also for bonuses, different sportsbooks, odds, etc.
There are a few rules when it comes to online betting on horse races. First of all, you can bet only in racebooks that have a license from the Illinois Racing Board. Second, you have to be 18 years old or older to bet on horses. Third, there is a minimum bet of $2. However, it does not apply to all cases, as there are wagers that cost only $1. Finally, the maximum payout you can get is $2,10 for every $2 bet you have placed.
There is still unfortunately no news on exactly when online gambling will become fully legal in Illinois, with House Bill 3142 being rejected in 2021 and sports betting already being legalized in 2019. There is a legislative period in IL in 2023, so there is some hope that online gambling will be legalized this year, but it’s not certain to happen.
Some experts believe that it will, like Richard Schwartz, the CEO of the huge gambling company Rush Street Interactive, who claimed that “they already have regulators in place”, implying that IL is already gearing up for legalization.
The American Gaming Association produced a report about illegal online gambling which said that “Americans bet more than $510.9 billion a year with illegal and unregulated operators. This costs the legal industry $44.2 billion in gaming revenue and state governments $13.3 billion in lost tax revenue”.
This massive lost revenue and the growing pressure to pass online gambling in the state should mean that a bill will be presented this year as the legislative session in Illinois resumes. If a bill is passed, then we could expect to see online gambling in Illinois go live as early as 2024.
While it is still unclear what will happen in Illinois in the world of online gambling, it is expected that it will become legalized at some point in the future due to the sheer amount of tax revenue that is not being collected by the state.
There are already plenty of gambling sites that are preparing to make their entry into the Illinois market, such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and Barstool, who already have online and physical sportsbooks live in the state.
If legalization takes place, Illinois can expect a huge boost in revenue, as the fiscal year of 2022 brought in record revenues of nearly $1.9 billion in gambling generally. This includes sports betting, lottery, and video gaming, so online gambling becoming legal would surely boost that figure by quite some way.
This year, 2023, brings a new legislative session in Illinois, so there will probably be a new bill seeking to legalize gambling online, and we will know more about what kind of provisions this bill will include if and when it gets proposed. We will have to wait and see.
If the new bill of 2022 becomes a reality, new forms of online gambling may soon become available in Illinois. These include different type of online casino games and poker.
Online casino games include slots, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and live dealer games. All these games are based on luck and do not need any specific skills. Some of them, such as blackjack, require you to learn a few rules, but they are pretty simple. Slots and table casino games are the most exciting ones.
Slots are easy to play because all you do is press a button. You can find many variations of slot games with different visual and sound features that make them interesting. They do not require any skills. Also, you do not have to bet a large amount of money, as the minimum wages are very low.
When it comes to table games, there are thousands of tables available to join. There is no waiting line, nor do you have to buy your seat. They are more fast-paced than regular casinos because all the dealings happen automatically. Moreover, there are hundreds of variations.
If you still want to have human interaction, you can opt for live casino games or live dealer games. That is there is a real dealer that you can see through your camera that deals the cards or chips. You can also talk to the other players. If you do not feel comfortable turning your camera and mic on, though, you can talk to them in the chat room.
Online poker is widely considered to be the most difficult one. In order to become an experienced poker player, you must exercise your skills a lot, play lots of games, and try out and learn different strategies. This is the case for online poker or video poker, as it is most commonly known.
You have the option of playing live video poker as well. Moreover, video poker has many variations. However, each variation has different rules, so you have to learn them in order to understand the game and join. Luckily, there are free video poker games available in online casinos, so you can practice for as long as you feel you need to.
All winnings from online gambling fall under the personal income tax, which sits at 4.95% in Illinois. Moreover, you also have to report your winnings as income to the IRS.
In this case, your tax percentage is calculated based on your total income and if you are filing as an individual or as a married couple. Federal taxes are usually between 10% and 37%. Gambling winnings can put you in a higher tax category.
If your winnings exceed a certain amount, the gambling operator will provide you with a W-2G form on which you report your winnings to the IRS.
It doesn't matter if the winnings come from sports betting, lotteries, slots, or other casino games in Illinois. It is crucial for you to report your online gambling winnings to the IRS.
Below are some general guidelines regarding when you should report your gambling winnings during a full year to the IRS:
|Winnings on bingo or slot machines (not reduced by the wager)||Threshold: 1.200$|
|Winnings on poker (reduced by the buy-in)||Threshold: 5000$|
|Winnings on keno (reduced by the wager)||Threshold: 1500$|
|Winnings on other types of gambling (reduced by the wager)||Threshold: 600$|
|Winnings when the amount is at least 300 times the wager||Threshold: 600$|
In order to offer its services to the citizens of Illinois, a gambling operator must get a license from the Illinois Gaming Board. This means that licensed gambling sites are approved by the state of Illinois and can be considered safe.
Offshore gambling sites do not hold licenses from the state of Illinois or any other gambling commission. This means that players are less safe using these sites since they do not need to follow the gambling laws set up by the state.
However, the state law does not consider them illegal when operating in other countries, nor does it mention clearly that the residents of Illinois will be prosecuted if they get caught using one.
In any case, it is not advised to play on offshore sites. It is better to play on licensed sites, and if you want to play in online casinos, have a little patience and visit a physical one until the online ones are available.
The Illinois Gaming Board regulates all forms of gambling in Illinois. It controls the regulatory and tax collection for video games, riverboats, and regular casinos, as well as online sportsbooks.
In 1990, the state became the second one to legitimize riverboat casinos with the Riverboat Gambling Act. The first riverboat casino opened in September 1990. Since 2020, there have been ten operating casinos in Illinois.
In July 2009, The Video Gaming Act was approved. The act permitted up to five Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) to function in authorized Fraternal and Veteran Companies, Truck Stops, and Retail Establishments. Ten years later, Governor J.B.Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act.
Gambling responsibly in Illinois means understanding the risks of gambling, setting limits, and seeking help if needed. It is important to always gamble within your budget and know how much you can afford to lose. Additionally, it is important to set a time limit for your gambling activities and to not gamble when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you think you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the Illinois Gaming Board provides a list of resources to get help. The Illinois Department of Human Services provides a 24-hour confidential helpline (1-800-GAMBLER) and website to help gamblers and their families.
The Illinois Council on Problem Gambling is another resource and offers free online, telephonic, and in-person counseling to individuals and their family members. For those seeking in-person counseling, the Council on Problem Gambling also has a list of certified problem gambling counselors in Illinois.
In addition, Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step program available to those affected by problem gambling and offers support groups throughout Illinois. Furthermore, the Illinois Alliance on Problem Gambling is a coalition of organizations that works to reduce the prevalence of problem gambling in the state. They provide prevention, education, and treatment programs for gamblers and their families.
Gambling responsibly in Illinois means understanding the risks and setting limits. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, there are numerous resources available to help.
Yes, there are mobile gambling apps in Illinois, but you can only use them to bet on sports. These include DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, BetRivers, and TVG. Most of them have online casinos operating in other states.
The age requirement is at least 21 years old in order to be allowed to gamble online in Illinois. If you are younger, you are not permitted to gamble, and if you do so, you run the risk of being prosecuted.
It is unclear whether online poker will launch in Illinois. There was a bill in 2021 that was rejected in the House, and even though there might be a bill presented this year, it is not guaranteed to pass.
Yes, Illinois online gambling sites are safe. All of the ones we have included on our list use the most up-to-date security software to ensure the safety of your funds and make your betting experience as stress-free as possible.