[Update as at September 2020] – licenses have been issued and there are now several retail, online and mobile platforms available.
- It’s legal, it just needs to be operationalized!
- Date of operations unknown as yet.
- Professional sports are permitted. College and amateur games are illegal.
- If the state of Illinois legalizes sports betting, we anticipate an amount of $308.3m to be wagered in the year 2020
Update: March 2021
FanDuel launched its second retail sportsbook on 15 March 2021 at the former
Fairmont Park Racetrack. The racetrack was rebranded as the FanDuel Sportsbook and
Horseracing in November 2020.
Top 3 Illinois Sportsbooks Online
Illinois Sports Betting Laws
In 2019 June, the government passed legislation to legalize sports betting in the state of Illinois. The approval included both online and in person sports betting. Only professional games are permitted for placing sports bets. College and high school games are banned from placing sports bets.
As with many other states that have legalised sports betting, casinos will be given 18 months to establish a foot hold in the sports betting markets, before other sportsbook makers can begin their operations.
No firm date has been decided as to when Illinois sports betting will be up and running, even though sports betting has been legalized.
Illinois Sports Bettors are heading to Indiana
In the meantime, with neighboring Indiana having launched their in person and online sports betting, players from Illinois are travelling cross border to Indiana.
At only an hour to two hour drive, many Sports Bettors are visiting:
- Ameristar Casino Resort who have partnered with DraftKings Sportsbook and
- Horseshoe Hammond Casino who have partnered with Scientific Games.
These two casinos are experiencing an increase in sports handle not only from players within Indiana but also from residents of Illinois who are crossing the border.
Illinois Online Sports Betting
Unbeknownst to many, online sports betting has been occurring for many years. Illinois sports betting turnover for 2019 was $47.5 million, wagered via online sport betting sites. These online sport betting sites are offshore and are open accepting US players.
Is online Sports Betting illegal?
It is a gray area. The current state laws do not clearly articulate whether gambling offshore online is illegal or not. Therefore, you will find many online sports books (and online casinos) accepting US players from states that have ambiguous gambling laws – Illinois is one of those states.
Is it dangerous?
There are two aspects to this question.
Firstly, will you get caught or fined?
I highly doubt it. Till this day, there has been no precedence of anyone being charged with breaking the law for playing at offshore online sports betting books or offshore online casinos.
Secondly, are offshore sports betting books trustworthy and reliable?
Very much so. They have been operating in the market for many years and sports betting is a clear cut outcome (when compared to online casino games). It’s therefore extremely difficult to argue that an outcome of a sports bet is wrong.
How can I find an online Sports Book?
The most popular offshore sports book is Bovada. It is the largest and has a long standing history of operating a sports book for US citizens.
Do NOT place a bet at an unlicensed sports book operating offshore. Unlicensed sportsbooks may not be reliable. Although they may offer great Welcome Bonuses, their promise to pay any winnings may be empty. Keep with the trusted, big brand names.
How can I place a Sports Bet onshore?
It is illegal to run a sports book or place a sports bet within the borders of Illinois. Other than placing a sports bet at an offshore online sports book the only other option is to travel interstate to Indiana where sports betting has been legalized.
Overview of Illinois Sports Bars
Illinois has plenty of sports bars that have quality sport viewing screens, cold ice beer and easy to eat comfort food. We cannot cover them all, but provide a review of the most popular ones for you.
Sports Bars in Illinois
2049 S Route 59, Plainfield, Illinois
If you are a Chicago Blackhawks fan, than you need to come here! The entire sports bars is in the theme of the Blackhawks, it can’t get any better than that. Of course, other team supporters are also welcome. 🙂 . Has heaps of seating, plenty of TVs and great food. Prices are reasonable, with waiters and waitresses very warm and friendly. They have free bar bingo every Monday and poker tournaments every Tuesday.
2006 W Jefferson St, Joliet, Illinois
Sidelines is a sports bar lined with 10 viewing screens. Looks to be a bit rough, with two bouncers usually positioned at the front door. Be prepared to be searched / checked. Get’s very busy for the DJ, music, rather than the sports. More for the younger crowd who is looking to party hard. Absolutely crowded on the weekends, and can get hot with all the body heat and lack of ventilation. But overall, a cool trendy sports bar to hang out at.
10521 IL-47, Hebron, Illinois
A little sports bars in the north of Hebron. Really great food and friendly staff. The beer garden is very cool, great place to chill out and relax overseeing expansive farmland. An easy place to watch your favorite sport games with a beer in hand.
Popular Illinois Sport Bets
If you want to bet on Illinois professional teams, there are plenty to choose from. The most famous Chicago team without doubt is the Chicago Bulls, successful due to the GOAT Michael Jordan. But then again the Chicago Cubs winning the World Championships in 2016 increased their popularity as well.
Below we list out the major sports teams from Illinois:
Sports Betting Chicago Bulls (NBA)
What an amazing start to the first half of the NBA season for the Chicago Bulls. Zach LaVine has been ripping it up for them, but unfortunately no one else is pulling their weight. The Bulls are currently just outside of the top 8, but with the trade dead line looming that may be able to acquire another strong player to help lead them into the play offs.
Sports Betting Chicago Cubs (MLB)
The Chicago Cubs ended 108 years without a championship in 2016 last decade beating the Cleveland in a 7 game series. Can they do it again?!
Sports Betting Chicago White Sox (MLB)
The Chicago Sox sported a young team, and it showed last season. Finishing with a losing record (again) the Chicago Sox just couldn’t string enough consistent play to prove that they are on the right track. Placing a bet for them to win, is perhaps a good value bet, if you can pick em.
Sports Betting Chicago Bears (NFL)
The Chicago Bears, so far, have been competitive this season. Apart from the occasional blow out, they have either won or lost by the slimmest of margins. Bet a point spread if you want a safe flutter.