Millions of players love to let loose and gamble for entertainment in the US, though most states in the country have a large gray area when it comes to what is considered legal gambling. Unlike progressive states like Nevada where most forms of gambling have been legal for several decades, Illinois has been slowly working on opening up the gambling scene to make it more accessible to players. The main driving force is not just to give adults more gambling entertainment but to expand revenue streams to benefit the state instead of losing out to nearby states that have more to offer.
Although not entirely a dry state when it comes to gambling, there are several requirements involved before a particular game or betting type is accepted. Charitable games that raise money for a good cause are allowed in the state, which permits establishments and companies to offer games like bingo, raffles, and pull tabs.
Illinois Online Gambling
Spring 2019 was a big moment in Illinois gambling history when the legislature finally passed a law that allowed physical and online sports betting. The trouble with this law is the fact that online casino gambling is still considered illegal when the online sites are based in the state, especially when an Act came into effect in 2009 to prohibit online gambling across the country unless it is to place a bet on a horse race which is legal.
The workaround to this issue is to follow what other states have done. When there is no specific law to prevent players from placing bets on international sites, they are then technically able to gamble on sites that are licensed and regulated from outside the country. Once US players learned they are able to access and enjoy the benefits of online casinos as long as the sites are licensed and regulated outside the state/country, the demand for online gambling quickly grew. Though still considered illegal in all states across the country, many groups are lobbying to amend this legislation for further benefits to the states.
The current loophole for US players is a great way to access online gambling without the worry of breaking the law, even if the line is gray. The only problem that many players come across with this is the fact that they have a hard time identifying legitimate international online casinos from the many scam sites that are out there.
Illinois Offshore Casino Statistics
Illinois is the 4th most active state that participates in offshore online gambling at casinos as of 2020 with a gross win amount of $57.48m. Illinois contributes to 5.07% of all offshore casino activity in the United States for 2020. Click here to see a breakdown of all offshore gambling activity broken down by state.
The following is a breakdown of all offshore casino gambling from Illinois since 2003.
*Note: Data from 2020 are currently based on estimates.
Source – H2 Gambling Capital
Offshore gambling statistics for sports betting from Illinois can be found here.
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How to Find a Legit Online Casino
Before jumping into an online site, it pays to do a little research to see which sites accept players from the US and have a good ranking in the gambling community. All top-rated online casinos will have a license to provide gambling for real money online. They are often posted on the site at the bottom of the main page, though others will be posted within the terms and conditions. If a site does not have the license prominently posted, players are free to contact customer support to request this information.
Online Gambling Jurisdictions for Licenses
- UK Gambling Commission
- Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
- Malta Gaming Authority
- Costa Rican Gambling Commission
- Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Another point to look out for is if a site is regulated by a third-party. Many top online casinos will hire outside regulators to audit the site and its games to ensure fair play rules are being followed. This ensures that all games are not tampered with and they are designed to be random as legal casino games are.
To make betting easy and convenient, players should take a look at the banking options available as they will often be a good indicator of the quality of the site and if they accept US members. The most common sites geared for US players will offer major credit cards (including Diners) and e-wallet options that accept US dollars. The newest payment options that many are offering is Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals.
Finally, anyone from the US should always take a look and see if an online casino accepts players from the US. There are many wonderful online casino sites out there, but many will have country restrictions to stay within the laws and allowances of their licenses. Even if a site is a .com, they do not necessarily accept all international players to join their group. Most casino sites will have their country restrictions posted in the FAQ or within the terms and conditions. If this information is not easy to find, players can also send through a support ticket requesting this information from customer support.
Illinois Gambling Laws
Illinois has a somewhat dark history of gambling that dates as far back as the 1800s when illegal riverboat casinos took over their waters. Unlicensed and often run by unsavory groups, casinos and gambling quickly got a bad reputation and received a lot of pushback from the community.
The Illinois State Lottery of 1974
Created in the summer of 1974, the lottery was restricted to the Midwest and Northeastern states from New England to Pennsylvania. They were heavily regulated and only the Illinois lottery was televised across the country. Lotteries like Mega Millions, Powerball, Pick 3, Pick 4, and Lucky Daily Lotto were regularly drawn and had jackpots of $100,000+.
Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975
Following the popularity of the lottery being legalized, horse racing was the next to follow suit to provide quality regulated entertainment with the option to place bets and stimulate revenue and tourism growth in the state. Horse racing organizations have to ensure excellent racing standards in order to compete with neighboring states.
The Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990
Bringing back the famous riverboat casinos from the past, Illinois was the second state in the country to legalize them and by 1991, they were in full swing. With 10 fully operational riverboats available to payers, they offered a good selection of gambling games like slots, table games, and video games of chance.
Video Gambling 2009
By the early 2000s, video gambling like video slots and poker machines were legalized and quickly available all over the state. With over 30,000 machines currently available for player entertainment, they are a good source of revenue and tourism.
Sports Betting 2019
Apart from regulated horse racing since the 1970s, sports betting only became a legal gambling option in 2019 and due to be readily available in establishments in 2020. This now allows players to place bets on popular sports from casinos, sportsbooks, and even online.
WagerDex has disclosed the above statements as information only. We do not purport that the information is complete nor correct in entirety. The above statements are not be used as specific legal advice. No attorney and clients relationship exists between WagerDex and readers of this site.