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Illinois Sports Betting Guide – Is Sports Betting Legal in Illinois? Best IL Sportsbooks

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Illinois legalized online sports betting in 2020 and dozens of online sportsbooks are now operating in the state. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about sports betting in Illinois and review the 5 best Illinois sports betting sites.

The Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites List 2021

The number of online sites for sports betting in Illinois is quickly growing. If you’re new to the sports gambling scene in IL, here are our top 5 picks for placing a wager:

  1. BetOnline – Overall Best Illinois Sports Betting Site for 2021
  2. MyBookie – Best Online Sports Betting Illinois Site for Live Streaming
  3. Bovada – Top Illinois Sports Betting Site for Futures Betting
  4. BetUS – Best Illinois Sports Betting Site with Top Promos
  5. XBet – Best Mobile Sportsbook App in Illinois

Best Illinois Sportsbooks Reviewed

Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 platforms for online sports betting in Illinois:

1. BetOnline – Overall Best Illinois Sports Betting Site for 2021

BetOnline

BetOnline is one of the most reputable sportsbooks in the industry and is our #1-rated sports betting in Illinois site for 2021. This online sportsbook stands out for its enormous range of sports, generous welcome bonus and excellent customer service support. On top of that, BetOnline offers in-game betting and live streaming for most matches. You can bet on all major sports such as NFL, MLB, college games like the NCAA, as well as UFC.

BetOnline offers new players a $1000 welcome bonus to use across your favourite sports, with no restrictions on what sports you can bet on or what odds you can take.

This top sportsbook also offers a massive range of betting contests across a number of sports, so if you’re looking for a new and exciting betting challenge with big prizes, BetOnline is definitely one to check out.

Pros:

  • Huge range of sports markets wager on
  • In-game betting and live streaming
  • Sports betting contests
  • $1000 welcome bonus
  • Excellent customer service support

Cons:

  • No paypal payment option

2. MyBookie – Best Online Sports Betting Illinois Site for Live Streaming

MyBookie

Since being established in 2014, this top Illinois sports betting site has proven to provide an excellent and seamless sports betting experience. You can wager on major US leagues like the NBA, NFL, and MLB, plus college sports, esports, MMA, soccer, rugby and much more.

MyBookie makes it easy to place bets with a seamless web interface and mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices. You’ll also find support for in-game betting and live streaming of almost every match.

Like BetOnline, MyBookie offers a welcome bonus of up to $1,000 for you to enjoy across the platform. There is also a refer a friend promo worth mentioning, which rewards you 250% up to $250 for each new bettor that your refer.

Pros:

  • Trusted sportsbook with established history in IL
  • Wager on more than 30 sports markets
  • In-game betting and live streaming
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Cons:

  • Limited Esports section

3. Bovada – Top Illinois Sports Betting Site for Futures Betting

Bovada

Bovada is our top pick for Illinois sports bettors who want to place futures wagers. This betting site offers NBA futures, NFL futures, and even college sports futures, this selection is unmatched by any other Illinois sportsbook. On top of this there are a huge variety of wager options and an impressive and easy to use prop builder so you can add to your betting slip at any time.

Bovada offers a ton of tools and features for players, including full statistics for every match and live streaming in HD quality. You’ll also find a wide range of in-game bets to make matches more exciting. It also has mobile apps for iOS and Android, and these support all the same features as you’ll find on the website.

This top sportsbook offers a 100% deposit match worth up to $1000 for new players which you can claim using the Bovada promo code, BVD1000. Bovada’s Bitcoin promotion is also second to none, with a huge 75% up to $750 when you make a deposit with Bitcoin!

Pros:

  • Wide range of futures betting markets
  • HD-quality live streaming
  • Top Bitcoin promotion
  • Mobile betting apps for iOS and Android
  • $1000 welcome bonus

Cons:

  • Lacks e-wallet payments

4. BetUS – Best Illinois Sports Betting Site with Top Promos

BetUS

BetUS is our favorite Illinois sports betting site for players in search of the best promotions. This sportsbook offers a whopping deal for new bettors worth an enormous £3,125! This is a combined 100% sports and 25% casino bonus for you to use across any sports markets and casino games!

Another thing we like about BetUS is that it tends to offer more favorable odds than other Illinois sportsbooks. That means that when your bet wins, you can win more than you would at competing sports betting sites. Plus, BetUS offers live betting during matches and HD streaming so you can watch the action unfold.

BetUS offers betting on all the major US professional and college sports leagues, plus sports like rugby, soccer, Aussie rules football, and golf. The sportsbook also has accessible customer support with a 24/7 live chat service.

Pros:

  • Biggest welcome offer around
  • Favorable odds for most matches
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Live betting and streaming

Cons:

  • More limited payment options

5. XBet – Best Mobile Sportsbook App in Illinois

XBet Sports Bonus

XBet is one of the most impressive new betting sites available to bettors in Illinois. It has many of the same cutting-edge features as other Illinois sportsbooks, including in-game betting, live streaming, and a simple to use parlay builder. On top of that, this sportsbook has extremely user-friendly mobile betting apps for iOS and Android devices. The apps are among the best we’ve encountered and make it incredibly easy to add wagers to your bet slip.

This top Illinois sports betting site offers new players a $500 welcome offer which can seem smaller in comparison to the other sportsbooks but they also offer a daily cash rebate of up to 7% when you wager across any qualifying racing tracks!

Pros:

  • Top rewards on horse race betting
  • Excellent mobile betting apps
  • Simple parlay building tool

Cons:

  • Smaller welcome offer

Illinois Betting Sites Comparison

Wondering which Illinois sportsbook is right for you? We’ve put together a detailed table to help you compare the top 5 IL sportsbooks in 2021:

Welcome Bonus Promo Code Live Streaming Highlights
Betonline.ag 100% deposit match up to $1,000 Not required No Large cash contests
High limit betting
MyBookie 100% deposit match up to $1,000 Not required No Weekly betting contests
Bitcoin boost bonus
Bovada 100% Bitcoin deposit  match up to $1000 BVD1000 Yes Prop bet builder
Live sports streaming
BetUS 125% sportsbook deposit match up to $2,500 JOIN125 No Tips and analysis articles
Generous loyalty program
XBet 100% deposit match up to $500 Not required No Racing rebate promo
Unlimited referral bonus
Intertops 100% deposit match up to $500 INSIDERS No Weekly NFL pools
Monthly parlay contest
SportsBetting.ag 100% deposit match up to $1,000 KICK100 No Free live betting promos
Big money NFL contests
BetNow 100% deposit match up to $500 BN100 No Weekly $10,000 MLB contests
Weekly horse rebate
GT Bets 100% deposit match up to $500 BOS50 No Gametime Rewards loyalty scheme
Monthly horse rebate
BUSR 20% deposit match up to $500 WELCOME20 No Daily rebate
Unlimited referral bonus

Is Sports Betting Legal in Illinois?

Sports betting is legal in Illinois as of March 2020. However, there is a catch: you have to register for an online sports betting account at a physical casino before you can start wagering online. That means that you’ll need to travel to one of Illinois’ casinos before you can start betting.

There are a few other things to know about legal sports betting in Illinois. First, you can only wager on sports, not on non-sports events like politics, the stock market, or entertainment. Second, you have to be 21 – not 18 – to wager on sports in Illinois. Finally, while collegiate sports betting is legal in Illinois, you can’t bet on Illinois college teams.

In addition, it’s worth noting that the doors haven’t fully opened to online wagering in Illinois just yet. The state legislature decided to give physical casinos an 18-month head start before fully online sportsbooks would be allowed in the state. Online sportsbooks have made deals with Illinois casinos to speed up the online betting market, but you won’t see online-only sportsbooks in Illinois until 2022.

With all that in mind, let’s look at a brief timeline of sports betting legislation in Illinois:

2018: 5 bills to legalize sports betting were introduced to the Illinois legislature this year, although they were primarily intended to explore the possibility of legalizing sports wagering than to be voted on.

May 2019: Illinois Rep. Mike Zalewski introduced a bill to legalize sports betting. It included unusually high fees and an 18-month waiting period for online sportsbooks, and was widely criticized by the sports betting industry.

June 2019: The Illinois legislature passed a bill that legalized sports betting and doubled the number of casino licenses available in Illinois. The bill was being amended right up until it passed, and the final language excluded online sportsbooks from receiving their own licenses for 18 months – although they could partner with existing Illinois casinos. After 18 months, 3 licenses would be available for online-only sportsbooks. In addition, bettors would be required to register for online sports betting accounts at in-person casinos.

April 2020: Illinois Governor JB Pritzker suspended the requirement for sports bettors to register in person in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The requirement was reinstated in June, suspended again in August, and then reinstated in April 2021.

August 2021: The Illinois Gaming Board published applications for the state’s 3 online-only sports betting licenses. A license costs $20 million and it is unclear if any sports betting outfit will apply for them at this time. The in-person registration requirement will be lifted if and when an online-only sports betting license is issued.

Gambling Tax in Illinois

Illinois has some of the heftiest fees for sportsbooks of any state. Casinos have to pay up to $10 million for a sports betting license, plus a 15% tax rate on all sports betting revenue. The 3 online-only sportsbook licenses that Illinois is planning to issue will also cost $20 million each, which could prove to be prohibitively expensive for many companies.

For bettors, profits from sports betting are taxed just like ordinary income. You’ll need to report your winnings on both your state and federal taxes, and you can use gambling losses to offset your winnings. Just keep in mind that you can’t use losses from sports betting to offset other types of income.

What Sports Can You Bet On in Illinois?

Illinois allows betting on all types of sports. You can bet on professional leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB, plus popular sports like MMA, boxing, soccer, and rugby. You can also bet on college sports, although Illinois specifically prohibits placing wagers on Illinois college teams. Illinois also allows betting on horse racing and daily fantasy sports.

One aspect of Illinois’ sports betting law that’s unique is that it prohibits wagering on non-sports events. So, you can’t wager on the outcome of elections or entertainment events like the Oscars.

Esports Betting in Illinois

Esports betting resides in a gray area in Illinois’ sports betting landscape. Betting on esports is legal only if the Illinois Gaming Board approves a particular tournament or event. That means that esports betting is allowed only on a case-by-case basis – something that casts a chilling effect on this type of wagering.

It’s unclear if or when Illinois will grant broader approval to esports betting.

Horse Race Betting in Illinois

Betting on horse races has long been legal in Illinois and there are 3 pari-mutuel race tracks within the state: Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, and Hawthorne Race Course.

You can bet on horse racing at any of these 3 racetracks, or at a number of in-person sportsbooks throughout Illinois:

  • Time Out OTB (Alton, IL)
  • Aurora: The Piazza (Aurora, IL)
  • Trackside at Joe’s Bar (Chicago, IL)
  • Corliss OTB (Chicago, IL)
  • Crestwood OTB (Crestwood, IL)
  • Post Time Sports Bar & Grille (Green Oaks, IL)
  • Trackside at Salerno’s (Hodgkins, IL)
  • Trackside at the Saddle Room (Hoffman Estates, IL)
  • Bookie Magee’s (Joliet, IL)
  • Black Eyed Susan (Lansing, IL)
  • Salerno’s Pizzeria and R Bar (McHenry, IL)
  • Stoney Point Grill (Mokena, IL)
  • Blono Pizza Co. (Normal, IL)
  • Oakbrook Terrace OTB (Oakbrook Terrace, IL)
  • Furlong’s Sports Grill & OTB (Ottawa, IL)
  • Bullpen Bar & Grill (Peoria, IL)
  • Players Pub & Grill (Prospect Heights, IL)
  • Don Carter Lanes (Rockford, IL)
  • Route 3 OTB (Sauget, IL)
  • Capital Teletrack (Springfield, IL)
  • Trackside at Crazy Pour (Villa Park, IL)

Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois

Illinois has had a complex history with daily fantasy sports. After platforms launched in the state, the state’s attorney general issued an opinion that they violated Illinois gambling laws. Despite this opinion, the platforms continued to operate in Illinois without penalty.

When it came time to legalize sports betting in Illinois, however, the final bill included a penalty against these two companies: they would not be eligible to receive online-only sportsbook licenses for 18 months, and would have to partner with existing Illinois casinos in the meantime.

Finally, in April 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that daily fantasy sports do not violate Illinois sports betting laws since daily fantasy sports are games of skill.

Types of Betting Markets

When it comes to betting on sports in Illinois, there are a lot of different wagers you can place. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular types of sports bets in Illinois:

  • Moneyline Bets: A moneyline bet is simply a bet on which team will win a match. You’ll find moneyline bets available from every Illinois sportsbook for virtually every game they offer.
  • Prop Bets: Proposition bets, also known as prop bets, are wagers on in-game events that don’t directly affect a game’s outcome. For example, a prop bet might let you wager on which player will have the most rebounds or which team will be winning halfway through the game.Prop Bets BetMGM
  • Over/Under Bets: An over/under bet lets you wager on whether the final score will be greater than or less than a specific number set by the sportsbook. Typically, over/under bets are placed on the combined final scores of the two teams playing in a match.
  • Parlays: Parlay betting allows you to combine two or more bets, including moneyline, prop, and over/under bets. To win a parlay, all of your individual bets must win. You can combine bets on the same match or bet on multiple matches in a parlay bet.BetMGM Parlay Generator
  • Futures: Futures bets are bets placed for an event that will occur in the future as opposed to on the same day the bet is placed. Futures bets are often used to wager on what team will win a season championship or what player will be the league MVP.
  • Correct Score: In a correct score bet, you predict the final score of a match. For your bet to win, you must get each team’s final score exactly correct.

Bonuses at Illinois Sportsbooks

Many Illinois sportsbooks offer welcome bonuses for new players and ongoing promotions for existing bettors. These help attract new players and reward you for betting frequently.

There are several types of bonuses to know about – so let’s take a look at the most common offerings.

Deposit Match Bonuses

One common type of bonus you’ll find at sportsbooks is a deposit match bonus. When you deposit money into your account, the sportsbook will match your deposit up to a certain amount.

Free Bets

Free bets let you place a wager with zero risk of losing money. To give you an example of how a free bet works, you can place a bet worth up to a certain sum on any moneyline, prop, over/under, or parlay. If you win, you get to keep your winnings. If you lose, the bookie will simply refund the bet amount to your account.

No Deposit Bonuses

No deposit bonuses give you money to wager without requiring you to first make a deposit to your account. To get the bonus money, all you have to do is sign up for a new sportsbook account. No deposit bonuses are an extremely good deal for players, but they’re not commonly offered.

Bonus Terms and Conditions

There are a few conditions to know about when taking advantage of bonus offers. First, many have an expiration date. You have to use your bonus funds within a certain amount of time – say, 30 days – after receiving them or they’ll simply disappear.

Another thing to know is that you can’t simply withdraw bonus funds from your account right away. You’ll need to wager a certain amount first.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that some bonus offers come with minimum odds requirements.

Welcome Bonus Comparison

Want to know which Illinois sports betting site offers the best welcome bonus? Check out the table below to compare current offers:

Welcome Bonus Promo Code Minimum Odds
Betonline.ag 100% deposit match up to $1,000 Not required 2
MyBookie 100% deposit match up to $1,000 Not required 2.5
Bovada 100% Bitcoin deposit  match up to $1000 BVD1000 2
BetUS 125% sportsbook deposit match up to $2,500 JOIN125 2.8
XBet 100% deposit match up to $500 Not required 2
Intertops 100% deposit match up to $500 INSIDERS 2
SportsBetting.ag 100% deposit match up to $1,000 KICK100 2.5
BetNow 100% deposit match up to $500 BN100 2.6
GT Bets 100% deposit match up to $500 BOS50 2
BUSR 20% deposit match up to $500 WELCOME20 2.5

Deposit & Withdrawal Methods for Illinois Betting

Another thing to consider when choosing an Illinois sportsbook is how deposits and withdrawals work. All of the sportsbooks we reviewed let you make payments and withdraw winnings by credit card, debit card, and PayPal.

Check out the table below to see what payment methods you can use, how much you need to deposit, and when you can expect to get paid for each sportsbook:

Sportsbook Deposit and Withdrawal Methods Min Deposit Min Withdrawal Payout Time
BetOnline Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, money order, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple $10 $100 1-48 hours
MyBookie Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum $25 $100 1-48 hours
Bovada Credit card, debit card, Zelle, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin $10 $500 1-24 hours
BetUS MasterCard, Visa, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum $10 $100 1-24 hours
XBet VISA, Mastercard, AmEx, Bitcoin $25 $100 24-48 hours

Illinois Mobile Betting Apps

Most online sportsbooks in Illinois offer mobile apps to let you bet from anywhere. You just need to be located inside Illinois state lines to place a bet.

Our favorite mobile betting app is from MyBookie, although Xbet also offers excellent mobile experiences. When checking out mobile betting apps, make sure you have access to the same range of sports markets and wagers. You should also be able to easily access your bet slip, stream live matches, and place in-game bets from your smartphone.Draftkings Sports Betting App

Live Betting & Streaming in Illinois

One of the most exciting ways to bet on sports in Illinois is live betting. With this type of betting, you can wager on games as they unfold. Odds are updated in real time as it looks increasingly likely whether one team will win. You can also place live prop bets with sportsbooks like MyBookie and Betonline.

All of the sportsbooks we reviewed also offer live streaming in HD-quality. That means that you can watch the games you wager on, even if you don’t have a cable subscription. This is especially useful for less popular sports like volleyball, cycling, and darts, which often aren’t available to watch anywhere else.

How to Compare Illinois Sportsbooks

Each of the top Illinois sports betting sites has a lot to offer. So, how do you decide which platform is right for you?

We’ll take a closer look at some of the key elements you should consider when choosing a sportsbook in Illinois.

Range of markets

The first thing to look at when evaluating an Illinois sportsbook is what sports it offers for betting. Sportsbooks like BetOnline and BetUS stand out for offering a huge range of sports, including exotic events like fencing, snooker, and beach volleyball. Of course, if you want to bet on major sports leagues like the NBA and NFL, you’ll find those at any Illinois sports betting site.

Bonuses

The welcome bonuses that different sportsbooks offer can also be a major factor in your choice of platform. First, you’ll need to decide if you would rather have a free bet or a deposit match bonus. Deposit matches can be used to bet on multiple different games while free bets can only be used all at once.

You’ll also need to check how much money you need to deposit to claim the full bonus and whether there are any terms and conditions that affect how you can wager.

Payment methods

All of the Illinois sportsbooks we reviewed accept credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal for deposits, which makes payment simple. In addition, no sportsbook requires a minimum deposit greater than $10 when you open a new account. Still, sportsbooks can differ in how long they take to pay out funds, so be sure to check how payments work before signing up.

Live betting & streaming

In-game betting and live streaming are key features for top Illinois sportsbooks. They make sports matches more exciting and let you follow the action in real time.BetMGM Live Betting

The good news is that all of the top 5 sports betting sites in Illinois offer live betting and streaming. Just make sure that the streams are in HD quality.

Licensing & security 

All Illinois sportsbooks must be licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board to operate. Still, it’s a good idea to double-check, since there are many offshore sports betting sites that operate in Illinois without a license.

It’s also important to consider what security measures online sportsbooks have in place. Since you’re depositing real money online, encryption is an absolute must. All of the sportsbooks we reviewed have numerous measures in place to safeguard your account and defend against online threats.

Sportsbooks at Illinois Casinos

Physical casinos in Illinois were given an 18-month head start over online-only casinos. In fact, the state still hasn’t issued any mobile-only casino licenses and doesn’t plan to until at least 2022.

That means that you can place sports bets at a number of casinos across the state in addition to online. Here’s a complete list of retail sportsbooks at Illinois casinos:

  • Rivers Casino Sportsbook (partnered with BetRivers)
  • Casino Queen (partnered with DraftKings)
  • Fairmount Park (partnered with FanDuel)
  • Grand Victoria (partnered with Caesar’s Sportsbook)
  • Hawthorne Race Course (partnered with PointsBet)
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet (partnered with Barstool Sportsbook)
  • Par-A-Dice Casino(partnered with BetMGM)
  • Jumer’s Casino Rock Island (partnered with Bally’s Sportsbook)
  • Argosy Casino (partnered with Unibet)
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Harrah’s Metropolis (partnered with William Hill)
  • Harrah’s Joliet (partnered with William Hill)

Conclusion

Sports betting in Illinois has never been easier and the number of sportsbooks – both in-person and online – is growing rapidly. If you’re ready to try sports betting in Illinois, sign up with BetOnline today and claim your $1000 free bet!

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Michael is based on Washington and has written for a variety of major online publications. He has an in depth knowledge of the US gambling market and writes state betting guides and sportsbook reviews for Basketballinsiders.