One bet, one outcome, one price. If you want to make a single prediction, you can place a single bet – the least complicated method of placing a wager. Let’s say you are convinced the Chicago Bulls will win their next NBA game. You will be able to place your money on that outcome alone.
The best sports betting sites in Illinois 2022
Sports betting in Illinois has been under way since 2020 and there are now more than half-a-dozen online sportsbooks taking wagers in the state. Online betting received a major boost when the stipulation that online accounts had to be opened in person was removed on March 5 2022.
Our top recommended Illinois sportsbooks
Sites for Illinois sports bettors to avoid
Several offshore operations are accessible by sports bettors in Illinois, but we advise you to steer clear of such companies. We have compiled a list of sportsbooks that are best avoided. Some engage in false advertising, others have rigged games and there have been many reports of customers being unable to withdraw money from their accounts – with no legal recourse to help them receive their cash.
Top online sportsbooks in Illinois
The list of companies offering online sports betting in Illinois includes brands now widely acknowledged as the leaders in their field. When you download an Illinois sports betting app created by these companies, you can be sure you are getting the very best mobile wagering experience available in the USA today. Here is our in-depth guide to the leading Illinois sports betting operators.
The DraftKings sportsbook website and app is now live in numerous states and is extremely highly regarded by players who enjoy sports betting. Its casino partner in Illinois is DraftKings at Casino Queen.
Its exploits as a provider of Daily Fantasy Sports gave DraftKings a high profile, which it has leveraged since sports betting was legalized in a succession of states.
However, it has backed up that initial edge with a genuinely superb online offering. New customers qualify for a welcome bonus that includes both a $50 free bet and a boost to your deposit that can be worth as much as $1,000.
Its Illinois sports betting app is highly rated. In fact, the company offers a single app that can be rolled out in any territory where it acquires a licence – and allows access to an impressive spread of sports and markets.
No list of the leading sportsbooks in any state where sports betting has been legalized would be complete without the name of FanDuel. This is a brand that made its name as a leading provider of Daily Fantasy Sports games, then pivoted smartly to add a quality sportsbook capability to its offering.
Appropriately for an organization that operated on a mobile-first basis in DFS, the FanDuel app has earned rave reviews from customers across the USA. Its simple, clear design, backed up by top-line navigation and the ability to place wagers quickly and easily, makes it a leading Illinois sports betting app.
Its casino partner is FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing, formerly known as Fairmount Park. FanDuel also scores highly for the breadth of sports on offer and the frequency with which it delivers odds boosts and promotions. Its sign-up offer is a free $100 bet when you register, followed by a risk-free bet of up to $1,000.
PointsBet has performed extremely well since entering the US sports betting market. It has been helped by the general excellence of its online offering, and by the unique system of PointsBetting that it makes available to clients.
PointsBetting enables you to take a greater risk and, in turn, win bigger depending on the margin by which your selection wins. The flipside is that you can lose bigger too – though you can put limits in place.
Its casino partner is the Hawthorn racetrack, and customers who sign up can take advantage of a promotion offering two free bets with a total value of up to $2,000.
This is a sportsbook with Australian roots that has brought an assertive, challenging approach to the business of online sports betting in Illinois and elsewhere. It fully deserves its place among the ranks of leading American sports wagering firms.
Caesars’ acquisition of William Hill for $4billion in 2021 gave this massive casino brand an entry to the elite of American online sportsbooks. With Hills’ extensive sportsbook expertise complemented by the high profile of the Caesars name, it has quickly established itself as one of the best options for sports betting in Illinois and beyond.
The welcome bonus is eye-catchingly generous, as it comes in the form of a deposit match of up to $1,500. This is backed up by an outstanding user experience, a host of ongoing promotions and a commitment to delivering markets on a broad range of sports and events.
Its retail partner is Chicago’s Grand Victoria Casino, and the rewards program offers you the chance to earn points that can be used both for sports betting purposes and in a bricks-and-mortar casino. Caesars is a force to be reckoned with in the Illinois sports betting arena.
The Barstool sportsbook takes a bold, assertive approach to the business of sports betting, as befits the tone set by the publications of its parent company Barstool Sports.
It went live in Illinois thanks to its partnership with Penn National Gaming, which owns three casinos in the state. Penn National’s gambling expertise has also helped the sportsbook in refining the way it engages with customers.
This is a high quality sportsbook with some outstanding features. New players are welcomed with a $10 no-deposit bonus and the chance of a risk-free bet worth up to $1,000.
The main strength of Barstool is its array of unique promotions and offers. They include the chance to win rewards for tailing a Barstool Sports personality’s selections and the opportunity to scoop a huge prize through an overs tournament on big football action.
When it comes to sports betting in Illinois, BetRivers is on home turf. Its parent company, Rush Street Interactive, has its headquarters in Chicago, and BetRivers is the exclusive online gambling partner of the Chicago Bears.
Its casino partner is, not surprisingly, the Rivers Casino – the brand made its name as a casino operator. The sportsbook it has created in double-quick time has won plenty of friends and is now live in several states. It was one of the first four online sportsbooks to go live in New York at the start of 2022.
Chicagoans who sign up for an account will find a strong focus on local sports, as well as an excellent welcome offer that doubles your deposit up to a maximum of $250 and has a minimal playthrough requirement. Not surprisingly, it enjoys one of the biggest handles from Illinois sports betting customers, outstripped only by FanDuel and DraftKings.
Popular sports to bet on in Illinois
Illinois is a state that loves its sport and its 13 million inhabitants have plenty to get excited about. With famous teams in each of the Big Four sports and a host of excellent college programs too, there is always great sport with a local flavor to bet on here.
When it comes to baseball, most of the attention centers on the two famous Chicago teams and their long-standing rivalry. The Cubs and the White Sox have been vying for support in the Windy City since the beginning of the 20th century and now face off regularly in what is known as the Crosstown Classic.
Each team ended a wait of several decades for a third World Series triumph in the early years of this century, which has added extra edge to their feud. Baseball is a popular sport anyway with those who enjoy sports betting in Illinois, but this rivalry ensures even greater interest.
Football is a clear leader in the league table of most popular sports among American bettors. And the people of Illinois have, in the Chicago Bears, one of the most historic names in the NFL.
The Bears won eight NFL championships in their early decades, but have only one Super Bowl to their name, which was won as long ago as 1985.
Nevertheless, the Bears still draw heavy support from their home city and beyond, and the general popularity of football wagering means there will always be serious interest when it comes to Illinois sports betting on the NFL.
When it comes to basketball, there is only one show in town. The Chicago Bulls, inspired by Michael Jordan, won six NBA Finals in the 1990s to give them a global profile that persists to this day.
The Bulls have rarely threatened to hit those heights in recent years but they still command great support in the Windy City. Basketball is also a highly popular sport from a wagering perspective, which ensures there will always be a high level of investment in the best NBA action among fans of sports betting in Illinois.
Ever since they were founded in 1926 as one of the Original Six NHL teams, the Chicago Blackhawks have enjoyed massive support in their home city.
Their fans have been treated to six Stanley Cup victories, three of them since 2009, which has kept interest in hockey high in the Windy City to this day.
Hockey is a sport that generates considerable interest from a betting perspective and fans across Illinois and beyond enjoy wagering on the NHL, as well as the best leagues in Europe.
Soccer has grown in popularity across the USA in recent decades following the establishment of the MLS. The leading team in Illinois is the Chicago Fire, who won both the MLS Cup and the US Open Cup in their first season in 1998 and have won the latter three times since.
From a betting perspective, the global popularity of soccer ensures that there will always be serious interest in wagering on the sport. As well as the best MLS action, fans enjoy getting involved in games from some of the biggest competitions across the world, including La Liga in Spain and the English Premier League.
Illinois has hosted several Major championships, notably at Medinah, Olympia Fields and Kemper Lakes. Tiger Woods twice won the PGA Championship at Medinah, which was also the venue for one of the most memorable Ryder Cups in recent years, when Europe pulled off a shock victory in 2012.
Golf is a sport that lends itself to high levels of wagering. Tournaments are played over four days, they feature large fields, and there is a wide range of ways – such as over/unders and two-ball match-ups – in which sports bettors can get involved in every event.
NASCAR is the most popular motorsport series in the USA. Illinois sports betting companies offer a generous array of markets on the events that take place in several series throughout the year.
Illinois fans can get a taste of NASCAR action close up at two tracks in the state – the Chicagoland Speedway and the World Wide Technology Raceway. NASCAR attracts vast crowds to watch the high-speed, high-octane races, and many aficionados enjoy pitting their expertise against the odds makers when it’s time for the cars to roar away from the start line.
Horse racing has always been treated as a separate entity from other sports when it comes to betting. There are numerous venues where you can place wagers on racing in Illinois, as well as several dedicated sites offering online betting facilities.
Local fans of the sport who want to see the action up close can still attend meetings at the tracks at Fairmount Park and Hawthorne. Sadly, the track at Arlington, which hosted the prestigious Arlington Million, has been sold for redevelopment and the last races took place there in 2021.
College football attracts serious interest across Illinois. The Prairie State is home to two teams who play in the prestigious Big Ten conference, the Illinois Fighting Illini from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University’s Wildcats. Several other colleges have teams in Division I of the NCAA.
Placing a bet on college football has historically been restricted to pre-game wagers struck in person. However, that stipulation was lifted on March 5 2022 and it will be fascinating to see what this relaxation does to the levels of NCAA football sports betting in Illinois.
No fewer than 13 colleges field men’s and women’s teams play in Division I of NCAA basketball, including the Illini and the Wildcats in the Big Ten.
The previous restriction on betting on college sports obviously affected the level of wagering on NCAA basketball in the state. Given the popularity of basketball in general, and the number of outstanding programs in the state, it is to be hoped that the lifting of the in-person restriction will have a galvanizing effect on levels of wagering on the sport.
Illinois sports betting facts
Sports betting in Illinois is a reasonably recent addition to the life of the Prairie State. Let’s look at some fascinating facts and figures relating to this new activity.
The cost of an online-only sports betting license in Illinois
The number of pages in SB 690, the bill that legalized sports betting
The percentage of sports bets in Illinois that are placed online
The amount wagered by Illinois sports bettors on the 2022 Super Bowl
Bet types and markets
When you begin online sports betting in Illinois, you will be confronted by a generous selection of ways in which you can stake money on an event. Every Illinois sports betting app and website will cater for a range of tastes. You can expect to find a choice of bets to place and a variety of markets to place them on.
- Live bets
- Point spread
- Proposition bet
Free bets, bonuses and promotions
The Illinois sports betting industry is extremely competitive. In the battle to lure and retain customers, bonuses and promotions are important. There are various ways sportsbooks can offer attractive value to people considering registering for an account – and for customers who are already on the books.
When you sign up for an Illinois sports betting app or website, you should receive a generous bonus. This can be in the form of a deposit match, a risk-free bet or another type of offer that makes you feel welcome and that you’re off to a great start.
No deposit bonus
Some Illinois sports betting firms will put money in your account simply for signing up – anything from $10 to $100. That means your first bet or bets are effectively being paid for by the sportsbook, which is a great position to be in.
Risk-free bets are a popular offer to new customers. If your first wager is successful, you collect your winnings. But if it loses, you get your stake back as a free bet or site credit. The size of that bet can be up to $1,000 – or even more.
Getting your money back is always a pleasant bonus. The most common way to experience this is through parlay insurance. Some Illinois sports betting firms refund your stake as a free bet if just one leg of your parlay lets you down.
Boosting the odds about a particular result or outcome is a way for sportsbooks to give existing customers extra value. Many firms have a section of their site dedicated to boosts, so frequently do they roll out these offers.
If you bet regularly with an Illinois sports betting operator, you may find you receive a return for your loyalty. This may be in the form of a rewards program that gives you extra betting funds, or even membership of a VIP scheme.
Legal sports betting in Illinois
Illinois did not move with conspicuous speed after states were given the green light to legalize sports betting when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2018. After extensive debate and wrangling, Illinois sports betting was legalized when state governor JB Pritzker signed through SB 690 in June 2019.
The first legal wager in Illinois was placed in March 2020 at Rivers Casino. Online sports betting in Illinois went live three months later. Each operator has to have a land-based retail partner – and each partner was restricted to one online licensee.
However, it was only in late 2021 that the state agreed to rescind the requirement that bettors must attend in person to open an online betting account. The in-person registration requirement ended on March 5 2022 and you are now able to register online.
What is the legal gambling age in Illinois?
If you want to engage in Illinois sports betting, you must be at least 21 years old. The only exception is horse racing, which you can wager on at 18.
Are there any sports events you cannot bet on?
Esports betting is limited in Illinois. You can place a bet on esports only if the Illinois Gaming Board has given its permission for wagers to be taken on a particular tournament.
What’s the Illinois tax rate on sportsbook winnings?
If you win more than $600 in a year, you will be charged 15% on those winnings. For this reason, it is worth keeping a running record of all your wins and losses. You should receive a form W-2G from each sportsbook where you have seen a payout.
How much tax do online sports betting firms in Illinois pay?
Sports betting revenue is taxed at a rate of 15%. This is close to the average levy imposed by states where wagering on sports has been legalized.
It is also worth noting that the cost of an online-only sports betting license in Illinois is $20million.
How we rate the best sports betting sites
Ultimately, your choice of an Illinois sports betting app will be a personal one. But our experts will help you by rating each operator. Our team have extensive experience and know that there are several factors that must be assessed when coming to their conclusions. These include:
Security: We assess the protocols in place to ensure you can sign up with complete peace of mind
Bonuses: The quality of promotions and offers for new and existing players is a key consideration
Markets: Top sportsbooks offer the chance to bet in many ways on a host of sporting action
Mobile: Many people want to wager through their device – how good is the user experience?
Banking: Operators should offer a broad choice of ways in which you can deposit and withdraw your money
Support: There should be several ways in which you can contact a sportsbook to clear up any issues
Responsible gaming in Illinois
While sports betting is a pleasant leisure activity for most players, it can become addictive. That in turn can lead to severe financial and emotional issues. Every Illinois sports betting app should take seriously its duty to encourage responsible gambling, and to provide links to resources that can offer advice and practical help. We suggest you keep these key principles in mind:
Don’t bet when you are emotional, or upset, or have been drinking
Never gamble more than you can afford to lose
If you feel your betting is getting out of control, ask for help
Seek more detailed advice from our responsible gambling resources
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes, Illinois sports betting has been legal since 2019. Retail and online wagering commenced in 2020.
Does Illinois have in-person registration requirements?
No, not anymore. The in-person registration requirement ended on March 5 2022 and you are now able to register online.
Do you have to be in IL to bet online?
Yes, you do. If you are a customer of an Illinois sports betting app, it should include geo-location technology that ensures you are within state boundaries when trying to place a wager. Should you be outside Illinois, you will not be able to bet.
What sports betting apps can you use in Illinois?
There are now more than half-a-dozen Illinois sports betting apps in operation. They include those run by some of the leading names in the American sports betting industry, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers and PointsBet.
What do I need to create an online sports betting account in Illinois?
When you sign up for an account to enjoy sports betting in Illinois, you will need to provide several pieces of information. These will include your name and address, contact details, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and proof of your date of birth.