Despite the March launch of online sports betting in Illinois, the details remain unclear. Way back in June 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed sports betting into law, yet it has yet to become a reality.
Governor J.B. Pritzker’s extended COVID-19 shutdown has not only slowed the state’s economy in general, but it’s also delayed the anticipated launch of online sports betting in Illinois. One issue at hand is the in-person bettor registration process; casino closures, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing mandates have made that impossible.
The Near Future of Online Sports Betting in Illinois
There is much to be determined about which companies will eventually launch online platforms in Illinois, but here is what is known right now.
Currently, there are no legal online sportsbooks in Illinois. Moreover, only brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and casinos can apply for a license for online sports betting in Illinois. Finally, the licenses are provisional, good for 18-months under the current law.
Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, which is co-owned by Churchill Downs and Rush Street Interactive, could be one of the first to launch online sports betting in Illinois with its BetRivers app.
Likewise, Penn National Gaming, owns several Illinois casino properties, could quickly launch its Barstool Sportsbook USA app. Finally, PointsBet, which has a licensing partnership with Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero will also be able to launch its app for online sports betting in Illinois.
Licensing for Online Sports Betting in Illinois Doesn’t Come Cheap
Currently, there is a $10 million licensing fee for the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos, and an astounding $20 million fee for online-only sportsbooks.
However, the massive registration fees won’t deter industry giants like FanDuel and DraftKings, both of whom are currently looking to take advantage of online sports betting in Illinois.
Entry into the sure to be lucrative Illinois sports betting market could be achieved through purchasing a casino or racetrack, or through a management services application. Both of those options would need to be approved by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Potential Sports Betting Apps in Illinois
While there are no online sports betting apps approved yet in Illinois, that could change very soon. However, below the two that are expected to be among the first to launch online sports betting in Illinois.
Owned and operated by Rush Street Interactive, part-owner of the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, BetRivers is sure to be one of the first. BetRivers is very popular in many states that offer online sports betting. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania BetRivers was initially branded as SugarHouse, but the sports betting app has been successful in those states as well as in Colorado and Indiana.
The BetRivers app is simple, offering a wide variety of sports betting spanning both major league and lesser-known sports. Best of all, BetRivers offers daily bet boosts as well as a $250 first deposit match for new users.
Best of all, Barstool Sportsbook is associated with Penn National Gaming, owner of three Illinois casinos; like BetRivers, Barstool already is partnered with casino properties in the state.
The launch of Barstool Sportsbook in Illinois will surely feature its social media, podcast, and blogging talent to leverage its brand in Illinois.
DraftKings does not yet have a foothold Illinois like BetRivers or Barstool, but the $20 million registration fee and complex regulations won’t deter the sports betting giant from launching sports betting in Illinois.
DraftKings has a great reputation and is one of the earliest online sportsbook success stories. It dominates in many states where online sports betting is legal.
At sign-up new players with DraftKings can get up to $1,000 in risk-free bets. However, daily bet boosts, creative betting specials, and a modern app design make DraftKings hugely popular.
Like its arch-rival DraftKings, FanDuel does not have an established entry into the Illinois sports betting market. However, FanDuel may use its substantial financial backing to simply buy a brick-and-mortar business that’s currently licensed to offer sports betting in the state.
FanDuel offers new players a $500 risk-free first bet as well as betting promos and creative odds boosts. Like DraftKings, FanDuel is a major player in the U.S. online sports betting market.
The position of PointsBet when it comes to online sports betting in Illinois is unknown at this point. However, PointsBet quickly emerged in New Jersey as a popular alternative to the big-name sportsbooks.
What makes PointBet different are betting specials and aggressive odds boosts and advantageous point spread adjustments. PointsBet offers new users a $200 sign up bonus, and Pointsbetting, which allows players to win or lose more than what is offered by a typical wager, make it unique.
Questions Concerning Online Sports Betting in Illinois
There are two big questions when it comes to online sports betting in Illinois:
The state launched legal online sports betting on March 9, 2020, ahead of the 2020 NCAA Tournament at Rivers Casino. A few days later, the Argosy Casino also opened a retail sportsbook. However, the NCAA Tournament was canceled, due to the novel coronavirus, and the resulting shutdowns. As it stands, the shutdown orders remain in effect, with no firm end date in sight.
Current Illinois sports betting regulations permit bets to be placed at racetrack and casino sportsbooks, and at sports stadiums and arenas. However, the sports betting kiosks at Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, and the United Center are currently off-limits, due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Sadly, without any operational online sports betting in Illinois, bettors have been left with no options. Neighboring Indiana offers mobile betting, but Illinois residents can not partake in that, without crossing state lines.
No Online-Only Sportsbooks Allowed in Illinois
States like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Colorado welcome mobile-only platforms such as FanDuel and DraftKings, but that option is not allowed in Illinois. The reason could be that the two online sports betting giants both operated Daily Fantasy Sports in the state until Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ruled that it was illegal. As a result, the 18-month provisional license only permits the state’s retail casinos and racetracks to offer online sports betting.
Theoretically, this would give the state’s retail casinos the ability to build up a strong customer base. The in-person registration requirement also plays into that.
However, that theory falls apart when you consider that online sportsbooks like FanDuel, DraftKings, and FOX Bet are hugely successful in the states where they currently operate. While those online sportsbooks are at a disadvantage, it doesn’t mean they won’t be very successful when they do gain entry to the Illinois sports betting market.
Potential Good News for Online Sports Betting in Illinois
On June 4, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-41, which temporarily suspends the state’s required in-person online sports betting registration for the duration of the public health disaster.
With concerns remaining over the potential spread of COVID-19, Pritzker suspended the in-person requirement to support social distancing efforts as the state works to rebound from being declared a disaster area. However, as pointed out previously, there are no licensed, online sports betting operators in the state to sign up with, making the point moot.
Summer Could Start a Tsunami of Sports Betting in Illinois
Major sports leagues like the NBA, NHL, and MLB could restart their seasons this summer, creating a good opportunity for online sports betting in Illinois to finally get underway.
This is also a good time for the state to take advantage of the additional revenue sports betting can provide following the financial shortfalls caused by the extended coronavirus shutdowns.
However, online sports betting in Illinois is still not an option, and no casino has proposed potential launch date. It also remains to be seen if the 18-month in-person requirement is re-established as Illinois advances through its reopening phases. That would be a very bad move if the state were to make gains on the tax revenue generated by online sports betting.
Illinois Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Illinois, beginning on March 9, 2020.
Where can I place a sports bet in Illinois?
Until the state grants the first licenses to online operators, sports betting is only available at retail locations, such as casinos, racetracks, and sports stadiums.
What sports can I wager on in Illinois?
You can bet on all professional sports leagues, both national and international, D-1 college sports, and motorsports. While betting on college sports is allowed, betting on college teams based in Illinois is not permitted.
Is online sports betting in Illinois allowed?
Yes, but as of this writing, no licenses have been granted to an online sportsbook operator. However, at the time that you are reading this, that may have changed.
Do I have to be in Illinois to place a bet?
Yes, you must be physically in the state to bet in Illinois. That includes online sports betting in Illinois, too.
How old must I be to bet in Illinois?
Sports bettors in Illinois must be at least 21 years old.
What types of bets can I place in Illinois?
You can place moneyline bets, spread bets, totals bets, parlays, futures bets, in-game betting, and other types of traditional wagers.
What are the tax rates on Illinois sports betting?
The tax rate for Illinois sports betting is 15%. In addition to the 15% tax rate, the state’s casinos and racetracks must pay a $10 million online licensing fee, and if they choose to offer an online sportsbook, there is a $20 million licensing fee.
In Illinois, can I bet on high school sports?
No. That is the rule for all states that offer sports betting. While betting on out-of-state college sports is legal, betting on high school sports is not.
How to Place Sports Bet in Illinois
First of all, you must be at least 21 years of age. Also, sports bettors must be present at a retail sportsbook. When online sports betting in Illinois is finally available, bettors must be physically present within the state’s borders. Mobile and online locations are tracked by geolocation technology, so you can’t fool the authorities.
Making a Deposit with an Online Sportsbook
Funding your account with an online sportsbook includes these popular options:
Online bank transfers and PayPal tend to be the fastest options for transferring money in and out of your account.
Withdrawing Your Winnings
Withdraw options vary, depending on the sportsbook. Usually, you can withdraw money from your account using:
There are currently 10 casinos licensed in Illinois, all of which are classified as “riverboat casinos”. While seven are technically on boats, none of them actually sail.The ten Illinois casinos are dotted around the state, casinos in southern Illinois are on the Tennessee border, and two border Missouri near East St. Louis.