Illinois Sports Betting – Best Legal Sportsbooks in IL
Shawn West has been involved with college basketball, NFL and college football and MLB since he left his job as bank vice president two decades ago. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, children, two dachshunds and a variety of turtles.
The Illinois sports betting industry has officially launched. While Illinois trailed behind the rest of the U.S., the state finally made all forms of sports betting legal in 2020.
In our guide, we cover the latest betting regulations in Illinois, what’s new, what’s changed and how offshore sportsbooks have more to offer Illinois sports bettors than domestic books.
The Best Illinois Sportsbooks in 2023
Best Sports Betting Sites for Illinois in 2023
Our experts set out to find the top 10 sites for online sports betting in the state of Illinois. In order to do that, they signed up with all of the sportsbooks, tried out all the features and eventually selected the following sites:
- Bookmaker.eu – Always among the earliest lines and accepts action from all players, large and small
- Heritage Sports – Tops for live betting and among the best odds out there
- Bovada – The most diverse set of sports betting options
- BetOnline – You’re not going to find a faster payout
- BetAnySports – Reduced juice offers 50 percent discount
- BetUS – Bonuses for new and existing customers
- WagerWeb – Fast payouts, faster for Bitcoin users
- JustBet – Early lines and high limits for most sports
- Everygame – Best spot for betting on sporting events outside U.S.
- GTBets – Half a point bonus when betting your favorite team
These sportsbooks are all located offshore, which means they do not have to abide by state and federal regulations on gambling. That allows them to offer online sports betting to anyone in Illinois without violating sports betting law. There are no state or federal laws keeping you from placing bets at these sites while you are in Illinois, and we have done a thorough evaluation to make sure that these sites are on the level and will give you a fair deal.
These operators offer wagering on major sports leagues, college sports and a variety of niche betting markets like entertainment and politics.
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes, Illinois made sports betting legal in 2019 and kicked off their industry a few months later in 2020. Originally, only retail sports betting was allowed; however, online sportsbook operators were authorized in June 2020.
While the local sports betting market is still working out all the kinks, offshore platforms have a long history of dependable wagering, which is why they populate our top 10 list. Legal sports betting sites and sportsbook apps allow you to easily place wagers on your favorite professional sports team, keep up with pre- and in-game betting odds and play a wide range of games right off the casino floor.
Reviews for the Best Illinois Sportsbooks
All sites are different and our top 10 sites for Illinois sports betting each has benefits and perks that are unique to them. You can read our reviews of the best sportsbooks so that, when betting in Illinois, you can find the site that’s right for you.
1. BookMaker: Best for High-Limit Wagering
Bookmaker.eu is our choice for the best all-around sportsbook for Illinois sports betting.
Regardless of whether you are a rookie or an experienced gambler, a high roller or just dipping your toe in the water, you’ll find Bookmaker.eu meets your needs.
One thing that old and new bettors alike will appreciate is the early lines. You won’t have to wait all morning to see what the odds are for an upcoming game. Bookmaker.eu is among the earliest in the business to post their lines on a daily basis.
They also offer high limits, so, when you’re ready to try to break the bank, they’ll be happy to take your wagers on sports.
They operate out of Costa Rica and are not subject to state laws in Illinois or U.S. federal laws. That allows you to bet on sports and play casino games at Bookmaker.eu without worry, and when you win, you’ll enjoy a fast payout.
Signing up for a Bookmaker.eu account will make you eligible for a variety of promos, and you also get special treatment if you deposit using cryptocurrency. Existing customers can take advantage of generous reload bonuses as well as one of the best loyalty programs in the industry.
- Early lines mean they’ll be ready when you are
- Welcomes all bettors and has high limits for high rollers
- Long-running site with one of the best reputations
- Competitive pricing and bonuses
- Professional bettors are not eligible for their loyalty program.
- Does not have an online poker room
2. Heritage Sports: Top Option for Live Betting
Heritage Sports places high on our Illinois rankings, and there are a number of reasons why.
While not long ago, people were content to place a bet on a sporting event and wait until the end to see if they won, live betting is one of the most popular ways to enjoy sports wagering. Heritage Sports has one of the best in-game wagering interfaces around, allowing you to easily bet on the game or match you’re watching, as it’s taking place.
Heritage Sports also has competitive pricing with its reduced juice. The industry standard is to offer odds of -110 on either side of a spread or line, but Heritage Sports goes with -108.
What difference does that make? It’s essentially a 20% discount. Over the long run, it will make a difference to your bottom line.
There are also bonuses to sign up as a new customer and a cash-back program for VIP members. If you’re looking for more than just sports betting, you can also play at one of the best online casinos in the industry.
- Reduced juice offers a 20 percent discount
- One of the top live betting sections around
- Cashback and sign-up promos
- User-friendly interface
- Other places have more generous sign-up bonuses
- Does not have a live poker room
3. Bovada: Leading Mobile Platform in the Industry
If you’re looking for the full casino experience, Bovada is the place to go. Yes, we’re ranking sports betting sites here, but Bovada offers a wide variety of betting options. In addition to the sportsbook, there is a comprehensive racebook section as well as the busiest online poker room in America.
Bovada’s sportsbook also offers more prop betting options than most competitors, and there’s a section that allows you to suggest bets not currently offered. The sportsbook also offers a variety of promotions to attract new users and retain existing ones. The most prominent offer is the 50% sports welcome bonus, which can reach up to $500 for new sign-ups
Bovada has one of the top mobile betting platforms in the industry, making it easy to continue the action on your phone when you step away from the computer.
- Among the most prop betting options around
- America’s busiest poker room and other non-sports gambling options
- Mobile platform allows you to bet anywhere
- Low rollover requirements allow you to collect your bonus money faster
- Limits not as high as other top-rated sites
- Often a longer wait until lines are released
4. BetOnline: User-Friendly Interface
If you shop around for lines at the various online sportsbooks offered in Illinois, things can start to all look the same. There’s often very little difference between lines and betting odds as you go from one site to another.
Then there’s BetOnline which tends to stray from the pack more often than other sites with its opinionated lines.
Lines on baseball, football and basketball are often significantly different than at rival sites, and often, it offers different odds on the two sides of a spread or line. For example, instead of -110/-110, the odds might be -113/-107, allowing you to boost your payout if you pick things correctly.
BetOnline‘s promos are appealing, and there is a generous reload bonus for crypto users. The site is also proud of its 24/7 customer service. Their online casino has been one of the best in the industry for the past 25 years in case you’re looking for something more than just betting on sports.
- Opinionated lines stand out from the pack
- One of the faster payouts
- Betting limits are very high
- Customer service and user interface lead the industry
- Reduced juice not available unless you bet on hockey
- Limited prop betting options
5. BetAnySports: Leader in Offering Reduced Juice
BetAny Sports is a top-tier offshore sportsbook that has gained immense popularity in Illinois, thanks to its extensive offerings and user-friendly platform. One of the primary reasons for its appeal lies in its generous bonus schemes, which significantly enhance the betting experience for its users. These bonuses, ranging from sign-up incentives to reduced juice lines, provide an excellent opportunity for bettors to increase their potential winnings.
Moreover, BetAny Sports is known for its reduced juice, offering lower betting costs than most of its counterparts, thereby providing bettors with better value for their money. The sportsbook also houses a fully-fledged casino, giving users a chance to enjoy a diverse range of casino games alongside their sports betting adventures. With a broad selection of sports and betting options, along with top-notch customer service, BetAny Sports has proven to be a premier betting destination for sports enthusiasts in Illinois.
- Reduced juice of -105 lines gives 50 percent discount
- Odds on moneylines, props and futures are among the best
- Pays out quickly
- Well-developed live betting platform
- Interface isn’t as user-friendly as others
- Bonuses are a bit stingier than elsewhere
6. BetUS: Red Carpet Service for Loyal Customers
At times it might seem like all the online gambling sites care about is landing a new Illinois user. What about those of us who have already signed up?
BetUS hasn’t forgotten the customers that have gotten it where it is. The sportsbook offers the best VIP service in the state. If you are loyal, make large deposits and remain active with BetUS, they will roll out the red carpet treatment for you.
New users can also count on a nice bonus. You’ll get free bets in the sportsbook as well as freebies on the casino gaming side.
BetUS also has more of a personality than some other online sites. There are video previews of big events at BetUS TV, and their creative, interactive marketing department has a creative presence on social media.
- Very large bonuses for both new customers and returning ones
- Video previews and analysis at BetUS TV
- VIP program rewards high rollers
- Well-developed esports betting area
- Lines are among the latest to post
- More “strings” attached to bonuses (like play-through requirements) than elsewhere
7. WagerWeb: Leader in Bonuses & Promotions
WagerWeb is approaching the end of its third decade in the online sports betting business, making it one of the oldest sportsbooks around. It has a long history of dependability.
The site has some of the top bonuses available, and they offer reduced juice with -108 lines instead of -110, giving you the equivalent of a 20 percent discount.
There are a number of other options available, in addition to sports betting. A busy and diverse online casino, as well as a racebook, gives you the full gambling experience, instead of just betting on sports.
- Reduced juice gives equivalent of 20% off
- Some of the best top bonuses around
- Long history of fast payouts
- Withdrawals are limited to one per month
- Betting limits aren’t as high as at many competitors
8. Everygame: Best Mobile Casino Gaming
Everygame has earned its reputation as one of the top offshore sportsbooks to use in Illinois for several compelling reasons. Known for its substantial bonuses and promotions; Everygame encourages new members with rewarding sign-up bonuses and retains its existing users with lucrative ongoing promotions, enhancing the betting experience.
The sportsbook is extensive, covering a wide array of sports and leagues, allowing bettors to place wagers on their preferred games from any location. This flexibility coupled with user-friendly interfaces ensures a satisfying and efficient betting experience.
Everygame has one of the best mobile platforms in the state and, for people interested in playing casino games, you’re not going to find a better mobile interface than theirs.
- Covers more games worldwide than other sites
- Mobile interface is one of the best, particularly for casino gaming
- Wide variety of casino games available
- Online poker room
- Account verification takes longer, meaning you won’t be betting as fast as at other sites.
- Sportsbook promos aren’t as high as at competing sites
9. GTBets: Great Assortment of Promos
If you’re the type of person who likes freebies then GTBets is the spot for you. The site offers some of the most generous sign-up bonuses for new customers.
GTBets also gives you a bit of reduced juice on football betting, offering odds of -109 instead of -110 on NFL and NCAAF sides and totals. That’s a 10 percent discount in the long run, and you’ll also find some of the best moneyline odds for football.
GTBets also has a creative “Favorite Team” feature. You tell the site which team you root for and it rewards you with an extra half point. So, if the line is -3 in their favor, you can bet the hometown team at -2.5.
- Some of the best bonuses in Illinois
- Reduced juice football lines give 10 percent discount
- Get an extra half-point when betting on your favorite teams
- 24/7 customer service
- Withdrawal fees are higher than many other places
- High rollover requirements make it tough to cash out bonuses
10. JustBet: Best at Keeping up With New Trends
JustBet isn’t as well known as its sister site, Bookmaker.eu, but being connected to our choice for the top online betting site in Illinois helps land JustBet in our top 10 as well. The user interface and overall experience are about the same, so look for it to be user-friendly, to have betting odds early and enjoy high limits.
JustBet is also quick to adjust to changes in the industry. While many sites were playing catch-up on their live betting sections, JustBet was one of the first to allow bettors to wager on games already in progress, and they still have one of the top live betting sections around. When you sign up with JustBet, you’ll be welcomed with four options for a bonus.
- One of the best spots for live betting on sports
- Many of the same benefits of our top-rated site
- High limits and early lines
- Generous welcome bonus
- No reduced juice lines
- Does not have an online poker room
Legal History of Gambling in Illinois
There was a long, and at times nasty, debate over whether or not to legalize sports betting in Illinois, but the negotiations finally paid off in June 2019. This is when the state legislature legalized it as part of a much larger capital spending bill. It was originally its own bill, but various compromises moved it into the larger bill. The governor signed the 900-page bill into law and a few weeks later sports betting was on the path to becoming a reality.
The first legal bets in Illinois were placed on March 9, 2020, just days before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports betting is available at local casinos, tracks and OTB locations, as well as sports arenas and stadiums. The state is also offering a limited number of stand-alone mobile licenses for retail sportsbook operators.
In those early days, people had to sign up for an account in person at one of the brick-and-mortar locations before they were able to participate in online betting. That requirement, combined with the pandemic, slowed the growth of local gambling even further. The in-person requirement went away this past March.
While the local sites play catch up, you can sign up with an offshore sportsbook to bet on sports in Illinois. There are no laws to prevent you from digital wagering.
Illinois Sports Betting News and Developments
Even though local betting is legal in the state, there are a few strings attached. The biggest is the college carve out. The state’s universities asked legislators not to legalize gambling on college sports, and as a compromise, the bill prohibited gambling on in-state colleges. So you can’t bet on the Illini or Loyola of Chicago or Northwestern at locally-regulated online operators.
Last year, the regulation was modified to allow in-person betting on local colleges at retail locations, but you still can’t bet on them online, which is another advantage offered by offshore sites.
- December 2022: Bally’s receives approval to open a $1.74 billion casino located in Chicago.
- October 2022: It is reported that more than a billion dollars have been bet on sports in the state of Illinois, making it the third highest-grossing state in the U.S.
- September 2022: The sports betting industry keeps expanding, with ten casinos, three racetracks and seven sports arenas hoping to receive approval to operate in-person gambling facilities.
- March 2022: The portion of the law requiring in-person registration for online gambling expires. Users can now register for an account online and start betting right away.
- March 2020: Rivers Casino receives the first casino license awarded by the state. In June, the first sports betting apps are authorized with the caveat that, to gamble online, users first have to register with an operator in person.
- June 2019: On June 3rd, a law legalizing sports betting is passed and signed into law on June 28th.
- August 2018: A push starts to legalize gambling in the state of Illinois.
As you can see, the landscape of sports betting in Illinois has seen significant changes and developments over the years.
Illinois Teams and Betting Markets
The Prairie State has some of the most storied and well-known sports teams in the nation, as well as some of the most dedicated fanbases.
In the NFL, few teams bring back the early days of the leather helmet era like the Chicago Bears.
In the NBA, the Chicago Bulls dominated the 1990s with Michael Jordan, winning six titles and becoming a logo recognized around the world.
One of the NHL’s original teams is also based in the state, the Chicago Blackhawks.
A pair of baseball teams also represent the state, with the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox.
The five teams have combined for 27 league titles, including 14 since 1985. Illinois also has been home to MLS, WNBA and NWSL teams.
Illinois also has more than a dozen Division I college teams, led by a pair of Big Ten programs in Northwestern and the University of Illinois. Loyola thrilled the nation with a trip to the Final Four recently, and DePaul, Bradley and Southern Illinois also have histories of success.
Reviewing & Comparing Illinois Online Sportsbooks
You don’t need to sign up with an offshore sportsbook to bet on sports in Illinois, but for the time being, we recommend it. While local retail establishments work out the kinks as they respond to the new change in the law, offshore sites have a long history of dependability and stability. These sites do not fall under the jurisdiction of the state or the federal government, and you can’t go and visit their brick-and-mortar locations. So it is important to find trustworthy, reputable sportsbooks with a history of timely payouts.
That is where BMR can help. 100+ ratings were awarded to every sports betting site listed in our Sportsbook Rating Guide.
A+ rated companies listed in the BMR Best Sportsbooks page have been serving Illinois sports fans for many years, and are recommended for the best experience.
Registering at a sportsbook normally takes a minute or two, and you can then make a deposit, redeem a sign-up bonus and place your first wager.
The Best Illinois Betting Sites & Sportsbooks Compared
Below you can quickly and easily compare some of the standout features of each of our top-rated online betting sites:
Our industry experts have given Bookmaker.eu, Heritage Sports, Bovada and BetOnline each an A+ rating.
Key Traits of the Top Illinois Sportsbooks
The best sportsbooks for Illinois share a variety of traits:
Offshore sportsbooks need to have a spotless reputation if they want to build up their customer bases. The best sports betting sites have a history of grading bets fairly and paying out on time and in full.
The best sportsbooks process and approve payouts rapidly. They send funds quickly and securely. If you take your payout in crypto you’ll often receive the funds on the same day, as is the case with many of the best Bitcoin sportsbooks.
Value With Odds
Your betting odds are the equivalent of the price tag on a retail item. The best sportsbooks provide competitive odds to their customers and offshore sites have an advantage over U.S.-licensed sportsbooks.
Variety of Betting Markets
In addition to a wide range of sports, it’s important for an online sportsbook to offer plenty of different types of sports bets. Classically, people have bet on point spreads, money lines and point totals. But there are far more options available. The best sportsbook operators should offer:
- Game props
- Player props
- Alternate lines
- Same game parlays
- Live betting/In-game betting
- Progressive parlays
- Reverse bets
- If bets
- Round robins
Mobile Sportsbook Interface
The top Illinois mobile betting sites have high-quality, powerful and dependable software. It should be easy for you to find games, browse betting options and make your selections. The sportsbook should be quick and user-friendly on both smartphones and tablet devices.
Sportsbook Banking Options Available
There should be a wide range of online banking options at the best Illinois legal sports betting sites. The best online operators accept the most popular options like:
- American Express
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be available as funding options as well. E-checks, debit cards, P2P transfers, wire transfers or e-wallets such as Skrill and Neteller should also be accepted.
Supportive Customer Service
Illinois sports bettors will find multilingual customer service 24 hours a day and 365 days a year at the best sportsbooks. Support should be available by phone, live chat or by email, along with having a large help center and other resources.
Bonuses, Perks & Promos
You will receive a generous new account bonus at the best Illinois sports betting sites. They will also offer other sportsbook promotions for existing users to keep them engaged.
- Reload bonuses
- Loyalty programs
- Odds boosts
- Risk-free bets
- Bonus bets
Illinois Betting Guides
Our experts have created a variety of online gaming guides designed to enhance your gambling experience in the Land of Lincoln. You can look at other gaming options in Illinois, like table games or mobile sports betting apps, and learn how to get started below.
FAQs – Illinois Online Sports Betting
Yes, sports fans have access to in-person and online wagering in Illinois.
In Illinois, you can use an online sportsbook or visit one of the state’s retail sportsbooks, which can be found at sports venues and land-based casinos. Some locations also feature sports wagering kiosks.
Bookmaker.eu is the best sportsbook for Illinois residents to use due to the number of benefits that BookMaker provides to their users.
Yes, betting on the NFL in Illinois has been allowed since the state made sports betting legal. That means Chicago Bears fans can place all types of sports bets throughout the 2023-24 season.
Sports fans can register online or on their phone for any online sportsbook they choose. Illinois used to have an in-person registration requirement but online registration has been allowed since March 2022.
Florida Sports Betting: Pari-Mutuel Companies Seek Supreme Court Intervention in Seminole Tribe Deal
Following a decision by the federal appeals court that was not in their favor, two pari-mutuel companies have a request for the Florida Supreme Court. This particular section confers predominant authority over Florida sports betting to the Seminole Tribe throughout the state. A lawsuit was submitted to the high court, alleging that Florida Gov. Ron
The long-anticipated launch of online sports betting in Kentucky occurred on September 28th without any reported mishaps. However, two of the seven mobile sportsbooks are allowing 18-year-olds to place bets while the remaining five have stuck to the minimum 21 and older requirements. DK & bet365 Greenlight 18 Kentucky is now the sixth U.S. jurisdiction
In August, driven by in-person gaming, New Jersey’s gambling industry achieved a milestone, exceeding $500M in revenue for the second time.
The Keystone State remains a thriving gaming hub, with a 7.5% revenue boost in August compared to the previous year, driven by ongoing growth in Pennsylvania sports betting and other gambling activities. Online Gaming Boosts Revenue According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state’s gaming companies reaped a whopping $457.2 million in total revenue