Online Gambling Illinois – Legal at IL Gambling Sites?
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.
There are plenty of online betting sites available to Illinois bettors. It can be difficult to sort through all the options to find a place that’s right for you. The best sportsbooks in the state offer a variety of options, including online sports betting, pari-mutuel horse race betting, casino games, and online poker. They should also allow you to confidently wager, knowing that your money and information are secure.
Our team of experts evaluated the different gaming options in Illinois and came up with a comprehensive ranking of which sites are the best choice for real-money online casino gambling and online sports betting. In addition to ranking the top sites, we’ll review each one to explain what specifically put them on our list.
We’ll also take a close look at the gambling environment in Illinois. Are casinos legal in the state? What does the future hold for the expansion of gambling in the state? Read on to answer these questions and discover why offshore sportsbooks continue to be your best option.
Illinois and the Best Sportsbooks in 2023
Illinois Betting Guides
For the Illinois bettor that is looking for more exciting ways to gamble online, we suggest checking out our other online betting guides each of which will cover all of the most important aspects of online wagering.
Best Online Gambling Sites in 2023 for Illinois
We looked at dozens of operators in Illinois and evaluated each one to come up with the 10 best options for online betting sites in the state. All the providers below offer secure wagering and a wide range of betting options, including betting markets like live betting, props, and teasers. Most will also offer casino games, poker, and horse race betting.
- Bookmaker.eu – The earliest lines and welcomes gamblers of all types
- Bovada – The most diverse prop betting options
- Heritage Sports – Best for live betting and has reduced juice
- BetOnline – Fast payouts and opinionated lines
- BetAnySports – The best reduced juice lines in the industry
- WagerWeb – Fast payouts, especially for bitcoin users
- JustBet – Early lines and high limits
- BetUS – Offers large bonuses for new and existing customers
- Everygame – Top-notch online gambling experience
- GTbets – Half a point bonus on your favorite team’s line
All these providers are located offshore. These online-only operators don’t have to follow U.S. federal law or state regulations related to gambling. They’ve operated for several years, serving customers across the U.S., including in Illinois.
Illinois does have legal sports betting so now there are several track betting facilities, casinos, and sports arenas rushing to offer in-person and online gambling. That gives bettors in the state two options—they can use the major operators, these offshore sites that have a long record of doing this, or join the crowd of retail sportsbooks rushing to get started.
The Best Illinois Sportsbooks Reviewed
Below, our experts have selected the best online sportsbooks for Illinois so we offer you an in-depth look into the top betting sites.
1. Bookmaker.eu: Top Overall Online Gambling Site in IL
Bookmaker.eu heads our list for the best all-around sportsbook in Illinois. The site appeals to all gamblers, new and experienced. Bookmaker.eu is popular for offering large betting limits as well as some of the best promotions in the industry, along with one of the most dynamic loyalty programs.
It also posts some of the earliest lines in the industry, allowing you to shop for better odds. Bookmaker.eu also offers a lot of games with high RTP (Return to Player) making it one of the best online casinos in the industry. For gamblers who like to dabble in horse racing, you’ll be glad to hear about the rebate of up to 8%.
- Great loyalty program
- Has high limits for high rollers
- Good pricing and bonuses
- Cannot use the loyalty program if you’re a professional gambler
- No online poker room
2. Bovada: Best for Online Gambling Mobile Platform
The top two sites focus primarily on sports gambling, but there’s more to online gaming than a sportsbook. Bovada offers gamblers in Illinois the full casino experience, as well as a comprehensive racebook and America’s busiest online poker room.
When it comes to sports betting, however, Bovada also has more prop betting options than just about anywhere else, and having access to one of the top platforms for mobile betting in the industry, will allow you to wager as you enjoy your favorite events.
If you plan to register with Bovada, you’ll be able to enjoy one of the biggest sign-up bonuses from the options on this list.
- Diverse menu of prop betting options
- America’s busiest poker room
- Mobile platform is top notch
- Low rollover requirements allow you to withdraw bonus money faster
- Limits are lower than at other top-rated sites
3. Heritage Sports: Best for Live Gambling in IL 2023
Heritage Sports was one of first the online betting sites to jump on one of the biggest trends in sports gambling: in-game betting on live events. This has allowed Heritage Sports to be one of the leaders in this area.
Heritage Sports also offers reduced juice. Instead of the standard (-110) odds on either side of a spread or point total, this provider offers (-108), allowing bettors to get the equivalent of a 20% discount in the long run.
The outstanding customer service and promotions like their “Reduced Juice Cashback” program are some of the other reasons why Heritage Sports is rated so highly in Illinois.
- Reduced juice (-108)
- One of the best live betting platforms
- Cashback and welcome promos
- Easy-to-use interface
- Sign-up bonuses not as high as elsewhere
- No live online poker room
4. BetOnline: Best Opinionated Lines in Illinois
BetOnline sets itself apart from competitors by being one of the respected companies when it comes to NFL odds. One of the biggest differences between BetOnline and everyone else is that they offer opinionated lines.
While most sportsbooks have the same odds on each side of a spread or points total, usually (-110), BetOnline will offer different odds on some sides, for instance, going with -113 / -107 on a game.
As it’s the case with Bovada, BetOnline also offers one of the juiciest welcome promotions in the industry as well as the possibility to deposit bitcoin as well as some of the other main cryptocurrencies.
- One of the faster sites to pay out
- Among the highest betting limits
- Customer service and user interface are elite
- Reduced juice only available on NHL games
- Limited prop bet menu
5. BetAnySports: Best in IL for Reduced Juice
There may be other sites that offer reduced juice, but none bring the price down as much as BetAnySports. They offer (-105) odds which is the equivalent of a 50% discount when you’re betting. This lowers the edge you need to create to make a profit, in half.
However, as the low-cost leader, BetAnySports eliminates some of the bells and whistles other sites boast and the bonuses are not as enticing. Nonetheless, they do have promotions available for new customers.
- Best reduced juice offer in the industry
- Payouts are fast and easy
- Live betting platform is easy to use
- Bonuses are on the low side
6. WagerWeb: Best Top Bonuses in IL
WagerWeb is one of the leading sites in Illinois when it comes to offering bonuses to new and existing customers. It has been in business since the 1990s and has a long history of being dependable and secure. They’re also ahead of the competition and have cryptocurrency as one of the banking methods available.
WagerWeb offers reduced juice lines of -108. It also has a wide variety of online casino games and a racebook.
- Reduced juice -108 lines give 20% discount
- Bonuses are some of the best in the industry
- Long history of quick payouts
- Withdrawals limited to one per month
- Betting limits are lower than competitors
7. JustBet: Best at Keeping up With New Trends in IL
JustBet is a sister site of Bookmaker.eu, which took the top spot in our ranking of best sportsbooks for Illinois. Many features that put Bookmaker on top are also available at JustBet, including early lines, high limits, and a smooth-flowing user interface that excels for live betting.
JustBet is also quick to respond to emerging trends in online gambling and has higher deposit limits for Bitcoin (or other cryptos) users. This could also allow you to get a 100% bonus worth up to $300, although it does carry a rollover requirement of 30x.
- Great live betting platform
- High limits, early lines
- Welcome bonuses are among the best
- No reduced juice
- No online poker room
8. BetUs: Best Online Gamblers VIP Service
Plenty of sites offer welcome bonuses for new users, however, BetUS adds to that with a top-notch VIP service. It seems to do the trick as this platform has been online for nearly three decades.
Speaking of promos, they do offer some of the biggest bonuses in the industry. Entertainment is also available with BetUS TV, a channel that offers previews and analysis of upcoming games from a betting perspective.
Another nice feature is the online casino, which focuses mainly on blackjack games although you’ll be sure to find all the most popular table games as well as video poker and live dealers.
- Large bonuses for both new customers and returning ones
- VIP program rewards loyalty
- Esports betting area
- Late lines
- Higher rollover requirements to withdraw bonus money
9. Everygame: Best Mobile Casino Games in IL
More and more online gambling is being done on phones instead of on laptops or desktop computers, and Everygame is ready for the change with one of the most modern platforms for casino games which boasts over 300 different games.
After recently going through a rebranding process, Everygame has focused on mobile betting, including their aforementioned casino platform which is one of the most user-friendly in the industry.
- Variety of betting markets from around the world
- Mobile interface is one of the best, particularly for casino gaming
- Online poker room
- Account verification takes longer than other sites
- Bonuses aren’t as high
10. GTbets: Best for Competitive Bonuses in IL
GTbets offers some of the highest sign-up bonuses in Illinois, making it the choice for many new users interested in getting off to a fast start.
GTbets also offers reduced juice on NFL betting as well as college football, setting its lines at -109 on either side.
The site also has an interesting feature involving your favorite team as they will give you an extra half point in your favor on the published point spread line for free.
- Bonuses are among the highest in Illinois
- Reduced juice on football gives a 10% percent discount
- Offers extra half-point when betting on your favorite teams
- 24/7 customer service
- Withdrawal fees higher than other sites
- High rollover requirements make it tougher to cash out
Compare the Top Online Betting Sites for Bettors in Illinois
Our list of best sportsbooks was put together after a careful review of several different factors. Here’s some of the basic information you might want to know.
|Sportsbook||Rating||Online Since||Payment Methods||Read Review|
|Bookmaker||A+||1996||Credit Card, Bitcoin, P2P, Crypto||Bookmaker.eu Review|
|Bovada||A+||2011||Credit Card, Bitcoin||Bovada Review|
|Heritage Sports||A+||2001||Credit Card, Bitcoin, Cashiers Check, Bank Transfer, P2P||Heritage Sports Review|
|BetOnline||A+||2001||Credit Card, Bitcoin, Crypto, Cashiers Check, Bank Transfer, P2P||BetOnline Review|
|BetAnySports||A||2002||Credit Card, Bitcoin, Electronic Check||BetAnySports Review|
|WagerWeb||A||1994||Credit Card, Bitcoin, Cashiers Check, Bank Transfer, P2P||WagerWeb Review|
|JustBet||A||2000||Credit Card, Bitcoin, P2P, Crypto||JustBet Review|
|BetUS||A||2000||Credit Card, Bitcoin, Bank Transfer, P2P||BetUS Review|
|Everygame||A||1996||Credit Card, Bitcoin, Skrill, Neteller, Bank Transfer, P2P||Everygame Review|
|GTbets||A||2011||Credit Card, Bitcoin, Crypto||GTbets Review|
Online Gambling in Illinois: Legal Status and Other Details
One of the most common questions we get is: Is online gambling legal in Illinois? The short answer is yes. It’s relatively new, the state government has passed laws making it legal to bet in Illinois.
It was a long and contentious debate that started in 2018, but the state finally decided to legalize gambling on sports with the passage of a bill in June 2019. The state legislature rolled the gambling bill into a much larger 900-page bill on capital spending. Later in the month, the governor, who had championed the gambling bill from the beginning, signed it into law.
The process took a while and hit a few potholes. The first legal bets were placed in Illinois on March 9, 2020, about four days before the casinos, racetracks, and just about everything else shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being shut in at home for months seems like the ideal setting for online gambling to grow, but one aspect of the law the state passed was that customers had to register in person, at a brick-and-mortar site that offered to gamble, before they could bet online. That was difficult to do during the pandemic shutdown. It wasn’t practical to visit a brick-and-mortar casino to even sign up.
As of March of this year, the in-person requirement was eliminated and full online betting was allowed—with the exception of betting on games involving in-state colleges, which are still prohibited online. Now, online sportsbooks and online casinos are starting to open in the state.
Throughout the whole process, betting with offshore sportsbooks, which are not under the jurisdiction of local laws, was still legal in Illinois.
Online Sports Gambling in Illinois
In addition to the offshore online sportsbooks, Illinois has about a dozen locations—mostly racetracks and retail casinos—that allow gambling on sports, both online and in person. Another ten land-based casinos, three tracks, and seven pro sports arenas are also looking to be added to the list and are at some stage of the approval process.
As tracks and arenas rush to join the fray offering home-grown Illinois gambling, the online betting sites located offshore continue to operate as they always have.
Payments at Online Gambling Sites in Illinois
Most online gambling sites offer many different options for funding your account, unlike land-based casinos that frustratingly only deal in cash. Payment methods for Illinois residents include the following.
- Credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express)
- Bank transfers, wire transfers, P2P transfers
- Digital wallet providers like Skrill and Neteller
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
Since offshore sportsbooks are not based in the U.S., there may be additional fees or charges for sending bank transfers overseas. It can also take a bit more time to complete transactions. That’s why many gamblers have embraced cryptocurrency, which is designed to be used across national borders.
For users of crypto, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, and others, many sites offer same-day payouts.
Online Gambling Laws in Illinois
The expansion of gambling in Illinois has happened rapidly over the past three years. All forms of gambling were outlawed across the state, then became available legally in person only—a development that was complicated by the COVID-19-related shutdown of most businesses. Even for people gambling online, an in-person registration at a brick-and-mortar casino was required for online casino gaming.
This year, the industry took a big step forward, waiving the in-person requirement and offering more than a dozen different outlets where gambling was legal, with more than a dozen more in the works for the near future.
Despite the slow development, gambling is booming in the state. Illinois just hit the billion-dollar mark in July 2022, with residents of the state gambling in the ten figures. There are some online casino options becoming available as well, but none with the reputation and longevity that offshore gambling sites have.
Timeline of Illinois Gaming Laws
- August 2018: The state begins holding hearings to discuss the feasibility of adopting legalized gambling in Illinois. Stakeholders in the state meet with members of the gaming industry to determine what more lax gambling laws would look like in the state.
- June 2019: Law legalizing sports betting in Illinois is passed on June 3 as part of a 900-page capital improvement bill. Governor J.B. Pritzker, who spurred the legislature on adopting legalized gambling by including gaming revenue in the state’s budget, signs it into law on June 28.
- March 2020: The first legal wager is placed in Illinois on March 9, at Rivers Casino, four days before casinos, and virtually everything else in the state and around the world is shut down due to COVID-19.
- June 2020: The first sports betting apps are authorized in the state on June 18, although any online gambling required a person to first register at a gaming location in person, a process made more difficult by the pandemic.
- April 2021: After a brief period where the governor rescinded the in-person portion of the law, due to COVID, the requirement is instituted again. Online registration in Illinois is prohibited, so you can’t wager or play online games for real money without first going to a brick-and-mortar location in person.
- December 2021: The governor announced that he would allow the in-person requirement to expire in March 2022.
- March 2022: On March 5, the in-person requirement expires and Illinois residents can now register for an account online and begin using it immediately.
- July 2022: The state hits the 10-figure milestone as more than a billion dollars have now been bet on sports legally in the state of Illinois.
- September 2022: Ten casinos, three tracks, and seven sports arenas are looking to be approved as in-person gambling sites, joining the dozen or so tracks and casinos currently approved.
Advantages of Online Gambling Illinois Sites
As long as you’re of legal age for gambling and physically located in Illinois, you can take advantage of online wagering in the state. There are plenty of benefits to using offshore gambling sites in Illinois, including:
More Gambling Options
Offshore betting sites give sports fans an extensive menu of options for their betting dollar. You can bet on just about any major sporting event around the world and can place a wide variety of different types of bets, including point spreads, money lines, point totals, prop bets, and live betting for in-progress events. You can also bet on racing and esports. Real-money online casino games are also available, like slot games and table games. Many offshore gambling sites also have live dealer games.
Less Hassle and More Privacy
There’s no reason to leave your home and head to local retail casinos to bet. An online betting site gives you all the benefits of in-person betting, and you can do it from your bed, your couch, your car, your office, or even the beach.
Our suggestions are easy to use and completely secure. You can begin betting as soon as you log on. You can also play your favorite casino games in complete privacy.
Online Casino Bonuses
There’s fierce competition among online betting sites for new customers and for loyal big spenders. That means they’re willing to offer perks to entice you to bet with them, which lets you build your bonus bank. Among the bonuses and other promotions are:
- Welcome bonuses
- Deposit bonuses
- Reload bonuses
- Free bets
- Risk-free bets
- Rebates and cash back
- Odds boosts, profit boosts, and parlay boosts
- Reduced juice
- Loyalty programs
What All This Comes Down To
Illinois has an ever-growing group of in-state gambling options, and residents can also make use of offshore sportsbooks for online gambling. Our list is made up of legitimate operators who have been offering dependable service for much longer than the newcomers to the game.
FAQ – Using Online Gambling Sites in Illinois
Online gambling is now legal on everything except games involving in-state college teams. In-person sports betting on in-state teams at the college level if done at retail sportsbooks or commercial casinos, however.
Legal sportsbooks and sportsbook apps that operate overseas allow betting on college athletics, political events, and so much more. It is legal to use these sites as long as you meet the legal age for gambling where you live.
The legal age for gambling in Illinois is 18 years old. Since March 2022, anyone 18 or older can participate in all forms of gambling in the state. This minimum betting age is fairly consistent with other places where wagers on sports can be placed legally.
Until recently, there was a requirement that residents register in person to use an Illinois-based retail location, but the in-person registration requirement was waived in March. You can now register entirely online or on your mobile device thanks to the various sports betting legalization efforts that have been going on in the past couple of years.
Residents of Illinois can bet on sports, with the exception of games involving in-state college teams due to a provision in the sports betting law, such as the University of Illinois, Loyola of Chicago, Northwestern, Southern Illinois, and other universities. They can also participate in online poker, daily fantasy games, online casino games, and bet on racing.
All of our top-rated online gambling sites offer safe and secure betting options, but our favorite online casino is Bookmaker.eu due to the numerous benefits that they offer to their users. Bookmaker.eu is a convenient option that offers sports fans many options for sports betting for those that want some quick online action.
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