Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites 2021
Illinois consistently ranks among the top three online betting states in the U.S. since going live in June 2020, featuring great betting options and hope for much more.
Illinois online sports betting hasn’t fully realized its wagering potential, but that could in change in 2022 when the state’s in-person wagering requirement is permanently lifted in March. The end of in-person registration will be a boon to Illinois sports bettors and spur growth for all online Illinois sportsbooks. The question is which sports betting company will pay the hefty licensing fee to make it happen.
For now, Illinois bettors still have a solid selection of sports betting operators to choose from. Whether you’re looking to find the best sports betting sites in Illinois or the latest sports betting or gambling updates, Bookies.com can be a valuable resource. We offer reviews and recommendations for all legal online sportsbooks in Illinois and sports betting providers across North America.
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Every online gambler deserves a safe and fair place to play. Our mission at Bookies.com is to create a safe online environment for players through free, impartial and independent reviews of the US's best online gambling companies so that you can play with confidence and security. All ratings and reviews are made independently of the operator by our team of gaming experts and with every company being fully US licensed they can be trusted to offer fair play. We accept compensation from the companies advertised on this page and this may affect the brand positioning. We endeavour to continuously update this list so we can bring you the most current sites and the best available offers but we cannot review every site in the market.
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Top 3 Sportsbooks in Illinois
Our top three Illinois online sportsbooks are FanDuel, PointsBet and BetRivers. A brief look at what each offers to Illinois sports bettors:
FanDuel is consistently one of the leading sports betting providers in Illinois and elsewhere measured by online market share, total revenue and betting handle. The company entered the Illinois market by purchasing an interest in Fairmount Park and rebranding the track to FanDuel IL Sportsbook and Horse Racing. FanDuel offers bettors $100 in free bets when they sign up in person for an Illinois sports betting account. Make a first deposit and FanDuel offers Illinois bettors a risk-free first bet up to $1,000.
PointsBet Illinois is partnered with Hawthorne Race Course and offers bettors some outstanding promotions, such as no juice spreads on every NFL game and daily odds boosts on multiple sports. For new players, PointsBet offers Illinois a risk-free first bet up to $2,000. PointsBet also offers its unique high-risk, high-reward PointsBetting format, in which bettors can win or lose more or less than their original wager, depending on how right or wrong the wager is. That feature and a wealth of local promotions make it one of the top Illinois betting sites.
Owned by Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive, BetRivers IL gives bettors a hometown sportsbook option. BetRivers is partnered with suburban Chicago-based Rivers Casino, the state’s leader in in-person sports betting handle. The BetRivers Illinois promo code features an industry-low 1X playthrough requirement, meaning bettors need only wager the bonus money one time before it can be fully redeemed.
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IL Online Sportsbooks & Sports Betting Apps
Six Illinois online sports betting sites are currently operating, all of which offer mobile sports betting apps for Android and iOS mobile devices and can be downloaded for free.
Android Betting Apps & iOS Betting Apps for IL Players
- FanDuel Illinois
- PointsBet Illinois
- BetRivers Illinois
- DraftKings Illinois
- Barstool Illinois
- Caesars Illinois
Offers one of the most popular sports betting apps in the industry, the FanDuel Illinois betting app has an interface that is player-friendly and easy to navigate. FanDuel offers betters a wide range of deposit options, fast payouts and plenty of in-game wagering options. A national leader in online sports wagering and daily fantasy sports.
In addition to its own PointsBetting format, PointsBet Illinois betting app offers some of the industry’s more interesting promotions, including Good Karma Refund (for bad beats) and Premier League soccer games in which you cash if your team leads by two goals. Players can also specifically request a bet on any market.
In addition to an industry-low bonus money playthrough requirement, Bet Rivers Illinois app offers plenty of live in-game betting options and live streaming. BetRivers app offers a huge menu of sports to bet on. Among the most recent additions are jai-alai and a wager forecasting NBA player Ben Simmons’ next team.
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One of the most recognized and top-performing names in sports betting has an agreement with the Chicago Cubs to build a sportsbook at Wrigley Field. Partnered in Illinois with Casino Queen in East St. Louis. DraftKings Illinois betting app is one of the highest rated of all Illinois sportsbooks apps and offers bettors a deposit bonus of up to $1,000 and a useful stats hub to help make selections.
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Iconic gambling name entered the Illinois online market after purchase of global sportsbook giant William Hill, which was partnered Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Caesars Illinois app delivers bettors a deposit match of up to $5,000 and enrollment in the industry’s most popular loyalty rewards program.
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Popular sports media brand is rapidly expanding its online sports betting operation. Uses Barstool personalities to makes selections and often offers significant odds boosts on games involving Chicago-based pro teams. Barstool is owned by Penn National Gaming, which owns Hollywood Casino Aurora.
How Do We Pick the Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites?
Bookies.com reviews sports betting sites from every state with legal sports betting. Our experts know what bettors want and sign up for accounts to determine which offer the best mobile apps and overall experience. Among the key factors we consider:
- Safety: We only review sites that are legal, regulated and licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board. We do not review or recommend any offshore sports betting sites.
- Pricing: Bettors should always be looking for the best betting odds and prices, which can vary significantly between sportsbooks in Illinois.
- Bonuses and promotions: Each IL sportsbook offers a variety of bonus offers and promotions. We read the fine print to determine which offers are the most lucrative in the growing Illinois sports betting market.
- Mobile options: Most sports wagers are placed through mobile devices. We test IL mobile betting apps for ease of use and speed to determine which provide the best overall mobile experience.
Bonuses & Promotions at IL Sports Betting Sites
Illinois sportsbooks offer huge bonuses and promotions in an attempt to entice bettors to sign up and stay on site, and those bonuses could get even better as more operators join the Illinois online sports betting market.
Among the great most popular sign-up offers are deposit matches and risk-free first bets. With a deposit match, the online operator matches up to 100% of your initial deposit. Some Illinois sports betting apps have a one-time playthrough requirement, while others have more onerous requirements. Be sure to read the terms and conditions.
Risk-free bets remove the risk of our first bet with the promise of refunding the full amount of that wager - almost always as side credit - should your first wager lose. If your first bet is a winner, there is no credit given. Some operators will also give out a small "no-deposit" bonus in the neighborhood of a $25 free bet for those who sign up. If you win that wager, you keep the winnings (unless there is a playthrough requirement) but not the free bet stake.
The most popular promotions are odds boosts, parlay insurance and free bets as a reward for regular customers. An odds boost provides more favorable odds on a specific team, game or prop bet.
How to Sign Up and Place a Sports Bet in Illinois
For now, Illinois bettors must first register for an online account by visiting the casino or racetrack partnered with their online sportsbook. The in-person registration requirement is likely to expire in 2022, which will then allow for remote registration for Illinois betting sites.
To register for an online Illinois account:
- Choose your Illinois online sportsbook. Spend time on several sites and select the one that best fits your needs.
- Click on ‘Register’ or ‘Join Now’ and fill out some personal information, such as name, address, contact number and last four digits of social security number to verify identity and age.
- Fund your account. You can choose from among multiple deposit options, such as credit/debit card, E-wallet such as PayPal, online banking, prepaid cards and PayNearMe.
- When the funds appear in your account balance, you can begin wagering. Find the betting line of the game you want, enter a selection and the amount you want to wager. Click ‘confirm bet’ and your wager is completed.
Deposits and Withdrawals
The best online sportsbooks want to make transactions as easy as possible, but some methods work better than others. Deposits can be processed in minutes; withdrawals usually take longer.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Illinois?
Illinois online and in-person sports betting was signed into law in 2019. BetRivers accepted the state’s first online sports wager in June 2020. Six Illinois online sportsbooks are currently operating.
Illinois is one of the few states in the U.S. to require in-person registration, meaning bettors must first visit an Illinois casino or racetrack before signing up for an online sports betting account and accessing Illinois sports betting apps. Under Illinois law, the in-person registration requirement will end when the state awards the first of three available online-only sports betting licenses. The application period for those licenses ends on Dec. 3, 2021.
The online-only licenses are untethered, meaning they do not require a partnership with any Illinois casino, horse track or pro sports venue. But those licenses come at a cost – $20 million. That’s at least twice the price paid by the state’s six current online sportsbook operators – Barstool, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings IL, FanDuel and PointBet IL.
It’s generally believed the law was written this way to penalize Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operators DraftKings and FanDuel for operating DFS games in Illinois despite an opinion from the state’s former attorney general that the games violated state law. To save money and avoid the 18-month “penalty box” period, DraftKings instead struck a deal with Casino Queen, allowing the DraftKings sportsbook to immediately offer retail and online wagering. FanDuel gained access by purchasing an interest in Fairmount Park.
Benefits of Legal Online Sports Betting in Illinois
Online and mobile wagering isn’t only the future of sports betting in IL, it’s the present. About 80% of legal sports wagers in the U.S. are made on computers or smartphones, and it’s predicted that number will increase to 90% within the next decade. Among the benefits:
Convenience and access: Online sports wagering in Illinois allows bettors to wager from the comfort of their home or on their smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the state, rather than making a potentially long trip to a casino.
Value: Having multiple online accounts allows sports bettors to shop and compare the best odds and prices in minutes.
Bonuses and promotions: Online operators offer sign-up bonuses and valuable promotions such as odds boosts and parlay insurance, none of which are offered at in-person IL sportsbooks.
Payment options: Illinois allows a wide range of banking options to deposit and quickly withdraw funds from your account.
Features of an Illinois Sports Betting Site
Most Illinois sports betting sites and apps utilize the latest state-of-the-art technologies. Among the features you should expect to see when betting in Illinois:
Intuitive User Interface
Your Illinois sports betting app should have a player-friendly, clutter-free interface that is easy to navigate and becomes more intuitive the more you use it. Menus make it easy to find the sports and betting lines you want. The app should be compatible with all of your mobile devices.
List of Betting Odds
Illinois bettors should find continually updated odds on a wide range of sports. Betting lines are similar at each Illinois sportsbook but not identical. Signing up with multiple operators allows bettors to shop for the best odds on every wager.
Live Betting and/or Live Streaming
All Illinois online sportsbooks offer live betting, with wagers placed during the games and odds continually updated. That includes spread, over/under, props and other types of bets. The number of betting options for each pro game can be enormous and the action moves fast.
Safety and Security
Illinois bettors want to know they are placing safe, legal wagers and their personal information remains secure. Your sportsbook should have a reputable and trustworthy history in Illinois (and elsewhere) and operate on a secure and encrypted connection.
Top 5 Illinois Sports Teams to Bet On
Chicago is home to teams in all of the major U.S. sports leagues, giving Illinois bettors plenty of options.
One of the NFL’s original franchises, the Bears won Super Bowl XX in 1986 and lost Super Bowl XLI in 2007. The Bears, who play their home games at Soldier Field, haven’t won a playoff game since 2010. The team has been in search of a franchise quarterback for years and Bears fans hope first-round pick Justin Fields will eventually be the answer.
The National League team, which plays its home games at iconic Wrigley Field, won the World Series in 2016, ending a 108-year drought, the longest in MLB history. That was the second of six consecutive winning seasons for the Cubs, who are now back in rebuilding mode after a dismal 2021 season.
Chicago White Sox
Dominant winner of the MLB American League Central Division in 2021, the team’s first division title since 2008. Power-hitting first baseman Jose Abreu was the AL MVP in 2020 and followed that up with a 100-plus RBI season in 2021. The White Sox play their home games on the city’s South Side at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Michael Jordan-led Bulls won six NBA championships during an eight-year span in the 1990s but haven’t reached the NBA Finals since. With no playoff series victories since 2015, the Bulls brought in new coach Billy Donovan in 2020. Guard Zach LaVine is one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers, averaging at least 23 points per game for three consecutive seasons.
One of six original NHL teams, the Blackhawks share the United Center with the Bulls. The Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cups, most recently in 2014-15, but have failed to win a playoff series since then. Always a hot ticket, the Blackhawks sold out more than 500 consecutive home games.
Most Popular Online Sports Bets
All of the popular sports betting options are available in Illinois, including:
What Sports Leagues Can I Bet on in IL?
You can bet on all the major sports leagues and leagues from around the world. Illinois sports betting law allows wagering on college sports, but not on games involving Illinois-based teams. State lawmakers are considering a bill that would lift the in-state ban for in-person betting. State law does not directly address eSports betting.
All of the major sports leagues with Chicago teams have signed partnerships with sportsbooks or casinos. For example, the NBA, NHL and MLB are partners with MGM Resorts and FanDuel IL; the NBA and NHL with William Hill Sportsbook IL; and the NFL with Caesars IL. Several individual teams have also struck deals.
Most of Chicago’s pro sports teams will be involved in sports betting in some form. The state’s betting law allows up to seven betting licenses at sports venues with capacities over 17,000, or within a five-block radius of those facilities. That means Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, the United Center and Chicagoland Speedway could be sports betting sites in the not-too-distant future, provided they are approved for a license and pay the $10 million license fee.
The state’s three racetracks are also eligible to receive a sports gambling license and Hawthorne Race Course was awarded one in late July.
IL Major Sports Events to Bet on - 2021
The Bears may not make it to Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022, but the annual game will be a huge wagering event in Illinois. Illinois bettors wagered $46 million on Super Bowl LV in 2021. Of that total, about $43 million was bet online.
Chicago is home to two teams in MLB. The playoffs (which includes the White Sox in 2021) and World Series will be major wagering events in Illinois. The NBA and Stanley Cup Finals also attract plenty of action. Chicago has teams in the WNBA (Sky) and MLS (Fire FC), and Illinois hosts annual events on the PGA Tour, NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar.
Why Place Bets Online?
The most obvious answer is convenience. Online wagering gives Illinois bettors access to betting lines and legal sports wagering 24/7 on their smartphone or home computer from anywhere in the state. Online sports wagering eliminates the need to drive hours to a casino or racetrack to place a sports bet.
Online wagering means sports betting is no longer limited to standard pre-game bets. Instead, Illinois bettors have access to hundreds of in-game wagers on pro sports games, alternative lines and early cash out options.
Online players are eligible for multiple bonus offers and daily promotions when betting in Illinois, such as odds boosts and reduced or no-juice games. Those bonus offers and promotions are generally not available at in-person sportsbooks.
Latest Illinois Online Casino News
Bookies.com provides the latest updates and developments on Illinois online casino betting as well as sports betting information, including any changes in state law. Bettors can also find up-to-date odds, game selections, helpful wagering tools and recommendations and reviews for all Illinois sports betting sites.
Latest Illinois Sports Betting Numbers
ILLINOIS SPORTS BETTING, SEPT. vs AUG.
|Total handle||Mobile Handle||Revenue|
|Change||Up 49.0%||Up 49.9%||Up 48.9%|
Updated Nov. 9
The state’s Sports Wagering Act requires that the Illinois Gaming Board offer a self-exclusion program for sports betting. That allows players to self-exclude from sports betting for specific periods of time or permanently. Players can also set daily, weekly or monthly limits on the amount of money wagered and time spent on any Illinois sports betting site.
Problem gamblers in need of support or assistance can contact the Illinois Gaming Board or click on WeKnowTheFeeling.org, a website developed by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery.
Illinois Online Sports Betting FAQ
Is online sports betting legal in Illinois?
Are Illinois sports betting sites safe?
What do I need to create an online sports betting account in Illinois?
You must be 21 or older and provide some basic information such as name, address and contact number. Illinois is one of the few states with in-person registration, so you first must visit a casino or racetrack in the state to sign up. That will change in March 2022.
Are FanDuel and DraftKings sportsbooks legal in Illinois?
What are the sports bet bonuses in Illinois?
The most popular bonuses are risk-free first bets (receive wagering credits if the bet loses) and initial deposit match. Both generally include some form of wagering requirement before the bonus money can be fully redeemed.
Will I need to be an Illinois resident to bet online?
No. There is no residency requirement. But you must be physically located in Illinois when placing a wager.
How will an online sportsbook know my location?
Through the use of geolocation technology, which utilizes Wi-Fi and GPS to accurately determine the location of every wager. Any sports bet attempted from outside the state is denied access.
Are all kinds of online wagering legal in Illinois?
Illinois allows online wagering for sports betting and pari-mutuel racing. Illinois residents can also purchase Illinois Lottery tickets online.
Will I need to pay taxes on my winnings in Illinois?
Gambling winnings are considered taxable income, according to the IRS. For state tax purposes, Illinois has a flat tax rate of 4.95%.