Gambling is almost an integral part of entertainment in Illinois. Thrill seekers can pick their poison between anything from bingo to betting on horses. Online gambling in Illinois is a totally different thing.
Knowing what type of gambling is legal is the best place to start looking for a gambling operator. There is an excellent reason there's “legal” in PlayingLegal.com. Let's see what the Illinois gambling scene has to offer.
Best LEGAL Illinois Gambling Sites
|William Hill Sports Book|
Despite that the online sports betting industry has just begun, Illinois has some great contenders fighting for the number one spot. At this time, IL only has legalized sportsbooks.
Certainly, online gambling sites are lacking in Illinois in comparison to other states.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Illinois?
Yes, gambling is legal in Illinois. However, not all types of gambling are legal and available online. For the time being, only online betting is legal and regulated in the state of Illinois.
Most other types of gambling are legal in Illinois, but only in brick and mortar establishments. Here are all relevant forms of gambling, along with their legal status, both online and offline.
Types of Gambling in Illinois
As you can see, Illinois is still reluctant to go forward with online gambling. However, the general principle states that once the authorities start to feel first-hand the benefits of legal online gambling, it stays there. Gambling tax revenues are too good to miss out on for the government, especially if land-based gambling is legal.
IL Gambling Law
Gambling in Illinois is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). Different acts apply to different types of gambling. The acts are updated regularly and include a wide array of details such as tax, legal requirements, safety, legal rights, and guides on how the gambling facilities should be managed.
The minimum gambling age in Illinois varies based on the form of gambling involved. Lottery, bingo, and horse racing betting require at least 18 years of age.
Sports betting and casino games require patrons to be at least 21 years old to gamble legally.
The same limits apply to both online and traditional gambling.
Gambling Winnings Tax Rate
PlayingLegal.com is perfectly aware of how complex the tax law can be, especially when there is any additional income in your tax forms. Nevertheless, we cannot advise you on tax matters, not in Illinois, not in any other states.
Currently, the market is still very volatile, the tax rates change, and the provisions are amended as well. For additional details on your responsibilities regarding gambling winnings tax rates in Illinois, seek advice from a licensed tax consultant.
Licensed Auditors by the Illinois Gaming Board
There are two licensed gambling software and equipment auditors in Illinois:
- Gaming Labs International (GLI)
- BMM Test Labs (BMM)
Both of them are accredited with the relevant ISO certificates, which guarantee they are conducting all tests under all auditing standards. The first one, GLI, is well-known worldwide, being in the business for more than a decade.
The Illinois Gaming Board Self-Exclusion Program (SEP) dates back to 2002. Over the years, 3rd party gambling support organizations appeared in Illinois. It only takes roughly 30 minutes to enroll in the SEP. Please use this resource if you feel like you need a break or feel that you’re losing grip over your gaming habits. Players can enroll in the program by visiting one of the dozen offices located in Illinois, which you can find here.
The IGB supports gamblers Anonymous, National Council on Problem Gambling, and the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling. Whether you do it online or visit them, if you feel you need it, you're doing it right as long as you do it.
The Gambler’s Anonymous (CHICAGO) office number is (855) 222-5542. You can find more contact details at the link provided above.
Sports betting in Illinois is regulated with The Sports Wagering Act (230 ILCS 45). As of 2020, online betting became a legal form of gambling in the state of Illinois.
The following companies hold a master license granted by Illinois Gaming Board and their partners that represent them online.
Master License Holders
|Company||Wagering Status||Online Partners|
|Alton Casino, LLC||Provisionary||N/A|
|Casino Queen, Inc.||Provisionary||DraftKings|
|Elgin Riverboat Resort||Provisionary||William Hill|
|HC Aurora, LLC||Provisionary||N/A|
|HC Joliet, LLC||Provisionary||N/A|
|Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC||Provisionary||BetRivers|
|Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation (Licensed)||Provisionary||FanDuel|
|Hawthorne Race Course, Inc||Provisionary||PointsBet|
It is expected that more online sportsbooks will enter the Illinois online betting market. After all, the incentives are better for the operators than what they have to deal with in other states. We have all Illinois sportsbooks reviewed and tested. They are ranked based on our set of criteria that overlaps with the majority's needs.
Contrary to popular opinion, horse racing betting is not regulated by the IGB by the Illinois Racing Board (IRB). They regulate all form of horse racing, including but not limited to:
- Harness horse racing
- Arabian horse racing
- Appaloosa horse racing
- Quarter horse racing
- Thoroughbred horse racing
The Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 is still in full effect. Although seemingly dated, it’s still relevant to this day, being amended regularly.
The following racetracks are licensed and authorized in Illinois:
- Hawthorne Racecourse
- Arlington Racecourse
- Fairmount Park Racetrack
If you are based in Illinois and you want to bet on horse racing, the following online sportsbooks will take your wagers:
They are the leading “horse books” in Illinois and the whole of the US. At least, this will be the case until the legislation changes and the gaming boards take over.
Casinos in Illinois
The Illinois casinos are thriving, regulated by the IGB under the Illinois Gambling Act (230 ILCS 10). Most of the brick and mortar establishments can be found in Chicago and its vicinity, and there are a few in St. Louis and Peoria.
Here are the biggest casinos in Illinois, the license holding company name, and the casino premises' location.
|Casino Queen||200 S Front St, East St Louis, IL 62201, United States|
|Harrah’s Joliet||IL-53, Joliet, IL 60436, United States|
|Hollywood Joliet||777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436, United States|
|Harrah’s Metropolis||100 E Front St, Metropolis, IL 62960, United States|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506, United States|
|Grand Victoria Casino Elgin||250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120, United States|
|Argosy Casino Alton||1 Piasa St, Alton, IL 62002, United States|
|Rivers Casino||3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018, United States|
|Par-A-Dice Casino||21 Blackjack Blvd, East Peoria, IL 61611, United States|
|Jumer’s Casino & Hotel||777 Jumer Dr, Rock Island, IL 61201, United States|
For the time being, and until the Gambling Act isn’t changed, online casino games in Illinois are illegal.
Legally Available Types of Casino Games in Illinois
The IGB has a rather detailed list of approved casino games that can be offered to patrons in Illinois. This is the summarized, sort of the abridged version of the list. It covers only the types of casino games available in IL casinos.
- Slot Games
- Progressive Jackpot Slots
- Baccarat/Mini Baccarat
- Sic Bo
You can check out the full list here.
Legal Illinois Game Suppliers
The legal status of online gaming didn’t prevent or discourage online slot providers from taking their products offline and offer them to IL casinos. You might have heard of these or seen them online in online casinos in states where they are legal.
|Ainsworth Game Technology|
|Full list of Legal Providers|
Every single casino game, be that a table or a card game is closely regulated. The props for the card and dice games, the roulette wheels, and the software behind the slot games are tested to ensure all of them are fair.
Online Casinos are Illegal – For Now
The gaming community, including PlayingLegal.com, is closely monitoring the updates that might in some way change the legal status of online gambling. All scenarios point to legal online gambling. Now that online sportsbooks are legal in Illinois, it’s only a matter of time before the online operators across the state border obtain their IL casino licenses.
Most casino game suppliers that are seen in other states are licensed in Illinois, make an online casino expansion in Illinois that much likely to happen.
Whether you think it’s a game of chance or a game of skill, online poker is not available in Illinois. However, poker rooms can be found in legal Illinois casino establishments. Then again, don’t expect to see spectacular poker rooms. Compared to other types of gambling, poker can definitely do better.
It’s safe to say that should it become legal online, poker's social aspect can help it out with its popularity issue. The demand is not as big as for online casino games, but the poker site operators are waiting patiently and are eager to change Illinois patrons’ opinions.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Following a rather turbulent 5 year period, daily fantasy sports are again legal in Illinois. The court decision in 2015 which sealed the fate of fantasy sports was overruled in May 2020. Following fierce discussion and many valid arguments, daily fantasy sports were ruled to be a game of skill. Moreover, the approach which determined this status was in favor of online poker as well. This, in turn, means that in the future, poker sites can use this ruling as a precedent and hopefully change the legal status of online poker in Illinois.
For what it’s worth, if you want to go beyond sports betting, fantasy sports can be the thing you’re looking for. Certainly, the most popular daily fantasy sports sites in IL are:
Illinois bingo halls don’t come in abundance, but they are enough to meet most IL bingo players' needs. They are not as widespread as some of you might want, but at least it’s a legal form of gambling. The only solution to this would be to legalize online bingo.
At the moment, bingo in Illinois is regulated by the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR). Any entity that is willing to offer bingo legally must first obtain a license from the said authority.
As you can see, different types of gambling are under different regulators, which makes it more complex to keep track of updates. Moreover, this approach makes it harder for patrons to know their rights and their responsibilities.
Lottery is probably the only type of gambling (although it has a better reputation) that’s legal and always has been. It’s regulated by the IDOR, and all Illinois patrons have access to the biggest US lotteries, like Mega Millions and the US Powerball. Other lotteries are irrelevant as these are the lotteries every single lottery player in the world is going for. This includes ALL lotteries in the world.
You can play US lotteries by buying your lottery tickets in a local shop, or you can do so online. It is recommended to play the lottery online as it’s easier to manage your tickets, check results, get notified if you’ve won, and most importantly, it’s 100% hassle free. You can do it whenever and wherever you want.
The Illinois State Lottery, which is managed by Camelot Illinois, is also legal and safe to play.
Payment Methods in IL Gambling Sites
It’s one thing to play for fun online or play at a social gambling site. It’s completely different to play with real money. At the moment, with betting being the only legal form of online gambling, the focus is on online sportsbooks.
Illinois is not much different from its neighboring states. Thus, setting up the cashiers, the banking pages, and the rules associated with transactions is an easy feat for the legal IL online gambling sites.
The payment methods outlined in the table above are all legal and available. The accepted payment method offer may vary depending on the operator. However, these are the recommended ones, or better said, the common ones in the world of online gambling.
Gambling in Illinois Will Grow Further
The stage is set for gambling in Illinois to keep growing and expanding. While online sports betting is just one form of gambling, we believe that other products will soon follow.
Under pressure from its neighboring states, Illinois will have to follow suit and legalize online casinos and online poker.
Illinois Gambling FAQs
Is gambling legal in Illinois?
Yes, gambling is legal in Illinois. Casinos, sportsbooks, bingo, poker rooms and the lottery are legal in the state of Illinois. However, they are not regulated by the same authority. In addition, different IL laws apply to online gambling. With the exception of sports betting, all other forms of gambling are illegal.
Is online gambling legal in Illinois?
Online sports betting is legal in Illinois. All other forms of online gambling are illegal for the time being. Online gambling is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). Based on other states, it is expected that the IGB will follow suit and legalize more forms of online gambling.
Are online casinos legal in Illinois?
Online casinos are illegal in Illinois. However, brick and mortar casinos are thriving in Illinois and are completely legal. In 2020, Illinois got its first online sportsbooks, which paves the way for online casinos. In the meantime, if you want to indulge in a casino game, you can do so in one of the dozen casinos in Illinois.
How to report illegal gambling in Illinois?
It is recommended you call the Illinois Gambling Board directly. You can reach them by calling (217) 524-0226. Unfortunately, you cannot contact them by email, as the address provided serves as a media inquiry channel only. Nevertheless, giving them a call is the first step you should make.
What is the minimum legal gambling age in Illinois?
The minimum legal gambling age in Illinois differs based on the type of gambling at hand. Casino, sports betting, and poker come with a minimum legal age of 21, whereas lottery, bingo, and betting on horse racing require patrons to be at least 18 years old. Underage gambling is a crime punishable by law.
When was the Illinois gambling bill passed?
Illinois jumped the boat for online gambling expansion, following the example of NJ, PA, and CO. Different types of gambling are regulated under different Gaming Acts. Besides, different forms of gambling are regulated by different gaming boards. The bill/acts are updated regularly to ensure gambling is feasible, profitable, and under control.