In Illinois, there are plenty of gaming options. There are racetracks, a state lottery, fantasy sports, riverboat casinos, and more.
Representative Mike Zalewski has been in the driver’s seat for nearly three years for legal sports betting (and online gaming) in the Prairie State, and as of June 2, 2019, sports betting is legal and authorized in Illinois. There will be questions, let’s dive into everything you need to know about sports betting in Illinois.
Illinois Sports Betting Apps (iPhone & Android)
|ONLINE SPORTSBOOK||LAND BASED CASINO PARTNER||LAUNCH DATE|
|BetRivers Illinois||Rivers Casino||June 18, 2020|
|BetAmerica||Arlington Park Racetrack||TBD|
|Barstool Sportsbook||Hollywood Casino Aurora||TBD|
|Caesars Sportsbook||Harrah’s Metropolis||TBD|
|PointsBet Illinois||Hawthorne Race Course||Coming Soon|
|FanDuel Illinois||Par-a-Dice Casino||August 20, 2020|
|DraftKings Illinois||Harrah’s Joliet||July 2, 2020|
|William Hill Illinois||Grand Victoria Casino Elgin||Sept. 10, 2020|
FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook App Goes Live
The toughest part for the big sportsbooks in Illinois is being able to enter in 2020, which the way the law is written. FanDuel Sportsbook has taken the next step to circumvent this and be live in the state for the beginning of the 2020 NFL season. This has been made possible by FanDuel’s partnership with Boyd Gaming, who owns and operates the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. After Par-A-Dice applies with the Illinois Gaming Board to offer sports betting, they will need to be approved (few weeks, tops) and then FanDuel Sportsbook will be live in Illinois!
This was not FanDuel’s first game plan in the state though, as they wanted to brand “FanDuel Sportsbook” in a partnership with the Fairmount Park racetrack and casino. With this move, it makes it a tad easier to enter the state but not to market in the state as FanDuel Sportsbook will not have direct advertising abilities by not rebranding the book. FanDuel Sportsbook follows in DraftKings’ footsteps in Illinois, as DraftKings did a near-mirrored move with Casino Queen in St. Louis.
These moves have been taken so FanDuel Sportsbook avoids the “penalty box” law, which prevents mobile-only sportsbooks from launching in the state in the first 18-months of legal sports betting offerings. The only caveat now is that Illinois residents must register in person. With the launch in Illinois, FanDuel Sportsbook has offered bankroll boosters for customers through their “Spread the Love” promotions.
Lakers +50 point underdogs tonight?
Most likely if you use the FanDuel Illinois sportsbook app!
https://t.co/X2xYFZNIEY#Lakers #NBA #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/Ku7lYIXYjv
— Action Rush (@ActionRushBets) September 4, 2020
PointsBet Sportsbook Ready to Go in Illinois
Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois has received its sports wagering license. In partnership with Hawthorne, sportsbook @PointsBetUSA says it plans to unveil its retail and mobile products “soon” in the state.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) July 30, 2020
With a sports wagering license granted to Hawthorne Race Course, PointsBet will be able to launch in the state “soon”, per this David Purdum tweet. This is huge news for PointsBet, as they will continue to grow their userbase and capture a huge part of the market in a sports-hungry state.
DraftKings Sportsbook App Set To Launch In Illinois
BREAKING: @DraftKings has found a workaround to the Illinois sports betting law’s “penalty box.” The company has a market access agreement with @Casino_Queen in East St. Louis #SportsBiz https://t.co/hyqHaZhvJb
— Eben Novy-Williams (@novy_williams) June 30, 2020
This is an incredible development, as the laws in Illinois prevented some “big players” from entering the state for a period of time unless there were certain rules that got around the “penalty box”. As of June 30th, Eben Novy-Williams tweeted that DraftKings has a workaround that allows them to possibly enter the state, agreeing in principle with Casino Queen to offer sports betting. Stay tuned.
Mobile Sports Betting Launches in Illinois
Legal online sports betting finally comes to Illinois today via @BetRivers.
An important step for a state that should have one of the biggest legal sports betting handles in U.S. sooner rather than later.
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) June 18, 2020
As of June 18th, 2020, mobile sports betting is available in Illinois. The sportsbook “BetRivers Illinois” is the first one available in the state, and with rules preventing some of the larger players it may be quite sometime before FanDuel and DraftKings enter the state. This is good timing for Illinois as sports begin to return from coronavirus in late June through July. Illinois will be ready, and should bring in revenue right away from sports betting.
Hollywood Aurora and Hollywood Joliet Open Illinois Sportsbooks
The number of sportsbooks in Illinois has grown again, this time by two. Both Hollywood Aurora and Hollywood Joliet are launching their online sportsbooks on Thursday, August 20th. This means there are six sportsbooks in Illinois that are live, giving sports fans in the state an ability to wager legally on sports.
Given the Hollywood name, both of these casinos will likely be branded by the Barstool Sportsbook name. Check out this tweet.
Penn’s Hollywood Aurora is opening today at 10 AM. Get down there and place a bet. Sportsbook is open. pic.twitter.com/RalwTuk31T
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) August 20, 2020
Illinois Legal Sports Betting Update
The Illinois Gaming Board just handed out master sports betting licenses to seven casinos. Each still needs to request approval to offer online betting.
— Mitchell Armentrout (@mitchtrout) June 11, 2020
In mid-June of 2020, the state’s Illinois Gaming Board approved seven of the state’s casinos for “Master Sports Wagering Licenses”. Those licenses that were approved are:
- Grand Victoria Casino
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Hollywood Casino Joliet
- Rivers Casino
- Casino Queen
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
The big news in Illinois was the executive order that allowed bettors to register online, rather than in-person (COVID-19 effect) to allow for sports betting to take effect much sooner. This allowed for mobile sports betting to launch in the state right away.
When Can I Bet Online?
You can bet on sports online in Illinois as of June 18th, 2020! The latest from BetRivers Sportsbook in Illinois positions them as the first sportsbook in the state taking online bets.
Where Can I Bet in Illinois?
Once licenses are approved, you will be able to bet in a variety of places. Illinois has a unique infrastructure that allows betting at many places, in-person and of course via mobile devices.
In addition to sportsbooks at land-based casinos, and mobile betting, there will be other options.
Expect the following casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting:
Retail Sportsbook Locations
Rivers led the way by opening the first sportsbook and the first mobile sportsbook app in Illinois. Rivers Sportsbook is located near downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport. The BetRivers sportsbook includes a 47-foot-wide HD LED video wall, five betting windows and 30 sports betting kiosks.
Address: 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018
Sportsbook Hours: TBD after COVID-19 shutdown
Argosy Casino Alton
Argosy Casino is located just across the mighty Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO. The casino is one of three in Illinois operated by Penn National Gaming (Barstool). The sportsbook features 30+ TV screens, 14 sports betting kiosks and five teller windows.
Address: 1 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002
Sportsbook Hours: TBD after COVID-19 shutdown
|BRICK/MORTAR LOCATION||LAUNCH DATE||MOBILE APP PARTNER|
|Rivers Casino Des Plaines||March 9, 2020||BetRivers|
|Argosy Casino Alton||March 12, 2020||Penn National|
|Hawthorne Race Course||TBD||PointsBet|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||TBD||Penn National|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||TBD||Penn National|
|Grand Victoria Casino Elgin||TBD||William Hill|
|Par-A-Dice Casino East Peoria||TBD||BetMGM|
|Arlington Park Racetrack||TBD||Churchill Downs|
|Jumer’s Casino Rock Island||TBD||Delaware North|
|Queen Casino East St. Louis||TBD||TBD|
|Fairmont Park Racetrack||TBD||TBD|
Betting Kiosks via the Illinois Lottery
In the first year of sports betting in Illinois, there are 2,500 expected betting kiosks to be available in different casinos, racetracks, and other sports venues via the Illinois Lottery.
In year two, there will be 2,500 more kiosks added.
The downside of the kiosks is that they will not offer full sports betting, as it will be limited to parlays. Illinois law also permits sports venues to open up sportsbooks as well, which can offer full access to sports betting.
Sports Betting Venues in Illinois
These venues include:
- Wrigley Field
- Guaranteed Rate Field
- Soldier Field
- United Center
- SeatGeek Stadium
- Chicagoland Speedway
- World Wide Technology Raceway
Remember, the following casinos and racetracks are expected to offer sports betting:
- Hawthorne Race Course (via PointsBet.com)
- Casino Queen
- Grand Victoria
- Hollywood Casino
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbook
Mobile Sports Betting in Illinois Coming in 2020?
From December, 2019. Sports betting is now live in Illinois.
It will take some time before mobile betting is active in the Land of Lincoln, but once live there are some provisions that need to be conveyed. Keep in mind, these are only in effect for the first 18 months after sports betting.
Bettors will need to register in-person with a licensed sportsbook before betting online. This will not last forever, but at first it will be essential.
You will need to visit the closest casino or racetrack to verify your identity and such.
The second clause is very interesting:
Individual online-casino operators will only be able to enter the market in the first 18 months if they partner with a casino in Illinois. If they choose not to, they will need to wait 18 months.
If the operator chooses to enter within 18 months, it is required to operate under the brand name of the casino.
This means FanDuel, DraftKings, and some others have a difficult decision to make. Do they wait 18 months for their own brand? Time will tell.
This will be essential for competitors to get a leg up, as 18 months is a long time to acquire as many customers as they can, before the larger media companies enter the state.
Can I Bet on College Sports in Illinois?
In Illinois, you cannot bet on in-state collegiate athletics. This means that bettors can wager on any professional league, but college teams in the state are off-limits. This was enacted due to athletic directors of several D1 schools expressing the desire to have in-state collegiate athletics exempt from sports betting, to avoid any inside information or attempts to influence a game in any way.
No betting on Northwestern football or basketball! One must remember that Northwestern football was involved in a game-fixing scandal back in 1998.
Minor league events and amateur sports for grades K-12 are not permitted to bet wagered.
Illinois Sports Betting Taxes
The state of Illinois will gain a large amount of tax revenue from sports betting.
The bill calls for:
- 15% tax rate on gross sports wagering
- 2% additional tax rate from operators located in counties with a large population (3M or higher)
In addition, licensing fees of $3M to $20M will bring in revenue for the state as well as part of this process. There were some fears of a Pennsylvania sports betting tax regulation which calls for 34% tax on revenue. Thankfully that did not happen.
Illinois Requires Official League Data
Illinois joins Tennessee and Michigan in requiring “official” data from the professional sports leagues in order to offer in-game betting or prop betting. Licensed operators must purchase official data from the leagues to offer these types of betting.
Similar to Pennsylvania, Illinois has roughly a dozen casino locations that will partner with sportsbook operators. Below are the casino locations and associated sportsbook partnerships.
- City: East Saint Louis
- Phone: (618) 874-5000
- Sportsbook: DraftKings Sportsbook
- City: Joliet
- Phone: (815) 740-7800
- Sportsbook: Caesars Sportsbook
- City: Metropolis
- Phone: (618) 524-2628
- Sportsbook: Caesars
Hollywood Casino Aurora
- City: Aurora
- Phone: (630) 801-1234
- Sportsbook: Penn National Gaming
Grand Victoria Casino
- City: Elgin
- Phone: (847) 468-7000
- Sportsbook: William Hill Sportsbook
Hollywood Casino Joliet
- City: Joliet
- Phone: (888) 436-7737
- Sportsbook: Barstool
Argosy Casino Alton
- City: Alton
- Phone: (800) 711-4263
- Sportsbook: Penn National Gaming
Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- City: Des Plaines
- Phone: (888) 307-0777
- Sportsbook: BetRivers
- City: East Peoria
- Phone: (309) 699-7711
- Sportsbook: Boyd Gaming
Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
- City: Rock Island
- Phone: (800) 477-7747
- Sportsbook: TBD