This law means sports betting is now legal online and in physical sportsbooks. The sportsbooks are allowed to be located in casinos, racetracks, and close to existing sports venues. When you add in the state lottery, there are numerous forms of gambling already available in Illinois, with more to come.
While the gambling options are expanding, it remains illegal to play for real money at online casinos in Illinois. There are no regulated online casinos in the Prairie State, and we would not recommend using an offshore casino site. However, you can legally play at online social casinos and still enjoy a selection of casino games remotely.
Is It Legal In Illinois?
Although the Illinois State Gambling Act came into force last year legalizing sports betting, online casino gambling or other online gaming is still illegal. Players can still play some classic table games and slot machines through social casino sites, but if you want to play for real money, you must visit a physical casino.
The Illinois lottery has been around since 2012 and allows residents and visitors to the state to play certain games from their mobile devices. In fact, Illinois became the first state to offer online lottery when it launched. It is also possible to place wagers online for horse racing in Illinois. You can choose from the three-horse tracks in the state of from the several off-track betting locations.
These are currently the only online gambling options available in Illinois. We strongly advise against playing at an offshore casino site as they are not regulated, and it can be dangerous handing over personal information in this instance. Moreover, if anything were to happen, you will have no legal recourse against the website in question.
Social Casinos in Illinois
One form of online gambling that is legal in Illinois is social casinos. One of the most prominent social casino sites is Chumba casino, which offers classic casino games such as blackjack, slot machines, and 3-card poker. Chumba casino adopts a dual-currency system involving “gold coins,” which players can purchase and “sweeps coins,” which you can only get via a bonus or a promotion. These are entirely free, and there is no need to deposit.
Players can build up these sweeps coins and use them to enter tournaments or contests with decent prizes on offer, including real money. These sites are known as sweepstakes rather than traditional gambling sites, which is why social casinos are legal in Illinois. Social casinos are an excellent way for players to enjoy their favorite casino games without worrying about losing cash. If you enter a tournament and get lucky, you can win some fantastic prizes as well.
There are other sweepstake sites available in the state of Illinois, such as LuckyLand Slots. If you are a poker fan, you can access social poker sites such as the World Series of Poker or Zynga. Global poker acts as a sister site to Chumba, so it employs a similar dual-currency system. This means the operator can offer players the chance to play legally in Illinois or anywhere else across the United States.
We definitely advise you to stick with social casinos until online casinos become regulated in Illinois. There will be offshore online casino platforms available, but these are dangerous, especially when you can access games online through sweepstake sites.
Illinois Land-Based Casinos
Illinois has ten Riverboat casinos where players can play slots and classic table games. These Illinois casinos and their location can be found below:
- Argosy Casino Alton (Alton)
- Casino Queen (East St. Louis)
- Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin)
- Harrah’s Casino & Hotel Joliet (Joliet)
- Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel (Metropolis)
- Hollywood Casino Aurora (Aurora)
- Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet (Joliet)
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel (Rock Island)
- Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino (East Peoria)
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines (Des Plaines)
All of the above casinos offer players numerous slot games such as progressive slots and video poker. There are also several table games on offer, including Blackjack, Roulette, Pai Gow Poker, Texas Hold’em Bonus, and Baccarat. A selection of riverboat casinos also have poker rooms.
Illinois gambling laws dictate that casinos cannot be open 24/7, so the majority will shut during quieter times for a couple of hours, usually in the morning. The 2019 Gambling Act will allow the riverboat casinos to become land-based casinos once they pay a fee and get approval from regulators.
The existing Illinois casinos can expand their operations from 1,200 to 2,000 “gaming positions” if they wish. If they want to grow, they will need to pay a position fee each time they add a position.
Illinois Online Poker
There are more poker tables appearing in Illinois, with live poker legal in brick and mortar casinos. Poker will also be among other table games that are allowed at the new casinos as well. Hollywood Casino Aurora, Grand Victoria, Jumer’s, and Par-a-Dice all contain poker rooms. Most of these poker rooms spread low-stakes no-limit hold’em cash games as well as hosting weekly tournaments.
However, playing poker online for real money in Illinois is illegal. Although other gaming options have become legal in the state, Illinois lawmakers have yet to relax the restrictions on online poker. The 2019 bill focused primarily on sports betting and physical gambling options, so online poker wasn’t considered.
However, online poker becoming legal in Illinois cannot be ruled out. Lawmakers have shown they are not opposed to all gambling sites, so online poker fans can retain some optimism that their favorite game will become legal in the future.
Illinois Horse Betting
Gambling in Illinois extends to horse racing. There are three horse racetracks in the state which are:
- Arlington International Racecourse (Arlington Heights)
- Fairmount Park Racetrack (Collinsville)
- Hawthorne Race Course (Cicero)
There are also 24 off-track betting locations that operate under one of the three in-state tracks. You must be at least 18 years of age to bet on horse racing in Illinois. The minimum bet required is $2 in most cases, although specific locations may go as little as $1.
Some tracks, including the Fairmount Park Racetrack and Hawthorne Race Course, are planning to expand their gambling offerings and become ‘racinos’ and providing slots and casino games. Players also have the option of placing a wager online for horse racing in Illinois via the state’s racetracks or off-track locations.
The Illinois lottery has been running since March 2012, becoming the first state to offer an online lottery program. The lottery can be played at numerous retail locations across the state as well as online. The three main types of lottery gaming are daily games, instant tickets, and jackpot games.
You can purchase a ticket for just $2, and the minimum jackpot is $40 million, with draws taking place every Wednesday and Saturday. The Illinois lottery makes up a large part of the state’s $3 billion in annual lottery revenue. It might not be as fun as playing casino games, but the lottery is another legal online gambling option for residents in Illinois.
Bonuses & Promotions at Illinois Casinos
If and when online casinos are legalized in Illinois, players can expect to find numerous perks and promotions. Any online casino site that wants to compete for players will offer several bonuses and promotions for new sign-ups. Ultimately the players are the winners, and they should take advantage of bonus offers when creating their account.
Some online casino sites will offer a matched deposit up to a certain amount for players. For example, if you make an initial deposit of $300, the casino will add $300 to your account, so you have instantly doubled your money. Some of these bonuses will have wagering requirements attached to them, so make sure you read them before playing the bonus. A wagering requirement means you will need to bet a specific amount before you can access the bonus funds.
Players in Illinois should also be on the lookout for no deposit bonus offers. These will be smaller than a matched deposit offer, but the plus point is you don’t have to deposit any money to claim the offer. Once again, there may be wagering requirements, so ensure you read the terms and conditions.
Additionally, some online gambling sites in Illinois may offer players free spins. If you are a fan of the slots, this offer may be particularly appealing for you. These work by the online casino adding some credits into a player’s account that they can then use as free spins. Any money that players make from these free spins they can keep, but bear in mind, there are likely to be playthrough requirements.
Online casinos continue to add more modern and easy to use payment methods to make financial transactions a straightforward process. Most players will be familiar with credit/debit cards, but please be aware some banks may decline the payments even in a state where online gambling is legal. Players will need to talk to their bank if they wish to use a payment card.
The most common payment methods at online casinos include:
- Online Bank transfer
- PayNearMe at 7-Eleven
E-wallets are becoming more popular due to their speed. Some online casino sites accept the Play+ card as a payment option. This allows players to add money directly to their Play+ card, rather than deposit at the casino itself. The same applies to PayPal; all you need to do is move your funds from your PayPal account to the online casino.
Withdrawal times will differ depending on which payment method you choose. All of the above deposit and withdrawal options should be available once online gambling sites are legal in Illinois.
Illinois Gambling News
This page will bring you all of the latest information on gambling in Illinois. From legislation changes and laws to new casino games and more, you will find it all right here.