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Gambling in Illinois

Though gambling in Illinois has been enjoyed for many years, steps have only been taken in the past few decades to fully legalize these activities. With new sports betting laws on the cusp of introduction, we might see further activity come from the Prairie State soon. Lawmakers here have a positive attitude toward gambling, so Illinois might be one of the first states to legalize gambling in many areas.

Though gambling in Illinois has been enjoyed for many years, steps have only been taken in the past few decades to fully legalize these activities. With new sports betting laws on the cusp of introduction, we might see further activity come from the Prairie State soon. Lawmakers here have a positive attitude toward gambling, so Illinois might be one of the first states to legalize gambling in many areas.

Available in this state

Online Sports Betting Illinois

In Illinois, sports betting legislation had been the center of discussion for several years. Many lawmakers introduced bills across several years, but it was Rep. Robert Rita’s SB 690 that finally made it through to law in June 2019. The bill was then signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker shortly after. This allowed residents to legally partake in sports betting. Illinois lawmakers have since been working to introduce a safe platform for gamblers.

So, can you gamble in Illinois yet? Not quite, there are still a few hurdles in the way. Applications for sportsbook licenses only went live in December 2019. With only sixteen licenses available for brick-and-mortar locations plus three for online sportsbooks, competition would likely be fierce. Governor Pritzker has been a long-time supporter of sports gambling in Illinois and he is confident sports betting platforms would be live by 2020’s March Madness.

With so many sports teams based in Illinois, online gambling is likely to bring a lot of revenue to the state. It is estimated that the Illinois sports betting market could be worth $5 billion by 2023. The Chicago Cubs and the White Sox are two of the most well-known Major League Baseball teams. With teams also in the NFL, NBA, and several successful women’s teams across many sports, there is plenty for bettors to choose from.

Though we can answer the question “Is gambling legal in Illinois” with a firm yes, it might be harder to determine a precise timeline for the launch of the platforms. Some sources claim that it will take much longer for the online platforms to launch compared to those available from the retail locations. Keep an eye on this page for updates when the sportsbooks are ready to accept their first customers.

Online Casinos Illinois

Gambling in Illinois’ casinos has been popular for several decades. Riverboat casinos were established in 1991. This gave players the chance to enjoy table games and slots. There are fifteen brick-and-mortar casinos around the state. Further expansion came into being with the introduction of SB 690. It allowed for five new casinos around the state and a new mega-casino in Chicago. Slots and table games can also now be introduced at racetracks and many other locations around the state. However, none of the new legislation included the introduction of an online casino. Illinois lawmakers might introduce an online casino bill, but it looks unlikely for now.

Some online casino sites that claim to offer gambling in Illinois. However, these sites are not regulated at a state level. They are often based overseas and there is a strong chance that they could sell your sensitive data or refuse payout of your winnings.

It will be much better to wait until there is a safe place you can gamble online. The ideal time to introduce a bill would have been with SB 690 but something might be drafted in 2020. Should such a bill be introduced, you will be able to find out more here on this page.

Online Poker Illinois

Poker has been incredibly popular in Illinois for several years. With many states now offering licenses to the best online poker sites, Illinois lawmakers might investigate this area of revenue next. In the meantime, players can try their hands at a tournament at one of the riverboat casinos or another venue.

If you want to try online poker, Illinois players can often find themselves banned at popular online sites as the state controls are quite strict. However, there are still some overseas websites that claim to offer poker games to players in Illinois. Online gambling through this means is never safe, just like with the online casinos. Instead, you should wait until there is a site that is regulated by the state.

With poker held in high regard by many gamblers in the Prairie State, we might see some new regulations introduced. Multi-jurisdictional tournaments are now possible with players from Nevada, Delaware, and other states coming together to play the same game of poker. This is a form of play that might prove to be very popular in Illinois and it could bring in quite a bit of revenue for the state. If a bill that legalizes online poker emerges, you will be able to follow it on this page.

Daily Fantasy Illinois

Daily fantasy sports in Illinois is something of a grey area. Though popular providers like FanDuel and DraftKings offer their products to players, no concrete laws legalize the practice. Likewise, there is nothing to outlaw fantasy sports completely. This is despite a claim from the Attorney General Lisa Madigan that fantasy sports were illegal under state law.

Since there is no clear position on fantasy sports, Illinois players should refrain from playing at one of these sites until this grey area has been resolved. This might take a while. Multiple bills have been introduced to legalize fantasy sports, but they have all failed at some point. Part of this is thought to be pressure from casino owners who are angry that fantasy sports operators have managed to push their products without a license. The operators themselves were angry that they were not included in SB 690 so it might take some time to fully address all the issues Illinois faces for these games.

2020 might be the perfect time to face this area again. If a new bill is introduced, you will be able to follow it here.

Online Lottery Illinois

The Illinois State Lottery was one of the first to be introduced in the US. It launched on July 1st, 1974. Players can enjoy several daily draw games and a pari-mutuel jackpot called Lotto. The jackpot for Lotto starts at $2,000,000. There is also a Luck Day Lotto that is a pari-mutuel that starts at $100,000. Players can also take part in the multi-jurisdictional games Mega Millions and Powerball.

Unlike many other states, players can play the Illinois Lottery online. Tickets can be bought at the official website so long as the purchaser’s IP address registers as one in Illinois. You can also purchase tickets from one of the 7200 retailers throughout the state. Purchasers must be 18+, whether they are buying tickets for the Illinois Lottery online or in a store.

You can also buy tickets on the Illinois Lottery app. Players can check their numbers on the app, on the Lottery’s website, or one of the broadcasts or publications following a draw.

Other Important Gambling Facts Illinois

25% of the revenue earned from the Illinois Lottery is put back to the State. Illinois has received $21 billion from the Lottery since 1985. The majority of this goes to the Common School Fund to support K-12 public schools. It also goes to the Capital Projects Fund, used for state infrastructure, and to other projects like veteran support and homelessness prevention. You can also play special games from the Lottery that will support one of these causes with 100% of its profits.

The licenses for the sportsbooks are thought to be set at an initial fee of $10 million for brick-and-mortar casinos and $20 million for online licenses. These are very steep, but they could do much for Illinois. Online gambling revenue would be put back into state projects and would primarily be used for construction funds for schools and colleges.

Gambling Illinois Conclusion

Though the road to legal sports gambling in Illinois might have had many changes in recent years, players will now be able to place bets on their favorite sports in legal and regulated environments. With attitudes now shifting, we might be close to seeing online casinos and poker games also legalized in the Land of Lincoln.


Currently, you cannot take part in online gambling in Illinois, but this will be changing very soon. Online sports betting was legalized in Illinois in 2019 but platforms aren’t expected to launch until 2020. Online casino games and online poker are both banned.

You cannot play online poker in the state of Illinois. Some sites claim to accept players from Illinois, but they are unregulated by the state.

Gambling in casinos has been legal in Illinois since 1991. Gambling in sportsbooks was introduced in 2019, with the first locations expected to go live in 2020.

Daily fantasy sports exist in a grey area in Illinois state law. While fantasy sports operators do offer their products, their services are not regulated by state law.


Jennifer Marsh

Jennifer is constantly on the lookout for the latest updates on US gambling legislation. She has a soft spot for blackjack and poker, but spends a lot of time writing about other facets of the online gambling world as well.

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