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Legal Gambling in Illinois

Though residents have enjoyed gambling in Illinois for many years, the government has only taken steps to fully legalize these activities in the past few decades. 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 towards gambling, so IL might be one of the first states to legalize it in many areas.

Though residents have enjoyed gambling in Illinois for many years, the government has only taken steps to fully legalize these activities in the past few decades. 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 towards gambling, so IL might be one of the first states to legalize it in many areas.

Available in this state

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Illinois?

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

So, can you bet on sports 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 2024’s March Madness.

With so many sports teams based in IL, online gambling is likely to bring a lot of revenue to the state. Experts estimate that the sports betting market in Illinois 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 sports betting platforms. Some sources claim that it will take much longer for the them to get going when they compare them to those available from the retail locations. Keep an eye on this page for updates on when sportsbooks are ready to accept their first customers.

Legal Gambling at Casinos in Illinois

Residents have enjoyed gambling at casinos in Illinois for decades. The state permitted the establishment of riverboat casinos in 1991, giving players the chance to enjoy table games and slots. There are fifteen brick-and-mortar casinos throughout IL. The introduction of SB 690 allowed for five new casinos around the state and a new mega-casino in Chicago. Racetracks and many other locations state-wide can now also introduce slots and table games, however, none of the new legislation included the introduction of an online casino. Lawmakers in the Prairie State might introduce a bill for online casinos, but it looks unlikely for now.

Some online casino sites claim to accept residents in Illinois, however, the state does not regulate these. They are often based overseas and there is a strong chance that they could sell your sensitive data or refuse to pay you 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 lawmakers might draft something in 2024. If they introduce a bill of this nature, you will be able to find out more about it on this page.

Players in Illinois Cannot Access Popular Online Poker Sites

Poker has been incredibly popular in Illinois for several years. With many states now offering licenses to the best online poker sites, lawmakers in IL 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.

When it comes to online poker, players in the Prairie State often find they cannot access popular online sites as 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 online casinos. Instead, you should wait until there is a secure, state regulated site.

With poker held in high regard by many gamblers in the Prairie State, we might see the government introduce some new regulations. 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.

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Sites Legal in Illinois?

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

Since there is no clear position on fantasy sports, players in IL should refrain from playing at one of these sites until lawmakers have resolved this gray area, which may take some time. They have introduced multiple bills to legalize fantasy sports, but these have all failed at some point. Many think that this is partly due to the pressure from casino owners who are angry that DFS operators have managed to push their products without a license. The operators themselves were angry that the state did not include them in SB 690, so it might take some time to fully address all the issues these games face in Illinois.

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

Playing the State Lottery in Illinois

The Illinois State Lottery was one of the first in the US after its launch 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. They can buy tickets on the official website as long as the purchaser’s IP address registers as one in IL. They 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 About Illinois

25% of the revenue the Illinois Lottery earns is put back into the state. The Prairie State 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 for state infrastructure, and to other projects like veteran support and homelessness prevention. You can also play special games from the State Lottery that will support one of these causes with 100% of its profits.

Many believe that the licenses for sportsbooks will cost 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 a lot for Illinois. The government would put online gambling revenue back into state projects and would primarily use it for construction funds for schools and colleges.

What’s Next for Gambling in Illinois?

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.


No, you currently cannot take part in online gambling in Illinois, but this will change very soon. Lawmakers legalized online sports betting in IL in 2019 but they don’t expect platforms to launch until 2024. The state prohibits both online casino games and online poker.

No, you cannot play online poker in the state of Illinois. Some sites claim to accept players from IL, but the state does not regulate these.

Gambling in casinos has been legal in Illinois since 1991. The government legalized gambling in sportsbooks in 2019, with the first locations expected to go live in 2020.

Daily fantasy sports exist in a gray area in Illinois state law. While fantasy sports operators do offer their products, state law does not regulate their services.


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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