Illinois Sports Betting
In 2019, the government of Illinois passed a bill that legalized in-person and online sports betting. However, the devil was in the details. It seemed like it’d take until December 2020 for online sportsbooks to open, with brick & mortar bookies to open in March. Fast forward to June 2020, no brick & mortar sportsbooks are still open, but online books are way ahead of schedule with BetRivers already open in the Prairie State.
The language of Illinois’ sports betting legalization bill gave land-based casinos a BIG head start. They are allowed to operate, while online-only sportsbooks must wait 18 months from June 2020 to go live. That means that players like DraftKings Sportsbook shouldn’t be able to launch their platforms until December 2021 at the earliest.
However, recent global events have decimated state revenues across the country. As such, rumours started to swirl that Illinois is overhauling their approach to gaming and betting. With BetRivers launching well ahead of schedule and 7 new gambling licenses issued, it seems like only a matter before other big brands join BetRivers offering legal sports betting in Illinois.
IL Betting Apps
Currently BetRivers is the only mobile betting app in Illinois. Good and bad here: It’s available for Android, unavailable for iOS. They’re developing their iOS app so that is only a matter of time before it hits the App Store.
However, you can easily bet on your mobile browser so a mobile app isn’t a necessity, regardless if you’re on Android or iOS. You can place your bets, deposit, withdraw and change your details easily whether you use an app or not.
Illinois is a populous state. With over 12 million people that love sports, it is fertile ground for online betting apps. According to what we’ve heard on the grapevine, you can expect to see the following Illinois online sportsbooks when they are allowed to launch:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill
- Barstool Sportsbook
Some of these big players should join the mix with BetRivers soon. However, thanks to the “penalty box provision”, the likes of DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook may have to wait. State legislators crafted this clause to give land-based operators a 1 1/2 year head start over online-only sportsbooks. As a result, players like DraftKings and Fanduel Sportsbook may not launch until December 2021.
Our educated guess: DraftKings and FanDuel strike a market access deal through a land-basaed casino and circumvent the “online only” clause, allowing them to access Illinois way ahead of original schedule.
Free Bets, Risk-Free Bets & Deposit Matches in Illinois
In sports betting, there are three main types of welcome bonus. They are as follows:
Free Bets – Free bets are exactly what they sound like – it is a real cash bet that costs you nothing. There is one small twist, though – if you win, you retain the profit, but not the stake. Not yet available in Illinois.
Risk-Free Bets – Unlike free bets, a risk-free bet comes from your bankroll. However, if you lose a risk-free wager, your sportsbook will refund your stake up to a cap. Some risk-free bets pay you back in real cash, while others give you bonus cash. Check your site’s T&Cs for details. Not yet available in Illinois.
Deposit Match Bonuses – Common in online casinos, these bonuses match your deposit with bonus cash up to a given percentage. Here’s how it works – let’s say that your sportsbook is offering a 100% up to $250 welcome bonus. If you deposit $50, you get $50 in bonus cash. Deposit $100, and you’ll receive $100 in bonus funds. Therefore, to max out this specific bonus, you’d want to deposit $250. Available in Illinois through BetRivers’ $250 deposit match bonus with bonus code 250MATCH.
At this time, it’s not clear what welcome bonuses Illinois sportsbooks will offer (excluding BetRivers). It’s reasonable to expect more prominent players will debut with welcome offers similar to what they’re providing in other bettting states. However, once Illinois gets properly going, increasing competition could sweeten these deals.
Above, we made a distinction between real cash and bonus cash. Bonus cash CANNOT be withdrawn immediately. To do so, you must satisfy playthrough or wagering requirements.
To convert bonus cash to real (withdrawable) money, you must wager through them a number of times. Also, note that there’s usually a time limit on this task. Fail to wager through your bonus fast enough, and you could lose it.
Sportsbook wagering requirements vary widely. Some bonus funds, like those awarded in a risk-free bet promotion, may only require a 1x turnover. Meanwhile, sportsbook deposit match bonuses may have wagering requirements identical to online casinos (e.g. as much as 20x.)
Legal Sports Betting In Illinois – Promos
Welcome offers are just the beginning – the best Illinois sportsbooks also offer compelling ongoing promotions. These promos come in many different flavours, but in general, most fall into the following three categories:
Reload Deposit Bonuses – Similar to deposit match welcome bonuses, reload bonuses match a reload deposit up to a certain percentage and amount. Wagering requirements vary widely for these offers – check the fine print for details.
Odds/Profit Boosts – Odds boosts offer you an artificially better price. Profit boosts toss a percentage-based bonus on top of your winnings. Opt-in on the promo page, or check your bet slip for a drop-down menu.
Parlay Insurance – Protects you against a parlay loss when the difference between victory and defeat is one leg. If you fall short by this measure or others (check promos for details), your sportsbook will refund your stake. Funds may be in real or bonus cash.
To be clear, though, there are many other types of promos out there. For instance, FanDuel Sportsbook is offering $10 bonus cash for futures bet of $50 or more on the NBA/NHL playoffs in other legal online betting states like New Jersey and Indiana. Keep an eye on the promotions section of top Illinois sportsbooks – you’ll be surprised by what you’ll find.
Banking at an Illinois Online Bookie
To be honest, it’s too early say certainly what Illinois sportsbooks will offer for banking options. However, based on what major brands have done in other states, we’re confident in what they’ll offer here.
We’ll review feasible deposit/withdrawal options for Illinois sportsbooks below.
When Illinois sportsbooks eventually go live on a broad scale, we expect they’ll offer the following deposit options:
- Credit Cards (MasterCard/Visa)
- Bank Transfers
Credit cards and bank transfers are the most convenient way to get a bankroll online. All it takes is a couple of minutes to enter your payment details. Once you click “deposit,” you’ll instantly have a balance online.
However, these methods leave a visible paper trail. When you deposit, the name of your sportsbook will appear on your bill/statement. If this is a problem for you, PayPal or PayNearMe are great workarounds. PayPal transactions appear on your account as PayPal – it doesn’t say where you moved your money afterwards.
PayNearMe works with retailers like Dollar Tree, CVS, and 7-Eleven to turn physical cash into a bankroll. Start by initiating a PayNearMe deposit via your sportsbook. This act will give you a PayCode – take your PayCode and money to a participating retailer. After processing the transaction with a cashier, you’ll be ready to play immediately.
Illinois sportsbooks may also offer these deposit methods:
- Play+/Prepaid Cards
- Cash at the Cage
Play+ or prepaid cards allow players to load/withdraw funds with ease. Skrill is a well-established e-wallet with years of experience in online gaming. And, if the Illinois Gaming Board allows it, you may be able to deposit via the cashier cage at participating land-based casinos.
Illinois sports bettors will be able to withdraw using most (but not all) deposit methods. Based on what we’ve seen, we expect Illinois sportsbooks to offer the following withdrawal options:
- Bank Transfer
- Paper Checks
Of the above options, PayPal is the fastest. Allow two or three business days for requested funds to land in your PayPal account. Bank wires are next in line, with a three to five business day wait period. Paper checks come in last, with a processing time of seven to ten business days.
The above options are the most probable. Having said that, we hope either prepaid cards like Play+ or Cash At The Cage will be available. In both cases, after your withdrawal passes inspection, you gain instant access to your funds. Our fingers are crossed!
Conclusion – Legal IL Sports Betting is Now Live!
It may not have been pretty, but they got there in the end. BetRivers is now open for legal bets online and soon you can bet on other sites and brick & mortar casinos. As licenses have been issued, it’s only a matter of time before multiple sportsbook open in the Prairie State. We expect at least half a dozen books to open before pro football season kicks off. Can’t wait.
Illinois Sports Betting FAQ
- Can you bet on sports online in Illinois?
Yes, you can. BetRivers was the first online sportsbook to open on 18th of June. You can bet at BetRivers as long as you're within the state lines and over 21 years old.
More online sportsbooks will open in the near future, and by NFL season we should have a handful of options to choose from.
- Are online casinos legal in Illinois?
Not right now, but they might be soon. The global health crisis has caused land-based casino revenue to dry up in Illinois. In response, legislators have been rumoured to be discussing the legalization of online gaming. Like online sports betting, this is a fluid situation – keep checking back for the latest info.
- Is DraftKings sportsbook legal in Illinois?
Not right now. However, they may go live sooner than you think. Reports state that Harrah’s Joliet, Jumer’s, and one other casino are in discussions with DraftKings. If DraftKings partners with a land-based casino, they may go live even by football season.
- How old do I have to be to bet on sports in Illinois?
You need to be 21 years old to legally bet on sports in Illinois.