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Illinois Sports Betting Guide – Up To $5,000 In Free Bets

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Sports betting in Illinois is easier than ever thanks to new laws that legalize online sportsbooks in the Prairie State. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Illinois sports betting and review the 10 best Illinois sportsbooks in 2022.

The Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites List 2022

Before we dive into the ins and outs of Illinois sports betting, let’s take a quick look at the 10 best sites for online sports betting in Illinois:

  • BetOnline – Overall Best Illinois Sportsbook in 2022
  • XBet – Top Site for Off Track Betting in Illinois
  • Bovada – Online Sportsbook with Live Streaming and Betting
  • MyBookie – Best Illinois Sportsbook for Odds Boosts
  • BetUS – Huge Bonus Offers Worth up to $7,500
  • Intertops – Top NBA Betting Site in 2022
  • Sportsbetting.ag – Best App for Mobile Sports Betting in Illinois
  • BetNow – Best Illinois Sportsbook for NFL Betting
  • GT Bets – Competitive Odds and 24/7 Customer Support
  • BUSR – Most Beginner-friendly Sports Betting App

Is Sports Betting Legal in Illinois?

Sports betting is legal in Illinois. The state approved both online and in-person sports betting in Illinois in 2019, and the first sportsbooks went live in March 2020.

One thing that’s unique about legal sports betting in Illinois is that before you can wager online, you must first register for a betting account in person at one of the state’s casinos. Which casino you have to visit depends on which online sportsbook you want to bet with—each of Illinois’ casinos has partnered with a different online betting site. The in-person registration requirement is set to expire on March 5, 2022, or even sooner if the state’s gambling commission issues a mobile-only sportsbook license before that date.

Another thing to know about sports betting in Illinois is that you can only bet on sports. You can’t bet on politics or non-sporting events like the Oscars. You also can’t bet on in-state college sports, although that’s likely to change in the near future thanks to a bill that passed the Illinois legislature but hasn’t yet been signed into law.

Online Sportsbooks

Right now, there are 6 sites for legal online sports betting in Illinois:

  • DraftKings (partnered with Casino Queen)
  • Fanduel (partnered with Par-A-Dice Casino)
  • PointsBet (partnered with Hawthorne Race Course)
  • BetRivers (partnered with Rivers Casino Des Plaines)
  • Barstool Sports (partnered with Hollywood Casinos)
  • Caesar’s (partnered with Grand Victoria Casino)

Before you can start betting online with any of these platforms, you first have to visit the partner casino in-person. That might influence which online sportsbook you choose, since some Illinois residents may have to travel hundreds of miles to reach the nearest of these casinos.

More online sportsbooks are expected to launch once Illinois begins offering mobile-only sportsbook licenses. The Illinois Gaming Board expects to announce bids in December 2021.

In addition, you can play with offshore sportsbooks in Illinois without going through in-person registration. These sportsbooks also offer betting on Illinois college sports, which gives them a significant edge over state-approved betting sites. In fact, all of the top 10 Illinois sportsbooks we reviewed are offshore gambling sites.

Land-based Betting

There are currently 8 land-based casinos with sportsbooks in Illinois:

  • Par-A-Dice Casino (East Peoria, IL)
  • Hawthorne Racecourse (Stickney, IL)
  • Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, IL)
  • Rivers Casino (Des Plaines, IL)
  • Casino Queen (East St. Louis, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet (Joliet, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora (Aurora, IL)
  • Argosy Casino (Alton, IL)

You can visit these casino sportsbooks to place bets in person, or to register for an online betting account with their partner sportsbook. Illinois also has 2 additional casinos that don’t currently offer sportsbooks.

Illinois Horse Racing & Off Track Betting

Illinois has 3 horse racing tracks where you can bet on races:

  • Arlington Park (Arlington Heights, IL)
  • Fairmount Park (Collinsville, IL)
  • Hawthorne Racecourse (Stickney, IL)

You can also find off-track betting sites throughout the state. Here’s a complete list of locations for off-track betting in Illinois:

  • Time Out OTB (Alton, IL)
  • Aurora: The Piazza (Aurora, IL)
  • Trackside at Joe’s Bar (Chicago, IL)
  • Corliss OTB (Chicago, IL)
  • Crestwood OTB (Crestwood, IL)
  • Post Time Sports Bar & Grille (Green Oaks, IL)
  • Trackside at Salerno’s (Hodgkins, IL)
  • Trackside at the Saddle Room (Hoffman Estates, IL)
  • Bookie Magee’s (Joliet, IL)
  • Black Eyed Susan (Lansing, IL)
  • Salerno’s Pizzeria and R Bar (McHenry, IL)
  • Stoney Point Grill (Mokena, IL)
  • Blono Pizza Co. (Normal, IL)
  • Oakbrook Terrace OTB (Oakbrook Terrace, IL)
  • Furlong’s Sports Grill & OTB (Ottawa, IL)
  • Bullpen Bar & Grill (Peoria, IL)
  • Players Pub & Grill (Prospect Heights, IL)
  • Don Carter Lanes (Rockford, IL)
  • Route 3 OTB (Sauget, IL)
  • Capital Teletrack (Springfield, IL)
  • Trackside at Crazy Pour (Villa Park, IL)

Illinois Sports Betting Legislation Timeline

The Illinois sports betting landscape has evolved quickly in recent years. Here’s a timeline showing how the state got to where it is today and where sports betting is going next.

2018: Several bills were introduced in the Illinois legislature in 2018 to explore the possibility of legalizing sports betting in the state. Most of the bills were meant to test support for legal sports betting rather than to provide a framework for how sportsbooks could operate.

2019: Governor J.B. Pritzker included revenue from sports betting in the state budget, essentially calling on the legislature to legalize sports gambling. The state congress responded by passing Illinois sports betting legislation in June. Pritzker quickly signed the bill into law.

Importantly, the Illinois sports betting bill put a few restrictions on sports betting. First, betting on in-state college sports would not be allowed. Second, it required that all out-of-state sportsbooks partner with an in-state casino company for the first 18 months of legal sports betting. Finally, the bill allowed for 3 online-only licenses that would be issued after 18 months at a cost of $10 million each.

2020: The COVID-19 pandemic through a wrench into Illinois’ plans for sports betting. The first in-person and online sportsbooks opened in March 2020, right before lockdowns were instituted. Once sports restarted in May, Governor Pritzker waived the requirement for bettors to sign up at a physical sportsbook casino in person before betting online. The waiver was rescinded in June, then reinstated in August.

2021: Illinois sports betting has proven extremely successful. The state has the second-highest revenue from sports gambling of any state. In October 2021, the legislature approved a bill that set March 5, 2022 as the end date for the state’s in-person registration requirement. In-person registration could also end whenever the Illinois Gaming Board issues the first mobile-only sportsbook license, which could happen sooner. The bill has not yet been signed by Governor Pritzker.

Offshore Betting in Illinois

Online gambling in Illinois with an offshore sportsbook is legal. Offshore sportsbooks are betting sites based outside the US. That’s important because it means these sportsbooks are not subject to US laws and have been able to operate for decades even though sports betting was illegal at the federal level.

Offshore sportsbooks in Illinois don’t require in-person registration and do allow betting on in-state college sports. In addition, they typically offer more competitive betting odds than Illinois’ new US-based sportsbook offerings.

Are DFS Legal in Illinois?

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is legal in Illinois. Currently, there are 3 DFS sites in the state:

  • DraftKings
  • Fanduel
  • Monkey Knife Fight

However, DFS has been a point of contention in Illinois in the past. DraftKings and Fanduel launched in Illinois in 2015, ignoring the state government’s position that DFS violated Illinois gambling laws. The two platforms continued to offer DFS games even as a lawsuit against them proceeded. In 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that DFS does not violate Illinois betting laws since DFS are games of skill, not chance.

Still, the activity of companies like DraftKings and Fanduel left many Illinois lawmakers unhappy. Initially, the bill to legalize sports betting in Illinois sought to ban companies like DraftKings and FanDuel for 3 years as punishment for operating DFS in the state against the government’s wishes. Lawmakers ultimately landed on an 18-month waiting period, which is behind the in-person registration requirement that’s unique to Illinois.

Illinois Casino Laws

Illinois has 10 land-based casinos that offer everything from slots to blackjack to poker. However, you cannot play casino games for real money in Illinois. While the state has looked favorably at sports betting in Illinois, online casinos are likely a long way off.

Still, there are options for playing casino games online in Illinois. You can play for real money at an offshore casino site. Many of the best offshore online sportsbooks in Illinois also have online casinos.

Alternatively, you can play online casino games at a social casino site. Social casinos don’t pay out real money for individual games, but you can still win money through sweepstakes and other prize pools.

Online Casinos

Illinois doesn’t have any legal online casinos at this time. However, you can play with offshore casinos like Bovada, XBet, and BetOnline.

Land Based Casinos

There are 10 land-based casinos in Illinois:

  • Par-A-Dice Casino (East Peoria, IL)
  • Hawthorne Racecourse (Stickney, IL)
  • Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, IL)
  • Rivers Casino (Des Plaines, IL)
  • Casino Queen (East St. Louis, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet (Joliet, IL)
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora (Aurora, IL)
  • Argosy Casino (Alton, IL)
  • Bally’s Quad Cities (Rock Island, IL)
  • Harrah’s Metropolis (Metropolis, IL)

All of these casinos except for Bally’s Quad Cities and Harrah’s Metropolis offer in-person sports betting in addition to casino games.

Illinois Gambling Taxes

Illinois treats income from sports betting and other forms of gambling just like any other income. You need to report your winnings as income on your state and federal tax forms. Currently, the income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95%.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you can offset some of your gambling income with gambling losses. However, you can’t offset other types of income if you report a net loss from gambling.

Best Illinois Sports Betting Sites Reviewed

Now that you know more about sports betting in Illinois, let’s take a closer look at the 5 best Illinois sportsbooks you can play with today.

1. BetOnline – Overall Best Illinois Sportsbook in 2022

BetOnline Sportsbook

BetOnline is our top-rated site for Illinois sports betting today. At this online sportsbook, you can wager on more than 20 sports, including NFL and NBA games, college sports, esports, and much more. BetOnline offers competitive odds, live betting, and tons of prop bets for major games.

What we especially like about BetOnline is how seamless the gambling experience is. You can easily find the best sports for Illinois players with a personalized lobby. Live games are always just a click or tap away, too. For betting on the go, BetOnline offers a sports betting app for iOS and Android devices.

BetOnline offers new players a 50% deposit match on your first deposit, up to $1,000 with promo code BOL1000. You must play the bonus on odds of -200 or greater.

What we like:

  • Wide range of betting markets
  • Very competitive odds
  • Personalized online experience
  • Betting app for iOS and Android
  • $1,000 welcome bonus

What we don’t:

  • Doesn’t offer live streaming
  • No odds boost offers

2. XBet - Top Site for Off Track Betting in IllinoisXBet sports lobby

XBet is our pick for off track betting in Illinois. This Illinois sports betting site lets you wager on races at any in-state tracks, as well as tracks around the US and beyond. The platform also offers Illinois sports betting news to help you decide what horses to wager on. Plus, XBet offers 7% cash back on every horse race bet, win or lose.

XBet also offers plenty of betting options outside the racetrack. You can wager on the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, college sports, esports, golf, soccer, tennis, motorsports, and so much more. XBet doesn’t offer quite the same range of prop bets as some other top Illinois sports betting sites, but it does have live betting and competitive odds.

XBet also offers players a $500 welcome bonus when you deposit $500. There’s no promo code needed - just sign up, make a deposit, and the bonus will automatically be credited to your account. You can play the bonus funds on any wagers with odds of -200 or greater.

What we like:

  • 7% cash back on every horse racing bet
  • Wager on races in the US and around the world
  • Live betting with competitive odds
  • $500 welcome bonus

What we don’t:

  • Limited range of prop bets

3. Bovada - Online Sportsbook with Live Streaming and Betting

Bovada Sportsbook

Bovada is hard to beat when it comes to live sports betting in Illinois online. That’s because Bovada not only lets you wager on live games, but also makes it easy to stream matches in HD right from your computer or smartphone. You never have to leave your bet slip to catch the action, so it only takes a second to place a bet when a game’s momentum shifts.

Bovada also stands out for its enormous range of betting markets. With this Illinois sports betting site, you can wager on niche sports like alpine skiing, skating, surfing, and beach volleyball in addition to leagues like the NFL and NBA. The odds for these competitions aren’t always terrific, but then again you can’t bet on them at all with most other sportsbooks.

Bovada offers a 100% match on your first deposit up to $750 with promo code BTCSWB750. To claim the bonus, you must deposit Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Litecoin, and the bonus funds must be played on odds of -200 or greater.

What we like:

  • Supports live HD streaming
  • Carries wagers for niche sports
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • $750 crypto welcome bonus

What we don’t:

  • Must deposit crypto to claim welcome bonus

4. MyBookie - Best Illinois Sportsbook for Odds Boosts

MyBookie Sportsbook

MyBookie is the best Illinois sportsbook for players who like to make complex bets. This bookie supports parlays, teasers, and if bets, and offers a bet builder to help you mix and match prop bets or even lines from different games. The builder clearly shows what you’ll win if your bet works out. Even better, you can pay a little extra for an odds boost that increases your payout significantly if you do win.

MyBookie has no shortage of wagers to choose from, with nearly 20 different sports markets available for betting. The sportsbook offers bets on all the major Illinois teams, including college teams. Plus, the odds at MyBookie are consistently among the best we’ve seen from any Illinois sports betting site.

MyBookie offers a generous 100% deposit match welcome bonus up to $1,000 for new players. Just use MYB100 when you make your first deposit. The bonus funds can be played on any wagers with odds of -250 or greater.

What we like:

  • Bet builder for parlays and teasers
  • Purchase an odds boost for bigger payouts
  • Supports live betting with favorable odds
  • $1,000 welcome bonus offer

What we don’t:

  • Doesn’t offer a dedicated mobile app

5. BetUS - Huge Bonus Offers Worth up to $7,500

BetUS Sportsbook

BetUS blows other Illinois sportsbooks out of the water with its bonus offer. At BetUS, new players can claim a 125% deposit match bonus up to $2,500 with promo code JOIN125. The bonus must be played on odds of -280 or greater. Then, you can claim that same bonus up to 2 more times on your next 2 deposits - for a total bonus of $7,500! Even after you claim all that sign-up cash, BetUS offers generous reload bonuses for crypto deposits.

BetUS offers 22 different sports markets to try out with your bonus. You’ll find a huge selection of prop bets as well as competitive odds, and BetUS offers live betting on most sports. This bookie also offers a sports betting app in Illinois, making it easy to wager on the go.

Another great thing about BetUS is that it’s making its platform more player-friendly every day. Most recently, BetUS introduced streaming news videos that roundup the latest action in the NBA and NFL and highlight upcoming bets that are worth your attention. The bookie plans to roll out similar videos for other popular leagues, including college sports, soon.

What we like:

  • Up to $7,500 in welcome bonus funds
  • 20% bonus on all crypto reloads
  • Streaming sports news videos
  • Excellent mobile app

What we don’t:

  • Minimum odds of -280 for bonus funds

Illinois Betting Sites Comparison

Wondering which Illinois sports betting apps are right for you? We’ve put together the table below so you can quickly see how the best Illinois sportsbooks compare.

Welcome Bonus Promo Code Number of Sports Markets Live Streaming Payment Methods
BetOnline 50% deposit match up to $1,000 BOL1000 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, darts, handball, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, volleyball, e-sports, Canadian football, snooker No Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin,  Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin
XBet 100% deposit match up to $500 Not required NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, darts, handball, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, volleyball, e-sports, Canadian football, cycling, wrestling No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin,  Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin
Bovada 100% Bitcoin deposit match up to $750 BTCSWB750 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, darts, cricket, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, volleyball, e-sports, Canadian football, beach volleyball, snooker, winter sports, futsal Yes Credit card, debit card, Zelle, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin
MyBookie 100% deposit match up to $1,000 MYB100 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, volleyball, e-sports, Canadian football No Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin,  Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin
BetUS 125% deposit match up to $2,500 JOIN125 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, volleyball, e-sports, Canadian football, surfing, snooker, futsal No Credit card, bank wire, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin
Intertops 100% deposit match up to $500 INSIDERS NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, darts, handball, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, e-sports No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Skrill
SportsBetting.ag 100% deposit match up to $1,000 KICK100 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, darts, handball, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, snooker No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple
BetNow 100% deposit match up to $500 BN100 NFL, auto racing, tennis No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash
GT Bets 100% deposit match up to $500 BOS50 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, darts, handball, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, volleyball, e-sports, Canadian football No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple
BUSR 20% deposit match up to $500 WELCOME20 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, auto racing, soccer, golf tennis, cricket, Aussie rules, MMA, rugby, table tennis, volleyball, e-sports, Canadian football No Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Litecoin

How to Bet on Sports in Illinois

Ready to place your first sports bet in Illinois? We’ll show you how to sign up for the best Illinois sportsbook in 2022 and place your first wager.

Step 1: Sign Up for BetOnline

BetOnline is our #1-rated online sportsbook in Illinois in 2022. To get started with BetOmline, head to the platform’s website and click ‘Join Now.’ Enter your name, email, phone number, birth date, and a password to create your new BetOnline betting account.

BetOnline registration form part two 1 1

Step 2: Verify Your Email

As part of the sign-up process at BetOnline, you’ll need to verify your email address. Check your inbox for an email from the sportsbook. Open it and click on the link inside to verify your account.

Step 3: Deposit Funds

BetOnline makes it easy to deposit funds to your betting account. You can pay with Visa or Mastercard credit and debit cards, a bank transfer, or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin.

Select Deposit Amount BetOnline

You only need $10 to get started, but remember that BetOnline will match your first deposit by 50% up to $1,000 with promo code BOL1000. To claim the full bonus, deposit at least $2,000.

Step 4: Place Your First Bet

With your account funded, you’re ready to place your first sports bet at BetOnline. Head to the sportsbook lobby to see all the current wagers available to you. You can also search for a specific team to bet on.betonline live betting

Once you find a wager you want to take, click on the odds to add it to your bet slip. Then enter the amount you want to bet and click ‘Place Bets’ to place your first sports bet. Now all that’s left to do is watch the action unfold!

Conclusion

Illinois has quickly become one of the hottest markets in the US for sports betting. There are already 6 online sportsbooks operating in the state alongside 8 in-person sportsbooks and dozens of offshore betting sites. With our list of the 10 best sites for Illinois sports betting, it’s easier than ever to get started.

We recommend BetOnline as the overall best Illinois sportsbook in 2022. BetOnline offers a huge range of sports markets and bet types, a seamless user experience, and a $1,000 welcome bonus. Use promo code BOL1000 to sign up today!

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Michael is a Washington-based writer who has extensive experience in the online gambling field, covering sports betting, casino games and poker.