Bob Rita introduced the Internet Gaming Act which would allow for online slot machines, table games, and poker. The bill would allow casinos and racetracks to pursue an online casino license for $500,000 with a maximum of three online skins (websites) per property. Is online gambling legal in Illinois? Top Illinois Online Casinos for 2021. Illinois hasn’t always been the gambling-friendly state that it is today. In fact, for a time, many forms of gambling were completely banned here. Fortunately, most forms of gambling are now allowed in IL. Today, we’re going to explain how you can find the best Illinois casino sites currently out there.
It is a glorious time to gamble in Illinois. The Land of Lincoln has casinos, sportsbooks, horsetracks, and a host of other gaming options available.
Obviously, the buzz both inside Illinois and around the US is about sports betting. However, Illinois also has other gambling options including sweepstake casinos, lottery and horse racing.
This page will provide you with the latest news on Illinois gambling laws, what and how sweepstakes sites work and what you can expect to see when it comes to Illinois online casinos.
Sweepstakes casinos accepting Illinois players
Latest Illinois Gambling Updates
Illinois Online Casino Legislation
Last update: March 8, 2021
Customers will continue to have the ability to sign up for sports betting accounts from home. Gov. JB Pritzker recently announced he has once again extended mobile registration till April 3.
Additionally, Churchill Downs has decided to sellArlington International Racecourse.
Churchill is a current applicant for the Waukegan casino license so experts have speculated Churchill plans to transfer its gaming license.
Other applicants for the Waukegan license are Full House Resorts and North Point Casino.
Is online gambling legal in Illinois?
Yes, but only sweepstakes casinos.
There are several different ways that you can gamble online in Illinois. However, two notable exceptions are online casinos and online poker.
Illinois has not approved laws for either type of site just yet. The good news, though, is that with nearby states with online casinos and poker up and running (Michigan), Illinois lawmakers will be able to observe the positive effect on the state’s bottom line and, naturally, want the same for themselves.
Rivers Online Casino Illinois
So, although online casinos and poker are not part of Illinois’ offerings just yet, they are probably not too far away from becoming a reality.
Sweepstakes sites and playing online casino games in IL
One option that may tide you over until there is a move to regulate IL online casinos and poker sites, is a sweepstakes site. If you’ve never heard about sweepstakes casino and poker sites before, they may seem a bit hard to believe. You can play some pretty entertaining online slots in Illinois, and it’s completely legal.
Your top options for sweepstakes sites in Illinois are the following:
- Global Poker (online poker)
Sweepstakes are present everywhere. Technically, these sites belong in the same category as PCH or the fast-food sweepstakes. Essentially, as long as you can play for free and the prizes are awarded as advertised, the site is good to go. Sweepstakes sites are able to offer a host of online casino games and poker through a dual-currency system that allows their classification to remain valid. You can win real cash prizes at these sites.
So, here are some of the options you have at your disposal:
- Slot games – These are indistinguishable from their online casino counterparts. They can be played with both play money and real money equivalents, and offer big payouts and progressive jackpots in the same way as a normal online casino would. You can also find video poker games on sweepstakes sites, too.
- Table games – Options for table games are decidedly more limited, but you can still find them if you prefer to play that way. Obviously, blackjack is the most common game to find, but you can also see options for roulette, keno, and Caribbean stud poker on various sites.
- Online Poker – Poker games are almost exclusively found on Global Poker, unsurprisingly. Global offers the ability to play no-limit Texas hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple in cash game, tournament, and sit-n-go formats.
When you first play on one of these sites, the dual currencies might be a bit hard to grasp. However, after the shock wears off, you’ll find that many of these sites do quite well as stopgaps until Illinois gets online casino gambling and poker in earnest. For that matter, you may even find that the sweepstakes sites are great options in their own right, anyway.
Illinois gambling laws
There are multiple types of gambling that Illinois inhabitants can enjoy. Both online and land-based options abound, and the list of opportunities is growing longer each month.
Riverboat casinos have been a fixture in the Land of Lincoln for more than thirty years. There are 10 different floating properties scattered throughout Illinois, although most are clustered around Chicago and St. Louis, the latter of which is just across the Mississippi River in Missouri.
Alongside the riverboats are scads of locations with video gaming terminals (VGTs). VGTs are electronic lottery machines that have little difference, functionally, from a regular slot machine. They have been part of life in Illinois since 2009 and gained full legal status thanks to the massive expansion of gambling in 2019.
That expansion also ushered both online and retail sports betting into Illinois. Retail sports betting is now present at a majority of Illinois’ riverboat casinos, is available at racetracks and OTBs, and may even be available at major sports arenas throughout the state.
There are also multiple active sportsbook apps in Illinois right now. That number is certain to grow, and the sunsetting of the in-person registration requirement in September 2021 should only make the Prairie State a more attractive market for other sports betting companies.
Finally, it is also possible to play the Illinois Lottery, bet on horseraces, and engage in daily fantasy sports through your mobile devices and computers in Illinois. So, there is no shortage of options for Illinois residents and visitors who want to join the fun.
Other forms of legal gambling
Online sports betting launched in Illinois in June 2020. BetRivers Sportsbook, which is owned by Rush Street Interactive (which also owns Rivers Des Plaines), became the first sports betting app to launch in Illinois. Since then, multiple apps have joined the party, including: DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill.
Alongside online sports betting, Illinois residents and visitors are also able to bet on horse races through the TVG racing site. Online horse betting is available in the Prairie State through a variety of sites.
Finally, Illinoisans and guests to the state can also play in daily fantasy sports play if they choose. An Illinois Supreme Court ruling in April 2020 definitively identified DFS as not gambling and has legitimized the notion of playing the game in some capacity in Illinois.
Casino and riverboat locations in Illinois
The most obvious places to play in Illinois are its casinos. Each casino, at the time of its construction, was required to be on water. So, most of the casino options are riverboats moored permanently on waterways. However, there is at least one casino (Rivers Des Plaines) that is simply resting in a shallow pit filled with water.
The casinos each offer different options for gaming, but, in general, they have slot machines and table games in many varieties. Whether they have sports betting and poker onsite is a different matter, however. Here are all the riverboat casino locations in Illinois:
- Argosy Casino Alton – Alton*
- DraftKings at Casino Queen – East St. Louis*
- Grand Victoria Casino – Elgin ‡
- Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel – Joliet †
- Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel – Metropolis
- Hollywood Casino Aurora – Aurora ‡
- Hollywood Casino Joliet – Joliet*
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel – Rock Island †
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino – East Peoria*
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines – Des Plaines*
†Poker room onsite
‡Both sportsbook and poker room onsite
All 10 have a variety of slots, including reel slots and progressive slots, plus video poker.
Illinois law does not permit casinos to remain open 24 hours, which means most will close their doors for two to four hours each day during the early morning.
The Illinois Gambling Act authorizes six additional casinos to be built in Illinois in the following locations:
- Williamson County (near Carbondale)
- Cook County in either Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton or Worth
The new law also allows the riverboat casinos to finally become land-based casinos after paying a fee and obtaining regulators’ approval to do so.
The existing casinos will be allowed to expand their operations from 1,200 to 2,000 “gaming positions” should they desire, with such expansion also requiring the payment of a position fee for every added position.
Meanwhile, the new Chicago “mega-casino” will be much bigger, with 4,000 gaming positions.
Illinois video gaming terminals
Since 2009, video gaming terminals, or VGTs, have been available throughout Illinois at licensed retail establishments.
You’ll often find them in establishments with liquor licenses like restaurants, bars, convenience stores and hotels. Truck stops and fraternal or veteran’s organizations with national charters also have them.
The law initially allowed each establishment up to five VGTs in one location. However, the Illinois Gambling Act amended the Video Gaming Act to increase that number to six while also allowing “large truck stops” to operate up to 10 VGTs.
Other changes to the law include increasing the maximum bet (from $2 to $4), increasing the maximum win (from $500 to $1,199), the authorization of progressive jackpots and an increase in the tax imposed from 30% to 33%.
The VGTs are housed in stand-alone, slant-top cabinets or upright cabinets set on a base such as a bar.
The machines are very much like video slots. However, unlike the slots in casinos, each VGT typically features a wide variety of games from which to choose, including slots and video poker games.
In late 2019 there were more than 6,800 establishments with VGTs in Illinois, making the state the country’s leader by a wide margin over Nevada, which has around 2,000 locations.
Responsible gambling in Illinois
Illinois has several measures in place to protect and assist problem gamblers.
In 2002, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) launched the Statewide Riverboat Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program for Problem Gamblers, known as SEP.
The program allows those who determine they are problem gamblers to self-exclude themselves from Illinois casinos. The new gambling expansion law extends SEP to sports wagering as well.
In 2018, the IGB additionally established the Problem Gambling Registry for Video Gaming.
Those who enroll receive regular emails providing information about problem gambling with links to problem gambling prevention and treatment resources in the state. The program is available both to Illinois and out-of-state residents.
The Illinois Department of Human Services has also developed a website to provide support and advice for problem gamblers — WeKnowTheFeeling.org — that also invites problem gamblers to contact them by phone at 1-800-GAMBLER.
The IGB site also provides additional information regarding these programs and other help for problem gamblers.
Historical overview of legal gambling in Illinois
Legal and regulated pari-mutuel horse race betting in Illinois dates back to 1927.
Illinois first introduced the lottery in 1974, joining the first big wave of states to do so. Later in 2012, Illinois became the first state to offer online lottery ticket sales and is still one of a limited number of states that do.
Riverboat gambling has been legal in Illinois since 1990 and, in fact, Illinois was the second state in the US to legalize riverboat gambling after Iowa. A year later, the first riverboat casino opened the Alton Belle (then to become the Argosy Casino Alton).
For the first several years, the boats were required to leave docks and set sail at regular intervals, but that is no longer the case. At present, 10 riverboat casinos are operating either on boats or docked barges or on what are essentially land-based properties resting in shallow water.
In 2009, the Video Gaming Act was enacted in Illinois, allowing the placement of VGTs in licensed retail locations, truck stops, and veteran and fraternal establishments.
Free 20 dollars psn code image. More recently, in June 2019, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act, a law allowing for significant gambling expansion in the state. The new law permits six new casinos to be built, including one “mega-casino” near Chicago.
It also allows the existing casinos and racetracks to expand the number of “gaming positions” they can offer, including allowing the tracks to become “racinos” by adding slots and table games.
Our team of real money online gambling experts has reviewed, ranked, and rated the top Illinois online casinos. You can stop searching and start playing your favorite casino games at any of these IL casino sites. Claim any or all of the welcome bonuses below.
|1||100% up to €250||Go to Site|
|100% up to €250||Go to Site|
|3||100% up to €400||Go to Site|
|100% up to $1500||Go to Site|
|5||100% up to $1,000||Go to Site|
In our Illinois online casino reviews, we go into a lot more detail on the pros and cons of these sites. Take some time to read the reviews for the ones you’re interested in. They may help you make a decision about what site to play at.
Top Sites for Online Gambling in Illinois
- El Royale – Voted best Illinois casino site for 2021 by our team
- Super Slots – Massive $6,000 real money casino welcome bonus
- Wild Casino – Wide Variety of live dealer online casino games
- Vegas Casino Online – No withdrawal fees and lightning fast Bitcoin payouts
- Bovada Casino – Trusted Illinois gambling site for poker, sports betting, or casino gaming
You might wonder why these are the best Illinois online casinos. Since there are hundreds of offshore casino sites that accept American players, why did we select these? They all meet our five-point essential checklist for all real money online gambling sites.
- They’re safe, fair, and run by legitimate operators with player-friendly terms and conditions.
- They all offer generous welcome bonuses that give you a realistic chance to keep what you win.
- There are hundreds of high-quality casino games, including video slots, keno, roulette, blackjack, and others.
- The games have been verified fair by third-party testing organizations that test the random number generators.
- These casinos offer fast payouts with low or zero fees. You’ll get your winnings within a few days.
Why Play at Real Money IL Online Casinos?
There are a few excellent land-based casinos in Illinois. So, why should you choose to play real money casino games in IL when you have access to several top-notch gaming venues in your home state? Consider the advantages of playing at Illinois online casinos.
Depending on where you live in Illinois, you might not have convenient access to land casinos. This is a rural state, for the most part, and lots of you will have to drive hundreds of miles to get to a casino. When you play at our approved Illinois online casinos, you’ll have all your favorite games at your fingertips. You can also bet on sports and play poker at many of them.
These days, you can’t take your privacy seriously enough. But if you play at in-person casinos, anyone who’s out and about will know what you’re up to. At online casinos for Illinois customers, you can use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Monero to leave no trace of your gambling activities.
It’s great because other than gossips who might talk about your online gambling activities, banks and lenders can deny you just on the basis that you have a few gambling transactions on your statements. If you take the correct precautions, real money Illinois online casinos offer unrivaled privacy.
Illinois Online Casino Bonuses
Are you a high roller? 99% of readers will answer no to that question. Unfortunately, only the fortunate 1% can expect bonuses and VIP comps at land-based casinos. However, 100% of players can get them at Illinois online gambling sites.
You can claim first deposit bonuses as a new player, there are usually daily or weekly real money promos. And in most cases, every wager counts towards accumulating comp points, regardless of how big or small. You won’t get the same type of treatment in land-based casinos unless you’re gambling with big bucks.
Real Money Casino Games
Even at the best casinos in Illinois, you won’t have access to such a wide variety of games. Some of them may offer thousands of slot machines, but many of them are the same game replicated across dozens of machines. At the top Illinois online casinos, you can play hundreds of unique slot machines, most of them offer at least a dozen table and card games, and a growing number of them also offer live dealer blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Even Vegas casinos struggle to complete with the game variety at our chosen Illinois online casino sites!
Mobile Gambling Options
From a cafe in Chi-Town to a bar in Bloomington, the entire state of Illinois is a potential casino thanks to mobile Illinois gambling apps and mobile casinos. While you’ll have the option to stay warm and cozy at home with your feet up, you can also play your favorite casino games anywhere in the state.
Just as with real money bonuses, you’ll need to have a hefty bankroll to get the VIP treatment at land-based casinos. However, at most Illinois online casinos, you’ll have customer support agents at your fingertips available around the clock.
Real Money Online Casino Illinois
Most online casinos offer support via email, live chat, and even telephone hotlines. Since there’s no limit to how many agents these casinos can hire, you won’t have to fight for a service rep’s attention.
Online Gambling Laws in Illinois
Illinois does have some legal online gambling, but it does not currently regulate online casino gaming market. Since 2012, Illinois residents have been able to play in lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions online for real money.
As of June 28th, 2019, with the passage of the Illinois Gambling Act, it’s legal to bet on sports online in Illinois. However, Illinois online casinos have not been legalized and are not currently regulated.
Does this mean you can’t play online casino games in Illinois? Not at all. There are a number of offshore Illinois online gambling apps. These aren’t regulated, and so there are some risks to playing at them. But legal jeopardy is not one of those risks.
Ever since 2006, US online casino gambling has been prohibited at a federal level. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prohibited casino gaming online, and it remains the de facto law in all states that haven’t taken action to legalize and regulate on a local level.
To sum it all up, sports betting and lotteries are legal and regulated in Illinois. Casino gaming is not, but it’s widely available at real money offshore Illinois casino sites, and you face no potential legal penalties if you choose to play at them. Until the state decides to legalize and regulate online casino gaming, they’re your only option if you want to gamble online in Illinois.
How to Stay Safe Playing at Illinois Casinos
The best way to stay safe is to play at the safest IL casinos online. We’ve listed them for you on this page, and sticking to these sites will eliminate most of your potential problems. However, you can always do the following checks before you play at any online gambling site.
- Is the connection encrypted? Look for “https://” before the web address. Illinois online casinos with this prefix use the latest SSL encryption. In this case, your data is safe from snoopers and hackers.
- Are the bonus terms fair? We get into this in all of our Illinois gambling site reviews. If the bonus terms are unfair, it means it’s not a player-friendly casino app. You’ll want to avoid these sites.
- Is downloading the casino mandatory? This is always a bad sign. Hackers can bury malware, ransomware, and spyware in the software of real money Illinois online casinos. You should always be able to play flash games in your web browser.
- Does the operator have a valid license? This isn’t always necessary, and some USA gambling operators can get by on a fair track record alone, but it’s always best if the operator is sanctioned to operate by a legit and trustworthy regulator. The most legit Illinois online casinos have valid licenses.
- Is this communication legitimate? Always ask yourself this when you receive a call, an email, or any other form of communication from Illinois online casinos. Identity thieves are everywhere, and it only takes a few minutes to confirm the authenticity of the communication with a support agent.
Land-Based Casinos in Illinois
If you prefer to give IL casino websites a miss and would rather play at one of the state’s world-class land-based casinos, check out these five options.
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506||Sunday-Thursday: 8:30am-4:30am|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120||Sunday-Thursday: 9:00am-3:00am|
|Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino||21 Blackjack Blvd, East Peoria, IL 61611||Sunday-Thursday: 9:00am-1:00am|
|Hollywood Casino and Hotel Joliet||777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436||Monday-Sunday: 8:00am-4:00am|
|Rivers Casino Des Plaines||3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018||24/7|
Hollywood Casino Aurora
One of Chicago’s premier casinos, this one has a 53,000-square-foot gaming floor. It has over 1,000 slot machines and 20 table games, including blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and Texas Hold’em poker. When you’re ready for refreshments, head to the steak house, the buffet, the deli, or the exclusive VIP lounge.
Grand Victoria Casino
The Grand Victoria is another great Illinois casino on the river. You can play 1,100 slot machines and dozens of table games like blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, and poker. There are three restaurants, including a steakhouse and two buffets. High rollers and Sterling members can also access the V Club.
Online Casino Illinois
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
If a riverfront casino appeals to you, this is probably the best casino in Illinois. It offers 930 slot machines and 30 table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, and poker. Casino credit is available upon approval. If you get hungry, there’s a steakhouse, a deli, and a fully stocked bar offering spirits, beer, and cocktails. You can also spend the night in one of the on-site hotel rooms for reasonable rates.
Hollywood Casino and Hotel Joliet
Not quite as large as its Aurora sister casino, this venue offers 1,000 slot machines and 18 table games across a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor. You can play blackjack, craps, and roulette, and you can place real money wagers on sports. Eat at the steakhouse, the deli, or the buffet, or grab some drinks and burgers at the 99 Hops House.
Rivers Casino Des Plaines
Rivers casino offers an impressive selection of 1,100 slot machines and 65 table games, including blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette, and several poker variants such as Texas Hold’em, Three-Card Poker, and Mississippi Stud. There are five places to grab something to eat, including grilled meats, burgers, and Asian cuisine. There’s also a coffee spot and a cocktail bar.
More Online Gambling Options for Illinois Casino Players
Real money Illinois gaming sites come in all shapes and sizes, and if you like to gamble across the spectrum, you’ll find a lot more on offer than just casino games.
You have many options when it comes to online gambling for money in Illinois.
If you want to play poker online in IL, that’s also an option. Several of the gambling sites listed on the table above offer sit and go games and regular real money poker tournaments with guaranteed pots.
Will you have to sign up at different sites to access these services? Not necessarily. Some of the best real money gambling sites for IL customers offer casino games, sports betting, and online poker from one account.