If you’re looking for the latest news about online gambling in Illinois, you’re on the right page. Unfortunately, Illinois still hasn’t legalized online casino gambling, but IL residents can engage in sports betting on the web. In this article, we’ll explore all available online and land-based gambling options in Illinois and discuss the history & the future of the gambling legislation in the Prairie State. Read on!
Right now, only sports betting and related activities are legal online in Illinois. Let’s check them out.
Even though there are no real online casinos in Illinois, players can settle for the next best thing — social and sweepstakes casinos.
Online pari-mutuel wagering on horse races is legal and regulated in Illinois, with a couple of platforms offering this activity on the web. Apart from stand-alone horse racing sites, some popular sportsbooks also feature a racebook that people can access within Illinois borders.
Sports betting is not only legal, but it’s also very popular in Illinois, as the Illinoisans are very interested in sports in general, including football, baseball, basketball, and more. All online sportsbooks that are available in IL are licensed and regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Since Daily Fantasy Sports are also considered sports betting, it’s also legal and regulated in Illinois. Therefore, you can access some of the most popular online DFS platforms and enjoy competing in a fantasy league of your favorite sport.
Even though gambling is still illegal in Illinois, several exemptions paved the way for many land-based gambling options. Nowadays, you can find legal land-based casinos, poker, sports betting, and more.
Several land-based casinos are operating in Illinois at the moment. They all offer slots, video poker, and table games, and some even feature live poker tables. Casinos are located all over the state, and we’ll cover some of the best ones below. Plenty of these casinos aren’t land-based. Instead, they are technically riverboat casinos.
Many casinos in Illinois have big poker rooms where you can find plenty of cash games and tournaments. The largest and busiest ones are located in the Chicago area.
Many casinos in Illinois have a sportsbook of their own or partnered with one of the big sports betting operators to offer on-site sports wagering options. You can bet on all popular sports in land-based IL sportsbooks, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, and much more.
To operate bingo legally, one needs to acquire a Bingo License from the Illinois Department of Revenue. In other words, bingo is legal and licensed in the state of Illinois. There are plenty of bingo halls all over the state.
Let’s take a look at some of the largest casinos available in Illinois at the moment.
Hollywood Casino Aurora is classified as a riverboat casino, and it was officially opened on June 17, 1993. It was the first riverboat casino by Hollywood Casino Corp. The casino currently features a total of 53,000 square feet of gaming space. In addition to that, you’ll find more than 1,000 slot machines and 26 table games. Apart from gaming, some restaurants are part of the property, such as TakeTwo Deli, Epic Buffet, and Fairbanks Steakhouse. The casino’s official address is 1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506, United States.
With more than 1,100 slot machines and 18 table games, Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet is another relatively big gambling property near Chicago. It has 50,000 square feet of gaming floor. A couple of interesting dining options are part of the property, such as Final Cut Steakhouse and Take-Two Deli. A hotel is also part of the property, offering about 100 premier hotel rooms and an RV site with 80 places. The popular casino is located at 777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436, United States.
Rivers Casino was opened in 2011 and owned by Churchill Downs Inc and Rush Street Gaming. The casino was built on top of a shallow pit as it was initially a riverboat gambling property but eventually received a proper license for land-based operation.
Michigan is the nearest option for all residents of Illinois who want to engage in legal online casino gambling. MI is a fairly new online gambling market, but it has huge potential, and there are already a couple of big operators offering their services online in the state. Apart from online casinos, Michigan also legalized online sports betting and online poker. Lansing is 2018 miles away from Chicago, and it would take more than three hours to get there by car.
Pennsylvania is the online gambling market with the most potential. It offers online casinos, online poker, and online sports betting, meaning all three verticals are legal and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Moreover, PA has plenty of land-based options. Unfortunately, that’s not your closest location, as it takes approximately 12 hours to drive from Chicago to Philly (759 miles).
New Jersey was the first state to legalize online casinos. Moreover, its regulators were also the first to establish online sports betting after the lifted PASPA ban. Nowadays, there are plenty of gambling options in New Jersey bot on and off the web. If you’re a fan of good old land-based casinos, then Atlantic City is worth visiting. Atlantic City is 821 miles away from Chicago, and you’ll need approximately 13 hours to get there by car.
West Virginia is the fourth closest option for Illinois players, although none of the options listed here is that close, except for Michigan. Still, if you’re visiting WV, you’ll be happy to know that it’s one of the few states that legalized online gambling, including online casinos and sports betting. However, there are still fewer operators in the state than PA and NJ, meaning WV is the smallest online casino market of the four mentioned here. Chicago is 491 miles away from Charleston, WV.
Here’s a short overview of important gambling legislation-related dates in Illinois.
Riverboat gambling was legalized in the state, with the first riverboat opening its doors to visitors a year after that. The Rivers Casino Des Plaines (Chicago Metro) takes advantage of this act to this day – despite floating on merely a puddle.
Video Gaming Act allowed video gambling (slot) terminals to be added in several locations, such as truck stops, retail locations, and more.
Illinois became the first state to offer online lottery tickets.
2019 — The Illinois Gambling Act was signed by Governor JB Pritzker, allowing further expansion of gambling, including online sports betting.
Illinois is not one of those states that have a negative view of gambling activities. On the contrary, gambling has always been part of the Prairie State, meaning online gambling has a bright future in the state. Even though only online sports betting is legal for now, it seems that online casinos and poker could become legal soon. After all, Michigan legalized every aspect of online gambling, and Illinois’ leaders could view the Wolverine State as a tax competitor, urging them to speed up the online casino legalization process.