The Tribune ranks the best Illinois Sports Betting Sites to use when betting on sports in the Prairie state in 2024.
Best Illinois Sportsbooks - January 2024
More on the best Illinois Sports Betting Sites
Illinois online sportsbook of the month
With the requirement to register in-person for an online sports betting account ending, some of the biggest national online sportsbooks will finally be able to offer their services far and wide across Illinois.
The one we are most excited about finally being able to accept new players from Illinois is Caesars sportsbook. The Caesars name is one of the most well known and respected in the entire gambling industry, and sports bettors in Illinois will finally be able to have full access to their sportsbook.
This includes the huge range of domestic and international sport, special bets, and the top Same Game Parlay bet builder. Players will also be able to enjoy Caesars huge range of promotions and bonuses.
Our top 4 Illinois betting sites
1. Caesars Illinois
The Caesars name is one of the most well known and respected in the entire gambling industry thanks to their long history in the heart of Las Vegas.
With the removal of the in-person registration requirement, sports bettors in Illinois will finally be able to enjoy this renowned service in the Caesars Sportsbook app.
There is a full slate of domestic and international sport to bet on, with a deep selection of lines available on each event. There are also daily special bets and parlays, along with a superb one game parlay builder.
The wide variety of betting options on Caesars Sportsbook is one of the consistent appeals for new users, but the consistent promotions are another large appeal for new users.
BetMGM has quickly become one of the leading and most widespread sportsbooks in the entire country. The site has no real weaknesses, and offers a fantastic sports betting experience.
There is a huge choice of sports from both America and around the world, with each event having a deep selection of lines to choose from. This ensures that you will be able to find the perfect bet for the event you want to back.
BetMGM also offers a wide selection of daily special bets, along with enhanced Lion’s Boost lines.
Currently, this exclusive 20 percent $1,500 deposit match offer can be claimed by any new bettor in virtually any BetMGM state, using the bonus code TRIB1500.
To claim this offer, new users will need to meet a 10x wagering requirement within the first 30 days of registering their account, meaning that they need to bet 10 times the amount of sports bonuses received within the first 30 days of registering their account.
Notably, this offer is not available in Kentucky, New York or Washington D.C.
3. FanDuel Sportsbook
Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets!
FanDuel started life as a daily fantasy sports operator, but have evolved alongside the online betting market to become a fully fledged sportsbook. They now offer a full selection of sports to bet on, alongside top parlay options and a huge choice of futures.
Players on FanDuel often find that they have some of the best value lines available on the market. When comparable bets from other sportsbooks are lined up, the best returns are often to be found through FanDuel.
BetRivers was the first online sportsbook to launch in Illinois in June 2020, however it still required people to visit its Rivers Casino location in Des Plaines to register in person. That requirement has since ended, meaning players statewide can sign up for a BetRivers account online.
New players to BetRivers will find a huge range of sports to bet on with a deep choice of lines on each event, along with a daily selection of special parlays and teasers. There is also a regular schedule of Profit Boost events, where profits on select sports will be given a 20% boost above normal.
The sign up bonus for BetRivers is a 100% matched deposit bonus worth up to $250. This means that if you deposit a full $250 as your first transaction then BetRivers will boost your starting bankroll up to $500 with their bonus.
Mobile Operators coming soon to Illinois
Illinois is one of the largest sports betting marketplaces in the country, with the state collecting nine figure tax revenue.
Despite the massive popularity of sports betting in the Land of Lincoln, there are some nuanced regulations in the state that make the betting landscape distinct from any other legal state.
For example, when online sports wagering was initially legalized in the state, there was a qualification that required users to register in person. While that legislation eventually expired, over the first few months of legalization the handle and revenue generated from online betting was surprisingly low in comparison to other states. That’s in large part due to the restriction requiring in person registration.
That is just one example, but since the in-person registration law ended, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has slowly opened up to more operators.
As such, we’ve listed some of the newest books that are slated to go live in the state in the near future.
Circa initially applied for a Management Services Provider license on May 16, 2022 and was approved in late April, 2023.
Circa Sport Director of Operations Jeffrey Benson indicated to Sports Handle that the Las Vegas-based operator will be live in “...late August/early Sept[ember]” after securing a partnership with Full House.
As part of that partnership, Full House helped open a temporary retail with the fitting name The Temporary in Waukegan. The casino — which opened In February — is equipped with a sportsbook.
That potential launch date would make Circa the first new operator in the state since BetMGM in March, 2022. If everything goes according to plan, Illinois could see another mobile operator by the late summer or early fall.
While there’s already the Hard Rock Rockford Casino, the IGB recently approved a sportsbook at that location provided the dining conglomerate “comply with IGB rules before sports wagering can offered in-person or online.”
Notably, a management services provider license was included as part of the proposal, thus Hard Rock will join the list of mobile operators coming to the Land of Lincoln.
The sports wagering operator license is held under the name 815 Entertainment LLC, which is the ownership group that helped bring the Hard Rock to Rockford initially. The sports wagering management service provider license is held by Seminole Hard Rock Digital LLC.
This comes as the IGB begins a dramatic push to approve more licenses, with the regulatory board granting 233 new licenses and “related approvals for casino gambling, video gaming and sports wagering along with renewal of existing licenses.”
Betway was notably part of that approval process as the IGB also approved an “online only sports wagering license” for DGC IL LLC.
DGC, Digital Gaming Corporation, was acquired by the Betway parent company Super Group in early 2023 and DGC IL is the local arm of that company.
As noted in the press release, this license is for online only, but the rapid approval shortly on the heels of the acquisition will potentially allow the gambling company to gain an advantage in Illinois early during their roll out.
Penn Entertainment launched a new partnership with ESPN to create the new sportsbook, ESPN BET. This app will be a one-stop shop for sports fans and bettors alike. They’ll be able to watch all the games they wagered on with one, easy to use app.
The massive partnership marks a new approach to sports betting as ESPN was reticent to dive into the legal sports betting market until recently.
Part of the deal includes a rebrand of the existing sportsbook. As of Nov. 14, ESPN BET is available in 17 states with a generous welcome offer when you use the promo code TRIBUNE.
The current ESPN BET promo code TRIBUNE will unlock a generous offer bet and get. If you bet any amount, you can get $150 in bonus bets, broken down into five $20 increments and one $50 bonus bet, equaling $150 in total.
Key IL sports betting site features
In-play betting means to place a wager on a sporting event already in progress.
This is a fast paced and exciting way to bet on sports, as the odds are often quickly changing in reaction to the action in the game.
Players often bet in-play while watching the game as it is easy to see which team is struggling, and which team is looking strong. This makes some of the most popular markets to bet on in-play the final score, or which player will score next.
Sportsbooks which offer live streaming allow you to watch select sporting events on their website or app.
Often you will need to have placed a qualifying bet on them, however sometimes they are offered to all customers for free.
A parlay bet means combining multiple results into one single bet in order to get massively enhanced odds. For example, let’s say you wanted to combine Game A, Game B, and Game C into a parlay bet.
For a parlay bet, your initial stake would go into Game A. If this wins, the winnings would all automatically be placed onto Game B, and then in turn onto Game C. Although a parlay bet carries higher risk, the returns will be much better than winning bets on the three games individually.
Same game parlay
A same game parlay is the same concept as a parlay bet, except all of the lines are from within the same game.
As bookmakers have varying rules as to which lines can be combined in a same game parlay, they provide quick and easy tools so you can see the exact lines which you can put into your bet.
Benefits of betting on sports online
Ease of registration
Signing up for an online sports betting account has never been easier, with you just needing to enter a few details, including your social security number, to get started.
Up until recently, Illinois sports bettors were only able to sign-up with sportsbooks in-person, however this rule has since been abolished.
This means that IL residents are now able to create accounts from the comfort of their own homes, a process that proves to be incredibly easy.
Signing up for a sportsbook in-person not only requires you to potentially drive hours, however the time which you’re able to do so is limited to your sportsbook’s opening hours.
By signing up online, you’re able to do it wherever as long as you have a stable internet connection, as well as at a time that suits you best.
Live betting is a huge part of sports wagering, with a whole host of different markets available to bet on once the game has gotten underway.
Betting in-play via your app or desktop is incredibly easy, with you just needing an internet connection and time in order to do so.
A number of retail sportsbooks won’t allow you to bet in-play, whilst the ones that do will require you to be there in-person in order to place your bets.
The number of live betting markets that are available online as opposed to in–person are huge, with a whole host of options available to when betting via an app or desktop.
The range of markets on offer with online sportsbooks are much more diverse than the ones you’ll be able to bet on when wagering in-person. Online sportsbooks make it much easier to find exact bets, especially on less popular markets.
If you’re not happy with your online sportsbooks choice of markets, you can simply sign-up with another whose markets suit your needs best.
This just isn’t the case with physical betting, as you’ll be made to accept your sportsbooks odds and markets once there, unless you’re willing to travel to another sportsbook.
Offers and promotions
Most physical sportsbooks won’t allow you to claim sign-up offers and promotions when first using them. This isn’t the case with online sportsbooks, with you being able to potentially claim thousands in free bets and deposit bonuses by signing-up with various betting sites.
You will need to enter a promo/bonus code in order to claim some of these offers, however once you have one, you’ll be able to claim whoever offer they have in store. Additionally, you’ll also be able to sign-up with a number of different sportsbooks, claiming all of their sign-up offers simultaneously.
In doing so, you’ll be able to get $1000′s of dollars in bonus funds, something that just isn’t possible when betting via physical sportsbooks.
Legal vs offshore betting sites in Illinois
The big difference between using a legal online sportsbook and an offshore one is the consumer protection offered to you. Put simply, you can trust legal online betting applications to be fair, and that your money is safe with them.
Legal online sports betting is a hugely regulated market, with the Illinois Gaming Board strictly overseeing the entire industry. They decide who is granted a license to operate an online sportsbook in the Prairie State, and make sure that they operate fairly.
If you have a dispute with a legal online sportsbook that you feel hasn’t been resolved, you will be able to escalate it up official channels to the Illinois Gaming Board. This is a level of protection which simply is not available with offshore betting sites.
If you have a dispute with an offshore site, such as you feel a game was conducted unfairly or they refuse to authorize a payout, then they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Gaming Board. This means that authorities cannot compel an offshore site to action.
There is also no overarching federal law on the legality of online sports betting. While online sports betting is completely legal in states like Illinois, it is still a legal grey area to use offshore betting sites.
Thanks to the security and protection that legal online betting sites in Illinois offer, it is highly recommended that players who have used offshore sites in the past switch to one of the numerous explicitly legal options.
Illinois retail sportsbooks
Illinois is home to a number of sportsbooks, which are well distributed around the state.
Some of these are longtime favorites, such as the Rivers Casino, while others are brand new facilities set up by national bookmakers as a condition of being granted an online sports betting license.
IL online sports betting FAQ’s
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Betting on sports is completely legal for Illinois residents aged at least 21 years old. You can place bets either in a physical sportsbook, or online via an app or website. As of March 5, 2022, players are able to register from wherever they are in the Prairie State.
Who governs sports betting in Illinois?
Both online and retail sports betting are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. This five-member board is responsible for tax collection, granting licenses to operators, and ensuring fair gaming takes place in the Prairie State.
Where can I bet on sports in Illinois?
Online sports betting is legal for residents throughout Illinois and there are currently seven sportsbooks operational across the Prairie State. However, there is a requirement that you register at a retail sportsbook before you are able to use their online services.
As of March 5, 2022, you are able to legally register and bet on sports with a licensed bookmaker from anywhere within Illinois. Additionally, players in the state still have full access to DFS sites such as Sleeper and Underdog.
How old do you have to be to bet in Illinois?
The age requirement to place a bet on sports in Illinois, both online and in a retail sportsbook, is 21 years old. There are currently no plans for this to be reviewed.
However, people aged 18 years old are still able to bet on horse racing at state tracks.
What sports can I bet on in Illinois?
Illinois residents are able to bet on any professional sport. This means Prairie State residents are free to back their favorite NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL teams, along with a huge selection of other domestic and international events.
In January 2022, it finally became legal to bet on in-state college games. However, currently no operator has requested to offer these markets. This means that you will not be able to bet on teams such as the Northwestern Wildcats or Illinois Fighting Illini.
There are no restrictions for betting on out of state college sports, though.
Illinois sports teams to bet on
Illinois is a true powerhouse of a sporting state, and is one of just 13 to have a franchise in each of the traditional big four sports.
Thanks to a recent change in the law, it is also now legal to bet on some of Illinois’ best and most popular college teams.
The Chicago Bears have called the Windy City home since their formation in 1920, and have brought home more championships to their fans than any other team in Illinois.
The Bears won eight NFL Championships before the AFL-NFL merger created the modern game, and followed this up with a Super Bowl in 1985.
That 1985 Super Bowl winning team is one of the most beloved of all times, both among Bears supporters and the wider NFL fanbase.
Thanks to the offensive exploits of legendary defensive lineman William ‘Refrigerator’ Perry and the infamous ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ rap, the team is still remembered nearly 40 years later.
The Bears currently play out of Soldier Field, however the stadium is nearly 100 years old. Fans hope that soon the Bears will be able to break ground on a new facility in the city.
The Chicago Cubs were founded in 1876, making them the oldest baseball team in the city and second oldest in the whole league.
The Cubs enjoy a fierce rivalry with the Chicago White Sox, and represent fans from the north side of the city from their Wrigley Stadium home.
The Cubs have three World Series titles to their name, however also endured one of sports all-time longest droughts between wins.
They won their first pair of titles in 1907 and 1908, but had to wait until 2016 - and break the Curse of the Billy Goat - to win their third.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are the relative newcomers to baseball in the city, having been founded in 1900. Interestingly, their name comes from the origin of their fierce rival Cubs, who were founded as the Chicago White Stockings.
The White Sox represent the south side of the city, playing out of Guaranteed Rate Field home, and have brought home three World Series titles. Like their cross-town rivals, the White Sox also had to endure a lengthy championship drought.
The White Sox won their first titles in 1906 and 1917, and did not clinch their third until 2005.
The Chicago Bulls may well be the most famous basketball team in the world thanks to their greatest ever player, the legendary Michael Jordan. Widely seen as the greatest of all time, Jordan played for the Bulls between 1984-93, and then again from 1995 to 1998.
During his two stints with the Bulls, Jordan was the anchor that pulled off a pair of unprecedented Three-peats. The team won back-to-back-to-back NBA Championships between 1991-93, then again between 1996-98.
The Chicago Sky are one of the best teams in the WNBA, quickly becoming serious contenders despite only being formed as an expansion team for the 2006 season.
The Sky came heartbreakingly close to securing their first WNBA Championship in 2014, however finally brought home their first title in 2021 just 15 years after they were founded.
The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the Original Six founding NHL teams, and have called the Windy City home since their formation in 1926. The team currently shares the United Center in Chicago’s west side with the Chicago Bulls.
The Blackhawks have brought six Stanley Cups home, with their first victory coming in 1934 and latest in 2015. The team have also won two Presidents’ Trophies, along with clinching four Conference Championships and 16 Division Championships.
The Chicago Fire are one of the older teams in MLS, joining in 1998 for the league’s third season. They enjoyed most of their success during these early years, winning the MLS Cup and US Open Cup in their debut season.
The Fire have also won the Supporters’ Shield in 2003, along with further US Open Cups in 2000, 2003, and 2006. However, the team lost their way after moving out of Soldier Field in 2002 and struggled with a loss of identity.
This led to a barren spell for the club, however their 2020 return to downtown Chicago and Soldier Field is proving a real turning point.
Northwestern Wildcats Football
The Northwestern Wildcats are the most successful of Illinois’ Division I football teams. While their sole national title may have come back in 1903, the team looked set to once again become a national powerhouse. The team have won two Division Titles, though have fallen to Ohio State in both Big Ten Championship games.
The Wildcats will surely be as eager for a victory over the Buckeyes in their next meeting as they are over their regular rivals of Illinois, Notre Dame, and Michigan.
Loyola Ramblers Men’s Basketball
The Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball team are proving to be a real threat come March Madness. Although not one of the traditional powerhouses, the Ramblers have started to make regular runs deep into the NCAA Tournament.
In 2018 the Ramblers made it right the way to the Final Four, while in 2021 they made the Sweet Sixteen. With these kinds of deep runs in the tournament becoming more frequent, it can only be a matter of time before Loyola cut the net again and add to their 1963 championship.