If you are from Illinois, are new to the sports betting world and are looking for the best resource to help you get started, you have come to the right place! Allow us to ease any concerns you may have and make jumping into the world of sports betting, an enjoyable and hopefully even a profitable experience.

By the time you have read through our Best Illinois Sports Betting Guide, you will be fully equipped to sign up for a sports betting account and take full advantage of their lucrative welcome bonuses. We have all the information here to help you get betting at your local Illinois online sportsbook today!


Top IL Sports Bookmakers
IL Beginner Sports Betting Guide
Sports Betting Markets and Apps
IL Sports Betting FAQs



Do you think you know sports? Are you an avid fan that follows your local teams and others nationwide? Like millions of other Americans, you want to get involved in the action and start betting on sports. Why not?

You are a sports fan and want to have a little more incentive to the outcome of the games. With more states legalizing sports betting each year, either online or in-person at live sportsbooks, it has become an accepted form of online entertainment by mainstream society.

This is the Ultimate Illinois Online Sports Betting Beginner’s Guide to help you navigate the wide world of Illinois sports betting, from signing up for an online account to actually getting into the action and placing your bets.

Illinois is the most recent state to legalize sports gambling and officially introduced it in March of 2020, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike Oregon, another state that recently legalized online sports gambling, Illinois does not have their state lottery corporation running the industry. Illinois has allowed other companies such as DraftKings to enter the state and partner up with local casinos to provide an in-person sportsbook, as well as an accompanying online and mobile site. It was unfortunate timing for Illinois as the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine picked up just as they legalized sports betting and opened its doors.

Currently, there are only a couple of sportsbooks open to the public in Illinois as the state has made it a priority of theirs to provide their local businesses with a head start over the bigger companies that will eventually make their way to the state. The local casino BetRivers casino and East St. Louis called Casino Queen which has teamed up with DraftKings, are the only two mobile sportsbooks where you can bet online. There are multiple other casinos waiting on deck to launch their mobile betting platforms including DraftKings’ largest competitor FanDuel.

If you want to bet on sports in the state of Illinois, you have to be 21 years of age, either in person or online or mobile. While places like Las Vegas and New Jersey have the big names available for US wagerings like MGM sports betting, Hard Rock Sports betting, or Atlantic City sports betting, Illinois is focussed on their local market with BetRivers and Casino Queen so far. Even though Casino Queen is partnered with DraftKings, Illinois is ensuring that their local casinos get a head start before the big named brands come to town.

Quick Tips for the Beginner Sports Betting Player in Illinois

So now that you are ready to sign up for an account at an Illinois online sportsbook look no further than this helpful guide to show you exactly how it’s done. Unlike many of the states that have more established sports gambling industries, Illinois only has the two online sportsbooks that you can currently sign up for.  Here are some quick tips for once you have signed up an Illinois sportsbook and find yourself finally ready to start betting on some sports:


Step 1: Set your limits – One of the biggest mistakes made by new sports bettors is to not limit their bets when they first start playing. Use proportional betting to help your bankroll last and avoid bets with low odds but high payouts like parlay bets. Stick to single-game bets and a percentage of your bankroll each time. Nothing turns players off of sports betting faster than burning through their account balance within a few days of starting out.


Step 2: Learn the sports betting industry – Take a little time to do some research and learn the lingo and language of the sports betting world. There are also different ways to read odds like decimal odds, fractional odds, or American odds. Finally, learn the different types of bets: money lines, point spreads, point totals, all of these take a different type of skill but educate yourself on the ins and outs of betting types to give yourself a chance of being profitable.


Step 3: Choose the bet types you are good at: This seems straightforward but taking the time to study games and learn which types of bets you are more successful with can go a long way for your betting career. If you are good at point spreads, keep betting on point spreads. If you are bad with totals, then don’t bet on totals! Likewise for sports, if you can understand football more than basketball, don’t force yourself to bet on basketball. Stick to football, and then try and learn basketball if you are interested in it. Watching games can give you a huge advantage in understanding how odds and lines are made by sportsbooks. Try and learn how teams perform, especially if on the road or on a back to back. These edges can go a long way in helping you stay profitable.

Step 4: Look at the odds: Sometimes the odds or point spread just does not match your read on the game. It is these edges that will give you an advantage in the long run. If you do not think the Chicago Bulls should be underdogs, then bet the Bulls based on your own system. The odds are a guideline set by the bookmaker to get the most amount of action on both sides of the game, not necessarily an indication of how good each team is in that game.

Learn to Bet Guides

Pick the Sport you want to bet on, learn the dynamics of the games, and tap into the best betting strategies developed over the years. Can you build that elusive hot streak? There’s only one way to find out. Always remember, Bet Responsibly, Bet Greatly:

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Illinois Sports Betting Payment Options

As of early August, Illinois has finally lifted their laws about having to sign up for an online sports betting account in person. Thankfully, because of the novel coronavirus Governor Pritzker has mandated that players can now sign up for their online sportsbook accounts from the safety of their own homes. With only two online sportsbooks currently available in Illinois, there are some slight differences between BetRivers and DraftKings.


Credit Cards: Straight forward and probably the most common way that players can deposit right into their accounts. On DraftKings all of the major credit cards are accepted but if you play with BetRivers, they still have not set up deposits via credit cards. Keep in mind that some credit cards do not allow the cardholder to make purchases on gambling sites, so be aware of any such issues before reaching for that credit card.

Debit Cards/Bank Transfer: Same idea here, except that debit cards can be used instead of a credit card. A bank transfer is a direct debit from your personal bank account and is just as fast as paying by credit card and generally has a higher success rate for transactions than credit cards. Bank transfers are accepted at both BetRivers and DraftKings.

PayPal: PayPal is another popular money transfer company, but you do need to sign up for an account and link it to a bank account before you try and use it at any online sportsbook. It is safe and easy to use though and has become increasingly used at online websites as a method of payment. Again PayPal is accepted by both BetRivers and DraftKings.

Player Support: Illinois Sports Betting Beginner Support

Not to fear if you have any questions or concerns about something that happens at your online sportsbook, as they have provided players with 24-hour around the clock customer service. Because online sportsbooks and online casinos are open 24 hours a day and seven days per week, there is always some form of customer service available via email, telephone, or an instant chat function.


These customer service representatives can assist you with anything from deposit or withdrawal issues to questions about certain types of games or bet styles.

Future of Sports Betting in Illinois

Illinois definitely has a long way to go as a state that has legalized sports betting. Currently, with only two online sportsbooks open and available to the public, state revenues won’t be too impressive, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. With Illinois opening the state up to other companies in the future like FanDuel, it could cause the smaller local sportsbooks like BetRivers to get squeezed out. Other companies moving into the state in the future include BetMGM, Pointsbet, William Hill, and Barstool/Penn National Gaming, so the marketplace is going to get very crowded very quickly.

The future of sports betting in any state will hinge around online and mobile betting. BetRivers will need to add credit card deposits if they hope to compete with all of the established brands that are flooding into Illinois. Each of the companies mentioned previously has their own mobile betting apps already available, with the exception of Barstool which will have theirs active in September for football season. Unlike Oregon, Illinois is letting all of the big players operate in the state, which should grow the sports betting industry exponentially faster.

Illinois decided to give their local brick and mortar casinos an 18-month head start to establish a customer base and brand name in the market. As of late 2021, several online-only based sportsbooks will be able to start their business in Illinois, including FanDuel and Penn National Gaming. Another hindrance to the big name brands is that Illinois requires these companies, like DraftKings already has, to partner with local casinos rather than running their stand-alone online sportsbooks, similar to New Jersey.

Illinois seems more concerned with supporting their local brick and mortar casinos than with creating a competitive industry for everyone. These high barriers to entry combined with the added costs of operating in Illinois may eventually turn some of the bigger brand names off of the state. Still, with over 12 million people, Illinois has a sizable betting population and a very dedicated sports culture. William Hill recently partnered with a race track and casino, and PointsBet is also on their way in. The new Barstool sports betting mobile app is set to launch in September and their parent company Penn National Gaming owns three casinos in Illinois which means the Barstool brand should be plastered everywhere in those sportsbooks.


Fun Fact: The first legal sports bet was placed in Illinois on March 9th, 2020; two days before Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, and the entire sports world shut down.

In any state where sports betting has been legalized, the NFL is always the most popular sports league to bet on. In Illinois, the Chicago Bears will be the most popular bet in town come September when the NFL season gets underway. Traditionally sportsbooks take in more handle and bets from the NFL than any other sport in America, and Illinois should be no different.

Illinois has every single sport imaginable for sports bettors to play including the Chicago Blackhawks who are currently in the NHL playoffs. The MLB has two teams in Chicago in the Cubs and the White Sox, and there are dozens of colleges to play in the NCAA as well. Unlike Oregon, Illinois will let bettors bet on college sports but like in New Jersey, Illinois will not allow betting on Illinois schools. Finally, the Chicago Bulls in the NBA still have a huge following from the Michael Jordan years, so Illinois bettors should be very active during the NBA season as well.

Top Sports and Tournaments Betting Games in Illinois

We talked briefly above about the big events in Illinois, especially NFL Sundays, and events like March Madness, but what about some of the events that sports bettors can bet on? All of the professional sports leagues are available including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MMA, MLS Soccer, and PGA Golf. Even international leagues like NPB Japanese baseball, cricket, darts, and Aussie rules football are available, showing that it is not just American betting that is available. The only thing you cannot bet on in Illinois is non-sports events like politics or television.

The NFL will always be the top dog in US Sports wagering though as the Super Bowl pulls in the most handle for any sporting event of the year. Again, whenever the Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox, or Cubs do well, Illinois will most likely be wagering on their home teams. There are tons of colleges as well including Illinois State, the University of Illinois, Northwestern, DePaul, Loyola, and Monmouth, but like in New Jersey, Illinois residents will not be able to bet on colleges within the state lines, a huge hit in revenue to local sportsbooks. Illinois is also instituting a law where sportsbooks must purchase the league data officially from the leagues themselves, just another cost for an industry with already thin margins.

Sports betting Mobile Apps in Illinois

For now, sports bettors in Illinois will have to use either BetRivers or DraftKings until all of the other sportsbook companies are active in the state. If you are using one of these mobile apps you will have to be within the state limits of Illinois, and the apps will require you to have your location services on. Until credit card deposits are allowed with BetRivers, DraftKings looks to be the superior product so far in Illinois. Sports bettors in Illinois will be happy to hear that they can play Daily Fantasy Sports as well in Illinois.

The DraftKings and FanDuel mobile apps can be played on currently, and soon enough FanDuel’s sportsbook app will be legal as well. Illinois is providing some nice competition in the mobile app area and has chosen to allow direct competition between companies. This should create diversity amongst the products being used and ensure that Illinois mobile sports bettors have the best possible product in their hands.


Not really, no. Online operators have to pay $20 million for a license and have to wait 18 months before operating. Brick and mortars have to pay $10 million but do not need to wait the 18 months.

Not specifically, no. You can sign up for an online sportsbook account if you are a visitor to Illinois or if you live in a neighbouring state and visit often. As long as you are within the state limits when placing bets, you can be a resident from anywhere in the country.

Bank transfers are the easiest and most successful way of transferring money into your account. Credit cards work too but sites like BetRivers have not quite activated online credit card deposits as of now.

Yes! As with most states, you can only bet when you are physically located in that state. Many of these online betting apps will require that you turn on your GPS Location services on your mobile phone so they can confirm your location.

Yes! Even though the Illinois state Governor’s office has said DFS is an illegal form of sports gambling, you are still able to play DFS there.

This is up to the state and the Governor’s office to see if Illinois wants to ever add non-sporting events to their betting sites.

Yes! Most of the major players in the sports betting industry are coming to Illinois soon so the market for sportsbooks will be very competitive.

Yes! Mobile and online betting sites will pay the bettor right away. To cash out to your bank account it could take a couple of business days.

Yes! Illinois has some very established companies like DraftKings with a proven track record and reputable brand for customer satisfaction.

Yes! It is fully legal as long as you are the legal age of 21 or older in the state of Illinois.