Illinois Legal Online Gambling Guide 2017

USA Friendly FlagIllinois has been dealing with various gambling related issues in the last few years with hammering out land based gambling expansion plans and responding to efforts being made to legalize online gambling within the state. Its been a whirlwind for lawmakers to say the least, and for those involved in the expansion plans in any capacity. There are currently more than 40 gambling riverboat casinos in the state, and things are underway to expand the state's casino gambling options. Naturally there are two sides to this coin, and there are both opponents and proponents of Illinois' gambling industry, however the state does have a somewhat progressive position when it comes to gambling in general.

This page of our guide will take a look at the current legal status of legally betting within the state, what state and federal laws have to say about it, and what options are legally available to Illinois residents. There is an ebb and flow to the gambling and political landscape in Illinois, and the complexities involved are sometimes difficult to navigate. We intend to put it to you plain and accurately so that you feel you can make an informed decisions regarding your participation in online gambling. That is actually the primary objective of offering a state gambling directory.


Illinois Gambling Laws

Law BookIllinois was one of the first states to get on board with allowing their residents to purchase lottery tickets online. Other than lottery related games, it is illegal to own or operate an online gambling site of any kind within the state of Illinois. The law does not expressly address players in any way and is clearly intended to curtail any type of illegal online gambling sites from springing up within the state.

There have been multiple efforts made to change existing laws governing state based online gambling in IL. The most recent was SB 1739. Governor Pat Quinn was consistently and staunchly opposed to the idea of online gambling however, so the efforts did not see much fruition. Other influencers and lawmakers indicated that nothing related to online gambling would be considered prior to the completion of the existing casino gambling expansion taking place within the state. Mr. Quinn handed his gubernatorial baton over to Bruce Rauner in 2015, who is considered to be a little warmer towards the prospect of online gambling. This could very well trigger new attempts to bring legislation forward that would legalize online poker or possibly online casino gambling. We will be watching to see what new developments emerge following this changing of the guard.

Online sports betting that is regulated by the state is unlikely at this time as several federal laws would have to be either modified or nullified, neither of which is likely in the near future. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibits sports betting throughout the United States with the exception of four specific regions: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. The Federal Wire Act prohibits any type of US based online sports betting entertainment. These two laws combined pretty much ban any type of sports betting expansion within the USA. New Jersey has recently legalized a limited range of sports betting for their residents, however they may be in for a huge legal battle concerning violation of the PASPA law. Everyone is watching closely to see if the federal government is going to allow them to get away with this. The NFL, NBA, MLB , NHL and NCAA are doing their best to interfere. We will post any updates to their efforts in our New Jersey online gambling guide.

Is Online Gambling Legal In Illinois?

There are no state or federal laws however, which prohibit Illinois residents and visitors to the state from participating in legally licensed and regulated online gambling that is based offshore, outside of the United States. So in other words, Illinois residents can engage in legal online gambling at offshore websites that are licensed and regulated by a governing jurisdiction that is outside of the US.

IL State Facts & Quick Jump Menu

State Facts Quick Jump
State Motto: State Sovereignty, National Union Top Rated Site
State Population: 12.88 Million Illinois Casinos
Land Casinos: 10+ Illinois Sportsbooks
Land Poker Rooms: 30+ Illinois Poker
Legal Gambling Age: 18 Frequently Asked Questions
Projected Year For Legalization: 2021 Illinois Gambling News

Best Online Gambling Site
For Illinois Players

Is Playing Online Casinos For Real Money Legal In Illinois?

Casino IconThe answer is to this question is not a simple yes or no reply. If you would like to know whether or not state regulated online casino gambling is legal in Illinois, then we would have to unfortunately say no for now (though this may change within the next few years). If you are asking whether or not there are any legally licensed and regulated online casinos that accept players from Illinois, then we can fortunately say yes. Because there are not any state or federal laws that prohibit US residents from participating in online casino gambling that is licensed, regulated and based outside of the United State, then as long as you are diligent about the destinations you choose to visit, Illinois residents are free to visit and enjoy these types of gambling sites. Many US citizens are under the misconception that the UIGEA bill prohibits offshore Internet gambling. This is not true - the law simply provides regulations concerning how online gambling transactions can be processed and is directed towards online gambling site operators and payment processors, not players. Legal US online casinos can accept American players without putting them at risk of violating the UIGEA.

This guide provides a listing of recommendations for Illinois online casinos that have all been vetted by industry professionals. A part of this vetting process includes verification of their credentials to ensure they are indeed operating legally within the industry and can provide all necessary compliance certifications. We also examine their performance, game selection, banking suite, customer support competency and all other elements of their operation. These casinos are the industry's leading options for Illinois residents.


Legal Online Casinos
That Accept Illinois Players

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Is Sports Betting Legal In Illinois?

Sports IconAs explained above, state based sports betting is only legal in 4 specific states (Illinois is not one of them), and US based online sports betting is not legal anywhere in the United States. However, this does not eliminate all of your options. None of these laws legally restrict you from betting on the game from a legally licensed and regulated sportsbook that is located outside of the US borders. The key to keeping things legal is to only consider visiting an Internet sportsbook that is in fact licensed, subject to strict regulatory oversight, and is governed by a jurisdiction that has already legalized online sports betting for their respective territories. We can help you do that through the recommendations that we provide within this guide.

Below is a list of recommendations from our professional sports analysts who specialize in reviewing online gambling sites. These all qualify as legal online sportsbooks and have all been examined and evaluated by a team of professionals with a range of experience that spans decades. Each of these sportsbooks has a nice welcome bonus, a substantial selection of betting lines and wagering options, and covers all the sports categories you can think of. The odds and paylines are comparable with those released by the Vegas bookmakers, ensuring a high quality betting experience.


Best Online Sportsbooks
Accepting Illinois Players

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Bovada Sportsbook Logo
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Betonline Sportsbook
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IL Online Poker

Poker IconAs with the online casino niche, we have to say both yes and no to answer this question. No there are not any state regulated online poker rooms allowed in Illinois yet, yes there are legally sanctioned online poker sites located outside of the US that welcome players from IL. What makes poker a little more exciting is that there is some interest in moving forward with legislation that would legalize state regulated online poker sites. Several attempts have been made and though they have failed, a new and more gambling-friendly governor means a new opportunity and a new chance at making some progress on this front. We would not be surprised to see more success here, though we are expecting that it will have to wait until after the state has completed the process of approving and getting underway the new casino gambling expansion projects that have been in the hot seat so much recently.

We have compiled a listing of the top rated legal US online poker sites that welcome Illinois players as customers. As with the casinos, we have personally evaluated each of these sites and placed them through an intense review process. They each hold the legitimate credentials, licensing and compliance certifications required to legally offer their services to players around the world, including those in Illinois. They have demonstrated exceptional gaming performance, game selection and customer support. They also each have a specific sign up bonus that will provide a nice little boost to your bankroll right off the bat. We can recommend each of them without hesitation.


Top Rated Poker Sites
Open To Illinois Residents

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Ignition Poker Logo
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Betonline Sportsbook
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Illinois Gambling FAQ's

When will Illinois finally legalize online gambling?

It is impossible to predict with surety since the last several attempts did not meet with success. However, there is optimism since the new governor has taken office, and the state in general is pretty gambling friendly. It is conceivable that online poker may get some consideration once the state's casino gambling expansions are wrapped up. There is some opposition from outsiders such as Sheldon Adelson and some existing casino owners who are concerned with how online gambling may affect their business. So its really anyone's guess at this point.

Will I get into trouble or arrested if I gamble online in Illinois?

As long as you restrict your online gambling entertainment to legally sanctioned gambling sites located outside of the United States, you will not be breaking any federal or state laws. Should you consider getting involved with an online gambling operation that is located within the state of Illinois, then you will indeed be breaking the law and be subject to prosecution. The sites we've recommended in this guide will help you stay out of that type of situation.

What is the legal gambling age in Illinois?

There are several types of state regulated gambling options available to Illinois residents. The minimum legal age for engaging in gambling at Illinois riverboat casino properties is 21 years of age. Participation in the state's lottery or pari-mutuel online or brick and mortar gambling carries a minimum legal gambling age of 18. There is no established minimum age specifically for legal online gambling in Illinois, so residents can assume that if they are enjoying online casino gambling, poker play or sports betting that they should adhere to the state's minimum gambling age of 21. Online lottery gambling at offshore lottery agents is available to players 18 years of age and up.

If an online casino accepts players at 18, why do I have to wait until I am 21 just because I live in Illinois?

The gambling site that you are visiting may not be subject to Illinois state law, but you are. The law specifically states that players must be at least 21 to enjoy gambling other than lottery, charitable gambling and pari-mutuel wagering. We strongly recommend that you always adhere to the state laws that are in place in Illinois. Stepping outside of that framework puts you at risk in more ways than one.

IL Gambling News Headlines

Illinois Hoping To Pass Online Gambling And DFS Legislation
June 12, 2017

Illinois considering online gambling bill

Illinois’ government officials are facing two gambling bills that could revamp the state’s gambling landscape. Both the state’s General Assembly and Senate saw bills expanding gambling in-state laid before them before the end of session. The bills pertain to expansion via more brick-and-mortar casinos and implementing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and state-regulated online gambling. The General Assembly’s bill called for adding 6 new casinos within the state. The Senate has already approved legislation allowing for casinos in Rockford, Danville, Chicago and Lake County, but the […]