Sports betting officially launched in Illinois in 2020. The first bet in the state was placed in March 2020 at the BetRivers retail sportsbook.
Later on in the year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker re-signed an executive order in August that allowed online betting, making Illinois the 11th state in the country to legally offer online sports betting to its residents.
As expected, sportsbooks began to launch shortly after. BetRivers, again, was the first online sportsbook, and both DraftKings and FanDuel opened soon after the executive order allowing online betting was re-signed in August.
Many more sportsbooks are still projected to open within the state, but here is what you can expect from some of the sportsbooks that are currently available in Illinois.
Best IL online sportsbooks 2021
The following are some of the top current sportsbook options in Illinois. Read our Illinois online sportsbook reviews to find out what makes each sportsbook unique.
DraftKings Sportsbook IL
DraftKings is a stalwart of both sports betting and daily fantasy sports. The DraftKings story started in 2012 with an initial focus on DFS. It slowly expanded, adding sports to its lineup each year.
In 2018, DraftKings launched its first-ever sportsbook in New Jersey following the US Supreme Court ruling allowing states to pursue legal sports betting. It has gone on to launch sportsbooks in almost all of the other states with legal online betting, including in Illinois, where it launched in 2020, becoming the second online sportsbook in the state.
DraftKings Sportsbook IL has markets on all the top-level sports and leagues (NBA, MLB, NFL, MLS, tennis, etc.), and you can even find some niche options to bet on. Other great features at DraftKings include the following:
- Quick live betting.
- An exceptional app.
- Great library of sports to bet on.
FanDuel Sportsbook IL
FanDuel was the third online sportsbook to launch in Illinois, doing so a few weeks after DraftKings did. Just like DraftKings, it offers daily fantasy sports — which it’s been doing since 2009 — on top of being a sportsbook.
Overall, the FanDuel Sportsbook IL is top-notch, which is why it’s one of the most popular sportsbooks in many of the states where it operates. It covers almost every sport and league that most bettors look for. It also has a variety of bonuses for customers and 24/7 customer support should you have any problems with your account. Other features that make the sportsbook stand out, include the following:
- A great user interface on both the website and app.
- Great odds.
- A variety of sports for all types of bettors.
- Many deposit methods available.
William Hill Sportsbook IL
William Hill is a respected name in the sports betting industry, having been around since 1934 when it was founded in England. Because of this longevity, it has a deep understanding of the gambling industry and knows what many sports bettors are looking for, so you should have confidence when opting for William Hill.
The sportsbook has also been around for a while in the US. It first opened in Nevada in the early 2010s before opening up in other states after the 2018 Supreme Court ruling. In Illinois specifically, the sportsbook’s online platform went live in September 2020.
William Hill Sportsbook IL has several advantages to appeal to local Illinois bettors. Its sports markets may resemble those at many other sportsbooks, but its live betting markets definitely stand out. Other features include the following:
- Great app and website.
- Sign-up bonuses for new customers and many ongoing promos during the year.
- Many deposit methods. Most payout methods are also quick.
- Slick live streaming experience.
PointsBet Sportsbook IL
Australians always seem to do things differently, and that sentiment rings true with this Aussie sportsbook. Despite being a relative newcomer, PointsBet has gained a lot of traction in the US sports betting scene, mostly because of its distinct betting variant known as PointsBetting.
PointsBetting simply means that how much you win or lose depends on how right or wrong your bet was. For example, if you place a spread bet and your selection covers by one point, your winnings are multiplied by one. If your pick covers by two, then the payout will instead be multiplied by two, etc. The same goes for losses. If your pick fails by two points, your losses are doubled.
However, if this sounds complicated, PointsBet Sportsbook IL still offers traditional wagering options: moneylines, over/unders, point spreads, etc. PointsBet also has some distinctive betting options, especially with regard to prop bets. Other things that will make the sportsbook stand out, include the following:
- Great sign-up offers for new customers.
- Good customer service.
- Many betting options.
The importance of using a legal sportsbook
Since betting is a delicate activity that involves the exchange of money, the government needs to step in to ensure that sportsbooks adhere to regulations so that consumers are protected. Sportsbooks that get the necessary licenses and adhere to these regulations are the legal ones, and it is important for bettors to always opt for such legal sportsbooks.
Firstly, every legal sportsbook has boundaries that are regulated by the state’s gambling board, whereas illegal sportsbooks have no such boundaries. The regulated sportsbooks, therefore, have a local governing body overseeing their activities that prevents them from playing around with their rules. This means that customers can go to them with any problems, a luxury that bettors won’t have when dealing with illegal sportsbooks.
Second, privacy is also a big concern for many users, and you’re going to share delicate information like banking details with these sites. Legal sportsbooks won’t abuse such information, but illegal sportsbooks aren’t required to comply with any standards when it comes to protecting your data.
Other reasons to always opt for a legal sportsbook include the following:
- Many deposit and withdrawal options.
- Dependable customer support.
- You’ll always be guaranteed to receive your winnings.
- If you have a problem with gambling addiction, legal sportsbooks will help detect such problems and direct you to resources that can help.
- Legal sportsbooks have many promos and offers, all of which are always legitimate.
To guarantee that you always bet with a clear peace of mind, make sure that the sportsbooks you bet with are legal ones.
What is an offshore sportsbook?
Simply put, offshore sportsbooks are sites that are based and operate outside of the US but that will seek to attract US customers. As mentioned above, they don’t fall under US oversight and standards, so if you encounter any problems using one, you are likely out of luck.
Now, however, with legal sports online available in many states, including Illinois, you should not go through the hassle of opting for such illicit offshore sites. Since they do not have regulatory oversight, there is always a danger when opting for such sportsbooks.
Types of sportsbooks to avoid
Along with legal online sportsbooks, you may also come across more dubious options. Always try as much as possible to avoid the following types of sportsbooks:
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees all of the state’s sports betting activities. All the sportsbooks in the state acquire licenses from this board. Sportsbooks with licenses always state that they are licensed on their website, and it is also easy to verify this certification by checking the state’s gambling resources.
Sportsbooks that do not have licenses from the state may either be waiting for license approval or may have failed to qualify for one; either way, you shouldn’t use a sportsbook until it has been licensed by the state’s gaming board.
In case you’re in another state, always check which governing body is in charge of sports betting activities and which sportsbooks are licensed.
As mentioned above, illicit offshore sportsbooks have many uncertainties attached to them. There is the potential of not receiving your winnings. Limited withdrawal options may force you to choose undesirable payment methods like cryptocurrency, and customer service can be impossible to reach on offshore sites. The best alternative is to always avoid such sportsbooks.
It’s always best to go with something that has a proven track record attached to it, including when it comes to sportsbooks. Even when newer sportsbooks come to the market, you can check how they’ve performed in other countries. If users in those areas had prior complaints about them, then what’s to say that those problems won’t seep into their American sportsbooks?
But if the books had good track records, then as long as they’re legal and licensed, you can always opt for them. Sportsbooks like PointsBet and William Hill exemplify this best: Even before they came to the US market, they had a proven track record in the countries where they operated.
How to spot an offshore sportsbook
Offshore sportsbooks have clear telltale signs that make them easy to spot. The following are some of the ways that you can easily tell that a sportsbook is operating offshore:
- No operating license: Even though they may have licenses from other territories, they won’t have any US or state operating licenses.
- Limited deposit and withdrawal options: Many banks refrain from directly depositing into such offshore sites, which means these sites will have fewer methods to deposit and withdraw money. Additionally, others will opt for cryptocurrency methods that are unfavorable to many American bettors.
- High withdrawal limits: Such sites seek to promote irresponsible gambling. This is why they may set a high cap for withdrawals to trap bettors who wager lower amounts. If you see sites with minimum withdrawals like $200, $400 or $500, it’s best not to opt for such sites.
- Payment delays: Such sites have shady practices, including longer than usual delays. Plus, if you win large amounts, they may prevent you from withdrawing such amounts and can even block your account immediately. If you’ve heard stories about sites like that, high chances were that they were offshore sites.
- Fluctuating bonuses: Such sites will often have bonuses that are too good to be real. They will then find technicalities to avoid paying those bonuses or preventing bettors from using the bonuses after they’ve signed up.
What makes a good sportsbook?
To ensure that you have no problems when it comes to things like legal issues and withdrawals, it’s always best to sign up for a legitimate sportsbook. Here are a few things that you should definitely look for before joining a sportsbook:
- Licensed and compliant with laws: Check whether the sportsbook has verified that it is fully licensed and allowed to operate within the state.
- App functions/features: An online sportsbook likely will also have a sports betting app, so ensure that the sportsbook you want to sign up for has one. Additional features like live betting are an industry standard now, so also confirm the availability of that and check for any potential features that may be a bonus.
- Lines and odds: It’s always best to go for a sportsbook that gives you the best value, so you should regularly compare odds and lines between sportsbooks to ensure that you’re getting the best value out there.
- Bonus offers: Check on potential bonus offers and the rollover requirements for such offers so that you can wholly capitalize on them. If an offer sounds too good to be true, ensure that the sportsbook is a regulated one and that it pays out on such offers.
- Payment options: Ensure that you are comfortable with the deposit and withdrawal options that the sportsbook lists on its site. Also, check whether there are any additional fees on the listed payment options.
- Support: Ensure that the sportsbook has some form of guaranteed support on its site. This can be both customer care support and/or problem gambling support for gamblers dealing with addiction.
Illinois sportsbook FAQ
Can I have an account at multiple sportsbook sites?
Yes, you can sign up for multiple sportsbook sites. However, most sites will limit you to one account so that you don’t take advantage of what the sportsbook offers.
Can I bet on FanDuel Sportsbook in IL?
Yes. You can bet on FanDuel Sportsbook in Illinois. FanDuel opened an online sportsbook in Illinois in August 2020, and you can bet on the website or through the app as long as you’re within the state.
Is DraftKings licensed in Illinois?
Yes. DraftKings is licensed in Illinois and allowed to operate within the state. DraftKings partnered with Casino Queen and has been licensed since June 2020.
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
Yes, you have to pay taxes on your winnings. Illinois gamblers are required to pay a 15% tax on their winnings throughout the year provided that they made $600 or more.
How fast do sportsbooks process withdrawals?
Withdrawals process at different rates and largely depend on the method. Some methods may process instantly or within a few hours, while others may take between 24 and 72 hours.