Illinois finally legalized online sports betting in 2019 but residents will have to wait a while longer for legal online gaming, poker, and daily fantasy sports to be approved in the state.
Illinois joined nearly a dozen other states that have legalized online sports betting after the Supreme Court lifted a decades-long ban on sports betting outside of Nevada. Under the law, existing gambling venues will be able to take sports bets and online-only providers will soon follow.
The state also included a gambling expansion that will bring new casinos to the state, including a mega-casino to Chicago, and even gambling terminals to Chicago’s airports. The state notably excluded online casino gaming from the bill, as well as online poker and daily fantasy sports.
Here is a quick rundown of everything you need to know about the online gambling Illinois bill.
Online Gambling: Illinois Legalizes Sports Betting But Not Online Gambling
In June 2019, Illinois approved legislation that legalized online sports betting and expanded gambling in the state.
The bill allows existing casinos, race tracks, and other gambling operators to offer mobile sports betting as long as they pay official leagues for their statistical data. The bill will also allow for betting kiosks to be set up at sports arenas like Wrigley Field and Soldier Field and for slot terminals to be installed at O’Hare and Midway airports. The bill will also bring a massive mega-casino to Chicago.
Unfortunately, legislators balked at approving other forms of gambling, like online gaming, online poker, and daily fantasy sports. The bill also bars any Illinois betting operators to take bets on games involving any Illinois high school or college teams.
For now, the bill will require people to register in person at brick-and-mortar locations to place a bet online but the law will allow for online-only operators to launch after the first 18 months.
Illinois Gambling Sites
Illinois’ existing gambling operators are already applying for licenses to launch their sportsbooks online. The bill does require you to register in person at a physical location before you can place bets on your desktop or mobile device.
Once approved, existing operators will be able to take bets online but will not be able to offer other gambling options like online slots or online poker. Illinois does have some online gambling but it is limited to online lottery tickets.
Some operators have found a workaround to get around the law by offering gambling options through a “sweepstakes” system. These “social” casinos allow players to buy fake money while “gifting” players cash-equivalent play money that can be redeemed for real money when you cash out.
These sites generally have small selections of games so more seasoned gamblers will have to wait until lawmakers approve online casino games in the state. With casinos greatly expanding and online sports betting already approved, it appears to only be a matter of time until you can play poker, blackjack, roulette, or slots online.