Illinois has finally expanded gambling, allowing for a half-dozen new casinos and legalized sports betting, but players looking to get started playing online casino games or poker will still have to wait.
In June 2019, Illinois approved a massive gambling bill. The bill legalizes sports betting, will allow the building of six new casinos including a mega-casino in Chicago, and will allow betting kiosks and slot terminals to be installed at locations like sports stadiums and airports. Unfortunately, the bill did not deal with online casino games or online poker.
That means that you will be able to find more physical locations to try your luck but won’t be able to play online poker, blackjack, or slots from your desktop or mobile device. Some casino operators have found a workaround around the law, however, so gamblers in Illinois still have some options if they want to play casino games online.
The Illinois gambling bill approved in-person and online sports betting and a large gambling expansion but did not deal with online gaming and online poker.
The bill allows existing gambling venues to expand, adds more casinos around the state, and even allows setting up slot terminals at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports as well as horse racing tracks.
Illinois does offer some online gambling but not the kind you are thinking off. For the past decade, Illinois online gambling has been limited to digital lottery tickets that you can buy or subscribe to just as you would at a convenience store.
Though the law still prevents existing casinos from offering slots and table games online, some “social” casinos have found a workaround around the law and let any adult player in the United States win real cash money, with a twist.
These sites only allow you to buy fake money but with every purchase, the sites will “gift” you cash-equivalent play money which can be used to bet just like real money and then redeemed for real money when you go to cash out. Since you are technically never depositing and betting real money, anyone in the US can play on the sites and cash out with real money regardless of their state’s laws.
These sites generally have a limited selection of games so seasoned players will have to hold out a while longer for Illinois casinos to be able to launch their full offerings online. With so many new casinos and betting operators coming to the state, and online sports betting already approved, it appears to only be a matter of time until residents can log on and play poker, blackjack, or slots right from their desktop or mobile device.