Illinois expanded gambling in the state but video poker players will have to wait a while longer until they can enjoy their favorite casino games online.
Illinois lawmakers approved a massive gambling expansion in June 2019 that legalizes sports gambling, brings six new casinos to the state, and allows for tens of thousands of gambling terminals to be set up, including in locations like O’Hare Airport and Midway.
Unfortunately, the bill excluded online casino games like video poker and online poker so you will still have to make the trip to the casino if you want to try your luck.
With online sports betting now legal and gambling expanding into Chicago, it is only a matter of time until lawmakers let you play casino games online.
Video poker is a simple card game based on five card draw. The object is to make the best five-card hand. When you are dealt cards, you will be able to select ones you want to drop to add new cards, in hopes of improving your hand. While regular poker includes numbered pairs, Jacks or Better requires you to make a hand that is a pair of jacks or better, meaning a pair of tens would not win you anything. Here is a quick Jacks or Better hand guide:
Royal Flush (10 to Ace, all same suit)
Straight Flush (five consecutive cards of the same suit)
Four of a Kind
Full House (three of a kind and a pair)
Flush (any five cards of the same suit)
Straight (any five sequential cards)
Three of a Kind
Pair (Jacks or better)
With online casinos games being excluded from the massive gambling expansion, it may take some time for physical casinos to receive permission to launch online platforms featuring games like video poker, slots, roulette, and blackjack.
There are “social” casinos that use a sweepstakes-based model to skirt the law. These casinos do not let you bet real money but instead allow you to buy fake coins and “gift” you cash-equivalent play money you can use to play their games. You can then redeem your play money for real cash. These casinos tend to have smaller game selections so die-hard video poker enthusiasts will still have to hold out for Illinois’ casinos to go live online.
Online casino games have already been legalized in states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and of course Nevada. With six new casinos en route to Illinois and online sports betting already getting the green light, it appears that it is only a matter of time until lawmakers take the issue up again and permit casinos to offer their games on desktop and mobile devices.