Illinois has finally legalized sports betting and will allow existing gambling venues to take bets online.
The state legislature approved an extensive gambling bill in June 2019 that will bring Illinois sports betting options in many different locations, as well as online or on a mobile device. The bill allows existing casinos, race tracks, and other operators to start taking bets and permits betting operations in stadiums like Wrigley Field and Soldier Field.
Illinois is now among more than a dozen states that have legalized sports betting after the Supreme Court struck down Nevada’s monopoly on legal sports wagers. Other states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Delaware have also legalized online sports betting.
The bill currently limits sports betting to existing casinos and gambling venues in the state and explicitly shut out sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, arguing that they operated their daily fantasy sports in the state without permission. Online-only operators like DraftKings and FanDuel, which make up the majority of the entire online sports betting market in states like New Jersey, will be allowed to launch in the state 18 months after licenses are issued to brick-and-mortar venues.
The online sports betting Illinois approved will at first be limited to existing physical gambling venues, like casinos and race tracks. Under the bill, users will have to register in person at the brick-and-mortar location in order to be able to place bets on a desktop or mobile device. Once online-only operators like DraftKings launch in the state, users will be able to register online.
The only restrictions in the bill are that players must be 21 or older to place a bet and must be physically located in the state. You do not need to be an Illinois resident but these sites do use geo-location software to confirm the location you are logging in from. The only other restriction is that Illinois-based operators are barred from taking bets on any games involving Illinois colleges or schools and must pay leagues for their official statistical data.
Along with online sports betting, Illinois will also expand sports betting locations to venues like Wrigley Field and Soldier Field, allowing you to place a bet right from the stadium.
The Illinois sports betting bill allows for pre-game betting as well as in-game bets. Because of the state’s decision to punish DraftKings and FanDuel, online-only operators will not be able to launch until after 2020. The state also did not include online poker or other forms of online gambling in the bill.
Once approved, you can start placing bets at one of the state’s existing gambling venues, though you must register in person first. The bill allows betting on all sports with the exception of games involving Illinois colleges or schools.
The bill will also allow numerous betting kiosks to be set up at the largest Chicago area sports stadiums, allowing fans to place their bets right from the ballpark.