IL Sports Betting: Best Illinois Sportsbooks in July 2024

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Illinois has long been the hub of the American Midwest, first starting as a railroad city that linked the far hinterlands of the west with the thriving cities on the East Coast. Today, Chicago is the hub of the culture and entertainment scene in Illinois, also known for its beautiful waterfront on Lake Michigan, stunning urban skyline featuring the 110-story Willis Tower, and almost too many sports teams to list, covering the full gamut of athletic competitions—the NFL’s Bears, MLB’s White Sox and Cubs, NBA’s Chicago Bulls, NHL’s Blackhawks, and many more.

This vibrant sports scene was fully opened to sports betting action in the wake of SB 690, The Sports Wagering Act, signed by Governor JB Pritzker in June of 2019. Since then, all the major sportsbooks have set up operations there, and the industry is growing in popularity every year.  On this page we'll discover the top sportsbooks in the Land of Lincoln, for more information on the best USA betting sites, click the link!

Top online sportsbooks in Illinois

The major nationwide sportsbooks are all operating in Illinois, meaning you have lots of options when choosing which one to use—it could even feel a bit daunting if you’re just starting out! There are seven sportsbooks that are currently licensed for online sports betting in the state, and they are:

 BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, BetRivers, Barstool or Caesars.

Below, we’ve ranked (in order) our top five picks for the best sportsbooks available to play in Illinois right now, complete with a breakdown of their best features. In a separate article, we’ve also compiled more detailed information on—as well as how to use— the best sportsbook apps available in Illinois, be sure to check it out!

FanDuel Illinois

FanDuel was already a giant in the world of Daily Fantasy Sports well before 2018, but now it’s also the highest rated sports betting app in Illinois. With its generous bonuses and a mobile app that's as user-friendly as it gets, bettors seem to love it most for the broad range of live streaming and live betting options it offers. Try it out and craft your own same-game parlay on the next Bulls’ game.

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DraftKings Illinois

DraftKings is the second most popular sportsbook in Illinois. With a wide array of advance and live betting options, DraftKings has something to offer all Illinois sports fans. Users generally agree that the mobile app is one of best, offering some of the most lucrative welcome bonuses of any of the major sportsbooks. This could pay off big time if you are able to profit right out of the gate with what amounts to free money. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor, or just starting out, it’s a great platform for wagering on the Cubs or tracking the Blackhawks path to the Stanley Cup.

BetMGM Illinois

Coming in third in our rankings of sportsbooks available in Illinois, BetMGM stands out for its ease of use. It's more than a sportsbook; fans say that it has some of the most wide-ranging betting options for the broadest range of sports. Another pleasant surprise: say you placed a bet on the Bears game, but it isn’t going so well? Not to worry, the BetMGM app has the unique feature of allowing you to edit your bets even after they’ve been placed—including the ability to add or drop parlay legs or even change the amount of your bet.

Caesars Illinois

Long a staple name of gambling in Nevada, the Caesars name has now established itself as a major player for sports betting in Illinois. It has quickly become a favorite among locals for its sleek platform and familiar feel, offering all the features you would normally expect, like live betting, same-game parlays, and significant welcome bonuses. They also offer decent referral bonuses, so if you get a friend to sign up, you get paid too. Whether you're experiencing the game live or catching up from home, the Caesars name alone adds a touch of elegance to your betting experience.

BetRivers Illinois

BetRivers is the go-to for straightforward, reliable sports betting in Illinois. Reviewers mostly seem to appreciate this sportsbook for its no-fuss approach, in addition to the fact that they offer second chance bets. The platform's ease of registration and betting makes it indispensable for all Illinois sports fans. Despite being a slightly lesser-known option, it can still stand on its own amongst the powerhouse sportsbooks—no matter whether you're deeply invested in every game or just enjoy the occasional bet. As an added bonus, the company is even headquartered in Illinois!

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How did we choose the best sportsbooks in Illinois?

Our selection is based on rigorous criteria including security, user experience, payout times, popularity, and the value of promotions. We prioritize sportsbooks that offer a hitch-free betting journey from start to finish. As sports bettors ourselves, we here at SportyTrader place a high value on a quality, seamless betting experience. 

Illinois Sports Betting Rules and Regulation

In Illinois, eight sportsbooks are currently permitted by law and operating in the state. The general rules vary by sportsbook, though they retain a common approach seen nationally. State-specific regulations do preclude the ability to bet on in-state college games (including NCAA tournaments and bowl games), college player props are not allowed, nor can you bet on political or other entertainment events (such as the Oscars).

The legal age for sports betting is 21, and while you don’t have to be a resident, you do need to be physically located in the state.

The Illinois Gaming Board is the state regulatory agency that oversees all casino-based and online sports wagering taking place in the state, as well as licensing of new applicants. Given that Illinois has routinely ranked third in the nation for volume of gambling activity (behind only Nevada and New Jersey), you could say that they have their work cut out for them! You can find out more information about their reports and how to contact them on their website

How to bet on online sports in Illinois

Getting started with sports betting in Illinois is straightforward:

  1. Choose your sportsbook
  2. Create your account
  3. Make your first deposit
  4. Make your first wager

1. Choose your sportsbook

We’ve ranked our top Illinois sportsbooks for quick reference at the top of this page. If you’re interested in a more detailed breakdown, you can consult our carefully researched review pages for each of the major sportsbooks.

2. Create your account

Follow the prompts to set up your account, provide your ID and verify your email address by clicking the link in your inbox.

3. Make your first deposit

 A bank transfer is recommended as it is the fastest and most secure of all the payment options.

4. Make your first wager

 Select your sport from the list on the left and you'll be able to browse all of the upcoming matches. Once you've selected a match, you'll have a slew of betting options with the odds listed for each bet.

And it’s as simple as that! You’ll be up and running in no time at all.

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Popular sports bets in Illinois

With Chicago being the urban hub of the state and encompassing a region of more than ten million people, it stands to reason that it’s also the home base for at least one team in every major professional sport.

Football, hockey, and basketball are among the favorites sports to bet on in Illinois, probably owing mostly to the Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks long history of winning championships and their extremely devoted fan bases (almost to a cult level, specifically with the Bears).

Football Betting in Illinois

On the note of cults, Bears’ football is routinely one of, if not the top choice among Illinois sports bettors. Who can forget the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl victory under legendary head coach Mike Ditka? Dive into football betting in Illinois where passion for the sport runs deep and has for decades.

NFL Betting in Illinois

Additionally, the Bears' have an exclusive partnership with BetRivers, a company that also has its headquarters in Illinois. This cooperation offers exclusive deals and immersive in-stadium betting options, and BetRivers users can also participate in in-app promotions for exclusive Chicago Bears prizes while betting on their favorite team. 

Basketball Betting in Illinois

In Illinois, basketball betting is a slam dunk, thanks to the longstanding and fervent support of fans dating back to the Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippin era. For longstanding Illinois residents, hope always springs eternal that the Bulls can one day reassemble a powerhouse squad and return to the glory of their six NBA championships in an eight-year run.

NBA Betting in Illinois

In the meantime, there are no shortage of betting options for Illinois-based basketball enthusiasts. In partnership with Fanduel, the always legendary Chicago Bulls bring an exclusive betting experience to the United Center.

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Baseball Betting in Illinois

Owing to both the long MLB season, and the fact that two baseball teams call the Windy City home, there are extensive betting opportunities on baseball in Illinois.  The Chicago Cubs broke their long World Series drought as recently as 2016, reinvigorating the team like never before.

MLB Betting in Illinois

Baseball betting in Illinois is a grand slam. The Cubs, partnered with DraftKings, opened a state-of-the-art sportsbook facility near Wrigley Field for fans to enjoy any day of the year. The White Sox, with their strong South Side following, add to the excitement of MLB betting in the state.

Hockey Betting in Illinois

Thanks to the Blackhawks long history of winning championships and the high-octane nature of the sport itself, hockey betting is always full of thrilling opportunities, especially with the popularity of the NHL Playoffs, culminating with the Stanley Cup.

NHL Betting in Illinois

The Chicago Blackhawks raise the stakes for NHL betting in Illinois, owing to their six Stanley Cup wins, including three victories in a five-year span from the early 2010s. The team also has an exclusive partnership with FanDuel through the United Center deal, providing hockey bettors with excellent prospects.

Soccer Betting in Illinois

The popularity of soccer nationwide has truly taken off in recent years and shows no signs of letting up. Coupled with this boom in interest, it’s also fast becoming one of the favored sports for betting on in Illinois. The Chicago Fire (mens) and the Red Stars (womens) continue to attract the interest of more and more fans and sports bettors alike as their respective leagues continue to grow.

MLS Betting in Illinois

The Chicago Fire FC does not currently have a sportsbook partner, but that seems unlikely to remain the case in coming years. That notwithstanding, the two professional soccer teams calling this city home offer exciting opportunities for soccer betting in Illinois.

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Popular Teams in Illinois

  • Chicago Bears (NFL)
  • Chicago Cubs (MLB)
  • Chicago White Sox (MLB)
  • Chicago Bulls (NBA)
  • Chicago Sky (WNBA)
  • Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
  • Chicago Fire FC (MLS)
  • Chicago Red Stars (NWSL)

Other Popular Bets and Betting Locations in Illinois

Sports wagering online was just the latest expansion of gambling in the state. Illinois law has long permitted retail casino and poker games, racetrack betting, as well as lottery, charitable, or other types of off-the-board gambling. 

After the 2018 Supreme Court decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, Illinois rapidly embraced sports betting. This paved the way for Illinois' casinos, racetracks, and sports arenas with sports wagering licenses to offer both online and physical sportsbooks.

Casino Gaming

Illinois already was home to ten different land- and river-based casinos; additionally, the Sports Wagering Act authorized the licensing of up to six more physical casinos. Although real-money online casinos and online poker aren't available yet, the state is considering another expansion to allow these activities. One such bill, the Internet Gaming Act, has been twice taken up in the Illinois State Senate (in 2021 and again in 2023), though it has not yet passed into law.

Horse Racing

Illinois also has three racetracks: Arlington Park, FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (formerly Fairmount Park), and the Hawthorne Race Course. Of those three, both the Hawthorne Race Course and FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing are licensed for sports betting. Online betting on horse races is also available.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)

Major DFS sites like FanDuel, Prizepicks and Underdog Fantasy all operate in Illinois. They are largely unregulated and unlicensed, following a 2020 Illinois Supreme Court decision that classified them as games of skill rather than chance. This legal ambiguity can be a double-edged sword for fantasy sports players, so we recommend thorough research before playing on any fantasy platforms.

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Do Sportsbooks Offer Welcome Bonuses in Illinois?

Yes! Most sportsbooks offer ongoing promotions in addition to different welcome bonuses like first-bet insurance, deposit match bonuses, and risk-free bets.  You’ll have to verify with each sportsbook directly, as welcome bonuses can change routinely. It’s well worth your time to read up on which sportsbooks generally offer the best bonuses, as you could net thousands of additional dollars in preferencing certain sportsbooks over others.

Assuming you’re just getting going in the world of sports betting, first-bet insurance or second-chance bets can give you some peace of mind. We’ve also written an article that goes into much greater depth on all the Illinois sportsbooks welcome bonuses . Check it out!

Do Sportsbook Promo Codes Exist in Illinois?

Definitely. Many sportsbooks in the state routinely utilize promo codes designed to keep existing customers coming back for more. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of sportsbook promo codes and how they traditionally work (including their application and optimal usage), we invite you to visit our detailed Illinois Sports betting Promo Codes page.

Illinois Sports Betting Overview

Though we’ve done our best to summarize in this article, it’s obvious that there’s a ton to know regarding the sports betting scene in Illinois. Thanks to a robust regulatory structure, you can rest assured that your experience is safe and properly regulated—no matter whether you’re an Illinois resident betting on every NFL game of the season, or if you’re just visiting Chicago and decide to take in a Cubs game at the DraftKings lounge.

 As we’ve also shown here, Illinois has fast become a hub for online sports betting with all the major U.S. sportsbooks having well-established operations in the state. The major partnerships that have been inked between sportsbooks and the most popular professional teams located here demonstrates without a doubt that the industry is thriving. These factors reinforce the crucial components of trust and legitimacy, adding significant value to any wager you place in Illinois.

In a constantly changing regulatory environment, staying up to date is key. We recommend routinely visiting our page for the newest information and insights into the dynamic Illinois sports betting market.

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