After a bill for sports betting approval was passed last year in Illinois, the State has gone wild with excitement for what 2020 might bring. We’ve put together some educated predictions concerning this right here in this article.
Legal Sports Betting Sites in Illinois
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Live online betting sites
It’s a rather exciting time to be a sports betting enthusiast in Illinois right now. The State approved IL sports betting back in 2019, and as recently as a few weeks ago, the very first sports bet was taken by Rivers Sportsbook (not online). This was a major step forward in the progression of IL sportsbooks making their way to market, although none of them are yet online and live. The bet took place at the newly established sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines.
With that being said, many sites are banging on the door and piling the pressure on government approval for online betting. All it requires is a signature, and bang – online sportsbooks will be open for business in Illinois. It could be a matter of weeks, or it could be a matter of months. Either way, we would absolutely expect the first online Illinois sports betting sites to emerge this year.
While this is encouraging, we have to let you know that there aren’t any online betting sites as of yet in Illinois.
$5.2 billion – how does that sound for a predicted revenue for Illinois based sports bets by 2023? This figure was published by Global Market Partners in December 2019, and the first sports betting site isn’t even live yet! We would say that this signifies a large amount of confidence in the Illinois sports betting market, but these bets have to come from somewhere. That’s why we have put together our predictions on what bookmakers could be first in line to have an online sportsbook in this State.
BetRivers – Already live offline
This would seem the most obvious choice on the list first of all, especially since it was the Rivers Sportsbook that accepted the first bet just a few weeks ago. This brand already has established platforms in other States such as Pennsylvania and Indiana, and they have been relatively quick to jump in following legalization changes across the USA. That is why we feel that BetRivers have strong potential to be one of the first to market, although of course, we cannot guarantee this 100-percent.
There are still many other factors in play, and despite the clear intentions of BetRivers to expand across the country, they cannot escape legislation and red tape set out by the government.
FanDuel – May be launched soon in IL
Fanduel is the first of two sports betting platforms that we feel are strong contenders to reach the Illinois sports betting market soon. First of all, fantasy sports contests have been running in Illinois for years already (although it’s a gray area), and these platforms are already favored by government officials. Secondly, and even more importantly, we have to consider the Investment power of the FanDuel site.
For Illinois sportsbooks to obtain the necessary license and gain an online presence, the estimated cost is $20 million. Simply put, smaller sportsbooks will not be able to stump up that kind of cash, not to mention the development costs of putting together the online platform itself. Then there is the cost of developing a mobile app too, meaning that getting an online presence in Illinois will cost much more than just $20 million.
DraftKings – May be launched soon in IL
Just like FanDuel, DraftKings has been and still is a major fantasy sports brand operating in the USA. In fact, both FanDuel and DraftKings were the two brands that really made the push to legalize sports betting in the first place. With that being said, it would make sense that DraftKings will have an invested interest concerning expansion into the Illinois sports betting market.
It's definitely worth mentioning that DraftKings also has the sort of budget where obtaining an Illinois betting license wouldn't exactly send the company into liquidation. Yes, $20 million is a sizable investment for any brand, but we are fairly sure that DraftKings would consider the potential return on investment to far outweigh this initial cost.
Both FanDuel and DraftKings are not just fantasy sports platforms, to confirm. They both have established sportsbooks in other States like New Jersey, and the popularity of what they offer in these States is clear to see.
Physical casinos with sportsbooks
Rivers Casino Des Plaines
March 9th, 2020 – 10:00 am, the sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines officially opened for business. It is the first physical casino in Illinois that now supports sports betting as one of their staple products, and as a matter of fact, they remain the only casino to have this offering. The launch of the sportsbook was designed to coincide with the hugely popular March Madness time period, which as we all know, is just enormous across the country.
The sportsbook itself has a grand total of 30 sports betting kiosks where players can place their wagers. There are also huge HD monitors displaying the various betting markets for multiple sports – it really is a top-quality environment. Within this sportsbook, you can place four main bets including parlay bets, moneyline, over/under, and spread, which are the major markets you will find in other sportsbooks around the country.
Just like online sports gambling however, any profits coming from this sportsbook will be reported to the IRS if they are in excess of $600.
Argosy Casino Alton
This casino does have a sportsbook section listed on their website, which is a fairly major indicator that the sportsbook will be arriving before long. They have not yet put in place the sportsbook at their physical location, but this is expected to be completed within a matter of weeks rather than months. This is why we have chosen to include Argosy Casino Alton on this list.
Given that the sportsbook has not actually come to fruition as it stands, we cannot provide any further information concerning available sports or markets. This will no doubt become more apparent over the coming weeks, as the casino itself is regularly posting news updates regarding the arrival of the sportsbook.
Legality of sports betting in Illinois
Thoughts concerning the legalization of Illinois sports betting were brought about for the first time back in 2018. This was around the same time that other States were starting to make a huge push in passing sports betting bills. Lou Lang was the individual behind this initial letter, and it merely stated that Illinois ‘doesn’t want to fall behind 30 States who have already legalized sports betting’. He may have slightly exaggerated, but we can’t fault his logic.
We also can't fault the ongoing activity that ensued as a result of his letter. This letter gained the attention of Senator Don Harmon, who then pushed the issue further up the chain, as these sorts of things do. Eventually, the hype surrounding the legalization of Illinois sports betting reached a former NFL linebacker, in the form of Senator Napoleon Harris.
With so much noise and so much attention given to this issue from some of the most powerful governors in the State, the bill was passed in 2019 to legalize sports betting in Illinois. This goes for both physical sportsbooks accepting bets, as well as online sports betting. Now we are into 2020, activity surrounding this approval has only just started to gain traction.
With Rivers Casino Des Plaines being the first to open its doors to sports betting, who knows – this could be the match that lights many potential Illinois sportsbooks fires!
What are the sports betting laws in Illinois?
There are many different laws relating to Illinois sportsbooks and sports betting activity across the State in general. We have provided a breakdown of some of these laws right here, so please take the time to familiarise yourself with them.
Legal betting age
In order to place sports bets in Illinois, players will need to be at least 21 years of age. This is pretty much the standard betting age around the country, especially when it relates to real money wagers for both casino games and sports. As an add-on to this law, while it hasn't been stated as of yet, we would expect that you will need to be located inside Illinois borders to place online sports bets.
There isn't actually anything in black-and-white concerning this, as of yet. However, the State has declared that any form of college sports betting that involves teams who are based in Illinois will be prohibited. This is no doubt due to concerns that residents of Illinois have the potential of existing relationships with players involved in the games. Effectively, this is to avoid any form of influence over the outcome of games and keep it fair for everyone involved.
The exact percentage here hasn't been given, but based on the fact that sports bet winnings of more than $600 are required to be reported from physical casinos, we will expect this to transfer across into the online betting environment. We can't say for sure what the procedure will be to do this yet, but it is highly likely that this will be the case.
Further info about the State, sports betting market, and how it works
Main sports and leagues to bet on in Illinois
We must once again reiterate that nothing has been set in stone yet for Illinois sports betting, but we can hazard a pretty good guess for what will be on offer. Based on sportsbooks from other states where sports betting has been legalized for some time now, there are several sports and leagues you can expect to find.
We would be highly surprised if Illinois sportsbooks didn't list NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, and NCAA leagues in their offerings. These are fairly standard leagues covered due to the natural demand of North American sports bettors, but we wouldn’t think that the range would stop there. We’d also expect Illinois sportsbooks to list soccer leagues from all over the world, especially those in Europe such as the Premier League.
Aside from this, it really will depend on the individual sportsbooks that come to market. Some may cover UFC, boxing, tennis, horse racing, and others. Unfortunately, since nothing is online yet we cannot say for sure.
Are any sports banned from betting?
Yes, while only one form of sports betting has officially been banned to this date, we expect a couple of others to also fall into this category. We’ve already mentioned that sports betting events involving Illinois based colleges will be prohibited, but let us give you a brief on the other two right now.
Esports is still somewhat of a gray area regarding sports betting in general. There's a lot of debate about whether this should be classified as a sport at all, and there are even more concerns about the authenticity of the results of these events. This is why esports has already been banned in the majority of States across the country where sports betting is currently legal. This is also why we highly expect that Illinois sports betting sites will not support esports markets.
- High school sports
There are a whole bunch of reasons why high school sports betting is strictly prohibited around the country. First and foremost, high school sports are largely unregulated by any form of governing authority. For this reason, it is quite difficult to determine whether the results for these games have not been influenced by any third party.
Secondly, and far more importantly, high school sport obviously has minors as participants. Even in other countries where sports betting has been around much longer than in the USA, high school sports betting has never been allowed for this reason.
Main types of bets
We will expect that Illinois sportsbooks will allow four main types of bets in the initial launch phases, which we have provided details of here.
A parlay bet is where you combine multiple selections into one long betting slip. Any bet that consists of more than one singular market is considered a parlay bet, and as a standard rule, you can combine up to 15 different bets into one. When you make a parlay bet, each selection is multiplied together, but you must be correct for every single bet to win any money. This is what makes parlay betting particularly difficult.
A spread bet is where you bet on the winning margin for the favorite team, or the losing margin for the underdog. For example, if the Golden State Warriors are playing a relatively weak team, you may find a spread market presented as -10.5. This means that if the Golden State Warriors win by more than 11 points, you’ll win this bet. For the weaker team, you may see a market presented as +7.5, which means that if the team loses by less than 7 points, you will win the bet.
This is the most simple of all the fundamental betting types that you will see in Illinois sportsbooks. A moneyline bet is simply a bet placed on the winner of an event. If a sport has the chance to draw, such as soccer, you will see a betting market shown as an X, which indicates that this is the draw market.
Usually, an over/under bet is where you can wager on the number of points scored and a whole selection of other markets. How this works is pretty much indicated by the name, in the respect that you always choose whether you expect the outcome to go higher or lower than the stated market.
How to register with an Illinois sportsbook
Even though there aren't any live Illinois sportsbooks yet, we can still give you a very accurate indicator of how you can open an account. Once these sites do go live, you will need to enter the URL and click a button that may be presented as register, sign up, or join now.
The sportsbook will ask you to provide various details including your Illinois residential address, age, title, gender, contact number, email, and you will be asked to create your account details. This will more often than not be a username and password, which you can always save from your desktop/phone to log in quicker.
How to place a wager in a casino
When you want to make a bet at a physical casino, the process is not quite as complicated as doing so from the online site. If you want to make a sports bet at any physical casino, you will first need to find the sportsbook. It is always separate from the main casino, and you can usually see it due to the large monitors with green and red odds on the screen.
From here, you can simply pick sports betting market that you would like to bet on, walk up to the cashier, tell them which bet you’d like to place as well as how much you’d like to stake, then place the bet. A cashier will always give you a receipt for what bet you have made, which you will then need to go and hand in if the bet turns out to be a winner.
Betting online and via mobile
After you've created an account with any of the Illinois sportsbooks, you must first fund this account with some money. Each separate sportsbook will have a range of methods for you to do this, and these methods will always be presented on the web page or mobile app platform. To make a deposit, you then simply need to enter the amount you wish to deposit and complete the process with the click of a button.
Once you've done this, you are more than ready to place your first sports bet. By heading into the sportsbook section of a betting site, you will then see the range of markets available, much like you would in a physical sportsbook. From here the process is just as easy, as you can click on the market that you'd like to bet on, enter the amount, and click ‘place bet’.
You will always be able to see what bet you have made through a bet slip somewhere on the page, but this will be shown clearly.
Illinois sports betting FAQ
Is my data protected when using these platforms?
Once a site becomes available online they will usually display a valid betting license, and this is an indicator of a legal site. Many betting sites these days also use SSL encryption to protect members’ information, so any details you enter on the platform are usually secured.
Will Illinois sportsbooks have live streaming options?
Unfortunately, we cannot give a definitive answer to this as of yet. This will largely depend on viewing rights that develop in Illinois, as well as whether the platform has the budget to implement live streaming options. If they do, however, you will likely be able to watch sports such as college basketball, hockey games, and several other sports.
Is it likely that the platforms will have live betting markets?
We are inclined to say yes to this question, as many of the top sportsbooks from around the nation do offer live betting services. Once again, it will depend on the sportsbook that you choose, and we cannot guarantee that live betting will be available at every site.
Will I be required to verify my account?
It is highly likely that you will be asked to verify your account after opening it. This is just a standard procedure that sportsbooks tend to use, and you will be required to send proof of address as well as proof of identity. It can usually be done by scanning through your driving license and a utility bill or bank statement.
After sending these details across (usually done via email), your account should be verified in just a few days.