Unlike most of the other US states, Illinois does address some of the issues pertaining to online gambling directly. Section 28 of the Illinois code mentions that it’s illegal for people staying in Illinois to operate unlicensed online gambling businesses. However, the law doesn’t list any punishments for participating in online games as a player, which is the reason why most experts agree that playing on offshore sites is perfectly legal for Illinois residents.
Casino-style gambling in Illinois centers around ten riverboat casinos, including the Casino Queen or Hollywood Casino Aurora. They are all very similar in size and host more than 10,000 slot machines and 500 table games between them. Other than that, Illinois residents are free to use lottery terminals, which are similar to slots in gameplay and available in over 5,000 bars, restaurants, and drive-ins spread across the entire state. Online gambling is currently illegal, and playing on offshore sites that accept Illinois residents can put you in legal jeopardy. The new gambling bill (SB-0007) could potentially introduce state-sanctioned online casino games to Illinois, but nothing is set in stone yet.
Three of the riverboat casinos (Argosy and both Hollywood casinos) offer play money social gambling options on their websites. All of those casinos are owned by Penn National Gaming.
Illinois is home to 14 live poker rooms. Some of these are located on the commercial riverboats (Grand Victoria, Pair-a-Dice), while others operate as charitable gambling venues (Chicagoland Charity Poker, Chicago Charitable Games). None of the local venues are allowed to operate real money poker sites, but this might change in the future depending on the final shape of bill SB-0007. Playing on offshore sites is just as illegal as playing casino games on those platforms and may result in class A misdemeanor charges.
Illinois Sports Betting
Sports betting is currently illegal in Illinois, but this is very likely to change if bill SB-0007 is passed. Horse race betting has been legal since the 1920s and is available at five of the local racetracks and 37 licensed off-track betting venues. State-sanctioned online betting might become available if lawmakers decide to introduce online gambling to the state, but it’s way far early to discuss any specific provisions. Engaging in sports betting via offshore sportsbooks is illegal, although many of those platforms accept Illinois residents.
Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports
According to the most recent opinion issued by Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan in 2015, DFS contests should be considered illegal in Illinois. This is because the state’s regulations don’t differentiate between games of skill and games of chance when determining whether something constitutes illegal gambling. However, both FanDuel and DraftKings offer their services to Prairie State residents and deny the allegations that what they’re doing is illegal.
Fantasy Draft and Yahoo DFS also haven’t put Illinois on their lists of restricted states. Illinois lawmakers have been attempting to resolve this situation by passing DFS-friendly legislation. Should they fail to include such provisions in bill SB-0007, or should SB-0007 fail to pass, the situation will likely be resolved with a lawsuit, which DFS companies are almost guaranteed to lose.
The Illinois lottery was founded in 1974 and began selling tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions in 2010. Aside from standard and multi-state draw games, it also provides instant games and raffles. Illinois residents are free to purchase their tickets online, and the lottery even offers some promotions for returning customers. Participating in lottery games hosted in a different country via an online lottery concierge service likely constitutes a violation of the state’s local gambling laws.
There are no state-sanctioned bingo sites operating in Illinois, where live bingo is considered a charitable game. Playing on offshore bingo sites that accept Illinois residents is just as illegal as playing on unlicensed poker and casino sites, and it may expose you to class A misdemeanor charges.
Illinois Online Gambling FAQ
What types of gambling are available in IL?
Illinois is considered to be a rather gambling-friendly state, which should as no surprise since the local law allows all the popular forms of gambling. The local casinos include two Harrah’s properties and are spread over different counties. Illinois doesn’t have any noteworthy regulations limiting the availability of certain games, so you’ll be able to try anything ranging from slots to poker there. Other than that, the state allows pari-mutuel horse race betting and operates a lottery, which is allowed to sell tickets online. Other than that, Illinois doesn’t have a regulated online gambling industry.
What laws cover online gambling in IL?
Gambling in Illinois is covered by Section 28 of the Illinois code. It’s worth pointing out that while some of the Illinois laws do refer to internet gambling, there are no regulations that prohibit individual players from participating in unlicensed games, which makes it next to impossible to prosecute gambling enthusiasts that stick to offshore sites.
Is real money online gambling legal in IL?
Yes, there are no regulations prohibiting Illinois residents from playing on offshore sites, which means that this form of gambling is perfectly legal.
Which offshore gambling sites accept IL residents?
There are no restrictions for Illinois-based gamblers when it comes to joining offshore iGaming sites. All the major operators accept Illinois residents.
What are the most popular banking options supported by Illinois-facing sites?
Most offshore sites don’t give you many deposit options to choose from, which is exactly why the vast majority of Illinois players sticks to standard credit and debit cards, such as MasterCard or Visa. Please note that this method is unavailable when it comes to withdrawals, as most offshore operators prefer to rely on wire transfers for this purpose.
Does IL offer any intrastate online gambling?
Illinois doesn’t permit any intrastate online gambling aside from the state-run lottery ticket sales.
Is it likely for IL to regulate online gambling?
Yes. Illinois has already introduced an online gambling bill, which has been approved by the Senate Committee.