Although sports betting is not yet legalized and regulated with state borders, there are plenty of sports betting sites accepting Illinois customer. They just operate elsewhere.
Our team has examined all of the online betting sites competing for your business in IL, and we have separated the elite operators from the rest.
You can place your wagers with total confidence at any of the top-notch sports gambling websites that we recommend. Read on to find out more about the best Illinois online betting sites and how we rank them.
If you want to bet on sports online in Illinois right now, you can join any one of our recommended sites and be placing real money wagers within minutes. The best IL sports betting sites are safe, trustworthy, and offer a wide range of options for betting on sports.
To learn more about sports betting laws in IL, and how we rank online betting sites, please read on.
How We Rank IL Online Sportsbooks
Not all online betting sites are created equal. There are good sports betting sites, and there are bad sports betting sites. What separates them? It ultimately comes down to the service they provide, but it’s all a bit more nuanced than that.
When we’re ranking the best Illinois sports betting sites, we dig deep into all the options available in the state and carefully assess what they have to offer. This involves looking at a wide range of factors.
Many factors are important for all the real money gambling sites we rank in a variety of categories. These include the following.
Reputation and history
Gambling licenses held
Options and fees for depositing and withdrawing
Bonuses and rewards on offer
Ease of use
Other factors are only applicable when we’re ranking sports betting sites. Here are some examples.
Sports and betting markets covered
Betting options available
Competitiveness of odds and lines
Live betting platform
For ranking the best sports betting sites for IL specifically, we also have to consider the suitability of sites for people betting online from Illinois. Does a site properly cater for gamblers in the US? Does it accept Illinois customers? Does it cover the major US sports that most of these customers are going to be interested in?
We answer these questions and more. The long story short is that we make ABSOLUTELY sure that the places we decide to recommend are genuinely the best Illinois sports betting sites available.
The best online sports betting sites for Illinois post odds on a wide range of different sports that are of interest to people in the United States.
Let’s look at a quick rundown of the betting options that are available for each respective sport coupled with a bit of insight that you may find to be useful.
College and NFL Football
Football is the most popular sport in the United States by a wide margin, with the NFL eclipsing the NCAA. It’s at the top of the heap when it comes to general interest, and it’s also the sport that generates the most revenue at the top Illinois online betting sites.
The betting dynamic for both college and pro football is the same, except for the fact that propositions are more common for NFL games. Straight bets against the point spread are the traditional choice, but you can choose to wager on the moneyline instead.
A moneyline bet doesn’t involve the utilization of a point spread. You just have to pick the winner of the game outright. You can also bet on the total number of points to be scored.
Futures wagering will involve bets on teams to win certain titles, such as the Super Bowl. In football, you can bet on a team to capture their division, conference, or the whole enchilada on the first Sunday in February.
The top IL sportsbooks and bookmakers post odds that are mathematically calculated right after the previous season comes to a close. They will adjust them when players start to make their bets to balance the action. Personnel additions and subtractions can also trigger changes in the futures odds.
When you make a single futures bet, you have action for the entire season (or at least until the team no longer has any chance). This gives you some great bang for your buck from an entertainment standpoint.
College and Pro Basketball
Basketball wagering is quite similar to football with regard to point spreads, moneylines, and futures. Proposition bets are not much of a thing in the basketball betting realm, but props could pop up here and there during the NBA playoffs and the NCAA tournament.
It should be noted that some of the top Illinois sports betting sites expand the options way beyond the traditional wagers.
Baseball and Hockey Betting
We’re lumping these two sports together, because for the most part, the betting structure is identical. You can bet sides and totals on the moneyline, but there are no point spreads per se.
The other type of straight bet that’s specific to these two sports is called the run line in baseball and the puck line in hockey. With this bet, the favorite will be -1.5 goals or runs, and the underdog will be +1.5. A moneyline will be devised for each side, and it will vary for each respective matchup.
You won’t see quite as many propositions for these sports at Illinois betting sites. Not until the postseason rolls around, anyway. Futures are widely available, though.
Any attempt to examine the online betting options for ALL of the other sports on this page would be impracticable.
This being stated, at the best Illinois sports betting sites you can rest assured that you can get down on boxing, mixed martial arts, golf, tennis, NASCAR, and other sporting events of interest.
Regulated Sports Betting In Illinois
To fully understand the current state of play with regards regulated and legal sports betting in Illinois, we’ll start with a bit of history on US gambling laws.
The state of Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, but sports gambling was not very popular at first. During the early part of the 1950s, the betting niche took a big hit when the feds imposed a 10% tax on legal sportsbooks. This drove the bookies out of business or underground, and it stayed that way for two decades.
In 1974, federal regulators yielded to pressure from lobbyists and lawmakers from the state, and the tax rate was significantly relaxed to a much more manageable 2%.
No other state legalized gambling for their own reasons, but there was no specific federal prohibition in place. The 2% tax was a minor disincentive, but there were no real roadblocks.
All that changed in 1992 when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was signed into law. Nevada was grandfathered in, so there were no changes in the Silver State, but federal prohibition applied to all other states, including Illinois, from that point
This is the way it stood until 2011, when lawmakers in New Jersey decided they wanted to license and regulate sportsbooks in their state. Obviously, they were aware of the existence of the PASPA law, but they decided to test it. Voters in the state approved of legal sports betting by a 2-1 margin.
It became legal on the state level when the governor signed the measure, but a lawsuit was filed by the four major sports leagues in the United States along with the NCAA to put a stop to the action. They contended that no state could violate the federal law that made sports betting illegal.
Ultimately, the case wound up on the docket of the United States Supreme Court. In May of 2018, they ruled that the PASPA statute violated the 10th Amendment, and they struck it down. Going forward, there are no federal laws that stand in the way of any state that wants to legalize sports gaming.
Legalizing Sports Betting in Illinois
On June 2nd, 2019, the Illinois legislature went all in on sports gambling as a way to boost revenue. At the time of this writing, the shifting landscape has not firmly coalesced into reality, but the wheels are in motion.
In the very near future, many of the best IL sports betting sites will be licensed directly by the state.
There are 10 existing casinos that are built around riverboats, and they can obtain licenses to operate sportsbooks for the modest fee of just $10 million.
They’re going to team up with sports wagering companies that have the expertise to implement the sports gaming operations. The three horse racing tracks in-state are also going to have sportsbooks, and professional sports teams with stadiums that seat at least 17,000 people have the green light as well.
The state will issue Illinois online sports betting licenses to three different companies that will be permitted to offer sports betting independent of any existing brick and mortar facility. They are going to roll out this option 18 months after the physical sportsbooks are open for business.
Are you interested in applying for one of these three licenses? They should be available early in 2021, and it sounds like a great opportunity. All you have to do is write a check for $20 million and you’ll be in the mix, because that’s the fee for an Illinois online sportsbook license.
We will close this out with a few key points that you can take with you going forward. Above all, state-licensed and regulated legal sports betting in Illinois is on its way, and this is some exciting news for sports fans in the state.
The list that we compiled of the best Illinois sports betting sites can be used as a roadmap to explore your options. These websites offer a wide array of different types of bets on a variety of sports.
Sports gambling can add a fantastic new dimension to your life. A game that you usually wouldn’t care about becomes the most important event in the world when you have a bet on it. And the best way to be is easily to use online sportsbooks and bookmakers.
When betting on sports online, you get some entertainment with a chance to make a profit while you’re at it.