Legal Sports Betting For Illinois Residents

Going online for legal sports betting in Illinois is the only actual way to wager as there are no actual land-based sportsbooks in the state. If you decide to go with these legal Illinois sports betting sites, you will be able to wager on sports in the exact same way that you could in a Vegas-style sportsbook. The main difference besides an expensive trip is that these legal sportsbooks for Illinois residents have many more legal sports betting optionsthan any brick and mortar sportsbook. While the laws are somewhat murky concerning online sports betting within the state, we can guarantee you that a live bookie in IL is never a good idea.

Before joining an online sportsbook for legal Illinois sports betting, there are a few points that you should be aware of. We will walk you through the legal landscape of sports betting in Illinois that will give you clarity on online sports betting.

Can We Now Legally Bet On Sports In Illinois?

With the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, policymakers are already discussing the options for legal sports betting in Illinois. State Representative Bob Rita plans to coordinate a gambling expansion bill that will regulate sports betting, fantasy sports, online poker, and online casino games. Realistically, residents of the state may be able to visit a local Illinois sportsbook by 2020. Of course, offshore online sportsbooks such as Bovada and BetOnline are still the safest options for legal Illinois sports betting.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Illinois?

Residents of Illinois face one of the tougher sets of laws against online sports betting any state in the USA. Illinois is one of the eight US states that has specific laws on the books addressing online gaming. Illinois has several state laws that make operating a betting an online betting establishment a felony. 720 ILCS 5/28-1 does specifically outlaw using the internet to accept bets, however, the law does not expressly state that those placing the wagers are guilty of any wrongdoing. It could be interpreted that Illinois is like most states, and only goes after operators in the state. We recommend exploring the Illinois Compiled Statues to form your own opinion.

Sports Betting Laws in Illinois

Illinois does have one sports betting law, but it is included in a much broader gambling definition. 720 ILCS 5/28-1 (11) prohibits residents from transmitting information related to sporting events by way of a wire communication facility. While this most likely includes the internet, this law does not have anything to do with actually placing a bet in Illinois. Due to the complicated nature of sports betting laws in Illinois, it is always best to stick with the offshore sports betting sites that fall outside of the state’s jurisdiction if you do choose to bet on sports.

Will I Go to Jail for Online Sports Betting in Illinois

Though no arrests have ever been made based on the state law against providing a sportsbook, the laws do exist. It is clearly illegal to operate an online sports gaming site in Illinois, and even though the federal government recently clarified the 1961 Federal Wire Act to say that the intended target is gambling providers, state law could get you in serious trouble for placing a bet on a sporting event over the Internet.

Legal Sports Betting Sites For Illinois Residents
Bovada Sportsbook
50% Up To $250 On First Deposit
All States EXCEPT NJ, NV, DE, MD

Bovada is a sportsbook that we recommend to all of our readers. Few other sportsbooks are as powerful as theirs, and we can tell you that they offer their users one of the best bonuses, most favorable odds, and an easy to use betting platform. Live in-game betting is another facet of their sportsbook that is superior to most others. With the 100% to $250 deposit bonus that they offer, Bovada is definitely one of the finest sportsbooks around. We came to Bovada for their easy deposits, which include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Visa, Mastercard, and even American Express. If you sign up with Bovada you are guaranteed a fair gaming experience, regardless of how successful you are in your betting.

BetOnline Sportsbook
Unlimited 50% To $1,000
All 50 States

BetOnline is another sportsbook that we have favored, and this is for a variety of reasons. BetOnline is a no-nonsense sportsbook. They offer only the highest quality of games and bonuses, which starts with a solid 50% match to $1,000. If you join up with BetOnline you can deposit by way of Bitcoin, VISA and wire transfers, which make it easy enough to deposit through their service. BetOnline has given their users the ability to bet on every major American sport, though they favor football especially. BetOnline is easily one of the most impressive betting sites around, and we can tell you that you will never miss a line with their sportsbook.

5Dimes Sportsbook
50% to $520 Welcome Bonus
All 50 States

The 5Dimes sportsbook is one of the finest on the market. They have been around since 1996, and they are regularly improving their service. There are few better sportsbooks out there, and we can tell you that this is because of the quality of their service. Their betting card offers easy access to every betting type they have, and they also have betting trends that will show you where people are betting. When you join up with 5Dimes, a 50% match to $520 can be collected. Bitcoin, Credit cards, including MasterCard, VISA, and American Express, are their primary deposit methods. Wire transfers are also a viable form of transaction, which has helped players make large deposits.

Legal Sports Betting Sites For Idaho Residents
  • USA?
Federal Laws Impacting Illinois Sports Betting

The federal laws that affect much of the United States also impact Illinois sports betting. The first federal law that we will begin with is the Wire Act of 1961. The Wire Act was one of several antiracketeering bills introduced during the era, and sought to combat organized crime. The law made it illegal for those in the gambling industry to use telegraphs and telephones (wire communication facilities) to accept sports wagers or provide betting information. The Wire Act has now been interpreted to include the internet, barring US-based sports betting sites from entering the market. All of the sites that we have reviewed for legal Illinois sports betting are based overseas.

One of the most influential laws has been the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), although it was ultimately repealed in 2018. In 1992, the law made it illegal for states to have land-based sports betting operations. The only states excluded were those with existing sportsbooks or sports lotteries, and those states were Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. PASPA was overturned on May 14th, 2018 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Murphy vs. NCAA.

Over a decade later came the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The UIGEA is much scarier than it sounds, only amounting to a banking law that affects US financial institutions. The law requires such entities to have measures in place that will prevent credit card, ACH, wire transfer, and check transactions to be processed if related to online gambling. This is not a law that is directed toward casual bettors, and you will find that legal online sportsbooks offer several banking methods to IL residents.

Legal Betting Age in Illinois

Wait until your 21st birthday to start betting in Illinois. The legal sports betting age is important to abide by, and underage gambling is frowned upon no matter where you reside. Even if an online sportsbook accepts bettors at 18 years old, wait until you are at least 21 years of age.

Best Mobile Sports Betting Apps for Illinois Residents

As you will find in our legal online sportsbook reviews, all of the sites offer mobile betting platforms. Mobile betting allows you to take your sportsbook to the gym, the grocery store, a restaurant, or anywhere else you may go. The best mobile sports betting apps for Illinois residents are BetOnline and Bovada. Both of these sites feature the same selection of sports on the mobile platform as they do on the desktop site. You can still place straight wagers, or go for exotics like parlays and teasers. Make a quick deposit or request to cash out your earnings. BetOnline even offers a $50 mobile free bet the first time you use the platform, and there are plenty of other bonuses that can be redeemed. There is so much you can do using a legal mobile sports betting app.

There is no download required when you want to bet from your mobile device. Visit the sports betting site from your smartphone or tablet and the rest will be taken care of. Almost all iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry devices are supported.

Sports Betting FAQ For Illinois

Are Online Sportsbooks Safe And Trusted?

When assessing the general safety of online sportsbooks, they are completely trustworthy. All of our legal online sportsbook reviews include information on the licensing and regulatory standards upheld by operators. All of your financial information is encrypted with the latest technology, and all of your account information is kept protected. The legitimate offshore online sportsbooks that we recommend are trusted by hundreds of thousands of sports bettors.

Why Did My Credit/Debit Card Get Declined When Making My Deposit?

The UIGEA, a federal banking law geared at online gambling, is why your credit/debit card was declined. The law requires banking institutions to restrict transactions related to online gambling, and credit card systems are monitored most closely. All sites used for legal Illinois sports betting will offer several different payment options to sports bettors. Even if your card gets declined this morning, they may have another payment processor that can complete the transaction in the afternoon.

What Is Bitcoin?

You may have heard of bitcoin as an alternative banking option to credit cards. Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows you to quickly send and receive money between merchants and sports betting sites. Your bitcoin wallet will hold your coins, and then you can send funds to the bitcoin address provided by the online sports betting cashier to make a deposit. When it comes time to make a withdrawal, give the cashier your public bitcoin address and your payout will arrive within hours. There are never any banking fees when you use bitcoin, and the majority of online sports betting sites like Bovada have helpful guides for banking with bitcoin.

What Types Of Bonuses Are At Online Sportsbooks?

One of the main perks of legal Illinois sports betting is that online sportsbooks offer bonuses and promotions. There are two main bonuses are those for deposits and those that amount to free bets. Deposits bonuses will typically match your deposit by a certain percentage when you use a special code. Free bets involve placing a wager up to a certain amount, and if the bet loses the sportsbook will reimburse you. These typically require no promo code, you can just email customer service with your betting information.

What Is The Difference Between (-) and (+)?

When looking at American odds, you will see a (-) that indicates the favorite and a (+) that denotes the underdog. When betting on the underdog, your risk will be higher than your potential reward. The opposite can be said for the underdog, where your potential return is higher than the risk. Take a look at the example below:

Chicago Cubs (-130) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (+135)

If you bet on the Chicago Cubs, you will need to risk $130 to win $100. If you bet on the underdogs, you can make a $100 bet to win $135.

Popular Teams To Bet On In Illinois

It is nearly impossible to live in Illinois and not be a sports bettor. There are so many different sports and teams to bet on that it is hard not to put a few dollars down on your favorite team. Illinois offers sports enthusiasts betting options on both the collegiate and professional levels. NCAA fans will find plenty of betting lines at legal Illinois sports betting sites, as will fans of the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS. Some of the most popular teams to bet on in Illinois are listed below:


  • Fighting Illini
  • Northwestern Wildcats


  • Chicago Bears (NFL)
  • Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
  • Chicago Bulls (NBA)
  • Chicago Cubs (MLB)
  • Chicago Fire (MLS)
  • Chicago White Sox (MLB)