Guide to Online Gambling and Regualtions in Illinois

It’s an exciting time for Illinois residents who enjoy gambling. Illinois has
legalized almost all forms of gambling, aside from greyhound racing, and they’re
considering legalizing online gaming activities.

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Online Gambling and Illinois Law

Is Online Gambling Legal in Illinois?

Illinois has a specific law that makes it illegal to operate an internet

But it doesn’t have any laws about playing online.

Here’s the law that prohibits anyone from operating an internet casino
according to the Illinois Compiled Statutes:

“(a) A person commits gambling when he or she:

knowingly establishes, maintains, or operates an Internet site that permits
a person to play a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value by
means of the Internet or to make a wager upon the result of any game, contest,
political nomination, appointment, or election by means of the Internet.”

Can I Get Arrested for Gambling Online in Illinois?

It’s unlikely that you’ll get arrested for gambling online in Illinois.
Although it’s possible to be arrested for gambling online in Illinois, we
haven’t found any residents who have been charged with a crime.

Law enforcement in Illinois is more focused on residents who are operating
online gambling sites.

Is Illinois Going to Legalize Online Gaming?

It’s possible that online gaming is going to be legalized in 2017 in

As of June 2017, a bill to legalize and regulate both online gaming and daily
fantasy sports has been passed by the Illinois state senate.

The bill allows both casino products and online poker.

Only state licensed casinos or horse racing operators will be eligible for an
online license. A business that seeks a license and is successful will be
required to pay a $10 million deposit for tax obligations.

If the bill continues it will create the Internet Gaming Act. An internet
gaming division will open as a division of the Illinois gaming board also.

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Illinois?

Daily fantasy sports are not legal in Illinois yet.

Read the information above for more information on a bill that’s currently
being considered in Illinois.

How Do I Choose A Good Online Gaming Site?

If you’re looking for Illinois gambling sites where you can play for real
money, you’ll be dealing with offshore sites. Keep in mind that the state of
Illinois considers these sites’ activities illegal.

But there’s no reason you can’t have a safe and pleasant experience gambling
at some of these casinos.

  • Read reviews and complaints
  • Reading reviews and complaints is the easiest
    way to find a good online gaming site. Do an internet search for the name of the
    site you’re considering and for words such as reviews and complaints. Search
    the reviews for badly rated ones to learn about problems members have had with
    the site, like not getting paid.

    Look for results written by past members on forums or review sites. Keep in
    mind, though, that forums or review sites could have been paid to write a review
    and might not give you a good idea of the actual site from a member’s view.

    We offer detailed reviews with coverage of both the pros and cons of each of
    the Illinois gambling sites. Those are the kinds of reviews that you should look

  • Customer Service
  • Talk to the customer service team at the site you’re
    considering. You can instant chat, email, or call them. The question you ask
    them doesn’t have to be a complicated one; it can even be one like where to
    locate the deposit options.

    The point of contacting them isn’t to answer a question. It’s to get a feel
    for how quickly they respond to people and how professional they are. You don’t
    want to give your money to a company that has poor customer service because, if
    you have a problem it will be a hassle to get it resolved.

  • Games Offered
  • Check out the variety of games a site offers. Some sites have
    a wide range of different games and promotions to go along with them. Other
    sites focus on one game such as Texas hold’em and sometimes offer either better
    or more promotions that relate to that game.

    Here’s an example:

    If you’re only interested in playing live dealer blackjack via webcam, you
    shouldn’t sign up at a site that offers nothing but video poker and slot

  • Deposit and Payment
  • Considering the deposit and payment information on a
    site is an important step to picking a good one.

    Make sure the site you’re considering has deposit and withdrawal options
    which you’re both familiar with and comfortable using.

    Payment information which you might find useful includes fees, processing
    times, and when you can withdraw your funds.

Are Offshore Gambling Sites Safe?

Offshore gambling sites are safe as long as you do your research before
signing up for one.

Some important points you should research before signing up for an offshore
gambling site are what licensing the site has and how long the site has been in

The information you can find on a site will vary based on how long a site has
been in business. If a site has been in business for a long time, the reviews
and information on the site are easier to come by. A site that’s been in
business for a decent amount of time also has to have some loyal customers that
are happy with the site, which is a thumbs up when looking for an online
gambling site.

Look into the site’s licensing to find out what regulations they have to

Some areas have strict requirements when licensing a gaming site and others
basically hand them out to anyone with enough money. Learning what requirements
a state has to meet before getting a license gives you an idea on how safe the
site is.

Some sites also have a restriction on who they can offer their gaming
services too. Make sure the site you’re considering can legally offer online
gaming to your state. If they don’t, they might not allow you to sign up for the
site. Or even worse: you do sign up, deposit money, and then can’t withdraw any
winnings so you’re just out whatever you deposited.

More Gambling Laws in Illinois

  • Casino Games (Legal)
  • Sports and Race Betting (Legal)
  • Lottery (Legal)
  • Bingo (Charitable Games Only)
  • Social Gambling (Illegal)

Casino games: Legal

Originally riverboat casinos that were sailing were the only legal type of
casino in Illinois, but in the present day riverboat casinos that are docked are

Casinos in Illinois are authorized to have a variety of games including
craps, roulette, blackjack, poker, and slot machines.

Here’s some information on casino gambling in Illinois from the Illinois
Gaming Board:

“The Riverboat Gambling Act was enacted in February 1990, making Illinois the
second state in the nation to legalize riverboat gambling. In September 1991,
the first riverboat casino began operation in Alton. Currently, there are ten
casinos operating throughout the State of Illinois.

The Video Gaming Act was enacted in July 2009, authorizing the placement of
up to five Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) in licensed Retail Establishments,
Truck Stops, Veteran and Fraternal Establishments. The VGTs are all connected to
and monitored by a Central Communications System.”

Check out a list of approved games according to the Illinois Gaming Board.

Sports and race betting: Legal

Horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing is legal in Illinois.

According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes:

“Participants in any of the following activities shall not be convicted of

Offers of prizes, award or compensation to the actual contestants in any
bona fide contest for the determination of skill, speed, strength or endurance
or to the owners of animals or vehicles entered in such contest.

Pari-mutuel betting as authorized by the law of this State.”

Greyhound racing is outlawed in Illinois.

Lottery: Legal

Illinois has a state regulated lottery. They offer a variety of games,
subscriptions, and an option to play online.

Here’s some information about the Illinois Lottery according to their website:

“The Illinois Lottery began July 1, 1974 amid great excitement across the
state. During its first years, it sold “passive” games via weekly drawings.
First year sales topped $129 million. Sales faltered in subsequent years, after
the novelty of the Lottery wore off, prompting some to call for an end to the

Lottery profits initially went to the State’s General Revenue Fund, until
legislation was passed in 1985 earmarking profits for the Common School Fund,
which is still the Lottery’s major benefactor. 2006 saw the first “specialty
instant games” launched; these games benefit a particular cause like Illinois
Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for
people living with HIV-Aids. In 2010, the Lottery began contributing to the
Capitol Projects Fund, which helps build and renovate state roads and bridges.

It has a current operating budget of about $30 million a year and employs 152
people, including 80 employees who take their direction from the Lottery’s
private manager, Northstar Lottery Group. With Northstar’s assistance, the
Lottery launched an internet sales pilot project for Lotto and Mega Millions on
March 25, 2012, when it became the first US lottery to sell tickets on the

Illinois Lottery games include jackpot games, daily games, daily drawings,
and instant games.

Bingo: Charitable Games Only

Charitable games for nonprofit organizations are legal in Illinois.

According to the Charitable Games Act in Illinois:

“The General Assembly finds that: (1) not-for-profit charitable organizations
provide important and necessary services to the people of the State of Illinois
with respect to educational and social services; and (2) there is a need to
provide methods of fund raising to such not-for-profit organizations so as to
enable them to meet their stated charitable and social purposes.”

Qualified organizations to host charitable games defined by the Charitable
Games Act
is the following:

“a charitable, religious, fraternal, veterans, labor or educational
organization or institution organized and conducted on a not-for-profit basis
with no personal profit inuring to anyone as a result of the operation and which
is exempt from federal income taxation”

Here’s how the Charitable Games Act in Illinois defines charitable games:

“Charitable games” means the 14 games of chance involving cards, dice,
wheels, random selection of numbers, and gambling tickets which may be conducted
at charitable games events listed as follows: roulette, blackjack, poker, pull
tabs, craps, bang, beat the dealer, big six, gin rummy, five card stud poker,
chuck-a-luck, keno, hold-em poker, and merchandise wheel.”

Other charitable games include raffles, bingo, pull tab, and jar games. Each
game has a different set of regulations determined by the Charitable Gaming laws
in Illinois.

Social gambling: Illegal

According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes:

“A person commits gambling when he or she:

  • (1) knowingly plays a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of
    value, unless excepted in subsection (b) of this Section;
  • (2) knowingly makes a wager upon the result of any game, contest, or any
    political nomination, appointment or election;
  • (3) knowingly operates, keeps, owns, uses, purchases, exhibits, rents, sells,
    bargains for the sale or lease of, manufactures or distributes any gambling

Based on the above law, social gambling is illegal.

But it doesn’t seem that law enforcement is interested in stopping small
stake games played at resident’s homes.

Gambling Venues in Illinois

Illinois Map

    1) Argosy Casino Alton

    1 Piasa St

    Alton, IL 62002

    Phone number: (800) 711-4263

    2) Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino

    21 Blackjack Blvd

    East Peoria, IL 61611

    Phone number: (309) 699-7711

    3) Jumer’s Casino & Hotel

    777 Jumer Dr

    Rock Island, IL 61201

    Phone number: (800) 477-7747

    4) Hollywood Casino Aurora

    1 W New York St

    Aurora, IL 60506

    Phone number: (630) 801-1234

    5) Harrah’s Metropolis

    100 E Front St

    Metropolis, IL 62960

    Phone number: (618) 524-2628

    6) Harrah’s Joliet

    151 N Joliet St

    Joliet, IL 60432

    Phone number: (815) 740-7800

    7) Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet

    777 Hollywood Blvd

    Joliet, IL 60436

    Phone number: (888) 436-7737

    8) Casino Queen

    200 S Front St

    East St Louis, IL 62201

    Phone number: (800) 777-0777

    9) Grand Victoria Casino Elgin

    250 S Grove Ave

    Elgin, IL 60120

    Phone number: (847) 468-7000

    10) Rivers Casino

    3000 S River Rd

    Des Plaines, IL 60018

    Phone number: (847) 795-0777

Additional Resources

The Future & Your Views

The future of Illinois gambling looks bright.

Illinois has already legalized casinos, charitable gaming, pari-mutuel
wagering, and has a state lottery.

Illinois gambling sites and daily fantasy sports competitions look like
they’re coming in the near future. If the state legalizes online gambling,
Illinois residents will find both poker and other casino products available.