Illinois Online Gambling

Illinois approves of a wide range of gambling, though it does not have land-based casinos at present. Illinois is the sixth most populous US state and has a large, vibrant gambling industry. The state has legal riverboat casinos, racetrack betting, video lottery terminals, and charitable gambling.

Though the state’s laws are fairly permissive, the state still does not have commercial land-based casinos, legal sports betting, or licensed daily fantasy sports. Each of those could change in the coming years, as Senate Bill 7 (S7) could amend several of Illinois’ longstanding gambling acts.

Illinois’ charitable gaming community includes tens of thousands of charity organizations and a half-dozen forms of charitable gambling. A 2013 amendment to the Charitable Games Act legalized “poker runs”, which are a popular form of charitable gaming not found in many states. Illinois also allows several forms of charitable gaming popular in midwestern and plains states, such as pull-tab games and pickle games.

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Laws That Pertain to Illinois Gambling

Relevant state code: 18-3801 et seq.; 54-2501 et seq.

Illinois allows many forms of gambling, though its attorney generals have taken public stances against unregulated and unlicensed gambling in the past. The state has a broad view of what constitutes gambling, which gives regulators and law enforcement broad authority to prosecute illegal gaming. Notice the broad definition in the relevant code.

Section 28-1

A person commits gambling when he:

Plays a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value

Riverboat Gambling Act

(230 ILCS 10/3) (from Ch. 120, par. 2403)

3. Riverboat Gambling Authorized.

(c) Riverboat gambling conducted pursuant to this Act may be authorized upon any water within the State of Illinois or any water other than Lake Michigan which constitutes a boundary of the State of Illinois. A licensee may conduct riverboat gambling authorized under this Act regardless of whether it conducts excursion cruises. A licensee may permit the continuous ingress and egress of passengers for the purpose of gambling.

Native American Gaming Compact Act

(230 ILCS 35/5) 

5. General Assembly approval of Native American gaming compacts.

Before the Governor may enter into a compact with a Native American tribe authorizing the Native American tribe to conduct gambling in Illinois, the Governor must submit a request for authority to enter into the compact to the General Assembly. The Governor must include with that submission a copy of the proposed compact.

If the General Assembly enacts legislation authorizing the Governor to enter into the compact within 30 session days after the submission of the request by the Governor to the General Assembly under subsection (a), the Governor may enter into the compact. If the General Assembly does not enact legislation authorizing the Governor to enter into the compact within 30 session days after the submission of the request by the Governor to the General Assembly under subsection (a), the Governor may not enter into the compact.

Video Gambling Act

(230 ILCS 40/5)

5. Definitions. As used in this Act:

“Video gaming terminal” means any electronic video game machine that, upon insertion of cash, electronic cards or vouchers, or any combination thereof, is available to play or simulate the play of a video game, including but not limited to video poker, line up, and blackjack, as authorized by the Board utilizing a video display and microprocessors in which the player may receive free games or credits that can be redeemed for cash. The term does not include a machine that directly dispenses coins, cash, or tokens or is for amusement purposes only.

“Licensed establishment” means any licensed retail establishment where alcoholic liquor is drawn, poured, mixed, or otherwise served for consumption on the premises, whether the establishment operates on a nonprofit or for-profit basis. “Licensed establishment” includes any such establishment that has a contractual relationship with an inter-track wagering location licensee licensed under the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975, provided any contractual relationship shall not include any transfer or offer of revenue from the operation of video gaming under this Act to any licensee licensed under the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975.

(230 ILCS 30/) Charitable Games Act

(230 ILCS 30/2) (from Ch. 120, par. 1122)

  • 2. Definitions. For purposes of this Act, the following definitions apply:
  • “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.
  • “Charitable games event” or “event” means the type of fundraising event authorized by the Act at which participants pay to play charitable games for the chance of winning cash or noncash prizes.
  • “Qualified organization” means:
  • a charitable, religious, fraternal, veterans, labor, educational organization, or other 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 under Sections 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), 501(c)(8), 501(c) (10) or 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • a veteran’s organization as defined in Section 1.1 of the “Bingo License and Tax Act” organized and conducted on a not-for-profit basis with no personal profit inuring to anyone as a result of the operation; or
  • An auxiliary organization of a veteran’s organization.
  • “Religious organization” means any church, congregation, society, or organization founded for the purpose of religious worship.
  • “Sponsoring organization” means a qualified organization that has obtained a license to conduct a charitable games event in conformance with the provisions of this Act.
  • “Veterans’ organization” means an organization comprised of members of which substantially all are individuals who are veterans or spouses, widows, or widowers of veterans, the primary purpose of which is to promote the welfare of its members and to provide assistance to the general public in such a way as to confer a public benefit.

Illinois licenses and regulates several forms of gambling. The Illinois State Lottery is legal and the state is a part of the Mega Millions and Powerball multi-state lottery association. Illinois has pari-mutuel wagering on horse races at six racetracks and 23 off-track betting facilities.

Riverboat gambling is allowed. Illinois has nine riverboat casinos, while the legislature has discussed approving land-based casinos in the past (nothing pending). The state has charitable bingo for nonprofit organizations.

Illinois allows licensed bars, restaurants, and other establishments to place up to five video lottery terminals (VLTs) per venue. The state legislature approved VLT gambling in 2009. By 2017, the VLT industry generated more revenue per year than the riverboat casino industry.

Which Forms of Gambling Is Legal in Illinois

Type of Gambling – Offered/Licensed? – Notes & Restrictions
  • Online Gambling – No – Illinois has made no attempt to legalize online poker or casinos.
  • Land-Based Casinos – Yes – No, but nine riverboat casinos exist.
  • Charitable Gaming – Yes – Bingo. A handful of bingo halls operate.
  • Lottery Betting – Yes – Illinois has a state lottery, plus it allows the sale of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets at hundreds of vendors.
  • Minimum Gambling Age – 18 for lotteries, pari-mutuel betting, bingo. 21 for riverboat casinos.

Is Online Poker Legal in Illinois?

Online poker is not legal or illegal in Illinois. The state has not considered an online poker bill or online casino bill since the Department of Justice said such gaming could be regulated. Illinois poker players play online poker in an unregulated market at offshore sites. You will not go to jail for playing online poker in Illinois. It is not illegal to do so. It’s simply a matter of Illinois not regulating the offshore sites therefor you need to make sure you find a site you trust before handing over your hard earned cash. There are numerous poker sites accepting Illinois poker players including Bovada, Ignition and BetOnline.

Illinois changed from a Republican to a Democrat governor in November 2018. The state has a major budget crisis that governor-elect J.B. Pritzker will have to solve. Departing Gov. Bruce Rauner came to power because the state’s property taxes were too high. The state is plagued with longstanding budget deficits and perennial showdowns between the governor and the legislature over funding for the annual budget.

With the governor’s mansion, State Senate, and House in one party’s hands, new solutions might be considered – including expanded gambling. If Illinois takes the path Pennsylvania did, real-money online gambling will be one way used to raise revenues without direct taxation.

Illinois Online Poker Laws

Name of Bill – Year Submitted – Lawmaker – Supporters
  • Senate Bill 7 – 2017 – Sen. Terry Link – Dave Syverson, Mattie Hunter, Donne E. Trotter

House Sponsors for Senate Bill 7 are Rep. Robert Rita, Chad Hays, Rita Mayfield, and Litesa E. Wallace.

Is Sports Betting / Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Illinois?

Sports betting is not legal, but that might change in 2019. The Illinois Senate twice has passed pro-sports betting bills that failed to gain traction in the House of Representatives. In October 2018, two House subcommittees gathered to discuss 2017 Senate Bill 7 (S7). With State Rep. Rob Rita chairing the hearing, Rep. Lou Lang made the case for legal online sports betting in Illinois. Representative Lang justified legal sportsbetting sites based on the $130 million pension shortfall each year. Both Rob Rita and Lou Lang are the most prominent and outspoken members of the Illinois House to back S7.

Senate Bill 7 would make Illinois online sportsbooks legal, though taxation and other details are still undecided. Lou Lang noted that Pennsylvania’s 36% tax was too high for a healthy sports betting industry. He also said he was open to an integrity fee for leagues, but did not want to assess integrity fees if it was “for nothing”.

S7 would bring sweeping changes to Illinois online gambling, if it was passed in its current form. It would create the Chicago Casino Development Authority, which would allow for airport gambling.

What about daily fantasy sports?

In 2015, Attorney General Lisa Madigan gave her opinion that daily fantasy sports is illegal. This prompted a lawsuit by DraftKings and FanDuel, which itself prompted Lisa Madigan to countersue. Ironically, DraftKings and FanDuel now want both suits dropped, because Lisa Madigan (whose tenure ends in January 2019) said her opinion did not have the force of laws.

Legal DFS: Lawsuit

If S7 is signed into law, it looks like daily fantasy sports would be included in its passage. During the Oct. 2018 hearing, Rep. Lou Lang said he supports other forms of gambling to raise revenues – which presumably would include DFS.

Does Illinois have land-based casinos?

No, but Illinois has nine riverboat casinos. Neighboring Indiana passed laws to allow its riverboat casinos to move inland to brick-and-mortar casinos, which allow for more gaming space, convention halls, live concert venues, and other attractions. The Indiana cities of Gary and Hammond are suburbs of Chicago, meaning Indiana’s land-based casinos compete directly with Illinois casinos. For that reason, Illinois might allow land-based casinos in the near future.

Which Cardrooms & Casinos in Illinois Are Near Me?

Argosy’s Casino Alton: 1 Piasa Street Alton, Illinois 62002-6276

Telephone:(800) 711-GAME

Games Available: 827 Slot Machines, 3 Poker Tables, 9 Gaming Tables

Hollywood Casino: 1 West New York Street,
Aurora, Illinois 60506-4120

Telephone:(800) 888-7777

Games Available: 1,100 Slot Machines, 7 Poker Tables, 21 Gaming Tables

Rivers Casino: 3000 South River Road,
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-4201

(888) 307-0777

Games Available: 1,022 Slot Machines, 51 Poker and Gaming Tables

Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino: 21 Blackjack Boulevard,
East Peoria, Illinois 61611-2011

Telephone: (800) 332-5634

Games Available: 924 Slot Machines, 5 Poker Tables, 26 Gaming Tables

Casino Queen Hotel: 200 Front Street,
East Saint Louis, Illinois 62201-1222

Telephone: (800) 777-0777

Games Available: 1,081 Gaming Machines, 3 Poker Tables, 23 Gaming Tables

Grand Victoria Casino: 250 South Grove Avenue,
Elgin, Illinois 60120-6447

Telephone: (847) 468-7000

Games Available: 1,088 Gaming Machines, 4 Poker Tables, 38 Gaming Tables

Hollywood Casino: 777 Hollywood Boulevard,
Joliet, Illinois 60436-1097

Telephone: (888) 436-7737

Games Available: 1,100 Gaming Machines, 25 Poker and Gaming Tables

Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel: 151 North Joliet Street,
Joliet, Illinois 60432-4018

Telephone: (800) 427-7247

Games Available: 1,100 Gaming Machines, 8 Poker Tables, 31 Gaming Tables

Harrah’s Metropolis Casino: 100 East Front Street,
Metropolis, Illinois 62960-2257

Telephone: (800) 935-1111

Games Available: 836 Gaming Machines, 4 Poker Tables, 17 Gaming Tables

Jumer’s Casino and Hotel: 777 Jumers Drive, Rock Island, Illinois 61201-7606

Telephone: (800) 477-7747

Games Available: 996 Gaming Machines, 6 Poker Tables, 22 Gaming Tables

Does Illinois have any legal betting tracks / shops?

Yes, Illinois has six legal racetracks where horse racing takes place and pari-mutuel wagers are legal. These are centered in the north of the state in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area and in the south of the state across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. Illinois does not allow betting shops.

Legal Horse Betting Tracks in Illinois

Arlington Park: 2200 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005-1004

Telephone:(847) 385-7500

Race Book: Yes

Hawthorne Race Casino: 3501 South Laramie Avenue, Cicero, Illinois 60804-4598

Telephone:(708) 780-3700

Race Book: Yes

Fairmont Park:9301 Collinsville Road, Collinsville, Illinois 62234-1799

Telephone: (314) 436-1516

Race Book: Yes

DuQuoin State Fairgrounds: 655 Executive Drive, Du Quoin, Illinois 62832-3850

Telephone: (618) 542-1515

Race Book: Yes

Brown County Fairgrounds: 309 Fairground Street, Mount Sterling, Illinois 62353

Telephone: (217) 773-3939

Race Book: Yes

Illinois State Fairgrounds: 801 East Sangamon Avenue, Springfield, Illinois 62702-1813

Telephone:(217) 782-6661

Race Book: Yes

Is Off-Track Betting Legal in Illinois?

Illinois has 23 off-track betting facilities. These have simulcast betting and a full range of horse races from around the world. Below is a list of the names and addresses of the 23 off-track betting facilities in the state.

List of Illinois Facilities Permitting Off-Track Betting?

Mac’s Time Out: 315 Belle Street, Alton, Illinois 62002-6116

Telephone:(618) 465-1006

Race Book: Yes

The Foundry: 85 Executive Drive, Aurora, Illinois 60504-4101

Telephone:(630) 499-0294

Race Book: Yes

McQ’s Sports, Brew and BBQ: 730 North Bolingbrook Drive, Route 53 Bolingbrook, Illinois 60440-5308

Telephone: (630) 739-1592

Race Book: Yes

Club Corliss OTB:11203 South Corliss, Chicago, Illinois 60628

Telephone: (773) 995-8238

Race Book: Yes

Joe’s Bar on Weed Street:940 West Weed Street, Chicago, Illinois 60642-2539

Telephone: (312) 787-9600

Race Book: Yes

Club Crestwood OTB: 13148 Rivercrest Drive, Crestwood, Illinois 60418-4452

Telephone: (708) 489-4700

Race Book: Yes

At the Post Sports Bar and Grill: 554 East Devon, Elk Grove Village, Illinois 60007-4676

Telephone: (847) 364-4122

Race Book: Yes

Does Illinois allow charitable gambling?

Yes. The National Center for Charitable Statistic said Illinois had over 61,000 nonprofit organizations as of 2012. Charitable gaming is allowed, including bingo, pickle games, pull-tabs, and poker runs. Illinois has fewer bingo halls than one might expect, because so many other forms of charitable gaming exist.

In 2013, the Illinois legislature passed House Bill 2520 and its companion piece, Senate Bill 3312, which made “poker runs” legal. A poker run is an event where people on motorcycles, bicycles, or other vehicles travel to 5 or more locations (usually bars or restaurants) and draw on playing card from a deck. The winner is the player at the end of the run with the best hand. Poker runs are a popular way for charitable organizations to raise funds.

Originally, to organize a poker run, a motorcycle club or other charity had to pay a $600 fee to organize an event, while each bar owner had to pay a $150 free to license their venue as a run stop. This led to fee sometimes in excess of the money raised for charity. The 2013 law simplified the fee process to $25 and made poker runs more popular.

Bingo Halls in Illinois:

Tazewell Bingo Center: 1010 North Main Street, Creve Coeur, Illinois 61610-3192

Telephone:(309) 698-8117

# of Seats: 350

Nameoki Bingo Center: 13 Nameoki Village, Granite City, Illinois 62040

Telephone: (618) 877-7771

# of Seats: 200

Majestic Hall: 830 North State Route 121, Mount Zion, Illinois 62549-1434

Telephone: (217) 864-3842

# of Seats: 550

Is Social gaming allowed in Illinois?

Social gaming is allowed in Illinois, though no specific law exists to regulate such gaming. In March 2016, Illinois District Judge Edmond Chang tossed a class action lawsuit by thousands of Illinois social gamers against Doubledown Interactive, the social casino division of International Game Technology (IGT).

The plaintiffs sought to use the Illinois Loss Recovery Act (ILRA) to claim they lost between $50 to $1000 gambling with real money on Doubledown Casino and thus should be reimbursed. Judge Chang said state law required both sides to risk something of value for a game to be considered gambling. He ruled that a person cannot “lose” chips they bought, because there is no way to be reimbursed for the virtual chips. Also, Doubledown’s “risking potential future sales is not the same thing” as risking real cash, so social casino games are not a form of gambling.