A Complete Overview of Online Gambling in Illinois

Up until the 1970s, Illinois was very restrictive when it came to gambling, but ever since then they’ve loosened up and now allow certain forms to be legally implemented into various businesses, including casinos and poker rooms. The first relaxing of gambling laws in Illinois came in 1974 when the state allowed horse racing to take place on its territory. In the same year, lottery tickets began being sold in Illinois as the state implemented an Illinois State Lottery to fund schools. Soon, this expanded into Mega Millions, Powerball and various other lottery tickets being sold without restrictions.

In 1990, Illinois allowed riverboat casinos to function on its territory with the exception of Cook County in Chicago, but the boats could only offer gambling services when cruising. This was repealed in 1999 and the boats could once again be stationary and offer gambling.

In 2009, Illinois differentiated between video gaming and gambling, allowing bars and various other organizations to offer video gambling terminals, under a set of conditions.  Also, online gambling was made illegal in the same act, reducing the number of legal online casinos in Illinois to zero. Aside from the named legal ways to gamble, all other gambling is illegal in this state.

Illinois Gambling Overview:

  • Year Illinois regulated offline and online gambling: 1974 for offline gambling, 2009 for online gambling
  • Illinois gambling age: 18 for lottery games, 21 for casinos
  • Legal online casino games in Illinois: N/A
  • Number of commercial casinos: 10 riverboat casinos
  • Number of tribal casinos: N/A
  • Top online casinos Illinois-wide: N/A

Gambling in Illinois: What’s Legal?

Illinois offers limited gambling in various forms. While online casinos are completely illegal, including online poker, you can participate in offline gambling in any of their riverboat casinos which also include live poker games. Bingo and raffle games are allowed when part of a charity and sports betting on horse races is only allowed on-track, in pari-mutuel betting. Illinois has very lax lottery betting laws, so you can even participate in their lottery online.  There have been attempts to make esports and fantasy sports in Illinois, but tribal gaming is still non-existent. Illinois offers 10 gaming licenses for riverboat casinos and all casinos in this state must close their floors for two hours every day. Finally, Illinois outlawed smoking in commercial casinos in 2008. Here are the top 3 riverboat casinos in Illinois:

Name Address Opening Hours Games Dress Code Phone Number Website
Harrah’s Casino – Joliet 151 N. Joliet St. 24/7 Over 1200 machines, table games No dress code +1 815-740-7800 https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-joliet
Rivers Casino – Des Plaines 3000 S. River Rd. 24/7 Over 1050 machines, table games No dress code 888 307 0777 https://www.riverscasino.com/desplaines/
Hollywood Casino – Aurora 49 W. Galena Blvd. 24/7 Over 1160 machines, table games No Dress Code +1 630-801-1234 https://www.hollywoodcasinoaurora.com/

Online Casinos in Illinois: What You Should Know

Online casinos are illegal in Illinois, so if you want to play at any of them without being prosecuted, you’re going to have to go to a different state. Live casinos are only legal on riverboats, while online bingo and lottery is available and legal. There has been some debate about the legality of Illinois fantasy sports and esports, but so far, both of these activities remain legal as no bill making them illegal has been introduced.

Are Illinois Online Casinos Legal for Non-Illinois Residents?

  • N/A

What types of games do Illinois online casinos have available?

  • N/A

How to Choose the Best Online Casino in Illinois

Easy – wait until they become legal or go to a different state (New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada or Pennsylvania) where online gaming is legal. Illinois legal online casinos are a myth and all violations of the law concerning them should be avoided.

The Bottom Line on Illinois Online Gambling

Illinois has gradually opened up to the ideas of online gambling. Beginning in the 1970s, they have opened their state more and more to casinos, various lotteries and of course, horse racing. However, all forms of Illinois online gambling remain illegal for the time being.