Is Gambling Legal In Illinois

James Lopez
August 7, 2023
Is Gambling Legal In Illinois


Is Gambling Legal In Illinois: Gambling has long been a captivating and controversial activity that has woven itself into the fabric of societies worldwide. In the United States, the landscape of gambling regulation varies from state to state, reflecting differing attitudes towards this form of entertainment and potential revenue source. Illinois, a state with a rich history and diverse culture, is no exception to this complex web of legal considerations surrounding gambling.

The legality of gambling in Illinois is a multifaceted topic that traverses both legal and cultural realms. From the bustling metropolis of Chicago to the serene landscapes of the rural countryside, the state is home to a range of gambling activities, including casinos, horse racing, lotteries, and more. 

This exploration delves into the dynamic landscape of gambling in Illinois, shedding light on the legal frameworks that govern various forms of gambling, the historical evolution of gambling regulations, and the socio-economic impacts on the state and its residents. By examining the intricate interplay between laws, public sentiment, and economic considerations, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the legal status of gambling in Illinois, allowing for a deeper understanding of its place within the state’s cultural and legislative framework.

What is illegal gambling in Illinois?

Specifically, Article 28 provides that a person commits gambling when he or she knowingly: (1) plays a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value, unless such conduct falls within a specific exception as set forth in the statute; (2) makes a wager upon the result of a game, contest or any political. 

Illegal gambling in Illinois encompasses activities that violate the state’s gambling laws and regulations, which are designed to control and monitor gambling activities while ensuring the integrity of the industry and protecting the public. The Illinois Criminal Code outlines various forms of illegal gambling, with penalties ranging from fines to potential imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense.

One common form of illegal gambling in Illinois is operating or participating in unlicensed casinos or gambling establishments. The state requires that casinos and other gambling venues hold valid licenses to operate legally. Engaging in gambling activities at unauthorized locations or facilitating such activities without proper licensure is considered illegal and can result in criminal charges.

Another form of prohibited gambling is sports betting outside of licensed facilities or online platforms. While Illinois has legalized sports betting, it is limited to licensed casinos, racetracks, and online operators registered with the state. Placing bets through unlicensed bookmakers or unauthorized online platforms is against the law.

Illegal gambling can also include certain types of games of chance or skill that are not authorized under Illinois law, such as certain poker games or other card games conducted outside of regulated settings. Engaging in these activities without the necessary licenses or in violation of specific regulations can lead to legal consequences.

It’s important to note that illegal gambling not only puts individuals at risk of legal consequences but also poses potential risks related to fraud, money laundering, and lack of consumer protection. As the landscape of gambling continues to evolve, it is crucial for residents and operators to understand and adhere to the legal framework established by the state to ensure a safe and regulated gambling environment in Illinois.

Is Gambling Legal In Illinois

Is gambling online legal in Illinois?

The state has legalized online sports betting and online daily fantasy sports contests. This means that residents and visitors in Illinois can legally participate in sports betting through licensed online platforms and engage in fantasy sports competitions with real money stakes.

It’s essential to note that even when online gambling is legal, it is subject to strict regulations, including age restrictions and the requirement to use licensed and regulated platforms. Anyone interested in engaging in online gambling activities should thoroughly research and ensure they are using legitimate and authorized websites or apps.

Online gambling in Illinois is legal but subject to certain restrictions and regulations. In 2019, the state passed the Illinois Gambling Act, which expanded gambling options within the state, including online gambling.

Under the Illinois Gambling Act, online sports betting and online casino gambling are both legal. Licensed casinos and sportsbooks can offer online platforms for residents to place bets on sports events and casino games. However, it’s important to note that only individuals who are physically located within the state’s borders are allowed to participate in online gambling activities.

While online sports betting and casino gambling are legal, it’s crucial to adhere to the regulations and guidelines set by the Illinois Gaming Board. This includes using licensed and regulated platforms to ensure a safe and fair gambling experience.

It’s important to keep in mind that gambling laws can change over time. Additionally, specific details regarding online gambling regulations can vary, so it’s recommended to check the official website of the Illinois Gaming Board or consult legal resources and accurate information.

If you’re considering participating in online gambling activities in Illinois, make sure to do your research and choose reputable and licensed operators to ensure a legal and secure experience. Always gamble responsibly and within your means.

Does Illinois have gambling casinos?

Illinois has a total of 25 casinos and pari-mutuel facilities at your disposal which are spread out across 21 cities throughout the state.

Illinois is home to a variety of gambling casinos that offer a range of gaming experiences for residents and visitors. The state has embraced casino gambling as a means of generating revenue and providing entertainment options.

Riverboat Casinos: Historically, Illinois casinos were required to operate on waterways, typically in the form of riverboat casinos. These riverboat casinos offer a variety of slot machines, table games, and other forms of entertainment. Many of these casinos are located along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Land-Based Casinos: In recent years, Illinois has expanded its gambling offerings to include land-based casinos, which are not required to be on water. This change has allowed for the establishment of larger and more modern casino facilities in various parts of the state, including the Chicagoland area.

Casino Games: Illinois casinos offer a range of casino games, including slot machines, video poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, and more. Some casinos also have poker rooms for poker enthusiasts.

Entertainment and Amenities: Beyond gambling, casinos in Illinois often provide a variety of amenities, including restaurants, bars, live entertainment venues, and hotels. These facilities aim to create a complete entertainment experience for visitors.

Regulation and Licensing: Casino gambling in Illinois is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board, which oversees the licensing, operations, and integrity of casino establishments. Licensed casinos must adhere to strict regulations to ensure fair play and responsible gaming.

Is it legal to bet in Illinois?

Illinois online sports betting is legal and live throughout the state. There are now seven online sportsbooks for bettors to choose from: Caesars, BetRivers, BetMGM, FanDuel, PointsBet, DraftKings, and Barstool.

 In June 2019, the state passed a law allowing sportsbooks to operate both online and at physical locations, such as casinos and racetracks. Residents and visitors who are at least 21 years old can place bets on professional, collegiate, and international sporting events through licensed operators.

On the other hand, casino-style gambling has also been legalized in Illinois. Various forms of gambling, including riverboat casinos, video gaming terminals in bars and restaurants, and lottery games, are permissible under the state’s regulations.

However, it’s crucial to remember that the laws can change, so it’s always best to check with the latest information from official sources or consult legal experts to ensure compliance with the current betting regulations in Illinois.

The Illinois Gaming Board is the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing and licensing gambling operators in the state. They ensure that all licensed operators comply with the necessary regulations, provide fair gaming opportunities, and protect consumers.

It’s essential to note that while some forms of gambling are legal in Illinois, there are still restrictions and responsible gambling guidelines in place. For example, individuals must be at least 21 years old to participate in sports betting or casino gambling. Additionally, gambling operators are required to implement measures to prevent problem gambling and provide resources for those seeking help with gambling-related issues.

Is mobile gambling legal in Illinois?

Yes, online sports betting is allowed in Illinois. This means that bettors can place wagers using a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. The BetRivers app was the first to go live in the state on June 18, 2020, followed by DraftKings Sportsbook on August 5, 2020.

The Illinois Sports Wagering Act permits both land-based casinos and online operators to offer sports betting services. This means that individuals can place bets on professional, collegiate, and international sporting events through authorized mobile apps and websites.

To participate in mobile gambling, users must register with licensed operators and create accounts, ensuring compliance with age and identity verification requirements. The mobile platforms offer a wide range of betting options and betting markets, similar to those available at physical sportsbooks.

Additionally, Illinois also permits online casino-style gambling. This includes virtual slot machines, table games, and poker. Similar to sports betting, these online casino games are regulated and overseen by the Illinois Gaming Board, with licensed operators authorized to offer their services to players within the state.

It’s important to note that while mobile gambling is legal, it is subject to responsible gambling guidelines and regulations. The state of Illinois takes measures to promote responsible gambling practices, including self-exclusion programs and resources for individuals facing gambling-related issues.

As with any form of gambling, players should exercise caution and gamble responsibly. It’s essential to set limits, avoid chasing losses, and be aware of the potential risks associated with gambling. If you’re considering engaging in mobile gambling in Illinois, ensure you do so through licensed operators to ensure a safe and legal gaming experience.

Is Gambling Legal In Illinois

Can you gamble online in Illinois?

Yes, online gambling in Illinois is perfectly legal for sports wagering, social casinos and lottery. Real-money online casino gaming is not yet legal. 

To gamble online in Illinois, individuals can access licensed and regulated online platforms that offer various betting options, including sports betting on professional, collegiate, and international sporting events.

In addition to online sports betting, Illinois also permits online casino-style gambling. This includes virtual slot machines, table games, and poker. Online casino operators are also required to be licensed and regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board, ensuring a safe and secure gambling experience for players.

To participate in online gambling, users are required to register with licensed operators and verify their age and identity to comply with the state’s regulations. Once registered, players can access a wide range of betting markets and games through their preferred online platforms.

It’s important to note that online gambling is subject to responsible gambling guidelines and regulations in Illinois. The state takes measures to promote responsible gambling practices and provides resources for individuals seeking help with gambling-related issues.

As with any form of gambling, it’s essential for players to gamble responsibly and set limits to avoid potential risks associated with gambling. By using licensed operators and staying within the legal framework, individuals can enjoy a safe and legal online gambling experience in Illinois.

Where can I gamble in Illinois?

Gambling in Illinois is available at the state’s healthy lineup of casinos, off-track betting sites, retail sportsbooks and a number of lottery retailers. The state offers a variety of gambling options, including land-based casinos, riverboat casinos, racetracks, video gaming terminals in bars and restaurants, and the Illinois Lottery.

1. Land-Based Casinos: Illinois is home to several land-based casinos scattered throughout the state. These casinos offer a wide range of casino games, including slot machines, table games like blackjack and roulette, and poker. Some of the popular land-based casinos in Illinois include Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Harrah’s Joliet Casino, and Hollywood Casino Aurora.

2. Riverboat Casinos: In Illinois, riverboat casinos offer another exciting gambling option. These casinos are located on boats that sail on the state’s waterways. Riverboat casinos provide a unique gambling experience and typically offer various casino games and entertainment options.

3. Racetracks: Illinois allows betting on horse racing at various racetracks across the state. Apart from watching live horse races, visitors can engage in off-track betting (OTB) at licensed facilities.

4. Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs): Illinois permits video gaming terminals in certain licensed bars, restaurants, and other establishments. These VGTs offer a selection of electronic gaming machines, providing players with a chance to play slot-like games and other electronic casino games.

5. Online Gambling: As mentioned earlier, online gambling, including sports betting and online casino games, is legal in Illinois. You can access licensed online platforms to participate in sports betting or play various casino games from your computer or mobile device.

Is Gambling Legal In Illinois


The legal status of gambling in Illinois reflects a delicate equilibrium between economic interests, social considerations, and regulatory measures. Through a historical lens, we see the evolution from a predominantly prohibitionist stance to a more permissive approach, driven by the potential for revenue generation and the recognition of individual freedoms.

The diverse array of gambling activities in Illinois, from casinos and lotteries to horse racing and charitable gaming, highlights the state’s willingness to accommodate various forms of entertainment while simultaneously enacting safeguards to mitigate potential negative consequences. The establishment of regulatory bodies and the implementation of responsible gaming programs underscore Illinois’ commitment to fostering a safe and enjoyable gambling environment.

While gambling contributes significantly to the state’s revenue stream, it is essential to remain vigilant in addressing concerns related to addiction, financial strain, and societal impact. Striking the right balance between promoting a thriving gambling industry and safeguarding citizens’ well-being remains an ongoing challenge.

As Illinois continues to navigate the complex landscape of gambling legality, it must adapt to changing technologies and societal attitudes. The discussion surrounding gambling in the state is far from static, with ongoing debates shaping its trajectory. By understanding the historical, legal, and social dimensions, stakeholders can work collaboratively to shape a future where gambling remains a regulated and responsible form of entertainment within the borders of the Land of Lincoln.

Author James Lopez