The gambling outlook in Illinois

Gamblers in Illinois can enjoy the games without hassle. Open gaming places in the state qualify as riverboats since they were all constructed over a shallow lake filled with shallow aqua. Riverboat casinos in Illinois have docked barges; the rest are actual riverboats. The docked barges do not sail and are always on anchor.

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📖 Published on: June 15th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 5 days ago

⏳ 18 mins read

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Gambling in Illinois image
Illinois coat of arms image

There are a total of thirteen land-based gambling platforms operating here, and six of them opened in the year 2019 due to the gambling expansion bill.

In 1991, riverboat gambling platforms opened to their clients, making it the second gaming state in the country to do so. Five casinos are close to Chicago; three are not far from the southern part of the state, while two are very close to the center.

The 2019 Illinois Gambling Regulation neglected to include Illinois online casinos in its provisions. Despite this, residents can still access online gambling sites outside the state. Foreign online betting may pose risks.

Popular games offered at ground casinos include:

  • Social gaming
  • Charity gaming
  • Off-track betting
  • Horse track
  • Lottery
  • Sports betting

Legal standpoint of gambling in Illinois

Online gambling is unlawful in Illinois, but online players can access sports betting without fear of being on the wrong side of the law. In the 1920s, the state government made it legal to bet on horse races, and in 1990, it passed the Riverboat Gambling Act. In addition, it passed a law in 2009 permitting bars and other such locations to host lottery terminals monitored by the Illinois Lottery.

No law has approved the operation of Illinois online gambling to date. The local government also frowns on their residents that participate in Illinois online gambling on foreign sites. You have the freedom to enjoy sports betting online without breaking the law. The government also considers unlawful gambling activities a class A crime. Senator Terry Link and other lawmakers sponsored the 2017 move to legalize online gambling. Still, there has yet to be any progress regarding the bill.

As of 2018, the House re-referred the legislation to the Rules Committee. However, we have yet to hear anything about it to date. Involvement in Illinois online casinos may be illegal, but offshore online sportsbooks allow Illinois gamblers access to sports betting.


Current Illinois gambling laws

Illinois gambling laws permit the residents to participate in riverboat casinos and get involved in betting on horse racing. However, several other gambling categories are not permitted in the state, restricting gambling. Nevertheless, residents can participate in skills contests, including raffles, Bingo, and charitable games.

Aside from horse racing, residents can also participate in off-track betting activities. The laws permit participation in riverboat gambling on navigable streams except Lake Michigan. Riverboat casinos can only operate in counties with more than 3 million people.

Casino games such as blackjack, roulette, poker, and slots are only permitted in land-based casinos in Illinois and cannot be played online. The land-based casinos that provide these games are subject to regulation by the IGB. Bingo is another form of gambling sanctioned by the state of Illinois' Department of Revenue and can be played in land-based casinos.

Online and offline sports and horse racing betting are available. The online version is regulated by the Illinois Racing Board (IRB), the Department of the Lottery (DOL), the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), and the Lottery Control Board (ILCB). These bodies also regulate the land-based version of the games.

Gambling is only permitted in Illinois if the category of casinos is exempted by Illinois Criminal Code Article 28-1. Depending on what kind of casino it is, the DOL, ILCB, IRB, and IGB are some organizations that can give it a license to operate.


Possible gambling regulations in Illinois

People think the Illinois state government will legalize online gambling because it can bring in a lot of money for the government. By legalizing online gaming, Illinois will become the seventh state in the country. When online gaming is legalized, it will be easy to run and keep track of because several certified regulatory agencies are already in place. The state could earn more than $250 million if online gaming legalization passes muster. The residents, too, will benefit since legalizing Il online casino activities will enable them to access their favorite land-based casinos from home and on the go.Illinois gambling

Real money casinos in Illinois

In 2019, the number of gambling options in Illinois increased, allowing residents to participate in more land-based gambling activities. Illinois is the sixth-largest state in the country. It has full casinos where people can bet on sports, horse races, and other things. However, only sports betting is accessible online and offline. Even video games are accessible at land-based casinos across the state.

The Gambling Act, signed in 2019, never included online gambling, which limits online gambling activities. The act saved riverboat casinos the trouble of sailing while gambling. The regulation of online sports betting comes from Springfield. The state has some of the most video lottery terminals in the country. These terminals can be found in private clubs, truck stops, restaurants, and bars. The IGB licensed the video lottery terminals to operate. Illinois residents can benefit from horse racing at any of the three operating racing tracks in the state. The racing tracks equally offer off-track betting (OTB) to the residents.

There are rumors that the state's gambling industry will grow even more, allowing residents to play Illinois online games from home or anywhere else. While online gambling is restricted in the state, Illinois residents can connect with offshore gambling platforms for online gambling entertainment.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "Illinois casinos near me":

Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
Grand Victoria Casino Elgin is the premier gambling destination in Elgin, Illinois. With a 29,850-square-foot casino floor, the Grand Victoria offers plenty of excitement with a wide selection of slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, three-card poker, Mississippi Stud, mini-baccarat, plus a sportsbook. Docked on the Fox River is a 1,200-passenger paddle wheeler-replica for a bit of old-fashioned fun. The Grand Victoria Casino Elgin is open from 9am - 3am daily and 5am on Friday and Saturday. Overnight RV parking is welcome. With four restaurants nearby, the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin has something for everyone!
250 S. Grove Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120
Phone Number:
(847) 468-7000
Argosy Casino Alton
Argosy Casino Alton is a premier gambling spot set on the Mississippi River in Alton, Illinois. The 23,000 sq ft casino features an impressive array of slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card poker, ultimate texas hold 'em, and a sports book for gamblers of all varieties. Not to mention, the modern 1,200-passenger yacht and barge directly on the river. The casino opens at 9 am daily, with table games available from 10 am onwards. RV parking is available for those planning an overnight stay.
1 Piasa Street, Alton, IL 62002
Phone Number:
(618) 474-7500
Harrah’s Joliet
Harrah's Joliet, located in Joliet, Illinois, is a casino oasis in the heart of the Midwest. It offers over 200 rooms available anywhere from $89 to $249 a night, four luxury suites with special casino-only rates and three delicious restaurants. Standing at 39,000 square feet, Harrah's Joliet is packed with popular casino games, including slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and three card poker, as well as mini-baccarat, ultimate Texas hold 'em, and Mississippi Stud. Uniquely, the casino is housed on a barge docked on the Des Plaines River, adding to its charm and inviting atmosphere. Although overnight RV parking is not available, open hours of 8am-6am daily make it an ideal destination for a weekend of gaming excitement.
151 N. Joliet Street, Joliet, IL 60432
Phone Number:
(815) 740-7800
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino offers guests 195 rooms, 13 suites, and 4 restaurants in the scenic town of East Peoria, Illinois. Guests can enjoy the 26,116 square foot casino open 8am-2am (6am on Fridays and Saturdays), filled with slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, mini baccarat, Caribbean stud poker, three-card poker, let it ride, Mississippi stud, and poker. Guests can rent a room for the night, ranging in price from $109-$169 for a room, or $195-$500 for a suite. On the Illinois River, visitors can find the 1,600-passenger modern boat docking station for a night time cruise, adding to the allure of Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino.
21 Blackjack Boulevard, East Peoria, IL 61611
Phone Number:
(309) 699-7711
Bally’s Quad Cities
Bally’s Quad Cities located in Rock Island, Illinois is a vibrant casino with plenty to offer. Guests can enjoy 205 rooms and seven suites for a price range of $109-$209 and $159-$599 respectively. Dining options include three restaurants, with the buffet available for $29.99 on weekends. The 42,300-square-foot grounds offer slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card poker, Mississippi Stud, and poker. RV Parking is available overnight at no cost, although there is no dump station on site. Plan a visit to experience a full night of excitement and entertainment!
777 Bally Boulevard, Rock Island, IL 61201
Phone Number:
(309) 756-4600
American Place Casino
American Place Casino in Waukegan, Illinois is a home to two renowned restaurants, L’Américain, a very popular American-style restaurant and Asia-Azteca, a wonderful fusion of classic Asian and Mexican cuisines. Coffee Airstream serves up delicious coffee drinks throughout the day while the nearby Beer Airstream provides a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails. Don’t forget to stop at the Canoe Bar for refreshing drinks and breathtaking views. Don’t miss all the action!
1545 S. Waukegan Road, Waukegan, IL 60085
Phone Number:
(888) 694-6272
Rivers Casino – Des Plaines
Rivers Casino - Des Plaines is the closest casino to Chicago O'Hare Internation Airport. This 43,687-square-foot casino offers a variety of gaming options, including slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, mini baccarat, baccarat, three card poker, pai gow poker, Spanish 21, Texas Hold'em Bonus, Mississippi Stud, and a Sports Book. The casino is open 24/7 and features five restaurants. It offers guests in Des Plaines, Illinois a great place to enjoy some gaming near the city.
3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018
Phone Number:
(847) 795-0777
Harrah’s Metropolis
Harrah's Metropolis offers an exciting gaming experience in the heart of Illinois. Located in Metropolis, guests can enjoy 252 rooms with price ranges from $95 to $199, six suites, and two restaurants open from 8am-6am. As for the gaming options, Harrah's has slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card poker, mini-baccarat, and Mississippi stud inside its 24,269 square foot casino. Additionally, overnight RV parking and free RV dump is offered. Guests will also find a land-based casino on the premises.
100 E. Front Street, Metropolis, IL 62960
Phone Number:
(618) 524-2628
Hollywood Casino – Aurora
Hollywood Casino - Aurora, located in Aurora, Illinois, is a 41,384 Square Foot casino offering 3 restaurants, and open from 8:30am-4:30am, 6:30 on Friday & Saturday. Home to slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, 3-card poker, mini-baccarat, Mississippi stud, poker, and a sport book, visitors can also enjoy overnight RV parking. What makes this casino unique is how it is located on a barge docked on the Fox River.
1 W New York Street, Aurora, IL 60506
Phone Number:
(630) 801-1234
Golden Nugget Danville
Golden Nugget Danville is the newest addition to the Illinois gaming scene. Situated in Danville, this expansive 41,500 square foot gaming mecca offers an exciting experience with 500 gaming machines and 14 table games. Players can take a break from the gaming floor and enjoy a variety of delicious food and cocktails, or relax in their own private cabana. Surround yourself with the hustle and bustle of a nineteenth-century, industrial Midwestern town in this delectable destination. Whether you're a native or a visitor, come and "Strike it Rich" at Golden Nugget Danville!
204 Eastgate Drive, Danville, IL 61834
Phone Number:
Draft Kings at Casino Queen
Draft Kings at Casino Queen is a land-based casino in East St. Louis, Illinois, that offers a diverse array of gaming opportunities and amenities. With 150 rooms ranging from $89 to $169 and 7 suites from $149 to $699, there's an option for every budget. Those feeling lucky can try their luck on over 40,000 square feet of table games, slots, video poker, and sports book. Offering 24-hour fun, the casino is open 8am-3am during the week, with extended hours on Thursday-Saturday until 5am. For RVers looking to stay, there's a 140-space RV park with rates starting at $59 per night. And with a Sports Bar and MetroLink light-rail station right at its doorstep, Casino Queen promises an unbeatable gaming experience.
200 S. Front Street, E. St. Louis, IL 62201
Phone Number:
(618) 874-5000
Hollywood Casino Joliet
Hollywood Casino Joliet is located in Joliet, Illinois, and features 85 guest rooms and 17 suites ranging from $120-$199. This exciting casino is open daily from 8am-4am and features 50,000 square feet of gaming space. Enjoy slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, three-card poker, Caribbean stud poker, mini-baccarat, Mississippi stud, and a sports book. For your convenience, there is also a 2,500-passenger barge docked on the Des Plaines River, plus an 80-space RV park for overnight stays. The buffet is closed Mon-Tue. Take advantage of all this and more at Hollywood Casino Joliet!
777 Hollywood Boulevard, Joliet, IL 60436
Phone Number:
(815) 744-9400
Rockford Casino
Rockford Casino is the biggest and most popular casino in Illinois. Located in Rockford, the casino offers an exciting environment with 37,000 square feet of action-packed gaming floor. There are only electronic gaming machines such as slots and video poker. Rockford Casino's friendly staff and state-of-the-art slots will make every visit an enjoyable one. Come experience the fun and excitement of Rockford's largest casino today.
610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford, IL 61107
Phone Number:
(779) 269-9010
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Sports betting

Is online gambling legal in Chicago? Yes, it is, but with a series of restrictions. The restrictions do not affect sports betting, however. Illinois residents can bet on sports at any of the land-based gambling establishments in the state, including one racetrack and seven casinos. For easy regulation, you should only sign up with betting sites in your state.

Before now, bettors could only access sports betting at land-based casinos. After the state legislature passed SB 690 as part of a big capital bill, online sports betting started on June 28, 2019. The first legal bet on sports took place on March 9, 2020, in Chicago.

The state's existing gambling outfits can provide sports betting to their customers, and the state has no tribal casino. State regulators issued the first sports betting license in June 2020, and three other licenses would be issued 18 months later. The first set of online betting apps became authorized in June 2020.

IL sports betting

Any internet-only sportsbook has to wait 18 months before being permitted to launch betting apps. However, the future may enable gamblers in the state to access online slots Illinois. This possibility looms daily as events in the gambling industry unfold.

Daily fantasy sports

The legal status of daily fantasy sports remains to be determined in the state. In 2015, the state attorney general declared daily fantasy sports illegal. Still, virtually all the major casino operators in the state allow Illinois players to access the game. So, if you live in Illinois and play daily fantasy sports, you won't face any legal risks. However, some game providers are exploiting the legal grey area surrounding the game and its acceptance to offer this game to their customers.

Is gambling legal in Illinois? Yes, but most online gambling activities are illegal. So, care must be taken while participating in daily fantasy sports in the country. While the grey areas may be exploitable, it must register in your mind that daily fantasy sports are technically illegal in the state. The players may access the game despite the seeming illegality surrounding it. Still, the game providers may not have it rosy since they may suffer heavy fines from the government if caught offering daily fantasy sports online gambling Illinois real money.

Gambling operators are currently trying to overturn the laws against online gambling in Illinois so that residents can play daily fantasy sports online hassle-free and without the fear of police knocking on their doors unexpectedly.

In terms of online casino entertainment in Illinois, the future looks promising. However, the current situation may need more work to permit easy access. Still, the moves made by the state legislature indicate a possible permission for online casino entertainment in the state.


You can play Bingo in the state since gambling laws approve it. The IGB is in charge of monitoring gambling sites in the state. The IGB also gives licenses to charitable organizations that host the game. In addition, commercial bingo halls in Illinois must obtain a license from this regulatory agency.

From the date the license was given out, it must be renewed every year unless it is revoked, suspended, or extended before it runs out. If the license is to be extended, the extension stays within one year.

You are required to be 18 years old before accessing the bingo game in the state, and participating in Bingo can earn you as much as $250 per game. Charitable bingo organizations hold charitable Bingo. Its revenue must be directed to funding charitable causes like community education, community services, and health funding.

While Bingo can earn you a lot of money per game, you are required by state and federal laws to pay tax on your winnings. Thank goodness it is now possible to play Bingo on mobile devices, ensuring bingo lovers do not have to travel to a traditional casino to play the game.


Each state has its specific lottery law, and Illinois is no different. In addition, gambling laws in Illinois permit charitable gambling, a type of gambling in which all revenues are for charities. Gamblers can also engage in lottery, commercial, and horse racing gambling.

Illinois lottery began in 1974, offering a variety of games such as Powerball, Mega Millions, scratchers, Pick 4, and Pick 3. An unspecified percentage of lottery revenue in the state goes to the Common School Fund, helping the state fund its public schools.

The Illinois lottery includes some specialty games, with all the revenues generated going to charitable causes across the state, like helping HIV/AIDS patients and veterans. The revenues from the specialty games also fund the research and treatment of multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.

The operation of the Illinois lottery is under the purview of Camelot Illinois. Its drawings are under the supervision of E.C. Ortiz & Co., LLP, an accounting firm. Mayer Hoffman McCann is responsible for auditing the drawings. The drawings are also televised nationwide, making Illinois the only state to do that in the country.

Illinois offers the lotto, but the jackpot is smaller; its drawings are on Saturday, Thursday, and Monday nights. The drawing of the Pick 4 and Pick 3 numbers takes place twice daily. The Internet Pilot Program was approved for the sale of Lotto and Mega Millions games on the internet in line with a 2009 amendment to the Lottery Law by the state legislature.


Online poker has yet to be legalized in Illinois for now. However, indications are rife that such a possibility may arise. Today, there are no online poker sites that work in Illinois. However, poker fans in the state may be able to play on sites that offer promotional sweepstakes.

While online gambling in Illinois does not permit online slots, you can play the game on unregulated online poker platforms operating beyond the shores of the United States. However, note that these offshore gambling platforms are not subject to the same regulation as gambling sites in Illinois. Because there aren't any rules, it's hard to know how reliable the gambling platform is. The site may also not be secured, and your funds may be at risk. Some may share their customers' personal information with third parties without the customer's consent. It might be hard to ensure they are real, and their customer service might need to improve.

Is online gambling legal in Illinois? No, these sites outside your country can give you the much-wanted link to online poker fun as a resident.

It is difficult to say if Illinois will legalize online poker. Nevertheless, this area's legislative momentum helps online gamblers keep hope alive. Online poker was part of a bill that the Senate and House of Representatives put forward in 2021 about online casinos. As a result of the bill's passage, online poker will be legal for residents of the state.

Illinois poker

History of gambling in Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly approved horse racing at pari-mutuel risk in 1927, making it the first primary gambling event to be legalized in the state. The state went further to legalize bingo games in 1971, followed by the launch of the Illinois lottery in 1974.

The Illinois lottery sold 7,000 lottery tickets in its maiden edition.

The state then launched the Illinois Pick3 game in 1982 and the Illinois Pick4 game in 1984; lotteries also came up at the same time as the Pick4 game. The state government later approved the charitable games of chance as a non-profit organization in 1986.

In 1990, the state gave ten riverboat casino licenses so that they could start offering gambling. Illinois was the second state to make riverboat casinos legal. These casinos are on boats that travel down rivers. September 11, 1991, marked the takeoff of the first riverboat casino in the state.

The Riverboat Gambling Act was signed in 1999 by the then-governor, removing the need for boats to cruise while gambling activities in Illinois were underway. This converted riverboat casinos to dockside casinos or de facto land-based casinos. The act did not cover online casinos in Illinois.

The lottery launched Pick 'n Play in 2003, combining online and instant games.

Online casinos in Illinois that allow sports betting are referred to as "sportsbooks," and their operations are entirely legitimate. There are currently many sportsbooks operating in the state, and there are strong signs that further online casino Illinois games may be permitted.

Responsible gambling in Illinois

Gambling is an exciting engagement, but problems can arise when it results in compulsive behaviors, which can be destructive to gamblers. Unfortunately, anybody can become a victim of compulsive gambling, irrespective of social status, wealth, gender, ethnicity, or even age.

There are no Il gambling laws protecting against compulsive behavior. However, the government partners with civic organizations to promote responsible gaming Illinois, assist gamblers, and prevent compulsive behaviors. The civic groups help people struggling with gambling addiction and give emotional support to their families. Civil organizations provide the necessary tools or prevent compulsive gambling behaviors from manifesting and assist victims in overcoming the problem.

The support system provided by the government is free of charge. Billing the victims could worsen their problems since many already have money problems because of gambling.

Check below for how to predetermine compulsive behavior:

  • Disinterest in hobbies or activities that were usually enjoyed
  • Using gambling to escape from loneliness
  • Avoiding work and family events to spare time for gambling
  • The feeling of depression consequent of heavy loss from gambling
  • Lying about gambling to family, friends, and loved ones
  • Risking more money than you can afford on gambling
  • Stealing or borrowing money for gambling


Illinois still has a long way to go since gambling is restricted chiefly to land-based casinos. Only sports betting is accessible online and offline legally in the state. You can access online betting Illinois, aside from sports betting, from the state. Still, you will have to do that via offshore gambling sites, many of which are not adequately regulated.

The risks involved in partnering with offshore gambling platforms are great, and the cost may be greater than the pleasure derivable from online gambling. Therefore, it is best to be patient until the government of Illinois legalizes online gambling, allowing people to play casino games from home without any risks or breaking the law.

The House and Senate are making moves to get online casinos legalized. As a result, legalizing online casinos is a possibility in the state. Nevertheless, people can only say precisely when the legalization will happen.


What kind of casino games can I play online?

You can play many games online, but only online sports betting is permitted in Illinois. Residents interested in any other game will have to visit land-based casinos for entertainment. You may also register with offshore gambling platforms for easy access to online games, but this move can be risky.

How are IL online gambling sites regulated?

Online gambling is not permitted in Illinois, but you can access sports betting online. Online sports betting in Illinois is regulated by the Illinois Racing Board (IRB). Aside from sports, poker is the only other game that can be bet online in the state. Anyone interested in these other games will have to visit a land-based casino in the state.

Who can play at IL legal online gambling sites?

Those who want to take advantage of sports betting online can access various games in Illinois. In addition, gambling platforms offer different categories of sports events, increasing the chance for customers to make a lot of money from gambling.

What are online casinos available in IL?

Illinois does not allow any other kind of online gambling, so the only online casinos that can be used are those that offer sports betting. The chance of legalizing online gambling in the state is high, but no one can say specifically when that will happen. When online casinos are fully legalized, gamblers have to make do with land-based casinos or go online only for sports betting.

Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling

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