For the last few years, most of the gambling attention in the United States was focused on sports betting. No surprises here, considering sports betting is a massive global industry; however, if you’re in Illinois, you should perhaps leave sports betting for another day and instead visit one of its many casinos.
However, those who prefer to play online casinos will be saddened to hear that online gambling in Illinois is not legal. But while there is no real money online casinos in Illinois, the Land of the Lincoln has several different options for you to gamble online.
Online Casinos (Real Money)
While internet gambling laws in Illinois do not permit online gambling of any kind, there are a whole host of offshore betting sites available to casino fans. Illinois isn’t known for its gambling, but there are some great sports teams such as the NBA‘s Chicago Bulls, meaning there is a certain demand for online wagering.
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Many gamblers in the state of Illinois have the option of going to casinos to wager. However, for those bettors that want to wager on online casino markets, you’ve come to the right place. We have a full list of great online casino providers, offering unique bonuses and a complete range of unique slots and casino games.
- Bovada – Bovada is one of the most well-known online bookmakers around. As far as casino betting goes, the Bovada service is as good as they come. It offers a great range of slots and casino games, backed up by some excellent deposit bonuses, game-specific and ongoing bonuses.
- GTBets – The GTBets is another highly popular casino, which first came onto the scene back in 2011, supported by an excellent mobile betting app. GTBets features some great games and slot games, many of which are unique to the platform.
- BetOnline – BetOnline first hit the scene back in 2004 and has since garnered a huge following within the online gambling community, not just for its excellent casino but also a great sportsbook. The company has grown quickly due to its excellent reputation and a dedication to providing some of the best games around.
- MyBookie – From great bonuses to a seemingly endless list of casino games, MyBookie really ticks all the boxes when it comes to online casinos. An extensive range of deposit and withdrawal methods makes getting started with MyBookie an easy process.
- BetUS – This sportsbook has a lot of experience having been in the industry for over 2 decades now. For casino lovers it’s a really great option as the sportsbook is often the focus, it’s true that the casino is as comprehensive as they come. Well worth taking a look at BetUS if you’re interested in gambling in online casinos.
Best Illinois Online Casinos
Online casinos in Illinois are illegal, meaning that you will not be able to visit any real money online casinos while in the state. While googling for the “best online casino in Illinois” might result in more than a handful of hits, none of the sites are actually related to the state.
Above we listed some of the best offshore bookmakers available to those residing in Illinois and below we’ll go into detail about Illinois-based online casinos. But, before that, here we have a shortlist of those sites:
- Chumba Casino
- Global Poker
While Illinois residents are out of luck if they wish to gamble in an online casino, the state has many different ways to satisfy your online gambling needs. In fact, the only two notable exceptions are online casinos and online poker.
Since online casinos aren’t legal in Illinois, the next best thing to playing in an online casino are sweepstakes sites, which offer you the same experience as an online casino would, but legally. There are plenty of sweepstakes sites in Illinois – here are three great options for you to check out.
Online casinos might not be legal in Illinois, but if you’re looking for a good alternative in a sweepstakes site, Funzpoints is the place to be. Funzpoints is a US-based social casino that offers Illinois residents another way to play their favorite online games.
As a casino, Funzpoints has two modes you can choose to play on, standard and premium. In standard mode, users can play games without depositing any money and instead play with Funzpoints points.
The premium mode allows its users to play with real money, offering its players to enjoy an experience that comes close to a real money online casino in Illinois. You can buy premium points which you then use to play your favorite games, and later change the points into real cash.
The best part about Funzpoints is its daily jackpot draws, which players can join and compete in simply by staying active on the website. The more you play, the more tickets you receive for the jackpot draw that awards the winners with cash prizes.
While there are many alternatives to online casinos in Illinois, Funzpoints is one of the most popular. If you are 18 or older and a US citizen, you can legally join Funzpoints and give it a go.
Like Funzpoints, Chumba Casino has earned a name as one of the best promotional sweepstakes social online casinos for Illinois citizens. Chumba Casino offers one of the largest selections of online slot games in Illinois and table games to keep you busy.
Chumba Casino operates with two currencies, Gold Coins, which can be purchased through the website, and Sweeps Coins, which are essentially a free currency for you to use to play on its games without risking losing your hard-earned cash.
Chumba Casino users can obtain Sweeps Coins through several methods, including social media contests, via mail, and as a free gift for purchasing Gold Coins. Since Chumba Casino is a sweepstakes casino and not a real money online casino, you cannot win money; however, you can redeem the coins for cash prizes.
At Chumba Casino, you’ll be able to find nearly 100 games, including regular and progressive slots, blackjack tables, roulette, and video poker. It might not be an online casino in Illinois, but it comes as close to it as it can while being completely legal.
If sweepstakes online casinos in Illinois are not your thing and would instead prefer to enjoy some online poker, look no further than Global Poker. It is a legal US poker site available to all players from the United States, including Illinois.
Global Poker is a browser-based site compatible with almost all modern devices, including Windows, Android, and iOS. While not a proper online poker website, Global Poker is a sweepstake-based poker room that uses Sweeps Coins instead of real cash.
Even though Global Poker does not allow you to play with real money as some real money online casinos would, you can still redeem its Sweeps Coins for cash prizes.
Global Poker offers No-Limit Texas Hold ’em, Fixed-Limit Texas Hold ’em, and Pot-Limit Omaha as its main three poker games. You can join six-man or nine-man tables, as well as Sit n’ Gos, Multi-Table Tournaments, and many more game modes.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line online poker experience in the state of Illinois, Global Poker is the place to be.
Online Gambling in Illinois
Online casinos in Illinois are not legal, nor can you enjoy non-sweepstakes online poker. While Illinois hasn’t approved laws for either of these two types just yet, there is some good news for Illinois residents.
Illinois’ nearby states such as Michigan have online casinos and online poker up and running, and given the success, the Great Lake State has had by legalizing the two, there is a good chance Illinois lawmakers could start looking in the same direction.
The success the state of Michigan has had by allowing two online gambling activities must have caught the attention of the Illinois government, who will sooner or later want to stop observing the positive effects and instead look to legalize online casinos in Illinois.
History of Gambling in Illinois
Expecting Illinois to legalize online poker and online casinos don’t seem too far-fetched, and it could be happening sooner than expected. That is mainly due to Illinois’s relatively liberal laws when it comes to gambling.
Illinois first introduced legal and regulated pari-mutuel horse race betting way back in 1927 and since added its first lottery in 1974, becoming one of the first states to do so. With the success the lottery has had in the Land of Lincoln, it should not come off as a surprise that Illinois became the first state to start selling online lottery tickets in 2012 and is still one of few states that do.
That, however, wasn’t the only instance where Illinois became the first state to start exploring new ways of expanding the gambling industry. In 1990, Illinois became the second US state to allow riverboat gambling (after Iowa), and only a year later, Illinois opened the first riverboat casino – Alton Belle, which later became Argosy Casino Alton.
Fast forward a few years, Illinois enacted the Video Gaming Act in 2009, allowing the placement of Video Gaming Terminals (or VGTs) in licensed retail locations, veteran and fraternal establishments, and truck stops.
Ten years later (2019), Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act. The law further sped up the growth of gambling in the state by permitting six new casinos to be built in addition to allowing tracks to convert to so-called “racinos” by adding slots and table games at the venue.
If Illinois’ state laws over the years are any indication, it’s only a matter of time before the lawmakers take a step further and make online casinos and online poker legal.
Top Illinois Land-Based Casinos
Without the ability to play real money online casinos in Illinois, the obvious place to play in Illinois is its land-based casinos. Interestingly enough, most Illinois casinos are riverboats that are permanently moored on waterways.
We’ll take a look at the most popular land-based casinos in Illinois shortly, providing our readers with more details about these unique betting locations. But, for now, here’s a short list:
- Grand Victoria Casino
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
- Hollywood Casino Joliet
If you’re not a big fan of riverboat casinos, Illinois has plenty of land-based casinos as well. While it really comes down to a personal preference of which casino you will end up visiting, we have compiled a list of Illinois casinos you should look at during your stay in the Land of Lincoln.
Grand Victoria Casino
Location: 250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120, United States
Owner: Eldorado Resorts Inc.
Grand Victoria Casino is an Illinois casino in the style of the grand old riverboat, which has remained relatively untouched since it opened in 1994. While its vintage look adds a bit of charm, Grand Victoria Casino is mainly known for offering a gambling experience like no other in the area.
Grand Victoria Casino’s gaming floor covers nearly 30,000 square feet. It offers over 1,000 slots for you to play on, including video poker games, High Limit Room, Vegas-style games, a poker room, and a sportsbook onsite.
The casino also has four restaurants, a lounge, and two seasonal entertainment venues. Although Grand Victoria Casino does not have a hotel, there are plenty nearby.
Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
Location: 777 Jumer Dr, Rock Island, IL 61201, United States
Owner: Delaware North Companies
If riverboat casinos aren’t your thing, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel should be more to your liking.
Jumer’s Casino & Hotel has over 42,000 square feet of gaming space, filled with more than 1,000 slot machines, 24 table games, live-action poker, as well as a high-limit slot room. You can find all that on one gaming floor in one of the largest land-based casinos in the state of Illinois.
Besides the vast array of gambling options, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel also features two standalone bars, four restaurants, a gift shop, lakeside driving with floating targets, and, as its name would suggest, a hotel.
Its five-story hotel features 205 rooms, including 11 luxury suites, and is one of the highest-rated hotels in the state.
Hollywood Casino Joliet
Location: 777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436, United States
Owner: Penn National Gaming, Inc.
Even though Illinois is mainly known for its riverboat casinos, you can’t finish your trip to the Land of Lincoln without visiting Hollywood Casino Joliet. Although not nearly as big as Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Hollywood Casino Joliet uses its 50,000 square feet of the casino floor to its fullest with 1,100 modern slot machines, video poker machines.
Adding to that, the casino features a large selection of table games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, and much more. If you prefer poker, Hollywood Casino Joliet has got you covered with a five-table live poker action room to round up a proper casino experience.
Its large selection of gambling options, however, isn’t enough for a true Hollywood experience. For that reason, Hollywood Casino Joliet added a luxury hotel, fine dining options, and a Hollywood Stadium sports bar with up to eight games showing at once on a massive 80×20-foot video screen.
Hollywood Casino Joliet offers much more than gambling. With its red carpet service in a luxury property, you truly feel like living the life of a star.