Illinois Sportsbook Apps Reviewed
Illinois is one of the latest states to launch sports betting operations. Sports betting laws ran into some resistance on their way to finally being passed. Various proposals were brought to the floor of the Illinois legislation, but residents in the Land of Lincoln were left waiting at the altar.
After more than a year of legislative proposals, Illinois finally enacted laws to allow sportsbooks and online sportsbook apps to open in the state. Illinois included provisions for online betting as well, but with restrictions.
First, we'll review the history of sports betting in Illinois. We'll discuss the timeline of sports betting in the state and talk about why it took longer than expected. Finally, we'll review the two currently active online sportsbook apps, plus those that are on the doorstep to launch.
Illinois Sports Betting History
Sports betting changed almost immediately in the United States in May 2018. The U.S. Supreme Court stuck down the 26-year federal law that prohibited states from allowing sports betting.
The court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional. This opened a wave of states that began discussing the legislative steps necessary to reap the revenue benefits of legal sportsbooks.
Illinois was one of the states to begin discussions almost immediately. However, the progress by Illinois' lawmakers wasn't as fast as that of other states. Neighboring Indiana beat Illinois in the race to allow sportsbooks to open.
Lawmakers quickly watched as millions of dollars walked across the state line from cities such as Chicago. The Chicago Tribune post an article within days of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to change the sports betting landscape of America.
Much of the reporting on the progress of Illinois sports betting didn't begin in earnest until May 2018. In fact, a number of Illinois lawmakers were working on legislation in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court's favorable ruling.
The Illinois General Assembly had already sent five draft proposals to the governor's office for consideration. However, even after the changes in 2018 at the federal level, Illinois lawmakers spent nearly a full year stuck in negotiations.
By late May 2019, lawmakers had a deal in place. Illinois Senate Bill 690 (SB690) was sent to the desk of Jay Robert Pritzker. The paperwork for legal sports betting in Illinois laid on the governor's desk for nearly a month.
However, on June 28, 2019, Pritzker signed SB690 into law. Despite opening the door for legal sports betting, the legislation still put off until 2020 the ability for sportsbooks to start taking bets officially. There are currently seven physical sportsbook locations where Illinois residents can place a bet.
Following guidelines in the Illinois Constitution, there were a series of public hearings and a number of application reviews held over the next 10 months. On May 9, 2020, the first legal sportsbooks in Illinois finally launched.
Unfortunately, about three days later, most of the sports betting world was put on hold. Once again, Illinois residents would have to play a waiting game. The legislation initially provided for 23 master licenses for physical sportsbook locations.
Lawmakers restricted the number of mobile app only sportsbooks to three and also put a time restriction of 18 months before they could officially launch. This part of SB690 is being renegotiated. Now let's discuss the pair of active sportsbook apps, plus three big names ready to launch in Illinois.
Best Illinois Sportsbook Apps
Despite taking longer than expected, Illinois sports betting laws included provisions for online betting options in the initial legislation. There were restrictions on who could immediately enter the Illinois sports betting market, and the process required to gain a license.
BetRivers was the first to secure a spot, following soon after by DraftKings. Both are taking sports bets from anyone with an account inside the Illinois state lines. Three other prominent names in online sports betting will be coming soon. Let's look at all five.
DraftKings Sportsbook App
DraftKings brings their strong reputation for a wide range of sports bet types and a massive customer base to Illinois. The initial legislation actually prohibited the launch of any online sports betting until late in 2020.
The launch of the two currently active Illinois-based sportsbook apps is somewhat of a surprise. DraftKings negotiated a deal with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis. The initial launch will be physically at the casino location.
However, DraftKings is ready to open up PC and mobile operations almost immediately. In Illinois, DraftKings has announced an additional promotional bonus for new accounts. They will issue a $100 free bonus on top of other promotions.
DraftKings will offer Illinois bettors to additional offers. There is a risk-free first bet up to $500, plus a matching deposit bonus offer of up to $500. New Illinois sports bettors signing up for the DraftKings sportsbook app can get $1,100 in free money promotions.
DraftKings brings one of the more diverse betting platforms to Illinois. All major sports and standard betting line are available. DraftKings posts odds on unique sports like lacrosse, snooker and swimming. DraftKings is ready to be a leader in the Land of Lincoln.
Our next app is one of the most successful sportsbook apps in nearly every state they are active. FanDuel gradually pushed past the competition in states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They are active in other states as well.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel brings a large customer base from their years as a leader in daily fantasy sports. FanDuel has already launched an Illinois sportsbook app sign up page. New accounts cannot legally bet on games as of yet.
But, notification of the FanDuel launch will be made immediately available to all registered accounts. We expect the promotional offers for the FanDuel Sportsbook app in Illinois to mirror those they offered in other states.
New account holders can expect an initial risk-free first bet in the neighborhood of $500. There is some sense that first time deposits may also earn a matching bonus. The FanDuel mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices.
There are many who envision FanDuel linking with a physical sportsbook first, to avoid being bumped by the limitations SB690 placed on the number of mobile only licenses Illinois would initially approve.
There are also discussions about amending this restriction. Sportsbook apps in Illinois appreciate it is a matter of time before they will have to contend with one of the most successful sportsbook apps in the country.
William Hill Sportsbook
When William Hill launches their Illinois sportsbook operations, they will soon prove a strong competitor for customers. The betting giant has affiliations with two current casino operations in the state. These two Harrah's locations are now partnered with Eldorado Resorts.
Eldorado Resorts has casino locations at different points across Illinois. This should clearly give William Hill sportsbook app operations an extensive opportunity at the Illinois sports betting market share.
William Hill has a global reputation. They will offer sports betting on a mobile app or on their website. William Hill will offer new customers $10 just for signing up for a new account. There will be a $150 matching deposit bonus as well.
There are weekly promotions such as the Gridiron Live Club. This can earn William Hill bettors up to $100 on bets posted between Thursday and Wednesday. William Hill will also give back 15 percent on all parlay bets as part of Hail Mary Parlays promotion.
BetMGM Sportsbook (coming soon)
BetMGM is another global betting operation primed to open a sportsbook app in Illinois. New Illinois customers who sign up for a BetMGM account will automatically receive up to a $500 risk-free first bet opportunity.
There will be additional promotions available for BetMGM's valued customers. They frequently will match a $10 bet with a free $10, plus they offer up to 10 percent cash back on various playoff bets.
BetMGM recently inked a partnership agreement with the PGA. They have also entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Wild Wings. The two are ready to offer prediction-type games in states where BetMGM has yet to secure a license, or the state is waiting to legalize sports betting.
BetRivers Sportsbook App
BetRivers owns the distinction of being the first official sportsbook app to launch in Illinois. Their user-friendly platform has generated enormously positive reviews. BetRivers sportsbook app is has a supportive affiliation with Rush Street Interactive.
Rush Street Interactive powers the impressive online performance of the BetRivers app. The Illinois casino partnership for BetRivers is at the Rivers Casino Des Plaines, just outside of Chicago. BetRivers was primed to enter the Illinois market.
By having all their licensing documents and registration requirements in order, they were ready to launch immediately upon official approval of SB690. This strategy allowed BetRivers nearly a month head start on new customer registrations.
Besides an early lead in new bettor accounts, BetRivers also sets the pace in other areas. They provide an excellent array of popular sports bets, plus in-play betting lines. New accounts can receive up to $250 in deposit matching bonus money.
BetRivers has live game streaming, plus an assortment of new daily promotions. The deposit bonus only requires a single play-through to gain access to the funds. BetRivers has an excellent rewards program for dedicated customers.
While a number of sporting events were cancelled immediately after BetRiver's launch, they still enjoy the advantage of an early start. As the first online sportsbook app to launch, we expect BetRivers to be a huge success in Illinois.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is sports betting online legal in Illinois?
- Are there mobile betting apps live?
- How big is the Illinois betting market?
- Is the FanDuel Sportsbook in Illinois ?
- Is the DraftKings Sportsbook in Illinois?
- Can you bet on college sports on apps in Illinois?
While it took more time than expected, sports betting legislation SB690 was signed into law on June 28, 2019. After months of negotiations about licensing and registrations, the official launch occurred on March 9, 2020. Seven physical locations are open, and two sportsbook apps have been cleared.
The early prediction for when mobile betting apps would be available in Illinois was near the end of 2020 at best. However, two sportsbook mobile betting apps have already been given the green light to launch, and three others are pending as soon as the fall of 2020.
The nationwide demand for sports betting has exceeded even the loftiest expectations. The Illinois sports betting market is lucrative. Chicago alone provides massive potential. The Windy City has two MLB teams, plus teams in every other professional sports league. The market is immense.
FanDuel has already started to register new Illinois sports bettors. While they are restricted to the registration process only, everyone who signs up for a new FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook app account will receive instant notification when they officially launch.
DraftKings is the second sports betting app to launch in Illinois. The popular betting platform officially launched in August 2020. The DraftKings license partnership is with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis. Once registered, sports bettors can bet legally on DraftKings from anywhere in the state.
When new seasons begin, BetRivers and DraftKings are set up to offer betting lines for NCAA men's basketball and football. Those sportsbook apps with pending launch dates will undoubtedly include these two very popular college sports on their list of odds.