Illinois Online Casinos 2021

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If you’re looking to play at Illinois online casinos, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Unfortunately, online casino gaming in Illinois is still illegal. However, land-based casinos will see an increase now Senate Bill 690 passed. This bill allows five new casinos in the cities of Danville, Waukegan, Rockford, Cook, and Williamson counties.

To learn more about what to expect from Illinois online casinos, read the full article below.

Illinois Online Casinos

Illinois Gambling Laws

As mentioned, online casino gambling is illegal in Illinois. Historically, it’s been a low priority amongst lawmakers. However, Illinois does give visitors the chance to play casino games at 10 riverboat casinos. Illinois was the second state to legalize them via the Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990.

Online poker is also included in the ban on online casino gaming. However, sweepstakes poker has managed to stay in play through legal loopholes. Generally, sweepstakes poker is similar to video poker. Conversely, it uses a dual currency system. This allows it to remain as a ‘sweepstakes’ game rather than a ‘casino’ game.

The Video Gaming Act in 2009 allowed for the placement of video lottery terminals (VLTs) in retail locations. VLTs are similar to slot machines but do not fall under the same restrictions. As of 2016, there were more than 24,000 VLTs at over 5,600 locations across the state.

Senate Bill 690

The recently passed SB 690 authorizes a number of new casino expansions in the state. Below, we dig into the highlights.

A Chicago Casino & Airport Slots

A new privately-owned casino in the city of Chicago after many years of debate. The casino will hold a maximum of 4,000 gaming machines and table games. The license for the Chicago-based casino would be subject to an upfront fee of $30,000 for every gaming position, which can go up to $120m if the casino offers a maximum of 4,000 positions.

Also authorized by Senate Bill 690 is the offering of slot machines in departure areas at O’Hare Airport and Midway airports. The airport slots operations should be included in the Chicago casino’s overall allocation of 4,000 gaming positions.

Expanding Casinos & Racinos

On top of the Chicago Casino, five other land-based casinos are authorized by SB 690. They are located in Danville, Waukegan, Rockford, Cook, and Williamson. Each casino will be permitted to have up to 2,000 gaming positions. This is half the allotted number for the Chicago-based casino. Furthermore, the casino in Williamson County will only have 1,200.

Meanwhile, the three operating Illinois racetracks can now turn into racinos. The three racetracks are Arlington Park, Hawthorne Race Course, and Fairmount Park. Likewise, the Fairmount Park Racino will be slightly smaller than the Hawthorne Race and Arlington Park. It will have 900 gaming positions to the other’s 1,200.

Finally, the ten currently running riverboat casinos will be allowed to add 800 more gaming positions. This raises the cap from 1,200 to 2,000. Plus, riverboat casinos now have permission to become land-based casinos. Thus, they may move into new facilities adjacent to riverboats.

Best Illinois Online Casinos

There are currently no Illinois online casinos in action and this isn’t expected to change in the very near future. Instead, lawmakers have been set on changing Illinois online sports betting laws which now allows Illinois casinos and racetracks with master sports wagering licenses to launch online betting in addition to physical sportsbooks.

If a change of legal status were to occur in Illinois, legalizing online slots & online casino games, it is likely that the first operators to enter the market will be the land-based casinos that are already running. Like in most other states that have legalized online casino gaming such as New Jersey, the best online gambling sites require a license from a land-based casino. This, however, will not eliminate the possibility of a known online casino brand from teaming up with an Illinois brick and mortar casino to provide an online product.

Keep in mind that with the addition of Senate Bill 690, there is the possibility of six new land-based casinos being added in Illinois. These casinos should also have the ability to add an online section to their platform when the legalization of online casino games happens.

Possible Future Illinois Gambling Sites

The following Illinois riverboat casinos are currently active and first in line to provide online gambling in the state.

  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet
  • Casino Queen
  • Grand Victoria Casino
  • Harrah’s Joliet
  • Argosy Casino Alton
  • Jumer’s Casino Rock Island
  • Rivers Casino
  • Par-a-Dice Hotel Casino
  • Harrah’s Metropolis

The six land-based casinos in Chicago, Danville, Waukegan, Rockford, as well as Cook and Williamson counties have not yet become operational but will also be possible future Illinois gambling sites.

Online Poker Illinois

Illinois online poker sites are also illegal, much like online casino platforms. It is expected that online poker and online casino gaming will share a similar fate regarding legalization in Illinois, with both taking a back seat to online sports betting at the moment. There is currently no timeline for legal online poker in the state.

If and when online poker becomes legalized in Illinois, operators will probably come from land-based casino providers. Popular poker brands will also probably likely make a play to enter the market by partnering up with brick and mortar casinos.

If you’re looking to play poker online at the moment, your only option is sweepstakes poker which is available due to loopholes via creative interpretations of gambling laws. Sweepstakes poker sites operate using a dual-currency system and are thus classified as sweepstakes platforms rather than online casinos, which keep them in compliance with US laws. Note however that online sweepstakes poker is not based in the US.

A number of Chicago poker rooms can be found throughout the city for live play as well as all over the state of Illinois.

Illinois Casino Apps

Since online casino games and poker are illegal in Illinois, there are no casino apps available at the moment in the state nor are there any apps in the pipeline. It will take major legal developments for Illinois casino brands to go into production, so don’t expect any casino apps until the legal status of online gambling is resolved.

Illinois sports betting apps, on the other hand, should be available in the very near future, with the legalization of online sportsbooks through Senate Bill 690. It should be kept in mind that all sportsbooks will be required to register online betting accounts in person at their facilities, similar to Nevada, for a period of at least 18 months after SB 690 takes effect. After the 18 month period, the bill will proceed to implement a broader rollout of online sports betting, as specified.