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Illinois Casinos & Gambling

Illinois Regulated Gambling:

Horse Racing 1927

Charity Games 1986

Lotteries 1974

Cruise Casinos 1990/Land-based Casinos 2019

Gambling Age in Illinois:

Lotteries/Pari-Mutuel & Horse Race Betting/Charity Gaming 18+

Casinos/Video Gaming Terminals 21+

Illinois Land-Based Facilities:

Casinos 10


Illinois Gambling Overview

At present, there are 10 casino cruise ships in the state. The Illinois Gaming Board regulates and collects taxes for both these and land-based casino gambling. The state permits table games: craps, baccarat, poker, twenty-one, video games of chance, slot machine, keno, roulette wheels, numbers ticket, and pull tabs.

Charity gaming, daily fantasy sports, fantasy sports, lottery, pari-mutuel & horse racing are all permitted in the state.

Although internet gambling is not legal, Bill HB3142 underwent its first reading on February 19, 2021. It has now been referred to the Rules Committee. This Internet Gaming Act proposal would permit racetracks and casinos to offer Internet gaming under the regulatory authority of the Illinois Gaming Board.

Sports Betting

Sports betting was legalized in 2019, with July the first full month. The Illinois Sports Wagering Act allows the 10 state casinos, 3 horse tracks, and seven largest sports venues to operate a sportsbook. This enables players from Illinois to wager at physical locations and online using sportsbook apps like FanDuel and DraftKings. State law requires that customers using a mobile app must first register at a physical site.


Lottery games in Illinois are authorized under the Illinois lottery law. The Illinois State Lottery is operated by the Camelot Group since January 2018, which also operates the UK National Lottery. It offers state and multistate lotteries such as Mega Millions and Powerball. On March 20, 2012, Illinois was the first state to begin offering internet lottery sales.

Charity Games

Charity games are authorized under the Charitable Games Act. Not-for-profit charitable organizations are permitted subject to license and limited to no more than 12 charitable game events per annum. Bingo is authorized under the Bingo License and Tax Act. Operators must purchase a license for $200/year. A bingo event must be held no more than once per week with a maximum of 25 bingo games each. The maximum prizes must not exceed $2,250 per event. In some counties, this rises to $3,250.

Fantasy Sports & Daily Fantasy Sports

Illinois permits both fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports after the Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that they are skill-based competitions. Big providers like Draft Kings and Fan Duel can legally accept bettors from the state.

Horse Racing and Pari-Mutuel

Horse racing and pari-mutuel betting are regulated by the state through the Illinois Racing Board. Illinois has two types of horse racing which are harness racing and thoroughbred racing. The Board is also responsible for licensing off-track betting facilities. OTB is available at 37 authorized parlors, 5 horse racing tracks, and through mobile. Simulcast racing is also open in the state.

Riverboat & Land-Based Gambling in Illinois

Riverboat gambling is permitted on any water in Illinois or any other water except for Lake Michigan, representing the state boundary. A docked riverboat on Lake Michigan may also conduct riverboat gambling. These can offer table games, including blackjack, roulette, craps, video poker, slots, and sportsbook. Land-based casinos were legalized in June 2019, but none have yet opened. There are no tribal casinos in the state.

Casinos Address Website
Argosy Casino Alton 1 Piasa Street – Alton, IL 62002
DraftKings at Casino Queen 200 S. Front Street – East St. Louis, IL 62201
Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel 151 N. Joliet Street – Joliet, IL 60432
Elgin Riverboat Resort 250 S. Grove Ave. – Elgin, IL 60120
Hollywood Casino Aurora 1 W. New York St, Aurora, IL 60506
Hollywood Casino Joliet 777 Hollywood Blvd. – Joliet, IL 60436
Rivers Casino Des Plaines 3000 S. River Road – Des Plaines, IL 60018
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino 21 Blackjack Blvd. – East Peoria, IL 61611
Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel 100 E. Front Street – Metropolis, IL 62960
Jumer’s Casino & Hotel 777 Jumer Drive – Rock Island, IL 61201

Illinois Gambling History

Horse racing was legalized in 1927, and under the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975, pari-mutuel betting also became legal. Off-track betting (OTB) parlors followed in 1987.

In February 1990, Illinois passed the Riverboat Gambling Act to legalize riverboat gambling. They would begin operating a year later, and there are presently 10. In 1999 enactment PA 91-40 allowed dockside riverboat gambling which saw an increase in gambling dollar value.

In July 2009, five video gaming terminals were placed in licensed retail establishments, veteran and fraternal establishments, and truck stops.

Fast forward to December 2015, the attorney general concluded that fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports represent illegal gambling. In April 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned this decision. FS/DFS is considered legal because it is more of a game of skill.

On June 28, 2019, the Illinois Gambling Act was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, overhauling gaming laws in the state, including online sports wagering and land-based casinos. It also allowed horse tracks to apply for expanded gambling options.

Illinois Gambling FAQ

What types of gambling are legal in Illinois?

Illinois permits casinos, sportsbooks, charity games, pari-mutuel & racing, lottery, and FS/DFS.

Are lotteries legal in Illinois?

Yes, Illinois operates a state lottery, offering draw, scratch, and pull tickets. It also sells multistate tickets like the Mega Millions and Powerball.

Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes, Illinois passed a bill in June 2019 that permitted sports betting at casinos (land-based/online/cruise ship casinos).

Does Illinois have land-based casinos?

In February 1990, riverboat casinos were legalized in Illinois. At present, there are only 10 riverboat casinos in the state. However, in June 2019, gambling was expanded to permit land-based casinos. It’s expected that the number of land-based casinos will grow.

Is daily fantasy sports and fantasy sports legal in Illinois?

Yes, in April 2016, the supreme court of Illinois ruled that DFS and FS are games of skill that are not prohibited under gambling laws.

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