How to Start Sports Betting in Illinois: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Soldier Field

  • Looking to start sports betting in the state of Illinois? There's one site live in the state (BetRivers), and DraftKings Sportsbook should be launching shortly.
  • Below, we'll outline the steps to follow to make sure you pick the right sports betting app and find the best offers available.

Updated July 25, 2020

While the launch of legal sports betting in Illinois was quickly overshadowed by the suspension of leagues across the globe in early March, the pandemic has since forced the state to make online sports betting available.

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Initially, Illinois bettors had to open sportsbook accounts at brick-and-mortar locations. Now, thanks to an executive order signed by governor J.B. Pritzker in compliance with social distancing efforts, that has changed.

Now Illinois bettors can sign up for a sportsbook account, deposit funds and place wagers from anywhere in the state.

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how to do it.

How To Bet On Sports In Illinois

Step 1: Choose A Sportsbook

Of course, with the in-person registration requirement being only recently lifted, there is only one mobile operator in the state as of July 9: BetRivers, where you can get an instant $250 deposit match. That means if you deposit $250 into your account, BetRivers will match it dollar-for-dollar in the form of bonus bets. (Note: You’re not required to deposit $250; it’s just the max bonus on the 100% deposit match. So if you’re more comfortable funding your account with, say, $100, that’s totally fine.)

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More sportsbooks are expected to launch online operations in the state soon, including DraftKings Sportsbook, which is now allowing those in Illinois to sign up for accounts. The book has even gone as far to offer all new sign-ups $100 for free, with no deposit required.

Step 2: Create An Account Online

You can follow a few easy steps to set up an account at BetRivers. Like many sportsbooks, BetRivers will require proof of identity and age when setting up an account, so be prepared to provide personal information.

Step 3: Deposit Money Online

With the elimination of the state’s previous in-person registration requirement, Illinois sports bettors can make their first deposit online immediately after signing up for a sportsbook.

BetRivers, the only online operator as of early July, accepts the following deposit methods:

  • Online banking
  • PayPal
  • Play+
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • Matercard
  • PayNearMe

Illinois bettors will be pleased to know that withdrawing is as simple as depositing. Options include online banking, PayPal and more. And even if you’re just visiting Illinois to place bets, you can withdraw from outside of state lines.

Step 4: Make Your First Bet

While Illinois bettors haven’t had many sports available to bet on with COVID-19 disrupting much of the typical sports calendar since March, more and more leagues are resuming play.

You can currently bet on golf and UFC, as well as NASCAR and Korean baseball. There are also futures markets available for MLB and NBA, which are expected back at the end of July.

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