Illinois Online Gambling

Gambling Information and Online Casino Listings

If you want to play online poker, slots, blackjack or roulette in IL, you need to join an offshore website, preferably a reputable casino brand without any concerning flaws, one that treats its customers fairly. Most importantly, it needs to accept players from the US.

Fortunately, the number of such casinos is satisfactory and the best brands make it easy for players in states like Illinois, where there isn’t a local online gaming market, to enjoy wagering online on their favorite slots and other gambling games.

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Neighbouring States: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin

History of Gambling in Illinois

Gambling activities in the State of Illinois have an interesting background. Riverboat gambling and horse racing have been the peaks of the Illinois gambling industry, supported by a population of nearly 12.9 million. Going back to the 1800’s, we can find traces of unlicensed riverboat casinos which served shady people at the stud poker tables. Horse race betting was legalized in the 1920s, so then people were able to enjoy parlor casino ambience and the thrill at the races. Pari-mutuel betting on the horses became a huge success and evolved into a respectable gambling industry in the Prairie State.

What brought the Illinois gambling scene under the spotlight of history was the fact that it was the first state to legitimize State Lottery, in 1974. The idea was to fund local schools. Now, Illinois State Lottery ranks among the top 10 in the US in terms of revenue, and earns 60% of the profits from selling scratch-offs. Of course, it also offers interstate games like MegaMillions and Powerball. In 1975, the Illinois Horse Racing Act was signed into effect, allowing licensed tracks to offer both harness and thoroughbred racing. A decade later, simulcast wagering and off-track betting were approved. The glorious return of riverboat casinos happened in 1991, when laws were passed allowing them to offer gambling games as long as they were always moving on the rivers. Patrons would wait in long lines for hours for the boats to set sail in the evenings, until the clause regarding moving casinos were eventually repealed in 1999.

More games were allowed to be added to racetracks, and also land-based casinos, in 2011 with the Casinos Act SB744. When it comes to online wagering, Illinois has mixed feeling towards it. The state allows the selling of online lottery tickets, but explicitly outlaws offering online gambling services through online casinos within Illinois borders.

 

Land based casinos

As tax dollars were pouring into casinos from neighboring states like Indiana and Iowa, politicians grew tired of it and loosened Illinois regulations, allowing riverboat casinos to flourish and eventually announced the possibility of six brick and mortar casinos being built, including one in Chicago. Strangely enough, Illinois remains without tribal gaming, although there are registered tribes on the state territory. The problem is how both parties - the state government and the tribe - define reservations, because tribal casinos are only allowed to be built on Native American reservations. The Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe wanted to claim their right to offer gambling and construct a bingo hall in 2016, 70 miles west of Chicago. The US Department of the Interior didn’t allow it, as the 128 acres owned by the Prairie Band Potawatomi didn’t count as legitimate reservation land.

All in all, Illinoisans enjoy more than enough gambling options thanks to riverboat casinos. There are 10 of them; River Casino Des Plaines was the 10th to acquire a license to operate in 2012. Cook County, along with the city of Chicago, does not allow riverboat gambling so as to protect the horse racing industry in that area. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island, and Casino Queen in East. St. Louis qualify as being riverboat casinos, but you can also consider them legit land-based casinos, as they are built upon shallow pits with some water in them.

All casinos in Illinois do not allow smoking and they aren’t open 24/7. The two largest facilities are Hollywood Casino Joliet and Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino. Hollywood Casino Joliet offers nearly 1,200 slot machines and 20 table games. It stretches across 50,000 square feet and includes 4 restaurants. Its opening hours are 7:30 am - 5:30 am daily. Par-A-Dice Hotel features over 1,150 slots and more than 21 table games. It is a 1,600-passenger boat docked on the Illinois River, with 4 restaurants and 195 rooms. Casino Hours: are from 8 am to 4am/6am (Fri/Sat). More interesting venues include Harrah's Metropolis and Jumer's Casino & Hotel.

 

Online casinos

Ignition is a site which Accepts Visa, Bitcoin and wire transfers and targets players from the US, offering them the best software available right now. Ignition Casino houses a huge range of slots from Real Time Gaming and Rival Gaming, from classic slots to interactive video slots with bonus games and lucrative features. Ignition is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Bovada Casino is a sister site Ignition, only with a slightly longer career in the industry. Bovada’s attractions are dedicated customer support and prompt payouts, as well as a sportsbook, racebook and a full-featured casino.

 

Regulation and legality of online gambling

The Illinois Criminal Code addresses internet gambling as an illegal offense in Article 29 Sect. 28-1. A person is doing something illegal if he or she “[…] knowingly establishes, maintains, or operates an Internet site that permits a person to play a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value by means of the Internet or to make a wager upon the result of any game, contest, political nomination, appointment, or election by means of the Internet.”

The language is primarily focused on operators and could hardly be used against online gamblers within IL.

 

Fun Facts about Illinois

  • Illinois is famous for several Abraham Lincoln historic sites. President Lincoln spent most of his life in IL and lived there at the moment he was elected. One of the state’s nicknames is Land of Lincoln. The life of the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, is documented in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum located in in the state capital of Springfield (not the Springfield from The Simpsons).

 

  • Chicago's nickname, the Windy City, has nothing to do with how much wind there is in the city. It was given to Chicago by a New York City journalist who was describing long-winded politicians campaigning for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893.
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