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Legal Illinois Online Gambling, Poker & Casinos

It's taken some time but Illinois's Land of Lincoln is slowly but surely coming around to the idea of gambling. Horse racing bets are now permitted both on and off the race track, state lotteries are welcomed, along with traditional casino table games and poker.

For many years, the small town of Shabbona has been keen to introduce a tribal casino to the state, but the state remains without tribal gaming to this day.

Illinois Gambling Laws - Summary and Look to the Future 

Although Illinois' Senate President, John Cullerton, is in favor of online casinos and online poker, it seems that the state's Congress is still very much divided in terms of its viability. A plan to legalize online gambling was thrown out in 2013 and that was the last time Illinois attempted to decriminalize iGaming in the state.

Illinois Gambling Laws - A Brief History

  • 1830 - Illinois approves the opening of its inaugural racetrack in Chicago.
  • 1840 - The concept of riverboat gambling begins.
  • 1975 - Inaugural Illinois State Lottery established.
  • 1987 - Illinois state permits horse racing bets to be placed away from trackside.
  • 1990 - Illinois state approves Riverboat Gambling Act.
  • 1999 - Riverboat Gambling Act amended to enable riverboats to offer gambling when docked.
  • 2009 - Video Gaming Act passed.
  • 2012 - Congress throws out attempts to legalize online poker in Illinois.
  • 2013 - State passes legislation to permit online lottery ticket sales.
  • 2015 - Attorney General deems daily fantasy sports portals as illegal.

What Types of Gambling are Legal in Illinois?

  • Casino Gambling – Casino gambling is legal in Illinois and it takes place on riverboats in various places throughout the state. For many years, there have been talks of adding a casino in downtown Chicago but it hasn’t happened as of yet. You can follow the latest on gambling in Illinois here.
  • Sports Betting – Betting on Horse Racing is legal in Illinois and there are many racetracks offering both thoroughbred racing and trotters. Illinois has introduced a sports betting bill recently but it hasn’t passed as of yet. Follow the progress of Illinois sports betting here.
  • Online Betting – All of the major horse racing betting sites are available for online betting in Illinois and lottery tickets are available for online purchase.
  • Daily Fantasy – Daily Fantasy Sports players from Illinois are accepted by most of the major sites but there is still a contention among Illinois lawmakers that it shouldn’t be considered legal.
  • Poker - Every casino in Illinois has a poker room.
  • Bingo – Bingo in Illinois must be run by charitable organizations and they must have a license that costs $200 per year. The maximum prize for Bingo is $500, the maximum prize pool per day is $2,250.
  • Lottery – Illinois has a lottery and allows interstate lottery ticket sales as well. The Illinois lottery had funding issues at one point which damaged sales.
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