Chicago is one of the biggest sports cities in the United States, home to top teams like the Bulls, Bears, and the White Socks.
It is also the biggest city in Illinois by some distance, closing in on 3 million residents.

It is only natural that Chicagoans would want to place wagers on their favorite teams and favorite sports, especially after the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for individual states to make their own betting laws.

That go-ahead came in May 2018 when the highest court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection, which had banned sports betting in most US states up until that point.


Many states soon opened their doors to betting, with Illinois joining in June 2019, just over a year after the landmark ruling.

Hence, sports wagering is indeed legal in the state and in its largest city, Chicago.


Players in Chicago are free to bet on any of the seven legal books in the state and take advantage of additional betting products like reward programs and valuable bonuses available on Illinois sportsbooks.

The major conditions for placing bets legally in Chicago are that you must be at least 21 years old and must be physically located anywhere in Illinois.

Betting enthusiasts in Illinois were initially mandated to visit the casino partners of their favorite sportsbooks if they wanted to sign up, but in-person registration was temporarily suspended in June 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. 

However, it was reinstated in April 2021 when restrictions on movement began to ease.

That requirement was finally scrapped for good on March 5, 2022, allowing players all over the state to open sports betting accounts from the comfort of their mobile devices.

Photo: Daily Herald

Despite the sports betting bill being passed in 2019, it was not until March 2020 that the first retail sports wagers were placed in Illinois at Rivers Casino, while online wagering followed soon after in June 2020.

Betrivers, owned by Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive, became the first operators to render online betting services to Chicago residents.

The number of legal online sportsbooks in Illinois swelled to five by the end of 2020, with FanDuel, Caesars, DraftKings, and Pointsbet all launching in the state.

Barstool went live in 2021, while BetMGM became the seventh and latest operator (as of the time of writing) to launch their mobile app, joining the party in March 2022.


Compared to other states like New Jersey and Arizona, the number of legal sportsbooks in Illinois is relatively small, but given the big prospects in the state, more operators are expected to join in the coming months and years.


In March 2023, Illinois sports betting recorded a handle of $1.07 billion, putting the state in second place behind New York among all legal sports betting states in the US.

As is the case in many US states, FanDuel and DraftKings lead the Illinois market, followed by Betrivers, which continues to ride on home advantage to hold off the likes of Caesars and BetMGM.


Chicagoans are clearly making the most of legal sports betting in the city, and you can definitely join in the fun by signing up on any of the operators already mentioned above.

Photo: Daily Herald

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