All About Legit Online Casinos in Illinois
There’s not much we can say about Illinois online casinos. They are practically nonexistent. The latest changes in state legislations were expected to make a change in this industry. We saw liberalization in the rules for sports betting and daily fantasy sports. However, Illinois residents still cannot access state legalized online casino games.
This is a problem, and many politicians see it. There’s a vivid debate going on, and these are the pro-legalization arguments:
- Online casinos enable gamblers to submit a low deposit, access instant play at any time of the day, and get a quick payout when they want it.
- When they don’t get an option to gamble online through a site licensed in the United States, players choose other solutions. They play on sites with offshore licenses. The State of Illinois has an opportunity to earn from this market if they legalize and tax it. That’s what happened with sports betting.
Currently, Illinois players don’t have many options for online gambling. Let’s discuss the issue a bit further, so we’ll trigger a discussion and contribute towards a shift in the lawmakers’ mindset.
The Legal Background of Online Gambling in Illinois
There is no federal law or state regulation that prohibits gambling online. However, online play for real money is illegal, which means that you will not find the best online Illinois casinos with state licenses anytime soon.
Let’s go through some history, which will help us understand the Illinois gaming industry.
In May 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) from 1992 was not in-line with the Tenth Amendment. This enabled the states to create a more liberal environment for sports parlay wagering. Illinois legalized it in June 2019, and the Lottery Commission started granting licenses. But that did not change the status of the online gambling industry.
The bill SB 690 from the legislation by Gov. J.B. Pritzker had a lot of potential. It enabled the Commission to issue more licenses for brick-and-mortar casinos. It also legalized horse race betting and all types of sports betting.
Even the sweepstakes gambling laws may get stricter in the future. In January 2020, legislation proposal sponsored by State Rep. Tim Buttler showed up. The opponents of sweepstakes identify these machines as video gambling that evades the state’s regulations. They want the State of Illinois to ban them. If this happens, online sweepstakes will no longer be an option for Illinois residents.
But at this moment, sweepstakes websites are the only form of online gambling that’s legal in Illinois. Even if the provider uses geo-location software, this state’s residents are allowed to play.
Social Casino Site Options for Illinois Gamblers
Social casino websites and apps are available and legit for Illinois residents. They feature various online casino games, including blackjack and poker. This is a service that allows you to get together with your online friends and play casino games without any money involved.
Facebook offers a great variety of such games. Playing live poker through Facebook is mega popular.
For those who want to gamble in a more realistic way, rewards are essential. If the game doesn’t offer the prizes in the form of money, it’s currently legal in Illinois. That’s what drives so many residents towards sweepstake sites.
Chumba Casino is one of the most popular sites that offer a great variety of sweepstake slots, video poker, and table games. The players get Sweeps Coins free of charge, or buy Gold Coins through the site. These coins are not considered real money, so the casino does not violate state legislation. You can redeem a prize for the sweeps you win, so it’s possible to turn them into real cash.
If you’re looking for alternatives to Chumba Casino that also work in Illinois, you can try LuckyLand and WinStar Social Casino.
Online Casino Games You Can Play in Illinois
Let’s focus on the sweepstake-based games you can legally play from a location in Illinois.
It’s important to know that each casino offers different games. We have various Illinois online casino reviews on our site. Make sure to check them out before you start playing.
Unlike Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada, Illinois does not allow playing on real-money poker sites. Chumba does not have a poker room, but there’s a great alternative: Global Poker. It’s an online sweepstake casino that offers a variety of games:
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Jackpot Sit’n’Go
Badugi, three card poker, four card poker, and Stud are currently not available in the offer. But the site is consistently growing its offer, so we’ll see more options soon.
Some of the most popular sweepstake slot machines include: Fish & Chips Fortunes, Spell of Odin, Viking Odyssey, Medusa’s Golden Gaze, Reelberry Blast, and more.
Progressive jackpots are more complicated to design in the sweepstake format. That’s why you won’t find them available on the sites that are legal in Illinois.
American Roulette is available on most sweepstake gambling sites. Instead of real money, you get points when you win.
It’s one of the simplest and most commonly played card gambling games. It’s not available in the live dealer format on sweepstake casinos, but we’ll get to that point, eventually. For now, you can play blackjack through software programmed by the RNG (Random Number Generator) principle.
There are a few other options for casino games through sweepstake sites:
- Scratch cards
- Hi-Lo Solitare
- Video poker
- Live casino games
At the moment, none of the sweepstakes casino sites offer live dealer games. Yes; you can play live poker against other players on GlobalPoker. However, you’re not playing with a real dealer. It’s software.
Types of Online Casino Bonuses
If you’re ready to start playing casino games online, you should be aware of the bonus offers you can get. We’ll list the most common ones:
When you purchase your first batch of points in an online social casino, you’ll usually get a bonus. WinStar, for example, matches your first purchase by 400% in chips. You can use it for free spins on slots, or play any other game you like.
No deposit bonuses
Real-money casinos are not that great with no-deposit bonuses. But sweepstakes website are! Most of them will give you free chips or points when you sign up. WinStar gives you 5,000 chips when you register.
With each purchase of Gold Coins in Chumba casino, you’ll get a free gift in the form of sweeps coins. WinStar gives you great reload bonuses, too. You can get up to 2,800 chips on a daily basis.
Payment method bonuses
Some casinos will give you better rewards for using Bitcoin or another payment method. The sweepstakes sites we’ve reviewed so far do not have such an option.
High roller and VIP bonuses
Online gambling sites LOVE loyal users. They do their best to keep them coming back.
Currently, WinStar has a great loyalty offer, which is active through the Club Passport. When you link it to your account, you get extra 10K free chips.
If you refer a friend to sign up through your affiliate link, WinStar will give both of you 10K chips for free.
Playing Blackjack, Slots, and Other Games on Casino Apps
Most of the best online casinos in Illinois do not have their mobile apps at the moment.
WinStar Social Casino came out with an app for iOS devices and Android devices. It gives you access to 40+ casino games, including roulette, blackjack, video poker, slots, and more.
What rewards can you win? Restaurant meals, golf benefits, spa credits, show tickets, gift cards, and more.
LuckyLand only offers an app for Android devices.
Live Dealer Casino Games
Currently, the best online casino sites do not have rights to offer live dealer games online. The only option for you to play with a live dealer is to visit an actual casino in Illinois. There are several outstanding venues, which we’ll mention below. When you feel the excitement of a live dealer game once, you’ll see that a casino is worth a visit.
Types of live dealer games
These are some of the most popular table games with live dealers that you can play in Illinois casinos:
- Texas Hold’em in different varieties
- All kinds of poker
- Baccarat and mini baccarat
- Blackjack in all varieties
Some riverboat casino brands have their own poker rooms.
You should keep in mind that in the State of Illinois, casinos are not allowed to operate 24/7. That’s why the live dealer games will not be available all the time. If you plan to spend an entire night wagering, get informed about the open hours ahead.
Software Providers in Illinois Online Casinos
Depending on your choice of a best rated online casino for Illinois players, you’ll see various software providers on the sites.
- Chumba Casino has its in-house team of developers and game designers. The games are provided under the VGW brand, and they are not available elsewhere.
- WinStar has a more versatile offer. It partners with Ainsworth, WMS Games, IGT, NetEnt, and Realtime Gaming.
- LuckyLand offers slots developed by several providers: Cadillac Jack, Quickspin, Amaya, Aristocrat, Barcrest, NextGen, WMS, Play’n GO, Bally, Nyx Interactive, Evolution Gaming, NeoGames, NetEnt, and Microgaming.
Does Illinois Have Land-Based Casinos?
There is a long tradition of riverboat and hotel casinos in Illinois. Now that the state will start issuing more operator licenses, we can expect to see an expansion in the list. Currently, these are the most popular land-based casinos in the state:
- Casino Queen
- Grand Victoria
- Harrah’s Joliet
- Harrah’s Metropolis
- Hollywood Aurora
- Hollywood Joliet
- Rivers Casino
How to Deposit and Withdraw from Casino Sites
Since we’re talking about sweepstakes, you are not allowed to play with real money. The system works differently from the traditional one, where you see your deposit in the balance and you place bets with money. In the online casinos allowed for Illinois gamblers, you can buy chips.
- You should be at least 18 years of age to create a profile on these sites. They are allowed to start an age verification process, which requires you to send them a scanned ID document.
- You don’t make a deposit. You purchase coins (or chips) instead. You can use any payment method that’s valid on the website. Most casinos allow you to use a credit/debit card, as well as eWallets. You can check our specific online casinos reviews for more details.
- As long as you have enough coins or sweeps, you can play any game of your choice.
- You can redeem a prize (usually in the form of a gift card from the casino’s partners) or request a cash payout. In essence, you can still make money through social casino sites.
Can I gamble online in Illinois?
There are serious restrictions for online gambling in Illinois. You’re allowed to bet on sports and horse races, and you can play daily fantasy sports. When it comes to gambling on casino games online, you’re left with trusted casino sites that work on the sweepstakes principle.
Who is allowed to play?
Anyone who’s at least 18 years old can play online sweepstake games from any location in Illinois. But make sure to use your real name when creating a profile. If you want to redeem a prize, you’ll have to verify your identity.
How do slot free spins work?
Online slots work according to the RNG (random number generator) and RTP (return to player rate) principles. When you get free spins, you use them on any slot of your choice. The slot will not know that you’re using free coins. It’s programmed to give everyone an equal chance to win, and it has to achieve its RTP rate.
If you were wondering whether or not you can win a slot with free coins – you can.
The only thing to keep in mind is that most websites impose playthrough requirements for the free spins that they offer. You have to play through the bonus amount 10, 20, or more times before you can claim the prize.
Who regulates the online casino industry in Illinois?
Land-based casinos are licensed and regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. Currently, there is no online casino industry that we can talk about.
However, there’s a significant debate towards legalizing online gambling. If that kind of legislation comes to live, online casinos will be licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board.
As for sweepstakes casinos, they operate under off-shore licenses. The residents of this state can legally use them.
Are there taxes on winnings?
Illinois has an Income Tax that encompasses gambling winnings. If you won a sweepstakes prize, it will be taxable on a federal level. It’s still considered income. If the prize is worth over $600, the sweepstakes sponsor has a responsibility to report its value through a form. For any prize under $600, you are still held responsible to include it in your report.
Is social gaming allowed in Illinois?
Yes, social gaming is allowed. It does not fall under the “real money gambling” category, so the current regulations do not ban such websites. There’s a debate going on, with some politicians trying to present sweepstakes as actual gambling. But for now, you’re free to enjoy them.