Illinois is the 4th largest gambling market in the US gambling industry. Despite the global pandemic impeding its launch in 2020, the state was still able to see close to $2 billion in sports wagers.
Seeing the success achieved by online sports betting and how much that means in tax revenue, the Illinois General Assembly was fast to expand the Gaming Act to legalize online casinos. This ushered in many bids from several reputable casinos, but only 10 could get a license. DraftKings Casino was one of those that weren’t lucky enough to get a license which is unfortunate since it also DraftKings Sportsbook IL was already operational at this point.
Notwithstanding, if you have a DraftKings Sportsbook account, you can view the online casino service from the mobile app to see all the amazing offers and games available at DraftKings. While seeing what you are missing out on might tempt you to using VPN to trick the geolocation software, we would advise against that as it’s illegal and could lead to criminal prosecution. At this point, you might think an offshore online casino would be an alternative, but this could be dangerous as they could scam you of your money or, worse, steal your identity since they aren’t licensed and regulated in Illinois. However, do not fret, as we have better alternatives for you.
Sweepstakes casinos are free sites where you can play real casino games. While you can still bet on sports on DraftKings IL Sportsbook, sweepstakes sites like Pulsz, BetRivers.net, and Fortune Coins allow you to legally play casino games like slots, video poker, baccarat, roulette, and fish games for free. Also, even though they are free, you can still win real money from playing there.
Unlike DraftKings Sportsbook, the DraftKings Casino is not legal in Illinois. Also, due to the way online gambling law is shaped in the US, the casino doesn’t have much coverage like its sportsbook and is only available in CT, MI, NJ, PA, and WV. Although you can signup from any US state, you’d need to be within any of these states to bet on the casino floor. Below are licensing and partnership details on states where DraftKings casino is legal.
DraftKings Sportsbook became legal in Illinois in June 2019. This comes after a sports betting partnership with Casino Queen, making it the second sportsbook in the state. So, players can now access all the available sports markets and even place bets once they are within Illinois. As per the IL online sports betting law, you must be at least 21 years to bet on DraftKings Sportsbook legally. For safety and legal purposes, DK IL app is licensed and regulated by Illinois Gaming Board.
DraftKings is an American-born company that offers world-class online sports betting to players across several US states, Illinois included. It’s over a decade of experience in the gambling industry made it one of the best online sportsbooks available in Illinois, as it also provides one of the widest ranges of sports markets. Some of the available sports are as follows:
In addition to having pro league games, DraftKings Sportsbook is among the few sportsbooks that accept bets on college and daily fantasy sports. Aside from the across-the-board sports markets, the wager types are also incredible as it features options that make it easy for novice, high rollers, and professional bettors to wager on games. Some betting options at DraftKings Sportsbook are Total, Moneylines, Futures, Parlay, live bets, Spread, Props, and so on.
While the DraftKings website is mobile optimized and offers quick access to place bets, the mobile app has a sleek and adaptive design that makes betting very easy. The page-to-page loading is also seamless, with several features like live games just a click away. DraftKings mobile app also alerts you on live updates like scores, changes in odds, and much more, even when you are not on the app. Also, the app has advanced security, protecting players’ data and bets from unauthorized access. With over 4.8 ratings and over a million downloads on Google Play Store and App Store, DraftKings Sportsbook is undoubtedly the best Illinois sportsbook.
If you are a new player, DraftKings offers you a 20% deposit bonus of up to $1,000 to bet on any sports market. This bonus is credited immediately to your account after you make your first deposit, and since you don’t need to use a promo code, the bonus stands as one of the best Illinois sportsbook promos.
Illinois residents have been receiving the short end of the stick regarding available IL online casinos, but this has paved the way for a lasting alternative in sweepstakes casinos. Sweepstakes or sweeps cash casinos are casino sites that offer free casino games to players. Unlike the traditional online casinos that require players to deposit real money to play games, sweepstakes sites games are played using virtual currencies – gold coins and sweeps coins. These virtual currencies act as money you can make or lose when playing casino games.
Due to the sweepstakes model used by these platforms, virtual currencies are awarded through daily bonuses and other promotions. However, gold coins can also be purchased whenever you run out.
In addition to the free games, sweepstakes casinos offer players the unique opportunity of winning real cash prizes by earning more sweepstakes coins. These coins are used to gain premium game access, enabling users to redeem real money with their sweepstakes winnings. Unlike gold coins, the only way to win free sweeps coins is through promotions, as they cannot be purchased.
Despite their no-purchase-necessary mode of operation, sweepstakes casinos offer the same game options as you would find in real casinos. Games like online slots, video poker, keno, card game, table games, and live casino games are available to play. To make your casino experience more exciting and as real to the source material as possible, some sweepstakes sites even partner with real iGaming studios in providing these games. This means even though you wouldn’t be able to play DraftKings casino in Illinois, you can still have the same gameplay from these free casino sites while standing a chance to win real money.
If you are ready to start enjoying casino games while still adhering to the law, you can check out the best Illinois sweepstakes sites we’ve curated below.
Owned by Social Gaming LLC, Fortune Coins is one of the sweepstakes casinos available in Illinois and other US states. The sweeps cash site offers 50+ casino games which cover keno, casino war, card games, progressive jackpot slots, and multiplayer fish games. Instead of real money, Fortune Coins uses two free virtual currencies called gold coins and fortune coins. The gold coins are used to play all games for fun, while the sweeps coins can be exchanged for real cash prizes, making it one of the best alternatives to DraftKings Casino. To start playing, new players are offered a welcome offer of 140,000 gold coins and 500 fortune coins no deposit bonus.
This is another legal free casino site you should definitely try out in Illinois. At Pulsz Casino, players get to play a wide variety of online slots, blackjack, Texas Hold’em, and Scratchcard games. The over 300 free games at this sweepstakes site are powered by Hanabero, IGT, NetEnt, Pragmatic Play, etc. Coincidentally, these are some of the game studios providing games at DraftKings Casino. To make things more exciting, Illinois players can also play similar titles like Starburst, Dazzle Me Megaways, and Dead or Alive at Pulsz Casino for free. In addition to offering the same standard of games, players can also win real money from playing at Pulsz Casino, which means you don’t have to suffer any tradeoffs. 5,000 gold coins are awarded to new customers upon signing up with a 200% bonus on their first purchase.
This sweepstakes website is owned by Rush Street Interactive, the same company behind the popular brick-and-mortar River Casino Des Plaines, BetRivers online casino, and SugarHouse Casino4Fun. Unlike the two we’ve discussed earlier, BetRivers.net is strictly for entertainment purposes, so you wouldn’t be able to redeem cash prizes from playing there. Nevertheless, players have access to over 450 casino games, including all the gaming options you’d ever find in a traditional online casino. In addition to online slots, bingo games, video poker, roulettes, baccarat, and blackjacks, BetRivers.net has a plethora of live casino games solely powered by an actual iGaming giant – Evolution Gaming. Like other sweeps casinos we’ve discussed, a purchase isn’t necessary to play BetRivers.net’s games, and to start playing, use the bonus code PLAY200 to get $500 virtual credits.
Poker games have been around for as long as casinos, and like sweepstakes casinos where you can play lots of casino games, there are also free poker sites catering to the poker gamers’ demographic. For players who would want to play and compete with others in poker games, no sweepstakes poker site has a better offer than Global Poker.
Global Poker is owned and operated by Virtual Gaming Worlds, the company behind sister casinos like Chumba and LuckyLand Slots. The free poker site offers players various video poker machines like Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Tournaments are also run concurrently amongst players, and if you’d like, you can compete with people in your vicinity. You can take advantage of the $20 worth of gold coins available to new users to start playing.
Although fantasy sports were made illegal in 2015 in Illinois and were exempted in the Gambling act signed in 2019, the law was soon overturned, allowing the growth of fantasy sports Illinois. In addition to the DraftKings Daily Fantasy operation, Monkey Knife Fight offers outstanding fantasy sports wagers.
The Land of Lincoln has a long history with horse racing dating back to the 1880s, and unlike every other form of gambling, horse bettors must at least be 18 years old. Illinois currently ranks as one of the best horse betting states with three brick and mortar thoroughbred and harness racetrack venues. If you’d like to bet from your comfort zone, several legal IL online horse racing sites like TVG Horse racing offer new players who use the bonus code RISKFREE300 $300 risk-free horse racing bet welcome bonus.
Illinois is one of the largest sports betting markets in the US, and ever since the gambling act was signed in 2019, we’ve seen many top online sports betting sites setting shop in the Prairie State. Sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook offer players 13 sports in addition to fantasy sports under one umbrella. IL sports betting apps are also one of the best in the country, partly for their massive free bets.
While we can’t put a date on this as the Illinois Gambling Act is still in its infancy, the one thing we can vouch for is that it would be sooner than later. This is because of all the states that have legalized gambling; Illinois is one of the best when it comes to the constant update of its law to reflect recent development due in part to its rocky start.
Online gambling became legal in June 2019 when players were required to register in person. This ushered in the first sportsbook in the state – BetRivers in March 2020. However, this quickly became a problem after Covid-19 hit, bringing registration to a standstill. In a bid to proffer a solution, there was back and forth on physical and online registration. But it wasn’t until October 2021 that a law was passed replacing in-person registration with online, a law that only just took full effect on March 5, 2022.
Furthermore, initially, Illinois residents could not bet on in-state collegiate sports, and a total ban was placed on daily fantasy sports. But these bans were soon lifted, giving huge boosts to the likes of DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois.
As we can see, the Illinois General Assembly has been busy since the time Gov. J.B Pritzker signed the Gambling Act in the Land of Lincoln. So, we are somewhat confident that given enough time, DraftKings Casino would be legalized. In the meantime, you can signup and play at the legal alternative casinos we’ve highlighted above, and whenever there is an update, you’d be the first to know from here.