Like many other states in the Midwest, the casino landscape of Illinois is anything but straightforward. While, historically, Chicago and the surrounding areas have been known as hotbeds for gambling, that much isn’t really true anymore. In fact, as far as brick and mortar gambling is concerned, it is found few and far between in Illinois. The online casinos scene is not so barren, but is definitely a bit different than how it is in states like Nevada where most forms of gambling are legalized and regulated to take place online.
Still, with that being said, Illinois in recent years has taken a look at what states surrounding them have been doing and are looking at ways in which they can catch up. For this reason and many others, there is a strong feeling that Illinois is the next state to have established a legalized casino system that exists online. Until that happens, however, the fact remains that casino play in Illinois can best be described as fragmented.
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Is Online Gambling Legal in Illinois?
Online gambling establishments have existed in Illinois for quite some time now, but they haven’t existed in the way you might think they have. In fact, most bets that are being placed online are on horse races.
Sites accepting horse bets exist, but other than that there is no real regulated system for online casino play in Illinois. This may seem difficult to believe, because the framework for legalized online casino play already exists. Add this to the fact that few other Midwestern states have anything close to a pre-existent online network for gambling, and it is flat-out puzzling that Illinois is not pushing stronger to legalize all types of online casino play.
With that being said, there are plenty of online casinos operating within the state offering all sorts of games for Illinois citizens to take advantage of.
In fact, with the way in which the brick and mortar casino scene is set up in Illinois, it should come as no surprise that people often opt to gamble online as opposed to any brick and mortar establishments. There is hope that, sometime in the future, Illinois lawmakers will wise up and create a system of play that is regulated and legalized much like the horse betting system is now.
In the meantime, however, you can rest-assured knowing that the online casino games currently being offered in the state are more than good enough to satisfy even the most demanding of gambling needs. Most of the online casinos even offer mobile play as to allow you the opportunity to gamble and play your favorite real money casino games no matter where in the state you are. So long as your smartphone or tablet is able to access the internet, most every online casino available to Illinois citizens is able to be played.
Legal Status of Brick and Mortar Casinos — Illinois
If you turn the clocks back to the 1970s, you would be placing yourself right in the midst of a Mayoral move to establish waterfront casinos in Chicago. At the time, the casinos’ tax revenues would be used to fund snow removal for the city among many other things. Unfortunately, these plans were shot down quickly and brick and mortar casinos had to be held off for a few more decades. Even in the aftermath of this move being shot down, casino advocates continued to push for gambling in the Windy City. Time after time, however, these efforts were for naught because the conservative state refused to bend.
In the 1990s, when Iowa was pushing to make gambling more accessible, Illinois decided to follow suit and offer up 10 riverboat gambling licenses. These riverboat establishments have all the amenities of a traditional casino, which leaves some opportunity for live gambling in Illinois. Of course, if you do not live near any major rivers it becomes extremely difficult to play any casino games whatsoever. There also exists some horse racing tracks in the state, but the types of gambling you will find at these establishments does not even compare to that of the riverboat casinos.
To this day there are active efforts aimed at expanding the brick and mortar gambling in Illinois, but as it has been in the past these efforts have been met with little success and a lot of opposition. Many feel as though the illegal gambling rings of the early 20th century have left a permanently sour taste in the mouths of Chicagoans, and that is the main reason why legalized brick and mortar sites will never come to be. With all of this being said, however, the state of Illinois is continually running up its debt, and we may soon reach a point where they have no choice but to legalize brick and mortar casinos in order to reap the tax benefits that come along with it.
Illinois Online Casinos & Gambling FAQ
- Abbreviation: IL
- State Motto: State sovereignty, national union.
- Capital City: Springfield
- Population Estimate: 12.8 million (6th)
- Website: http://www.illinois.gov/
If there is no regulated system, is playing online in Illinois safe?
Yes. Despite there being no legalized and regulated online casino system in Illinois, there are plenty of reputable online establishments catering to the citizens of the state. Of course, it is necessary that you put in some research before committing to any single online casino, but there are hundreds of sites from which to choose.
Can I play live casinos games online?
More and more frequently we are seeing online casinos make the decision to offer live casino games online. For those unaware, live casino games take your favorite casino game and allow it to be run by a live, filmed, interactive dealer. Rather than play with some computer program, people playing online from home can now interact with a real, live dealer.
Are there bonuses being offered?
Yes. In an effort to draw in as many new players as possible, most sites offer attractive bonuses aimed at boosting the monetary value of your initial deposit. For this reason, new players have a lot of attractive offers from which they can choose in order to get started playing with the most money possible.
Is sports betting allowed?
For some reason, there is a stigma surrounding sports betting in the United States. Players that will play as many online casino games that exist will become petrified when they even think about betting on sports. Though this fear is definitely a true and real one, it is not one that should be bought into. The fact of the matter is that you can bet on sports as an Illinois resident.
Are more brick and mortar casinos on the horizon?
As of now, there is very little talk surrounding the establishment of more brick and mortar casinos. There is a feeling that this might change as other states push for more legalized gaming, but for now Illinois government seems content with riverboat gambling and horse betting.