The best online casinos in Illinois 2023
Our experts have rated the best social Illinois casinos and sportsbooks so you can find your perfect gaming option quickly. Enjoy regular promos, broad games variety and the latest software at these popular and trusted sites. Read on to see everything the Prairie state has to offer players. (Edited by Steve Bittenbender)
Our top recommended Illinois online casinos
- Offers a range of sweeps games
- Great variety of slots from Pragmatic Play, Evoplay and more
- Daily bonuses, rewards and promos for coins
- The newest social casino accepting US players
- The only social casino accepting Bitcoin
- Register to claim Welcome Bonus: 5% Rakeback
Illinois casinos to avoid
The best online casinos in Illinois
As things stand, social casinos are the only Illinois gambling option available to those who want to play casino games online. These operators offer games that are free to play. They have two forms of currency; gold coins, which are used to access the free games, and sweep coins, which can be used to play sweepstakes games for real money as they are won, rather than bought.
Players in Illinois can access Pulsz social casino, which has been in operation since 2007. The site has built up a collection of games, with more than 300 options available, like slots and table games. When you sign up, you can claim its welcome bonus and its ongoing loyalty program to earn more credits for playing casino games. You can play using free coins or buy currency to play casino games and exchange any winnings for cash.
Pulsz Casino Bonus: Welcome bonus of free sweepstakes coins and 30 coins on your first purchase.
Naturally, the focus here is on slot games – and Gambino Slots delivers more than 100 of them. Gambino Slots focuses purely on free games; this is an ideal destination for those who want to learn how to play particular slot games without the risk of that becoming an expensive lesson. There is a nine-tier VIP program and the more you play, the higher up the levels you rise and the more lavish the benefits become.
Gambino Slots bonus: When you sign up, you receive 100,000 G-coins – the equivalent of gold coins at other social casinos.
Read our Gambino Slots review
There is a massive welcome bonus available at the Fortune Coins social casino, and the site also offers a bunch of free coin promotions to existing players. The site is based in Ontario and provides around 50 different slot and table games. You can buy sweep coins, which you use to play games and exchange for cash. Or, you can play without any risk using free Gold Coins. The online casino will keep your wallet of Gold Coins topped up with bonuses.
Fortune Coins Bonus: Claim 140,000 free Gold Coins + 500 Fortune Coins (sweeps coins).
Stake doesn’t just provide players with a way to play social casino games but does so in style with its excellent desktop site. You can sign up in Illinois and play for free using Gold Coins. However, you can also buy Stake Cash Coins, which you can use to play its exclusive slots and table games. You can exchange any winnings from this into cash. Stake Casino only accepts cryptocurrency payments, which makes deposits fast and secure.
Stake Casino Bonus: 10,000 Gold Coins and 1 Stake Cash Coin available when you register.
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games takes the social casino and puts a twist on it by donating most of your deposits to charity. You can choose from millions of charities when you sign up and donate every time you buy on-site currency. You can use this currency to play slots and bingo games and withdraw any winnings. Or, you can play its wide range of games for free. The online bingo selection is impressive, with games starting every 15 minutes and a grand prize of $2,500.
Golden Hearts Games Bonus: Make your first charitable donation and receive a 100% match of Golden Hearts Games Coins.
What game do you want to play most?
What the best IL casinos offer you
Whether you are an experienced casino player or a total novice, you want to be sure your choice of casino is right for you. That’s where our experienced team come in, with expert ratings based on a host of factors that will help you to decide where to spend your gambling dollars. The principal factors we assess include:
Security and fairness: The best casinos put sophisticated security systems in place to ensure your data is protected – and to guarantee all the games on offer run fairly.
Bonuses: Casinos fight for your custom using a range of tempting offers. Check out the welcome bonus to make sure it fits with your style of gambling to ensure you get the most out of it.
Selection of games: Some Illinois casinos focus on slots. Others are totally poker centric. Most will offer a range, though, and we’ll take you through the games you can play at Illinois online gambling sites.
Mobile: Leading online casinos offer apps that can be downloaded to your device, or produce mobile versions of their websites which make it easy to play through your mobile web browser.
Banking methods: You should be able to deposit money in your online casino account quickly and easily, using your preferred banking method. Crucially, you also need to be able to withdraw any real-money winnings with similar ease.
Customer support: If the need should arise to contact the casino, you want to get an answer and resolution as quickly as possible. We rate websites according to the variety and quality of the facilities available.
Enjoy legal online gambling in Illinois
There are plenty of ways in which you can enjoy online gambling in Illinois. Sports betting has been legal here since 2019, and there are several excellent casinos, racinos and resorts where you can legally play casino games.
Online gambling's legal status in Illinois
In 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. That decision opened the way for states to legalize sports betting and online gambling. The Illinois General Assembly passed a law permitting sports betting in 2019.
The first retail sportsbooks went live in 2020, closely followed by online sportsbooks. However, there was a stipulation that you had to attend a casino in person to sign up for a sportsbook – a restriction that was not loosened until March 2022.
Even though it has been estimated that online Illinois casinos could generate annual tax revenue of up to $230million, there are fears that this would come at the cost of cannibalizing the retail casino market. It may be later in 2022 at least before online casinos in Illinois are legalized.
The minimum Illinois gambling age
21 is the minimum age for all Illinois gambling activities – including casino wagering and online sports betting.
Are there taxes on gambling winnings?
Yes, the IRS has ruled that winnings from all forms of gambling represent taxable revenue. There are two taxes to take into account. The federal tax rate is 24%. On wins above a particular level this may be withheld automatically by the sportsbook or casino. There is also a state tax on winnings; Illinois is one of the few states to impose a flat rate, in this case 4.95%. The most important piece of advice is to keep an accurate record of your wins and losses to ensure when you submit your annual tax return you'll be assessed correctly.
How are casinos regulated?
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees and regulates all forms of gambling in the Prairie State, whether you're playing at a casino or with an online sportsbook.
Sports betting and online casinos in the US
Find the latest online gambling legislation updates for your state below.
Which online casino games are available in Illinois?
There's a wide choice of games available for enthusiasts to play at the state's social online casinos. There are also several bricks-and-mortar locations in the Prairie State where all casino games are available.
Whether you play at a social casino or in person at a physical casino, the largest number of games will usually come in the form of slots. Illinois social casino sites almost all focus mostly on slot games, and when commercial casinos are legalized there will be hundreds of titles to choose from, including progressive jackpots. Leading software providers invest heavily on an annual basis to create ever more advanced online experiences for slot players.
This perennially popular card game is a fixture at every land-based casino worthy of the name – and many social casinos in Illinois offer you the chance to play online versions. Chumba, for instance, carries social casino versions of blackjack in Illinois, while there are numerous opportunities to play at physical casinos.
Roulette is another traditional game without which no casino – virtual or physical – would feel complete. There are now a host of variations available to entertain players. Social casinos such as WorldWinner offer the chance to play online roulette games, as do the mainstream casinos that are on their way to Illinois in the mid-term.
In Global Poker, Illinois casino players have a social casino that focuses specifically on this most enduringly popular of gambling card games. With high-level graphics and four types of poker on offer, this is a great destination for aficionados of video poker – and other social casino operators such as Chumba offer Illinois online poker options too.
Live casino games
Many people still want the rush of being “in the room” when playing casino games. As a result, live dealer games are popular with online casinos. In many states, there are numerous ways to play roulette, baccarat, blackjack, poker and more with a live dealer. The choice of live games at the social casinos in Illinois is strictly limited as things stand – this may change in future.
Online sports betting in Illinois is now legal, and there are a growing number of sportsbooks willing to take your wagers on the big sporting action, from in play to parimutuel betting. Many Illinois casinos offer sporting markets to in-person customers, as well as to remote players across the state.
Playing Daily Fantasy Sports games is legal in Illinois. You will not be able to access them through the social casinos currently operating in the Prairie State, but popular DFS operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings are active in Illinois and you will find a choice of games there.
Getting the best online casino bonuses
All online Illinois casinos compete for custom by offering tempting bonuses to attract and retain players. These take various forms, and it is advisable to check the terms and conditions of any bonus to make sure it suits the way you want to gamble.
This is where the greatest value is to be found. At social casinos, the welcome offer tends to take the form of serious numbers of gold coins. When you get the opportunity to wager for real money, there are a variety of ways in which the big brands give you extra initial value in return for your initial investment.
If you are playing at a social casino that offers only free play games, then any initial bonus should not require that you pay any actual money to activate it. Merely signing up for an account should be enough. In the real-money casino world, a no-deposit bonus sees money arrive in your account before you have placed any of your own funds into it.
If you do have to place funds into an account at a social casino in Illinois, you should receive a generous bonus that tops up the balance of coins available to you to play with. Deposit bonuses are common at real-money casinos, where a 100% match effectively doubles your wagering power before you even begin to play.
Another staple of many real-money online casinos is to refund your losses up to a certain amount – sometimes as much as $1,000 – for the first 24 hours when our account is active.
Refer a friend
Online casinos in Illinois and elsewhere love it when you do the job of attracting new customers for them. If one of your buddies signs up for an account and places a wager, that triggers a bonus for them – and for you.
Local casinos in Illinois
The law in Illinois used to insist that any casino had to be located on a moving ship. Most casinos in the Prairie State are now land-based, though there are still several riverboat venues. There are plenty of Chicago casino options, with other venues in the west and south-west of the state, too. All casinos are open all year except Christmas and Easter.
Argosy Casino Alton
The Argosy has been open for business since 2004, moored in Alton on the north bank of the Mississippi. In this wonderfully atmospheric location, you’ll find about 750 slot machines and more than a dozen table games and poker possibilities. There’s a variety of dining and entertainment options on board as well.
- 1 Piasa Street, Alton, IL 62002, USA
- +1 800-711-4263
Bally’s Quad Cities
Also close to the Mississippi, but this time firmly on land in the west of the state, is the Bally’s Quad Cities. With nearly 900 slot machines and 16 table games, as well as half-a-dozen poker tables, there is plenty for the serious casino aficionado to enjoy. You’ve also got a host of dining and entertainment choices to sample.
- 777 Bally Boulevard, Rock Island, IL 61201, USA
- +1 309-756-4600
Casino Queen Hotel St Louis
Situated near the east bank of the Mississippi, this location offers fabulous views of St Louis and the great river itself. It also delivers plenty of casino excitement, with more than 1,100 slot machines, nearly 30 table games and several poker tables too. Several events and entertainment options are on site too.
- 200 S Front Street, St Louis, IL 62201, USA
- +1 618-874-5000
Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
Visitors to the Grand Victoria will find a host of things to do. On the casino floor are about 1,100 slot machines, nearly 30 table games and more than a dozen poker tables. There are several restaurants, bar facilities – and wonderful views of the Fox river when you want a break from gambling.
- 250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120, USA
- +1 847-468-7000
Harrah’s Joliet Casino
With more than 1,100 slot machines, over 30 table games and a variety of poker options, the Harrah’s Joliet Casino offers plenty of intriguing gambling options. Visitors can also enjoy live music, as well as a choice of restaurants and bars in this location next to the Des Plaines river.
- 151 N Joliet St, Joliet, Il 60432 USA
- +1 815-740-7800
Illinois specializes in riverside locations for its casinos – this one is in the south-east of the state, next to the Ohio river. It offers 800 slot machines and more than 20 table games, plus several live poker options. With live music, a bar and several dining options, this is an all-round leisure destination.
- 100 E Front Street, Metropolis, IL 62960, USA
- +1 618-524-2628
Hollywood Casino Aurora
This is another venue sited on the outskirts of the Windy City, and one of the closest casinos to Chicago itself. The casino is located on an island in the Fox river and boasts nearly 1,200 slot machines, 20 table games and a good choice of live poker tables. Live entertainment is provided by local artists, and there is a selection of dining options.
- 1 W New York Street, Aurora, IL 60506, USA
- +1 630-801-1234
Gambling responsibly in Illinois
For a clear majority of people, gambling is a relaxing leisure activity. Sadly, for a small minority any form of gambling can lead to the risk of addiction, which in turn can mean financial and emotional issues.
It's good to see that so many organizations in Illinois encourage responsible gambling at all times. The operators of the state’s social casinos offer in-depth advice to anybody who's concerned they are developing a gambling problem, while there are other bodies working in the state to deliver support and practical assistance. Among these are:
The Illinois Gaming Board offers an impressive range of measures to help anybody concerned by their gambling, or that of someone close to them.
The Illinois Department of Human Services also provides access to resources including helplines and treatment programs.
The Illinois branch of the National Council on Problem Gambling delivers plenty of advice at a local and national level.
You can also visit our responsible gambling section for more information.
Making deposits and withdrawals for online gambling
Using a banking method that suits you is one of the most important factors when it comes to online gambling in Illinois. People choose to move their money in different ways, and the best social and commercial casinos make it as easy as possible to do this by offering a range of methods. Check out the variety of options available so that you can be sure you'll be able to deposit easily.
Some of the options available should be:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Wire transfer
Are online casinos legal in Illinois?
Not yet. The only online casinos at which it is possible to play in the Prairie State are social casinos. State legislators have conducted feasibility studies that concluded the state could earn as much as $230millon a year in tax dollars from a legal online casino market here; but there is concern that this could deplete takings from retail casinos. However, it is likely that Illinois online casinos where you can play with, and win, real money will be legalized in the near future.
What's the gambling age in Illinois?
It's 21 for casino games. To wager at an online Illinois casino, you will need to be at least 21 years old. You can take part in wagering on lottery games and horse racing from the age of 18 onwards.
Can I win real money?
Thanks to a legal loophole, it is possible to win real money at many of the social casinos in Illinois. If you accumulate sweep coins by playing in free games using gold coins, you can take part in sweepstake games – and the prizes can be exchanged for real money. This is perfectly legal in Illinois and other states where social casinos operate.
Can I play free games?
Yes, you can. The main function of social casinos in Illinois is arguably to provide slot games and table games for purely entertainment purposes. By accessing brands such as Chumba, LuckyLand Slots and Gambino Slots, you can sample the delights of online casino gaming without having to invest a dollar.
Are gambling winnings taxable?
Yes, they are. As in all states, the IRS has decreed that any real-money winnings from Illinois casino play are liable for tax. Part of your gambling strategy should be to keep a close record of your winnings and losses, so that you can submit an accurate annual tax return. As well as a federal tax rate of 24%, gamblers in Illinois face a state tax that is imposed at a flat rate of 4.95%.
Are online casinos in Illinois safe?
Yes, they should be. Experienced commercial casinos are at the cutting edge of cyber security, so that they can offer their customers complete peace of mind. Social casinos should aspire to the same levels of security/ Players’ personal information and financial data should be kept safe at all times.
Can I play on mobile?
Yes, you can. Social casinos have developed apps that can be downloaded on all popular devices, which ensures their customers can enjoy the convenience of accessing free play games wherever they are.
What games are available?
Social casinos tend to offer a smaller selection of games than real-money destinations. However, those who partake in online gambling in Illinois can find a healthy selection online and on their mobile devices. You should be able to access a reasonable choice of slots, while there will be a few table games at certain operators. Global Poker is an obvious destination for poker players.
Are the games fair?
Yes, they should be. Even if you are playing a free game, you want to do so safe in the knowledge that you are being treated fairly. Games on offer at real-money casinos should adhere to strict standards of fairness to ensure people do not feel resentful after playing them.
How do bonuses work?
The purpose of bonuses is to attract new customers to try out a brand – and to deliver excellent value and entertainment when they sign up. Welcome offers are particularly generous, because they play a crucial role in persuading people to register for an account. But it is important to give value on an ongoing basis so that players feel they are valued – and that they have the chance to access bonus features that mean regular doses of extra funds.
Edited by Steve Bittenbender
Steve Bittenbender covers Midwest news for Casino.org, specializing in sports betting and horse racing. He joined the Casino.org news team in 2019, and previously covered sports, business and politics at the Associated Press and the Louisville Courier-Journal. He continues to contribute to Reuters. Steve lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and son. He is an avid poker player, having learned from his uncle as a kid.