Illinois is in the process of changing the laws surrounding gambling in the state, both on and offline.
There are different ways you can gamble in the state offline, including racetracks and river casino boats.
The new bill that was introduced in 2019 permitted land-based casinos to start operating in specific areas in IL, however, none have been able to open their doors just yet. This is due to the delay caused by the Illinois Gaming Board who has yet to give a response to the riverboats that have applied for the license.
The vetting process has now taken a year, with the IGB expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. There are currently nine casino applicants.
Read more about the gambling laws in IL, the current status of land-based casinos, and when you can expect to be playing at an IL online casino, in our guide below.
Illinois Online Casinos
Although Illinois has a long tradition with some great riverboat casinos and a long history with gambling, it has not legalized online casinos just yet. There have been discussions of legalizing online casinos, but it has not yet been approved by the senate.
A bill that was introduced in 2019 did legalize online sports betting and saw FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetRivers launch online sportsbooks in the state. It also allowed riverboat casinos to start applying for licenses to operate on land. But we’ll get into that later.
For now, if you want to play at an online casino, you’ll need to take a trip up to nearby Michigan.
But, you can still register with a legal online casino while you’re in Illinois. That means you can get the casino’s bonus offers or deposit, and then play whenever you’re in states where it’s legal.
Land-Based Casinos in Illinois
Unlike Mississippi casinos, not all of the casinos in Illinois are open 24 hours, and Illinois casino laws limit the number of gaming licenses to 10. Up until 2019, all casinos in IL had to operate as a riverboat casino.
Now, riverboat casinos are in the process of purchasing licenses to be able to operate on land.
There are five casinos in Illinois near Chicago, two casinos towards the center of the state, and three casinos in southern Illinois.
See our Chicago casinos section for more details on the five properties, as well as details on some casinos in Indiana that are within a short drive of Chicago.
All casinos in Illinois are non-smoking and, unless otherwise noted, all offer slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and three-card poker.
Some Illinois casinos also offer: let it ride, baccarat, mini-baccarat, poker, Ultimate Texas hold ’em, Caribbean stud poker, Mississippi stud, pai gow poker, and four card poker.
The payback percentages on electronic gaming machines at all Illinois casinos are released as a matter of public record. Just click here to see a list of slot machine payback statistics for all Illinois casinos.
Types of Casinos in Illinois
There are two types of casino in IL; riverboats and pari-mutuel. While riverboat casinos are in the middle of a lengthy process trying to obtain a license to operate as a land-based casino, pari-mutuel betting has started to fade into the background.
There have been proposals on bringing slot games into the racetracks, however, have continuously been turned down.
All of the casinos in Illinois are riverboat casinos. Illinois was the second state to legalize riverboat gambling and the boats began operating in September 1991 with the launching of the first boat: the Alton Belle.
Seven of the riverboat casinos in Illinois are either on boats or on docked barges. These Illinois casinos remain dockside and do not cruise. The other three casinos: Rivers in Des Plaines, Jumer’s in Rock Island, and the Casino Queen in East. St. Louis, are all land-based casinos.
Interestingly, however, they all qualify as being riverboat casinos because they are all built over a shallow pit filled with a few inches of water.
Horse racing has been extremely popular in IL, especially in the 1930s to 80s. Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t have nearly as close to as big of a turnout at the tracks today.
Still, there are three major horse tracks in Illinois:
- Fairmount Park – Collinsville
- Arlington Park – Arlington Heights
- Hawthorne Race Course – Cicero
All three tracks offer thoroughbred racing and stream every race to viewers across the United States.
Dog racing is illegal in the state of Illinois.
List of Land-Based Casinos in Illinois
Argosy Casino Alton
This casino features a 1,200-passenger modern yacht and a barge docked on the Mississippi River. Table games open at 10 am daily. A buffet discount is available for players club members.
- Address: 1 Piasa St, Alton, IL 62002, United States
- Phone: 1 800-711-4263
- Website: https://www.argosyalton.com/
Escape to excitement at Casino Queen! You’ll find over 980 slots and video poker games, 29 table games, sports betting, and more here.
- Address: 200 S Front St, East St Louis, IL 62201
- Phone: (618) 874-5000
- Website: https://draftkingsatcasinoqueen.com/
Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
The Grand Victoria Casino Elgin is a riverboat casino in Elgin, Illinois, United States, located about 40 mi west of Chicago. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment.
- Address: 250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120
- Phone: (847) 468-7000
- Website: https://www.grandvictoriacasino.com/
When visiting Harrah’s Joliet, you’ll experience a fun, friendly casino operated by Caesars Entertainment. Here you’re always welcome to come out and play!
- Address: 151 N Joliet St, Joliet, IL 60432
- Phone: (815) 740-7800
- Website: https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-joliet
You’ll experience exciting restaurants, entertainment and casinos at Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel & Casino, located in southern Illinois.
- Address: 100 E Front St, Metropolis, IL 62960
- Phone: (618) 524-2628
- Website: https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-metropolis
Hollywood Casino – Aurora
Hollywood Casino Aurora is a floating gambling venue with table games, slots & poke. The venue also hosts live music and several dining options.
- Address: 1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506
- Phone: (630) 801-1234
- Website: https://www.hollywoodcasinoaurora.com/
Hollywood Casino Joliet
Play the latest games and all your favorites in the denominations you love to play, including the most penny slots in the area at Hollywood Casino Joliet.
- Address: 777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436
- Phone: (888) 436-7737
- Website: https://www.hollywoodcasinojoliet.com/
Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
Jumer’s Casino & Hotel is a casino hotel located in Rock Island, Illinois, part of the Quad Cities area. You’ll find over 39,000 sq ft of entertainment, containing 850 slot machines, 25 table games including a craps table and roulette, live poker and a high limit slot room.
- Address: 777 Jumer Dr, Rock Island, IL 61201
- Phone: (309) 756-4600
- Website: https://www.jumerscasinohotel.com/
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino is a riverboat casino located on the Illinois River in East Peoria, Illinois, United States. This casino hosts more than 520 slot games and 20 table games.
- Address: 21 Blackjack Blvd, East Peoria, IL 61611
- Phone: (309) 699-7711
- Website: https://www.paradicecasino.com/
Rivers Casino – Des Plaines
Rivers Casino is home to some of Chicago’s hottest gambling action. They boast the most slot jackpots and the biggest payouts on table games in the state. Whatever your game, you’ll find it at Rivers Casino.
- Address: 3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018
- Phone: (847) 795-0777
- Website: https://www.riverscasino.com/desplaines/
Illinois Land-Based Casinos Map
You can easily see all casino locations by using our Illinois casinos map. To zoom in, just click the + (plus) sign in the lower right corner of the map, or to zoom out, just click the – (minus) sign in the same area.
To move the map of casinos in Illinois, click and hold down either of your mouse buttons. Then use the hand icon to drag the map in whichever direction you desire.
Each of the red icons on the map is a casino location. Just click on any red icon to see the name of the casino at that location. If you want more information on that casino, simply click again on the casino’s name and it will direct you to another page with detailed information on that particular casino, including address, phone number, toll-free phone number, room rates, casino size, dining information, games offered, availability of discounts for seniors, any special features, and a direct link to that casino’s website.
History Of Gambling in Illinois
The history of gambling in Illinois begins in the 1800s when riverboats and racetracks started operating. By the end of the Civil War, all forms of gambling in the state were considered illegal.
However, this didn’t stop operators or residents from continuing to gamble.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that legal gambling was being reintroduced to IL. Horse racing was legalized first, followed by the lottery, and then river casino boats over 50 years later.
The 1830s: The first horse racetrack was built
The 1840s: Riverboat casinos start to operate
1975: The Horse Racing Act is announced and the State Lottery begins
1990: The Riverboat Gambling Act is announced: This legalized casino gambling so long as the operations were on a boat, set sail every few hours, and outside of Chicago.
1999: The law is changed for river casino boats, now permitting operations to go on at the dock.
2009: Video poker and slots are legalized
2019: Online sports betting is legalized and a new bill allows river casino boats to apply for a license to operate on land
Illinois Gambling Laws and Regulatory Organizations
Compared to a lot of other states in the US, Illinois has a relatively positive mindset towards gambling. The state has regulated multiple forms of gambling and continues to propose new bills in favor of expanding gambling.
Currently, river casino boats are in the process of getting approved to offer casino games on land. This could mean more licenses becoming available for more operators to build in IL.
Residents in IL have the following options for legal gambling:
- Casino gambling
- Retail sports betting
- Horse Racing
- Online sports betting
- State lottery
- Charitable bingo
The minimum age to gamble in IL is 21, but you can be 18 years old to bet on the lottery and horse races.
The state has appointed a number of groups to see over every form of gambling in IL. You can read more about each department by clicking here.
Illinois Gaming Board
The IGB regulates all casinos and sports gambling in the state. This includes approving licenses as well as conducting investigative and legal operations.
Illinois Racing Board
The IRB regulates all horse racing activities in the state.
Illinois Department of Revenue
The IDOR regulates all charitable bingo games, as well as games involving chance. In order for this type of gambling to be legal, it must be held at a charity event.
Illinois Lottery Control Board
The ILCB works with the Department of Lottery to regulate the State Lottery.
Gambling in Illinois Today
Today, gambling seems to be expanding in the Praire State. Riverboats will soon be able to operate on land instead of over a shallow pool of water, and sports betting is now available online.
With the advancement of sports betting in IL, this could open more doors for the possibility of legal online casino gambling.
Did you know?
Illinois was the first state to ban smoking in casinos. After this law was enforced, casinos saw a huge decline in customers. Instead, gamers were traveling to states nearby where smoking inside was still permitted and playing there.
- No more ‘riverboat’: Rivers Casino becomes first land-based casino in Illinois, will add more slots and table games
- Gambling Gets a Green Light in Illinois
- Illinois Gaming Board
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For more information on visiting Illinois casinos or general tourism information, contact the state’s Bureau of Tourism at (800) 226-6632 or www.enjoyillinois.com.