Since 2019, sports betting is legal in Illinois. This goes both for land-based sportsbooks and online sportsbooks. Online casino gambling, however, is still banned in this state. Actually, there are currently only three states that have legalized online casinos – Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
2020 Update – It’s now legal to operate online sport betting platforms in the state.
When it comes to traditional casino gambling in Illinois, it’s possible in riverboat casinos. At the moment, there are 10 of them. Some of those are real ships, while others are buildings constructed on riverbanks, inches away from the water. This is where people can play casino games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and of course, slots.
Illinois is a state that has a special relationship with slots. Non-casino establishments in Illinois have the right to install up to six slot machines. As a result, slots are, by far, the most popular casino game in this state.
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Interesting State Facts
Another shocking fact is that there are almost 7,000 locations within Illinois where you can play these games. However, a big majority of those locations are not considered casinos.
According to the Illinois gambling law, up to six slot machines can be installed in different types of establishments. Those establishments can be anything from bars and restaurants to truck stops and seats of veteran’s organizations. The only condition is that they are located in municipalities that allow video gaming.
Illinois Gambling Venues
At the moment of writing, Illinois does not have any Indian casinos on its ground. However, that’s going to change soon. Tribes are currently working on the construction of six new Illinois casinos. They are expected to open their doors to the public in 2021.
Until then, Illinois gamblers can play slots in many different places around the state. They can also go down the river if they feel like playing table games like roulette, baccarat, or poker. There are 10 riverboat casinos in Illinois, the most popular of which is the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.
An interesting fact about this riverboat casino is that it’s not set on a boat. Instead, the casino building sits in a shallow pit only a few inches above the water of Des Plaines River. By constructing the casino building so close to the river, its owners managed to circumvent the Illinois gambling law.
Several other big Illinois casinos used the same method to qualify their establishments as riverboat casinos. Still, there are some Illinois riverboat casinos that are set on proper ships, including Casino Queen, Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, and Argosy Casino Alton.