If you’re searching for a reliable guide to the online poker situation in Illinois, this post contains all the information you need. We present all the online poker game types available in the state, and tips for playing like a pro gambler. We also offer advice on what to do if you’re interested in playing online poker as an Illinois resident.
In addition, we answer the most critical question – is online poker legal in Illinois? You will have all you need to begin playing online poker in Illinois by reading through
Illinois is home to one of the largest gambling audiences in the USA. With a population of about 13 million, the Prairie State offers plenty of opportunities for lovers of online poker in the state. Currently, Illinois is one of few jurisdictions with a solid bill to include online gambling among legal entities in the state.
With the state playing host to over ten brick-and-mortar retail gambling venues offering different poker rooms, it is expected that the online variant option included in the IL iGaming and Internet poker bill already on the floor of the house will be passed by the end of 2022.
Poker Sites We Recommend
History of Illinois Poker
There is no clear record of when poker came to the state. However, there are reports that it became popular around 1919.
Due to disturbances within casinos, the government passed legislation banning smoking inside casinos in 2008. This saw a drop in revenue by 20%, as players decided to cross to neighboring state’s casinos that allow smoking. The government put mechanisms in place to reduce this huge loss, and legislation enabling poker machines to be legalized was signed into law in 2009.
The battle for a bill to include online poker has been on since 2013. Yet, a lack of agreement has stalled its progress.
Is Online Poker Legal in Illinois?
Like many other states in the US, the matter of whether real-money online poker is legal or not is complicated. Currently, the state has laws that address the matter of online gambling. However, there is no mention of internet poker sites. Hence, there is no easy answer on whether you can play poker online for money in Illinois.
While you may be unsure whether online poker is legal, you won’t find any internet poker room licensed and regulated by the state’s gambling authority – the Illinois Gaming Board.
Illinois Gambling Laws
You must understand the crucial laws guarding online gambling in Illinois. Before taking a step to enjoy online poker, here are some aspects of the law that may affect you.
- According to the gambling and betting law of Illinois (section 28-1(a), a person is gambling when they place a wager on games involving chance and/or skill for the purposes of profit or other remuneration forms.
- An act of gambling also refers to processes involving anyone who owns, keeps, operates, creates, and maintains gambling equipment.
- Section 28-1(b) of the Illinois gambling act states that specific casino poker game titles are legally permitted. These regulated sports, including lottery, parimutuel, and horse racing, are all legal. In addition, placing wagers in any land-based riverboat casino is legal under the Riverboat Gambling Act.
- According to section 28-1(c), It is a class A misdemeanor to violate any betting and gambling laws.
- The gambling laws of Illinois were recently upgraded to include aspects of internet gambling. According to section 28-1(12), anyone who sets up, operates, or attempts to maintain an online casino or poker site violates the state’s laws.
- However, this law does not explicitly decide the legality of the actions of an online poker participant residing in Illinois.
Thus, it is not a criminal offense to wager on online poker as a player. While you may not be able to find online Illinois-based real-money poker sites, there are other options to explore.
When Will Online Poker Be Legal in Illinois?
In February 2021, a house bill was introduced seeking to legalize all online games, including poker. The legislation, the Internet Gaming Bill (IGA), was sponsored by Robert Rita and Jonathan Carrol. If passed into law, it will give the Illinois Gaming Board up to 90 days to make rules to regulate the industry.
It will also give the go-ahead to issue licenses to gaming companies already licensed in other jurisdictions. This measure could provide the much-needed acceleration the internet gambling industry needs.
It might not be long before we begin to see all online gambling activities become fully legal in the Prairie State.
Different Options to Play Online Poker in Illinois
While there is no current online poker site based in Illinois, you can choose to play at offshore online poker rooms or sweepstake casinos based in the US. They both offer different forms of entertainment for players. You will also find differences in wagering in both formats.
Online Poker Sweepstake Casinos in Illinois
Many Illinois players use social casinos or sweepstake casinos as alternatives to online poker sites.
A feature of this form of gambling is that they are entirely legal across many states in the US, including Illinois. There are several options to try, but here are some of the best online poker sites Illinois players can check out.
- Global poker
- Chumba casino
Are Sweepstake Online Poker Casinos Legal in IL?
Sweepstake casinos are protected by federal laws. In the eyes of the federal government, social gambling does not qualify as part of a casino since there is no exchange of real money or deposits. Hence, you can comfortably play poker here without getting a call from law enforcement.
All sweepstake poker contests must be free to register. Also, while real-money deposits are available, using them must not be compulsory to access the poker tables.
These social casinos are available on the web and mobile devices. Some are available via apps you can download and play. The gameplay for online poker apps is similar to real-money online poker sites. However, you may be unable to withdraw real cash winnings here.
Global poker is a recognized US online poker website. It is a great way to enjoy poker since real-money poker websites are unavailable in Illinois. You won’t find any mobile app for this site, although it is mobile-compatible with all smartphone devices and operating systems.
This site is unique because it offers excellent welcome bonuses for new players. Customers can use this offer to claim sweep coins and exchange them for prizes. Their website is superb, with little to no lagging.
To get started on Global poker, you will need to create an account. The following data will be required to open an account:
- First and last name
- Email address
- Date of birth
While you won’t be required to verify your phone number, IL players will be asked to do so when they receive their welcome bonus.
Unlike other traditional poker gambling sites, a social poker site must offer chances to win casino prizes without purchasing or placing bets. It is possible to get sweep coins that can be redeemed for cash prizes. Some of the methods include contests on social media, purchase of gold coins, registration bonuses, and requests by mail to the Global Poker headquarters.
Other promotions available here are regular tournaments and competitions for players to participate in. Winners are also rewarded with sweep coins which can be exchanged. There is no VIP club on this site.
Some of the top poker variants for Illinois players to choose from include:
- Fixed-limit Texas hold ’em
- No-limit Texas hold ’em
- Pot-limit Omaha
There is also the sit-and-go option for no-limit hold ’em and pot-limit Omaha games. In addition, there are various poker table tournaments, particularly on weekends.
Funzpoints offer a fantastic poker alternative for players from Illinois. This social poker casino site operates under the US sweepstakes laws and allows all types of poker players to enjoy several different poker games. The legal age allowed is 18 and above.
Here, the mechanism of play is similar to Global Poker. You do not need to make a real-money deposit to access the games here. However, there is an option of in-game purchases where IL poker gamblers can get up to $20 in matched deposit bonuses.
Aside from the match deposit bonus, you can also benefit from the no-deposit bonus, where you can get additional rounds at a poker table. However, you may need a bonus code before claiming the welcome packages.
At Funzpoints, poker players can only access the website through their browser. There is no mobile app yet.
A good feature about this casino is there are poker tables offering both real-money and demo modes. Register an account, collect sweep coins, wager, and win. Alternatively, you can sign up for numerous tournaments and climb up the leaderboard.
Residents in Illinois of 18 years and above can sign up and get bonuses here. This social casino has a high-security encryption network. You can be assured of your personal data protection. The operators also take responsible gambling seriously, as they have numerous resources for players who may have issues playing at poker tables.
For instance, several tools, including self-exclusion and a deposit limit allow you to control your gambling time at the casino. In addition, they also have strong customer support. You can reach out via numerous channels to a trained support agent.
Funzpoint casino also has a reliable payment method framework. If you convert your coins into real cash, withdrawals can take 24 hours to be approved. With the in-game purchases, there are several bonuses you can receive.
Chumba Casino is another excellent social casino choice available for IL players. Like the other sweepstake casinos mentioned, you will receive coins – either gold or sweep coins – as part of welcome bonuses.
It is only available within US states, so getting an account anywhere within Illinois is okay. Among the different games to enjoy, poker, video poker, slots, and various table games are available. Unfortunately, there is no mobile app available currently. You can still access it through your web browser though.
While this social casino focuses on slots, there are also several poker tables to play on. You won’t find many poker variants here, but the fantastic welcome bonus is enticing.
This website is owned and managed by Virtual Gaming Worlds, a gaming company based in Australia. All the poker titles offered here are mobile-compatible. Whether you decide to play through the web version or the mobile app, you will have a great time playing due to this site’s excellent design. The mobile app is only available for android users.
Unfortunately, there is no video poker game type in this casino. There are also limited poker games to play here. However, you can choose different payment methods to make in-game purchases or withdraw your cash wins.
Is it Safe to Play Real-Money Online Poker in Offshore Casinos?
There is no IL state law that restricts you from playing online poker for real money in Illinois on internet gaming sites overseas. It’s another great way to win cash prizes. Yet, these sites are outside US jurisdiction and are not subject to regulations from the Illinois Gaming Board. If you’re not careful, you could become a victim of fraud.
There is no assurance that these sites will allow you to withdraw your cash wins when you want to. IL players may find several poker game types to play in these casinos, but they may not follow industry practices in their dealings.
We understand the drive to play online poker and win cash prizes. So, we have a few guidelines and tips to help you work out which offshore casino sites are sound and which are not worth your time.
How to Select the Best Real-Money Poker Offshore Sites
You must be careful when choosing the right casino to play online poker, especially if the options are offshore. You should check for the following:
Security of the Site
The first feature you must check is whether the site has a good reputation. You should find out whether the casino is licensed by relevant regulatory agencies. Some top licensing agencies include the UKGC, MGA (Malta Gaming Authority), and Curacao e-Gaming.
Top-rated sites list their operational licenses at the bottom of their home pages. They also include a link to the licensing body’s site for easy verification. You can also read reviews from other players online.
In addition, check out the casino’s security. You risk losing all your funds if the site does not have strong encryption software. If your funds are lost, it may be impossible to get them back.
Bonuses and Promotions
There are different types of bonuses you might see when playing online poker. For instance, there are fixed-match deposit matches, free bets, and reload deposit bonuses. A VIP club might also be available for regular players. The availability of specific poker tournaments or contests is a plus, as it allows you to put your poker strategy into use and helps you better understand how the game is played.
It is essential to confirm the wagering requirements attached to these offers. You can verify these on the terms and conditions or main promotions page. If these requirements are too strict and require more playtime before you can withdraw, it’s best to dump them for another casino site.
Large Poker Game Tables
You can confirm if the site has different forms of poker tables by clicking on the game section. The more games there are available, the better your chances of landing a good cash prize. For instance, rare poker games like double-double poker bonus have poker hands that occur commonly, with a payout attached.
Different Banking Options
All online poker sites must have solid and reliable payment methods for their customers. A top-rated offshore poker casino should have a list of well-known payment methods. This feature is essential since players can lose their money with substandard banking options.
Some banking methods you should look out for include:
- Bank cards
Next, check the minimum and maximum deposits and withdrawals allowed. This vital information can help you understand if funding limits are within your budget. Next on the list is to confirm the processing times and if there are any transaction charges attached.
Usually, all deposit requests are processed instantly. The best offshore online casinos process withdrawals within 24 hours. These facts can be confirmed on the casino’s terms and conditions page.
It may be a bad idea to register and deposit on a poker site if this information is absent on the casino’s website.
Different Online Poker Tournaments Played in Illinois
A feature players enjoy while wagering on poker tables is the different tournaments and contests available. For one, poker tournaments offer a chance to get multiples of the cash prizes available in a single poker game round. There are also tools where you will be kicked out of the competition if your funds are insufficient.
There are several tournaments available. The way this competition type works is simple. All interested players place their wagers in a pool, and each will be dealt the same amount of chips. The winner gets all the chips.
The most common poker tournament played by most IL players is the no-limit Texas hold ’em contest. Other options include limit poker, Omaha hi-lo, stud, and pot-limit Omaha. These tournaments are available on Global Poker, with good cash prizes attached to them.
While other forms of tournament series like the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker (WSOP) are not yet active in Illinois, it is expected that this international competition will become live in IL soon. This will allow poker players to compete for the WSOP gold bracelet.
Online Poker Real-Money Illinois vs. Free Online Poker
Like many online casino games, poker is available in real-money and demo mode. Unlike the land-based casinos, some of the best poker sites Illinois players play do not require a real money deposit first.
These two modes have similarities and differences. You should watch out for them so you are not confused when encountering them.
There is no difference in gameplay between the demo and real-money modes. Whether on a sweepstake casino site, real-money online poker room, or demo practice site, the play is the same. If you’re betting on a demo mode, it is a great way to learn a new strategy.
You should note that the zealousness and tension associated with real-money online poker might be absent when there is no money involved. Since the chips are not valuable, players often go all-in in the middle of the second bet round.
While they have the same gameplay style, it is impossible to withdraw cash wins unless you’re playing in real-money mode. Your wins will only accumulate in demo mode, and you won’t be able to withdraw them.
In real-money mode, it is possible to withdraw your cash directly into your bank account. There are also incentives and bonuses to be won whether you’re a new player or a regular customer.
Availability of Poker Game Types
Another critical difference is the game types available in the different modes. It is possible to find all poker game variants in demo mode, especially since there are no cash prizes to be withdrawn here.
The availability of poker games in real-money mode depends on the casino operator. Don’t count on having all the types of poker present in a casino.
Best Free Online Poker Sites for Illinois Players To Use
If you’re looking to enjoy online poker in demo mode, there are different options available. Some of the top free poker sites operating in Illinois allow you to play for as long as you like without a deposit.
Bovada Poker offers a unique style for poker lovers in the Prairie State. Licensed by the government of Curacao, it is entirely legal to play online poker on this site as it is only available in demo mode in Illinois.
You can enjoy features like the “anonymized table offer,” where your identity is hidden from other players.
Aside from demo mode, Bovada also offers a real-money mode comprising different poker table types, but it is not available for IL players.
Bovada poker boasts modern, reputable payment methods, including cryptocurrency, player transfer, vouchers, and bank cards.
Ignition Poker is the next option available for IL poker players to try out. It has been online since 2016 and offers some of the best poker tables to play for free. This casino site is managed by one of the best gaming entertainment firms.
If you’re a fan of poker competitions, you will love Ignition. Although a mobile app exists, demo poker tables are not yet available on that platform. You will have to make do with the web version, which is compatible with mobile browsers.
The PokerStars website was launched in 2016. It is available both in demo and real-money modes. The signup process is simple, and you can choose from a list of poker variants.
The mobile app is available for both iOS and Android users. Like other major online poker rooms, PokerStars has a number of tournaments you can choose to play in. The site’s impressive navigation offers you a simple and easy way to access the real-money and demo modes.
Illinois players will find BetOnline poker perfect for their needs. You can play online poker on your browser or mobile app. There are tournaments to try out your strategies without having to deposit money.
Some of the poker tables you will find here include sit-and-go no-limit hold ’em, and cash games. After creating an account on this platform, you can quickly scroll through the different poker tables and begin playing with the casino chips issued to you. BetOnline Poker has an operating license from the Government of Panama.
How to Begin Playing Poker Online in Illinois
If you’re ready to begin playing poker online, our step-by-step guide can help you get off to a good start.
Select your Desired Online Poker Room
To begin betting, you can browse the different online real-money poker sites. Once you’ve made a selection, click on the “Join now” or “Register” button to get started.
Fill out the registration Form
Fill out the form with the information required. You will need to provide accurate information as it will be checked. Once you’re done, click on “Create account.” An email containing a verification link or code will be inside.
You can use that link to activate your new account.
Make a Deposit
Once your account is live, the next step is to fund your account. To perform this action, scroll to the cashier or account section and click on “Deposit.”
Next, choose your desired deposit option and follow the prompts. Don’t forget to take note of the minimum deposit allowed. Some online casinos require you to enter a bonus code to claim your welcome package.
Choose your Favorite Poker Table and start playing
Once your deposit is confirmed, choose which poker table you fancy most and start playing. Use your chips, place your wager, and start dealing.
When will online poker be legal in Illinois?
No one knows when poker online will be legal in the Prairie State. A house bill currently in the state’s legislature is seeking to legalize online poker. It will mandate that the state’s gambling regulatory agency issue licenses to operators of poker sites.
Is real-money online poker legal in Illinois?
No. However, this answer currently affects online poker site operators in Illinois. The state’s laws refer to anyone who operates a poker room as breaking the law, classifying it as a Class A misdemeanor.
What is the approved age of online poker gambling in Illinois?
The legal age for gambling poker online is 18 and above.
Who oversees online poker gambling in Illinois?
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees all gambling activities, including online poker in the state.
Can I play online poker in Illinois?
Yes. While real-money online poker sites are absent in Illinois, there are other options. IL poker players can try out the free poker sites, offshore poker rooms, or sweepstake casinos. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, as discussed in our guide above.