Legal Illinois Online Poker Sites
The Prairie State may have imposed some harsh laws regarding poker, but there are legal options to play this casino classic just like in other US states. One of them is riverboats, which are like brick-and-mortar casinos but on water. Other alternatives are sweepstakes or online social platforms.
On the other hand, online poker in Illinois remains a pipe dream, as real-money online gambling is still illegal. Despite this, players venture into playing poker on offshore sites that do not fall under the IL legislature and are yet to be regulated as such.
Is Online Poker Legal In Illinois?There have been many attempts to legalize online poker in the Prairie State since 2013. In 2017, the Senate supported a bill legalizing online poker, but it didn’t move forward.
Another such initiative was the online gambling bill of 2021, which also encompassed online poker. However, it hasn’t brought any resolution so far. In addition, there was HB 3142, also known as the Internet Gaming Act, which would have legalized online poker. However, it didn’t make it through the IL General Assembly. Therefore, the online poker scene remains in legal limbo at the moment.
Since offshore casinos operate outside Illinois, they are not subject to state law. This means these operators are free to offer their services to players in Illinois, making them quite popular in the Prairie State.
Legal forms of gambling in IL include the state lottery, horse racing, bingo, charitable gambling, online sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and riverboat casinos.
The legal age for poker in Illinois is 21 for land-based poker rooms. On the other hand, players need to be 18 years old to play in offshore poker room.
If you want to embark on a real money poker adventure, it is advisable to become familiar with the following laws:
- Charitable Games Act, Chapter 230
- Illinois General Assembly — The Illinois Gambling Act
- Illinois General Assembly — Criminal Offenses
- Illinois Riverboat Gambling Act
Best Legal Poker Rooms in IllinoisIL law is not the most lenient when it comes to poker games. However, this doesn’t leave its residents with zero alternatives. We will discuss legal land-based and online options further in the article.
Legal Online Poker in Illinois
Although real money poker has not been legalized yet, the next best thing for IL residents is sweepstakes and social casinos which you can hang out with friends. The sweepstakes model allows individuals to play online poker legally with the chance of winning real money prizes. These sites use two currencies — gold coins and sweeps coins. Neither has any real cash value, as gold coins are play money, while sweeps coins can be traded for real cash.
When it comes to online poker, one thing is clear — operating a website that would allow people to play games of chance and skill is strictly prohibited. However, the law doesn’t say anything about playing poker on offshore sites. This loophole allows Illinoians to register and play real-money poker in rooms operating from other jurisdictions. In fact, many of these operators accept residents from IL and are very popular with them.
If you would like to give one of these sites a go, scroll up to our list of recommended poker rooms, select the one that appeals to you, and play any of the multiple poker variants available.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Legal Land-Based Poker in Illinois
The situation with poker is a bit better when it comes to land-based options. Playing real money poker is legal as long as players stick to poker rooms at riverboat venues.
Since 1991, these establishments have been offering all casino poker games. They were required to stay on the water and leave the dock every two hours for the first decade of operation. Eventually, the law in 1999 changed this regulation, and since then, riverboat casinos have started to resemble traditional venues and remained permanently moored at the docks.
Social gambling is another option for players from Illinois. However, this is considered legal only if it is part of a charitable event.
Poker aficionados who like playing the game at home or organizing poker nights with their friends should be aware that real money gambling is deemed illegal. The law states that any person participating in games of chance or skill for real money breaks the law. Since the law makes no distinction between games of chance and skill, playing poker at home is considered illegal regardless of how private it is.
How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in Illinois
Despite the complexity of the online poker scene in IL, if you decide to play in one of the offshore casinos on our list, you’ll have to open an account. The entire process is a breeze and more or less the same regardless of the site you choose.
Here is what you need to do:
Choose A Poker Room
SignupHit the Register or Sign-Up button.
Provide the necessary information, including your name, phone number, email, and address.
Create a strong password.
Click on the link from your email to verify your account. You’ll be able to log in after you do that.
Illinois Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker
Illinois has ten land-based gaming venues, which are a mixture of commercial and riverboat casinos. They all feature poker rooms with many variations of this casino classic. Thus, Illinoians can enjoy Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, High Card Flush, Spanish 21, and Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker.
Furthermore, these casinos offer more than just gaming. Many of them are hotels that include restaurants, bars, stores, entertainment venues, and other amenities.
We have picked the top five for you:
- Harrah’s Joliet Casino — 151 N Joliet St, Joliet, IL 60432
- Bally’s Quad Cities Casino — 777 Jumer Dr, Rock Island, IL 61201
- Grand Victoria Casino — 250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120
- Hollywood Casino Joliet — 777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436
- Rivers Casino — 3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018
Although online poker isn’t entirely legal in Illinois, its residents can visit offshore sites to play. Many operators are reliable, safe, and accept Illinoians. And those who want to stick to a completely legal alternative and play real-money poker without worrying about breaking any laws have a few riverboat casinos at their disposal. Hopefully, we have provided you with some insight into the IL poker scene. So, pick your favorite, and have fun!