Gamblers in Illinois have had limited access where they could enjoy their passion. And that will continue until online gambling is legalized in the Land of Lincoln. Online offerings fall under some grey area and although not permitted within the state, bettors have found a way around it. Fortunately, they can gain access to one of several different off-shore online betting sites, and for the average Cubs fan, that is more than enough. We’ll take a closer look at where Cub fans can go to place their bets but first, here’s a bit of history about gambling in Illinois to give you some background.
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It All Started With Horse Racing
Gambling in Illinois was first legalized in the 1920s. At that time, horse racing was a popular sport, and betting on the races became the first legal form of betting in the state. In 1974 the Illinois Lottery Corporation was founded. They provide all your typical types of lottery games ranging from scratch tickets to raffles and tickets can now be purchased online. In 2010, the Illinois Lottery started selling tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions games and continue to provide multi-state draw games. The Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990 provided a means for commercial casinos to operate. However, they had to be on boats outside Lake Michigan and in counties that had population figures that topped the 3-million mark. It wasn’t until 2009 when lottery terminals were permitted in local bars and similar venues. The Illinois Lottery Corporation operated those. In 2019, sports-betting was legalized but it has been restricted to horse racing at five local tracks and 37 licensed off-track betting venues. Online gambling is a whole different matter.
How Illinois Deals With Online Gaming
The Illinois Gaming Code addresses online gambling directly. This makes Illinois one of the few states in the US to do so. Section 28 of the Code states clearly that people staying in the state cannot operate unlicensed online gambling operations. But there is a loophole. The law says nothing regarding what kind of punishment awaits those who choose to play online games and that is where most say there is nothing wrong with Illinois players accessing off-shore gambling sites. A Bill introduced in 2017 was intended to legalize online gambling and increase land-based gambling opportunities but the movement has been slow. Plus, local casinos have been making a great deal of noise about how they anticipate a dip in business should online sports betting in Illinois be legalized. The last time anything happened to the Bill was in May of 2018 when it was re-referred by the House to the Rules Committee.
What Types of Online Gambling Are Available In Illinois?
Although Illinois has a reputation of being a gambling-friendly state (riverboats as an example), there is no regulated online gambling industry. This is considered odd when you take a look at all the other gaming possibilities that already exist in the state. Local laws permit all of your regular forms of gambling. Local casinos offer anything from slots to poker and everything in-between. Pari-mutuel betting operated as a lottery is active at live horse races. There are various lotteries, and bingo is the only charitable form of gambling permitted.
Who Are The Big Players In Illinois Gambling
There are a total of ten riverboat casinos that operate within Illinois. They are all very close to the same size and offer a total of over 10-thousand slot machines and 500 table games. The best-known of these operators is the Casino Queen and the Hollywood Casino Aurora. There are lottery terminals, which resemble slots, located in well over 5,000 bars, restaurants, and drive-ins throughout Illinois. There are 14 different live poker rooms, which are all located on riverboats. And finally, daily fantasy sports, although considered illegal, can be played as two of the largest online operators accept Illinois players – FanDuel and DraftKings.
William Hill Is One of The Major Players
William Hill is a huge worldwide online gambling company. With head offices in three locations including the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Gibraltar, the company has about 14-thousand employees. William Hill provides betting through their 1,568 UK-wide licensed betting offices and by phone or the internet. Stats show that a total of 125,000 bets were taken by the company through its telebetting call centers on the 2007 Grand National alone. They also claim that over a million betting slips are processed daily through their betting shops. William Hill is where a large number of Illinois gamblers go for online betting.
What William Hill Offers
For the average Illinois gambler, there is an extensive online sportsbook operation. But that’s not all. The company has online casino games, games identified as simply “skill games,’ online poker, and online bingo. All of this is in addition to the 2,300 retail sites operated by William Hill around the globe. In August of this year, the company opened the first full-service betting operation that housed professional sports teams in the US at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. You can find out more about William Hill by checking out this review. Expect that to lead to an expansion within the United States in the next decade.
What’s A Cubs Fan To Do?
Well, until sportsbooks either arrive in Illinois as a legalized form of gambling or the Illinois Gaming Code is relaxed and gets revised to state the position on online gaming that the regulators have, then off-shore sites will continue to be where Illinois sports fans will go to get their fill of betting on their favorite professional sports events. Will this help the Cubs any? Probably not, but it will give Cubs fans an outlet to use whenever they feel the urge to drop a few bucks on a game.
Until the Bill is passed to legalize online gambling in Illinois, there are options available. Provided that off-shore betting is still accessible to Illinois residents and that the companies that currently accept them as customers don’t start banning them, bettors who play online will have somewhere to go.