The gambling sector is one that is growing bigger every year. Sports betting, for example, is projected to make over $150 billion globally per year by 2024. The sector received a huge boost recently when individual U.S. states began to legalize sports betting within their borders. This brought many more people into the industry and has caused revenues to rise as a result. Although not all U.S. states have legalized sports betting yet, it is widely expected that the majority will, in the not-too-distant future. Of course, residents of the Northside of Pittsburgh know all about legal sports betting. Pennsylvania was one of the first states to legalize this activity and made access to sports betting easy for everyone. And with neighbors such as Indiana offering legal gambling on sports, people naturally wonder if Illinois does.

But what is the current sports betting legislation there?

Sports betting is legal in Illinois

The simple fact is that sports betting IS now legal in this U.S. state. After a raft of prospective bills in 2018, the state changed betting legislation in Illinois in 2019. These changes saw betting on sports made legal within Illinois’ borders. They legalized sports betting at physical locations and made it perfectly fine to gamble on sports online. The first legal bet on sports was made in the spring of 2020, when the first official online sportsbook in Illinois was launched on June 18.

This, and the earlier 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sports betting, was a real boost to Illinois residents, as it allowed people to legally create an online sports betting account within its borders. Sports in Illinois has a proud tradition, with teams like the Blackhawks and Bears enjoying support. These changes in 2019 gave people in Illinois the chance to get closer to the action and make some money from backing sides such as these.

But how has sports betting in the state fared? With around 13 million residents, plus visitors, it was always set to do well and has brought in over $11 million in revenue to date. With top sites such as BetRivers and DraftKings available, the choice of sportsbooks here is also a factor in the popularity of sports betting.

Illinois following the example of other states

As everyone who lives in the Northside of Pittsburgh knows, Illinois is just one of the states in the U.S. to legalize sports betting recently. Pennsylvania did this back in 2018 and has allowed Northside residents to gamble on sports since then. But what changed in U.S. gambling laws to make this possible?

Previously, sports gambling was governed by a 1992 piece of legislation known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. This made sports betting illegal in most U.S. states, including Illinois. As mentioned above, the Supreme Court overruled this Act in 2018 and made sports betting legal. This saw many states, including Illinois, choose to introduce it into their borders. As well as bringing additional tourists and tax revenue into the state, legalizing sports betting also ensures locals get to enjoy this pastime. In many ways, it simply gives people more options on how they stay entertained or spend their spare time. While finding ways to meditate and practice mindfulness or watching movies may have been mainstays for some during the pandemic, others love the excitement that sports betting delivers.

Horse racing and lottery play

It is fair to say that this state has always been positive towards gambling and sports betting. Horse racing, for example, has been available to bet on in Illinois since the 1920s and the state has a handful of great tracks to visit. There is also an official state lottery that you can play – this has been going since the 1970s and expanded to allow people to buy tickets online in 2012. With the option to bet on sports also now legal, this is a state with great opportunities for gambling. If you ever fancy a road trip from Pittsburgh but need somewhere that lets you wager real money on sports, it is a good choice.

Betting legislation in Illinois

As the above shows, betting legislation in Illinois is pretty simple and positive. As in Pennsylvania, state officials have recognized the many benefits that legalizing certain forms of betting brings. Of course, residents there would love to be able to play real-money casino games online and many hope that this will follow soon. For now, though, the opportunity to place sports bets in person and online is enough to make Illinois a great place to be.

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