Illinois Legal Poker 2024


Legal, regulated poker may be about to arrive in the Prairie State.

Currently, gambling on the Internet - certainly poker at least - is illegal under IL law, but things may be changing. We could soon see a whole slew of legal poker sites in Illinois.

Recent reports suggest Illinois may – following the example of states like New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada - be considering a move to regulated online gambling for residents within its borders. This online poker IL development is huge news.

But what could legal poker look like for Illinois players, and what bills are currently in motion that would make it possible?

Is Online Poker Legal in Illinois?
Is Online Poker Legal in Illinois?

Under the state's rather broad current gambling laws, all forms of online gaming - other than buying state lottery tickets – is considered illegal as of 2024.

Section 28-1 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes makes it illegal for anyone who "knowingly establishes, maintains, or operates an Internet site that permits a person to play a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value by means of the Internet." And that really convers operating an online poker IL site, not necessarily playing at one.

Illegal gambling is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, but no online poker player has ever been prosecuted under the law, and that could be the key to a change in the current situation.

Are Any More Bills Likely?
Illinois - Are Any More Bills Likely?

Prohibiting even "games of skill" like poker would be seen to scupper any chances of online poker getting regulated in Illinois, but in 2013 an overhaul of state gambling laws took place.

Bill SB1739 - the Chicago Casino Development Authority Act - was a step toward boosting tourism in the Windy City and elsewhere by relaxing land-based casino laws.

Online gaming pioneers in the state were hopeful of having real-money games on the Internet legalized, but amendments were made to restrict any such law. . So we'll have to wait a bit longer for legal poker sites in Illinois to pop up, at least ones that are regulated by the state.

What's the Live Poker Scene Like?
Illinois - What's the Live Poker Scene Like?

Illinois was one of the first US states to legalize gambling on riverboats. And while those boats may be more like giant moored floating casinos these days rather than ones that go on sailing trips, the Riverboat Gambling Act still allows legal gaming to in-state residents.

The Act made way for a regulatory Illinois Gaming Board which oversees regulation and tax collection. Currently 10 riverboats casinos operate there, and all offer some form of poker for real cash play. Given Illinois' early riverboat gambling legalization, we could see an online poker New Jersey legal expansion in the near future

The Future of Legal Poker In Illinois
The Future of Legal Poker In Illinois

Riverboat casinos generate serious money and if Senate President John Cullerton's proposed expansion bill ever sees the light of day, we could see more casinos plus widespread legal online gambling in the state. Legal poker sites in Illinois could outpace riverboat casinos once legislation passes.

If Cullerton's bill can be made more palatable for the governor to sign into the books - as well as riverboat casinos afraid of competition - IL residents could see online poker be included in current online lottery legislation by the end of 2024. That's a big “if”, however. But even if it doesn't pass, the state will be able to figure out the appetite for online poker. Illinois residents are sure to make noise about it, and lawmakers will remember that as they decide to draft future proposals.


Can I Play Online Poker Legally in Illinois?

No, although many unregulated poker sites are available to players as long as they know the risks involved. As of 2024, no American poker player has ever been convicted of playing poker on the web.

Are There Any Live Casinos?

Legal riverboat gambling was legalized in February 1990, with the first casino opening in Alton a year later.

What Age Do You Have to be To Gamble In the State?

To gamble at legal riverboat casinos, you must be 21 or over. The state lottery can be played at 18. If online poker IL legal sites come to fruition, we're likely looking at a 21 gambling age, too.

Can I Make Real Cash Deposits In Illinois?

As long as the best poker sites in Illinois are open to its residents, you are allowed to deposit real US currency on them. Most online poker IL sites make it easy, offering numerous deposit options and fast withdrawals.