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Online Casinos in Illinois (US)

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The Prairie State currently has no laws that regulate and allow online casinos and poker games. However, these regulations do not extend to online casinos operating overseas, as they function within the jurisdiction of their respective gambling licenses. It is also the government’s responsibility to block access to sites that they don’t want their residents accessing. This is something that most governments don’t want to invest too much time and resources in and therefore residents are still by and large mostly free to access these overseas sites. Governments and authorities are much more interested in targeting illicit operations rather than individual players as well, so there is hardly any history of convictions to be found for players.

With that being said, it is important to keep in mind that playing at online casinos from Illinois is not protected by the law, which does open up a larger potential for scam sites and other illegitimate operations to target you.

  • Is the casino itself licensed and regulated?
  • What do reviews say about the casino?
  • Does the site allow registrations from Illinois?
  • Can you deposit using US dollars?
  • Will you be eligible for any promotions?

The best way you can be sure that an online casino is trustworthy is by checking out some reviews like the ones you can find right here at GoodLuckMate. Our writers cover aspects, including licensing, security, and value to give you a clear picture of the specific casino and whether it is right for you.

Gambling Regulation – Illinois Gaming Board

The Illinois Gaming Board is responsible for overseeing the gambling market in the state, which covers various different activities. A big draw has been riverboat casinos, which became prominent after the 1990 Riverboat Gambling Act. This is also alongside various land-based casinos and smaller operations that offer video gaming terminals and lotteries for example. However, one of the biggest focuses for the state in recent years has been implementing and subsequently increasing the availability of sportsbook platforms, both online and retail. 

As the federal government deregulated its control of sports betting back in 2018, individual states were granted the autonomy to form their own regulations. Most jumped on the chance to get their sports betting markets up and running and Illinois was no different with its introduction of the 2019 Illinois Gambling Act. This is definitely a time where sports betting is front and center, leaving online casinos somewhat forgotten by regulators for the time being. At this point in time, online casinos and online poker remain unregulated.

Localized Online Casinos

As mentioned above, sports betting players have been getting a lot of love over the past couple of years, while casino players must wait their turn it appears. As such, the availability of localized online casinos is going to be rather limiting when focusing just on Illinois. The good news is that other US states have already implemented a fully operational online casino market, which does provide fully localized content, much of which has a commonplace with the rest of the country. 

Furthermore, overseas operations also tend to have a set of standards that naturally align with US citizens. English is a primary language of the industry and the vast majority of sites, as are other features like payment options. Big sporting events like the Superbowl are also able to draw in huge international crowds, which these overseas sites are also more than happy to participate in. So, regulations make localized content less likely, but generally, online businesses are set up in a very US-friendly manner anyway.

Gambling with US Dollars

US dollars have been the default currency across most of the internet since the beginning of online payments. Online casinos are no different in this regard and will therefore usually provide US dollars and euros as the default choices when selecting your currency at account registration. This serves sites far better than trying to overextend themselves by supporting every currency in circulation across the world, alongside all of the necessary payment providers for each one of them. That, alongside its wide international availability, is why you won’t have any problems finding an online casino supporting US dollars, as well as a variety of corresponding payment methods. One issue may be with transacting bank transfers though, as US banks can block payments they believe are being used for online gambling activities. That is why a lot of people use online solutions like e-wallets and cryptocurrencies to keep their player balance topped up.

Casinos in Illinois

Riverboat gambling started in 1991 with the riverboat Alton being the first to be put into commission and marking Illinois as the second state in the country to do so legally. There are currently 10 land-based casinos in operation now as well, offering a variety of classic casino games. Most of the country, not just Illinois, has been completely enamored with sports betting as of late, due to the change in the federal laws. While this is a great thing that has been long requested for decades now, it is unfortunate to see that online casino games have not been able to hop along for the ride. While this has been the case in some states like New Jersey, most have remained on the side of caution with only implementing sports betting regulations. We can only hope that the sports betting scene will bring about a great success that can hopefully make lawmakers take a second look at including online casinos on the bill in the near future.


Dispute resolution – can I get help from a third party?


A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.

Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.


Secure payments – can I trust a casino with my money?


If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.

Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.


Fair gaming – do the games give me a fair chance to win?


The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.

The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.


Encrypted website – how is my information kept safe?


An SSL-encrypted website should be mandatory for any casino, and very few casinos operate without this or similar safe encryption features. Always keep in mind that you are giving the casino quite a bit of sensitive information, including your payment details. When you’re uploading and sending documents to verify your identity, you want to make sure that no unauthorized third-party has access to them. Site security, therefore, doesn’t only include the website itself but also what the casino does on the backend. You should always look into a casino’s data security. You’ll normally find information about this in their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. If in doubt, contact their support and ask for more detailed information.

Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.


Gambling license – can I play at a casino from my country?


The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.

The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.


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