Can You Play Online Poker in Illinois?
No, you cannot play online poker legally in Illinois. Although the state has just recently legalized online sports betting and many brick-and-mortar casinos currently offer live poker, online poker remains illegal within the state. Until full legalization is implemented and new poker sites come online, residents will have to make do with the limited options available to enjoy a good hand of poker.
Why Not? What Are the Online Poker Laws in Illinois?
Illinois is a gambling-friendly state that provides tons of options for those who want to play for money. Despite this, online poker is still not fully legal in the state, which means poker fans still have limited options to play.
In February 2021, a bill was introduced that would legalize all forms of online gaming, including Illinois online poker. This bill is on a fast track, meaning the legal status of online poker in the state will likely change in the somewhat near future.
However, until online poker is fully legalized, some poker fans in Illinois may choose to sign up for offshore gambling sites. Offshore poker sites operate from outside the United States and are not subject to both Federal and State laws. This provides a legal area that those who want to play poker online can explore for real money.
However, it is worth noting that offshore poker sites are not subject to the same laws or standards as regulated casinos in Illinois. This is why MyPokerCoaching does not recommend playing on these sites.
Playing online poker on offshore sites is risky business because it’s hard to determine if you’re dealing with legitimate sites running a fair game. There’s also no guarantee that your money and personal information are secure on these sites. The status of these sites as offshore entities also means they’re not under the jurisdiction of US law enforcement, which may make it difficult to recover your money if you are defrauded.
Potential Illinois Poker Sites to Launch in the Future
Poker has been popular in Illinois for many years, but the state is still to regulate online poker sites. There have been several attempts at it over the years, but so far, none have come to fruition.
It is a pretty safe bet that online poker in IL will be regulated at some point in the future, so the only real question is when. While it’s hard to give any definitive answer at this point in time, we continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with any important developments.
When online poker is finally legal in IL, there are a few sites that we can expect to go live. These are all operators with a major presence in the regulated US market, and they’ll likely jump at the opportunity to expand their presence.
BetMGM Poker Illinois
BetMGM has established itself as a household name in the regulated US online poker space, and the operator will likely be among the first to stake a claim in such an attractive new market.
We expect BetMGM Poker will bring out a platform similar to that in other states like PA, MI, and NJ. A poker client powered by the PartyPoker technology offers a modern and very reliable solution for all online poker fans, even if it is not as rich in functionalities as some other platforms.
In terms of game variety, players can look forward to a nice mix of online tournaments, a wide range of cash game stakes, and, in all likelihood, BetMGM Poker’s staple SPINS – a hugely popular sit & go variation featuring a random jackpot.
It is also likely that BetMGM Poker IL will come out of the gate swinging, offering a generous welcome bonus. With what’s likely to be heavy competition in the state, all sites will look for ways to stand out, and this is generally a good thing for the players.
Although the company couldn’t enter the US before 2016, PokerStars has established itself as a staple name of online poker in the country, just like they have done in the global market.
Once the regulation is finally passed, the launch of PokerStars is pretty much a guarantee. This is especially true if the state passes a law with the expectation of joining the MSIGA, as the operator seems eager to take advantage of opportunities provided by interstate poker.
But even without that particular element, IL is a big enough market on its own.
What PokerStars brings to the table is the operator’s experience in organizing major online series, first and foremost. US versions of ‘COOP events have been hugely successful in all states where the site currently has a presence, and there is no reason to think Illinois would be an exception.
PokerStars also offers one of the best software solutions for desktop computers and mobile devices alike. This enhances the player experience and certainly helps push the site towards the top of the list when deciding where to play.
The third IL poker site likely to go live as soon as legal requirements are met is WSOP.com. Right now, WSOP is the only operator present in all regulated US markets with active poker sites, and the company is on the constant lookout for expansion opportunities.
WSOP.com has one trump card that no other operators can match, which is its ability to host bracelet-awarding events and exclusive satellites to live World Series of Poker tournaments. This has helped the operator remain competitive across the country.
A launch in a new state would likely mean an exclusive bracelet series, giving players in the state great opportunities to win some WSOP silverware from the comfort of their home, and if past experience is any indicator, this is an opportunity that players jump on.
WSOP should have no problem claiming its fair share of the new market despite competitors, with the operators’ numbers surging during major live and online events.