With the coronavirus pandemic effectively changing sports as we knew them for months, things have been on the up and up for bettors in Illinois. Ever since the first sportsbook, BetRivers.com, opened its doors, legal mobile sports betting in the state continues to take off. Overseas soccer matches drew the largest percentage (78% of the money wagered) with La Liga Spanish football generating the most interest.
Soccer or football as it’s referred to in other parts of the world is expected to become more popular in Illinois as sports betting continues to take root in the state. Illinois may only recently have made physical sportsbooks and online sports betting sites legal for its residents but the industry is already showing promise. Soon, if things continue as they are, Illinois could very well outrival sports betting mecca New Jersey in the future.
It is easy to see why Illinois residents wagered on soccer more than any other sport. First things first, the sports betting industry in Illinois took off to a very rocky beginning. After lawmakers finally approved legal sports betting in the state, physical sportsbooks began taking bets as early as March, just around the same time as the NCAA Tournament was scheduled to begin.
Sadly, the sports betting enthusiasm was short-lived as all retail casinos, right alongside major sports, were shut down for safety purposes. Since Illinois had not previously issued licenses and retail locations remained shut down for many months, bettors did not have a wide range of sports to bet on.
When casinos reopened their doors on July 1st, residents naturally turned to the most popular sport in the world, soccer, to wager on. Soccer matches attract thousands of punters from all over the world, not just the state of Illinois. According to CoolThingsChicago, 61 million dollars in online bets were placed in the first month of legal sports wagering with soccer topping the list of most wagered on sports.
The game has been growing in popularity slowly through the country ever since America hosted the World Cup back in 1994. Today, major English and European soccer leagues are broadcast extensively all over American sports channels. Today, soccer odds are some of the most common and highly sought after in both online and physical sportsbooks in the state.
Which are the best sportsbooks in Illinois to wager on soccer?
Although sports betting is still relatively new in the state, residents already have a huge selection of operators to choose from, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most popular options include:
BetRivers is the land-based and online sportsbook brand of the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. BetRivers was the first legal sportsbooks to operate in the state. As mentioned above, owing to safety restrictions associated with COVID-19, the betting app was not launched until much later in June.
BetRivers is powered by Rush Street Interactive, a Chicago-based casino gaming company that operates casinos all over in areas such as Illinois, Pennsylvania, as well as upstate New York. As the first casinos to offer sports betting, it is extremely popular with punters in the state.
Some of the benefits it offers bettors include up to $250 as a bonus match on every first deposit. The app also live streams sports so that bettors can watch as their wagers unfold. It also offers the latest in in-game wagering. Users can bet on as many as 15 sports from countless leagues all over the world.
William Hill is a UK-based bookmaker that has serious chops in the sports betting market has been in business since 1934. Because it is not an American operator, William Hill had to strike up a partnership with the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin to establish a legal sportsbook in the state.
William Hill operates in almost all states that enjoy legalized sports betting including in Iowa, New Jersey, and West Virginia, so you can be assured of your safety at all times. Punters can enjoy online as well as mobile sports betting on both Android and iOS devices. They can also bet on as many as 14 different sports.
If you have been keeping up with sports betting news in other parts of the country, then you may have come across the company DraftKings once or twice before. DraftKings opened its first sportsbook in the state on August 5th after a partnership deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis.
DraftKings is available for all platforms and even allowed pre-match and live bets on 19 different sports in many parts of the globe. One unique factor that makes DraftKings stand out over its competitors is the special ‘oddsboosts’, which gives punters and soccer fans insights on promising odds on certain, popular bets.
PointsBet announced that it would be joining other operators in Illinois on August 31st, 2020. PointsBet is Australian based but it only recently started operating in the United States. It boasts the most user-friendly interface, which is great news for any beginner punters that don’t necessarily know what’s required of them.
FanDuel is easily DraftKings’ biggest competitor. In regions where the app is permitted, FanDuel has stood as the best performing sportsbook, a feat it hopes to emulate in Illinois. Those looking to bet on soccer will love the apps for its seamlessness, and easy to use interface. Bettors enjoy several benefits including a $500 risk-free first bet.
Something worth mentioning:
Anyone hoping to bet on any of these apps can sign up anywhere in the state. However, the caveat is that they have to show up in-person at the physical sportsbook first to register before they can start betting. Earlier this year, in-person registration was waived to allow users to register safely amidst covid-19 restrictions.
This ban was re-instituted again on September 19th, 2020, and will last until the 18-month requirement is completed. Anyone over 21 years can register and bet legally on soccer in the state of Illinois.