Sports in Illinois
Although colleges and their sports teams are throughout Illinois, professional sports teams are all in one area, and this is the focus of sports betting in Illinois. The Chicago sports teams are represented in each major league. What is Chicago’s greatest sports team? It’s tough to say as they each have a long history of achievements.
NFL – National Football League
Established in 1920, they are only one of two original NFL franchises still in the league. The other is the Arizona Cardinals which also had their start in Chicago. They have the second most recorded victories in the NFL behind their long-standing rivals, the Green Bay Packers. In their early years, they were very successful, garnering eight NFL championships before the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. They had one Super Bowl Championship in 1985 with coach Mike Ditka.
NBA – National Basketball Association
Established in 1966, the Bulls have one of the greatest dynasties in the NBA. They won all six of their championships between 1991 and 1998, led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and coach Phil Jackson. The Bulls are the only team to win multiple championships but never lose an NBA Finals series. They were the first team to win 70 games or more in a season and held the record for most wins (72 games during the 1995-1996 season) until the Golden State Warriors reached 73 wins during the 2015-2016 season. Their success during the 1990s improved the NBA’s popularity worldwide.
MLB – Major League Baseball
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox started in 1900 as the Chicago White Stockings. They were one of the American League’s eight charter franchises. In 1904, they shortened their name to the White Sox. They won their first World Series against the Chicago Cubs in 1906 and their second in 1917 against the New York Giants. They next appeared in the World Series in 1919 as the heavy favorites against the Cincinnati Reds. They lost in what is known as the Black Sox Scandal, where eight members of the White Sox were thought to conspire with gamblers to lose. They were acquitted, but the MLB commissioner banned all of the players for life. It took until 2005 before they won their third World Series against the Houston Astros – a total of 87 years. That’s the second-longest MLB championship drought of all time. Who has the longest?
The Cubs were established in 1876 as a founding member of the National League. They started as the White Stockings, changing their name to the Cubs in 1903. That means Chicago had two professional baseball teams named the Chicago White Stockings from 1900 till 1903. They won two World Series Championships in 1907 and 1908, being the first team to win back-to-back championships. They have a total of three World Series Championships. The last was in 2016, ending the longest World Series droughts of 108 years.
NHL – National Hockey League
Founded in 1926 as part of the expansion of the NHL, the Blackhawks joined the league along with the Detroit Cougars (now the Detroit Red Wings) and the New York Rangers. They are considered part of the original six teams of the NHL. Their first owner was Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin, a commander in the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. His infantry was nicknamed the Black Hawk Division after a Native American named Black Hawk, who was well-known in Illinois. They have six Stanley Cups.
In State College Teams
There are 13 Division I Illinois college teams that support most, if not all, major college sports, including football, basketball (men’s and women’s), baseball, softball, and soccer (men’s and women’s).
- Bradley University Braves
- Chicago State University Cougars
- DePaul University Blue Demons
- Eastern Illinois University Panthers
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Fighting Illini
- Illinois State University Redbirds
- Loyola University Chicago Ramblers
- Northern Illinois University Huskies
- Northwestern University Wildcats
- Southern Illinois University Carbondale Salukis
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars
- University of Illinois Chicago Flames
- Western Illinois University Leathernecks
Illinois Sports Betting FAQ
Legalized Sports Betting
As of March 9, 2020, the Illinois gaming board announced that the Illinois sports betting law now allowed sports betting. The Illinois sports wagering act initially required mobile customers to sign up in person, but as of March 5, 2022, they could use online registration.
Land-based retail sportsbooks in Illinois
As of December 2021, Chicago City Council approved sportsbooks to open near major fields and arenas in the Chicago area to offer sports betting.
What Is The Legal Betting Age In Illinois?
For most forms of betting, you only need to be 18+. But some types of betting, like online poker, require a minimum age of 21. Always check before using mobile sports betting apps.
Sports Betting Illinois – the Best Casino Sportsbooks
There are many casinos in the state of Illinois. Here are some of the best.
- Hollywood Casino
- Grand Victoria Casino
- Caesars Sportsbook Illinois
- Par-a-Dice Casino
- Argosy Casino Alton
- Casino Queen
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Illinois?
Yes. You can use online sports betting apps for professional sports. College sports betting has to be done in person. Retail sports betting is allowed for all sports. Illinois sports betting revenue will be brought in through taxation. Always use the best Illinois sports betting apps and sports betting sites when you bet on sports.
Can I bet on Northwestern at Illinois Sportsbooks?
Yes, but only in person at a retail sportsbook and only on the game’s outcome, not on an individual play or in-game action. We have legal sports betting in Illinois, but some restrictions remain.
Horse Racing and Hawthorne Race Course
Illinois has several horse race tracks, but Hawthorne is North America’s oldest continually run family-owned racetrack. Illinois sports bettors are always welcome to use their online sports betting account for any of the race tracks, but they can also go in person as they all offer sports betting.