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Illinois Gambling Laws

Maybe you’re thinking of heading out to Arlington Park for the day, or maybe you just want to host your own poker night with the guys. Whether you’re planning a visit to the Harrah’s Joliet or throwing $20 into the office March Madness pool and picking the Illini in the Final Four, all of these activities are covered by gaming and gambling laws in the Prairie State. So here is a quick introduction to Illinois gambling laws.

Gaming Law in Illinois

Depending on the state, certain types of gambling are illegal and prosecuted under criminal statute. However, many states have relaxed their gambling laws and allowed casinos and other gambling venues. While Illinois gambling laws allow betting on horse racing and riverboat casinos, most other types of gambling are prohibited in the state. Contests of skill (rather than mere chance) are allowed, as are charitable games, bingo, and raffles.

Learn more about Illinois gambling laws in the table below.

Code Section

720 5/28-1 et seq.; 230 10/1 et seq.; 230 5/1 et seq.


Playing games of chance or skill for money or other thing of value; wagering upon games, contests, or elections; owning or operating gambling devices.

Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting

Horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering allowed for licensees.

Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting

Not specified.

Casinos Allowed?

Riverboat gambling allowed upon any navigable stream other than Lake Michigan, except within counties with population in excess of 3 million.

Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned

Compensation agreements; bona fide contests of skill, speed, strength, or endurance; manufacture of gambling devices; bingo; raffles; possession of antique slot machines; pull tab and jar games; and charitable games allowed.

A combination of federal and state laws regulate gambling and gaming, including casinos, racetracks, and lotteries. States that permit gambling will generally have a gaming commission that oversees industry practices, such as licensing employees and regulating the games and books. Normally, these states will also have strict zoning regulations to separate such gaming establishments from schools and residential areas. Gaming establishments on Indian reservations are regulated by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and must be in compliance with any other tribal gaming regulations.

Illinois Gambling Laws: Related Resources

State gaming regulations can change. If you’d like more general information on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s gaming law section. Or you can contact an Illinois gaming law attorney in your area for a legal consultation regarding gambling.

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