The History of Gambling in Illinois

In 1927, The Pari-mutuel risk on horseracing was approved by the Illinois General Assembly. We can view this as the first major legalised gambling event in Illinois. 

Bingo and Lottery

In 1971, the Bingo games were legalized. On July 1, 1974, the Illinois lottery launched. It was launched after Gov. Dan Walker signed and legislation passed by the Illinois General assembly. Its lottery released its first tickets and distributed them to 7000 retailers statewide. Also, it was marketed as the “cure-all for state education funding for K to 12 education”. But then funding decreased and failed to keep pace due to the General Assembly. So as to put funds into the state’s General Fund. But extra revenue is designated for education. Likewise, other amounts of money of general funding were reallocated for other purposes. Because the lottery simply proceeds were traded for other revenue sources. In 1977, the funding for K to 12 education dropped and forced the local Gov to bridge the gap.

In 1982, the Illinois Pick3 game was launched. And in 1984, Illinois Pick4 and Lotto games were launched. It was launched by Lottery and fast pick feature. By these features, the terminal randomly selects numbers as an additional feature. 

In 1986, the charitable games of chance were approved. It was for non-profit organizations.

Riverboat Gambling

In February 1990, riverboat gambling was legalized in Illinois. It is the second state in the nation that legally allows riverboat gambling. A total of 10 licenses were authorized. Boats were required to cruise a river while gambling occurred. 

Then on September 11, 1991, the first riverboat began its operation in Aton. It required reservations and admission were charged. Then there was a fee for general parking. There were long lines waiting to board. Everyone boards at the evening sessions due to the requirement of boats to cruise.

On May 21, 1999, Gov. George Ryan signs the Riverboat gambling act. The act states that there is no longer a requirement for the boats to cruise the river. As soon as the action started, all riverboats ceased cruising. And then it became de facto land-based, dockside casinos.

Later in the year 2003, Pick ‘n Play was launched by the lottery. That is new on the web game which combines both instant and online games. 

In 2005, the Illinois Gaming Board revoked the license of the Emerald Casino. As there were raised questions about reputed organized crime connections of some parties to the deal. It was the first priority and necessity in reallocating the license. And also getting a casino in operation, in order to generate tax revenue for state and local governments. Finally, in August 2011, The Illinois Supreme court ruled out a decision. It said that the legislation authorizing video gaming did not violate the state’s “single subject” clause. It removed the legal hurdles by enactment.

Modern Online Gambling in 2022

Nowadays online gambling is taking place in Illinois. Illinois has online sportsbooks like BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, Barstool, and Caesars. It includes Hollywood casinos in Aurora and Joliet and also Grand Victoria Casino.