Illinois is one of the stingiest states when it comes to gambling. Aside from brick and mortar casinos, all forms of gambling is illegal. This includes games of chance, and games of skill. For more details on how to play poker in Illinois, read on.
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What Are the Laws for Playing Poker in Illinois?
Illinois doesn’t single poker out in their laws.
However, their stance on gambling is clear. It’s illegal, and both games of skill and games of chance are included. So long as something of value is being wagered, it’s against the law.
What Are the Consequences of Being Caught?
If it’s your first time offense, the consequences of being caught gambling is a class A misdemeanor and some fines.
For subsequent (repeat) offenses, or something more extreme as running your own mini-casino, videogame terminal or running a betting operation, you could face felony charges.
Illinois is one of the few sites that that doesn’t care for gambling and enforces it. I have an example of this below. The bottom line is that you don’t really want to test them. The state of Illinois does enforce their gambling laws.
Can You Play Online Poker in Illinois?
No — given how strict their laws are, this shouldn’t come as a shock to you either.
You’d be lucky to find a poker site still running in the USA that accepts signups from players in Illinois anyway. From my experience, states that have stricter gambling laws are usually banned from these sites. You won’t be able to create a new account, and if you are able to, you’ll only be able to play free money games, assuming the account isn’t shut down shortly after creating it.
If you do manage to find a site that will accept new real money accounts from players in Illinois, I’d be weary of depositing there anyway. They could very well be the next target for the DOJ, or they’ll up and close shop overnight, or both.
Are Home Games Legal?
Home games are only legal if you’re not gambling aka you can’t play for real money.
Here is a good example of what can happen if you do anyway. Again, it’s merely a misdemeanor and fines if you do, but that’s your call whether it’s worth the risk or not.
Is Poker Spread in Illinois’ Brick and Mortar Casinos?
Yes, there are several casinos in Illinois that provide poker games. Here are some of the larger casinos and the games they currently offer.
The Hollywood Casino (Aurora) – The Hollywood Casino spreads 5/10, 10/20, 15/30 and 20/40 limit and 1/2 no limit seven days a week starting at 9:30 AM. They have bad beat jackpots that can be as high as 6 figures. There is also a Hollywood Casino in Joliet.
Harrahs – Find tournaments running for around $60. They also run WSOP circuit tournaments.
Jumer’s Casino and Hotel – Jumer’s runs tournaments Sundays through Wednesdays with buy-ins ranging from $40 to $80. They also spread cash games.
Poker Leagues in Illinois
There are a couple of poker leagues in Illinois. Keep in mind that no league should have a fee to enter — they should all be free, otherwise they’re against the law. Here is some info about the leagues currently running:
Deepstacks Poker League – Compete for prizes and promotions like buy-ins to local tournaments or WSOP events.
Chicago Charitable Games – A weekend poker tour that supports local causes.