Is Bovada Legal to Bet on From Illinois?

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:

It is technically legal for Bovada to operate in Illinois though they do not have a state license. While Bovada is good, there are better options available where payouts are made in just a few hours, not to mention more attractive linesBetUS offers a 125% welcome bonus on your first THREE deposits.  Now celebrating 25 great years. 


In May 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned decades of sports betting prohibition and ushered in an era where folks across the country can now place sports wagers legally.

This year, Illinois lawmakers moved swiftly to pass sports wagering legislation in the state.  The state had moved more slowly (and some would suggest more cautiously) in setting up state-operated retail sportsbooks and mobile betting platforms, though in retospect they seemed to be among the first to join the party.

License applications were made available December 19, 2019 with three mobile-only providers with a stipulation that they had to wait 18 months from the official launch of sportsbooks operating from the state before going online.

Covid changed a lot of that.  Remote registrations were permitted during much of 2020 as casinos were shuttered.  Following a brief period in which in-person registrations were once again required, those in the state were eventually allowed to set up accounts from their own home or office.

Sites like Bovada and BetUS still accept customers from Illinois.  The state restricts betting on in-state schools whereas Bovada and BetUS take bets from those in Illinois on the Fighting Illini and Norwestern Wildcats as well as 104-year-old Sister Jean's beloved Loyola Ramblers.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed a sports betting tax hike on February 22, 2024 as a means to combat a budget deficit, as raising taxes from 15% to 30% for regulated sports betting sites like DraftKings and FanDuel would provide an additional $100 million to the state.

Books like Bovada and BetUS are licensed outside the US and therefore do not report winnings, nor do any local bookmakers operating in the state that we are aware of.

The end customers of sportsbooks, whether regulated by the state or another jurisdiction, will not be subject to these increases.  Those playing with the regulated books will feel the pain through reduced promos and less attractive odds and offerings.

Sports bet winnings over $600 are subject to a 15% tax rate in Illinois with winnings reported by the state regulated books (not those licensed in other jurisdictions) to the IRS and other tax collecting agencies. It’s also standard procedure for casinos in Illinois to withhold 25% of winnings for federal tax purposes.

- Aaron Goldstein,

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