Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports: The Ultimate Guide to Winning Big in 2023

Illinois has witnessed significant growth in the realm of daily fantasy sports (DFS) in recent years. DFS platforms have gained immense popularity among sports enthusiasts who enjoy the thrill of drafting and managing virtual teams based on real-life athletes’ performances. While the legality of DFS has been a subject of debate in some jurisdictions, Illinois has emerged as a key market for these fantasy contests.

Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports

Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports – Basis

  • 🏛️ Legal Status of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Illinois: As of 2023, DFS remains in a legal gray area in Illinois. 
  • 🗓️ Timeline of DFS Legislation in Illinois: A brief history of DFS legislation in Illinois includes the Attorney General’s declaration of DFS as illegal gambling in 2015, and multiple legislative efforts to legalize DFS since then, none of which have been successful yet.
  • 🧒 Legal Betting Age: While DFS is technically illegal in Illinois, the practice appears to follow the state’s legal gambling age of 21.
  • 🌐 DFS Outside Illinois: The legality of DFS varies across states, with DFS considered a state-level issue. Some states, like West Virginia, have legalized DFS, while others operate in a legally unclear environment similar to Illinois.
  • 💰 Taxes on DFS Winnings: Regardless of the legal uncertainty surrounding DFS, all Illinois residents are expected to pay income tax on any gambling winnings, presumably extending to DFS winnings as well.
  • 🔄 Upcoming Regulation Changes: There may be hope for DFS to be legalized soon, considering the state’s liberal stance towards gambling and the recent legalization of sports betting in the state.
  • 🏢 Land-based casinos are legal in Illinois, with several venues located throughout the state. These casinos are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.
  • 💻 Online casinos are currently not legal in Illinois, but sports betting is legal and can be done through approved online platforms.

Illinois has had a tumultuous relationship with the legality of DFS. The state’s stance on this form of online gaming has oscillated over the years, influenced by a blend of societal, political, and economic factors. It has been a journey fraught with uncertainty, yet marked by significant milestones that have sculpted the current landscape of DFS in Illinois.

DFS: Legal Since 2019

The legal status of DFS in Illinois was established in 2019, when various sports, including NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB became recognized under Illinois’ gaming laws. This recognition represented a significant turning point in the state’s DFS history, providing a legal foundation upon which these activities could flourish.

The Grey Area of DFS Legality

However, the legality of DFS in Illinois hasn’t always been clear-cut. In 2015, the Illinois attorney general issued an opinion that classified DFS as illegal gambling. This raised concerns for both operators and players, and it took several years to resolve the legal ambiguity. Eventually, the passing of the Illinois Gambling Act provided a legal foundation, ensuring the continued operation of DFS platforms in the state.

Despite the legality of DFS, some legal risks persist. Operators need to adhere to strict regulations and licensing requirements to ensure compliance. Additionally, players should familiarize themselves with the specific rules and restrictions imposed by the DFS platforms they choose to participate in.

The Future of DFS in Illinois

Looking ahead, the future of DFS in Illinois is intrinsically tied to the broader evolution of sports betting legalization in the state. With a growing momentum towards more liberalized betting laws, the DFS landscape could witness significant changes in the near future, potentially broadening its scope and impact.

The Argument of Game of Skill

An essential aspect of the DFS debate, not just in Illinois but nationally, has been whether daily fantasy sports should be considered a game of skill or a game of chance. In Illinois, proponents of DFS have often emphasized that it is a game of skill, requiring strategic thinking, knowledge of the sport, and analytical abilities. This argument has played a vital role in the discussions surrounding the legal status of DFS, differentiating it from traditional gambling, where luck plays a more prominent role.

DFS Sports Categories in Illinois

DFS in Illinois covers a wide range of sports categories, reflecting the diverse interests of its participant base. Some of these categories include:

National Football League

Daily Fantasy NFL

In Illinois, NFL fantasy sports enjoy widespread popularity, fueled in part by the devoted fan base of the Chicago Bears. The Bears’ rich history and prominence in the state contribute to the thriving NFL fantasy scene.

National Hockey League


Illinois is also home to a vibrant NHL fantasy scene. The Chicago Blackhawks, with their storied history and dedicated following, have played a crucial role in popularizing NHL fantasy sports in the state.

National Basketball Association

Daily Fantasy NBA

The impact of the Chicago Bulls on the NBA fantasy landscape in Illinois is significant. Their success and broad fan base have helped spur the growth of NBA fantasy sports in the state.

Major League Baseball and College Fantasy Sports

Daily Fantasy MLB

MLB fantasy sports have a strong presence in Illinois, bolstered by the popularity of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox. The emergence of college fantasy sports, driven by the state’s rich collegiate athletics scene, further adds to the diversity of DFS offerings in Illinois.

Illinois DFS Legislation Timeline

Illinois has navigated a complex legislative path in relation to DFS. The timeline of significant events includes:

YearLegislation Event in Illinois DFS History
2006The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act exempted fantasy sports from federal gambling laws.
2015The Illinois Attorney General issued an opinion labeling DFS as illegal gambling.
2019DFS activities such as NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB received legal recognition in Illinois.

Betting Age and Trust Factors in DFS

The legal betting age in Illinois is 21. Individuals must be of legal age to participate in DFS contests and other forms of gambling within the state. When it comes to DFS, players often seek reliable resources to enhance their experience and make informed decisions.

One trusted resource for Illinois DFS players is This platform provides comprehensive information about DFS platforms, offering reviews, rankings, and insights into the best operators available in the state. Illinois residents can trust to provide accurate and up-to-date information to enhance their DFS experience.

DraftKings and FanDuel

Draftkings and Fanduel

Two major players in the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry that have had a significant impact in Illinois are DraftKings and FanDuel. These platforms are among the most popular and trusted in the state, providing a wide variety of fantasy sports offerings.


DraftKings has been a prominent platform in Illinois, offering an engaging experience to DFS enthusiasts. With a user-friendly interface, the platform allows participants to create and manage virtual teams across different sports. Its popularity in Illinois has been driven by features that cater to both novice and experienced players.


FanDuel is another leading platform in the DFS industry that has captured the attention of Illinois residents. Known for its innovative approach to DFS, FanDuel provides a dynamic environment for players to explore various fantasy sports options. The platform has helped bring a unique flavor to the DFS landscape in Illinois, complementing DraftKings in offering a complete fantasy sports experience.


In conclusion, daily fantasy sports have gained substantial traction in Illinois, providing sports enthusiasts with an immersive and interactive experience. 

As the DFS industry evolves, the integration of DFS with sports betting presents exciting prospects for the future. Illinois’s rich sports culture, including teams like the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox, continues to fuel the passion for DFS among residents. With favorable legislation and increasing interest, DFS in Illinois is poised for further growth and development in the years to come.



As of 2023, DFS remains in a legal gray area in Illinois, although the state does recognize DFS under its gaming laws.

DraftKings and FanDuel are two of the most popular DFS platforms in Illinois.

The legal betting age in Illinois is 21.

Yes, sports betting is available and legal in Illinois.

Proponents of DFS in Illinois argue that it is a game of skill, requiring strategy and knowledge of the sport.