Choosing the right place to play online poker can be a challenge for anyone, as it can be tough to know what separates the good sites from the bad. Things are that much more difficult for US players, as not everywhere accepts players from this part of the world due to legislation about the process of accepting deposits. Finding somewhere where you are allowed to play is hard enough, and you then need to determine whether a site is reputable and of a decent standard.
This is where we can help, as we have researched a wide range of poker websites and ascertained which are the best for players throughout the US. We have done this on a state by state basis, as the relevant laws are different from one state to the next and many poker rooms will accept players from some states but not others. Below we have listed the Illinois poker sites, and this is where we recommend that Illinois residents play. Also on this page we have explained what we look for when ranking these sites and provided some information about poker legislation in Illinois.
Important Qualities of Poker Sites
To decide which poker websites we should list here, we look closely at the qualities of a wide range of sites. There are certain qualities that we believe to be particularly important for a poker site, and so by seeing which sites are best in those areas we are able to determine a ranking order for the leading places to play.
The attributes that we take into consideration include the choice of deposit methods, the variety of games on offer, the range of stakes available, the usability and functionality of the software, the number of players at the tables and the value of any bonuses and reward schemes.
Poker Legislation in Illinois
The subject of playing online poker for US residents has generated much debate in the last few years. While there has never been any law that specifically prohibits someone in the US from playing poker online, many rooms stopped allowing American players when the laws surrounding accepting deposits changed. Although plenty of sites remained US friendly, the options were more limited than for players in other parts of the world. As we have already mentioned, an additional complication is that a number of sites will only allow players from certain states and block players in other states.
The main reason for this is the fact that there is no nationwide federal law that clearly defines the legality of online poker. There is some legislation in place in a few states, but none in others. Overall, the situation is somewhat confusing. The positive news is that in recent times a number of states have begun to examine their position on online gambling and online poker. Illinois is one such state, which is perhaps not surprising as they were the first state to allow the legal online purchase of lottery tickets.
As a state where gambling is legal (there are regulated riverboat casinos operating), Illinois already has relevant legislation in place. In the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about expanding gambling in the state and, specifically, about online poker. Recent bills have covered a range of gambling issues but the most recently introduced bill proposes a Division of Internet Gaming is established to regulate online gambling and issue licenses to operators wishing to provide games of skill or chance. While is not yet completely clear, it does seem increasing likely that we will see regulated online poker in Illinois.
Illinois Gambling History
Illinois has many associations with gambling. They have a long established history of horse racing and introduced a state lottery in the 1970s. Illegal gambling houses were also prominent in some parts of the state, particularly Chicago, during the mid-1900s. The state is also well known for its riverboat casinos on the Mississippi river, which were legalized in the early 1990s. At that time, Illinois had not shown a great deal of interest in legalizing gambling. This was perhaps due to the problems they had experienced associated with the illegal gambling halls we have just mentioned.
However, with legalized riverboats in operation in Iowa, the powers that be in Illinois realized that their citizens would likely be attracted to these boats and it could impact their economy as money was taken out of the state. They much preferred the idea of the money staying in Illinois, and of course the taxes that could be derived from having similar venues. As such, legislation was quickly introduced allowing a number of licenses to be issued to the operators of riverboat casinos.
In order to try and make the Illinois casinos more attracts than those in Iowa, the gaming rules were a little more relaxed. Iowa casinos had a $5 bet limit and a limit of $200 loss per visit, but these did not apply in Illinois. Perhaps as a result of this, the Illinois riverboat casinos fared much better than those in Iowa. In 1994, Iowa themselves removed those limits.