The competitive nature of the Illinois sports betting market works to the advantage of bettors who like to take advantage of bonuses and promotions. With many sportsbooks set to launch in Illinois, new player welcome offers will play a major role in the marketing efforts of most operators.
With that in mind, we will be maintaining an up to date list of the best Illinois betting bonuses and promotions on this page. Here, readers can see the best promos at a glance and read more about the details of each to find the best offers for their needs.
Best Illinois Betting Bonuses
Sports betting bonuses come in all shapes and sizes but the basic premise behind them all is largely the same: to reward customers for taking a desired action such as signing up for an account or making a deposit.
Generally, Illinois sportsbook bonuses come in one of several flavors. Free bets, first deposit bonuses, no-deposit bonuses and ongoing promos designed to reward loyal customers are among the most common types of promotions designed to either attract new players or keep existing players happy.
Identifying the best bonus offers often comes down to taking a look at the terms and conditions to see what types of wagering requirements and restrictions are attached to any particular promotion. It is not uncommon for two bonuses to look largely equal at first glance, but to later find that one is clearly more beneficial than the other due to wagering requirements alone. More on that later.
Illinois Sportsbook Bonus Codes
|Sportsbook||Welcome Offer||Bonus Code|
|BetRivers Illinois||100% up to $250||250MATCH|
|FanDuel Illinois||Risk-Free First Bet up to $1,000||None needed|
|DraftKings Illinois||20% up to $1,000||None needed|
|PointsBet Illinois||Up to $1,000 in Risk-Free Bets||None needed|
|William Hill Illinois||Risk-Free First Bet up to $300||None needed|
Some Illinois betting bonuses require customers to input specific promo codes in order to claim a particular offer while others offer bonuses to all new customers by default. In cases where bonus codes are needed, readers can use the promo codes listed above to claim the associated offer.
In many cases, however, no promo code is needed at all to claim a bonus. Signing up and making a deposit or placing a wager is often all that’s needed.
For betting sites that do require bonus codes, players are usually asked to enter the code either when signing up for an account or when making a deposit.
For example, BetRivers Sportsbook asks for a promotional code upon registration as depicted below:
No-Deposit Bonuses in Illinois
No-deposit bonuses are always a welcome sight as they afford new bettors the opportunity to give a sportsbook a test run without having to risk their own money up front.
All that’s needed is to sign up for an account and the new customer is given a small bonus (usually issued as site credit) that can be used to place wagers and win withdrawable money.
Most no-deposit bonuses are a good deal for bettors simply because there is very little risk entailed in claiming such an offer. Still, customers should give the terms and conditions a look and ask the following questions:
- Is there a maximum amount that can be won with the bonus?
- Is the bonus included in any winnings when used to place a successful wager?
- Are there any wagering requirements attached to bonus winnings?
- Does the bonus need to be used within a certain amount of time?
- Are there restrictions on the types of bets that may be placed with the bonus?
Deposit Match Bonuses in Illinois
The classic deposit match bonus offers new customers an amount of bonus cash based on the size of their first deposit. For example, a 100% deposit bonus effectively doubles a user’s first deposit by giving them an equal amount in bonus funds. A $100 first deposit, for example, would result in the user receiving $100 in bonus money.
Most bonuses are issued as site credit and may not be withdrawn, but this is not always the case. A handful of sportsbooks issue bonus funds that are withdrawable – but only after meeting any wagering requirements attached to the offer.
How Risk Free Bets Work
Many IL sportsbooks today offer “risk free bets” in lieu of standard deposit match bonuses. The basic idea is that customers make a deposit and place a wager with their own money to qualify for the offer.
At that point, risk-free bets can take one of two forms. Some sportsbooks simply refund the customer’s first bet if it loses with a free bet of equal size. Other sportsbooks give users a free bet regardless of the outcome of the original wager.
The term “risk free” is a bit of a misnomer in most cases in our opinion because the free bet refund is usually offered as site credit only. In any case, free bet offers are still usually a good deal for bettors as long as any wagering requirements attached to the bonus are not excessive.
Enhanced Odds Offers
The majority of Illinois betting sites run enhanced odds offers on a daily basis – typically a handful of preselected events in which the payout odds have been improved for one day only.
For example, the odds on the Bears winning their Sunday game might be increased from -170 to -150 temporarily or the odds on the Lakers winning the Championship increased from +240 to +270.
Enhanced odds offers typically require nothing from the customer. Sportsbooks simply boost the odds on certain markets to drum up interest and anyone who takes the bet that day is given better-than-normal odds.
Few (if any) forms of advertising are as effective as word-of-mouth recommendations, and most betting sites are willing pay good money to members who choose to invite their friends.
Refer-a-friend programs offer cash or bonus funds to customers who refer their friends – and often even sweeten the deal for the person who was referred as well. The details vary from one mobile sportsbook to the next, but generally players can receive upwards of $50 to $100 per referral.
The main thing to be aware of with refer-a-friend promos is what the referred person needs to do to trigger a payout. For example, one sportsbook might require the referral to deposit at least $50 while another might require the referral to place at least $25 worth of wagers to qualify for a referral fee.
The actual mechanics of referring a friend involve either grabbing a custom link that can be sent to each friend or by logging in, visiting the referral area and inputting their e-mail addresses to send custom invitation e-mails.
VIP and loyalty programs are designed to keep current customers happy and to encourage them to stay active. The benefits at the lower levels are rarely worth paying much attention to as the rewards are slow to accumulate. However, high volume bettors can earn significant rewards for simply placing wagers.
The structure of the various loyalty programs offered by sportsbooks varies, but many are organized such that customers earn points for every dollar wagered. The process of earning points moves customers up through various levels that each unlock ever more valuable rewards.
At the lower levels, customers earn minor perks such as exclusive deposit bonuses, enhanced customer support and faster withdrawals. As customers move up to higher levels, they can unluck more valuable perks such as comped hotel-casino rooms, invitations to VIP events, large cash bonuses and electronics.
Understanding Wagering Requirements
The majority of sports betting bonuses in Illinois and elsewhere come with wagering requirements that are put in place to prevent customers from simply claiming a bonus and then immediately withdrawing with no intention of actually sticking around.
Wagering requirements are usually expressed in terms of a multiple such as 1x, 10x or 20x. What this means is the customer must place a total sum of wagers equal to 1x, 10x or 20x the bonus amount. For example, a $100 bonus with a 10x rollover would require the customer to place $1,000 worth of wagers prior to withdrawing the bonus or any winnings derived from the bonus.
It is understandable that sportsbooks need to protect themselves from bonus abuse, but customers should also be on the lookout for excessive wagering requirements.
If a bonus comes with a rollover of 10x or less, it is usually a fair offer. If a bonus comes with a 20x or higher rollover, buyer beware. It may still be a worthwhile offer, but customers should take a closer look at the bonus to decide if it’s worth the effort or if there is a better bonus to be had elsewhere.
Here are some things to note when evaluating a bonus and its wagering requirements:
- The rollover multiple: How many times does the bonus have to be wagered in order to free it for withdrawal? The lower the multiple, the better.
- Bonus + Deposit or Just the Bonus: A sneaky tactic occasionally employed by sportsbooks that wish to hide the true extent of wagering requirements is to apply the rollover to the original deposit amount and the bonus amount. For example, a 10x rollover is more akin to a 20x rollover if the wagering requirements are applied to the sum of the original deposit amount and the bonus amount.
- Withdrawable or Non-Withdrawable: Customers should note if the bonus itself is withdrawable after meeting the wagering requirements or if only any winnings earned by wagering the bonus money are withdrawable. The best betting bonuses allow users to withdraw the original bonus amount and winnings.
- Minimum Odds Restriction: In most cases, the terms and conditions of a bonus state that when rolling over a bonus, wagers only count toward meeting the rollover if they are placed at wagers with minimum odds of -300 or -200. This means customers cannot simply clear a bonus by placing a bunch of low-risk bets at -300, -400 and so on.
Eligibility Requirements for Illinois Betting Bonuses
State law and the individual policies of each operator both determine who is eligible to receive any particular sports betting bonus in Illinois.
Under state law, betting sites must ensure customers are:
- 21 or older
- Physically located within state lines
- Verified as actually being who they say they are
What this means is customers should be prepared to prove their identity and location prior to receiving their bonuses. US law requires all states to restrict online sports betting to the confines of their borders, which in turn requires sportsbooks to verify the location and identity of each customer prior to awarding a no-deposit bonus.
Identity and location verification typically involve submitting the last four digits of one’s last Social Security number and address information. In some cases, customers are asked to upload an image of a photo ID as well. Licensed betting sites further make use of advanced geolocation technology to confirm the physical location of each customer.
Additionally, each sports betting bonus comes with its own eligibility requirements. For instance, customers are usually required to make a first deposit or place a wager in order to qualify for a bonus offer.
Horse Racing Betting Bonuses in Illinois
Horse racing betting sites that are licensed in Illinois also offer welcome bonuses to new customers in exchange for signing up and depositing.
Illinois horse racing bonuses largely work in the same way as the sportsbook offers detailed above: customers sign up, make a deposit, place wagers and receive a bonus.
Online racebooks have a habit of changing their welcome offers frequently, but customers can visit the homepage of any licensed operator for the latest details.
Other common types of horse racing betting bonuses include the following:
- Runner-Up Cash Back: Place a wager on a horse and if it comes in 2nd (or 3rd place in some cases), get your money back as a free bet.
- Cash Giveaways for Betting: Some betting sites host regular promotions in which customers who wager a certain minimum amount each day are entered into daily, weekly or monthly cash giveaway drawings.
- Wagering Rebates: Most horse racing sites offer a wagering rebates program of some sort in which customers receive back a percentage of their total wagering activity each day as cash.
Does Illinois Gaming Law Address Bonus Offers?
However, licensed sportsbook operators are obligated to provide a reasonable level of transparency and fairness to customers.
Additional regulations directly related to promotional offers may be issued at some point as is the case in other states, but currently Illinois law simply expects licensees to conduct themselves in a “transparent and fair” manner and to promote responsible gambling habits.