PointsBet Sportsbook is live in Illinois and brings with it a blend of traditional sports betting and a form of wagering not seen elsewhere.
PointsBet Illinois offers standard pre-game and in-play wagers, but in addition to that, it offers a form of betting called PointsBetting in which customers win more for being more right. Or as PointsBet puts it, “the more your bet wins by, the more you win.” More on that shortly.
Shortly after Illinois legalized in-person and online sports betting, PointsBet secured market access by partnering with Hawthorne Race Course just outside of Chicago. The 20-year agreement will have PointsBet offer statewide mobile betting and retail sportsbooks at four Chicago-area locations. The retail sportsbooks will be located at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero and at off-track betting outlets in Crestwood, Oakbrook Terrace and Prospect Heights.
The mobile PointsBet platform launched in September 2020, just ahead of the grand opening of the company’s four retail sportsbooks in and around Chicago.
PointsBet Sportsbook was originally established in Australia, but company executives have stated they had the US market in mind from day one and largely considered their Australian operations a proof of concept.
The concept proved Popular in Australia and PointsBet realized its US dream in January 2019 beginning with New Jersey and following that with launches in Iowa and Indiana. PointsBet also maintains US headquarters in New Jersey and Colorado as it plans further expansion across the United States.
The PointsBet Rundown
- Established: 2015; launched in Illinois in September 2020
- Mobile Apps: iOS and Android
- Website: pointsbet.com
- Sports Covered: All major US and international sports; pro and college
- Welcome Bonus: Up to $1,000 in free bets
- Bonus Code: None needed
- License Status: Temporary Operating Permit
PointsBet offers a full menu of traditional wagers like any other sportsbook, but where it stands out from every other sportsbook is in its unique PointsBetting markets.
The basic concept that underpins PointsBetting is that bettors win more for being more correct in their predictions – and lose more for being more wrong.
A Point Total Example
Imagine a standard points total market on a game between the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns with the total set at 215 points. Normally, bettors would simply place a wager on the actual point total being greater than 215 or less than 215. The bet either wins or loses and the total amount won or lost is fixed.
A PointsBetting wager on that same market would instead ask the bettor to select an amount to wager per point and then multiply the winnings or losses by the number of points in which the actual total exceeds or falls short of the posted total.
Continuing the above example, if the bettor wagered $1 per point on the over in the Bulls-Suns game and the actual total finished at 225 points, the bettor would win $10 because the actual total exceeded the posted total (which was 215) by 10 points.
Likewise, if the actual total finished at 205 points, the bettor would lose $10 because it fell short of the posted total by 10 points.
A Point Spread Example
Now imagine a point spread on the Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks in which the Bulls are priced at -5 as the favorites and the Knicks at +5 as the underdogs.
Normally, the bettor would place a bet on the Bulls and win a fixed amount of money as long as the Bulls win the game by more than five points. Likewise, a bettor wagering on the Knicks would win the bet if the Knicks either win the game outright or lose by fewer than five points.
A PointsBetting wager on the spread would work a bit differently.
In this example, the bettor would choose an amount to wager per point and back either the Bulls or Knicks.
If the bettor backs the Bulls to win and wagers $10 per point, the bettor would win or lose $10 for every point by which the Bulls cover the spread or fail to cover the spread.
If the Bulls go on to win the game by 10 points, the bettor would win $50 because the Bulls covered the spready by 5 points ($10 per point times five points over the spread).
If the Bulls were to instead win the game by just one point, the bettor would lose $40 because the Bulls failed to cover the spread by 4 points ($10 per point times four points short of the spread).
PointsBetting by its nature is a higher risk, higher reward activity than standard sports betting, but customers do have tools at their disposal to manage risk.
Every market comes with a predetermined multiplier cap that limits the total amount that can be won or lost on any single bet. Users may also set custom multiplier caps to further limit the maximum win and maximum loss.
For example, if a customer sets a multiple cap of 10x on a PointsBetting wager and risks $1 per point, the most that can be lost is $10 no matter what happens.
In this way, all bettors can know in advance the best possible outcome, worst possible outcome and manage their risk tolerance accordingly.
PointsBet Illinois Bonus
2 Risk Free Bets up to $1,000
- Up to $500 refund (in free bets) if your first fixed odds bet loses
- Up to $500 refund (in free bets) if your first PointsBetting wager loses
The PointsBet Illinois bonus offers new customers up to $1,000 in free bets across their first two wagers.
Each customer who signs up, makes a deposit and places their first standard sports wager is refunded with up to $500 in free bets if it loses. The same also applies to each customer’s first PointsBetting wager; if it loses, they are refunded with up to $500 in fee bets.
All free bets must be used within seven days and may only be used on wagers with odds of -200 or greater. For example, free bets may be used on wagers with odds of -200, -110, +110 and +220 but not on wagers with odds of -200, -400, etc.
Other PointsBet Promotions
PointsBet has one of (if not the) most active promotional lineups in the industry with a regular assortment of free bets, odds boosts, refund offers and more.
It is also worth noting that PointsBet policy is to never attach rollover requirements to free bet winnings. If a customer places a free bet and wins money, that money is theirs to keep or cash out at will. The occasional deposit bonus may come with a 1x rollover on the deposit amount only, but most promos come with no rollover whatsoever.
Below are examples of promotions recently offered by PointsBet at the time of this review. PointsBet promos change regularly, but these examples serve as a guide to its general approach to promotions.
Custom Parlay Boosters: PointsBet launched custom parlay boosters in 2020 as an ongoing promotion in which customers can build a custom parlay of 3+ legs in the betting slip and select the lightning icon to apply a parlay booster to that wager for an enhanced payout. Customers get one parlay boost each day to use as they wish.
Good Karma Kommittee: The Good Karma Kommittee identifies offers refunds (paid in free bets) to customers who got the short end of the stick due to extraordinarily bad refereeing, dirty tricks or just plain bad luck.
One of the more prominent examples of a Good Karma payout came in January 2020 when PointsBet announced it would be refunding all Yankees AL futures and World Series futures bets due to the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal.
Personal Good Karma Refunds: Each month, PointsBet customers may send an e-mail to PointsBet detailing their worst bad beat of the month. In return, PointsBet will refund that losing bet with up to $100 in site credit. The only qualification is that players must place 10 or more bets that month to qualify.
Free Golf Bets: PointsBet recently hosted a promo in which customers who placed an in-play wager on the winner of a golf tournament a free bet of equal size to be used on any futures market.
Regular Bet Boosts: PointsBet regularly offers enhanced odds payouts on select wagers for various sports. Customers can view the promos tab at the PointsBet website or on the mobile app to find select wagers that have been boosted. For example, a bet on the winning team in an NFL game or soccer match might be boosted from +170 to +210.
Free Bets for Every Scoring Play: A recurring promotional theme at PointsBet are “make it rain” offers in which customers who place a wager on an upcoming game receive free bets for every goal scored, 3-pointer made, touchdown scored and so on.
Draw Game Refunds: PointsBet often offers to refund all pre-game wagers on soccer matches with up to $100 in free bets if the game ends with a final score of 0-0.
$25 Free Baseball Bet: In this recent promo, customers who bet on any baseball market received a $25 free bet to be used on any MLB future.
Parlay Insurance: Customers who bet on any 4+ leg parlay receive a refund of up to $25 in free bets if their parlay fails by a single leg.
Refer-a-Friend: PointsBet offers a $50 free bet for customers who refer a friend who goes on to deposit at least $50. The friend also receives a $50 free bet.
Name a Bet: Think of a wager not currently offered by PointsBet? Tweet to @PointsBetUSA and use the hashtag #nameabet and PointsBet will price it up.
Loyalty VIP Program
All customers are automatically enrolled in the PointsBet rewards program upon signing up. The loyalty program operates in a simple manner: for every wager placed, customers earn reward points that can be redeemed for bonus bets.
Points are earned at the following rates:
- 1 point for every $5 wagered on fixed odds markets
- 1 point for every $1 wagered on parlays
- 1 point for every $1 won or lost on PointsBetting markets
As customers place wagers, reward points are automatically added to each customer’s reward points balance. Bettors may redeem points for bonus bets by logging, opening the account menu and selecting the “rewards” menu item.
Points may be redeemed for bonus bets at the following rate:
- 250 points: $2.50 bonus bet
- 500 points: $5 bonus bet
- 1,000 points: $10 bonus bet
- 2,500 points: $25 bonus bet
- 5,000 points: $50 bonus bet
- 10,000 points: $100 bonus bet
- 50,000 points: $500 bonus bet
- 100,000 points: $1,000 bonus bet
PointsBet Illinois Mobile App Review
PointsBet offers dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Desktop users and mobile users who do not wish to download anything may also visit the PointsBet website to bet online from anywhere within state lines.
The PointsBet app provides access to the full betting menu, including standard pre-game wagers, in-play betting and PointsBetting markets. Overall, the app is easy to use with standard navigation menus that allow users to visit the in-play betting area, a list of available promos, open bets and featured markets.
Design wise, the app sports a minimalist aesthetic with light text on a dark background. It looks nice from a design standpoint but throws a quite a bit of information at users at once without much visual separation between events and betting markets.
Mobile betting screenshots:
In-Play Betting Review
The in-play betting experience at PointsBet is strong in some ways and lacking in others.
On the strong side, PointsBet covers more sporting events with in-play markets than most other sportsbooks. Logging in to PointsBet on any given day reveals dozens of games with in-play betting markets either open for action right now or soon to be open. Whether it’s major US sports, international tennis matches or even table tennis, PointsBet covers it all.
Where PointsBet comes up short is in live data and statistics. The in-play betting markets are provided as-is with a large variety of wagers for each event, but little information beyond the current score. While some of the other, larger sportsbooks provide running feeds of every play and sometimes even live streaming video, the PointsBet in-play betting markets are fairly barebones by comparison.
Betting Markets and Types of Wagers
One area in which PointsBet excels is in the sheer number of betting markets offered for every event. In many cases, PointsBet offers more bets on any particular game than any other sportsbook in the country.
PointsBet Sportsbook offers as many as 500 markets for some of the major US events, which vastly exceeds the number of markets provided by any other sportsbook. The types of wagers offered are too numerous to list in full but include all the standard options such as moneylines, point spreads and totals plus many more props and PointsBetting markets.
Sports covered: football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, golf, tennis, motor sports, mixed martial arts, boxing, cricket, darts, rugby league, rugby union, netball, snooker, handball, volleyball, Australian rules, cycling, athletics, surfing, swimming, table tennis and novelty events.
Types of wagers offered: PointsBetting markets, moneylines, spreads, point totals, player props, team props, wagers on stats accumulated by player or team, full-time/half-time results, quarter/period/half results and more.
PointsBet Deposit Methods
Illinois sports betting regulations (see page 105 here) allow licensed sportsbooks to accept deposits through a standard range of methods. PointsBet customers may fund their accounts through the following options.
- Online banking: Transfer funds directly from the customer’s bank account to his or her PointsBet account.
- PayPal: Transfer funds from a personal PayPal account to PointsBet; note that PayPal will only process a deposit to an online sportsbook if the funds in the PayPal account originate from a linked bank account. PayPal does not allow funds uploaded via credit or debit card to be used for gambling purposes.
- Credit and debit card: PointsBet accepts credit and debit card deposits via Visa and Mastercard.
PointsBet offers customer support via e-mail and live chat. Customers may also visit an FAQ section that provides answers to the most common questions.
Responsible Gambling Tools
As required by Illinois law, PointsBet provides several responsible gambling tools that customers may use to ensure they maintain healthy gaming habits. PointsBet users may log in any time to set daily, weekly and monthly limits for deposits, amount wagered and time spent logged in.