PointsBet Sportsbook officially launched in Illinois on Sept. 12, just in time for the Bears opening game of the 2020 NFL season.
This was key because the Chicago Bears appear to be the fulcrum of PointsBet’s customer acquisition strategy.
Legendary Bear Devin Hester is the face of the brand in the Prairie State, and PointsBet is offering Illinois sports bettors a Crowd Booster promotion for the first three weeks of the season.
For every 200 bettors who take the Bears, their spread will be boosted 5 points. During last Sunday’s game, it resulted in the Bears closing at +100 against the Lions.
The promotion will also be live for Chicago’s Week 2 game against the Giants and its Week 3 clash with the Falcons. The max bet is $25.
PointsBet Sportsbook launched just a week before Illinois’ possible return to in-person registration. But it looks poised to make a splash in the meantime.
PointsBet offers unique betting experience
PointsBet is effectively offering you a free $75 off the bat for taking the Bears the first three weeks, which is enticing for obvious reasons. But unfamiliar Illinois sports bettors might notice that PointsBet is a different kind of sportsbook.
That’s because of the concept of “pointsbetting.” With pointsbetting, you can win (or lose) more money based on the amount by which you win or lose your bet.
Let’s use Monday Night Football’s Steelers versus Giants game as an example. If you take the Giants +5 at PointsBet, you have the option to multiply wins or losses by 10 to 50 times.
So, if you put $10 on the Giants at +5 and the Giants only lose by 3, the total payout would be $30 using a 10x multiplier. But if the Giants lost by 7, you would lose $30.
You don’t have to use the pointsbetting option on the PointsBet app, but it’s the brand’s signature bet.
PointsBet also offers a “Name A Bet” feature, where it solicits customer bet suggestions by request.
You are instructed to submit bet requests on Twitter and, at the moment, PointsBet is offering 34 of these bets for Steelers-Giants.
It’s also a welcomed addition to the Illinois market because it uses its own fixed lines. Before PointsBet launched, two of Illinois’ three online sportsbooks used Kambi lines (DraftKings and BetRivers).
With FanDuel in the mix, Illinois mobile sports bettors can shop for three sets of lines.
PointsBet positioned for retail success, too
PointsBet entered the Illinois market through a deal with Hawthorne Race Course.
Though PointsBet hasn’t launched its retail sportsbook yet, the sportsbook is in a desirable spot when it does.
There are two reasons for that: location and volume. Hawthorne Race Course lies about 10 miles from downtown Chicago, and it has 10 off-track betting (OTB) locations across the state. A few of them are in the Chicago suburbs.
It looks like the Crestwood, Oakbrook Terrace and Prospect Heights OTBs will be the first to open, in addition to the Illinois racetrack.
It remains to be seen what will happen on Sept. 19 when mobile registration could end. But at the moment, PointsBet probably has the best in-person registration set-up should it return, followed by BetRivers.
DraftKings at Casino Queen is almost a five-hour drive from Chicago, while FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook is nearly a three-hour drive.
Granted, DraftKings had about a three-week head start to register new users. And FanDuel launched on Aug. 28.
Regardless, PointsBet looks like a serious player in Illinois, especially when you factor in its lucrative NBC deal.
PointsBet was the obvious fourth online sportsbook to hit the Illinois sports betting market.
Now that PointsBet has launched, it’s tough to forecast who will be next.
It will likely either be William Hill, Unibet or Barstool.
William Hill has a retail presence at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and has sportsbooks online in multiple states. Unibet secured market access through Argosy Casino Alton via a partnership with Penn National Gaming earlier this month, and Barstool is also heavily involved with Penn, which owns both Hollywood Casinos.
With that said, we don’t know of any concrete plans or timelines for those books in the Prairie State.