The Illinois sports betting market is shaping up to be a competitive one. A number of leading operators are jockeying to earn market share, which is a huge positive for bettors. In order to capture your attention, many operators have some fantastic offers up their sleeves.
Included on that list are free bets, a highly sought after offer that varies by operator. In some cases, you have to sign up to get one, while other operators want you to deposit funds before offering up the chance to wager in a risk-free fashion.
We’re going to walk through all of the ins and outs of free bet bonuses right here. Read on as we show you how to get the most bang from your betting dollar at Illinois sportsbooks.
When getting ready to sign up for a new sportsbook, the following question should pop into your head: What’s in it for me? As mentioned, the competitive landscape translates into offers you can use to your advantage. Here’s where you can find the best ones:
Bonus Offer: Up to $1,050 free
This offer is one of the best you’ll find across the industry. Once you click on our link to create a new account at DraftKings Sportsbook, the doors are open for a two-part welcome offer.
First up, you’ll get $50 free, which is credited to your account after you deposit $5 minimum. Next, your first deposit will be matched $20%, up to $1,000. For every $25 you play, $1 of the bonus will be automatically released. In order to receive the full bonus, you’ll have to play through the required amount in 90 days.
FanDuel Sportsbook is offering a promo to our readers that is simple to understand. Once you create an account with our exclusive link, your first bet is risk-free. You’ll have to deposit a minimum of $10. Afterward, place your first bet with a little insurance on your side.
If your bet is a winner, it’s business as usual. You can withdraw your winnings and continue playing through your bankroll on the site. For losing bets, FanDuel will refund the amount of the wager of up to $1,000. The funds will appear as credits in your account and are then subject to a simple 1x playthrough requirement.
While bonus offers abound at online sportsbooks and sports betting apps here in Illinois, not all of them are created equal. There are different rules that you need to follow for each. Here’s a look at typical bonus offers you’ll come across at sportsbooks.
For this offer, sportsbooks will match your first deposit up to a certain amount. It could be a certain percentage, such as 20%, or it could be a full dollar-for-dollar match. In either case, the bonus will be for up to a capped amount, e.g., $500.
To qualify, there’s generally a minimum deposit required, which is typically a nominal amount of $25 or less. There may also be a playthrough requirement for funds to be released, so be sure to understand the offer’s full terms and conditions.
For example, the funds may be released in increments such as $1 for every $25 played. There could also be time requirements in place to complete the bonus, such as within 30 days.
A risk-free bet is another popular way for online and mobile sportsbooks to welcome new users into the fold. After you make an initial deposit, you’ll be able to place your first wager in risk-free fashion of up to a certain amount, sometimes as much as $1,000.
If the bet turns out to be a loser, then the site will refund you the wager amount in the form of site credits. The credits aren’t eligible for immediate withdrawal, but there’s sometimes a 1x playthrough requirement.
A 1x playthrough means that you have to wager that amount again. If the site gives you back $25, then you would have to bet that same amount once for the funds to be eligible for withdrawal.
This offer works in a similar fashion to the risk-free ones, but you can still benefit even if you win on your first bet. For the match bet, the book will give you the amount of your first wager in site credits, whether you win or lose.
Naturally, there will be caps attached to the amount of the bet eligible, but it’s still a generous offer. The amount the book credits to you will have playthrough requirements that you’ll have to meet before the funds are free and clear.
If you receive a matched bet of $100, then that amount will be in your account as either site credit or bonus bets. Once you play that amount on the site, the amount of the match will be yours to do with as you wish.
The money-back offer resembles bet insurance, which is a promotional offering that sportsbooks hand out from time to time. If you place a bet and lose in a certain fashion, the site will credit you back the wager amount.
Those funds would then be subject to a playthrough requirement. Money back will apply to the proverbial bad beats and may vary. Examples include an MLB bet that goes awry in extra innings or an NFL wager that loses in overtime.
As you would expect, the money-back bet needs to be played through on the site. Any winnings from that point are yours to keep, but the operator won’t credit you the money-back bet to your account again.
You’re ready to get started with sports betting and have heard of some great bonus offers that are there for the taking. Now what? The first step is to place yourself in a position to take advantage of them by clicking our exclusive links to get started.
Beyond that, there are some key things you need to know. Let’s take a look.
Sportsbooks are in the business of attracting as many users as possible. This is especially true when they enter a new market, such as here in Illinois. In a perfect world, the users they attract will turn into loyal customers.
Users have a number of options to consider for where to place their sports betting dollars. The landscape is competitive, so operators have to do what they can to stand apart from the crowd.
Enter bonus offers. Users who take advantage of these offers wind up with free funds to use, while sportsbooks benefit by having more customers in the fold.
For our recommended operators, the process is simple. All you have to do is click through on our exclusive links to create an account. If there’s a bonus code necessary, we have it here. You’ll enter it when prompted.
What you need to do from there will vary by offer. In cases in which it’s free funds for signing up, your account will be credited right away. Many of the offers require an initial deposit, while other offers apply to your first real money wager.
In all cases, as long as you follow through the steps we’ve laid out, you’ll be good to go. Remember that there may be time limits on activating the offers or playthrough requirements, so be sure that you have a grasp on what you need to do.
As mentioned, the clock may start ticking on certain offers after you create your account. You may have to make a deposit within a certain time frame or place a bet by a certain date, for example.
The best advice is to take the time to review the terms and conditions at the sportsbook on any free bet offers. There are often specific requirements in place, such as a minimum odds requirement for the bet to be accepted.
Also, the bonus offers may only be allowable for certain straight wagers, while others may allow a parlay or other exotic wager. Once again, review the rules on-site for additional details and requirements.
To fully understand how something works, it’s always helpful to see it in action. It’s no different with free bet promotions at legal, regulated sportsbooks. To that end, let’s walk through some examples of what happens when you’re ready to put the wheels in motion.
We’ll begin with the free $50 offer from DraftKings. The amount is credited to your account in the form of a $50 free bet. The bet has a one-time playthrough requirement, and you have up to 30 days to use it. Additionally, it must be placed at sports betting odds of -200 or better to qualify.
If your bet is a winner, you receive any profits, though not the original free-bet amount. For a bet that loses, the free wager has been used up and will no longer be available in your account.
Next, let’s walk through how the $1,000 risk-free bet offer from FanDuel works. After you make your initial deposit, you’ll be able to place your first bet in risk-free fashion, up to $1,000.
Let’s say you decide to place your first wager for $500 on the Chicago Bears at +3 points as they face off the Indianapolis Colts. If the Bears cover the spread, you have a winning bet. Your account will be credited with the winnings plus the amount of your stake.
If the Bears come up short, you’ll still be in decent shape. You’ll be credited back with the amount of your bet. You’ll have to play through this amount one time before it’s eligible to be withdrawn.
Free bets allow you to check out a sports betting site with limited or no risk. Another benefit is you can start off with a bigger bankroll than you may have available by taking advantage of the maximum offers.
It’s tough to find a downside to free money, but you should mindful of a few things. The most important are the playthrough requirements as well as time limits that may be in place.
As long as you know what you’re signing up for and understand what’s expected of you, then you shouldn’t run into any issues. For clarity, it’s always a good idea to give the free bet rules at the site you are playing on a once-over to avoid confusion.