Free IL Bets: Online Bonuses and Promo Codes from Sportsbooks

Free bets and bonus codes in the Prairie State are just as common as those in other states, and that’s despite the fact that no online Illinois sportsbook actually started operating here until September 2020. 

In this article, we will cover the topic of Illinois free bets, bonuses, and promo codes in depth. We’ll tell you what they are, the various types that you’re likely to be offered, and how each one works. Most importantly, we’ll tell you exactly where you can find them so that you can help yourself today.

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Benefit from Free IL Bets, Promos and Bonus Codes

See how you will benefit from free IL bets and bonus codes

The online betting USA picture is getting more attractive with the free bets, promos, and bonus codes offering numerous benefits for sports betting fans, and also for the sportsbooks that make them available. The biggest benefit for the Illinois operators is that their free bets and bonuses make it easier for them to attract new customers in what is already a very competitive market. As far as you as a customer are concerned, the benefits depend on the type of bonus being discussed. 

We will talk about each main type later, but for the time being, we can summarize the situation as follows:

  • IL free bets are offered by sportsbooks so that you can experience placing a modestly sized bet at their expense. The advantage to you is that they give you a chance of winning real money, as you would with any other wager, but if you lose you won't be left out of pocket. 
  • An IL sportsbook risk-free bet bonus tends to be larger than a purely free bet, but it will require you to make a deposit of your own money. You can typically expect its maximum value to be anything from a few hundred dollars to as much as $1,000. Make your deposit, place a wager using the cash you've deposited, and if the wager loses, the sportsbook will cover your loss by giving you free bets to the value of your lost stake.

Some IL free bets and bonuses can be claimed just by signing up and/or making a deposit into your account. Others will require you to enter a special 'promo code' or 'bonus code' so that the associated bonus can be assigned to you. The table below shows the IL free bets and bonuses that are available right now, along with any promo codes needed to claim them.

IL Sportsbook Promos

IL SportsbookPromo DetailsPromo Code Needed
BetRivers Sportsbook100% Match up to $250BetRivers promo code Illinois: HOWTORIVERS
Caesars SportsbookRisk-Free Bet up to $300Caesars promo code Illinois: HOWTOBET300
DraftKings SportsbookFirst Deposit up to $1,000DraftKings promo code Illinois - Use Link
FanDuel SportsbookRisk-Free Bet up to $1,000FanDuel promo code Illinois - Use Link
PointsBet Sportsbook2 Risk-Free Bets up to $2,000PointsBet promo code Illinois: HOWTOBET

Top Free IL Bets and Bonus Code Offers

All of the online sportsbooks that are currently operating in Illinois since the beginning of the new betting era in the Prairie State are well worth joining. But if you want to make a more informed decision about which one or two to join first, here are some further details that you may find helpful. Links to our full reviews of the sportsbooks discussed are also provided so that you can find out more about any that particularly pique your interest.

BetRivers Illinois

BetRivers Illinois is a very popular sportsbook that is well known for its promotional offers as well as its useful iRush Rewards loyalty program. The welcome bonus here isn't the biggest you'll see advertised – you'll get a 100% deposit bonus worth up to $250 – but you'll only need to bet your bonus cash once before it becomes withdrawable, which is very impressive.

Caesars Illinois

Caesars isn't yet able to provide online casino games for the state of Illinois due to the fact that such gaming is illegal. However, it can and does provide a great online sportsbook for those in the Prairie State. Sign up and make your first deposit using the Caesars Illinois promo code HOWTOBET300 and you'll enjoy your first bet risk-free, up to a maximum value of $300.

DraftKings Illinois

DraftKings Illinois has everything you could want from an online sportsbook, including a wide range of sports to bet on and plenty of betting markets for each. Join this sportsbook and you'll get a 20% bonus on your first deposit, up to a maximum of $1,000. 

FanDuel Illinois

Wherever DraftKings operates, the chances are very high that FanDuel will also be offering its sportsbook services, and that's certainly the case in Illinois. They currently offer sports betting in the Prairie State under a license held by Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. You can benefit greatly with FanDuel Promo Code Illinois proposals. New customers here can take up a risk-free bet offer worth as much as $1,000.

Barstool Illinois

Barstool became the sixth mobile sportsbook operator in the state in March 2021. Immediately, the company started offering a $10 no deposit bonus, and a risk-free bet up to $500 for first-time depositors. You won’t find a specific Barstool Sportsbook Illinois Promo Code, but if you just go to the homepage, you’ll easily get the two offers.

  • Barstool Illinois Review
  • Barstool Sportsbook Illinois Promo Code

Points Bet Illinois

The innovative Australian sportsbook came to Illinois through a partnership with the Hawthorne Race Course located just outside Chicago. They offer two risk-free bets to sports betting fans who sign up and make a deposit, and the combined value of those two bets can be worth up to $2,000.

Why Operators Give Free Bets and Bonuses

See the reasons why operators offer free IL bets and promos

Many people, on seeing just how much money can be claimed in the form of free bets and bonuses in the state of Illinois, will naturally wonder why sportsbooks would want to make such offers available. There are a couple of answers to this question that should clear things up nicely.

The first is that if one sportsbook has a free bet or bonus offer to shout about, it is only logical that others in the state must do something similar. After all, the only way to remain competitive is to ensure that your sportsbook offering is comparable with, if not better than, that of your rivals.

The second reason why operators give free bets and bonuses is that they really are effective in bringing in new customers. A sports bettor is always looking for efficient ways of increasing the size of his bankroll, so he is quite happy to make a deposit if a sportsbook makes it worth his while. That gives the sportsbook a new customer who, over the long term, is likely to be a lot more valuable than the free bet or bonus that is given to him initially.

IL Online Sportsbook Bonus Types and How They Work

While all online sportsbooks in Illinois offer bonuses, not all bonuses work in exactly the same way. There are, in fact, several different types of online sportsbook bonuses that you may be offered at one time or another, so we will now take a look at the main ones and explain how they work.

Free IL Bets

Learn all about free bets in IL

The first type of bonus that you might come across is the straightforward free bet. This is exactly what you would expect – a free wager for you to use in accordance with the terms and conditions set by the sportsbook that gives it. 

This free bet is normally awarded to acknowledge an action taken on your part. Most commonly, you will be required to sign up for a new account with a sportsbook by providing a few personal details. The free bet will then be given so that you can not only explore what the sportsbook has to offer, but also so that you can see how easy it is to place a bet there.

Because the action required for you to qualify for this type of bonus is fairly minimal, the value of the free bet given as a reward won't be particularly big. However, it's still a free wager, and could therefore be useful in getting your betting off to a good start with your chosen sportsbook.

Risk-Free IL Bets

We have said that a free bet doesn't normally require any investment of your own money, but a risk-free bet is quite different. Here, you will need to create a new online sportsbook account and then make a deposit of your own cash. You will then need to make a bet using your own funds, and if the bet wins you will keep whatever profit is generated as a result. If your first bet loses, however, the risk-free bet rules kick in and the sportsbook will compensate you for your loss by giving you betting credits equal to the size of your lost stake.

Because you will need to place your first bet with your own money, the size of a risk-free bet guarantee will usually be far more valuable than a straightforward free bet. You can typically expect the sportsbook to cover your first bet for at least a couple of hundred dollars, and in many cases, it will give you a risk-free bet worth as much as $1,000.

Sign-Up Bonus

A sign-up bonus is any kind of bonus that is given as a reward for a new bettor signing up for a new sportsbook or casino account. If a free bet is given for signing up, then it is both a free bet bonus and a sign-up bonus, and what the sportsbook chooses to call it is up to the operator. As there is no financial risk on your part, it is always worth claiming a sign-up bonus when you see one, even if you aren't sure that you will be a regular bettor with the online sportsbook concerned.

Deposit Bonus

A deposit bonus is any bonus that is given as a reward for you making a deposit of your own money. If it is your initial deposit with a sportsbook then it may be referred to as a first deposit bonus. However, deposit bonuses can also be given by some sportsbooks to reward your second, third, or subsequent deposits, as they see fit.

First-deposit bonuses tend to be the most generous, although their actual value will of course vary from place to place. Where they are available, they will be described as a percentage of your deposit, and subject to a maximum value. For example, you could be given a 100% deposit bonus, up to $300.

No Deposit Bonus

Learn how to benefit from IL no deposit bonus

No deposit bonuses are an often used incentive by online gambling sites to attract you to their venues and to make you stay. The main thing with them is that you won’t need to deposit any of your own money in order to participate in different wagers and games. Everyone’s a winner here.

Bet & Get Bonus

A Bet & Get bonus is technically a deposit bonus, but here it will usually be worth more than 100% of your deposit. This incentive is often given to encourage you to both sign up for a new account and make an initial deposit, and doing so will give you a larger amount of bonus betting credits. For example, you might be invited to 'bet $10 and get $50' or 'bet $20 and get $100'.

The Bet & Get bonus terms and conditions might state that your wager needs to be placed on a certain sport or even on a certain event, such as a particular game or competition. You should familiarize yourself with the small print so that you can bet accordingly and thereby qualify for the betting credits on offer.

Odds Boost

An odds boost bonus is aimed more at existing bettors at a sportsbook than new ones, but new bettors can of course take advantage of it after signing up and making a deposit. This bonus increases the odds for a particular outcome in an event, and therefore gives the bettor a bigger payout if his or her bet on that outcome wins. You can expect odds boosts to be more commonly offered on headline events such as the Super Bowl in football or the World Cup in soccer.

Refunds/Bonus Back

A refund bonus or bonus back promotion, like an odds boost, is designed to encourage you to wager on a certain event. The deal here is that if your bet doesn't succeed, the sportsbook will cover your lost stake. In most cases, your wager will need to fulfill certain criteria, such as your chosen competitor being close to winning. But if you're thinking of placing a bet on the event anyway, this can be a very useful bonus to have on your side.

VIP/ Loyalty Programs

There aren't very many online sportsbooks in Illinois that run VIP or loyalty programs, but they do exist. The purpose of a loyalty program is to encourage you to wager with the sportsbook running it rather than with any of its competitors. Every bet you place (or every dollar you bet) will result in you receiving a corresponding number of points. All you have to do is collect points by betting in the usual manner and then exchange those points for a reward when you have enough points to warrant doing so. Rewards are often free bets or betting credits.


Like any other business in Illinois, an online sportsbook is always looking for new customers, and the refer-a-friend bonus is offered so that you can be rewarded for helping it find them. All you have to do here is recommend the sportsbook to your friends. Any friend who signs up and gets involved will earn you the refer-a-friend bonus, and they will usually receive their own bonus at the same time.

Who Can Claim Free Illinois Bets and Bonuses

See who is eligible for free IL bets and bonuses

As you have seen, Illinois free bets and bonuses are both plentiful and easy to take advantage of. That said, they cannot be claimed by absolutely everyone and there exists some difficulties to play in legit online casinos. Like other states, Illinois has very strict rules about who is legally allowed to participate in sports betting here. That’s why you'll need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for free bets and bonuses:

  • You must be 21 or older.
  • You must be physically located in the state of Illinois when betting.
  • You must only bet with an online sportsbook that is licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Free Illinois Bets & Bonus Codes FAQ

Are all Illinois sports legal to bet on?
You can place wagers on all Illinois professional sports. It’s also worth noting that PointsBet is the official betting partner of the Chicago Bears, which means you will find several Bears specific bonuses and promotions at PointsBet, including guaranteed spreads and money lines.You can also place wagers on NCAA sports, but not on all events. Betting on Illinois-based college teams and athletes and college events taking place in the Prairie State is not permitted.
Do customers pay taxes on sports betting bonuses?
Bonus offers from sportsbooks do not count as gambling winnings, and therefore they do not have to be reported to the IRS. But if that bonus is converted to cash and is then withdrawn from your account, it does officially become gambling winnings. Any amount that you make over $600 must be declared as income.On the flip side, all sports betting losses, up to the amount you win, can be written off if they are itemized.

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