Caesars Sportsbook Launches $300 Risk-Free Bet in Illinois

A general view of Soldier Field with the Chicago skyline. Quinn Harris/Getty Images/AFP

Caesars Sportsbook has launched a risk-free bet bonus worth up to $300 for new customers in Illinois. 

This is significantly smaller than the risk-free bet bonus worth up to $5,000 that Caesars Sportsbook launched nationwide after taking over William Hill in 2021. That offer was a lot bigger than any other sign-up bonus on the market. 

Caesars changed its welcome bonus a few months ago, offering a matched first bet worth up to $1,001 instead. The new offer benefits you if your first bet wins or loses, so it is an appealing sign-up bonus. However, it is no longer available in Illinois. 

The New Illinois Bonus 

Bettors that sign up for a sports betting account in Illinois are now offered a risk-free bet worth up to $300. You can sign up for an account and place a bet of up to $300. If it loses, you will be refunded with site credit within three days. 

The site credit must be turned over once and any winnings you earn will be paid out as cash. The minimum odds for this bonus are -500. 

The sign-up bonus is still a matched first bet worth up to $1,001 in other states, but it has opted for a less appealing offer in Illinois. 

Could the End of In-Person Registration Change the Situation? 

In October, the sports betting handle in Illinois reached a record $840.4 million, making it the third-largest state for sports wagering after New Jersey and Nevada. Caesars accounted for just $14 million of that handle, compared to $315.3 million for DraftKings, $236.7 million for FanDuel, and $135.7 million for BetRivers. 

In Illinois, sports bettors are required to register for an online account in-person at a retail sportsbook. They must therefore travel to the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin to visit Caesars’ retail book, which is 40 miles west of Chicago. That is a painstaking process, making it difficult for Caesars Sportsbook to attract new customers in Illinois. 

That could explain why BetRivers has such a larger handle than Caesars in the state when Caesars is a lot more popular in other states. It could also explain why BetMGM has not yet launched in Illinois. 

It will all change on March 5th, when the need for in-person registration in Illinois is set to end. From that date, bettors will simply be able to visit an online sportsbook or download an app if they want to sign up for an account. We may see Caesars introduce a larger welcome bonus for Illinois when the need for in-person registration is scrapped. 

Legal Sports Betting on In-State College Teams is Imminent 

Sports fans will also be able to bet on college games featuring teams based in Illinois from March 5, such as Northwestern and DePaul, after Gov J.B. Pritzker signed a bill tweaking the state’s regulatory framework. 

However, those bets can only be placed at retail sportsbooks and not via mobile apps. Player props will also not be permitted, which is a standard rule across the country. 

The bill that Pritzker signed also paves the way for a retail sportsbook to open at DePaul’s home stadium, the Wintrust Arena, which it shares with Chicago Sky. Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, the United Center, and Guaranteed Rate Field can also apply to host retail sportsbooks.