Betting offers is the collective term we use to describe all the sign up bonuses that online betting sites give to their new customers. These are also sometimes referred to as introductory offers or welcome bonuses.
Whilst the principle of all of these promotions is essentially the same (sign up and get a bonus), there are a number of categories that any individual offer can fall into.
Choose Your Bonus Type
Online Casino Bonuses
Just like the sports betting offers, casino offers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In this next section we’ll take a look at the different types and give you pointers on what to look out for.
No Deposit Bonuses
Unlike sportsbooks, where no deposit bonuses are incredibly rare (we can count on on hand the number of bookies who have ever offer one), casinos are much more liberal with their completely free bonuses. There are three types of no deposit bonus that you’re likely to come across:
- Free Spins – Quickly becoming the offer of choice for modern casinos, free spins give you a set number of free goes on a slot. Sometimes the slot is pre-selected, particularly when they have a new game you want to try out, and sometimes they can be used o a variety of games. Winnings from free spins almost always come with wagering requirements.
- Bonus Cash – Sometimes called ‘free chips’, these are simply bonuses you receive without having to deposit. For example, you may receive £10 free upon registration. These bonuses normally have turnover requirements attached, and sometimes a maximum withdrawal as well.
- Free Play – A bit of a dinosaur in the online casino world, but still found from time to time. Free play gives you a healthy chunk of chips to bet with – say £1,500. But before you get excited, it’s not real money and can never be withdrawn. However your winnings from the free play will often be turned into proper bonuses, which can be withdrawn after meeting the sites requirements.
Note that for all types of no deposit bonus, you may be required to make a deposit prior to withdrawing your winnings. This is largely done for age verification and identification purposes and only comes into play when taking out the proceeds from your no deposit play.
A deposit bonus is one you receive after making a deposit, although the size and value of the bonus varies significantly between casinos. It’s also important to look at the wagering requirements when comparing bonuses as a 200% bonus with a 20x WR is likely to be a much better deal than a 400% bonus with an 80x WR.
There are also two different types of deposit bonus:
- Cashable – With a cashable bonus, the bonus itself can be withdrawn once the wagering requirements have been met. So if you deposit £100 for a £100 bonus, you’ll have £200 to play with. If you meet the WR with a balance of £400, then you would be able to withdraw the whole £400 – meaning a net win of £300.
- Non-cashable – A non-cashable bonus, on the other hand, cannot be withdrawn. Here you will receive the bonus and can play with it for as long as you like, but can never withdraw it. Using the above example, you would only be allowed to withdraw £300 of the £400 balance, for a net gain of £200. Normally when you withdraw the bonus is removed from your account, but at some casinos they leave it in your account to keep playing with (sometimes called a ‘sticky’ bonus).
It should be clear that a cashable bonus is preferable to a non-cashable one when the amounts and matches are like-for-like. However, you’ll often find non-cashable bonuses to be for much higher percentages than cashable ones as the casino isn’t on the hook for the bonus amount. For example, you may get a cashable bonus of 100% up to £100, but a non-cashable one of 400% up to £400.
Deposit bonuses will always have wagering requirements attached, but we’ll discuss those later in the page.
Sports Betting Offers
Generally speaking, there are four different types of sports betting bonus – a no deposit bonus, matched bet, second chance bet and deposit bonus – which are described below.
No Deposit Bonuses
Completely free bonuses are a bit of a rare breed when it comes to betting sites and are more commonly found at casinos or bingo sites. They’re pretty self explanatory – you just sign up and receive a free bet without needing to make a deposit. For a list of these types of bonus see our no deposit page.
Matched bets are the most common form of betting bonus and is type used by almost all of online arms of the big UK high street bookmakers. Fairly simple – you sign up, deposit and place a bet with your own money. Once the bet has been settled you will then receive a free bet token worth the same as your qualifying bet.
All matched bets are either for a fixed amount such as £25, or have a minimum & maximum range you can choose from – such as between £10 and £50.
For the first example in the above paragraph you would need to deposit and bet at least £25 after which you would receive a £25 bet (even if you bet £50) and for the second example your bet could be anything over £10 – your free bet will be for the same amount, up to the maximum of £50.
Occasionally you will find a bookie who is offering a bet that is for a different amount to your qualifying bet (such as bet £5 and get a £10 free bet), but in most cases it’s a like-for-like bonus.
Second Chance Bets
Second chance bets are a little bit like matched bets, except that you only receive a free bet if your qualifying bet loses. For example, if a bookie offers a £25 bet you would need to sign up, deposit and bet at least £25.
If your bet loses you would then receive a £25 free bet token, whilst if it wins you wouldn’t receive anything other than the winnings from the bet with your own money. In some cases you’ll receive money back in cash, but this is rarer.
The final type of betting bonus we’ll look at is a deposit bonus. Here you receive bonus funds relative to the amount of your first deposit at the betting site.
So for a 100% deposit bonus, if you deposit £100 you would receive a bonus worth £100. Most deposit bonuses are either given immediately when you make the deposit, or are ‘released’ after you have placed a certain number of bets. The bonus funds are usually themselves withdrawable once you have placed a set number of bets.
Whilst on the surface it may look like deposit bonuses aren’t as good as a matched bet, they do hold some advantages. First, they are usually for larger amounts than straight matched bets – with some bookmakers offer deposit bonuses worth hundreds of pounds.
Second, most matched bets are released as a single free bet token – meaning you have to bet it all in one go. Conversely, bonus funds can be split into multiple smaller bets.
What To Look For In A Bonus
As we discussed in the two offer sections above, there are a number of different types of bonus that you can claim. However, even withing a specific category of bonuses, not all of the offers will be equivalent and one bonus may actually be worth much more than another, even if on the face of it they look the same.
When evaluating betting offers, you should take a number of factors into consideration including how you get the bonus, what you can do with it once you have it, and when you can withdraw your winnings.
Getting & Using the Bonus
All betting sites will require you to do something to get your hands on their bonus cash and even with a no deposit offer you are still required to sign up as a new customer. Sometimes you are also required to register a payment method – even though you’re not depositing – to satisfy age and KYC checks.
For deposit based bonuses – include match bonuses and free bets – you will be required to sign up as a new customer and make a real money deposit. Some offers, particularly things like matched bets, also require you to place a bet with your own money before you get access to the promotional bets.
When it comes to sports, the vast majority of free bet offers operate in a fairly standard manner – sign up, deposit and place a bet. Once the bet has been settled you will then receive a token for your free bet (or sometimes as soon as you’ve placed it).
However, different bookies may offer different requirements for your qualifying bet (the one you place to get the free bonus bet). Some require the bet to be placed at minimum odds (such as evens or greater) whilst others may even specify the market – such as football betting. Obviously you need to make sure that the bet you intend to place meets the requirements of the betting site, or you wont receive the bonus bet.
There are also differences with what you can do with the bonus once you have it. Just like the qualifying bet, some sites will require you to bet at a minimum odds or on a set market. Depending on the bookie, you might have to place your free bonus all in one go – so if you have a £25 free bet token, you need to place a £25 bet.
Casino is a little simpler as most deposit offers are given to you as soon as you make the qualifying deposit. However, sometimes you may be required to enter a bonus code or contact support in order to have the bonus added. If something like this is required it should be clearly listed on the offer page.
Like sports, you may also have some restrictions on what games you can or can’t play with the bonus. It is common to see restrictions on progressive jackpot games due to the pooled nature of the jackpot (because even with a non-cashable bonus the casino would have to pay money into the pool when you play), but this isn’t always the case.
You’ll also find restrictions on certain table games – particularly blackjack and roulette – although it’s more common these days to be allowed to play the games, but with a higher wagering requirement.
Other terms to watch out for include minimum and maximum bets. Sometimes you’re limited to bets of a certain size which are often based on the bonus. For example – not being allowed to bet more than 20% of the bonus in one go.
Wagering Requirements & Cashing Out
At the end of the day, you bet to win money, right? So you need to look at how you get your money out of the site if you win. Some betting sites will let you cash out your winnings from a free bet token right away, whilst some may require you to place additional bets before making a withdrawal (known as the ‘turnover’ or ‘wagering requirements’).
If you received a deposit bonus rather than a free bet for sports, then it will almost certainly have a playthrough requirement. Casino bonuses will always have one.
Something that is important to look at as well is whether of not the free bet stake or casino bonus is withdrawable – something we touched on earlier in the casino section. In the case of a matched sports bet, this means whether or not the free bet stake is returned along with your winnings from that bet.
It should be fairly clear that a bonus that returns the free bet stake is worth more than a free bet for the same value but where the stake is not returned. In the past it was common to receive the stake with your winnings, but in the past couple of years this trend has been significantly reduced and most matched bets these days are in the stake not returned format.