This page is for those of you who want to quickly compare the free bet offers and betting bonuses from the bookmakers that we list and recommend.
The free bets listed in the table below are pretty much the same as the ones on the main betting bonuses page, just displayed in a way that makes comparison easier since there are no casino offers mixed in.
If you’re mainly interested in casino games then you might want to head on over to our casino bonuses page which lists sign up offers that are specific to the casino section of the betting sites.
This page is specifically about sports betting sign up offers.
Best Free Bets From UK Betting Sites
Terms and conditions apply, new customers only. Refer to the bookmakers website for full details.
Free Bets Explained
Free bets are offered by bookmakers as a method of marketing and promotion to encourage new customers to give them a try.
The bookmakers might lose money on free bets but they are a highly effective way of attracting new gamblers and work in the same way as a supermarket loss-leader – a product the supermarket uses to get people through the door to do their shopping, but on which they actually make a loss, the idea being that shoppers spend more on other products while inside which cancels out that loss.
The bookmakers hope and expect that enough people will like and enjoy their product and come back as regular punters to compensate for the ones who will come for the free bet but then leave for ever.
Of course, there is no obligation to use a bookmaker beyond the free bet. They have created the freebie as a promotion and chosen to offer it knowing the risks. It is up to them to convince their potential customers of the merit of their sports betting products and to convert them into loyal patrons but if you want to take a free bet and move on that’s your prerogative.
That said, few free bets and bonuses are truly free and most require you to risk some of your own funds at some stage. Moreover, all free bets have terms and conditions attached which must be fulfilled in order to gain the free bet and then to subsequently withdraw any winnings, and those winnings will almost certainly be capped too.
Here we take a brief look at the main types of free bets and the different terms likely to be attached to then.
- Matched Bet – This is a bonus bet token that is given after you have place a qualifying bet. So if you sign up, deposit and place a bet of £25, then you receive a £25 free bet token once your original bet has been settled. Most matched bets do not come with any additional wagering requirements. (This is not the same as ‘matched betting’ which you may have heard of.)
- Money Back Bet – Similar to a matched bet except that you only receive your free bet token if your original bet loses. So despite the fact that a ‘money back’ bet sounds fantastic, they’re actually not as good as traditional matched bets. Like matched bets, the winnings from most money back bets are immediately withdrawable with no further playthrough or turnover requirements.
- Deposit Bonuses – A deposit bonus is very much like a casino bonus in that you sign up, make a deposit and receive some bonus cash in your account. It might be ‘Deposit £10 get £30 of free bets’. You can then use this bonus money to bet as you wish. Like casino bonuses, they often come with a set playthrough requirement so that you can’t just receive the bonus and immediately withdraw it. This turnover tends to be much lower than you’d find at a casino though – expect to see something in the region of 4 – 10 times at a decent betting site.
- Enhanced Odds – These are sometimes used as sign up offers and sometimes as regular customer offers. A market will be offered at astronomically high odds relative to what they should be, but any winning bets on that market will be paid out as free bet tokens rather than as cash.
There are a couple of other things you should take into account when looking at a betting bonus.
First, most qualifying bets as well as the free bet tokens require you to place bets at a minimum odds. This is usually evens or better (2.0 in decimal) or sometimes 1/2 (1.5 in decimal). This is to stop you placing your qualifying bets on events or outcomes that are priced super short, like on Manchester United to beat Grimsby Town reserves, for instance.
Secondly, different betting sites treat their free bet tokens in different ways. Some will give you the value of the free bet’s stake along with your winnings (known as ‘stake returned’) meaning that if you have a £10 free bet token and it wins at odds of 2/1, you will receive £30 back – just like you would if you had placed the bet with £10 of your own money (£20 winnings + £10 stake).
Other betting sites only pay you the winnings (known as ‘stake not returned’) – so if you placed a £10 free bet that wins at 2/1, then you would receive £20 back (£20 winnings only and not the £10 stake). This is by far the more common offer for obvious reasons.
In case you were wondering, deposit bonuses are usually withdrawable once you have met the turnover requirements.
That’s pretty much all you need to know about betting bonuses – so have fun, and if you place a few bets then cross your fingers that your picks come in. Just be sensible and never bet with money you can’t afford to lose.
Checklist: Things to Look Out For
There will be pages of terms and conditions with any offer or promotion at a bookies website.
It’s always best to read through them all, but a few key things to look out for to ensure that you fully understand the terms you are agreeing to, and any limitations attached, include:
- Are there minimum odds attached to the free bet and/or the qualifying bet?
- Do you have to wager a certain amount before any winnings can be withdrawn?
- Is the stake returned or not returned with your free bet?
- Are any sports, markets or types of bet excluded from the free bet?
- Are there any geographic restrictions? Is the free bet available to people in your country?
- Are there any time limits, for example from joining to claiming the free bet or from the free bet being added to when it expires?
What are Wagering Requirements or Play Through?
Although more common in the online casino industry, they do crop up with online betting too.
It’s basically a way for the gambling company to reduce their exposure by making the punter jump through hoops and risk their bonus money a certain number of times before any winnings become theirs.
An example might be a £10 free bet which must be wagered 4 times (so it might say ‘minimum 4x wagering’) before any winnings from that £10 can be withdrawn as cash.
Since the company are giving away the bet for free, they are risking having to pay out at whatever odds your chosen market is offered at, but stand to gain nothing in return if you lose.
So if you put that £10 free bet on a 10/1 shot and it comes in, you would in theory be £100 up, but you would need to wager another £30 to meet wagering requirements. So you might make three more £10 bets, win one at evens and lose the other two.
That would clear your wagering and return you £10 from the winning bet plus the £10 stake back, but lose you £20 from the two bets that lost, so you would end up with £90 withdrawable cash.
The higher the wagering requirements the less likely it is you will ever get hold of any winnings from the free bet, so low wagering requirements are better, but no wagering requirements are better still.
Can I Claim a Free Bet Sign Up Offer More Than Once?
It’s a one time thing unfortunately.
When you sign up to an online bookmaker, you have to give them your personal details such as name and address etc., as well as some form of identification.
This is the law, and helps keep those under the age of 18 and anyone else who might be vulnerable safe from gambling harm. You won’t be able to deposit or place any bets without going through this process.
It also means that the bookmaker knows if you already have an account, so even if you did try to break the rules by attempting to sign up using an offer more than once, you wouldn’t get very far before you hit a road block.
Even if you delete your account and start again it won’t work, because they will have on file that you have previously held an account with them and it will flag up.
There are some online gambling sites in the UK which are owned by the same umbrella company, and in some extreme cases, gamblers who have been signed up with one of their brands have been denied sign up offers to another. This is rare, but it has happened.
Most online bookies will have other promotions and regular offers for existing customers, but those extra special good ones are saved for new customers only.