Sports betting bonuses have been around since the beginning of time. Players often take them for granted because of that – thus, a small bonus quickly becomes “no bonus” in their minds. Year after year, sportsbooks had to raise both their welcome bonuses and their sporadic bonuses, due to increasing pressure from the market and their targets to attract more and more players. Their main purpose is marketing, of course, and they’re a great tool in that sense. They have changed over the years, both in quantity and quality – and today, we want to take a closer look at these bonuses.
How Sports Betting Bonuses Work
First of all, let’s investigate how these bonuses work. The sportsbook will simply credit their players with either a sum of money or a special prize, if you meet certain conditions, which can prove to be more or less difficult. Bear in mind, sportsbooks are not giving away free money. Their bonus scheme is carefully calculated, and they always win in the end – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of these bonuses. Before moving further with our analysis, you have to understand the most important thing about sports betting bonuses: ALWAYS read the terms and conditions of the bonus very carefully. “100% deposit bonus” sounds awesome. If it’s tied to a condition to play through it 10 times on minimum odds of 2.00, it’s not so awesome anymore.
Here are the main things which sportsbooks usually tie their bonuses to:
- Wagering requirements. This number is usually stated as a numerical value (5x, 10x, 25x) and dictates how much money you have to play until you can withdraw your bonus money. The formula is initial deposit qualifying for bonus times multiplication value (eg. 5x)
- Betting odds. Usually tied with the above wagering requirements, betting websites usually force players to place bets on larger odds, so they don’t play through their money on 1,02 odds. Common numbers include 1.5, 1.8 or 2.0.
- Placing bets on certain competitions. Self-explanatory.
- Other more specific conditions may occur, but aren’t as likely.
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Sports Betting Bonus Types
Of course, not all bonuses are the same either. A good sportsbook offers his customers more than one bonus. For example, a sportsbook which offers a first deposit bonus, a reload bonus, and also has special promotions around special sporting events can be considered top-notch. Usually, the more bonus categories a sportsbook offers, the higher up he’ll be on our radar. Here are main categories of bonuses we’re looking for:
- Welcome bonuses. Also called sign-up bonuses, this is the promotion aimed to attract new people on a betting site. This can come in form of a free bet or a first deposit bonus, and is usually the biggest bonus that the sportsbook will ever offer. The most typical welcome bonus is a 100% deposit match, which you do have to play through to be able to withdraw later.
- Free bet bonuses. At certain intervals or before big competitions, sportsbooks may opt to give out free bets to their customers. These work very simple – place a bet of a certain value (usually, not larger than 20 pounds) on a certain game. If you win, you win. If you lose, the money won’t be withdrawn from your account. It’s a win-win situation, which is generally used for riskier-, high-odd bets.
- Reload bonuses. Very similar to the deposit bonus, a reload bonus rewards customers who deposit money into their existing accounts. Usually, they work as a percentage bonus of the reload amount, capped at a certain value. The one we love the most in the UK betting industry is a 50% reload bonus, capped very highly at 200 pounds. The sportsbook who offers this can be found on our review page.
We do have one extra tip which we always want to point out. If you’re depositing a large sum of money, we recommend contacting customer support beforehand and finding out if they can offer you a special deal. More often than not, you’ll at least get a small free bet as a consolation prize for trying, but some sportsbooks might also give you a substantial reload bonus. It’s always worth asking, since the worst thing that can happen is a rejection.
In conclusion, we’d like to remind you about a few essential ideas regarding betting bonuses. Never open an account with a betting website solely for the bonus, as you’ll usually end up losing money in the long run. Consequently, always make sure you fully understand what you’re signing up for when accepting the bonus – you’ll never get something for nothing. If you do find a good bonus, however, take advantage of it, since it can quite improve your betting experience.