On this page we provide a comparison table of all of the sports betting offers and bonuses we list on this site, meaning that you can quickly compare free bets to find the best introductory offers currently available.
Free Bets Explained
One of the main lures that bookmakers use to get punters through their doors is the use of free bets. These free bets can work in a number of ways but are essentially designed to offer you a risk free bet when you register a new account. What most people don’t realise is that these bets often come with a long list of terms and conditions put in place by the bookmaker generally to stop people taking advantage of these types of bets.
What you will find is that the range of bets will vary massively from bookmaker to bookmaker. The amount is often something that will have the biggest range and you can expect to get anything between £5 and £200 as a general rule. That being said, bigger is not always better for most users and it's important to understand which free bets will likely suit you and more importantly, be the easiest to claim.
Types of Free Bet
Whilst many bookmakers may claim that you can get x amount in free bets, there are often a few different types of bets that you need to be aware of. Again, each bet will likely vary quite a lot in terms of what's on offer, that’s why we have tried to produce this guide to cover as many different types of free bets as possible. What we will say is that with any promotion that a bookmaker is offering, we highly recommend going and looking through their terms and conditions before doing so. Whilst past experiences of terms and conditions for most products are vast, free bets often are much more diluted and using this article as a guide, you should be able to break them down pretty easily.
The most common form of these types of promotions comes in the form of a matched bet. This is where the bookmaker will both match your first deposit amount or your first bet amount and credit your account with the equivalent up to a certain threshold. Even though these are the most popular bet types, they are definitely ones that you should be looking out for as no matter the result of your initial bet, you will still be getting something back from the bookmaker.
The amount you can earn from these types of bets will range massively. Some bookmakers like to throw big offers at punters to get them to sign up and the matched bet is often the best way to do so. You will need to be careful with certain terms and conditions with these types of bets though which is something we will go into more detail later on in this article.
Risk Free Bet
The risk free bet is similar to the matched bet, except this time the bookmaker will only give you a free bet if your first bet loses. For example, if your first bet wins, then you won't get a free bet. But if that first bet loses then the bookmaker will match this amount and credit your account with a free bet.
Whilst these types of bets are indeed very valuable up to a point, they certainly don’t compare with the matched bet which will offer you a free bet regardless. It's likely that for these types of bets you should be looking to bet on slightly longer odds than you would normally. This way, if your bet wins you will bag a larger profit and if your bet loses, you still get to cover that bet.
Deposit bonuses are slightly rarer within the sports betting industry and are much more popular within the casino and poker worlds. This promotions works by getting a bonus amount for the amount you have deposited and then releasing the bonus in increments the more you play. A quick example you be that someone deposits £100 and for every £10 bet they make, they will be offered a free £10 bet.
It's basically designed to keep people playing at the site rather than simply taking their free money and leaving. The good thing about this type of promotion is that you can often earn much larger sums of money in the long run than that of matched bets or risk free bets. If you are looking to join a bookmaker and then plan to stick with that bookmaker whilst making regular bets, these types of promotions will likely work out better for you.
Understanding Free Bet Terms & Conditions
Even the thought of terms and conditions can make some peoples head spin, but it's massively important in the betting industry that you know what's going on with your bets. Here are some of the more common terms to look out for.
Most bookmakers will set minimum odds that qualifying bets can be used against. This means that’s bets placed outside these odds will not count towards releasing your free bet. An example may be that you need to place your opening bet at odds of 2.00 (evens) or greater to qualify for your free bet. Odds placed at less than this will not qualify and more often than not, void any free bet that you may be entitled to.
One of the ways bookmakers keep you playing at the site and not just take your free money and run is by issuing turnover requirements. This is basically an amount that you need to play through before being able to withdraw any winnings from your opening or free bet. Most turnover requirements will be your deposit amount and your free bet amount multiplied by a certain number. This is why we mentioned earlier that the bigger free bet promotions aren’t always the best as they generally come with the largest turnover requirements.
Stake Returned v Stake Not Returned
Some bookmakers will allow you to receive the stake of your free bet back with any winnings that you make. Others will simply remove the stake amount before just retuning your profits. If you think a normal winning bet at odds of 10/1 with £10 placed on it would return £110 (£100 profit plus £10 stake) with the stake not returned bet only giving you £100, with the £10 bet taken away.