Bookmakers love giving away free promotional bets. In fact, it’s one of the ways they entice new customers to sign up for their betting services. They hope that you’ll take advantage of the free bet and then continue betting with them in the future. With that in mind, there are several ways you can make the free bet work to your advantage. This is what we’re going to discuss here, along with how to get free bets in the first place.
Cash for Nothing or Something More?
For most people, the idea of getting a free bet sounds like free lunch that you shouldn’t question any further. A free bet is exactly that – it doesn’t cost you anything to place. Getting the payout, however, usually involves fulfilling several requirements.
A free bet reduces betting risks since you don’t provide the cash for the wager, unlike with standard bets. As a result, you cannot refund a stake, but you could potentially get some nice winnings if this type of bet wins.
Bookmakers give the players a specific amount of money to place in a bet. They cannot cash out that money, though. Punters instead get net winnings on the successful free bet: the total winnings minus the wager amount.
Bookmakers use the free bets offer to attract site visitors to open an account and start depositing cash by giving them something for free right away. Regular players also get these offers as a retention incentive from bookies to keep them playing on their site. It is a gamble that bookies are willing to make to get more new customers and hold on to the existing ones in a highly-competitive online sportsbook and casino market.
Free Bet Types
There are several types of free promotional bets, but in essence, they can be split between those that require a financial investment on your part and those that don’t.
The Sign-Up Bonus Bets
The most common form of free promotional bets is betting sign-up offers or welcome offers. These promotions are given to new users once they place their first deposit on the betting site.
The bookie will match the customer’s money up to a specific amount, which is for bets typically not larger than 20 quid. The important thing to note is that these won’t be called matched bonuses but simply free bets. These bonuses may also be available via weekly promotions for regular players, a common practice among veteran gambling venues such as Betvictor or Ladbrokes.
For example, a casino welcome offer with a 50% bonus up to £1,000 and 50 free spins means that when you deposit £500, the bookmaker will add £250 to play casino games with. But if we’re talking about bets, the offer will be more along the lines of paying £20 (your initial deposit) and getting a free £10 bet. Welcome bonuses and free bets given to new punters are often considered the best betting offers available on an online casino or sports betting site.
All welcome bonuses have a minimum and maximum bet amount or the stake level you must fulfil to get this promotion. It depends on the type of casino game or sports event connected with the promotion, such as the Premier League. In some rare cases, betting operators can give a free bet to users who haven’t logged in for a long time.
No Deposit Bonus Required
Some bookies offer a free bet that requires no deposits from their customers. Most no-deposit bonuses are available to users about to open their accounts and register. They are among the best free bet offers available on the betting market and are exceedingly rare.
No-deposit bonuses may be tied to a betting event or have a minimum time limit before you can pick up the free bet winnings. Remember that all rewards expire after a specific period, which is especially short for bets that are given freely without any deposit requirement.
There Must Be a Catch
Since almost nothing in life is truly free, you need to be aware of a few things regarding free bets offers. Here are some more details about what getting these freebies entails:
- You will still have to open up an account with your chosen bookmaker (and make a deposit unless it’s a no-deposit offer).
- The free bet may only be available on specific markets or events.
- The bookmaker may offer a free bet with a specific payment method only.
- Most free bet promotions have bookmakers setting up minimum odds you need to fulfil to have a qualifying bet.
- Your winnings will likely be capped to a certain amount, and your free bet stake won’t be returned even if you win.
Obtaining Welcome Bonuses
To get a free bet with the welcome bonus, you need to create a user account by filling up the registration form (remember, free bets are for new customers usually). You’ll need to give your personal data, choose a username, and a password. In most cases, you’ll also have to send some official documentation to the gambling operator, such as your driver’s license. The entire procedure should take no more than a few minutes, though.
Place a deposit after creating an account to become eligible for the freebie. A quick visit to the promotions section will tell you the minimum amount you have to invest. Be sure to check the site’s Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) for additional requirements you have to fulfil to unlock your bonus bet. You’ll most likely need to place a qualifying bet to get the free promotional bonus.
A wagering requirement is only applicable when discussing casino offers, and you won’t have to worry about it with free bet promotions. The conditions you’ll need to fulfil are registering on the site and placing a qualifying bet.
Geographical and Events Locking
Bookmakers usually lock specific free bet bonuses in some countries and gambling markets. You could open an account and place down your betting funds, only to realize that you’re not getting this promotion anyway. The reason is that you live in a country with restricted access to particular sports bets or free promotions.
The same goes for casino games, sports events, and other betting types. Players from the sports market (especially the football market) have experienced this blocking method multiple times. A Cheltenham game might be viable for betting, but you won’t get a free bet for it. On the other hand, an accumulator bet or leaderboard tournament with a sports pool bet might be the only form of betting eligible for a free bet on a particular site.
Whatever the reason might be, always check the T&C section of the site. You’ll find the list of geo-locked countries, qualifying bet types, and sports matches that count toward the free sports bet.
Pay special attention to the payment method you use to deposit or withdraw. Some online casinos or sport betting sites have placed payment method restrictions that automatically disqualify punters using specific payment methods from using free betting offers.
It’s rare to find these restrictions on card payments. Banking methods such as e-wallets are more frequently hit with free bet blocks (Neteller and Skrill being the most common suspects for free bet restrictions, with PayPal also being a common choice).
Free Bet Tips & Tricks
There are still several ways to use bookies’ free bets to your advantage. Here are some ideas:
- Use your free bet to place a small wager on an event that you’re confident will win. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll have lost nothing.
- If there’s a market with several different outcomes (e.g., Match Result, First Goalscorer, Correct Score), use your free bet to place a wager on one outcome and then use money from your account to cover others.
- A similar idea is using your free bet to make a so-called matched bet. Think of them as essentially counter bets to your main bet, which can mean that you’re guaranteed to win something if you have enough bets placed.
But how to use free bets this way if you’re only using one site? Well, just remember that you won’t get more than one bet per event per site, but with Win/Loss/Draw scenarios, you still have a 66% chance that one of your two bets (the main bet and the free one) will win.
- If you have several different free bets, combine them into an accumulator for larger winnings. Be aware that the larger winnings come with a much higher risk, too, because if only one part of an acca bet fails, the entire bet will be void.
There are many ways to obtain free promotional bets and enjoy the benefits they provide. You can most commonly find these offers if you’re new to the site and about to open a new account. Free bet offers are also available to veteran players who rely on loyalty bonuses to get such offers. Make sure to read the terms and conditions page on the betting site of your choice carefully to figure out the bonus requirements.
Are free bets worth it?
Yes. Bets and bonuses given for free are almost always worth the time and effort; they reduce the betting risks and give players an option to make some money at the bookmaker’s expense.
How do I win a bet every time?
Check our knowledge hub to get the best guides on football betting, professional tennis betting, and betting tips in other sports categories.
What happens if you win with a free bet?
You cannot redeem the free bet into a real cash amount right away. However, you can withdraw your winnings if you fulfil specific betting requirements. You can check our article on how to get free bets above to see some examples of these requirements, but it’s always best to read the betting site’s terms and conditions page carefully.