Bonuses are essentially offered by sportsbooks and casinos to either entice new players to join or to keep existing players playing.
They are for the long term benefit of the house and come with a whole set of wagering requirements, i.e. playing through the bonus amount say six times before being able to withdraw any money, however they can be used to your benefit so long as you know how the system works.
Sportsbooks will rarely make it easy to understand how long you have to use your bonus or what your rollover requirement is, although they have to publish the information so be sure to always do the boring stuff and check out the terms and conditions on every offer before going for it.
How Do Sportsbook Bonuses Work?
A lot depends on what type of bonus you’ve received. A ‘risk free bet’ is exactly that; you will often be offered a certain amount to bet with and this is kept separate from your cash balance. Simply take the bet whenever it is offered to you and place it on the relevant sport or event.
In order to stop players simply manipulating the system, all sportsbook bonuses come with a ‘rollover requirement’. This will be set at different levels depending on the sportsbook you are using (see below).
Say you have been given a $20 bonus this will show in your account somewhere but cannot be withdrawn. Use it to bet with, but if the rollover requirement is 6 x, then you will have to have placed bets worth a total of $120 before being able to withdraw any money.
Types Of Sportsbook Bonuses
All sorts of sportsbook bonuses are now offered to entice you in, some of which we’ve detailed below:
Welcome Offers To Entice New Customers
The promotions and bonuses offered to new customers will vary so much that there is no hard and fast rule as to which ones to look out for.
They take many forms too, from matched deposits and free bets to enhanced odds and money back offers so it’s best to choose the sort of bonus that specifically works for you.
To feel like the house is not getting one over on you, be sure to know exactly that you are ready to bet and go looking for the right deal, this way it’s you looking for them and not them enticing you in to spend your hard earned cash.
We’ve covered the bases here for you, starting with the now very familiar matched deposit bonuses for new clients.
Deposit Match Offers
New business is important to sportsbooks and so welcome offers are always on the agenda. They usually consist of a free bet or, more commonly, a matched deposit bonus usually of 50% - 200%.
Put simply, this means that if your sportsbook is offering a matched deposit bonus of 100% then you will expect to double your initial playing money. So, joining up and depositing $100 would actually mean you have $200 to play with although once again there will be a harsh wagering requirement.
There is not too much alignment when it comes to these deals, so definitely shop around. Some sportsbooks still do not offer great new customer deals for fear of being taken advantage of.
Free Bet Offers
Free bet offers are plentiful these days and usually don’t have too much in the way of a catch, so always take advantage where you can.
Upon signup you will often be given the chance to take say a $50 free bet and that’s exactly what it is – a free bet. Naturally there will be stipulations, i.e. the bet can only be placed on a certain event and of course there will be a rollover requirement but other than that it is indeed a freebie!
Enhanced Odds Offers
More and more sportsbooks are offering this now and it’s the sort of deal they clamber to give not just newbies, but those who’d told themselves they weren’t going to bet online.
Usually this will consist of moving the odds up dramatically, i.e. a football team who are 8/5 in the normal market being handed out at 25/1 to you. It will be for new customers only and there will be a small maximum amount and a long rollover requirement!
Risk Free Offers
Risk free offers can take many forms, such as ‘wager $10, get $5 extra’ or ‘wager $30 in sportsbook and get 30 free spins in the casino’ and such like.
Their title is at least accurate; they are free of risk and should be snapped up as soon as they are offered to you. They are essentially offered just to keep you playing and will vary heavily from casino to casino and from sportsbook to sportsbook.
Money Back Bonuses
Money back bonuses or ‘cash back’ bonuses are basically refunds in bonus money or real money given when you have lost on an event.
These usually take the form of a percentage refund over a certain day or week, i.e. in a racebook many companies offer something like a 7% rebate on all net racing losses over a week, so if you have had a bad week with the ponies and lost $100 they will at least refund $7 of it back to you in your account.
Often they may offer you more quirky refunds, such as money back if a certain player scores the first goal in a soccer game.
Hi Roller Bonuses
Those playing for high stakes can usually expect bigger rewards. Sometimes bigger bonuses are offered automatically, though if you consider yourself a whale you can join a VIP program and climb the ladder towards high bonuses in cash or rewards in terms of prizes.
Sports Bonus Wagering Requirements
Wagering requirements, sometimes known as rollover requirements, are the amounts of money you will need to bet in order to claim your winnings in cash having used up a bonus or offer from the house.
The wagering requirement will always be listed in the terms and conditions attached to any offer, so look out for things like ’10 x rollover’ or ‘10 x wagering requirement’. In this case it simply means that if you took a $50 bonus and you were successful in your bet, you will now need to place bets to the total of $500 win or lose within the given timeframe in order to cash anything out.
Other Tips On Choosing And Using Sports Betting Bonuses
The main thing to say here would be to always shop around. Bonuses vary wildly from sportsbook to sportsbook and even then each firm will change their offers on a regular basis, so don’t feel the need to stick with one company and expect your loyalty returned unless you are playing high stakes.
Don’t simply choose the offer with the biggest percentage or cash amount, look for offers with a low wagering requirement so that if you are successful you don’t have to risk too much or wait too long to actually be able to cash out and enjoy the money!
Key Bonus Principles
- Shop around for the right deal
- No matter how good the offer, sign up and play only when you are ready
- Pick the bonus with a low wagering requirements, not simply the biggest amount offered
- Join the VIP program for more rewards
- Be sure to ‘opt-in’, not all bonuses are automatic
- Take advantage of ‘risk free’ bets