Land on any sports betting site in the UK and you'll no doubt be offered a free bet if you open an account. Although we're told that nothing good comes for free, these welcome bonuses at online bookies might just be the one exception to the rule. In this guide we'll show you how you can collect hundreds of pounds from free bet offers online - and where to find them.
Online bookies have followed their casino cousins when it comes to making new players feel welcome with a top bonus offer upon sign-up. But while internet casinos are big on their deposit match bonuses, it's the free bets that have become a staple of online sportsbooks in Britain.
These offers do exactly what they say. They give you free cash to use on a bet of your choice, with any winnings you make going directly back in your pocket. This is something you'd never find at a land-based bookmaker, no matter how far and wide you searched.
In fact, these offers have become so synonymous with online sports betting that some British bettors now exclusively bet online, devoting their time to seeking out these promotions and using them to make a matched bet. These offers mean that, whatever the outcome, you'll always walk away a winner.
If you thought a free bet was a one-size-fits-all offer, think again. When it comes to the finer details, there are a few minor differences that separate one free bet from another:
With this type, your free bet stake will also be returned to you with any winnings if your bet comes in.
With an unreturned stake bet, only the winnings you make are returned back to you. The original stake is retained by the betting site.
No deposit free bets allow you to make a bet without having to first make a real money wager of your own. So this type really is win-win.
With this bet type, if the first real money bet you make loses, the betting site will credit you with a free bet to make.
With risk-free bets, if you win you get to keep both your winnings and the stake too. But if you lose you still get to keep the stake.
With bonuses it can be tempting to have your blinkers on, and not consider any potential terms you need to meet in order to enjoy your free bet. The bookies don't just include that small print for fun. It's there so you know your rights when it comes to the offer on the table, as well as what's expected from you as a UK bettor, in order to capitalise on them.
So don't be tempted to skip over the T&Cs of a bonus. We're talking about five minutes reading time max. And that five minutes could make all the difference between you keeping your winnings or having to hand them over.
Here are the main clauses associated with free bet bonuses at online bookies:
In general you'll be able to use your free sports bet to wager on the majority of sports the bookmaker takes odds on but rarely on other products. However, it's important to double-check this in the individual betting site's T&Cs. Each site has its own unique policy when it comes to the rules governing its free bet bonuses, including stipulating how the free bet can be used, and when.
This also typically restricts the type of bet you can make. For instance, accumulators and parlays are rarely allowed with free bets. In addition, you'll be unable to split your free bet across multiple bets, so you'll need to make sure you use the entire value in one sitting, unless the betting site specifically says otherwise. All of these conditions will be outlined in full at your sportsbooks free bet or bonus T&Cs page. So, if in any doubt whatsoever, check here to see what the bookmaker allows.
Pros And Cons Of Free Bets
When you're talking about getting handed free money to bet with, coming up with a downside might seem like a crazy notion. But, there are a couple of considerations to have in the back of your mind, and our team wouldn't be doing their job if we didn't tell you about them.
You can place a real money wager that doesn't cost you anything.
You're limited to the minimum odds you can accept on a free bet.
You can use these offers to match bets, risk free, at several online bookies.
While not illegal, bookies do frown upon this usage, and might limit activity on your account.
It's a way to boost your bankroll and make your real money go further.
Most bet types require you to make your own real money wager before unlocking the offer.
You're not tied to a betting site, you can use this offer as a one-off and move on.
If you don't meet bonus wagering requirements you might not be permitted to withdraw your winnings.
Making The Most Of Free Bets
You might have heard the term 'matched betting' being touted around a lot where online bookies are concerned. This is when you use the free bet offer to make a bet at one site, and then make a lay bet at an exchange to cover your losses. That way, if your original bet doesn't win, it doesn't matter.
With a matched bet you'll collect your original stake and any profit on the lay bet you made. So, no matter which of the two bets you placed loses, you'll still walk away a winner. And, because you're using your free bet too you're minimising any hit to your bankroll. This way of betting almost completely cuts out any risk whatsoever.