It is often said that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. However, in the case of free bets in the online gambling space, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In a nutshell, online betting sites offer new customers a range of free bets as a means to entice them to the platform. This is to fend off the competition – something that is crucial in an oversaturated online betting industry.
Free bets come in a plethora of shapes and sizes, although this mainly centres on a matched deposit bonus. This will boost your original deposit amount by at least 50%, although some operators extend this to 200% or more.
Still confused about the ins and outs of free bets? Read our quickfire guide on free bets to find out more!
Why do Online Betting Sites Offer Free Bets?
If you’re yet to experience the world of online betting, you should know that it is now one of the most overpopulated markets in the gambling space. In what started with a couple of industry leaders has since expanded to thousands of betting sites.
In reality, other than the underlying odds and the main betting interface itself, online operators are largely the same. With that being said, betting sites will offer free bets as a way to attract you to the platform.
The overarching criteria to qualify for a free bet is to not have previously opened an account with the bookmaker. If you haven’t, online betting sites are screaming out for your business.
How do Free Bets Work?
There are a number of different free bet types available in the online gambling space. This includes a refund if your first bet is a losing one, cashback, and even a no deposit bonus. However, the most popular bonus type offered by online betting sites is that of a matched deposit bonus.
Here’s how it works.
In its most basic form, the betting site will boost your first deposit by a certain percentage, up to a certain amount. For example, let’s say that the online betting site offers a 100% matched deposit bonus up to £150. This means that by depositing £150, the operator will give you an additional £150 on top as a free bet. Taken note, this can be credited in one of two ways.
In most cases, the online betting site will ask you to place a qualifying bet before the free bet is credited. The bet will usually need to be placed at minimum odds, although this isn’t always the case.
For example, let’s say that to get your £150 free bet you need to place a qualifying bet at odds of 1/2 or more. Regardless of whether or not the first bet is a winner, as soon as it is settled the £150 free bet will be applied to your account.
Top Tip: If minimum odds are stipulated, it’s always best to place a bet at the minimum. This will give you the best chance of protecting your balance before the free bet is credited!
No Qualifying Bet
If a qualifying bet isn’t required, then the online betting site will apply the bonus as soon as you make a deposit. The free bet will sit within your bonus balance until the minimum wagering requirements have been met. We’ll cover the wagering requirements in the next section.
Wagering Requirements: What are They are How do They Work?
As great as free bets are, you still need to make some considerations regarding the wagering requirements. This is the minimum amount of times that you need to stake the free bet before you cash your winnings out.
The good news for you is that sports betting sites typically require a much lower wagering requirement in comparison to online casinos. As such, a lot of sites will only require you to wager the bonus funds once before you are permitted to make a withdrawal.
The wagering requirement is always stated as a multiple (x1, x2, etc.), and you should be able to find it in the terms and conditions of the offer. For example, if the bonus amount is £50, and the wagering requirement is set at x5, this means that you will need to stake at least £250 before a withdrawal can be made.