Bookmakers

What Is A Free Bet And Bookmaker Bonus?


Today, most bookmakers offer free bets and bonuses hoping to persuade new customers to sign up and use them as their primary betting account.


Types of Bookmaker Bonus Bets

Free Bets and Bonuses come in many formats. We will now take you through the most common of these.

Matching Your Stake

Possibly the most common form of all bookmaker bonus bets. Essentially you open an account and place a bet. The bookie then matches the amount of your first bet, giving you double the stake of your original bet.

In other words, if you place a bet to the value of £25, the bookmaker will match that stake with a bonus of £25, giving your bet a total stake of £50.

The typical restrictions for this type of free bet, are both the maximum and minimum amount you can bet. You will usually find the minimum stake to be matched in the range of £5 and the maximum £25. You'll also commonly find the minimum odds required to be at least 1.50 and often 2.00.

Free Bet Series

Very much like the Match Your Stake free bet, with the difference being that your free bets are divided into a number of individual bets rather than a lump sum bonus. How does this work? Well a typical offer would look something like, Bet £50 and receive five £10 free bets.

This form of offer will also likely include time restrictions with frequent expiry dates and in most cases, the next free bet in the series will only become valid at a certain date, typically after the expiry date of the previous free bet. Bookmakers place these types of restrictions on their bonus offer in the hope of encouraging regular return visits to their site.

Initial Deposit Bonus

This is less common in recent times, although there are still bookmakers that offer this form of offer. Essentially you are offered a bonus on top of your initial deposit when signing up with a particular bookmaker. Typically it is promoted as a % amount on your initial deposit up to a maximum sum. For example, Receive a 50% Bonus on your deposit up to £200. A common condition however, on such an offer is a minimum number of bets to be made using your deposit/bonus (“rolled over”) before you are allowed to withdraw those funds.

Winning First Bet Bonus

In this format, you receive a bonus if your first bet is a winner. Bookmakers will often reward you with a greater bonus if your bet was on longer odds than shorter odds.

Are there conditions and restrictions on Free Bets?

The answer to this question varies from bookmaker to bookmaker and from free bet format to free bet format. Some bookmakers will offer generous free bets with a range of restrictions while others will offer smaller free bets with relatively few restrictions.

 What sort of restrictions apply?

The most common free bet restriction is the minimum odds required. Again, this varies from bookmaker to bookmaker, with required minimum odds ranging from 1.20 to 2.00 for the bet to qualify as a free bet.

Other restrictions can be the sport or league market in which the bet must be placed , the minimum deposit required, an expiry date for use of the free bet offer and the number of times you have to bet any free bet profits before being able to withdraw any winnings.

Whatever the free bet offer, you should always check the 'fine print' (the Terms & Conditions) before you choose to take advantage of a free bet offer and open an account with a particular bookmaker.

How do free bets work?

Essentially a free bet (bookmaker bonus bets) is an amount of money that a bookmaker will credit to your account, allowing you to bet on particular betting markets or specific bet types. A free bet differs from a regular bet in a couple of ways. Firstly, if your bet loses, you do not lose anything.

And secondly, should you win, unlike a regular bet where you are returned the amount you bet (your stake) plus the profit, with a free bet, you receive only the profit.How to find free bet and bonus offers

When visiting a bookmaker, they will usually have a 'promotions' page that you can click on to find all their current free bet and bonus offers. Don't worry though, we've done all the hard work for you and list all the best current bookmaker free bet offers on our Bookmaker Free Bets page. Or you can visit our Bookmaker Reviews page to find sign up bonus information for dozens of the world's leading bookmakers.

How To Make The Most Of Your Bookmaker Bonus

You've just signed up with a new bookmaker and received a deposit bonus. How can you make the most of your bookmaker welcome bonus? In this article we show you how you can try to create a surebet and potentially turn your bookmaker bonus into cash.

When you sign up with a new bookmaker, you will often receive a deposit bonus or a free bet. Unfortunately, the majority of bookmakers do not let you withdraw your bonus until you have bet the full amount of the bonus a number of times and at a set minimum odds. So the question is, is it possible to create a sure bet and turn our bookmaker bonus into guaranteed cash?

On this page, we'll be finding out how to satisfy these conditions while ensuring we get most of our bonus. Fortunately, there is an almost risk-free way of securing your bonus.

How To Convert Your Bonus Into Cash

Creating A Surebet From Your Bookmaker Bonus

After you have opened an account with the bookmaker of your choice, you make the first deposit and receive the bonus. Now you need to take the following steps:

Step 1: Open an account with a betting exchange

Why open an account with a betting exchange? With a betting exchange, you yourself can act in the role of the bookmaker. Not only can you place bets yourself, but importantly you can also lay bets. We'll explain why this important later in the article.

In principle all that matters is that you have an account with a betting exchange, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Betfair. You could also open an account with their rival Betdaq or if you prefer you can sign up with Matchbook.com. What you do need to take into account is the amount of commission that you will pay on your exchange bets. For the purposes of this article, we are going to use Matchbook as (at the time of writing) they have the lowest commission rates.

Step 2. Place a bet with your bookmaker

Now let's place a bet with our bookmaker. In theory it doesn’t really matter which sport you choose, but we would recommend you place a bet on a major football league such as the Premier League. Why? Let us explain in step 3.

Step 3: Make the exact opposite bet with your betting exchange

Now we need to place a bet on Matchbook that is the opposite of the bet we placed with our bookmaker. For example, if you bet with a bookmaker on Southampton to win an upcoming Premier League match, with your Matchbook account you will now bet AGAINST Southampton. You are able to do this so called lay betting, whereby you make a bet with another customer, just as a bookmaker would do.

The reason we want to place a bet on a major sporting event or league such as the Premier League is that we can pretty much be guaranteed the ability to lay our bet on the betting exchange of our choice, in this example, Matchbook. If we choose an obscure league or tournament, we may not find someone willing to take our lay bet on the betting exchange, or even worse, the particular league or tournament may not even have markets listed on the exchange at all.

You will also more than likely need to offer slightly higher odds on Matchbook than the odds you received with your bookmaker for this bet. The closer your Matchbook odds are to the bookmaker’s betting odds, the better it is for you.

Bookmaker Bonus Surebet Example: Southampton vs West Ham

Let’s say that you have opened an account with Winner Sports and you have deposited £100. This means you get a 100% bonus, an extra £100. You are paying £100 in, but you now have £200 to play with.

Winner Sports Bonus Small Print

As we discussed earlier in this article, you can’t cash the bonus immediately. The number of times you must turnover (bet) your bonus before you can withdraw it as cash varies from bookmaker to bookmaker. Some demand a single turnover, meaning you must bet the total of your bonus just once, while others demand you turnover your bonus a number of times. The fewer times you must turnover your bonus, the better. Having to bet your bonus upwards of five times can have a big impact on the amount you will be left with to withdraw as cash after your turnover is complete. With each round of betting you are not only risking your bonus (even if betting conservatively) but more importantly, bookmaker commission will eat into your bonus. So again, the fewer times you must turnover your bonus, the better. It’s also important to note the minimum odds you must bet when turning over your bonus. The majority of bookmakers have odds of 1.50 set as the minimum.

In this case, let's say that Winner Sports demands that you must bet the total of your bonus 3 times, meaning you need a total turnover of £600. As you can also not bet odds below 1.50, the risk of losing the entire bonus would be relatively high in the traditional way.

Pick your bet

Now you bet with Winner, betting on a Southampton home win against West Ham.

You see Southampton are at odds of 1.75 to win the match at Winner Sports. So you bet the entire £200 (our deposit plus bonus) on this result at these odds for a total return of £350, a profit of £150 should Southampton win.

...and bet the opposite with Matchbook

Now you bet the exact opposite with Matchbook i.e. a lay bet against Southampton. It's important to note here that we want our liability to be exactly the same as the amount that we can profit on our Winner Sports Southampton bet. So in his case £150 (£350 return - £200 bet stake).

Southampton lay odds

To determine the amount you want to enter as the 'Backer's Stake', you can simply enter amounts until the liability equals the exact same amount your stand to profit from your bookmaker bet. Or depending upon commissions to be taken into account, you can use this simple calculation:

Backer's Stake = Liability / (Decimal odds – 1)

In our example you can lay Southampton at odds of 1.776. Our maximum liability is £150. This is the amount that you will lose with Matchbook if Southampton wins.

Let's then consider each scenario.

Scenario 1: Southampton draws or loses

BookmakerBalanceNet ProfitPoints
Winner Sports  £100 + (£100 bonus) £0 - £100
Matchbook £150 £343.52 £193.52
Total £250 + (£100 bonus) £343.52 £93.52

As you can see, in this case, you have no money left in the Winner Sports account. Instead, you now have significantly more money in your Matchbook account - so effectively you have transferred the majority of your Winner Sports bonus (£100) to your Matchbook account (£93.52). And you can withdraw this money at any time.

Scenario 2: Southampton wins

BookmakerBalanceNet ProfitPoints
Winner Sports  £100 + (£100 bonus) £250 + (£100 bonus) £150
Matchbook £150 £0 - £150
Total £250 + (£100 bonus) £250 + (£100 bonus) £0

This is the least desirable outcome, however it is not a disaster. You may have lost your £200 with Matchbook, but you made a £200 profit on your Winner Sports account. So essentially we broke even. No harm done.

You can now repeat the 3 step process with another bet until either the bonus finally ends up in your Matchbook account, or you meet the wager requirement for Winner Sports and can withdraw your bonus from there.

Always Follow The Same Pattern

This routine can be applied to every bookmaker bonus. There are only two things to keep in mind.

#1 - The Lay bet with your betting exchange should be as close as possible to the bookmaker’s odds. Anything else is a waste of money.

#2 - Your maximum possible loss with your betting exchange should exactly match the amount you stand to profit from the bet you place with your bookmaker.

Things To Keep In Mind

The great thing about this bonus trick is that you can save yourself a majority portion of the bonus with almost no risk. However even in rare instances, things can go wrong.

For example, there is the possibility of making an error when entering your bets. So you should always double and triple check that all entries are correct. You could for example accidentally bet on a Southampton win with both Winner Sports and Matchbook. And even with a risk free Bonus transfer, you could place a bet of more money than you intended.

In instances where games are cancelled, sometimes the bookmakers have different rules for repayments. In football, cancellations are rare, and so the rules are very consistent; in tennis however things are very different. It is therefore important to become familiar with the specific rules of the bookmakers in advance in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.