Sports Bonuses and Free Bets Explained

There are many advantages to betting online, but for most punters, it is the various free bets and bonuses offered by sports betting online sites that make online betting all the more appealing. Like any industry, the betting world is highly competitive with online bookmakers competing for new customers all the time. In order to attract punters, sports betting sites offer sign up bonuses and free bets. While they may look appealing, bonuses and free bets need to be properly understood in order for punters to take full advantage of them.

The Welcome Bonus

Just about all online sports betting Canada sites offer incentives in some form or another. The most popular incentive is the welcome bonus. This is where the sports betting site will offer a cash match bonus on your very first deposit. The industry standard is usually a 100% cash match up to a limit of $100 or $200. What this means is that on your first deposit, the bookmaker will match your deposit dollar for dollar up to a capped cash limit.

Understanding Wagering Requirements

For example, if you deposit $60, the bookmaker will match the amount and your account will reflect $120. You can then use the full amount to place any sports betting wager at whatever odds you find. While this might sound like a great deal, there are of course terms and conditions that are attached to the bonus itself. If you accept the bonus, there is usually a wagering requirement linked to the bonus amount. This is displayed as a multiple such as 5x or 10x. What this means is that before you can think of cashing out any winnings you would have to wager a total of 5x or 10x your bonus amount.

How Free Bets Work

In the above example, the bonus amount is $60. If the wagering requirement is 10x, you will have to place a total of $600 in wagers before you can think of cashing out.  The second type of sports incentive offered at online sports betting sites is the free bet. Free bets are slightly different to welcome bonuses in that they are fixed amounts offered on specific bets at specific odds.

For example, a bookmaker might offer a $25 free bet once you have signed up. At first glance, this seems great, they are giving your $25 to do with whatever you want. This is a common mistake punters tend to make. If you read the terms and conditions, you will notice the free bet has very specific and strict requirements. Sports betting online sites are not in the habit of handing out free cash without protecting their business.

Reading the Terms and Conditions

The idea of promotions and bonuses is to lure in new sports betting customers with free bets while keeping their payouts to a minimum. This is achieved by making the free bet sit within certain criteria. In most cases, any winnings from free bets will exclude the original stake, reducing the total payout. The bets are also usually only valid on certain markets and for specific odds. In most cases, the odds have to be at 2.00 or below. This means the online sports betting site has a 50/50 chance not having to pay out. It also means that the maximum amount that you can win is $25 since the stake is not returned to you.

To add to these very specific criteria, some online sports betting sites attach additional wagering requirements to the free bets. It is not uncommon that any winnings from a free bet needs to be wagered 3x over before withdrawals can be made. This greatly improves the online bookmaker’s chances of making their money back. Before accepting any free bet or bonus, whether online or via an online sports betting app, it is essential to read the terms and conditions attached.