Free bets

The Value of Free Bets  

  • What is a free bet?
  • Wagering requirements.
  • Loyalty schemes.

Have you ever signed up to what you thought was a great offer, only to find there are a host of conditions you weren’t aware of? This can lead to betting more than you intended to meet the wagering requirements set by the offer you have taken. We are going to look at what these bonuses mean for us punters and some of the key terms you need to be aware of before opting in. When you understand the cost to you to obtain the bonus you can then decide if that is of value to you.

What is a Free Bet?

A free bet is a token provided by bookmakers for you to place on certain events. They are usually awarded when you sign up and will often require you to part with your own money first to claim the bonus. Terms and conditions will stipulate certain events the tokens can be used on and will often have restrictions on the minimum odds for which they can be used. When using a free bet, any winnings from that bet will not include the value of the free bet in its return.

Wagering Requirements

This is the key thing to consider before opting to use a free bet offer. For a free bet to become active you will normally have to deposit/bet a certain amount to unlock the offer. It is important to understand the financial implications of the wagering before you sign up.

Some offers will also come with a timeframe for which they must be used. Below is an example of a current sign up offer, lets look at the actual cost to you as a punter to receive the bonus.

Offer – £20 Welcome Bonus

Wagering – Deposit £20, The deposit must be wagered 5 times at minimum odds of 1.5 (1/2) and you will then receive a £20 free bet. Additional deposits may be required to fulfil the turnover conditions must be met within 90 days of signing up.

What this means – To receive the £20 free bet you will need to stake £100 in bets as per the 5 times wagering requirement. Once you have bet £100 you will be credited with a £20 free bet. To wager £100 from a £20 deposit you are going to have to back some winners, something we know isn’t guaranteed. If you lose, you will be required to deposit again to have the money available to meet the wagering requirements.

At the very least, this offer will require you to stake £100 to receive the free bet. It is likely however to cost you more than that as you may need to re-deposit and all of this must be done within 90 days.

Not all offers are the same and wagering requirements will vary below is a different offer which shows that you don’t always have to stake a lot of money to receive a small bonus.

Offer – Bet £10 Get £20 in Free Bets

Wagering – For new customers, you must deposit £10 and place a bet of £10 at minimum odds of 1.5 (1/2) within 14 days of signing up. Once the bet settles you will receive two £10 free bet tokens. Free bets must be placed on sportsbook only and at minimum odds of 1.5 (1/2).

What this means – This offer requires you to deposit £10 and place a bet of that value. You are not required to stake this amount multiple times. The only restriction is the time this must be done is within 14 days of signing up. This offer therefore provides you with two £10 free bets for placing a £10 bet.

Unlike the first offer you are not tied down with lengthy wagering requirements. Putting the amounts into context of your budget is key. The first offer has requirements which means you must bet at least £100; this may well be more than you were intending to spend. The offer of a bonus should never impact on the amount you have set aside to bet with.

Loyalty Schemes

As a player/customer loyalty is something which should be rewarded. Some operators do offer schemes which reward you with free bets based on your activity. The below is an example of one such loyalty scheme.

Offer – £5 free bet every week. Free bets have no time expiry.

Wagering – Players must stake a total of £25 over a weekly period at minimum odds of 2.0 (1/1).

What this means – This is a rolling scheme which provides you with a free £5 bet every week if you have staked £25 in the previous week. You will be credited with a free bet on Mondays and there is no timeframe for when the free bet expires.

As the offer relates to a total stake of £25 you could meet this requirement from much smaller stakes over the week.

We often see bookies criticised for offering incentives to those of us who choose to bet. Loyalty is something which is rewarded at most places we spend our money. Whether that is a restaurant, cinema, or coffee shop. When we go food shopping, how many times do you come home with more food than you wrote on your list? At the end of every isle we are faced with what appear like tempting offers.

The below is an example of a loyalty scheme from a well known coffee shop.

Offer – Free coffee when you have 265 loyalty points.

Spend – You receive 5 points for every £1 you spend in store.

What this means – In order to get 265 loyalty points, you would be required to spend 265/5 = £53. You would then be rewarded with one free coffee. You could say this offer has a wagering requirement of 53 times.

When we look at the offers above from bookmakers in comparison they can be rewarding. The key is to make sure you understand the terms before you sign up or opt into a scheme. Make sure you do your research. There will be multiple offers available. Don’t just take the first one you see. You don’t want to do that and then find another bookmaker is offering a better offer.

Taking the time to understand the terms of the offers will ensure you don’t find yourself in locked into an offer which has an effect on the way you are betting. The bonus should be something which rewards your loyalty and fits with the budgets you have.


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