Bookmakers are always offering some form of promotion to keep new and existing customers happy. Price boosts, refunded bets and acca insurances are just part of these deals but the most popular form of incentive is the Free Bet.
But how do these offers work and are there any catches? Is anything ever truly free?
The most common form of free bet comes when you sign up for a new account with your chosen provider. Many bookies will match your deposit by say 50% or 100% but others will go down the freebie route and they can be very generous indeed.
The best way to illustrate this is by using certain examples which are current at the time of writing and over at Paddy Power, you can open an account, deposit and play with £10.00 and you can receive 3 x £10.00 bets by return. Other operators such as Coral and William Hill are currently offering similar schemes; just make that initial credit, take a punt and you can get multiple free bets in return. The principle is the same but the levels may vary from bookie to bookie.
There is no real catch to these offers as long as you follow the guidelines and naturally, with any bookmaker deal you should always carefully scrutinise the full list of terms and conditions. Most, but not all operators will impose a rollover requirement so you will need to play through certain amounts before you can withdraw any winnings.
For example, if you deposit £10.00 and receive a further £10.00 you may have to wager £20.00 5 times before collecting any profits. As we mentioned, these requirements differ hugely depending on your provider so check up before you proceed.
In addition, your opening stake and free bets are likely to have minimum odds terms starting at around 1.50 – 1/2, so you can’t back an absolute certainty. Another point to look out for is expiry dates: typically you may have a limited time to use that free bet token – possibly seven days, possibly more, possibly less – so read those Ts and Cs to be completely certain.
Risk Free Openers
Some bookmakers will quote what is loosely termed as a ‘risk free’ opening bet. In truth, it isn’t exactly risk free as you can lose your stake but it will certainly give you a second chance of landing a winner.
Here’s how it would typically work:
You open an account with £10.00 and place a bet at that figure on the sportsbook at minimum odds of 1.50. If your pick wins then you collect but if it fails to land then the bookie in question will refund that £10.00 as a free bet token so that you can have another go.
Once again, terms such as minimum odds and rollovers will be different, depending on the operator but this is a typical example of what you can find out there.
Having got your business, the majority of bookies will want to keep you onside and they will do this by giving you regular, ongoing deals for the lifetime of your account. Some of these will be sent to your mobile phone or inbox and they may be tailored to your betting pattern while others are published on the website and are open to everyone.
The deals that are quoted on the bookies’ own sites will generally deliver free bets by way of a refund token if a certain set of circumstances results in a loss. For example, you could take at least five selections on an Each Way accumulator and if just one of those picks fails to come in, the bookmaker will refund your stake, up to a certain limit, as a free bet token.
That is a very popular type of promo while others may be more specific to a certain bookmaker. Football is the most common sport when it comes to ongoing free bet deals but depending on the operator, these can be found on a whole host of events including tennis, horse racing, formula 1, American football and much more.
One-off free bet deals can often come around when a major sporting tournament is scheduled and plenty of bookies were publishing these ahead of Euro 2016. Once again, these can usually be found on the site but they can also be sent to your inbox or mobile phone.
As an example here, SkyBet allowed you to bet in the outright winner market for the Euros, and every time your chosen country won a match at the tournament, a £3.00 free bet was credited to your account. Other bookies had similar deals in the Top Goalscorer betting where you backed a certain player and earned a free bet token every time he scored.
These are football examples but once again, they can apply to any sport whenever there is a major tournament being played.
Stay up to Date
In order to keep up to date with free bet options you should subscribe to news feeds and, of course, keep checking the bookmakers’ websites.
Make sure you whitelist the provider in question so that their e-mails can safely find your inbox and keep your phone number up to date so that you can receive a relevant SMS.
Many bookies will also publish free bet updates on their social media accounts so be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Make sure you have every area covered so that you can be notified of the best free bet deals as and when they come up.
Terms and conditions should, of course, be noted but the offers that are around at the moment will generally require only minor and very fair points. There are some really great free bet promotions available so look around for the best of those and be sure to get involved.