The choice of events that online bookmakers are willing to take bets on continues to grow at pace with betting odds offered on practically every sporting, entertainment or big news eventuality that captures the attention of the betting public.
It’s difficult not to have noticed the massive online presence bookmakers have, either directly or through TV advertising and it is within this ever-increasingly competitive online market where, as punters, we can take advantage of a wide variety of free bet bonuses on offer. In most cases, these matched bets at least double your chances of winning when you become a new customer, make a deposit and place your first bet.
Not only can you bet online on your computer, but mobile and tablet versions of sportsbook websites offer the perfect accompaniment to watching the match from the sofa or even down the pub! Signing up and becoming a new customer is pretty simple too regardless of which device you’re using.
Whether you’re a regular punter or an occasional one, there are many bookmakers out there whose generous new customer offers need close consideration, and it’s a good idea to at least look at a few of them, to make sure they’re offering the type of bonus you’re looking for, before choosing to take advantage of your first offer. Once you’ve selected an offer all you have to do is simply click on the ‘join now’ or ‘register now’ to begin the process of becoming a new customer. You’ll be required to fill in an online form which will require you to submit details such as your name and email address, and you’ll also need to select a username and password (good idea to create these beforehand). Sometimes you’ll need to enter a promotional code at this stage which, if you don’t, may make you ineligible for the bonuses, so check individual sites for terms.
After you’ve registered your details, you’ll be asked to decide what payment method you want to use to finance your first deposit which will make you eligible for the free matched bet. Methods such as credit and debit cards (the most popular way of depositing funds) put funds into your account instantly; whilst registering your cards with an online bookmaker is as safe as signing up for an ebay account. However, you may want to consider alternative methods of depositing funds such as PayPal, Neteller, Skrill (Moneybookers), InstaDebit, Click2Pay, Ukash, Paysafecard, Wire Transfer, Fast bank Transfer or cheque.
Matched bet – this is the most popular free bet bonus bookmakers offer new customers. Once you’ve opened an account, you will be eligible to receive a matched bet based on the amount of your first deposit. The amount of deposit that will be matched is usually a minimum of £10, whilst the maximum matched-bet on the market at the time of writing is £200.
First deposit bonus – in most cases this is the same as the matched bet. However, there are currently a couple of well-known bookmakers offering to double your first deposit (though only to low stakes). One is offering to give a £10 free bet when depositing an initial £5, and the other a £20 free bet for depositing an initial £10.
Double the odds – rather than offering you a free bet, some bookmakers are offering to double the odds on your first bet – which is pretty good if you really fancy your selection.
These vary with each bookmaker – so take a little time to scrutinize these details to avoid disappointment, the possibility of losing potential winnings and bonuses by withdrawing your money too soon, or other reasons as stipulated below.
To claim your matched bet – most bookmakers only require you to play through your initial deposit just once (place a single bet of the amount of your deposit), on a sports market of your choice, before allowing you to bet with your bonus. However, some stipulate that you must place more than one bet and that the matched bet will be only equivalent to the amount of the smallest bet. Some bookmakers also indicate that you must lose your initial bet to qualify for the free matched bet – almost like a no-lose bet.
Time limit – Many bookmakers give you a time limit with which to play through your deposit and bonus and this varies usually between 30-90 days.
Minimum odds – these may apply to play through bonus requirements – and these odds vary between ½ (1.5) and evens (2.0), and, though you may bet on selections at lower than the stipulated odds at any time – these bets will not count towards your play-through requirements.
Some markets may not count – example markets that may not count towards play-through requirements with some bookmakers include in-play markets and Asian handicaps.
Cashing out – Any bets that are cashed out will not count towards play-through requirements.
Guaranteed customer profits – Most bookmakers reserve the right to reclaim bonuses and winnings from them if there is evidence that an individual or group of people have tried to guarantee profits by manipulating the bonuses.
One bonus per household – most bookmakers stipulate that only one person from any address is eligible for a bonus – and this is widened to include one bonus per email and payment account.
Criteria for this again varies between bookmakers – but it is common for you to be required to play through the combined amount of your deposit and bonus at least 3 times before making a withdrawal of any kind. If you choose to make a withdrawal without fulfilling the criteria you may forfeit bonuses and any winnings from them.
If you’re thinking of placing a bet soon then it’s certainly time to open an account with one of the many online bookies – and taking advantage of one of their bonuses is bound to increase your odds of winning!
New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Only available to new customers from UK & Northern Ireland. You must stake £10 or more at single/cumulative odds of Evens (2.0) or greater on your first bet. Free bet balance of £30 credited within 48 hours of your first bet being settled. Free Bets expire after 7 days. E-Wallet restrictions apply. Minimum 5 game rounds. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.
"New customers only. Minimum deposit £10. Free bets credited, regardless of first bet outcome (win/loss), once £20+ qualifying sportsbook bet has been placed. Free bet available for use on any market. Horse racing is excluded from offer. Cashed out bets will cancel the offer. First qualify ing bet only. Free bet offer will expire after 30 days. £20 Casino bonus credited next working day from first deposit and has 35x wagering requirement. 18+. UKresidents only. T&Cs Apply. Begambleaware.org"
New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days.
18+. UK+IRE only. Min first bet £5 at odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 4 x £5 free bets. Not valid with Cash Out. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. T&Cs apply.