Almost every sportsbook online will offer some sort of sign up bonus to entice players to try out their site. Sportsbooks do this because they think once a player creates an account with them and begins to wager on their site they will stick with the bookie as a loyal customer more often than not. And this must be the case otherwise the sportsbooks would not offer the types of bonuses that they do.
That being said every online sportsbook bonus, whether it be a free bet bonus or a matching bonus on your first deposit, will have conditions attached to it. Some of these conditions may include a minimum deposit, rollover requirements, an expiration, conditions on which bets trigger the bonus and more. It is important that you read the fine print (terms and conditions) of the bonus you expect to be receiving at a sportsbook in order to know just how valuable the bonus really is.
Here’s a list of what you should look for in the bonus terms:
- Deposit minimum.
- Maximum bonus amount.
- Play through (rollover) requirements.
Every online sportsbook will list a ‘minimum deposit’ that must be met in order to trigger the bonus or free bet. A lot of the time that ‘minimum deposit’ will just be the minimum deposit that the sportsbooks accepts (often around $20), but in some cases the minimum deposit will be much higher and you will have to deposit at least that amount to trigger the bonus. For example, at Bookmaker.eu you must deposit at least $300 to qualify for their 15% matching bonus.
You should always check the minimum deposit required to qualify for the bonus because if your initial deposit is too low you may have just lost your chance at the free bonus money.
If the sportsbook offers a matching percentage of your initial deposit as your bonus then you can rest assured there will be rollover requirements associated with that bonus. Sometimes the terms will say that the deposit + bonus will need to be rolled over X amount of times, while other bookies will just say the bonus amount needs to be rolled over X amount of times. At some sportsbooks you won’t be able to withdraw until you have met these requirements. While at others you will be able to withdraw, but if you do so before completing the rollover requirements your bonus amount will be forfeit. And it’s important to remember that you are always wagering your deposited amount first. The bonus really only sits in your account looking pretty until you have wagered your entire deposit or cleared the rollover requirements.
I guess I should explain these “rollover” requirements too. This simply means how much you have wagered. For example, if a $20 bonus must be rolled over 10 times before it is cleared then you must wager $200 at the sportsbook. The wagers will be cumulative and more often than not you will clear the bonus before you know it.
Free bets are a little bit different than matching percentage bonuses. Sometimes you will receive free bets in the amount of a certain percentage of your first deposit, which is similar to the matching percentage bonus, while sometimes you will receive a set free bet for any first deposit.
Some sportsbooks will allow you to divide up your free bet dollars, while at others you will need to use the free bet on one wager.
As you can see you really need to read the terms and conditions to know just how your free bet would work.
One thing that is constant at all the sportsbooks is your free bet will not be returned to your account after placing your bet. Only the winnings from that free bet will be added to your account. Then at some sportsbooks you will have to rollover these free bet winnings similar to a matching bonus, while at others those free bet winnings are yours to do with what you please.
Another thing about free bets. At some online sportsbooks your wagers will trigger your free bet rather than your first deposit. These triggering wagers may be for certain dollar amounts or may have certain odds requirements associated to them.
Some sportsbooks also do ‘risk free bets’ rather than free bets. These are bets where you receive a refund if your wager loses. If you’re using a risk free bet you should always bet on a big underdog to increase your chances of winning big.
All of the bonuses/free bets outlined above can expire. The matching percentage bonuses will likely need to be rolled over and the free bets will likely need to be used within a certain number of days. You should pay attention to the expiration because nothing is worse than almost completing the requirements and logging into your account to find your bonus dollars gone.
Some sportsbooks have even more conditions than this on their sign up bonuses. Certain deposit types may need to be used, only specific sports will count towards clearing requirements, etc, etc. The main thing I want you to take away from this article is to read the bonus/free bet terms and conditions to avoid getting screwed over!