Besides scouring sportsbook for bets, another of the big aspects of online betting is bonuses. Bookmakers regularly throw out bonuses to not only attract new customers but to keep their active members happy and playing frequently.
There are a lot of different types of bookmaker bonuses that are available. Here we take a look at the breakdown of some of the most popular.
The boring but essential stuff
But first: reading terms and conditions may be the least exciting part of your betting experience online, but this is something that needs attention. Whatever type of bookmaker bonus that you are looking at, it is going to come with terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions of one bonus is going to be totally different to that of another. It could be a similar bonus offered at two different bookmakers and they would have different terms applied to their respective deals.
The main takeaway is that the terms and conditions of an offer need to be understood by a player, so that the punter doesn’t miss out. An example would be a Welcome Bonus which offers a free bet if the first wager on the account loses. Sounds straightforward, but you would need to look for key things.
What is the minimum/maximum bet needed to trigger a bonus? Is there a minimum or maximum odds needed? Does a selection have to come from a specified market? What time restrictions are in place in order to complete the factors for the bonus? Is the bonus paid as real cash or bonus funds? If it’s the latter, what terms apply to the bonus cash? Is a bonus code needed?
At the basic level, reading the Key Terms & Conditions of the offer will steer you in the right direction. It’s important stuff so that nothing gets missed in trying to claim.
- Understand the importance to Terms & Conditions so that requirements are fulfilled
- Recognise the full value of a bookmaker bonus to your own needs
- The varied landscape of bookmaker bonuses offers bettors great options
Welcome Bonus - are they what they seem?
What is a Welcome Bonus? This is a deal that a bookmaker will use to entice new customers into opening an account. The important thing to remember about welcome bonuses is that they are one-time affairs. They will bear absolutely no significance as to what the regular service that the bookmaker offers, is like.
Welcome bonuses are supposed to be alluring. The operator offers you something in return for opening an account. But just because they may be offering a free bet, it tells you nothing about the odds value in their sportsbook, the market variety on offer, the types of features that they have running and what the customer service is like.
So the Welcome Bonus needs to be taken at face value for exactly what it is. Take advantage of it, if it’s something that appeals to you and move on. You are probably going to get better, more lasting returns from the offers available to you as an existing customer (things like Best Odds Guaranteed and Accumulator Bonuses) than you will from a Welcome Bonus. Again, always fully check the terms and conditions.
Money-Back Specials - Are they any good?
A Money Back Special is where the bookmaker gives you a reward, either cash or bonus funds, based on your initial stake. There are different variations of the Money Back Special.
For example, a bookmaker may offer a Money Back Special if Barcelona lose to Real Madrid. So a bet would be placed on Barcelona and if they lost, the stake would be returned, usually as a free bet.
Alternatively, Money back may given on certain markets only if Barcelona lost (such a first goalscorer or correct score). Another offer example may wagering on a team to win and if they score first in the match but fail to win outright, then the Money Back Special could be triggered.
It’s worth remembering that any free bet bonuses that you do get credited back to your account from any kind of an offer like this, will have terms and conditions attached, such as only being valid for 7 days since the time of receiving them.
Offers like these seem like risk-free bets. They technically aren’t because there is always risk involved in betting. Even if you get a free bet credit of your stake back through a Money Back Special, it’s not the same as having cash that is immediately withdrawable. You may have play-through restrictions of any profit earned from a free bet before being able to withdrawal, for example.
Price Boosts - Upgrade your odds
Price boosts are common in betting and these are quick and easy to play. They are easily accessible for newer players as well, without getting heavily bogged down in any kind of T&Cs that could come with other types of bookmaker bonuses.
A price boost or an enhanced odds offer is usually where a bookmaker bumps up the price on a certain outcome of a sporting event, to above the industry standard. It could, for example, be Argentina to win the World Cup which is a general 8/1 price, but a bookmaker may offer 10/1 on them for a certain promotional time period.
Price boosts are easy to handle because they are straight forward in that your bet just gets paid out in real cash, like any regular bet. That will be different though if a bookmaker is offering enhanced odds as a welcome bonus. That will have a stake minimum terms applied to it and could pay out as free bet credits instead of cash.
Accumulator Bonus - Extra percentage wins
For bettors who like to build themselves accumulators, most bookmakers will offer some kind of acca bonus. A common one is where you claim a percentage bonus on your winnings depending on how many legs were in your successful accumulator. An example may be a 5% bonus payout for a four-fold accumulator and most examples would be paid in cash.
The more legs that were in the successful accumulator, the higher the bonus percentage payout would be. Maybe 50% for a 12-fold or bigger. That, of course, is because the more legs that there are in the bet, the harder the bet becomes to win. Because of the popularity of accumulators, if you are a frequent player of them, then it’s worth taking any bonus offers that you can get on them.
Accumulator Insurance - Near miss, no problem
Accumulator insurances take an alternative look at those big accumulator bets by offering you insurance. This is another area in which bookmakers bonuses can offer long term value for punters. In most instances with any kind of accumulator insurance, you will be refunded your lost stake if the bet loses by just the one leg.
Commonly these are refunded as free bet credits instead of cash, but it’s worth checking around for exceptions. Again, if you commonly play accumulators on the horses for example, it’s worth looking for insurance.
Rewards Clubs - Earn within your means
Another way that free bet bonuses can be claimed through bookmakers is via rewards clubs. Terms and conditions will vary between different operators of course. The basic premise of rewards clubs is that you make a certain amount of stake within a given promotional week.
Hit the minimum amount of stake, which may include a certain number of bets to be played as well, and then in return, the bookmaker bonus will issue a free bet. Rewards clubs are something that players can keep benefitting from as long as the weekly minimum bets are made.
These, of course, are only real value to punters who regularly meet the minimum stake requirements on a weekly basis. Players who would have to stretch their betting budget just to try and get a free bet back should look elsewhere for their bonuses.
Bookmaker Bonuses - In Summary
The world of bookmaker bonuses is a wonderfully varied landscape, which for the punter, at least gives plenty of options. Bonuses shouldn’t just be played because they are there though and are offering some kind of reward. They can be fun, add an extra injection of excitement onto a day’s betting.
The best way to approach to bonuses is to see if they fit within your budget and within the type of sports bets that you normally bet on. That way you will be able to recognise the true value that a promotion may really have on a personal level.
There’s that and knowing exactly what needs to be done in order to benefit from a bookmaker bonus. You don’t want to be left rueing a missed opportunity because you missed something simply by playing a minimum stake on what an offer needed to be triggered.