Free bets – what are they?
A free bet does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a bet given to players by online bookies that they place for a chance to win real money. Free bets are usually offered as an incentive to sign up with a particular bookmaker, but they may also be offered to reward loyalty or sometimes as an added perk. Does this sound a bit too good to be true? In some cases it is – free bets usually come with terms and conditions attached. If part of a welcome package, for example, the player usually has to deposit and wager an amount equal to the bonus offered, and their cash wager must be made at certain odds. In most cases, you will also have to re-wager any winnings you earn from your free bet several times over before it can be withdrawn as cash. It is not unusual for free bets to have expiry dates, too. This is fairly standard practice, and bookmakers offering free bets with terms and conditions attached are perfectly trustworthy and reputable.
What are the different types of free bet available?
When it comes to free bets UK, there are several different types of bonus offered to new and existing players. This includes: Matched free bets – are a popular sports promotion where the bookmaker matches your deposit with free bets of the same value. Risk free bets – are when the online bookmaker refunds your very first bet if it loses in cash up to a predetermined value Free bets no deposit – award you a free bet without requiring you to deposit or wager any of your own money. Enhanced free bets – see the bookmaker boost your potential betting prize pot by offering a price boost or better odds. Deposit bonus free bets – are mostly given to new players and see the bookie offer free bets for signing up to their site. Money back specials – see the bookmaker agree to refund losing bets up to a set amount for popular sporting events like the Cheltenham Festival or the Champions League final. Reload bonuses – see bookies give players extra free bets if they top up their account with funds ahead of major sports event or new promotional period.
New customer free bets – how do they work?
Online bookmakers want your business, and with so many sites now available to UK players they need to offer you an incentive to play with them.They are several ways they do this – from loyalty schemes to offering betting tips – but free bets are by far the most common and popular among players. The free betting offers available vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, which is why we have compiled a free bets list so you can compare them and decide which is best for you. As mentioned above, there are several types of free bet you may be offered, but as a new player the most common is the matched free bet. This is a really simple betting bonus; the operator will match your first deposit with a free bet of the same value, up to a set amount. The majority of betting sites push to attract new players around major sports events, such as the start of the English Premier League season. During this time, they will offer incredibly generous new player free bet offers, so it’s a good time to sign-up to a few different bookmakers and wager with a bonus bet.
Existing customer free bets – do they exist?
Yes – free betting is offered to existing customers as well as new players. They are used to reward loyalty and some online betting shops even offer “Free Bets Clubs”. These clubs reward players with free bets if they place certain wagers on certain betting markets each week; it might be three accas (multiple bets) or two in-play bets, for example. They tend to be available across most sports, but they are particularly popular with regular players seeking free football bets. Other free bet rewards offered to existing players include reload bonuses and special promotions around major sporting events. So, while free bets may be offered less regularly to existing players than to new punters, the more you play with a specific bookmaker the more you are likely to earn them.
How do I find the best free bets?
The world of free bookie bets can seem a little overwhelming at times. With hundreds of bookmakers offering thousands of promotions between them, deciding which provides you the most value isn’t easy. Here at Winner Sports, we have opened accounts, made deposits, claimed bonuses and wagered with real money at all of the UK-licensed online sports betting sites. From this, we have built a list of only the best sites, and have created a library of detailed reviews that tell you everything you need to know about each. A major part of our review criteria is the free bet promotions offered, and particularly any terms and conditions that may be attached to the bonus.
The bookmaker in question does not have to be well known, it just has to have a good reputation. Holding a licence from the UK Gambling Commission is a good sign of this. It must be remembered that some of the new online betting sites that have emerged in recent months are owned by some of the larger organisations. This means that even if the brand is new the company behind the site could be well established. That said, just because a site is new does not mean it is not reputable.
Usability and interface of the site
You want to be able to place your wagers quickly and easily, and to do that the online bookie in question must be easy to use and navigate. This is particularly important if playing from a smartphone or tablet device – you don’t want to be swiping and scrolling excessively just to place your bet. The majority of UK-licensed sites off a sleek user experience, but some have mastered the art better than others and it also depends on your personal preferences.
The free bets and bonuses offered
We all love free bets, but it is important to understand whether the bonus being offered actually adds value to your play. Look out for free bets that can be placed on the odds, markets and sports that interest you – those with low wagering requirements give you more chance to profit from your betting. If you are going to wager regularly, consider whether the online bookie offers a loyalty scheme or Free Bets Club so that you are rewarded for your on-going custom
Range of banking methods available
As a punter, you maybe want to deposit into, and withdraw from, your main wallet via several different methods. Most betting sites will offer debit/credit card payments via Visa and MasterCard. Other options will include eWallets such as Neteller and Skrill. The best online gambling sites will also offer payment gateways that include PayPal, Trustly and in some cases cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. As well as looking at the payment options available, it’s also worth considering average transaction times and any limits placed on deposits and withdrawals. In short, you want to bet with a sports book that provides a wide range of payment options with super-fast transaction times and that imposes no fees for deposits or withdrawals.
Markets and odds
The top betting sites will offer a huge range of markets and odds across all the major sports, leagues, teams and players. They will also serve some of the more niche sports and tournaments, as well as novelty markets for television and general culture. Of course, more doesn’t always mean better. You want to make sure the odds being offered are sensible and fair, and are displayed in a way that is clear to understand. Some bookmakers will allow you to choose how the odds are displayed; either fractional odds (2/1, 5/2, etc) or decimal odds (3.0, 3.5, etc) depending on your preference. You also want to consider the types of bet available; single, double, accumulator, in-play – the best bookmakers will offer a wide range of options.
Is one of the most popular ways to wager on your favourite sports, allowing you to bet on the action taking place as it unfolds in real time. In-play is the perfect betting format when wagering from your smartphone while watching sports in-person or on television; it is fast and fun with odds that constantly change. The majority of bookmakers now offer in-play, but some don’t so if you like to wager in this way make sure the online betting site you are looking to join offers it.
Mobile optimised site
With the majority of sports bets now placed via mobile and tablet devices, operators have had to optimise their sites for mobile wagering. Some have done a much better job at this than others and only the best online bookmakers offer a truly top-notch mobile betting experience. You can access most online betting sites via your mobile internet browser, but some also offer dedicated apps that you can download from the Apple App Store or Google Play store. If the site has been fully optimised for mobile betting, then you won’t notice much of a difference if wagering via browser or app. Our extensive online betting site reviews cover all of the above factors and more, and provide you with all the information and insight you need to decide where to bet.
Event based free bets – when are these offered?
Sports betting sites tend to offer event based free bets around major competitions, tournaments and festivals. From the World Cup to the Olympics via the Grand National, Wimbledon and the Ryder Cup, you can expect a flurry of free bet offers designed to make you want to wager. They are offered to both new and existing customers, and are a great way for punters to add more value to their betting activity during the sporting event. As always, be aware of any terms and conditions these free bets may come with.
Understanding free bets terms and conditions
While your first instinct may be to click “Claim Bonus” you must first make sure you understand any terms and conditions that particular offer may come with. You may have to stake a minimum amount of your own cash to activate the offer, and it will almost certainly come with a wagering requirement that you will have to fulfil. Here at Winner Sports, we read the terms and conditions of all the free bet offers we promote and highlight any areas that may be cause for concern. In most cases, to claim a free bet you will have to:
- Enter a bonus code to activate the free bet
- Make a deposit with your own money
- Use the bonus money to wager on specific odds
- Complete the wagering requirement before you can withdraw your winnings
It is worth noting that you will not be able to activate free bets if you deposit via certain payment methods, usually Skrill and Neteller, and most free bets come with an expiry date