The simplest answer is their betting offers, free bets and welcome or sign up bonuses. Every bookmaker tries its best to attract new customers, and the easiest way to do so is using special offers and prizes which can determine people to open an account, place some money in it and start playing. Of course, not all special offers and sign up bonuses are the same – some are easy to access and win, others are very complicated and usually not worthwhile following.
Our purpose is to get you to understand the main categories of free betting offers and welcome bonuses given by betting sites, how you can take advantage of them, and how to dodge very complex requirements which are usually not worth your time. That being said, let’s get into answering the first big question: what are bookmaker special offers?
Special Betting Offers
Special offers from bookmakers come in all shapes and sizes. To put it simply, a special offer is a bonus or a feature given by a bookmaker to a player in order to reward that player for either placing a bet on a sporting event, opening and account or depositing a sum of money. These rewards come in various forms: money, enhanced odds, play credit, free casino spins, etc.
Of course, some of these bonuses (like cold cash) are preferred to other, more niche ones, like enhanced odds, and that is usually the thing that makes a client chose one bookmaker over the other. All these special offers can be further divided into categories, which we will explain below:
Welcome bonuses – The simplest reward out there. Nearly all betting sites worldwide have this gift for setting up an online account. Just open an account, deposit some money in it (amount differs between bookmakers), and you will receive a prize. This is the simplest form of a welcome bonus – it then becomes different between brokers. For example, ComeOn gives you a £10 free bet* just for opening an account with them, no deposit required.
Other bookmakers double the amount you first deposit, up to a certain sum – like Royal Panda: 100% up to £100*. Others give you flat amounts of money. Do remember that while this welcome bonus is credited to your account instantly, you do need to fulfill certain conditions to withdraw it. More on that later.
Bonuses for existing customers – Receiving a bonus only when opening an account would be a pretty terrible marketing idea from bookmakers. Thus, they try to keep their players close to them with periodic bonuses or special ones based on individual sporting events. For example, Unibet once had a Champions League bonus – if you deposited a sum of money and used it to play on CL games, they would credit your account with 100% of the said amount. These bonuses tend to vary quite a lot over time, even with the same bookmaker.
Free bets – Free bets are very common in the betting world and are a special kind of bonus. Some bookmakers use them as welcome bonuses, while others just give them away to their classic players. A free bet works in the following way: if you lose your bet on any given game, the broker gives you your money back. Of course, these free bets are also subject to terms and conditions.
Enhanced odds – One very common bonus used by lots of bookmakers have increased odds for an individual game, both for new players and old ones. For example, if there is a very tight derby, like Manchester United vs. Manchester City, a sportsbook, can choose to give its players enhanced odds for the game, like 5,00 for the home side and 5,00 for the away side, in order to encourage them into placing more bets. This kind of bonus usually revolves around close games and derbies, which spark lots of interest.
Other offers – There really is no limit to a bookmaker’s creativity when developing new bonuses. The key to taking advantage of them is carefully reading the terms and conditions associated with the bonus.
Choosing The Best Welcome Bonus
Since the most commonly analyzed bonuses are welcome bonuses, we thought a deeper analysis should be made on then. Welcome bonuses are usually the main tiebreaker between bookmakers, and for a good reason. Let’s say you have 200 pounds to start your betting career with. Would you prefer an agent that gives you 100% bonus up to these 200 pounds, one that gives you 50% up to 50 pounds, or one with a 30 pound free bet? In your case, the first one would net you the biggest prize – if the terms and conditions would be the same.
How good or bad a welcome bonus actually depends a lot on the sum of money you have to invest in that account. If you only have a few pounds and want to use them for sports betting, a freebet system would be the best for you. For example, 138Bet gives you a £25 free bet* if you’re a new customer and make a £25 bet on any one of their games. If on the other hand, you have a decent sum of money and want to potentially double it, you should look for bookmakers like Bet365, Unibet or NetBet, which all offer big welcome bonuses depending on how big your initial deposit is.
Of course, after the initial hype and the first bonus is cashed in, the non-recurrent bonus section of the bookmaker will be your primary area of interest. Sadly for our analysis, this section is almost impossible to look into, since lots of bookmakers have very varied bonuses, depending on the period of the year, special sporting events, how they’re doing on the market, and can even vary based on the type of player. To put it very simply, if you’re dissatisfied with the bonuses your current bookmaker is offering you, try opening a tiny account with another one, to see how the new betting site acts.
Deposit And Withdrawal Methods
With so many bookmakers and options, it’s only natural to expect their money handling skills to be on par with their customer’s needs. Most UK betting sites process money in a wide array of ways, ranging from credit and debit card transfers, bank transfers and classic cash deposits to e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill or Neteller, prepaid cards and online payment systems. For more information about each e-wallet mantioned above, please visit the following pages:
All these options work just as well for deposits as well as withdraws, and the difference between bookmakers is often made around the time of each transaction. While deposits are usually made free and instantly (of course), withdraws can take any time from a few hours to a few days, depending on the bookmaker. For more information about specific payment method, please visit our Deposit Methods page.
New Customer Offers – Terms & Conditions
Now that we’ve covered most of the special offers a bookmaker throws at you, it’s time to look into a key area of these offers: the terms and conditions. Bookmakers rarely give money or enhanced odds away for free – you will have to fulfill certain requirements in order to play through your bonus.
For example, if you receive a free bet, most bookmakers will oblige you to select odds bigger than an individual number, so they don’t give you a bonus for a safe bet. This figure can vary from 1,30 (fairly easy) to 1,50 (fairly common) and even 2,00. The higher the threshold is, the less likely it is you’ll make it, and the bonus will quickly vanish.
Welcome bonuses also have terms and conditions. The most common condition brokers tie welcome bonuses too is the “play through” condition. Very simply put, if a bookmaker gives you a welcome bonus of 200 pounds and tie is to a condition which says you have to play through it three times, it forces you to bet at least 600 pounds on their website before being able to withdraw the bonus.
Some bookmakers only force you to play through it once, others have much harsher conditions. Sometimes, you’ll even be forced to selects bets with high odds, since low-odd bets will not be considered towards the play-through condition. There are lots of terms a bookmaker might use to condition bonuses – read them very carefully since they can be the difference between a very nice win and throwing money out the window.
To sum up, make sure you do two things when choosing a bookmaker for sports betting. First and foremost, compare the bookie’s bonus offers with those coming from their competitors, and see how they stack up. If you found one which you like, make sure to read the terms and conditions of both welcome and permanent bonuses very carefully – the harsher the T&Cs, the less likely it is you’ll make them, and you’ll be stuck with the money you initially deposited. We always advise taking a smaller but easier-to-achieve bonus over a difficult one, since we’re sure you’re in the betting game for the long run. As always, we wish you big inspiration and best of luck!