Sportsbook bonus and promotions are generally seen as a good thing, but this hasn’t always been the case. In the recent past, lots of people argued that these are nothing more than “baits” to lure people to open accounts with one or more betting sites, without actually having a realistic possibility of retaining the initial bonus money they were offered.
The terms and conditions of these bonuses were usually very rough, leading to very few successful claims. Together with the development of the betting industry and the addition of more and more competitors, we’ve seen a relaxation of these rough terms and conditions – but we’ve also seen that customers generally require some deeper understanding about how bonuses work.
In this article we’ll cover the topic in depth.
- Sportsbook Bonus Conditions
- Sports Betting Bonus Types
- Sportsbook Promo Codes
- How To Improve Your Chances of Winning With Sports Betting Bonuses
- What Is the Best Online Sportsbook Bonus?
The start of this discussion is always the same: let’s all take a moment to clearly understand what a bonus is and what are the parts it contains. A bonus (welcome bonus or bonus for existing customers) is a sum of money credited by a sportsbook or casino into a client’s account.
This sum of money is not real, actual money which you can immediately withdraw, but “bonus money”. For this bonus money to be transformed into real money, certain terms and conditions have to be met, which are called “rollover conditions”. These terms and conditions are usually what makes or breaks bonuses, because they dictate the chances a customer has of actually turning their bonus money into real money.
Remember this very clearly: at the end of the day, bonus money is just some pixels you have in your account. Bonuses are only valuable if you can actually cash them out.
We’d like to take some time and a section of this article to describe the main rollover conditions which sportsbooks use for bonuses.
- Wagering Requirements are the most common conditions, and this is mostly where the term “rollover” actually comes from. Let’s say a sportsbook gives a customer a $100 bonus. If that bonus has a 10x rollover requirement, it means that the customer has to place bets amounting to 10 x $100 = $1000 for the bonus money to be transformed into real money. The bigger the rollover condition, the harder it is.
- Betting Odds are sometimes tied with rollover conditions, although this practice is a lot more frequent in the EU and Asia than in the US. Simply put, using the example below, if the broker also has betting requirements, the $1000 you have to spend betting cannot be spent wherever you want – only bets placed on odds higher than the broker’s minimum requirement will qualify. This requirement varies from 1,4 up to even 2,0.
- Timeframes are also commonly used to not have a bonus linger on forever or allow a customer to cherry-pick the qualifying bets. Usually, we see time requirements go along the lines of 30 days, which is decent. This means that the qualifying bets can only be placed within 30 days of when the bonus was credited. If the progress in the first 30 days is not enough, the bonus can be lost completely or partly.
- Specific Competitions/Events. This kind of requirements isn’t common for welcome bonuses, but there are some bonuses which customers receive and must be used only on specific sporting events.
More often than not, a bonus will contain several of the conditions listed above. The most common example in the US is tying a rollover condition (such a 10x) with a timeframe requirement (such as 30 days). There aren’t lots of examples in the US which also use odds conditions on most bonuses, but there still are enough examples to warrant the explanation above.
There are a couple of bonus types which you should be accustomed with:
- Welcome (Signup) Bonuses are those bonuses which a customer is only eligible for once, or at maximum a few times in very strict conditions. In the US betting industry, the most common type of signup bonus is a deposit match bonus, ranging from 50% to 150% or more. This bonus works extremely simply: if you make a first deposit of $100 and the broker gives you a 50% first deposit bonus, you’ll receive $50 in bonus money. This is by far the most common type of welcome bonus for both sportsbooks and casinos.
- Free Bets are a lot less common than in the EU or Asia but are still widely used in the US as well. A free bet works just as its name suggests: you place a bet with a wager equal to the amount of the free bet (or less, if the sportsbook allows that). If the bet is a winner, you receive the money as bonus money, which you must roll through again. If it’s a loser, you’ll get your money back. More often than not, this money is credited in advance by the sportsbook, so you don’t actually have to use any of your funds.
- Reload Bonuses work the same as welcome bonuses, and they come in the form of deposit matching bonuses (which we’ve already detailed above). These bonuses are given when a customer makes a new deposit on the broker’s website, and usually only works when the deposit is larger than a given amount.
- Specific Bonuses are harder to pin down in categories, but all brokers have their special unique offers. Remind yourself to always read the terms and conditions of any bonus carefully before signing up for it.
A good understanding of these basic concepts is necessary for developing complex betting systems which actually work. At the end of the day, the final customer is only interested in making a profit from sports betting – and bonuses are a great way to either ensure profits, or act as a safety net.
Also, worthy of a mention are ‘Refer-a-Friend’ bonus offers. These are widely available at US online sportsbooks, so you won’t have any problem finding one.
As the name suggests, this bonus is paid to you by the sportsbook operator when a friend signs up as well. Quite often, these are ‘rinse and repeat’ offers too, so there is no limit to how much you can claim. As an example, MyBookie offers 250% up to $250 for each friend that joins.
Here’s a breakdown of how these particular bonus offers work:
- You must create an account and fund it. Don’t forget; you’re able to get a sign up bonus yourself when you do this.
- Get your referral code and share it with your friends.
- When they join and make their first deposit, you’ll get your share.
Naturally, there are certain conditions which accompany these refer-a-friend sign up bonuses. For one, there will be a rollover requirement that you must clear before any profits can be withdrawn. Also, it will be free play – not a cash bonus, so you won’t get your stake back as part of any winnings.
Despite these stipulations, the benefits of sportsbook referral bonuses make them very popular among existing customers.
Something you need to pay attention to when looking around for sportsbook sign up offers is whether or not a promo code is required. These are relatively common with many of the top sportsbooks, including MyBookie, BetOnline and Bovada all using them.
Promo codes – which can also be called bonus codes – entitle the user to claim a particular bonus that may well be off-limits for those that don’t have one. However, some betting sites do issue codes for their sportsbook bonuses, but they don’t strictly enforce them, so in reality, the bonus offers are open to all-comers.
Redeeming an online sportsbook bonus code is straightforward. If the code is for a sign up offer, then you will apply it during the registration process. For other best bet promotions, such as risk-free wagers and free play, bettors usually enter the code while depositing.
To avoid uncertainty, we advise contacting the bookie’s live support before making a real money deposit.
Firstly, there are no guarantees in the world of sports betting, but we can share some expert tips that should help to improve your chances of extracting a profit from a sportsbook bonus.
- Compare offers from different sports betting sites: Whether you’re chasing sportsbook sign up bonuses, free bets, or some other of offer, it’s crucial that you compare multiple sites to find the best betting promotions. Don’t be swayed by large numbers; check out the T&Cs to see which offers present the most betting value. For instance, a bonus up to $250 may come across as more attractive than a $50 bonus. However, if the rollover requirement is considerably lower with the latter, the odds are better for you.
- Stick to the sports you know: It’s easy to bet frivolously with bonus funds because it’s extra cash that you didn’t have before. That is not a smart strategy, and it doesn’t help your chances of winning. If your passion is the NBA, stick to this sport. The same applies if you are interested in the NFL or MLB.
- Choose related offers: Many online sportsbooks have bonuses for specific sports. For example, you can find boosted parlays for NBA games only, and enhanced odds on NFL matches – including the Super Bowl. These deals may deliver more betting value, so it’s worth checking them out.
- Research every bet: Betting sharps don’t have a wager on every match, and neither should you. Take advantage of statistics and form guides to find the markets with the most value. Knowledge is power in sports betting. Bookmakers don’t always get it right; you will see generous spreads and moneylines if you do thorough research on your chosen sports.
- Learn the betting markets: The moneyline (match winner) is the simplest sports bet, but that doesn’t mean it delivers the best returns. There is an abundance of match markets to pick from at online betting sites, and as you fine-tune your betting predictions, you’ll discover more niche wagers with better payouts.
- A cash bonus is better than free play: To those that don’t know, it’s easy to assume a $50 cash bonus is identical to a $50 free play bonus. But this is not the case. With a cash bonus, your stake is returned on a winning bet; yet, with free play, you only receive the odds payout (minus the stake). Therefore, if your winning pick is even money, you get $100 back with a cash bonus compared to $50 with a free play offer.
The best sportsbook bonuses are the ones that match your style of betting and the bankroll you have at your disposal. For example, if you’re a recreational bettor who only wants an occasional wager, then a cash bonus or some $10 free bets would be most suitable. Of course, for players that are looking to bet large, small free bets sports bonuses won’t cut it. The chances are a big sportsbook sign up bonus would be more appropriate.
A further consideration is the maximum bonus winnings given by the betting sites. Previously, we have noted some sportsbook offers capped at $200 or $500. This can have a major impact on high-stakes punters, and it severely dilutes the proposition.
Therefore, we encourage players to use due diligence. Take advantage of our honest and accurate online sportsbook reviews to learn all you need to know before diving in. Putting aside the best sportsbook bonuses for a second, true betting value comes from the bookie’s odds and what margins they set. Ultimately, as a bettor, your aim is to get the highest returns while exposing yourself to the minimum amount of risk.