Sportsbook bonuses 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.
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 the sportsbook 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.
A bonus (welcome bonus or bonus for existing customers) is a sum of money credited by the sportsbook 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.
Sportsbook Bonus Conditions
We’d like to take some time and a section of this article to describe which are 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.
Sports Betting Bonus Types
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 work extremely simple: 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 then 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.
That being said, those are the most common things you should know about sportsbook bonuses in the United States betting industry. We’re well aware that nothing we’ve described in this article is rocket science, but 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 to make a profit from sports betting – and bonuses are a great way to either ensure profits, or act as a safety net.