Betting offers is the collective term we use to describe all the sign up bonuses that online betting sites give to their new customers. These are also sometimes referred to as introductory offers or welcome bonuses.
Whilst the principle of all of these promotions is essentially the same (sign up and get a bonus), there are a number of categories that any individual offer can fall into.
Sports Betting Offers
Generally speaking, there are four different types of sports betting bonus – a no deposit bonus, matched bet, no lose bet and deposit bonus – which are described below.
No Deposit Bonuses
Completely free bonuses are a bit of a rare breed when it comes to betting sites and are more commonly found at casinos or bingo sites. They’re pretty self explanatory – you just sign up and receive a free bet without needing to make a deposit. For a list of these types of bonus see our no deposit page.
Matched bets are the most common form of betting bonus and is type used by almost all of online arms of the big UK high street bookmakers. Fairly simple – you sign up, deposit and place a bet with your own money. Once the bet has been settled you will then receive a free bet token worth the same as your qualifying bet.
All matched bets are either for a fixed amount such as £25, or have a minimum & maximum range you can choose from – such as between £10 and £50.
For the first example in the above paragraph you would need to deposit and bet at least £25 after which you would receive a £25 bet (even if you bet £50) and for the second example your bet could be anything over £10 – your free bet will be for the same amount, up to the maximum of £50.
Occasionally you will find a bookie who is offering a bet that is for a different amount to your qualifying bet (such as bet £5 and get a £10 free bet), but in most cases it’s a like-for-like bonus.
No Lose Bets
No lose bets are a little bit like matched bets, except that you only receive a free bet if your qualifying bet loses. For example, if a bookie offers a £25 no lose bet you would need to sign up, deposit and bet at least £25.
If your bet loses you would then receive a £25 free bet token, whilst if it wins you wouldn’t receive anything other than the winnings from the bet with your own money. It should be quite obvious that a Matched bet is much better than a No Lose Bet.
The final type of betting bonus we’ll look at is a deposit bonus. Here you receive bonus funds relative to the amount of your first deposit at the betting site.
So for a 100% deposit bonus, if you deposit £100 you would receive a bonus worth £100. Most deposit bonuses are either given immediately when you make the deposit, or are ‘released’ after you have placed a certain number of bets. The bonus funds are usually themselves withdrawable once you have placed a set number of bets.
Whilst on the surface it may look like deposit bonuses aren’t as good as a matched bet, they do hold some advantages. First, they are usually for larger amounts than straight matched bets – with some bookmakers offer deposit bonuses worth hundreds of pounds.
Second, most matched bets are released as a single free bet token – meaning you have to bet it all in one go. Conversely, bonus funds can be split into multiple smaller bets.
Online Casino Bonuses
Just like the sports betting offers, casino offers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In this next section we'll take a look at the different types and give you pointers on what to look out for.
No Deposit Bonuses
Unlike sportsbooks, where no deposit bonuses are incredibly rare (we can count on on hand the number of bookies who have ever offer one), casinos are much more liberal with their completely free bonuses. There are three types of no deposit bonus that you're likely to come across:
- Free Spins - Quickly becoming the offer of choice for modern casinos, free spins give you a set number of free goes on a slot. Sometimes the slot is pre-selected, particularly when they have a new game you want to try out, and sometimes they can be used o a variety of games. Winnings from free spins almost always come with wagering requirements.
- Bonus Cash - Sometimes called 'free chips', these are simply bonuses you receive without having to deposit. For example, you may receive £10 free upon registration. These bonuses normally have turnover requirements attached, and sometimes a maximum withdrawal as well.
- Free Play - A bit of a dinosaur in the online casino world, but still found from time to time. Free play gives you a healthy chunk of chips to bet with - say £1,500. But before you get excited, it's not real money and can never be withdrawn. However your winnings from the free play will often be turned into proper bonuses, which can be withdrawn after meeting the sites requirements.
Note that for all types of no deposit bonus, you may be required to make a deposit prior to withdrawing your winnings. This is largely done for age verification and identification purposes and only comes into play when taking out the proceeds from your no deposit play.
A deposit bonus is one you receive after making a deposit, although the size and value of the bonus varies significantly between casinos. It's also important to look at the wagering requirements when comparing bonuses as a 200% bonus with a 20x WR is likely to be a much better deal than a 400% bonus with an 80x WR.
There are also two different types of deposit bonus:
- Cashable - With a cashable bonus, the bonus itself can be withdrawn once the wagering requirements have been met. So if you deposit £100 for a £100 bonus, you'll have £200 to play with. If you meet the WR with a balance of £400, then you would be able to withdraw the whole £400 - meaning a 'profit' of £300.
- Non-cashable - A non-cashable bonus, on the other hand, cannot be withdrawn. Here you will receive the bonus and can play with it for as long as you like, but can never withdraw it. Using the above example, you would only be allowed to withdraw £300 of the £400 balance, for a net gain of £200. Normally when you withdraw the bonus is removed from your account, but at some casinos they leave it in your account to keep playing with (sometimes called a 'sticky' bonus).
It should be clear that a cashable bonus is preferable to a non-cashable one when the amounts and matches are like-for-like. However, you'll often find non-cashable bonuses to be for much higher percentages than cashable ones as the casino isn't on the hook for the bonus amount. For example, you may get a cashable bonus of 100% up to £100, but a non-cashable one of 400% up to £400.
Deposit bonuses will always have wagering requirements attached, but we'll discuss those later in the page.