One of the best things about betting online versus at a high street bookie is the fact that you have a lot more choice about where you place your bets – so the competition for your business is much higher. This means that any online betting site that wants to get you on their books has to work a bit harder for it – and what better incentive to sign up is there than some free money?
Nearly all of the bookmakers, betting sites and sportsbook that exist on the web will offer some kind of introductory promotion to entice you through their virtual doors – usually in the form of a free bet or betting bonus. There are a few different categories of sign up bonus (‘SUB’) kicking around which we’ll explain later on in the article. But first, let’s show you our list of free bets:
- Please Note – We’ve recently undergone some changes and so this page is currently under development. If you’re looking for a list of sites which may have bonuses, see our full list here.
As you can probably infer from the title we’ve given the table, all of the bonuses in the list are the ones that can be claimed by UK punters – we are a UK website, after all! The offers are also for new customers only, so if you already have an account with any of the bookies in the list then you won’t be able to claim their welcome bonus again.
Betting Bonuses Explained
The term ‘free bets’ often gets banded around quite freely (especially in reference to UK bookies), as does the term ‘betting bonuses’. Whilst many consider these two to be the same thing, and the end result – free cash – is the same, there are actually subtle differences in how they work. Below you’ll find a guide to the different types of introductory offer that you might encounter on the web:
- Free Bets / Matched Bets – As their name suggests, these are free promotional credits that can be used to place wagers. For the most part you can use them just as you would regular money, although you will often find that the free bet token must be used in its entirety in one go – so if you have a £25 free bet token you must place on bet with a stake of £25, and not five £5 bets. To get a free bet you usually need to first place a qualifying bet – so using our £25 example, you would have had to place a £25 bet using your own money (and have the bet settled) before the free one would be added to your account. Winnings from free bets are then yours to keep, usually without any other kinds of restriction or condition attached to them.
- Risk Free Bets – Whilst the idea of a ‘risk free’ anything sounds fantastic, in reality these kinds of offer are actually a step down from regular free bets as they are only awarded if your qualifying bet loses – if it wins you get nothing/nada/zip. So if you placed a £10 qualifying bet and it loses, you would receive a £10 free credit, whilst if it won you would take away nothing other than your regular winnings.
- Deposit Bonuses – The final kind of betting bonus is the ‘deposit bonus’ which is given based on the amount you deposit rather than the amount you first bet. So a 100% bonus on a £100 deposit would net you a £100 bonus – pretty simple, right? These kinds of offer tend to come with additional wagering requirements attached meaning you have to place a minimum value of bets before you can withdraw the bonus or its winnings, but once you’ve done this you can usually withdraw the bonus itself – something which you don’t get from a free bet where the token normally doesn’t get returned with the winnings. You can also chop up your bonus into as many smaller bets as you like – so your £100 bonus could be used to place one hundred £1 bets if that’s what you wanted to do.
How To Compare Free Bets
On the surface many of the offers in the free bets table might look pretty similar – especially when they’re for the same amount. But all introductory bonuses are going to come with terms and conditions and it’s these that can turn a ‘good’ bonus into a ‘not so good’ bonus.
At Gambling Offers we only list promotions that we think are worth claiming and so in the above table you’ll find what we consider to be the best free bet offers currently available. But we thought it was still worth writing up a guide to comparing free bets – so here’s what you should be looking for before claiming:
- Is The Stake Returned? The first thing to check makes a huge difference to the value of the offer and that’s whether or not the free bet token or the promotional bonus money is returned with your winnings. It should be fairly obvious that getting the stake back in addition to any winnings (as would happen with bets placed with regualr money) is prefereable to not getting it back. These days most free bet offers tend to be ‘Stake Not Returned’ or ‘SNR’ to use the lingo, whilst most bonuses are (known as ‘Stake Returned’ or ‘SR’).
- Is The Bonus Withdrawable? This next one only applies to offers where the stake is returned and is a bit of a moot point if it isn’t. So if it is returned, check whether or not you can actually withdraw it or if it’s removed from your account once you’re finished with it (known as a ‘phantom bonus’).
- What Are The Minimum Odds? Regardless of the type of offer, most of them will come with minimum odds. This is to stop you using ‘sure things’ as your qualifying bets in order to get the bonus with minimal risk to yoru own funds. A ‘good’ minimum odds requirement is 1.5 in decimal or 1/2 in fractional format, and it’s not uncommon to see a minimum odds of 2.0 or ‘evens’.
- Are There Wagering Requirements? Finally you need to figure out what you have to do in order to be able to withdraw your promotional winnings. Most (but not all) free bets come with no wagering requirements (‘WR’) – meaning if you win with your freebie, you can withdraw immediately. On the other hand pretty much all bonuses are going to have some kind of WR – this is because in most cases you get to withdraw the bonus itself too. So if you get a £100 bonus with a 5x wagering requirement you will need to place £500 worth of bets before withdrawing (5 x £100 = £500).