Free Bets Explained – Are They Really Free?


Betting operators cohabitate in a competitive arena which often requires bookies to go to great lengths in order to attract new customers.

As they fight for your attention, betting sites come up with new ways to separate themselves from the crowd and offer great incentives and perks for new or existing customers in order to expand and keep their customer base.

One of the most common methods used by all major sportsbooks out there are Sing-Up bonuses, enhanced offers and New Customer offers most of which usually come in for of free bets.

So, what actually are those free bets and are they really free?

Before we answer this obvious question, let’s all take a moment to understand that bookies are lucrative businesses which cater to millions of users globally. With their eyes firmly set on making profit – like any other business for that matter – giving anything for FREE in the core sense of this word is highly unlikely.

As appealing as they sound, promotional incentives which include free bets often hold more than what’s revealed through a glance on the bet itself, so it is highly recommended to have a read through bookie’s terms and conditions to get a proper look on all pros and cons of a free bet.

Even though free bets come in various shapes and sizes – going from 100% matched bets to offers which reward you with many times the value of your first bet – all of them will require you bettors to make a deposit first and spend money before you are granted to have anything for free.

The three main categories of Free Bets exist, coming in forms of:

  • Free Bet
  • Promotional Cash
  • Risk Free Bet

Bookies promote free bets as perfect way to place a bet without actually having to spend any of your money. That actually is what word free means in the first place, but in terms of betting it usually means that you are required to make a deposit which will then be matched with an amount that can go up to 100% to maximum $200 with Bet365.

The free bet cannot be withdrawn as it is a virtual amount of money you will be steered to use at some of the less profitable markets, since many of the bookies will make a provision that free bets can be made on at least one selection with odds equal to or higher than 1/1.

Ultimately, any possible withdrawal will require more money of your own and the same thing goes for the Promotional Cash as well which is a convenient term coined by the bookies themselves to get you drawn in.

Promotional cash is not meant to be kept or withdrawn and it can only be spent on selected and restricted markets.

Risk Free Bets are used to help you feel better once your selection fails. Bookies will give you your money back if your team loses, but that doesn’t mean that you can pick that money up and go home. You will be able to spend it through more wagering and basically the only thing that is free here is another chance to spend – or some would say – lose your money all over again.

A bettor should be well-informed prior to going over to claim any of those free bets, as they most often entail more than what initially meets the eye.

Best 10 New Bookmakers

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New players only. 100% up to £50 sports bonus. Rollover: 17x deposit & bonus at minimum odds 2.00 within 365 days. If bonus is cancelled, bonus funds will be lost. Full terms apply. 18+, begambleaware.org

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New Players Only. Minimum stake $/£/€10, at minimum odds 1.5. 10X wagering the winnings from the free bet. funds. Free bet is valid for 30 Days from issue. Excluded Skrill deposits. Full Terms Apply

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New Players. Minimum stake $/£/€10, minimum odds 1.5, stake not returned. 1X wagering the winnings from the free bet. Free bet is valid for 7 days from issue. Full Terms Apply.

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