Free Bets From Bookmakers
Online gambling is so competitive in the UK that bookies need to offer free bets to attract new punters and to keep existing players loyal.
Betting with a freebie instead of putting personal money at risk gives betters the chance to stack the odds in their favour.
This page looks at the best freebies and bonuses available to new or existing customers, and then goes on to explain the differences between them and what to look out for.
Best Sign up Bonuses for New Customers
A good sign up bonus is the biggest weapon in a bookmaker’s arsenal to attract new punters so you can bet it’s going to be a pretty special offer.
|Company||Free Bonus Amount|
The deals listed above are the best sportsbook joining offers out there.
They come in the form a free bet token or bonus funds applied to the account after money has first been deposited and wagered.
To bet on the house with no deposit, you are going to have to wait for a special reward offer once you have already registered, deposited and gambled your own money.
Please see the second part of this article below to find out more about the different types of free bets, bonuses and ongoing reload bonuses.
Our best betting sites section lists our top bookmakers based on sign up bonus value and other betting related criteria. It also covers the best sites for sports such as football and racing.
Betting Offers for Existing Customers
All of the top UK bookies are constantly running a number of promotions designed to keep people betting. Here is a selection of our top recommended offers:
|£100||Refund if: (you choose trigger)||Football||View Offer||Review|
|£50||Refund if horse falls||Racing||View Offer||Review|
|£50||Refund if 1st goal scorer scores 2nd||Football||View Offer||Review|
|£50||Refund if game finishes 0-0||Football||View Offer||Review|
|£25||Refund if horse finishes 2nd||Racing||View Offer||Review|
These offers are open to all customers and can be found on each website’s promotion page.
Although the majority of the free bet offers listed are for football and horse racing – these sports are by no means the only ones offering promotions.
Paddy Power for example run their popular Money Back Specials across all sports including snooker, golf, rugby, tennis, basketball etc.
To view all betting promotions for a particular bookie please visit the offer links above where you will be able to view the full promotional listings.
The following section explains in more detail the types of bets mentioned here.
If you enjoy betting on the first goal scorer or correct score then you are in luck. These betting markets are where most of the ongoing football promotions are focussed:
- Refund if your correct score bet loses but the game finishes 0-0
- Refund if your correct score bet loses but the game finishes 1-1
- Refund if your 1st goal scorer bet scores 2nd instead
- Double or triple the odds if your first goal scorer bet goes on to score a 2nd or 3rd
If you don’t like to bet on these markets there are other offers that appear frequently.
Paddy Power often run a promo where they offer to refund losing win bets on top Premier league games if the game finishes as a draw.
They also give you the option to choose your own refund trigger on most live televised games. These will include events such as a player scoring or the game finishing as a draw.
In recent months Bet365 have offered customers a risk free in-play bet up to £50 if a bet of the same value is placed before kick-off.
For those of us that love an accumulator make sure you only ever place them with a bookie that offers ACCA insurance. This will vary from book to book but typically refund your losing accumulator if only 1 result lets you down.
The William Hill Free Bets page explains more about these types of offers and why they are one of our favourite bookies.
Horse Racing Offers
Nobody likes to lose a bet but the blow can at least be softened if your losing stake is refunded. Certain bookies refund losing win stakes (each way bets included) if your horse finishes 2nd.
How about making a good win a fantastic win – take advantage of a free bet on top of your winnings if you back a horse at 4/1 and it wins. Ongoing horse racing offers include:
- Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG): if your horse wins at SP odds greater than what you took you will be paid out at the better odds. If your bookie doesn’t offer BOG – find another because it can make a huge difference!
- Free Bets for Winners: back a winner and get a free or risk-free bet. Minimum odds usually apply e.g. 4/1, 3/1
- Refund if 2nd: refund if your horse finishes 2nd. Usually only available on mobile devices. Available across multiple bookmakers.
- Refund if Falls: available during the jumps season. If your horse falls at a fence get your stake back to have another go.
- Extra place(s): on selected large field races certain bookies will offer more generous place terms. e.g. paying on 4 places instead of 3, or 5 instead of 4, giving those each way bets a greater chance of coming off.
You will find some of these offers running every day of the week on selected UK and Irish races. Top bookies offer BOG across ALL UK and Irish racing.
But the best time to find these offers are on races with live Channel Four coverage.
Personalised Betting Promos for Existing Customers
The offers promoted on betting sites aren’t the only offers available to gamblers. Depending on your betting profile, bookies may send and offer you personalised promotions.
These deals can be offered:
- Directly to your registered email address
- Through an SMS message to your mobile phone
- Over the phone from one of their marketing people
- When you login to your account via an internal messaging system
It therefore pays to provide your correct contact details when signing up. If you opt out of allowing the bookmaker to contact you via these channels – don’t expect any freebies!
It’s not unusual to be phoned up by companies and offered a free token which you can wager next time you login.
Even if you haven’t received any direct communications it is still worth logging in from time to time as certain bookmakers do credit free bets to accounts without any notification.
Before jumping all over every deal that appears in your inbox, you need to understand exactly what it is you are being offered and what the attached terms and conditions mean.
Free Bet Terminology – Terms & Conditions
Before filling out a betting slip and putting your own money on the line – read the terms and conditions that are attached to the offer.
Some of the jargon commonly mentioned includes:
- Wagering Requirements/Rollover: before any winnings generated or the bonus itself can be withdrawn you will need to further wager a set amount.
- Stake Returned (SR): the bet token or bonus amount is returned along with any generated winnings.
- Stake Not Returned (SNR): only the winnings generated are returned. The value of the token awarded is not.
- Deposit Match/Reload Bonus: by depositing you will unlock the advertised freebie to your account.
- Matched Bet: bet with your own money first to unlock an additional free/bonus bet.
- Risk Free Bet: you will need to bet with your own money first and will be refunded if your bet loses (usually in the form of a bet token)
But what exactly separates a good betting offer from one that you should immediately hit the delete button on?
Golden Ticket or Fool’s Gold?
When determining if a promo is of value to you or not, you need to pay particular attention to:
- What you need to do to qualify for the prize on offer
- Are rollover requirements attached
- Are only the winnings returned
An example of acceptable qualifying requirements could include: bet £25 get a free £25 bet, deposit £50 and get a 50% bonus, or place 3 bets and get one free.
Tough (and best avoided) qualifying requirements could include: bet £200 get £5 free, place 20 bets and get 1 free.
Most sportsbook offers will not attach wagering requirements greater than 5 times the amount being awarded, buy you usually only have to wager the token once after which any accrued winnings can be cashed out.
It’s up to you to decide if the requirements are favourable when weighed against what you have to put at risk.
Whether the stake is returned or not can also make a huge difference – especially if betting on a heavy favourite.
So before accepting any free bets or other bonus offers from bookies: work out the true value and only get involved when you are happy to do so.