Types of Betting Bonuses Explained

Betting bonuses have long been offered by online bookmakers to attract new customers to the betting site and also to reward existing customers to continue depositing and placing bets at the particular site. However, with the forever increasing amount of online sportsbooks on the market for customers to choose from, the competition is high in this multi-million-pound industry and therefore the betting bonuses offered by the bookmakers are becoming ever more generous and attractive. But what types of betting bonuses are being offered, how do they work and are there any important details to look out for before depositing and claiming a betting bonus from online betting sites.

Welcome/Sign Up Bonus

All online bookmakers will offer new customers some kind of welcome bonus enticing them to register and deposit at the site. It’s the first offer a new customer will come across when looking for a new bookmaker. 

What the customer needs to understand is that there are different forms of the “welcome bonus” each with its own distinct terms and requirements that the customer must adhere to actually benefit from the bonus. 

Deposit/ Matched Deposit Bonus

The Deposit/ Matched Deposit Bonus is a betting bonus commonly used by online bookmakers as a welcome bonus for new customers. It is a straightforward betting bonus to understand. The new customer will receive a bonus from the bookmaker in bonus funds once they have made their first deposit at the betting site. The bonus offer will generally have a specified percentage of bonus to be awarded. 

For example, the bookmaker will offer 50% in bonus funds on the first deposit up to a fixed amount. The percentage can vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, some even offering a bonus as high as 200%. 

The matched deposit works on the same principle, however, in this case, the bookmaker will match the new customers first deposit up to a specified amount. If a new customer deposits £50 the bookie will reward the customer with £50 in bonus funds. 

Free Bets

Free Bet betting bonuses have become the most popular bonus offered by bookmakers to new customers looking to register at a betting site. Although named ‘Free Bet’, the bonus generally requires the customer to actually deposit a required amount in order to qualify for the free bet. A common free bet offer will look like this: Deposit and bet £10 and get £30 in Free Bets. 

Another example of a Free Bet betting bonus would be a ‘Risk-Free Bet’. This is an offer from the bookie whereby a new customer deposits and places a bet to a required minimum. If the bet loses the bookie refunds the original stake back into the customer’s account. This type of bonus can also be referred to as a ‘Cashback Offer’

Enhanced/Boosted Odds

Enhanced odds offers are given by bookmakers as part of the welcome bonus and also as betting bonuses for existing customers on particular sporting events such as major football matches or high profile boxing matches. The bookmaker simply offers higher odds than the usual odds, any winnings from the enhanced odds are then generally paid out in free bet funds.

Things to know when looking at Betting Bonuses

As mentioned above, all betting bonuses come with strict terms and conditions that need to be met for players to qualify for the bonus and ultimately withdraw any real money winnings. 

Each bonus type and bookmaker will have its own particular requirements and it is with the utmost importance that the punter understands the different T&Cs. If players do not pay attention to fulfilling the requirements, any winnings may be invalid. Below are some important terms to look out for:

  • Wagering/Rollover Requirements – a wagering requirement is placed by the bookmaker on just about every betting bonus, however, the number of rollovers will differ from bookie to bookie. A wagering requirement means that you have to place a specified number of additional bets before the bookmaker allows you to withdraw any winnings of your bonus bet.
  • Minimum Odds  – Any Free bets offered by the bookmaker will not only have a wagering requirement but also any bets placed will have a minimum predetermined value. For example, most sportsbooks will not allow any bet bets to be placed with odds lower than 1.5 (preventing any even money bets). 
  • Time Limits It is very important when looking at the bonus terms and conditions to be aware of any time restrictions the betting site has placed on the betting bonus. There may be a certain time limit (3 days for example) in which the new customer must claim the bonus after registering and depositing at the bookmaker. Once the bonus has been claimed there will also be an expiration date on the bonus, meaning all requirements must be met before a certain date otherwise making the bonus invalid.
  • Minimum Deposit and Maximum Winnings – In order to claim a betting bonus offered by the bookmaker a minimum deposit must be made to qualify. Check the terms and conditions to ensure the minimum amount is deposited. As well as a minimum deposit, bookmakers usually cap the amount of winnings a customer can make from any bonus funds or free bets. Again, it is important to check the T&Cs and be aware of any maximum winnings cap, it would be very disappointing to only be able to withdraw a partial share of your winning as real money.


In summary, it’s clear to see why bookmakers are going out of their way with more generous and attractive bonuses. It is a vast market with an ever-increasing amount of competing betting sites. It is also clear to see that betting bonuses can benefit the punter and real money can be made if all the bonus requirements are met by the customer. Understanding and fulfilling these requirements is paramount to benefiting from any betting bonus.


Author: Aaron Ryan