There are thousands of pounds worth of free bets advertised, best free bets tells you how to claim them.

What is a Free Bet?

In their efforts to attract online gamblers to register on their betting sites, online bookmakers promote introductory free bet offers and in some instances as rewards for customer loyalty, special promotions or consolation cash back/money back/refund offers on high profile sports events.

In most cases the free bet is a sum of money credited to the customer’s account which must be bet by the customer, when free bet stakes are bet on winning selections, the customers account is credited with the winnings from the free bet, note the free bet stake is not added back to the account.

In some instances, the bookmakers offer may involve a full cash rebate which can be withdrawn once it has been credited to the account. These offers are rare and often involve a series of bets to have been placed before any cash is credited to the account.

How to get Free Bets

The qualifying terms for free bets will vary depending on the bookmaker and the type of free bet on offer.

Typically you will find online bookmakers with conditions relating to the amount of your first deposit, the timing of your first deposit, the amount of your first bet, the timing of your first bet, the number of bets to be placed, the sports on which you place your qualifying bets, the odds of your qualifying bets, the amount you must bet before receiving your first bet.

It may appear confusing at first, but bookmakers don’t apply all of the conditions, but one or more will be required depending on the type of free bet offered.

What types of Free Bet are available?

Free Match Bet
The most popular introductory offer from UK and European based online bookmakers and the free bet conditions tend to be straight forward and easy to understand.

Normally, the free bet is awarded once the customer’s first bet has been placed and settled, you will be asked for a minimum bet stake (normally £5 or £10) and the bookmaker will credit your account with free bet to worth the same amount up to a maximum of the free bet offer eg £25.

Occasionally, you may find a free match bet where the bookmaker will add the free bet amount to your first bet stake, effectively doubling your first bet.

Typical conditions for free match bets will be a minimum bet stake, a maximum free bet award and minimum odds on which the first bet must be placed, these can vary between 1/5 (1.2) to Evs (2.0).

Multiple Free Bets
Bet £20 get £40, bet £30 get 3 x £10 and similar free bet offers involve receiving more than one free bet and often over a period of time. They work in the same way as standard free match bets but require you to return to the bookmaker's site.

Some of the bigger free bet offers, £100+, will involve crediting a number of free bets which are earned as the customer places repeat bets. Your first bet will be matched with part of the advertised free bet amount and the remainder added after more bets are placed.

You need to take care to understand the conditions of these free bet offers, but they can provide excellent value if you intend remaining with the bookmaker for some time.

Cash Back
Real cash added to your account, it can be withdrawn once the qualifying conditions have been met. Although you may not be required to bet with your cash award, you will be required to bet your deposit amount a number of times (this condition is commonly called the rollover requirement). It should be noted, you are not expected to lose your deposit to receive the free bet award, you can re-invest winnings and it is your bet stakes that are counted.

Deposit Bonus
Rather than award a free bet for placing your first bet, some online bookmakers will give you a free bet on making your first deposit. The free bet amount you receive will depend on depositing a minimum amount and may vary depending on the deposit amount.

You will be expected to bet the value of your deposit, often there will be a greater rollover requirement, before being allowed to use your free bet award.

Risk Free Bet
Another very straight forward offer, place your first bet and if it loses you will receive a free bet to the same value, subject to minimum bet stake and maximum free bet award.

How to use your Free Bet

It is rare for online bookmakers to restrict the events on which you can place your free bets, but always check the terms and conditions, you’ll not be able to use your free bets in Tote pools and some US facing bookmakers won’t allow free bets to be placed on some moneylines.

In some instances, the event you place your free bets must have more than two outcomes and you will not be allowed to place a bet on another selection in the same event, whether betting with real money or a second free bet.

More commonly, online bookmakers will require you to place your free bets on selections with odds equal to or greater than an amount they specify, eg odds of 1/2 (1.5) or bigger. The amount will vary depending on the bookmaker and typically range between 1/5 (1.2) and Evs (2.0).

Find out more information in best free bets’ Betting Guide

How to choose a Bookmaker

How to open an online betting account

Bet types explained

Betting terminology (A-Z)

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