Sportsbook bonuses are basically free money for players and should be taken advantage of, but it’s important to understand the different aspects of the bonus so you know exactly what it is you are getting and what you are required to do to keep your bonus.  Not all bonuses are created equally.  This page will break down the main differences between sportsbook bonuses and explain what you must do to get the bonus, as well as keep it.

The Sports Betting CanadianI’m writing this as a general information page based primarily on the three betting sites I recommend.

I strongly advise you to read the terms and conditions for every bonus offer you take advantage of so that you know exactly what you are getting into.  Every bonus has its own unique requirements.

Bonus vs Free Bet

This is the main difference I’ve noticed between sportsbooks in terms of what kind of bonus they offer.

Some sportsbooks will offer a straight up cash bonus that is added directly to your account and can be used for betting, while others will offer free bet bonuses where you must select that you wish to use your free bet dollars when placing a wager.

With free bet wagers only the winnings are added to your account, while with the more traditional bonuses both the winnings and wager are added to your account.

For example:

At Bet365 you receive a bonus up to $200 equal to the amount you deposit.  This is given to you as a cash bonus once you have played through your deposit amount once.  So if you deposit $200, after you rollover that amount once you will receive an additional $200 added to your account.  This money is now in your account for good and you can place normal bets with these funds.

Bodog offers a free bet bonus equal to your first deposit up to $100.  The free bets are instantly added to your account and available for use.  When placing a bet there will be a box that you must check in order to use part of your free bet funds.  You will notice that the payout for the bet is reduced by the free bet amount because you will only get the winnings of these bets added to your regular Bodog cashier.

Therefore another way to look at free bets is that they are worth half of what a regular bonus is worth because you only receive the winnings from using the free bets and on average you will win half of your bets.

Rollover Requirements

Every sports betting bonus will have rollover requirements that must be met.  This is to prevent players from withdrawing their bonus dollars right away without using the site.

You will generally have to rollover your bonus amount a set amount of times before it is considered yours and available for withdrawal.  A rollover means betting the amount of the deposit through once.

For example at Bet365 you must rollover your deposit amount once in order to receive your bonus.  If you took full advantage of the bonus and deposited $200, then you must make $200 worth of bets before receiving your bonus.  After receiving the bonus another rollover requirement equal to 3 times the deposit + bonus is required.  This means that you will have to place $1200 more in bets to clear the bonus.

The Sports Betting CanadianThe rollover requirements may sound daunting, but you would be surprised how quickly you clear your bonus if you’re betting regularly.  A $10 bettor placing 5 bets a day would clear the Bet365 bonus in less than a month.  Don’t worry about clearing the bonus, it will happen naturally.

Quick Video Explaining Rollover Requirements


Some sportsbook bonus offers do have expiry dates.  This means that the bonus amount will be forfeit if the rollover requirements associated with it are not completed in the set amount of time.

The Sports Betting CanadianThe only time you should worry about clearing a bonus is when there is a short expiration window.  Try to bet normally, but keep the expiration date in the back of your mind.

Minimum Deposits

Some betting sites will require a minimum deposit that is higher than the regular minimum deposit in order to trigger the bonus offer.  At the 3 sportsbooks I recommend to Canadians the minimum deposit for the sign up bonus is $20, which is generally the minimum deposit accepted anyways (depending on the deposit method).  That said if you branch out to other betting sites they may require a larger deposit.

Offer Codes and Opt-Ins

You will sometimes have to “opt-in” to receive the bonus offer.  If you expected a bonus and have not seen one added to your account it is never a bad idea to contact customer support to find out if anything has gone wrong.

Bet365 sends offer codes via email to players for every bonus that they could receive.  You must then enter the offer code in the Members Area of your Bet365 account to “opt-in” to the offer and receive the bonus.