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.
I’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.
At Bodog you receive a bonus up to $200 equal to the amount you deposit. This is given to you as a cash bonus instantly when you make your first deposit. This money is now in your account for good and you can place normal bets with these funds.
Bet365 offers a free bet bonus equal to 100% of your first deposit up to $200. The free bets (called bet credits) are added to your account 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 in bet credits added to your account. When placing a bet there will be a box that you must check in order to use your bet credits. You will notice that the payout for the bet is reduced by the bet credit amount because you will only get the winnings of these bets added to your regular Bet365 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.
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 Bodog you must rollover your deposit + bonus amount 5 times before you are able to withdraw funds won from the bonus. This means if you claimed the full $200 bonus then you would have to bet through $2000 to clear the bonus.
Other sportsbooks have different rollover requirements. For example at Bet365 you must rollover your deposit amount before you receive your bonus. If you took full advantage of the bonus and deposited $200, then you must make $200 worth of bets in order to receive your bet credits. Once you receive your free bets at Bet365 the rollover requirements are complete and you will be able to withdraw any winnings resulting from bet credit wagers. This is a very player friendly bonus rollover requirement.
The rollover requirements may sound daunting, but you would be surprised how quickly you clear your bonus if you’re betting regularly. 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.
- Bet365 – 30 days to claim and then 90 day expiration.
- Bodog – no expiration.
- Sports Interaction – no expiration.
The 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.
Some betting sites will require a minimum deposit that is higher than the regular minimum deposit in order to trigger the bonus offer. Our 3 top rated sportsbooks for Canadians allow you to claim their sign up bonuses with the regular minimums on each deposit method. That said if you branch out to other betting sites they may require a larger deposit.
For example, BetOnline.ag requires a $55 minimum deposit for their 50% up to $1000 first deposit bonus.
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.