For the past decade, as online gambling has flourished, the bookmaker has been desperately trying to outdo their competitors and link you to their site. Gone are the days of Ladbrookes, William Hill and even domination of Coral’s high streets, replaced by a quick and easy way to bet.
These three big names have joined over a hundred other sites on the internet that allow you to gamble from home at your fingertips. A lot of work has gone into domains, from the front-end IT guys who make the site cool and engaging, through customer service back-up and online support, to the lawyers who make sure the T&C are firm on a standard that they cannot be caught.
This is all great, but how do you get to the site in the first place? Well, they do it by offering you a free bet, at least that’s how it’s advertised. However, it’s not as simple as opening an account and the bookmaker, whoever that is, deposits £50 into his account and says ‘here, go and place a bet’.
What they are looking for is compromise, in the hope that in the long run they can generate income from their losses. For this, there are conditions to get your free bet, the different types are listed below.
1. Match bonuses. If you put for example £30 into your betting account, the bookmaker will match this and also put £30 into your account
2. Match bet with added value. If you deposit £30 into your account, the bookmaker will match this amount plus an extra, eg a 150% match would mean you would be credited £45.
3. Refund for lost bets. If you open an account and deposit and bet €30, the bookmaker will refund you if you lose.
The situation is further complicated by what is known as flipping the bet. For example, the terms and conditions may state that even if your bet wins and they match your deposit and that bet also wins, you may still need to keep betting with that money until you can withdraw your winnings (if any by then).
In addition, there are often small hidden conditions, such as placing the first bet on the same day the account is opened to receive the bonus. Since there is only one chance to take advantage of any free bet offer, getting it right the first time is essential. The offers are almost always for new members and you cannot join again using the same home address, IP address or bank card.
In conclusion, the free bets offered by online bookmakers are well worth it, and with so many around you it can be extremely profitable to take advantage of them all. However, don’t be too quick to join the bookmakers left, right and center. Take the time to read their extensive terms or conditions, or better yet, find a site that summarizes all the offers and how best to take advantage of each one.