You’ve probably seen the term “free bet” thrown around a lot online, both in marketing and advertising and also in discussions amongst betting fans and blogs.
The rules around what can be defined as a free bet, and the terms on which such bets can be offered by bookies, are thankfully fairly well regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
Here, we’ll fill you in on various points around free bets, and also recommend some of the best welcome bonus offers (which is what a free bet technically is) that you can take advantage of today.
- What Are Free Bets?
- Free Bets – The regulations and details around UK Betting Deals
- Free Welcome Bonus Deals
- No Deposit Free Bets
- Free Matched Bonuses – Current Offers
A free bet is the concept of giving a gambler a bonus amount to wager on an event. Unsurprisingly, and quite logically, “free bets” come with conditions, which must be clearly stated (more on this below).
For example, a bookie may give you a promotional amount to use as a wager, based on a market that you may have gambled on recently. Let’s use horse racing in this example.
So you might see an offer on the bookies’ site which says “money back as a free bet if your horse comes second to the favourite”. If that’s the case you may well earn a bonus bet, but on certain bookies they will limit your selection to horse racing.
So with all bonus scenarios like this, there are likely to be terms and conditions. With that in mind it’s not 100% a free shot.
Free bets are often used to entice new customers to a bookie, and when you join a site a qualifying bonus is applied to your account should you fulfil certain requirements. Usually, this requirement centres around a minimum deposit of your own cash into your new betting account, and then staking that on a specific event. For example, placing a £10 free bet on a football match when you sign up.
Theoretically there is no such thing as a free bet or a free bet bonus. According to the UK Gambling Commission, you cannot call your offer a free bet when you have to deposit real money.
For most online sportsbooks offering a “free bet”, you will have to deposit cash into your betting account to obtain any welcome bonuses and these are technically not free. For example, a bookie may run an offer of “Bet £10 & Get £30 In Free Bets” – this is the standard format for “free bets”, that you must deposit some of your own money in order to benefit from credit that the bookmaker will then add to your account and which in theory constitutes the “free bet” you can wager.
Fortunately, the UK betting market is well regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, and the conditions around any “free bet” offers must be very clear. According to the UK Gambling Commission, betting sites must be:
- Clear up-front about any significant conditions that apply to any offers.
- Make it clear whether you are playing with your own money or the bonus (eg: free bet) added by the site.
- Let you take out your unspent cash whenever you want.
- Let you take out your winnings, if you’re gambling with your own money, at any time.
- Be clear about restrictions on using bonuses (such as a “free bet”).
To reiterate, free bets don’t exist for new players, you have to deposit cash into your betting account and for that reason the bets cannot be classified as “free”.
There may be times when a bookie gives out a free bonus, but these will be based on active players depositing regularly. Welcome offers are different, because you have to make a first payment into order to qualify. It’s advisable to compare the betting offers across the leading UK sites to understand who is offering the best deal.
The no-deposit free bet is the closest thing you’ll get to a true “free bet”. However, these are extremely rare in sportsbook offers and are usually subject to very high wagering requirements.
Here is a selection of free matched bonuses when you sign up to any of the following sites. These welcome deals are for new players who have not played at these betting sites before.
All offers are subject to the terms and conditions of the bookmaker in question, and may require a cash deposit in order to qualify for your bonus.