Free bets are offered by bookmakers to try and attract new customers and can be a great way to try out a new online bookmaker without risking too much of your own cash, or – very occasionally – any at all. As you can see in the list below, all the bookies we work with, including the big high street brands that are household names, offer free bets and we’ve got the full lowdown on what they are, how they work and things to watch out for.
Step By Step Guide to Claiming
1. Choose an Offer From the List
The betting promotions found on this site have been hand selected from trusted online bookies, meaning that you can choose any of them without needing to worry about whether or not the site is safe. All sites are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission which means they’re legally allowed to offer real money betting in the UK.
We’ve also done some of the leg work for you by eliminating the poorer offers, meaning that the offers in the above list represent the best free bets that can currently be found on the web.
Also included in our list are the key terms of the offer, so you’ll know exactly what’s involved before visiting the bookies site.
2. Sign Up For an Account
Once you’ve picked your offer you’ll need to sign up for a new account – most offers are limited to new customers so if you already hold an account you probably can’t claim. Make sure you visit the correct promotional page for the offer as well as sometimes offers are only available when you sign up through the offer. To make things easier we’ve linked to the relevant page in each of our offers.
There are a few other exclusions to be aware of. Sometimes offers can only be claimed once per household, so if your husband/wife/flat mate already has an account you might not be able to claim the offer as well although this seems to have become less of an issue in recent years (since the ASA started cracking down on missleading promises and offers).
3. Make a Deposit
With your new account in hand you’ll need to add some money to your account as almost all offers require a deposit to get your bonus. Very rarely will you find a no deposit free bet, although they do crop up from time to time, normally around major events such as the World Cup or Grand National.
How you deposit does make a difference as well. If you plan on using a debit card then you should have no issues claiming (note: credit cards cannot be used for online gambling any more) but some sites restrict the use of ewallets such as neteller or skrill when it comes to claiming betting sign up offers. Often you’ll find that it’s fine to use paypal when claiming the offer but always check the terms to make sure.
Normally there will be a minimum required to claim. So if you need to deposit £10 and you deposit £5, you won’t receive the promotion. Some sites also have misaligned offers and limits as well so you could find that you only need to deposit £5 to receive the welcome offer but that the minimum deposit is £10.
4. Place a Qualifying Bet
Now that you have a funded account you can set about making your qualifying bet. It’s important to note that with some sites the free bet isn’t issued until your qualifying bet has settled, so if you put it on Liverpool to win the Premier League at the start of the season you’re going to be in for a long wait. We would suggest placing it on an event that doesn’t take place too far into the future. These sign up bonuses tend to have time limits on them as well and need to be triggered in the first 7 or 30 days, so don’t procrastinate too much after signing up.
Most qualifying bets have minimum odds – such as 1/2 or evens – and some specify what you can and can’t bet on. It’s important to pay attention to these rules otherwise you might not receive your bonus. Normally the restrictions aren’t too trialing and tend to limit you to the more common sports and markets, although you do occasionally find offers that require your first bet to be an acca.
We would also suggest not placing your bet on a market that has a higher chance of being made void as this can cause complications with some bookmakers. For example, the first goalscorer market isn’t advisable as the bet will be voided if the player doesn’t start. Similarly with horse racing we would recommend placing the bet relatively close to the start time to reduce the risk of your horse being a non runner.
5. Receive Your Free Bet
The final step in the process is to receive your free bet. As we mentioned in Step 4 some bookmakers make you wait until your qualifying bet has settled whilst others credit it immediately (or after a short predefined period such as 24 hours).
Once you have your free bet make sure to use it before it expires. Just like the claiming window at the start, most bookies will put a clock of between 7 and 30 days on the free bet token and if you don’t use it in that time you’ll lose it.
Sometimes the free bets are restriction free but in some cases you may find similar restrictions to the qualifying bet that require you to bet on a specific sport or that excludes some markets.
For the really generous offers – such as bet £5 get £30 in free bets – you may even find that the free bet is broken down into several parts each of which needs to be used differently. A good example of this would be three £10 bets where one needs to be a single, one needs to be an acca and one much be used in play.
Whilst this seems a little controlling the bookmaker is simply trying to showcase their products (you are, after all, new to their site) and something that we don’t have too much of an issue with when the bonus is generous enough to justify it.
What Are Free Bets?
As said, free bets are enticements to attract new customers in what is an evermore competitive sector. If you watch pretty much any sporting event on TV you’ll see either some form of sponsorship from a betting company or else the adverts will be for one or other of the big brands. Free bets are just like this – part of the marketing budget to attract new players and get the name of the bookmaker more widely known.
On average they cost the bookmaker money, make no mistake about that. But on the other hand, that means that you the player can benefit from free bets and do so with no real effort. Most bookies offer a free bet as a welcome bonus to a new customer when they join. If you’ve already got an account, and often even if someone in your household has, you won’t be eligible but otherwise you’re free – and we fully advise you to do this – to take advantage of all the free bets the bookies offer.
Depending on the exact nature of the free bet they can either double your odds or act as a “buy one get one free” type deal, giving you more chances to win. Why not open a new bookmaker account with all the best online bookies out there and take advantage of the free bets whilst also trying out the bookies and deciding which you like best?
To claim a free bet just open a new account by clicking on any of the links here and within five minutes you can be betting on whichever game of football – or other event – you like. It’s that easy! Note that with most you’ll usually need to make some sort of bet or deposit first in order to qualify for the free bet but we’ll explain more about that in the next section.
Different Types of Promotion
A matched free bet usually offers a 100% match of your first bet at a bookie. These are usually up to a maximum amount of £25 or £50 although it varies from site to site. Some sites even offer a 200% or even a whopping 400% free bet, so, for example, if you place a £5 qualifying bet you might get a free bet of £20!
No Lose Free Bet
With a no lose free bet the free bet is only credited if your first bet loses with a given bookmaker, so these are not quite as good. It still gives you the chance to have a bet though, safe in the knowledge that if you don’t win you’ll get a free bet and have a good chance of making an overall profit.
With a deposit bonus the bookie will usually match the value of your first deposit up to a given amount. Terms vary between different online betting sites so whilst a 100% deposit bonus is fairly standard, some offer 50% whilst others offer 200% or more. Most deposit bonuses are subject to a rollover, or wagering requirement, of which more below.
No Deposit Free Bet
These are increasingly rare but they do crop up from time to time and this really is a no lose, free bet. If ever there was such a thing as a free lunch, this is it! Just sign up and the bookie will give you a totally free bet. You can’t just withdraw the money but as you don’t need to make a deposit (though you may need to provide debit/credit card details for ID) you literally have nothing to lose so any no deposit free bets should be snapped up!
Common Terms and Conditions
Different free bets will have different terms and conditions and we suggest you check these with the site you are signing up with. That said, these terms aren’t to trick you and all of the sites we work with have rules that are fair and relatively simple to comprehend. Here we list some of the main things to look out for so you don’t lose out on your free bet.
- Minimum Odds – Many bookies will have minimum odds on either the qualifying bet, the free bet or occasionally both. If you bet on something below the minimum odds you may forfeit the chance to earn a free bet.
- Stake Returned or Not Returned – Most free bets are stake not returned. This means that a £25 free bet at odds of 2/1 returns £50 profit but you don’t get a total of £75 as the free bet is stake not returned. Very few free bets today are stake returned and if they are they tend to carry wagering requirements.
- Wagering Requirements – Sometimes, especially with a no deposit bonus or a stake returned free bet, the online bookie will require you complete a certain amount of wagering with them before you can make a withdrawal of any winnings. This may entail, for example, betting a total of three times the free bet amount, or three times the deposit plus bonus.
- Time Limits – Most free bets have time limits of some sort, with restrictions on how long you wait from registering to claiming the free bet, how long the free bet is valid for and how long you have to complete any wagering requirements all being common.
- Restricted Markets – Some bookies do not allow free bets, qualifying bets or rollover bets to be made on certain markets, with in-play bets often restricted – check the relevant terms for details.