One way successful online sportsbooks attract new players and keep regular bettors coming back is by offering bonuses. They can be divided into three categories: initial bonuses to bring in new players, recurring bonuses to retain them, and special bonuses to keep things interesting.
Sportsbooks offer a few different one-time bonuses to encourage players to open an account with the bookmaker. These are intended to introduce players to sports betting with less personal risk and provide an incentive to set up an account. Terms and conditions vary from sportsbook to sportsbook.
Welcome Bonus (Percentage)
With a welcome bonus, bookmakers offer bettors a percentage of their initial deposit. For example, if a sportsbook offers a 50% welcome bonus, players will receive $50 for every $100 they deposit.
To prevent player fraud, these welcome bonuses come with terms and conditions. Almost always, one of the terms is a rollover - an amount of money that players must wager before they can withdraw the money from their welcome bonus. For example, a 50% deposit bonus with 5x rollover means that if a player deposits $100, they have $150 to bet with, but can’t withdraw the money until they have wagered $750 ((100+50)x5).
The table below provides some examples of how much players would have to wager in order to withdraw their welcome bonus, assuming an initial deposit of $100.
|3x rollover||4x rollover||5x rollover||10x rollover|
Welcome Bonus (Cash)
Some welcome bonuses come in the form of a fixed amount of cash when players make their first deposit, instead of a percentage of the player’s deposit.
With a no-deposit bonus, sportsbooks offer players an amount of money to bet with as a reward for signing up. These usually come with stricter terms and conditions than bonuses that require deposits. For example, players might be required to use their bonus to place a bet the same day they open the account.
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With a free bet, sportsbooks offer new punters an amount of money to place a bet with. If the player wins, they keep the winnings, and if they lose, they effectively lose nothing.
With a matched bet bonus, bookmakers double the player’s bet by matching their stake. For example, if a player places a $20 bet, the bookmaker adds another $20 on their behalf, making the total wager $40.
With a no-lose bet, the punter’s stake is returned to them in the event of a loss.
In addition to bonuses that encourage players to start betting on sports, bookmakers offer bonuses that reward players’ loyalty.
With a reload bonus, players receive an additional percentage of their deposit. For example, a player who makes a deposit of $100 with a 5% reload bonus will find $105 in their account.
Some sportsbooks reward regular players with loyalty programs. Often, players accumulate points based on the amount they wager, the amount they lose, or how frequently they bet. Players can earn prizes, cashback, enhanced odds, and free bets.
High Roller Bonus
Just like how brick-and-mortar casinos offer high rollers VIP treatment, some sportsbooks provide high rollers with a bonus for making a large deposit. For example, a sportsbook might offer a 50% bonus on deposits of $1000 or more, turning a $2000 deposit into $3000.
Cashback/Percentage Loss Bonus
When a punter hits a cold streak, their sportsbook might offer a cashback/percentage loss bonus to keep them from getting discouraged. These bonuses return a percentage of the initial stake to the punter in the case of a loss.
Sometimes bookmakers offer bonuses related to special events.
Special Promotional Bonuses
Bookmakers might offer a special deposit bonus related to a large event, like the Grand National or the World Cub. If a bettor makes a deposit into their account during the promotion, they are given a certain amount to bet on the World Cup.
Bookmakers sometimes offer free bets, no-lose bets, or enhanced odds (also knowns as reduced juice) on specific events. For example, if the odds for a match would typically be -110, the sportsbook might offer -105 instead.