A Complete Guide to Online Sportsbook Bonuses

The legalized online sports betting industry is hotting up across the US. Learn more about the sports betting bonuses that are being offered.

The online sports betting industry is one of the fastest-growing digital sectors in the US. The competition between leading online sportsbooks is getting fierce, with multiple operators lining up to compete for your custom. Unsurprisingly, one of the most effective ways a sportsbook can attract new customers is through online betting bonuses.

Online betting bonuses are usually offered to users who sign up for a new betting account or deposit some of their own money into their new account. Although most leading sportsbooks will promote their online betting bonuses transparently, others may bury some of the details in the terms and conditions.

We've got your back, and that's why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you choose the online betting bonuses and rewards that give you the best bang for your buck.

The most common bonuses with online sportsbooks revealed

If you're tempted to make the most of the latest online betting bonuses available with reputable, licensed sportsbooks in your state, we’ve put together a guide to six of the most popular types of bonuses for new customers. We’ll explain the pros and cons of each so that you're in a better position to claim a bonus with your eyes wide open.

Matched deposit bonus

A matched deposit bonus is triggered when you make your first real-money deposit. Some online sportsbooks will promote 100% deposit match bonuses, which effectively commit to matching your initial real-money deposit cent for cent. Of course, there are terms and conditions to be aware of, including minimum and maximum deposits to be eligible for the bonus funds.

Still, if you plan to deposit money into your online sports betting account, it makes sense to do so with a sportsbook that will basically double your betting bankroll. Most matched deposit bonuses will have wagering requirements attached, requiring you to roll over your bonus funds a set number of times before they can be withdrawn as real money.

Free bets

One of the most popular types of online sports betting bonuses is free bets. Many sites will dish out one or multiple free bets into the accounts of new customers upon sign-up. These free bet bonuses are considered a “thank you” to make a good impression experience (and convert players into long-term customers...).

It's important to remember that most free bet bonuses awarded on sign-up will be “stake not returned” (SNR) wagers. This means that, in the event your free bet wins, you won’t receive the initial free bet stake back on top of your winnings. For example, a $10 SNR wager on odds of +100 would return $10 if it won as the free bet wouldn’t be included in the winnings. Free bets bonuses will often have minimum odds attached to prevent bettors from abusing the promotions and wagering on easy wins pre-game or in-play.

Risk-free bets

Risk-free bets are one of the other popular ways to get you through the door with betting bonuses. This requires new customers to make a real-money deposit and place a wager on any sporting event between the promotion’s minimum and maximum bet size. Most risk-free bets also set a limit on how short the odds can be e.g. -300 or higher.

If the bet is a losing one, you'll either get an immediate refund of your initial stake or free bets to the value of your initial stake. The immediate refunds are obviously the best pick, as there is no guarantee of winning your stake back using the additional free bets.

Boosted odds

Odds boosts can be seen in pretty much any major competition, as they are used to ramp up the number of new sign-ups before a major sporting event. New customers can sign up with a sportsbook and bet on the outcome of a high-profile event at greatly inflated odds – much higher odds than existing customers will be given.

For example, the Kansas City Chiefs may be priced at -120 to win the next Super Bowl. However, an odds boost promotion enables new customers to get odds of +800 on the Chiefs to win instead.

Odds boost promotions will tend to have maximum wagers attached – these typically range from as low as $1 to $10. This is to enable sportsbooks to limit their overall exposure to these high-profile events.

Reload bonuses

Reload bonuses are often reserved for loyal customers that have been regularly using an online sportsbook for months, if not years. When the stars align, an online sportsbook might email loyal customers and promote a reload bonus offer. These usually work under the same conditions as a matched deposit bonus.

Sportsbooks will invite regular customers to reload their accounts with another real-money deposit. In return, they'll get a deposit match bonus. This may be a 100% deposit match, but it could also be anything down to a 50% deposit match. For example, if you deposited $100 of your own money, you could get anything between $50 and $100 in additional free bets to play with.

Free apparel and memorabilia

Sometimes leading online sportsbooks will attempt to do something a little more personal by rewarding players with something their partners will love having in their house... These operators will be fully aware that most of their customers live and bleed sports. That’s why sites will run promotions for their most valued bettors to claim or win free swag. It could be signed jerseys of your favorite team or franchise or even free tickets to go and watch a live game.

Although this kind of promotion isn't giving you some free bucks to spend, it's a nice way of showing that your sportsbook values your business. If you won a signed piece of memorabilia, you could always auction it off and make money online that way!

Wagering requirements and the bonus small print

As we've mentioned a few time times already, it’s important to study the fine print of wagering requirements and online betting bonuses with the eyes of a hawk.

There's a clear reason why sportsbooks apply wagering requirements to free bets. In theory, bettors could just withdraw the bonus funds as free money, which would be like operators throwing money down the drain. While this would be great for us, they're a business and need a way of bringing in new players and revenue. Using wagering requirements, sportsbooks can encourage their customers to use their services more often.

Let’s say you found a 100% deposit match bonus of $100, with wagering requirements of 20x attached. This means you would need to roll over that $100 bonus 20 times before it can be withdrawn as real money. Luckily, you don’t need to wager all $2,000 at once. You will usually have a time limit to roll the bonus over, which may be a month or more. The terms and conditions of your online betting bonus will explain how long you have to clear the wagering requirements.

Opting into promotions or utilizing bonus codes

The next step is simple: once you've chosen the right online betting bonus for you, you’ll need to check whether you need to physically activate your bonus. Some sites will automate your bonus upon your completion of the registration process. Others will need you to copy and paste the code into the “Promotion” or “Bonus” field in the sign-up form. In the second case, if you forget to enter the bonus code when asked, you'll be unable to access the free bets or bonuses. This isn't helpful, so it's always important to find out how you actually apply the bonus.

When you click through to any of the available online sports betting bonuses listed on this page, the bonus code will normally be entered automatically into the correct field on your sign-up form.

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How to keep track of the latest online sportsbook bonuses

If you want to make sure you’re hot on the heels of any new online sports betting bonuses from your favored sportsbooks, there are a few things you can do to avoid the fear of missing out:

Take a look through our bonus list page: Our bonus page lists all the existing promotions and offers available on bookmakers. You’ll want to use this as your hub of information going forwards as it has everything you need to know. 

Keep an eye on the latest odds at our betting odds comparison table, our focus in on putting the players first, highlighting where the best value lies. 

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