Everything Beginners Should Know About 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 legalized online sports betting industry is hotting up across the US. But can you trust the enticing offers? Learn more about the sports betting bonuses that are available. 

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

Online betting bonuses are 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 promote their online betting bonuses transparently, others may bury some details in the terms and conditions.

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

Why Sportsbook Bonuses Exist 

It’s important to understand the background of the sports betting industry. In 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was struck down. Previously, this federal law prevented states from invoking their Tenth Amendment rights which banned sports betting in all US states except Nevada. 

This was a huge turning point for the industry and the start of the gold rush for the different sportsbooks. Since everything is localized, different states have different rules regarding sports betting, but this opened the door for sportsbooks to offer lucrative bonuses and sign-up offers to grow their platforms. 

There is a range of bonuses and promotions. These act as a catalyst to get players used to the platforms while offering financial incentives to boost bankroll. 

For example, If you win $100 off your first bet, you’ll probably be pretty satisfied with that result. However, if you win $100 off your first two bets - one from the initial bonus and the other from your winnings - you’re likely to be more interested in keeping your winnings and depositing more money to win again. This helps sportsbook operators to make more money.

Which Sportsbook Bonuses are the Best Offers? 

If you’re unfamiliar with the different sportsbooks, bonuses and sign-up offers are a great place to start when deciding where. However, it can be challenging to cut through the fluff and find the best offers through the length of terms and conditions and technical jargon. 

That’s where we come in. We pride ourselves on putting players first to help level the playing field between operators and players. Our objective reviews are stripped of bias and are written by experienced bettors who can sniff out a good offer when they see one. 

Choosing a sportsbook requires a lot of different factors to be considered, including Availability, Events and Markets, Odds and Juice, Usability, and Withdrawal Speed. But perhaps the most important is the bonuses themselves! 

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What are the Most Common Sportsbook Bonuses? 

There are several types of bonuses available to players. Getting familiar with each of these is a great way to overcome any decisions you must make. 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

Free Bets

Free bets are among the most popular types of online sports betting bonuses. Many sites will dish out one or multiple free bets into new customers' accounts upon sign-up. 

These free bet bonuses are considered a “thank you” for making a good impression experience (and converting 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 often have minimum odds attached to prevent bettors from abusing the promotions and wagering on easy pre-game or in-play wins.

Here are our top-five sportsbooks offering a risk-free bet sign-up bonus:

Matched Deposit Bonus 

A matched deposit bonus is triggered when you make your first 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 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.

No Deposit

A no-deposit bonus is undoubtedly one of the best value bonuses. Typically, a new account will be credited a set amount of money into their account following the sign-up process. This can then be used on most events unless specified otherwise. 

The value of these bonuses is much lower than other offers, mainly because it requires no work on the bettors' behalf beforehand, whereas others may require an initial deposit. 

Reading the terms and conditions will also highlight that you’re unlikely to be allowed to withdraw that initial stake in the event of a win. 

Risk-Free Bets

Risk-free bets are among 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 limit 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. Direct refunds are the best pick, as there is no guarantee of winning your stake back using the additional free bets.

Here are our top-four sportsbooks offering a risk-free bet sign-up bonus:

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 vastly 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 winning instead.

Odds boost promotions tend to have maximum wagers, typically ranging from as low as $1 to $10. This enables 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 fill 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 a 50% deposit match. For example, if you deposited $100 of your own money, you could get between $50 and $100 in additional free bets to play with.

Free Apparel 

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 know 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 doesn't give you some free bucks to spend, it's an excellent way to show 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!

Additional Benefits

while financial incentives are the cream of the crop for sports bettors. Sportsbooks are finding inventive ways to offer other perks. 

These are less common as it depends on the partnerships the operators have. We’ve seen the following benefits provided: TV subscription services, discounted prices on hotels, all-expense restaurant experiences, tickets to events, and so much more. 

Caesars has this nailed down in the form of their Reward Credits. By not limiting themselves to just sports betting, they can offer so much more to their customers. 


Sportsbook Bonus

Promo Code

Bonus Rating



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Wagering Requirements and Terms & Conditions

Sportsbooks will have playthrough requirements to prevent users from running off with the money. We will look at standard playthrough requirements to claim sportsbooks bonuses, but reviewing each platform for further details is best. 

  • Limited options (Prevented from betting on parlays etc.) 
  • Minimum and maximum odds 
  • Minimum deposit 
  • Time limits
  • Geographical location 

As mentioned, it’s best to review these to ensure you won’t be missing out on the bonus before it expires. 

There's an apparent reason why sportsbooks apply wagering requirements to free bets. In theory, bettors could withdraw the bonus funds as free money, 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 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. 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.

How to Keep Track of the Latest Bonuses 

No player likes missing out on a great promo, so we’ve done the heavy lifting and identified the best options for you. Readers can find our complete list of sportsbook bonuses on our dedicated page. 

Here, players can filter by type of offers, and we’ll show only those relevant to your geographical location. Sportsbooks often run new promotions, so bookmark and return to the page for the latest sportsbook bonuses.

It’s also worth noting that you should never limit yourself to just one offer. While you may be familiar with one sportsbook, you could be doing yourself out of increasing your bankroll. Be sure to use our promo codes if you are looking at setting up new accounts. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Sign-Up Bonus? 

A sign-up bonus is a one-time offer redeemable upon signing up for a sportsbook. These are effective means of attracting new customers, but there are benefits for sports bettors in these. 

How do Bonuses Work? 

A bonus is a financial incentive that provides value to new customers while encouraging them to use their platforms. 

How Long Does it Take to Redeem a Bonus?

The bonuses should be available to use upon completing the signup process and requirements. Double-check the requirements or contact support for further assistance if this isn't redeemable. 

Are Sportsbook Bonuses Safe? 

Absolutely. While offering free money can be too good to be true, sportsbooks provide significant incentives to entice customers. Do be careful to check the offer. Using our reviews is a reliable way to check legitimacy.

How do you Turn Sportsbook Bonuses into Cash?

You’ll need to win your wager to withdraw the bonus. It is doubtful that sportsbooks will allow you to remove these without completing the playthrough requirements. 

Do Sportsbook Bonuses Expire?

Most bonuses will have time restrictions placed on them. Usually, you’ll have between 7-14 days to redeem this before the offer is withdrawn. 

Do you Need a Promo Code to Redeem the Sportsbook Bonuses? 

Most promotions will require a unique promo code. These can differ depending on the sportsbook; we’ll always include the relevant code next to any available offer.