Betting Sites Bonuses Explained

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Those of us who like a bet, are constantly searching for a good bonus offering from a Casino or Sports betting site. The companies who run these sites know that and that’s why they always lead with these bonuses in their marketing.

These bonuses may be in the form of a first-deposit (or Welcome) bonus, free spins on slots or Free Bets for Sports sites. Odds boosts has become a popular ongoing promotion on Sports sites.

The online betting market is pretty much saturated and in most cases, if you have seen one betting site, you have seen them all. Take that from someone who has, almost, seen them all.

Most of them, especially Casino sites, use the same software and offer the same games. So one of the ways that these sites can attract new customers is by how they differentiate themselves with their promotions and incentives.

In this article, I will look at Casino Welcome Bonuses and Free Bets for Sports sites. I will cover:

1. Disclaimer

2. Welcome Bonuses

3. Bonus Terms & Conditions

4. Bonus Wagering Requirements

5. Bonus Weightings

6. Bonus Withdrawal or Win Limits

7. Casino Welcome Bonus Changes

8. Bonuses Summary


Before I get started I want to make a couple of things clear.

I’m not giving tips on how to scam betting sites or in anyway take advantage of them. Apart from being dishonest, it would ultimately be a waste of time. Rest assured, every type of scam has been tried before on Casinos and they are all experienced enough to spot them.

I’m also not suggesting in this article that betting sites are trying to scam customers with these bonuses. Just pointing out the Terms & Conditions that, I’m sure, the companies themselves would want you to read and understand.

When used correctly, these bonuses and promotions are a good way to get more entertainment for your money and increase (even if only slightly) your chances of winning money.

And they are good for the Casinos too, as they help bring in new customers and keep existing customers – without simply throwing away money.

That is one of the key things you need to remember about these companies. They don’t make a profit by giving away money to people who, potentially, may never come back.

Welcome Bonuses

In my job, if you can call it that, of reviewing online Casinos I have come across a bewildering array of Welcome Bonuses. From £10 to £8888 to match the amount deposited. From 5 free spins to 500 free spins. And on Sports sites of course there are the free bets – usually associated with specific sporting events such as the Grand National or the World Cup.

The “match” bonuses are usually marketed as “up to” x pounds. That’s because they are matching what you deposit – with an upper limit. So if you deposit £100 you might get another £100 as a bonus. But if you deposit £200 you might still only get £100 bonus if that is the limit. They usually have a minimum deposit too. This is normally around £10 or £20.

Very occasionally, I have come across a 200% Match Bonus – where you get double what you deposit up to a limit. These are pretty rare.

Free Spins can either be part of the Welcome Bonus entirely – so you get, say 10 Free Spins, however much you deposit. Or they are directly related to the amount you deposit. So you might get 1 Free Spin for every £1 you deposit. Up to a limit of, say, 100.

Free Bets are generally part of a specific event. So you might get a Free £10 bet on the FA Cup matches this week – if you bet at least £10 on one match. It’s important to check what the Free Bet can be used for. Is it for a specific event or for anything you want?

I even found so-called “no deposit” bonuses being offered at some online Casinos. I’m not going to talk about these “no-deposit” bonuses as, generally, they are a waste of time. Most sites that offer them have such tough Terms and Conditions around them that they are virtually worthless.

One site gives 20 free spins on a selected Slot. Each spin is worth 1p. The maximum amount you can win is £1 and the minimum withdrawal amount it £10.

If you just want to play slots and have no money, you would be better off just playing the games on “demo mode” for free.

When you are choosing a site to join, It probably seems sensible to go for the highest amount of £’s or Free Spins or Free bets. That’s what the marketing guys are hoping for. But you need to delve into the way these bonuses work before figuring out which is the best and how to get the most out of it.

Bonus Terms & Conditions

The entire point of these bonuses is, obviously, to attract customers to join the Betting Site.

Once you are there you will get more money to play with – or Free Spins – which gives you more entertainment and lets you experience more of what the site has to offer. You do also have more opportunities to win, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will have more cash to withdraw.

The Terms & conditions attached to these bonuses are usually configured in such a way that the amount you may walk away with, barring a miraculous win, is limited. This is just good business sense. As I said earlier, you don’t make money as a business by throwing it away.

In the Terms and Conditions you should always take the time to identify and understand 3 main areas.

The “Wagering Requirements” attached to any bonus, the “Weighting” of games towards fulfilling the Wagering Requirements and also if there are any “limits” to the amount you can win (or withdraw) from a bonus.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Bonus Wagering Requirements

The wagering requirement may be called the “playthrough” or “turnover”. It describes how much you have to bet before you can withdraw any of your bonus payment.

I have seen wagering requirements go from 10x (ten times) up to 100x. Obviously, the higher the wagering requirement, the less chance that you will have any of your bonus left to withdraw as cash.

It is also vital that you check to see if the wagering requirement covers just the bonus amount or the deposit amount AND the bonus. This small factor can make a massive difference in how much you have to spend before you can actually withdraw any of the money.

To give you an example – if I deposit £200 and receive a £200 Welcome bonus with a 20x wagering requirement, then I would need to wager £4000 (£200 bonus x 20) before I could withdraw any winnings.

But if the Terms and Conditions said that the wagering requirement covered the deposit amount AND the bonus amount, I would need to wager £8000 (£200 deposit + £200 bonus x 20) before being able to make a withdrawal. That’s double the amount.

You see the same thing with Free Bets from Sports betting sites. Sometimes it will say the amount of Free bets needs to be “turned over” 5x before you can receive any winnings. So if you take a free £10 bet on the Grand National. Even if it comes in – you may not get the winning until you make a few more bets to cover this wagering requirement.

Please do check this out in the T’s and C’s, as it is the cause of many complaints and frustration.

Bonus Weightings

Once you have got your brain around the Wagering Requirements you probably think you are good to go.

However you should check out at least one more thing.

That is, the “weighting” of different games towards reaching the Wagering Requirement.

This “weighting” was basically brought in a few years ago to combat the few people who were getting a Welcome Bonus of £200 and then betting on something like Red and Black at the same time on Roulette to fulfil their Wagering Requirement.

By doing this they effectively made sure that they had most of their bonus left by the time they met the requirement. Clearly the Casinos considered this as unfair and they introduced “weightings” for games to help combat it.

So now  you may find that each type of game has a “weighting” or a percentage, of how much it contributes to reaching the wagering requirement.

For example Roulette may have 0% weighting. That means no matter how much you spend on Roulette you will never meet your Wagering Requirement.

The weightings vary for every site, so you should check them out. But usually slots and sports bets contribute 100% and something like Video Poker may only contribute 20%.

What this effectively means is that if you were to bet on Video Poker you would need to spend 5 times as much to meet the wagering requirement than if you bet on Slots.

Because, £1 bet on slots counts as £1 towards the wagering requirement. But a £1 bet on Video Poker (using the 20% weighting) would only contribute 20p towards the betting requirement.

Just like the Wagering Requirement, a small change in the wording of the weightings can have a massive effect on how much you need to wager before you can withdraw cash.

So, make sure you check it out too.

Bonus Withdrawal or Win Limits

Withdrawal Limits (or Maximum Win Limits) on Bonuses or promotions are rare.

Usually, they aren’t needed as players rarely make big wins using bonus money.

The only time I have seen them is attached to the “No Deposit” bonus offers. Whether this is £10 or 10 Free Spins.

So, I might be offered a £10 no deposit bonus but the Terms say that the maximum win is £20. So as soon as I hit £20 the bonus or free spins stop. I then have to meet the wagering requirement on my £20 before I can withdraw any of it.

Given that most betting sites have a minimum withdrawal limit of £10 or £20, the chance of me having enough left to actually withdraw is very small. There is more chance you’d be left with about £2 which is too little to withdraw so you’d end up just spending it.

As I say this kind of restricition on Bonuses is quite unusual and normally reserved for times where you don’t need to deposit any money. But be vigilant for them.

Casino Welcome Bonus Changes

Those are the main areas of the Terms and Conditions for bonuses and promotions that you need to be aware of.

It can seem quite complicated and in the past, they were not always the easiest things to find on a betting site.

Recent legislation in the UK has told Betting Operators that these Terms & Conditions need to be only one click away from where the Bonus is promoted. So you should be able to find them more easily.

Recently, more Betting sites have appeared that are playing on the dislike of these T’s & C’s by not having wagering requirements on bonuses at all.

One major new player here was the site PlayOjo who had a massive TV campaign in the UK which concentrated on the fact that every bonus you got – whether in cash or spins – was yours to withdraw if you wanted.

They give their welcome bonus in slots spins and whatever you win is cash. You can withdraw or play on.

Since then. a few other Casinos have followed suit, and this may become more popular. Although it is unlikely that they will give away big cash amounts, it does make things easier for the players.

Bonuses Summary

I hope this article has helped you understand a bit better how the Terms and Conditions for Betting Site bonuses and promotions work.

Always check out the Wagering Requirement, Weighting and if there are limits on how much you can win or withdraw when accepting a bonus.

I know all too well how frustrating ti is to think you have made a big win using a bonus only to find out that I still need to bet 1000’s before I can make a withdrawal.

That’s why I always check out the T’s & C’s before depositing.

You will find many articles on this site written to help players and also reviews of Casinos and Sports Betting Sites. Feel free to sign up for notifications or bookmark the site if you want to get back to it more easily.

Good Luck – Alex

About Alex M

Alex is our intrepid reviewer and article writer. He hopes that his reviews and articles will help readers when choosing a site to play on. He also hopes one day to grow a proper beard.

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