Online Betting: Sports Betting Bonuses Explained

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The online sports betting industry has become increasingly competitive over the years. Sportsbooks are always trying to one up each other by offering bigger and better welcome sports betting bonuses in an effort to attract more players. But is bigger always better?

You’ll often see offers like “Join and get a 50% signup bonus”. In this example, the player would get to play with their initial deposit plus a bonus equal to 50% of their deposit.

Does this mean that you can open an account with a sportsbook, make a deposit, and cashout immediately with a 50% profit? Well, it’s not that simple. Top online sportsbooks each have their own set of terms and conditions in place to protect them from “bonus abuse” and to make sure that they still make a profit in the long run.

Before accepting any bonus offer, do your homework and consider the following questions:

What is the rollover requirement?

A rollover requirement is the number of times that the player must risk their initial deposit before they can withdraw any winnings without being penalized.

If, for example, a sportsbook requires a 10x rollover on their bonus, this means that the player must risk an equivalent of 10 times their initial deposit.

If the betting bonus in this case was 50% and the player deposited $500, they would get a bonus of $250. With the 10x rollover requirement, the player doesn’t necessarily have to place ten $500 bets, but they will have to make enough wagers to eventually total 10 x $500 = $5,000 before they can request any winnings.

Let’s take Bookmaker as a real-life example. They offer either a 15% bonus with a 4x rollover or a 50% bonus with a 10x rollover. Let’s say you chose the 15% welcome bonus. With that same $500 deposit, you’d receive a bonus of $75, meaning you’d only have to bet 4 x $500 = $2,000. Although the bonus is smaller, it’s much easier for a casual better to achieve, especially when spread out over a NFL season – you’d have to bet less than $125 per week to meet the requirement.

Now let’s say you were to choose the 50% bonus offer with a 10x rollover. With that same $500 deposit, you’d receive a bonus of $250, meaning you’d have to bet 10x $500 = $5,000. Although the bonus is bigger, it’s much more difficult for a casual bettor to achieve the rollover requirement.

You can see that rollover is definitely a factor to consider when comparing top sportsbooks.  This is the reason that most sharp or professional bettors will opt not to take any welcome bonus at all. They prefer not to have their money tied up in a rollover.

Is the rollover calculated on the initial deposit amount only, OR on the initial deposit amount plus the bonus?

This is another important factor to consider when comparing welcome bonuses. Many sportsbooks will try and ‘spin’ their offers by including the bonus amount into the rollover calculation.

Again, taking Bookmaker as an example, the numbers would change drastically. The 15% bonus with a 4x rollover would still get you a bonus of $75, but now you’d have to bet 4x $575 = $2,300.

Similarly, the 50% bonus offer with a 10x rollover would still get you a bonus of $250, but now you’d have to bet 10x $750 = $7,500.

The difference is significant.

Is the bonus in the form of a free play OR cash?

If the betting bonus is in the form of a free play, you are only entitled to the winnings. If it’s cash, you get both the winnings and the bonus. Also, a free play can only be used as a sports bet, whereas cash can be used as you like – casino, racebook, poker, etc. Sportsbooks rarely offer cash bonuses, opting for free plays.

Is there a limit on the amount of bonus I can receive?

Most sportsbooks will cap the bonus amount, so if your initial deposit is large enough, you may not get any bonus after a certain amount.

Are there any restrictions to the types of wagers I can place to meet my rollover requirement?

Some sportsbooks will restrict the type of sports wager you can make with your bonus, often not allowing bets made on heavy underdogs or heavy favorites to be included in the rollover calculation.

What other perks are available besides welcome bonuses?

In addition to the welcome bonus, many of the best online sportsbooks will offer bonuses to keep their players happy and loyal. These include reload bonuses, gambling insurance, free bets, and loyalty reward programs. Be sure to check out sportsbook reviews and take these other bonuses into consideration when comparing bookmakers.

Trying to separate the serious offers from the scams? Check out Is Sports Handicapping Legit?

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