How do Bonus Bets Work – The Drawbacks of Bonus Bets

How do Bonus Bets Work?

The betting scene is growing, and betting companies are getting more competitive by the day. On top of the list of strategies used by these companies to woo customers is bonus bets. The catch, however, is that the free bets are conditional. This begs the questions: which conditions apply to free bets? And which bookmakers offer the best bonus bets?

For starters, it’s important to note that in your search for the best bookmaker, you should not sign up for the betting services just because the bonus is appealing. The reason for this is that the free bet is not actually free money and reading through the terms and conditions of the bookmaker will tell you everything you need to know about the bonus and whether it is worth the risk or not.

So, how do the bonus bets work?

Essentially, the free bet represents the amount of money which bookmakers will credit into your account. It allows betting on specific betting markets or even specific types of bets. 

It is also important to note that the free bet is different from other types of bets, but if you lose the bet, you don’t really lose anything. However, the free bet isn’t really free, because of the terms and conditions set by the bookmakers.  And in most cases, the free bets require that you bet on the most unfavorable betting outcomes, even as you match the value of the free bet to your cash. 

The other reason why the free bet isn’t really free is that the bookmaker requires matching of the investment made by the bookmaker. Also, the bookmakers will steer you into the losing markets. Also, you are required to make more deposits to make a withdrawal.

Restrictions and Conditions for Free Bets

While the terms and conditions applicable to free bets vary from one bookmaker to another and from one format of free bets to another, some common restrictions are common to free bets.

The applicable restrictions include:

Required minimum odds – while this also varies with bookmakers, the minimum odds will range from 1.20 – 2.00; for a bet to qualify as a bonus bet.

The other restriction could be in the form of a league or a sports market where a bet should be placed. In this type of bet, there is a minimum deposit requirement, as well as the expiry date for using the free bet offer. The other restriction might be in the number of times that you have to place a bet on the betting profits before you can withdraw your wins. 

These bonus bets conditions bring us to the main types of bonus bets offered by bookmakers. They include:

Matching the stake – your bookie matches your initial stake, doubling the amount of money in your account

Free Bet Series – the free bets will be divided into individual bets and not a lump sum bonus. If you bet 50 dollars, you get 5 ten-dollar free bets.

Initial Deposit bonus – here, the bookmaker promises a percentage of your initial deposit as a bonus. The bonus could be 50% or 100% of your initial bonus.

Considering all these, it is important always to read the fine print of a bookmaker before you fall for the bonus bet. 

For example, a bookmaker offering a 25-dollar free bet offer for its new account holders might, in its T’s & C’s, show that you have to wager a bet with your own money and that the wager must have at least a single bet selection with an odd of at least 2.00, unless the selection is four times or higher. If this is the case, then the bookmaker will match your initial deposit. What this means is that the bookmaker wants you to wager with your money first before you get any freebies.

The disadvantages of bonus / free bets include:

  • You have to match what the bookmaker promises
  • Free bets steer you into the losing and unprofitable markets
  • Withdrawal requires that you make an extra bet/ deposit.

When a bookmaker promises more money

Many bookmakers will offer deposits of up to 250 dollars. Though enticing, you have to place a 50 dollar deposit which is to be matched by the bookmaker; then you also have place four more bets of 50-dollars for another 50-dollars free bet.

Basically, you have to bet with your money to get anything from the bookmaker. 

There are other bookmakers who might offer up to 200 dollars in bonuses, only if you deposit an amount similar to what is offered, and also if you meet the minimum betting odds, of about 1.50. And even when you meet this requirement, you might have to place a successful rollover bet, a re-bet of your total bet deposit valued at three times your bonus value before you make a withdrawal.

Risk-Free Bet

This is the other type of free bonus, and it has a different approach. It is, however, deceptive. With the risk-free bet, you can only qualify for free bets if you only lose your first bet (this is applicable up to a specific amount). 

It is not, however, as straightforward as it’s made to look; although its name suggests what it does – the risk-free bet forces you to risk your money first to bet. Also, you have to bet an amount higher than what the value of the risk-free bet for you to make a withdrawal.


The bonus bets are very tempting, but we consider them to be a complete waste of money and time. These incentives force you to spend a lot of time reading/ learning the terms and conditions of the bonus bet, and since the fine print is often too long and complicated, most people end up missing important information, losing more money in the process. The bookmakers also offer low-value odds meaning more losses to you. 

Taking all these into account, you might want to use reputable bookmakers with like Arcanebet who also offers greater odds.

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