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What Are Free Bets

The main purpose of offering free bets is to attract business in the form of new accounts. This means that the majority of free bets are only available to new customers and do not apply for existing account holders. The leading bookmaking companies advertise their free bets in publications and newspapers but some will invest further and make potential customers aware of free bets through television advertising campaigns.

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How to claim a Free Bet 


A new customer opens an account with a bookmaker and as a reward for doing that receives a free bet. This may come in the form of receiving stake money to place a bet without any risk of losing or another type of concession. The common feature of any free bet or concession is that the customer is allowed to place a wager and if that is a losing wager the customer is not liable for any losses.

If money is returned in the form of a winning free bet this does not include the stake money. That means that if a bettor uses a £10 Free Bet to bet on a 3/1 chance that wins he receives £30 in winnings not £40. Clearly if the returns from a free bet included the stake money the bookmaker would be giving away more than is commercially viable.

Most free bets have a time limit which means that the new customer has only until a certain date to use a free bet. For example, if a customer qualifies for a free bet he may only have 30 days from the date of qualifying to actually using the bet. After this date the customer is no longer able to use the free bet and qualification for such a concession no longer applies.

The qualification period for a free bet only applies once the qualifying bet has been settled. For example, if a company offers a free bet associated with bets on the top scorer in the Premier League the free bet qualifying period will only begin once bets on this event have been settled at the end of the season.

The Thinking Behind Free Bets

Virtually every bookmaker offers free bets to new account holders. Rarely you might see offers for existing customers and these are intended to reward loyalty and prevent bettors from taking their custom elsewhere.

Online bookmaking is now a very competitive business. Before the onset of the internet the UK bookmaking market was dominated by three large firms,

Modern technology has now made it relatively easy to set up a website for taking bets.

As with most internet businesses, online gambling is now a global concern. Online betting is still dominated by firms that have their origins in the UK but many firms have entered the market from Europe and more further afield. The range of sports and markets on offer is now much more substantial than before the onset of online gaming.

Bookmaking firms now also compete in the area of in-running or live betting. This is betting on an event once it has started and is particularly popular with football. There seems no limit to the ingenuity of bookmakers in providing live betting odds for an increasing number of sports and markets.

It would be probably difficult to accurately assess the number of online bookmakers on the internet. Using a search engine with the term ‘online bookmaker’ would produce many pages of results. There are now many websites that produce bookmaker reviews. Sites are judged in terms of usability, scope of bets and quality of customer service.

In any review, the free bets that are available at a particular time are listed and assessed. Regular free bets are now a substantial selling point for online bookmakers as they attempt to increase their membership.

Types of free bet

Across the whole range of free bets there are generally four types and these will be explained in more detail in further articles.

Simply put these concessions come in the form of:

  • Matched free bets
  • No deposit free bets
  • Formatted free bets
  • Qualifying free bets

The various types of free bets have different features and qualifying criteria. Due to the nature of the offers some free bets are more attractive than others. It is quite rare to come across a pure free bet when a customer receives an amount of money to stake without any potential loss.

It is always important to look through the terms and conditions of any free bets offered. There could be restrictions on the odds of a selection or a hefty wagering requirement. Those kind of offers can be seen as no more than marketing ploys and in some cases they can be counter-productive. The bookmaking companies are obviously very careful to describe the rules in their Terms and Conditions but the finer details are not highlighted in their adverts, so make sure you read them.

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