Finding a great sign-up bonus and good ongoing offers is essential to successful sports betting. From welcome offers and boosted odds to free bets and money-back deals, the best bookmakers offer plenty of promotions that can help increase your winnings. Discover all you need to know here as this guide provides a list of the best betting bonuses in the UK, tips on how to get maximum value from your chosen online bookmaker; as well as advice on avoiding common pitfalls associated with betting bonuses.
There are many types of betting bonuses in the UK. The best betting bonus for you will depend on the type and amount of betting you plan to do. But whether you are a regular punter or just starting out, there is something for everyone. Here we explore the most common bonuses, what they entail and how we rate them.
Sports welcome bonuses are provided when you first open an account with a bookmaker. It is a great way to start betting, as betting sites will reward you for joining with a generous offer. This could be anything from hugely enhanced odds to a free bet when you deposit. Betting sites with welcome bonus options will be because they have a standard promotion, and they also have a special one for big events such as the Fifa World Cup. These are time-sensitive, so if you do see an offer you like the look of, we suggest you take it.
These are a variation of boosted odds. With these, you will find accumulators or bet builders' odds boosted. The bets will be pre-selected by the bookmaker. A further variation is when a betting site provides you with an odds boost to use on any of your bets that day. In our experience, this is common now across betting sites in the UK. The boost tends to be less generous, but bear in mind you will win something extra if your bet wins.
Free bets are one of the best types of betting bonuses. They allow you to make a bet without risking any of your own money. The best sites will offer an array of free bet offers such as money-back bets, or bet and gets. In all cases, it should be noted that your free bet stake is never returned. For example, £10 bet at 6/4 = £15 profit, while a £10 free bet at 6/4 = £5 profit. A free bet can also be known as a sign-up bonus bet.
Boosted odds are a type of bonus that enhances the odds of a bet. It is linked to specific events or betting markets. For example, you may find odds on the favourite of a cricket match boosted from 1/1(2.0) to 6/4 (2.5). The only drawback is that the stake will be capped. Depending on the boost it could be anywhere between £5 - £20. These offer value, especially if you were planning on placing the bet anyway.
When you place a certain bet, you will get a reward. It is as simple as that. In our experience, the most common version of this is to be pre-match on a certain event and you will get a free live in-play bet. In saying that, it is also quite common to place a bet on Day x to get a free bet on Day y. These are simply a form of a free bet, and again we rate them highly and recommend them to our readers.
Best Odds Guaranteed is a betting promotion that is offered by most bookmakers in the UK. It means that if you place a bet on a horse race and the starting price of that horse is higher than the fixed odds you took, you will get paid out at the best price if it wins. This offer is popular for horse racing but it is not available in many other sports. So, it is important to check if the best odds guaranteed apply.
This betting bonus increases your winnings if you place a winning accumulator bet. This could be on any sport, with most bookmakers offering enhanced payouts and larger bonuses for bigger accumulators. It is best to compare bookmakers to find the best offers as some may offer bigger bonus percentages than others. This is a popular promotion as players are rewarded for winning.
Early payout offers you the chance to win a bet before an event is over. For example, many sites will pay a football bet out as a winner if your selected team goes 2 up during the match. Regardless of the outcome, your bet will be paid as a winner. This will only be available on selected markets, such as football and tennis matches but it does give players more control over their betting strategy.
The best online bookmakers in the UK reward loyalty with regular promotions and rewards. These include free bets, cashback offers, boosted odds or other exclusive perks. We like when a betting site shows exactly what the loyalty reward scheme is, but some prefer to keep this under wraps. Most bookmakers provide generous loyalty bonuses.
Bet clubs are loyalty rewards programmes that offer regular bets for playing with them. They vary slightly from standard loyalty bonuses as they operate weekly. For example, if you place 5 x £5 bets during the week you are awarded 1 x £5 free bet the following Monday and you can continue to claim this. If you bet regularly, then it is worth making sure that you opt in.
This bonus gives you a refund if your bet loses. This could be in the form of cashback, as a free bet, or in some cases cash. You can use these to help minimise losses and still get something back when your bets do not come in. Overall, it is a good promotion that we rate highly.
No deposit bonus betting sites are rare but extremely sought-after. As the name suggests, this is a bonus that you can receive without making any deposit. If you do come across one in the UK, we suggest you take it up.
Unlike no deposit bonuses, a deposit bonus requires you to make a payment in order to receive it. They are not as common in sports betting as in online casinos, but we do still come across them. This is when a bookmaker will match your deposit or give you bonus cash. We do like this type of offer as it gives players the freedom to choose where to place their bet.
Free bets are a singular amount that can be used to place a bet while betting bonuses grant customers a bonus amount to use. These tend to have straightforward conditions, and rarely include wagering on winnings. The downside to that is that the free bet stake is not returned should you land a bet.
A betting bonus on the other hand is a monetary amount such as cash bonuses, percentage-based bonuses (e.g., 50% reload bonus) or matched deposits (e.g., receive £50 when you deposit £50). Winnings with these tend to include a wagering requirement element.
It is important to understand the terms and conditions of any bonus or free bet you sign-up. It is also worth noting that some bookmakers may offer a combination of both free bets and bonuses, so make sure you read all the details carefully before taking advantage of any offers.
Ultimately, whether it is a free bet or a bonus, promotions are nearly always beneficial if used correctly.
Now that we have looked at what betting bonuses you can expect to find, it is time to show you how to figure out if a bonus is valuable. In this section, our expert highlights the key terms to look for, and what they mean for you.
Most bonuses are available to use on specific sports events. Some bookmakers will add more restrictions such as excluding certain markets, while some may only allow you to use the bonus on one type of sport (such as football). It sounds as though we are being vague, but this is because bookmakers change this for each promotion and it is solely at their discretion. It is important to know what markets you can bet on so that you can make sure it fits in with your betting strategy.
Bookmakers may only accept certain payment methods for bonuses. Most sportsbooks will accept debit cards for all promotions, but the likes of Skrill and Neteller are often excluded. We have noticed that fewer payment options are becoming available for bonuses, so do be sure to check before depositing to avoid any disappointment. In our experience, bookmakers rarely make exceptions once the deposit has been made.
There are other terms to look at when evaluating a bonus. The time limit, minimum odds and payment methods are also important. Time limits determine how long you have to use your bonus before it expires. Most bonuses come with a 30-day expiry period but this can vary. Minimum odds dictate that any bet must meet or exceed certain odds, while payment method restrictions may also be in place.
Making sure a bookie is secure and has the correct licence is essential. At Gambling Zone, we only recommend sites that have the right licences, such as the UKGC for the UK, AGCO for Canada and the MGA for the rest of the world. The UKGC is widely regarded as the most prestigious licence, and all sites in the UK must have this to operate legally.
The AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) regulates all online gambling services in Ontario. They are responsible for ensuring that all operators comply with strict regulations to guarantee fair play and protect players.
Similarly, the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority) is responsible for regulating gaming in Europe and beyond.
The wagering requirement of a bonus is arguably the most important term. It is the amount of money you must bet to be able to withdraw any winnings made from the bonus. While some bonuses may have no wagering requirements, most do. The higher the wagering requirement, the harder it is for players to achieve and therefore less likely that they will make a withdrawal. The most common wagering requirements are between 5-20x your initial deposit or bonus amount. In our sports betting reviews, we examine all welcome offers and clearly state the wagering.
The actual bonus amount is an important factor, as bonuses with larger amounts often mean that players have the potential to play more. For example, if you sign up for a sports welcome bonus, you may get a free bet worth £20 or £50. The £50 seems more appealing, however, the terms may show that the £20 free bet offers more value.
Betting in the UK is a highly lucrative business with players enjoying wagers on many sports. Football, horse racing, tennis, golf and darts are very popular but markets are ever-changing. American sports such as American football, basketball and ice hockey are making waves in the UK with fixed odds available on dozens of events daily.
Having said that, football and horse racing still dominate the market.
Football betting is the most popular form of sports betting in the UK. With a vast array of markets, from accumulators to handicaps, it is no wonder that millions of people bet on football each year. Whether you are an experienced punter or just starting out, there is something for everyone when it comes to football betting. Most reputable bookmakers offer competitive odds as well as free bets and other promotions which can help boost your potential winnings.
Horse racing is one of the oldest and most popular sports in the UK – in fact, it is estimated that over £3 billion a year is wagered on horse races. Horse racing betting continues to grow with punters able to bet on daily races as well as iconic festivals such as the Grand National and Cheltenham.
The volume of bookmakers offering competitive odds means that there are plenty of opportunities for savvy punters to make some money. Whether you prefer to back favourites or take a chance on outsiders, horse racing betting can be an exciting way to get involved in this sport.
There are a range of sports betting bonuses available to players and each comes with its own set of terms and conditions. It is important to research the offers carefully before claiming any, as this will ensure that you get the most out of your bonus.
We have highlighted some of the most popular promotions above but do take note that bookmakers change these regularly so it pays to keep an eye on our best sports betting bonuses list.
Find the answers to the most common betting bonus questions here.