The key factor to success in all forms of betting is extracting maximum value out of the money you risk.

One simple way to pad the bottom line is to take advantage of online betting bonuses.

The market for new customers is competitive and betting sites are constantly working to attract new players. Betting bonus offers and signup promotions are among the most common incentives betting sites employ to attract gain new signups.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the best betting bonus offers today:

Best Online Betting Bonuses for 2020

Rank
Betting Site
Bonus
Rating
Visit
1
First Contest Entry Fee Refunded18/21+ to Play, T&Cs Apply
2
Up to $300 Risk-Free First Bet18/21+ to Play, T&Cs Apply

Generally, the types of gambling bonuses offered to customers vary from one type of betting or gambling to the next. Online bookmakers tend have their own “bonus style” while poker rooms have their own take on promotions.

One thing gamblers should know about all bonuses in general is that it is critical to understand the terms and conditions attached to any offer. Understanding how the various types of betting promotions work and knowing what to look for when evaluating an offer make the difference between finding value and losing money.

Below is a quick overview of what you can expect from all types of gambling bonuses. Later, we will dig into an explanation of the common terms and conditions punters will run into when claiming signup offers.

Sports Betting Bonuses and Promotions

Sports Betting Bonuses: Sports betting sites commonly offer deposit bonuses and free bets or “no-risk” wagers. Always read the fine print. Some things to look out for are restricted types of bets, maximum win amount, and what you need to do to withdraw the winnings.

The use of phrases such as “risk free” or “no-risk” is questionable at best, and some gambling regulators actually prohibit the use of such terminology in advertising. Typically, “risk free” wagers work by guaranteeing a customer’s first wager will be refunded with bonus credit if the wager loses. These offers can be beneficial, but it would be wise to give the terms and conditions a close read before proceeding.

Horse Racing Bonuses

Racing Betting Bonuses (coming soon!): Online racebooks typically offer rebate rewards or standard deposit bonuses.  

Rebate rewards work by offering to return a percentage of each customer’s action back as cash or site credit each week. For example, placing $1,000 worth of wagers under a 3% rebate program would result in $30 being returned.

Horse racing deposit offers give customers bonus cash in return for making a deposit. The bigger the deposit, the bigger the bonus.

Casino and Poker Bonuses

  • Online Casino Bonuses: The most common form of welcome offer at online casino sites is a deposit bonus. Sign up for an account, make your first deposit and get free money added. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Occasionally no-deposit casino bonuses are offered, along with game-specific promotions. As always, ensure the terms and conditions of any offer are fair and valuable before accepting.
  • Online Poker Bonuses: Poker sites most often offer deposit bonuses, with occasional promotions tied to tournament events and rewards programs. No-deposit poker bonus offers are also available from some online poker sites. Out of all the different forms of gambling, poker gives out the most useful, beneficial bonuses. If you can play a break-even game or better, the additional cash is extra money for your bankroll.

Gambling Rewards Programs

VIP and Loyalty Reward Programs: Customer reward and VIP programs are a popular means by which betting sites seek to keep active players happy and loyal. In the competitive online gambling space, it is much cheaper to keep exiting players satisfied than it is to constantly recruit new customers.

VIP treatment, wagering rebates and points-for-cash programs range wildly in terms of quality and value. A quality rewards program can make a significant difference over the long run for higher-volume players.

Types of Betting Bonuses and Promotional Offers

Online betting bonuses are offered in many different forms. Some give you free money for signing up. Others match your first deposit dollar-for-dollar or refund your first bet if it loses.

There is an endless variety of betting bonuses, but most of them fit into one of several popular promotional incentive categories.

Betting Deposit Bonuses

The standard deposit bonus is the most common type of welcome offer for new customers. Nearly all betting sites offer incentives designed to encourage new customers to sign up and make a deposit, and that incentive usually comes in the form of a deposit match bonus.

For example, an online bookmaker may run a promotion offering a 100% bonus worth up to $500 for all new customers. This means each customer’s first deposit is matched with an equal amount in bonus funds. Continuing our example, a $50 deposit in this case would result in the customer receiving $50 in bonus funds to effectively double their first deposit.

Betting signup bonuses serve as an effective incentive for customers to try new online sportsbooks. The customer is given a chance to place a few wagers with extra money and not a whole lot of up-front risk.

Remember – betting signup promotions always come with terms, conditions and restrictions.

The most common restriction attached to welcome bonuses is that players are not allowed to deposit money, claim a bonus and then immediately make a withdrawal without placing any wagers.

The vast majority of all sportsbook deposit offers must be “cleared” before customers may withdraw the extra funds AND any winnings obtained by risking the extra cash. Bonuses are cleared by “rolling over” the funds by wagering.

Clearing requirements are used to prevent fraud, not to take advantage of customers. The site owners want to make sure these rewards only go out to people who are actually there to play. However, it is also true that clearing requirements can be excessive – which is why punters should always give the terms and conditions a look before making a deposit.

Players should also be aware that bonus funds are usually issued as site credit rather than as withdrawable cash. Bonuses that are issued as cash and that do not come with excessive wagering requirements are almost always a good deal for customers.

Betting promotional incentives are not just for new customers either. Gambling sites want to encourage their customers to stay active, reward real money play with VIP/loyalty rewards programs.

Generally speaking, the more often you play, the more reload or redeposit bonuses you are likely to receive.

No Deposit Bonuses

No-deposit betting bonuses are also quite common. As the name suggests, a no-deposit bonus offers new customers a little money just for signing up – no deposit necessary. New punters simply sign up, receive their bonus funds and place their first wagers.

The popularity of “free money” betting promotions is easy to understand. Customers do not have to deposit their own money or disclose personal financial decision but can still place a few wagers that may actually result in real winnings.

The appeal is understandable, but punters should note the vast majority of no-deposit gambling offers come with two limiting terms:

  • Win caps
  • A deposit must be made at some point in order to withdraw winnings

Betting sites need to limit their exposure in order to avoid being overrun by bonus chasers. Win caps limit that exposure by putting an upper limit on the amount that can be won with a no-deposit offer. This means in most cases, players will not be able to use their no-deposit money to place a long-shot bet or spin a progressive jackpot for a giant win.

Second, betting sites often include a provision requiring customers to make a deposit prior to withdrawing any winning associated with the free cash. The reasons for this rule are to help prevent abuse of the offer and to ensure the offer is only awarded to people who are actually planning on sticking around for a while.

Not all no-deposit bonuses come with these limitations, but even those that do are still a good deal in most cases. New customers can try betting sites and get a feel for the experience without having to risk their own money up front.

As long as punters understand the terms and restrictions attached to any offer, no-deposit betting bonuses tend to provide significant value.

Free Bets

Some betting bonuses offer free bets as an incentive to all new customers or for existing customers in the lead-up to a major event such as the Super Bowl or Grand National.

For example, some online sportsbooks offer a first bet refund guarantee in lieu of a deposit match bonus. In this case, the betting site promises to refund the customer’s first wager if it’s a loser with an equal amount of cash or site credit. For example, if a new customer places a $100 first bet and it loses, the sportsbook will drop a $100 bonus in the customer’s account.

Other offers for specific events or sports follow a similar pattern. As another example, a popular trend among betting sites in some regions is to offer customers a refund if they wager on a soccer game that ends in a no-goal draw.

Free bets, refund offers, enhanced odds and money-back specials are also popular.

Some free bets come with almost no restrictions. Betting sites refund the whole value (up to a maximum amount) of the customer’s first wager if it loses. Sometimes the refund may be withdrawn and sometimes the refund is only issued as site credit.

This is an example of why it’s important to always read and consider the terms and conditions of any betting bonus offer before accepting.

Random Cash Infusions

Sometimes, online betting sites randomly add bonus money to customers’ accounts as a “thank you” for being a customer.

Others might hold regular prize draws, where randomly chosen winners get a prize. The most popular betting brands regularly review the accounts of customers and reward their loyalty accordingly.

Tip: Don’t hesitate to ask for a bonus. There is nothing wrong with emailing support and requesting a bonus – especially if you are in the middle of a bad run and are a frequently active customer.

When deciding where to bet online, gamblers should take the time to compare betting bonus offers and choose the ones that make the most sense for their needs. Even players who have a favourite betting site may want to consider trying new sites occasionally to take advantage of new customer promos.

Enhanced Odds Offers

Enhanced odds offers or “odds boosts” give players higher-than-standard payout odds on select wagers. For example, a bookmaker may want to generate more action on an upcoming basketball game and boost the odds on one team from 5/1 to 7/1.

The odds boost may in fact be the most common betting promotion of all. Some betting sites offer enhanced odds on certain events 24/7 just as standard operating procedure.

One major advantage of enhanced odds offers is they rarely come with complicated terms and conditions. Typically, the only restriction is customers may only wager up to a certain amount of money on odds-boosted markets.

Reduced Juice Promos

Reduced juice promotions are functionally similar to odds boost offers. In a reduce juice promo, the sportsbook lowers the takeout on both sides of a wager to give customers more value for their money.

A standard reduced juice promotion might move standard 10/11 (-110) moneylines down to 19/20 (-105) on both sides. The benefit of a reduced juice offer is the same as it is for an enhanced odds promo: punters risk less to win more.

Accumulator (Parlay) Boosts

Accumulator boosts enhance the payouts of accumulator wagers, typically scaling up based on the number of legs added to the wager. For example, a betting site might offer a 5% payout boost on 3-leg accumulators, 7.5% boost on 4-leg accumulators and so on.

The two things gamblers should look into when considering an enhanced accumulator offer is whether the bonus is paid as cash or site credit and if there is a maximum payout. Multi-leg accumulators can easily exceed a betting site’s maximum payout rule, which would make it pointless to risk too much money on any single accumulator.

Early Payouts

Mobile sportsbooks occasionally run early payout promotions in which any wager on the winning team will be considered a winner and paid instantly as soon as that team gets ahead by a certain number of points or goals.

For example, an early payout offer might pay all backers of a team if that team gets ahead by two goals at any point. What happens in the rest of the match does not matter because the bet is paid as soon as the selected team gets ahead by two goals. Even if the other team makes a comeback and wins, the punters who backed that team would also still be paid as normal.

Refer-a-Friend Programs

Word of mouth is a time-tested form of marketing, and online sportsbooks are willing to give bonuses to customers who refer their friends. A typical refer-a-friend program works by having customers log in and either submit the e-mail addresses of their friends for a custom invitation or to generate custom links they can share with their friends.

Betting referral programs usually offer current customers a flat fee or bonus in return for each friend referred. In many cases, the person who was referred also receives a bonus (on top of the any standard welcome bonuses).

Refer-a-friend offers rarely come with overly restrictive terms and conditions. Usually, the main condition is that referrals must deposit at least X amount or place a certain total value of wagers before the referral fee is paid.

Horse Racing Price Promises

Price promises and best odds guarantees come in a variety of flavors but are almost always beneficial to customers.

In some cases, a price promise is a guarantee that if the punter places a fixed-odds wager on a horse race but the starting price ends up being higher, the bookmaker will pay the customer at the higher price.

In other cases, bookmakers offer price promises as a guarantee to offer the best odds of any of their main competitors for important horse races. During the Grand National, for example, many betting sites promise to meet or exceed the prices offered by every competitor on every horse.

Money Back If Your Horse Finishes 2nd

Online racebooks frequently offer promotions that refund customers who bet on horses to win but that end up finishing in second place. The goal is to encourage more betting on races, and usually these offers provide value to punters without sneaky terms and conditions.

Similarly, some betting sites offer promos to pay extra places on each-way bets during major races. If a bet would typically pay 1/5 odds on places 1-2-3, it might boost payouts one additional place so that 1/5 odds are paid on places 1-2-3-4.

Betting Promo and Bonus Codes

Most online betting sites give bonuses by default to all new customers, while others require the use of bonus codes. Sites that require promo codes ask for them at some point during the signup or deposit process.

Betting bonus codes let the site know which bonus each new customer is entitled to. Inputting the latest referral code ensures customers get the best promo available. That being said, most bonus codes are simply used to track marketing efforts and can largely be ignored.

OnlineBettingSites.com maintains up-to-date bonus codes for all sportsbooks that require them. Readers can see our reviews here for more information about claiming any specific offer, including important details from the terms and conditions attached to each bonus.

Betting bonus codes go by all sorts of different names and they come in all different forms. Some are simply called “bonus codes” while others may be called marketing codes or referral codes. Whatever they’re called, they all do the same thing: offer punters incentives to make a deposit and place a few bets.