In this article you can find the best betting offers and free bets from the UK betting sites for 2019. Find out the latest sign-up bonuses and claim the most suitable option for your sports betting career after reading our guide to bookmakers’ most popular types of welcome offers.
What hasn’t been already said about the UK betting environment? The country that invented football and brought it to the entire World has one of the most well-developed betting industries. The entire landscape is filled with betting shops and has been like this for tens of years, and the online environment is just the same.
More and more UK bookmakers are opting to move their gambling business online, but we all know how conservative the British can be. Some of them still use the same physical shop they’ve been using to place bets since the 1950s. However the bookmaker may conduct his business, the main objective is the same: bring as many clients as possible to their shops or betting sites.
Best betting offers and sign-up bonuses in the UK
Types of welcome bonuses offered by UK online bookmakers
One of the best ways to attract customers is through bonus schemes. Betting offers and bonuses are usually divided into two large categories: welcome bonuses, which you can only access once, the first time you create an account with a new betting site, and other bonuses, which are usually reserved for existing customers.
The latter are more creative and are usually tied with certain sporting events, although they lack quality and volume. Welcome bonuses are larger and very well-promoted, since they’re the first thing that new customers look at when analyzing a betting site.
It’s also worth mentioning that these bonuses come in all shapes and size. Comparing two bookmakers in terms of bonuses is not as easy as it seems – you have to compare the size of the bonuses, their rate of occurrence, welcome bonuses and other bonuses, as well as the terms and conditions for each bonus.
Reading the fine print is very important, as it is in the entire gambling industry. What’s the point of a huge welcome bonus, if you can’t ever play enough to be able to withdraw the money? To make things easier for our readers, we want to highlight the types of bonuses you will encounter in the UK betting scene, and a few things which you must know about each kind. Here they are:
Free bets are the most common type of bonus offered by UK bookmakers, both for new customers and existing ones as well. It has some good parts and some bad parts, just like any other bonus. The good part is that they’re extremely easy to use, can be used on high odds, and their winnings can usually be withdrawn immediately, since they come in the form of real money.
Sadly, free bets aren’t usually very large, since the biggest we’ve been in the scene amount £20. More often than not, free bets range between £5 and £10. They work very easily, just like their name suggests. If you have a £10 free bet, you can place these £10 on a game of your choice. If your wager is a winner, you’ll run out with the winnings and be happy. If no, you won’t lose any money from your account, just the free bet. This makes free bets very good to use on high odd, risky bets.
For example, if you have a strong hunch that a match can end in a draw, place a free bet there. Even more so, free bets can be used for bets like halftime1/fulltime2, which often come with odds around 30. There’s a very wide range of applicability for this type of bonus, and you’ll quickly get the hang of it. Brokers use it as a welcome bonus, and also offer free bets every once in a while for existing customers.
Deposit and no-deposit bonuses
Deposit bonuses are a staple in the gambling industry, and have been adopted more and more by UK sports betting sites. They also work very easily: the broker will offer you a bonus (ranging from 50% to 150% or 200%) of the initial deposit you make with them, up to a specific limit – usually a couple of hundred pounds.
For example, if your first deposit is £100 and the welcome bonus is 150% up to £100, you would be entitled to £150 – but will only receive £100, since that’s the upper limit. No-deposit bonuses work similarly, although they’re not tied to any specific first deposit. The broker just gives you some bonus money for opening an account
The best part of these deposit bonuses is their flexibility. You essentially receive free money (although it’s bonus money – more on that later) which you can use however you want – implementing a betting system, placing lots of small bets, or blowing all the money on an all-or-nothing bet. The choice is entirely yours. Their only downside comes from the terms and conditions of the bonus, which range from reasonable to quite harsh.
Matched betting offers
Another very self-explanatory name. For certain events, the bookmaker can offer you a bonus in the form of a matched wager – if you wager £10, they’ll also do the same – free of charge. This works very much like a free bet, with the caveat that the bookmaker choses the event for you, but also gives you some additional freedom when it comes to the size of the bet.
Naturally, they won’t match up bets infinitely and do place a decent upper limit. This type of bonus is not usually seen as a welcome bonus. It is given to existing customers every now and then, and widely used around big events such as competition finals, derby games or other such matches.
Typically used for existing customers, enhanced odds can sometimes be given as a welcome bonus as well. Normally, they’re not the main part of the welcome bonus, but can be used in conjunction with other offers (such as free bets). Enhanced odds work very simple: the bookmaker simply raises odds for certain teams or events to very high numbers, usually between 5 or 10, to encourage people to bet on that specific event.
For example, a game like Chelsea vs Liverpool sparks a huge interest from betting sites, which is why lots of them offer enhanced odds. In this example, both teams might be given odds of 10 to win, just to encourage people to bet on the event. Winnings usually come in the form of bonus money, so be extra careful when reading the terms and conditions – just as you would normally do
New customer offers vs promos for existing punters
This is not a separate type of bonus, but we did want to make a point about balancing offers for new customers and existing ones. Different bookmakers have various ways in which they keep their customers happy: some focus on attracting more, while other prefer to keep existing one’s content. Be sure to always check out online how bonuses for existing customers look.
If you’re not careful about this aspect, a broker might lure you in with a very big welcome bonus, only to see that it’s the only bonus you ever receive. Typically, bonuses for existing customers should weigh in more – although welcome bonuses are more attractive. We say that they should weigh more because of the fact that when you’ve already worked with a broker for several months, you’ll have a betting system developed and will be able to use bonuses a lot better.
How the bonuse offers work
Like we mentioned earlier, bookmakers offer you the bonus as “bonus money”. This means that you can’t withdraw the money directly, and have to place some bets in order to be able to do so. These bets are called “playthrough conditions”. They sound something like this: “you have to play 5 times through the bonus money, placing bets of minimum odds 1.4, until at maximum the end of September”.
The harsher the conditions, the harder it will be for you to actually claim the bonus. This is why reading the terms and conditions is extremely important – what good is a huge welcome bonus, if you have to play through it 30 times over the span of 1 week, on high odds?
Terms & conditions of bonuses – What to know
Now that we’ve discussed about the major types of bonuses, it’s time to jump into a topic which we’ve briefly discussed above as well – the terms and conditions. We really can’t stress enough how important it is to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your betting site of choice as a whole.
Today, we’ll only discuss the part related to bonuses, but we strongly advise you to read the whole thing. When it comes to bonuses, the terms and conditions state the way in which the bonus can be used. They mainly discuss three aspects:
How to opt in for the bonus
Some bonuses don’t require opt-in, such as first deposit bonuses. You’ll simply see the bonus money into your account after performing your first deposit. Others, however, require some actions from your side – some simple, some more complicated. The terms and conditions clearly state what you need to do to be able to use the bonus.
Bookmakers often limit the type of bets you can place using bonus money. For example, some broker limit free bet usage to outright and over/under bets, excluding handicap bets or special bets. Additionally, they might limit the odds of the bets which qualify for bonuses, both using a lower limit and an upper limit. Be sure to carefully read this section.
Simply put, the amount of times you have to play through your bonus money to turn it into real money. This section also clearly explains which bonuses offer real money and which offer bonus money – the difference should be very well understood as well.
The last part should be very well understood, too. The difference between a bonus offering real money and bonus money is huge, and should be very clearly stated by the bookmaker in the terms and conditions. The rule of thumb here is simple, though: the better the bonus, the bigger the chances that the winnings come in the form of bonus money, and not real money.
We hope this comprehensive guide will aid you in your journey to understand the UK betting scene’s bonus schemes. These bonus schemes are usually the most important aspect for players, and the reason why they choose one broker over another. They may very well represent the thing that gives a bettor an “edge” against the house, and turn a losing betting system into a winning one. We believe that bonuses are great for the entire betting scene, as long as their terms and conditions are clear.