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Sportsbook Bonuses

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There is a lot of misinformation about sportsbook bonuses on the Internet.

In this guide we’re going to analyze the pros and cons of sports betting bonuses. The first step is to define the types of bonuses available to bettors. Bookies offer bonuses in several variations.

Cash Bonuses

A cash bonus holds the most value to bettors, but they aren’t too common. Let’s say the sportsbook is offering a 100% cash bonus for up to $500 on your first deposit as a “welcome” or “sign-up” bonus.

The bookie will credit the bonus instantly in most cases, but the money isn’t yours to keep just yet.

There will also be a “rollover” or “wagering requirement” attached to the bonus. Let’s say the rollover is 10 times the size of your bonus. This means you need to wager the size of your bonus 10 times to clear it.

If your bonus is $500, you would need to wager $5000 before you clear the bonus. While clearing the bonus, you won’t be able to withdraw your money in most cases, although there are varying rules.

Some bookmakers will allow you to withdraw the initial deposit still, but any bonus funds and profits earned from the bonus will be voided, so if accepting a bonus, understand you need to clear it fully before a payout.

With a cash bonus, the amount is credited to your cash balance, which means that any stake will be returned to your account. For example, if you bet $110 of your bonus to win $100, you’d get $210 if the bet wins.

Free Play or Free Bet Bonuses

Free play bonuses are a bit different. The main difference is that the stake isn’t returned. For example, if you bet $110 of your free play to win $100 and win, your account will be credited with the $100 winnings only.

The stake is not returned when betting with a free play or free bet, so these bonuses are less valuable.

Often the rollover on free play bonuses will be smaller than cash bonuses. The same rules apply, you won’t be able to request a payout until you finish rolling through the free bet amount.

Reload Bonuses

Bettors will get reload bonuses regularly. They can be cash or free play bonuses and will follow the same rules as described above. When you can get a 50%+ reload bonus with a small rollover, you should always take it.

Pros:

  • Increase your starting bankroll with free money.
  • Allows casual bettors to increase bet size while still keeping bankroll management in mind.
  • Some bookmakers offer game-specific bonuses throughout the year, which are risk-free.

Cons

  • Your bankroll will be tied up until you finish meeting the wagering requirement.
  • In some cases, accepting a bonus will limit how much you can bet on certain markets.
  • Avoid any bonus with an unusually high rollover, as you may never meet the rollover before busting.

If you plan on withdrawing your money quickly after betting on a single event like the Super Bowl, then you’ll want to avoid bonuses, as you won’t want to lock up your money until clearing a rollover.

However, if you intend to bet on sports over the next few months and you don’t plan on making a withdrawal, there’s no reason not to take a bonus as long as the rollover is fair based on the size of the bonus.