The table below lists all of the free bets and betting bonuses that we recommend, along with snapshot summary of the terms of the offer (minimum odds, whether or not the stake is returned with the winnings etc..). So have a browse and see which offer takes your fancy.
List of UK Bookmakers & Free Bets
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* Totesport were purchased by Betfred in 2011. They no longer maintain a presence on the high street, but they still operate at racecourses throughout the UK, primarily offering Totepool betting rather than fixed odds.
Just like our main page, the offers listed here are the ones that can be claimed by UK & Irish customers. Many of them can also be claimed by our European, Australian and Canadian friends – but make sure you double check the terms before claiming.
We should also point out that a common term amongst UK betting sites is that only punters from the UK are allowed to hold accounts in British pounds – so if you’re from Canada and are eligible for the offer you’ll need to sign up for an account in another currency such as Canadian Dollars, US Dollars or Euros etc…
Free Bets Explained
If you’re reading this rather that heading straight to one of the bookies in the list, then the chances are you might be wondering what the heck we’re going on about. What are these free bets we keep going on about, and are they really free – is there some kind of catch? Let’s answer those one by one:
What Are Free Bets?
A free bet is a common term given to the promotional offers that online betting sites give to new customers when signing up. They are also sometimes called ‘betting bonuses’ and, although technically speaking there is a difference between the two, they tend to be used interchangeably. Generally speaking there are three types of promotional offer:
Matched Bets – Sign up, deposit and make our first bet and the bookie will match it with a free bet token. So bet £10 and get a free £10 bet. Sometimes you will be able to claim any amount up to a maximum (eg: anything up to £50) whilst other time you will have to deposit a set amount (eg: deposit & bet £25 for a £25 free bet). This is usually a straight pound for pound bet, but sometimes you’ll get a token for more than your qualifying bet was for (eg: bet £5 and get a £10 free bet).
Deposit Bonus – Here you’re signing up and depositing in order to receive bonus funds in your account. Unlike bet tokens, bonuses can be used however you like – so a £50 bonus can be split into 100 x 50p bets, or used all in one go. The bonus is also usually returned with the winnings of your bet and can be used again and again – something that doesn’t tend to apply to free bet tokens which (these days) usually don’t return the stake with the winnings. Once you’ve met the turnover requirements the bonus is yours to withdraw, along with any winnings you’ve accrued.
No Lose Bet – A no lose bet founds fantastic, like you can stick it on a 100 to 1 long shot and be guaranteed a winner, right? Wrong. A no lose bet simply means that your stake will be refunded (sometimes as cash, sometimes as a free bet or bonus) if your bet loses. But if your bet wins you don’t receive any bonus. If you’ve been paying attention you should notice that a ‘no lose bet’ is worse than a ‘matched bet’ which gets you the bonus regardless of whether or not your qualifying bet wins.
Is There A Catch?
Bookies offer these kinds of introductory promotion in order to get you to sign up and, hopefully, become a loyal customer of theirs. So they’re not out to screw you over or catch you out as that would leave you heading for the door pretty sharpish with a sour taste in your mouth.
Having said this, no company can just hand out free money willy-nilly and expect to stay in business – so there are terms attached to the offers. The terms vary between betting sites and even from offer-to-offer from the same site, but here’s what to look out for:
Minimum Odds – Most bookies these days apply minimum odds on the qualifying bet and/or the free bet or bonus. This is to stop you coming in and betting on a 1/100 ‘sure thing’and just walking away with their cash. But thankfully most of the decent sites have reasonable requirements – 1/2 (1.50 is fairly common, sometimes evens (2.0) but not usually more than that.
Special Requirements – In addition to, or instead of, the minimum odds some sites will place a condition on the type of bet you can place. The most common type of requirement is that you must place a multiple bet rather than a single – so a double or higher. Another type we have seen requires the bet to be placed on a specific type of market (eg: Totepool).
Turnover Requirement – A turnover, rollover or wagering requirement is most commonly applied to bonuses rather than free bets, but sometimes you will see a rollover on a free bet (if they’re being tight). This requirement is the minimum amount you must bet before withdrawing the bonus funds and any winnings you’ve managed to wangle. It is usually given as a multiplier of the bonus and/or deposit – so if you receive a £100 bonus with a 5x turnover, you must place £500 in bets before withdrawing. The majority of bookies will zero out if you go bust though, so if you bet and lose that £100 in one go, the remaining wagers are written off and not applied to future deposits.
Stake Returned v Stake Not Returned – For free bets, there are two types of offer to watch our for that have a fairly significant impact on the value of the promotion. If the stake is return (SR) this means that the free bet token itself will be returned to you if your bet wins. Conversely if the stake is not returned (SNR) this means you only receive the winnings, but not the stake. For example:
- Stake Returned (SR) – £10 bet at 2/1 would return £30 (£10 x 2/1 = £20 + £10 stake)
- Stake Not Returned (SNR) – £10 bet at 2/1 would return £20 (£10 x 2/1 = £20 )
Most promotions are fairly straight forward though and any condition will be clearly stated on the offers page – just make sure you know what the conditions are before you start betting and you should be fine! If you don’t understand anything about the promotions, just ask the customer support team of the site – most have multiple ways of contacting them including live chat boxes on their websites, email, phone and even skype (maybe don’t video chat with Sandra in CS in your pants though).