💡TIP! Once you’ve made your initial qualifying deposit, you’re no longer restricted and can use whichever payment method you like.
Betting sign-up offers are key when deciding where to bet next. For some bettors the new customer offer is a good enough reason to change bookmakers.
Tracking the latest sign-up bonus offers at UK bookmakers by yourself sounds impossible. Master the betting bonus terms and explore what the best and latest UK sign-up offers are below.
8 Best Betting Sign-up Bonus Offers
Sign-up Offer Bonuses
What Type of Betting Sign-Up Bonus Offers are out there?
As you can see from the list above, sportsbook welcome offers come in all shapes and sizes. If you aren’t sure what the differences between them are, there’s no need to worry. These are the three most common types of bookies sign-up bonus that are used to entice prospective bettors:
Deposit bonuses are the most common type of betting new customer offers around, which is why so many betting sites have phrases like “100% up to £100″ emblazoned across their home pages.
A deposit bonus is when a bookmaker matches your first deposit in some way, up to a certain limit. For example, a “100% up to £100″ welcome offer means that if your first deposit is between the sportsbook’s minimum qualifying deposit and £100, you’ll get the same amount added to your sportsbook balance as bonus funds.
Not every betting site gives users 100% of their first deposit, though. It’s also common to see bookmaker sign-up offers like “50% up to £50″, meaning that users will receive half of their first deposit as bonus funds.
Regardless of what percentage they match or how much you receive in bonus, funds, though, users should always be aware that bonus funds tend to be non-withdrawable until certain conditions have been met. We call these wagering requirements, and we’ll go into more detail about that below, as well as in our section on choosing between deposit bonuses and free bets.
If a bookmaker isn’t offering you a deposit match, then they’re probably offering you free bets in exchange for signing up. These are offers like “Bet £10, get £20″. Free bets are also known as bonus bets, and that’s because they aren’t actually “free” at all.
A bonus bet is a betting voucher of a pre-determined value that punters can use to place a bet without having to stake a real-money wager. For example, if your betting site of choice gives you a £10 free bet, this means you can place a £10 bet without having to spend any of your real money balance.
Any winnings you receive will, of course, not include the original wager. This means that if you place a winning bet using a £10 free bet, you won’t receive £15 in winnings, you’ll receive £5, as you never staked the original £10 in the first place. Head to our Free Bets page for a full “Free Bets 101″ guide, as well as our list of the 7 best free bets offers.
Welcome Packages aren’t anything entirely separate from deposit bonuses or free bets, but instead of being a single welcome benefit, there are multiple. These tend to be packaged like “Up to £800 Welcome Bonus” where bettors might get 100% of their first deposit, 50% of their second and third deposits, and 25% of their fourth deposits. It’s also common to see a combination of deposit bonuses and free spins. They tend to look like the below:
No Deposit Bonus
£5 Free Bet
100% up to £50
50% up to £100
50% up to £150
DISCLAIMER: This is for demonstrational purposes only and does not refer to any specific offers available on this site
These kinds of packages can seem a little overwhelming to users who are new to betting, but experienced punters can end up with much more added value than with a single deposit bonus or free bets offer. Each leg of the welcome package will usually have its own set of terms and conditions, all being mostly similar to each other, but with some critical differences in wagering requirements, the time allowed to redeem the bonus, odds restrictions and more.
Understanding Welcome Bonus Terms & Conditions
It’s normal for people who aren’t very experienced in the world of online betting sign-up offers to take one look at the betting sign-up offer terms and conditions and immediately feel like they can’t understand what they’re seeing. The reality is, though, that the bonus terms and conditions are generally pretty easy to comprehend, as long as you know what you’re looking for.
Thanks to legislative updates, the UKGC ensures that operators display their T&Cs on every advert and piece of marketing material that depicts a bonus or offer, so it’s easier than ever to stay informed. Other licensing jurisdictions like the MGA are following suit, and this is becoming standard practice around the world.
In this section, we’re going to look at the types of terms and conditions that are almost universal across sportsbooks, and help break them down so that anyone can understand them.
Each betting site sign-up bonus offer has its own way of being activated. We mentioned this briefly above when talking about free bets and deposit bonuses. However, bettors need to understand what qualifies as activating their sign-up offer of choice and what doesn’t to make sure they have control over their sign-up bonus betting.
The most common ways to activate betting sign-up offers are:
- making a qualifying deposit
- placing an initial bet
- placing a specific type of bet (e.g. acca with 3 legs)
When it comes to deposit bonuses, these are generally activating by making your first deposit. This sounds deceptively simple, but every welcome offer is going to specify a particular minimum deposit amount that qualifies to activate the deposit bonus. This is usually around £10, so it’s nothing too excessive. There are also likely to be payment method restrictions. Free bets are also sometimes activated by placing a deposit, very much in the same way that deposit bonuses are activated. Again, you’re likely to see a minimum qualifying deposit amount, as well as payment method restrictions.
Free bets are more often activated by placing an initial bet. This means that bettors will need to place a deposit, and then place a bet of either a specific amount or of at least a specific minimum value. That qualifying bet may also need to be a bet of a specific kind (e.g. a single bet, or an accumulator bet with a specific number of legs), and there may be odds restrictions that apply to that qualifying bet. This is, by far, the most common way that free bet sign-up offers are activated.
Payment Method Restrictions
Whenever deposits are involved in any way, you’re likely to see that certain payment methods are restricted. It’s normally e-wallets that get restricted, so if you’re the kind of bettor that tends to use VISA and MasterCard debit cards, you’ll be fine.
Skrill and Neteller, in particular, are notorious for being restricted from almost every single betting site sign-up bonus offer out there. PayPal often gets thrown into the mix too, though it’s not unheard of for a bookmaker to allow PayPal deposits to qualify for welcome offers.
This can apply to both deposit bonuses and free bets and is a set of rules to avoid bettors taking advantage of sportsbooks and withdrawing bonus funds without ever wagering any real money.
In terms of deposit bonuses, what this means is that you can’t withdraw any of your bonus funds, and usually bonus winnings until you’ve wagered a certain amount of funds. This is generally represented as a multiplier of your deposit, your bonus, or both.
When looking at a betting site’s sign-up offer’s terms and conditions, this usually looks something like “Wagering Requirements: 8 x bonus amount.” This would mean that if you’re trying to claim a £30 bonus, then you’d need to wager that £30 eight times. Meaning you’d need to wager £240 before your bonus funds are converted into real money and become withdrawable. A multiplier between 6 and 12 times your deposit or bonus amount is considered to be normal.
💡TIP! Be careful to pay attention to the wording. There’s a big difference between “10 x bonus amount” and “8 x deposit + bonus”. On a 100% matched deposit bonus, “8 x deposit + bonus” is really 16 x your bonus amount, which is well above average!
When it comes to free bets, wagering requirements can either apply to the free bet value or the free bet winnings. If the wagering requirements are a multiplier of the free play value, then you’ll know exactly how much you need to wager before you even activate the bookie sign-up bonus. For example, if you’re trying to redeem your free bet winnings and the wagering requirements are “7 x free bet value”, then you know that your two £10 free bets will mean you need to wager £140 to redeem the winnings of your free bet.
Odds restrictions seem like they would be firmly within free bets welcome bonus territory, but this can apply to meeting wagering requirements for deposit bonuses too. That being said, though, almost every single free bets sign-up bonus includes odds restrictions.
What this generally looks like in real terms and conditions is “Free bets must be wagered on bets with minimum odds of 1.50 (1/2)”, meaning that those free bets can’t be used to place any bets with odds lower than the specified minimum.
When it comes to odds restrictions on deposit bonus sign-up offers, this will likely appear in terms and conditions in a form similar to “Only bets of minimum odds 1.80 (4/5) will count towards meeting wagering requirements”. Where this is different from the example we used with free bets sign-up offers is that users can still place bets on odds lower than the stated minimum, but those bets will not count towards redeeming your bonus funds. This can be slightly riskier, as punters might forget what the odds restrictions are, and end up unknowingly failing to meet the wagering requirements for their bonus. This is one of the reasons we tell our readers to always read the terms and conditions in full before activating any welcome bonuses or promotions.
Every welcome bonus and promotion gives punters a limited timeframe to redeem their funds. This can be anywhere between 7 and 90 days, and whether a timeframe is realistic or not will depend on the specific welcome bonus and the amount of bonus funds a user is trying to redeem.
Deposit bonuses, in particular, put the responsibility on the bettor. If you’re a punter who generally only spends £100 a month or so on sports betting, then trying to redeem a £100 bonus with an 8 x wagering requirement in 30 days isn’t realistic.
💡TIP! Before activating any betting sign-up offers, try and be realistic about how achievable it would be for you to meet the wagering requirements in the allotted time. It’s better to redeem a £20 bonus than to fail at redeeming a £100 bonus and getting nothing.
Deposit Bonuses vs Free Bets – Which is Better?
Whenever it comes to deciding which type of bonus is best, there’s only one thing we can say: it depends. It depends on you and your betting style, it depends on the specific sign-up bonuses and, like we detailed above, the welcome offer’s terms and conditions, and it depends on whether the sports you like to bet on are on-season.
To revisit an example from an above section; if you’re a punter who bets around £100 a month and only bets on English football, then trying to redeem a £100 bonus in the off-season isn’t realistic. In that case, you’d be better off with a free bets offer that will allow you to bet on sports that you usually wouldn’t bet on without having to risk any of your own money on a wager. It bears repeating: always read the welcome offer terms & conditions beforehand.
How do I Choose Which Betting Sign-up Offer is Best for Me?
For starters, take a look above to see our top picks for the best betting site sign up offers. We’ve collected them all in one place, meaning you won’t have to jump from site to site trying to make a decision.
Once you’ve chosen a handful or so that look interesting to you, take a look at the unbiased, in-depth reviews we write for each of the bookmakers listed on SportsBetting24. All of our reviews include a section on the bookie’s welcome bonus, and we even break down the key terms and conditions for you. This will help you narrow down even further.
Now that you have it narrowed down to the final few, this is the most critical step. You need to be completely realistic with yourself. Can you redeem these bonuses? If it’s a deposit bonus welcome offer, how big of a bonus can you hope to redeem when taking into account the wagering requirements, odds restrictions, and time restriction?
If you can answer those questions (and after reading this, you should be able to), you’ll know which are the best betting sign-up offers for you.
Betting Sign-Up Offer Pros & Cons
- Added value in the form of bonus funds or free bets
- A fun challenge to add to your betting experience
- A great excuse to try a new betting site that might become your new favourite
- Betting sites have to display their key terms and conditions clearly
- Wagering requirements can make redeeming bonuses expensive
- Terms and conditions may seem confusing
Betting Sign-Up Offer FAQs
What’s the best betting site sign-up offer?
We can’t pick which sign up offer is best for you, specifically, but take a look at our list of top betting site sign-up bonus offers above to take a look at our top picks. We’ve chosen a varied selection of welcome offers that we think represent the best of the best of the online betting industry.
How do I redeem my bookmaker sign up bonus funds?
Each bookmaker has its own set of terms and conditions for their sign up bonus, so we recommend reading the terms & conditions in full before activating any welcome bonuses. Be sure to read our guide to betting sign-up offer terms & conditions above to make sure that you know exactly what to look out for.
Which sports betting sign up offer should I choose?
We can’t choose the sign-up offer for you, as different people have different betting styles, but we can direct you to our step-by-step guide to choosing a betting sign-up offer above. We walk you through all the steps to making sure that you choose the welcome bonus that works best for you.
Where can I find no deposit free bets?
While these used to be extremely common; it’s extremely rare to find no deposit free bets anymore. Today, almost every free bet sign-up offer requires users to either make a qualifying deposit or place a qualifying bet (which still requires making a deposit first) before being given free spins. Read our free bets vs deposit bonus comparison above for more information.