Sign-up / Welcome Bonuses

A welcome bonus, sometimes referred to as sign-up bonuses, are the offers that most often look the best and the most enticing; these are designed to get the new bettors through the door. These are often much more attractive than lifetime bonuses. The welcome bonus is highly competitive and for this reason, when looking at these, you need to do your homework. The online bookmakers will attempt to dazzle you with big and impressive numbers. However, be careful and make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully. Online bookmakers want to lure you through the front door – not bankrupt themselves by giving away loads of free money.

There are different types of bonuses you may be offered as part of your welcome bonus. It could be matching a percentage of your initial deposit – often 100%, but it could be higher; some even go to 200% or even 300%. Be careful though, because the higher the sports betting bonus, the more you have to wager to actually withdraw. Other sign-up bonuses could include simply match your first bet or even offering to multiply the winnings that you make from your first bet.

These bonuses are normally the best that the bookmaker offers and are only available for that one time only. Because of this, you need to act carefully with these. Read the terms and conditions and check the wagering requirements. Also, check the time limit attached to your welcome bonus. Finally, make sure that you take your time when signing up so you don’t miss out on the offer by accident.

First Deposit Bonuses

Although a welcome bonus generally needs to be claimed on sign-up, they don’t normally have to be actually used on the sign-up if you don’t make your first deposit on that day. You may sign up on Monday, and click to claim your first deposit bonus, but choose to actually make your first real money deposit on the big game on Wednesday. You need to check the terms carefully though as some may have time stipulations in the terms and conditions. There are some online bookmakers that state that it is for deposits made on that same day. Others can be more flexible, so read the terms and conditions carefully to avoid losing the welcome bonus completely.

These initial deposit bonuses tend to be deposit match bonuses; for every £1 you deposit, the online bookmaker will match a certain percentage of that deposit. These normally range between 50% – 100%, but can be more. These are sports betting bonuses that will have minimum and maximum deposit amounts attached, so please make sure that the amount you want to deposit is valid to claim your bonus before you commit your money to the site.

Free Bets

Another welcome bonus some online bookmakers offer are free bets or matching bets. An example of this offer may be when you make your first deposit of £30; the bookmaker allows you to place a bet for £10 without having to lay out any of your own money. If this bet loses, then no harm done – you lose nothing of your own money. However, if you manage to land a winner, then you get the winnings.

Visually this welcome bonus may not look as exciting as a 100% bonus up to £150 … comparing a free £10 to a £150 bonus can be very deceiving. It may not look as enticing, but there are definitely advantages to be had if you get a free bet. If you don’t think that you’ll be making bets too frequently – just on major sporting events such as the Grand National or Wimbledon Final, then you can have some fun with it. You can put your welcome bonus free bet on whoever you like. It doesn’t matter if you want to take a chance the underdog because it’s not your money at risk. There’s also no commitment to the bookmaker as there isn’t a huge wagering requirement attached to cash out.

A Matching Bet

If you get a matching bet as opposed to a free bet, then this is slightly different. Here, the online bookmaker will give you the same bet you have made again. If you bet £20 on Federer to win the final, it will give you another £20 bet on Federer; essentially you have £40 on him winning. This ensures that you can’t place £20 on Federer, placing your ‘free bet’ on Nadal, guaranteeing a winning profit.

Because of the nature of these bonuses, the outcome is essentially that you are doubling your win; therefore, the best option is to go for the favourites. This way you’re odds on to get a good payout, as opposed to being in with a long-shot of getting a humongous payout.

Check out our page for the very best welcome bonuses on the market.