One of the ubiquitous features of online betting is welcome bonus offers. These are offers for new customers who are looking to sign up at an online casino or sportsbook. It’s uncommon to find such an online gaming site that doesn’t boast a welcome bonus.
They come in all different shapes and sizes, values and types of rewards that they give out. Some can be a small free bet amount while other sites may attract new customers by pushing players into looking at how to claim Hollywood bonus deals that look extremely generous.
It’s important to understand the role that welcome bonus offers play in the world of online gaming. We explore everything about this particular feature and help bettors with how to get the most out of them.
Why Do Bookmakers Offer Welcome Bonuses?
The first thing to understand is that a welcome bonus is a tool that bookmakers use to attract customers. There is nothing untoward about that, and it is no different from walking down the street and seeing a shop with a big ‘Sale’ sign in the window.
Bookmakers and online casinos need people coming in through the door by registering accounts. The more players they have, the more money they are going to see going their way. New customers can potentially be turned into long-term retention which returns even better, low-cost value for the operator.
Are They A Good Deal?
With that in mind, are welcome bonus offers a good deal for end users? To help determine that, some other aspects need to be looked at. As mentioned already, they come in different forms and they have to be taken on an individual basis to assess relative value.
Watch For Pitfalls
Before we get to the positives of welcome bonuses, let’s take a realistic look at the potential pitfalls. Most welcome bonus offers can be very tempting. What that can lead to is players going beyond their means just to try and fulfil them.
The fulfilment of a bonus offer could rely on placing a bet on a sport or market that you have no working knowledge of. It’s best to only work towards a promotional offer that naturally fits into your betting, as opposed to just fulfilling one for the sake of it.
Other pitfalls of welcome bonuses are the terms and conditions that can trip you up if not careful. Look at the key T&Cs of such a promotion, to ensure that you use things like a valid deposit method, make the qualifying deposit amount and meet things like a minimum stake requirement to release the bonus.
Wagering requirements have to be watched out for as well. These are more commonly found on casino welcome offers, but they can make a bonus untenable.
A wagering requirement of something like 30x or 50x the amount of bonus you are given makes it very tough for everyday players to complete. It means that you have to bet that x-amount with a real cash stake before you can cash any winnings from the bonus.
Types Of Welcome Bonus Offers
What type of welcome bonus offers may you come across? Here is a snapshot of some common ones:
- Matched Deposit Bonus – A credit of bonus funds matched to the value of your first deposit
- Risk-Free Bet – A free bet credit will be received if your first wager on the account loses
- Free Bet – Some operators release free bets to the account just for having a qualifying first bet on the account settled, regardless of whether it wins or not.
Matched Betting With Bonuses
Welcome bonus offers are not bad things at all. You can catch the right ones and get some kind of benefit. One of the best ways to do that is by a method called Matched Betting (or Risk-Free Bet Strategy) where you use the value of a free bet to your advantage.
If you have access to a Welcome Bonus, use the first qualifying stake on that account to place a wager, say on the match winner of a World Cup fixture.
Then with a real money stake at a different bookmaker, you could back a Double Result to cover the other two possible match outcomes, or jump onto a betting exchange and lay the original pick.
The resulting scenario is that if the first bet loses, you will get a free bet back if it is a Risk-Free Bet Bonus, which usually matches the value of the stake. It also means that you collect the winnings from the matched bet at the other site. So there is an upside.
If the initial bet wins then you collect the winnings as normal from the wager, and it should more than cover whatever the lost layout was on the second bet staked at the other site.
There is another advantage that could be taken from online welcome bonus offers as well. Because there are so many of them available out there, it is possible to visit different betting sites, open an account and snap up plenty of these types of offers as long as it is within your budget, as real money will be involved for initial deposits.
As with all types of online betting bonuses, some value can be taken from them. It is just using them to your advantage and not getting blinded by the big glitzy offers.
Truthfully there is better value to be found in long-standing deals at betting sites like rewards clubs and bet boosts than in one-off Welcome Bonus deals.