How To Pick Sportsbook Bonuses

Try walking into a Las Vegas casino and telling them you’ll give them $100, but in return you want $200 to bet with. Think it’ll work? Us neither! With online sportsbooks, you can make money before you even place your first bet thanks to the various bonuses they offer their customers.

One of the biggest perks of online gambling, sportsbook bonuses, give you money or free bets when you make a qualifying deposit. Almost every online sportsbook, including the ones on our list of recommended websites, offer them. On this page we’ve got all the information you need for selecting a winning sportsbook bonus, from the different bonus types, through to what you’ll need to look out for in the fine print. 

Choosing a Good Sportsbook Bonus

While no two bonuses are the same, they do carry similar terms and conditions. One of the biggest misconceptions among new online bettors is that you should look for the biggest, baddest, boldest sign-up bonus possible and jump on it. While this may work for some, it may be a big mistake for others. Why? Read on and we’ll explain the different bonus types and the various terms and conditions applied to them.

Types of Sportsbook Bonuses

Sign-Up Bonuses – The most common bonus is a sign-up bonus for new customers. Ranging from 10% to 100% of the amount of your first deposit, sign-up bonuses are a great way to start your betting career!

Match Bonuses – One of the most popular bonus options are match bonuses. Simply put, a match bonus matches your deposit amount with an equal amount in bonuses. So if you deposit $100, you’ll receive an extra $100 in your account.

Deposit Bonuses – As the name suggests, a deposit bonus is a bonus tied to a deposit to your sportsbook account. While some sportsbooks offer different deposit bonuses depending upon the deposit method used (credit card, wire transfer, etc.) all will require proof of a successful financial transaction before you receive the bonus credit.  

Reload Bonuses – Just like the name implies, a reload bonus is credited to your sportsbook account once you have made at least one deposit prior to this one. Reloading (or refilling) your account proves to a sportsbook that you are not just testing the waters and are here to stay, and have a history of successful financial transactions.

Free Bet Bonuses – Considered one of the least risky bonuses for a sportsbook, a free bet bonus is not a bonus amount credited to your account, but rather a risk-free wager. If you win you get to keep the cash (depending upon the terms, of course). If your bet loses it doesn’t matter because the bet was free anyway. Some sites will ask you to make a bet with your own money first, and if it loses they refund your account with cash or a free bet of the same value.

No Deposit Bonuses – By far the rarest of sportsbook bonuses, no deposit bonuses are usually offered when you are a customer a sportsbook wants back badly. How badly? They offer you free cash to play with without the need to fund your account. Be careful however, no deposit bonuses can carry heavy terms.


Terms & Conditions: Read the Fine Print

Sportsbook bonuses sound like a pretty sweet deal, right? We always suggest that before you take a bonus, or make a deposit, you read the fine print. Each website is required to say exactly what the Terms and Conditions are of any bonus. The main T&C’s that you, as a bettor, may encounter are Rollover, Hold and Max Release.

Rollover deserves its own section, however the term “Hold” means that you may encounter a time restriction before you can withdraw either your winnings or any of your balance, while max release means the sportsbook may put a “cap” on your winnings, limiting it to a certain amount. While not universal, always compare these conditions before joining a sportsbook.

Rollover Requirements

One of most misunderstood Terms and Conditions, are Rollovers or “Playthroughs”. They have caused more angry online gamblers than any other T&C. Why? Because some customers neglect to read about the rollover requirements before they take a bonus.

A Rollover means you have to bet your deposit and/or bonus amount a certain number of times before you are entitled to receive any winnings, or be able to withdraw your money. Think of it as their way of minimizing risk and ensuring that unscrupulous bettors are not taking advantage of the site’s bonuses.

While rollover requirements do vary, expect at least a 5-10X rollover in most cases. Not all books are equal however, so make sure to read that “Bonus Terms” section carefully.

Why the Maximum Bonus Amount Matters

One of the principal considerations when taking a bonus is the “max bonus amount” declaration. While not explicitly tied to percentage, it does place a ceiling on the amount you can receive. Say you deposit a $1,000 and take a 100% bonus. This means you get an extra $1,000! Well, just say that the sportsbook imposes a max bonus amount of $500. This means that for your $1,000 bonus, you only receive $500 free!

Now, we’re no math experts but that doesn’t seem like 100% to us. For this reason, we always advise maximizing your return by never depositing above a max bonus amount; in the above situation with the ceiling, any deposit more than $500 is just a wasted opportunity to make more cash.


More sports betting tips:

Picking a Sportsbook

Managing Your Bets

Comparing Odds

Drinking and Betting