The importance of understanding the small print of online betting offers

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The sports betting industry is awash with promotions, special offers, price boosts and even free bets. With the market more crowded and competitive than it has ever been before, bookmakers must battle just to stay relevant.

The industry no longer respects tradition and experience. The days of firms thriving simply by offering nice prices and exciting markets are long gone. Now, bookies must grab your attention before you have even thought about placing your next bet. They must leap off the page and you and convince punters to trust them over the competition.

How bookmakers get your attention

How do they achieve that? The most popular method is by offering deals, either to new customers as a welcome bonus or to existing players through recurring promotions. These are attached to the biggest and most popular sports fixtures on the calendar, including the Grand National, Premier League football, tennis Grand Slams, golf Majors and world championship boxing. It’s worth mentioning at this stage that sports betting offers are quite different than casino bonuses.

Welcome bonuses are a great way to attract new customers while recurring promos help drive repeat business. An example of a welcome bonus may be a £30 free bet when you sign up, deposit and bet just £10 on your favourite sports. For a £10 risk, you’ll receive £40 worth of bet tokens. A recurring offer may be money back if your football accumulator loses by just one leg. This kind of special entices punters to place their football accas with one online bookmaker over a rival that, perhaps, isn’t offering the same special.

What’s the catch?

Some bonuses and promotions just seem too good to be true. What’s the catch? Many of the biggest bookmakers understand the importance of attracting new customers, so there’s not a catch, although there are the usual terms and conditions when taking a closer look at the best online betting offers. The small print comes in many different forms, shapes and sizes, but most aren’t designed to spoil your enjoyment of the offer. They exist purely to safeguard both bookmaker and customer from the threat of online fraud and underage gambling. 

We advise reading through the terms and conditions in full before accepting any offer from a bookmaker. A few points are more important than others, of course, and below you’ll find a brief explanation on some of the more popular additions.

Terms and conditions

MINIMUM BET: The least amount you can place on a sportsbook bet to qualify for the bonus. This could be £5 or more, although most bookmakers enforce a £10 minimum bet. This is usually attached to welcome bonuses.

MAXIMUM STAKE: The most you can stake on a bet with a promotion attached. This can range from £1 to £50 or more. This term is usually attached to a price boost. For example, if a selection has been boosted from evens to 2/1 the bookie may add a £25 max stake to limit their losses.

MINIMUM ODDS: You’ll find this one on welcome bonuses and cash back promos. If firms are offering a free bet or cash back, they want it to be apply to realistic bets. To save this offer from being abused – customers betting on 1/3 shots, for example – they will add minimum odds to the terms and conditions. In most cases, minimum odds will be even money (1/1).

Limited to a certain sports type

AVAILABLE TO: NEW CUSTOMERS? You must be a new customer, registering for an account with an online bookmaker for the first time to unlock the welcome bonus. If you already have an account with this firm, no matter how old, you won’t be entitled to the new customer bonus.

EXCLUDED PAYMENTS: Some forms of payments don’t qualify for promotions, including welcome bonuses. These are certain e-wallet services. This is down to past customer misuse where they’d pay for the bet then cancel the transaction after receiving the promotion to get their cash back. Debit cards and PayPal qualify for most welcome bonuses.

RESTRICTED TO BET TYPE: This means you can only bet on a certain type of bet with your promotion. This could be win only or win and each-way in horse racing. If you are taking advantage of the money back for losing bets due to a 0-0 score in the football, this may be restricted to match winner, correct score and first goal scorer bets. Other bets won’t count.


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