How Do Bookies Free Bets Work?

how do free bets work at online bookies?

You probably already know that most online bookies offer a free bet when you open a new account. In fact, you can see a list of them on the right hand side of this page (or at the bottom if you’re viewing on a mobile). It’s just one of the many benefits of betting online rather than at a high street bookmaker. But do you actually know how these offers work, or how to use them?

In this article, we’ll explain what all of the terminology means. We’ll look at each type of bookmaker sign up offer, how each one works and how you claim them.

1 – Matched Bet

This is the original type of sign up offer, and probably still the most common. A typical offer might be something like “Bet £10, Get £10 Free.” The bookmaker would match your first stake with a free bet of the same value, hence the term matched bet.

However, recently some bookies have become a little more generous. Now you’ll see offers like “Bet £5 Get £10 Free” or even “Bet £10 Get £30 Free.” So they’re not just matching your first stake any more. Instead they’re doubling, trebling or even quadrupling it!

How To Claim A Matched Bet

matched betsIf you see any offer that says “Bet X Get X” or “£X Free Bet” it is a matched bet. So to claim these offers, you need to place a bet first with your own money.

  • Click on any offer from the free bets list on the right (or bottom) of this page. This opens a new window which will show full details of the offer. Make sure you read the terms and conditions.
  • You need to open a new account. This will only take you a minute or two, and it’s free.
  • Deposit the amount of money required to trigger the bonus. So for example, if the offer says “Bet £10 Get £30” you would need to deposit £10 or more. But if the offer says something like “Up to £50 Free Bet” you can deposit any amount up to £50. The free bet you will receive will be equal to the amount you bet, up to a maximum of £50.
  • Place your first bet.
  • You will receive your free bet as soon as your first bet has been settled. This usually happens automatically. So next time you log in, you’ll see the bonus in your account.
  • You can then place your next bet using the bookie’s money!

2 – Deposit Bonus

A deposit bonus is the second most common type of bookmaker offer, and it works a little differently to a matched bet. In this case, when you open an account and make your first deposit, the bookie will instantly increase the balance of your account by the specified amount. That means you don’t have to place a bet first.

For example, let’s say a bookie was offering a 100% deposit bonus up to £200. You would open your account and make your first deposit. If you chose to deposit £100, the bookie would double your balance to £200. If you deposited £200, they’d double it to £400.

However, you would not simply be able to withdraw that £400 straight away. There would normally be a “turnover requirement.” This means you would need to bet the bonus amount a certain number of times before it (and any profits made from those bets) can be withdrawn.

How To Claim A Bookmaker Deposit Bonus

bookmaker deposit bonusAny offer that says “£XXX Bonus” is a deposit bonus. The usual steps to claim these are as follows:

  • Click on your chosen offer from the free bets list on the right (or bottom) of this page. A new window will open which displays the details of the offer. As always, make sure you read the Ts and Cs before you join up.
  • Register your details and open a new account. It’s free, and it’s quick.
  • Make your first deposit. This can be any amount you like. However, bear in mind that the size of your bonus is based on the amount you deposit.
  • You will normally need to bet or “turn over” the bonus a certain number of times before you can withdraw it. This will be set out in the Ts and Cs as mentioned above.
  • Once this is done, you can the bonus as well as any profits you made from betting with it.

3 – Double/Treble Odds & Profit Boosts

This is a new type of sign up offer and works very differently to the previous two. Instead of giving you a free bet, the bookmaker offers to double or treble the odds on the first bet you place. Or sometimes it might apply to your first two or even three bets. With double or treble odds, if you win any of these bets, you get two or three times as much profit as you would otherwise have made.

The additional winnings may be paid in free bets rather than in cash. If this is the case, you would need to bet that money again before it (and any profits made from it) can be withdrawn.

How To Get Double or Treble The Odds

double or treble odds or profit boostThese steps apply to any offer that says “Double Odds,” “Treble Odds,” “Profit Boost” or any similar wording.

  • Click on your chosen offer from the list on the right of the page. If you are viewing on a mobile device, the list is usually shown at the bottom instead. Make sure you check the terms and conditions of the offer before you join. Pay particular attention to whether the enhanced winnings are paid in cash or in free bets.
  • Enter your details to open your new account.
  • Make your first deposit. This can usually be any amount.
  • Place your first bet.
  • If your bet wins, your profits will be doubled or trebled, depending on the terms of the offer.
  • If the offer stated that additional winnings are paid cash, you can usually withdraw the entire amount any time you want to.
  • However, if the offer stated that additional winnings are paid in free bets, then you will still be able to withdraw your stake and the profit your bet would have made at the normal odds. Additionally, your account will be credited with free bets to the value of the doubled or trebled odds. These can be used to place future bets using the bookie’s money instead of your own. Any profit made from these bets can then be withdrawn as normal.

4 – Risk-Free Bets / Bet Insurance

Some bookmakers offer a risk free bet, or a bet insurance. Both of these phrases mean the same thing. Quite simply, if your first bet loses they give you your money back. Hence, it’s risk free as you can’t lose your stake.

Usually this type of offer gives your money back as a free bet. This means you can’t withdraw it, you need to bet it again. Any profits made using that free bet can be withdrawn as usual. Likewise, if your first bet wins, you can withdraw the profits just like with any normal bet.

The steps to claim a risk free bet are very similar to those outlined above. Therefore we won’t bother to repeat them again here. It’s a simple and straightforward offer which works especially well of you want to bet on a long shot that you’re not certain of.

Free Bet Stake Not Included In Returns

Whenever a free bet is given by an online bookie, you will usually see something like “free bet stake not included in returns” as part of the Ts and Cs. But what exactly does this mean?

Let’s say you place a £10 bet at odds of 2/1 (3.0 decimal) using your own money. If your bet wins, your return is £30. That’s £20 profit, plus you get your £10 stake back.

However, if you use a £10 free bet token and bet with the bookie’s money, you still get the £20 profit. But usually, you don’t get the £10 free bet stake back as well.

This is a standard term and it’s nothing to worry about. You’ll always get to keep any profit you make with a free bet, just not the stake itself. But since it wasn’t your money in the first place, you’re still doing well out of the deal.


Today we’ve looked in detail at all four of the most common types of free bet offered by online bookies. It’s been quite a long guide, so thanks for staying with us! We thought it was important to explain them all in detail, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

In each case, we’ve described how the specific type of offer usually works. However, please remember that this is only meant as a guide. As we’ve mentioned several times, you should always check the terms and conditions of each individual offer.

All of the bookies listed on are individually tested and verified by us. However there are many betting sites out there, and sometimes the deal they offer doesn’t quite fit the normal pattern. We don’t want any nasty surprises, so take a few minutes to read through the terms of an offer before you sign up for it.

That’s all for now. Enjoy claiming those free bets!

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