Many sportsbooks offer free bets for new members, but with so many different sports betting sites available today, how can you separate the best from the rest? Well, in our guide below, we do exactly that!

Free bets are promotional offers provided by operators which allow you to place bets without using your own money. They are often offered to new customers to thank them for signing up.

Bear in mind, however, that these free bets usually have specific terms and conditions attached, such as minimum odds or maximum winnings. In addition, any profits made from these bets will be credited to your account balance, rather than your original stake.

While some promotions provide bonus funds for general use, free bets can only be used as wagers. Additionally, free bets are sometimes specific to particular sports, or typically offered during specific seasons.

Terms and conditions for promo codes related to free bets vary across sportsbooks. However, most bookmakers follow general guidelines regarding free bets. Here is a quick guide to give you an idea of just how free bets work.

Time Restrictions

First of all, you can expect your shiny new free bet bonus to come with a time limit. If you do not use your free bet within the allotted period, then it will expire. The average time limit tends to be seven days, but certain bookmakers offer periods of 10 to even 30 days. To confirm this, always check the terms and conditions beforehand.

No Cash Out

Your free bet bonus will almost certainly come with a “no cash out” disclaimer. This means that you will be unable to translate the bonus into its equivalent value in cash without placing a bet. This rule is standard — it helps prevents unscrupulous bettors from claiming their bonus funds and then running away without placing a wager!

State Restrictions

Online sportsbook promotions can sometimes vary between states. In some cases, a sportsbook will offer completely different bonuses for different states; in other cases, the distinctions are smaller. The minimum accepted age for players also varies between 18 and 21, depending on the state. When in doubt, check the terms and conditions of your chosen bookmaker.

Minimums, Maximums, and Odds

The majority of free bets will almost certainly come with minimums and maximums. In seasonal or “refer-a-friend” offers, the amount will be fixed. For welcome bonuses, it will likely be more flexible. Often, the minimum will be $10, while the maximum will vary between sportsbooks — it could be anywhere from $100 to $2,500.

When you sign up for free bets, you might find yourself faced with an odds-based limit. This means that you will only qualify for a free bet if you place a wager within a certain range of odds. For example, the allowed range might be greater than -300 or greater than -250.

Free bets come in several different forms. Check out the following list to get an idea of which one – or ones – would suit you the best.

No Deposit Free Bets

The first is the no-deposit free bet, which do not require you to deposit funds before claiming the offer.

A no deposit free bet is what many players would consider the best type of free bet. But, bear in mind that bonuses of this sort are very rare! If you are fortunate enough to find a bookmaker with a no deposit free bet offer, this should definitely be a point in their favor.

Free Bets Which Require a Deposit

This is different from the no deposit type of offer on the grounds that, as the name suggests, you will be required to make a deposit before you can claim the offer (the size of the deposit depends on the bookmaker).

Despite this, a deposit bonus still provides good value – the size of which will often be flexible, so that the more you deposit into your account, the more valuable your free bet offer.

Risk-Free Bets

Many bookmakers offer risk-free bets for their members. This means that if you happen to lose your first bet, then you might be able to claim a second bet for free. Whether you can obtain the latter will usually depend on the size of your loss. For example, some bookmakers will only provide a free bet if you lose $10 or more on your risk-free bet.

Risk-free bets are very common as welcome bonuses. From a bookmaker's perspective, the benefit of a risk-free bet is that the player is obliged to wager before they can claim the free bet, meaning that the promotion works on a sort of “one for you, one for me” basis. The good news is that the maximum you stand to gain tends to be quite high.

Seasonal Free Bets

While free bets offers are typically associated with the perks afforded to new members at a bookmaker, certain bookies provide free bets to regular members as well. Generally speaking, these will be associated with seasonal events. For example, you might be able to claim a soccer free bet during the World Cup.

It's a good idea to keep a regular eye on the promotions page of your chosen bookmaker and see if any seasonal offers are currently in play. Most bookmakers will also have newsletters, so you will be able to stay updated by email. Also, remember that the promotions which first attract you to a site might vanish with a season's change!

Prize Free Bets

Some free bet offers are presented as a payoff that requires a little gambling beforehand. With promotions of this type, you are required to first bet a certain amount on a game.

If your bet pays off, then your prize will include free bets. Typically, the required betting sum will be small and the potential payout will be large.

With some bookmakers, free bets of this type might be labeled as rewards. That said, bear in mind that “rewards” as a concept are typically tied to loyalty schemes and VIP clubs. While many bookmakers have such loyalty schemes, there is no guarantee that free bets will be among the perks that they offer.

Refer-a-Friend Offers

A number of betting sites provide “refer-a-friend” promotions. As the name suggests, these are rewards that you are given in exchange for introducing a new customer to the site (you will need to send them a specific invitation). In some cases, your reward is a free bet, usually in the $50-$75 range, although it might be a different form of bonus.

As we mentioned above, while you are most likely to get a free bet bonus as a perk for signing up, this is not the only way. It is not yet a standard practice for online bookmakers to offer free bets for existing customers. Still, a number of sites do indeed offer such promotions, and the number may very well continue to grow in the future.

When a bookmaker offers free bet promotions for both new members and existing customers, you can expect the two groups to end up with distinct types of free bet bonuses. In case you are interested in what perks you stand to benefit from as a repeat visitor to a sportsbook, here is an overview of how free bets for existing customers differ from those for newcomers.

Fixed Sums

If you win a free bet bonus as an existing member of a sportsbook, there is a good chance that it will come as a fixed sum. For example, if you fulfill the relevant eligibility requirements, you might find yourself with a free bet bonus that is specifically set at $60 or $75 — with no way to adjust it to make it larger.

This is different from free bet bonuses for new members, which usually have a heavy degree of flexibility. The bookmaker will set the minimum and the maximum, but beyond that, you will be able to adjust the size of the free bet you obtain by adjusting the size of your first real-money wager. Once again, though, different bookmakers will have different rules.

Lack of Risk-Free Bets

Free bet promotions for existing sportsbook members tend not to be of the risk-free variety. This is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, a risk-free bet will, by its nature, require the player to make (and lose) a real-money wager before they are entitled to claim a free bonus.

If a free bet bonus is not risk-free, however, then there will be no need to make a real-money bet. So long as you meet whatever eligibility requirements are attached to the promotion in question, the free bet will be yours to use as you see fit.

Transparency

As you can see, the two factors outlined above make free bet offers for existing customers a lot more “what you see is what you get” than the welcome bonuses.

The offers for new members tend to look more generous than they actually are. For example, if a bookmaker promises “up to $1,000 in free bets,” then chances are that you will need to wager $1,000 in real money to earn the full bonus. Meanwhile, a $50 free bet for existing members will likely be just that — a $50 free bet for existing members.

Here are seven of the top sites for free bets. The offers will be slightly different from site to site, of course, so give this list a look and decide which bookmaker fits your betting style.

Choosing a Safe Bookmaker

Remember that the only bookmakers worth your time are those that are fully licensed and regulated. Always check the information at the bottom of a bookmaker site to see if it carries a license; usually, this will be from the authorities of Malta or Curaçao. In addition, responsible bookmakers will provide tools like deposit limits and time outs to help players to set restrictions on their activities.

BetMGM

As well as seasonal risk-free bets, BetMGM offers new members a risk-free first bet of up to $1,000. This means that if the team that you wagered on loses, you will be given free bets equal to the sum that you bet: wager $1,000, lose $1,000, and earn $1,000 in free bets.

Beyond these free bets, the promotions at BetMGM tend to be tied to particular sports. Many are parlay offers, while you also stand a chance to claim early cash out on certain straight and parlay games.

As well as these, BetMGM has its own loyalty scheme, where you can rack up reward points in exchange for additional perks: just the thing for regular customers.

DraftKings

DraftKings offers what we would call a prize free bet offer. New customers can bet at least $5 on a pre-game Moneyline; if the chosen team wins, you will be granted $150 in free bets. The bookmaker also offers seasonal risk-free bets.

Other promotions available at DraftKings include “boost bonuses” and parlays tied to specific sports. At the time of writing, there is also a refer-a-friend bonus, although this earns you up to five 100% profit boosts rather than a free bet.

DraftKings also has a casino which has its own set of bonuses, so there’s lots on offer.

PointsBet

PointsBet offers new members what it calls the “Second Chance” promotion. To qualify, the player must place a fixed odds bet each day over the course of five days. If one bet loses, the player is entitled to up to $100 in free bets. If all five daily bets lose, the player can claim a total of up to $500 free bets, and free bets at PointsBet have no rollover requirements attached to them.

On top of this, the site has a raft of other promotions. One of these is the innovative “name a bet” system, exclusive to this operator, which allows customers to request bets they would like to see via the PointsBet app. Multiple loyalty and reward systems are also in place.

BetRivers

New players at BetRivers are entitled to a straightforward offer. Sign up, and you will be given a risk-free bet of up to $100.

This may sound a little sparse, but bear in mind that BetRivers free bets system is just one aspect of a much broader range of promotions. Most of these are tied to specific leagues and organizations, including the NFL, NBA, and the NHL.

BetRivers also has a loyalty system where regular users can obtain VIP status and all of the perks that come with it.

Caesars Sportsbook

One of the best-known free bets betting sites, Caesars Sportsbook has a welcome offer called “The Full Caesar.” If your first cash wager loses, you will get 100% of your bet back in up to $1,250 worth of free bets. Your first bet (win or lose) also grants you 1,000 reward credits and 1,000 tier credits for the sportsbook's loyalty scheme.

Besides the Full Caesar, the promotions system at Caesars consists of a loyalty system. Dubbed Caesars Rewards, this is tied to 50 physical locations across the United States. Regular players are able to get reduced rates on rooms. This might be a little outside the ordinary for players who expect deposit bonuses, but it can hardly be called unwelcome!

WynnBet

At WynnBet, new customers can earn $100 in free bets by placing at least $100 (with odds of at least -120) with their first money bet. The site also offers smaller-scale weekend free bets offers, although the details here vary from state to state.

WynnBet's promotions system extends well beyond its free bets. The details are complicated to summarize because, again, the offers vary between states. As a general rule, however, you can expect to take advantage of parlay bonuses, “one-hour reduced juice” offers, and promotions tied specifically to WynnBet's casino rather than its sportsbook.

Unibet

Unibet offers a risk-free bet for its new members. As usual, the exact size of the free bet you get in return will depend on how much you lost in your first wager. The minimum is $10, while the maximum is $500.

Once again, Unibet has a raft of other promotions on offer in addition to its free bets. Some will be seasonal, so check the promotions page to see the latest additions. Like a number of the other services discussed above, Unibet includes a casino as well as a sportsbook, meaning that the casino portion of the site will have various promotions of its own.

In this article, we have given you a thorough overview of online free bets and covered a variety of topics, from different types of free bet bonuses to the best free bets betting sites.

Throughout all of this, there are two golden rules to follow: one — always choose fully licensed and reputable bookmakers; the other — gamble responsibly and know your limits.

Personal taste will also play a significant role in deciding which free bet bookmaker is for you. Each bettor will have their own distinct betting style and so will have different interests in terms of the structure of a bookmaker and the promotions it offers. So, now that we have given you some suggestions, feel free to try them out — and happy betting!

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