There’s no denying that bookies and free bets go together like bees and honey, and whilst most bookmakers will liberally hand out bonuses to their existing customer base, it’s widely accepted that the best free bet offers tend to go to new customers.
On this page, you’ll find a big list of free bets all aimed at UK punters.
We’ve split the list into two parts; the first is dedicated to bookmaker sign up offers which can only be claimed once per person per bookie. The second section focuses on free bets for existing customers which covers the free bet clubs that many bookies run, plus a few other decent promotions thrown in for good measure.
Best Free Bet Offers: May 2021
What’s The Catch?
Whilst the term ‘free bets’ is used to lure in the punters, unfortunately, they aren’t always quite as ‘free’ as they may appear. A lot of them come with certain terms and conditions that you will need to adhere to in order to get your money.
The best advice we can give is to make sure you are aware of what you need to do in order to get your free bet. Basically, make sure you are familiar with the terms of the offer that you want to take advantage of.
The good news is that these offers are way more transparent and way easier to get to grips with than they used to be. The Gambling Commission has had a crackdown in recent years to make sure that punters stand a chance of understanding how each promotion works. This doesn’t include dozens of pages of tiny text to read through either, you’ll be pleased to hear.
Whilst each offer or free bet will be different from the last, here are a few key terms that you need to look out for that are pretty common with most promotions.
Most free bet offers come in the form of a matched amount of money. For example, this might be along the lines of bet £10 and get £10 free.
|REAL MONEY BET||FREE BET RECEIVED||TOTAL WAGERABLE||COST TO YOU|
A lot of the matched bets that you see will also state the words ‘up to’. So the offer might be ‘bet £10 and get up to £10 free’, but if you only bet £5 then you will only get a £5 free bet.
Given that these offers can only be claimed once per account, we recommend taking the full amount where possible. Most will be between £10 and £50, so should be within budget for the majority, plus, we want to maximise anything free that we can get off the bookies.
A lot of promotions will come with minimum set odds for your bet to qualify. For example, it might state that your bet needs to be at odds of 5/1 or greater in order to trigger the free bet.
The odds that you need to wager at will vary with each bookmaker. As a punter, you are looking to get the lowest odds possible as this means a greater chance of clearing your free bet and also of getting a return on your original stake – high odds are high for a reason, right?
For example, if a bookmaker offers you a ‘Bet £10 and Get £10’ free bet offer, would you rather take the minimum odds on the ‘bet’ part of the offer at 1/2 or 10/1?
The answer should be 1/2. This is because at 1/2 you have a much better chance of getting a return from your original stake than at odds of 10/1. This means that the money that you are getting for free is lower variance, so whilst the amounts still are the same, the actual total is easier with the lower odds on offer.
When you are trying to claim your free bet, a good bit of advice is to not necessarily follow the bet or market that you would normally bet on. For example, if you were a keen accumulator bettor, then the odds for your typical bet would be higher on average than someone who placed singles.
So, when clearing the free bet you need to try and take the lowest odds that the terms will allow you on an outcome or market that you think has the best chance. An accumulator bettor would be far better off taking a 1/2 single bet over their usual 10/1 accumulator bet, if only to trigger the free bet, which you can then use as you like.
Stake Returned v Stake Not-Returned (SR v SNR)
Once your free bet has been triggered and is in your account, there are a number of things that you need to be aware of, one such factor is whether or not your stake is returned.
Although uncommon with most modern-day free bet offers, there are still some bookies that will offer you your bonus stake back should you win with your free bet.
For example, you have a £10 free bet to use. You place a bet at even money with the £10 bet and that bet wins. If the bookmakers offer is stake returned then you get the £10 free bet back as cash along with the winnings, in this case an extra £10 for a total of £20.
The majority of bookies will have their offer set as stake not returned. So, in the same example above, if your bet wins then you would only get the £10 profit and the £10 free bet stake would disappear.
|FREE BET||ODDS||AMOUNT WON||STAKE RETURNED||TOTAL FUNDS|
As you can see, the difference in the returns can be huge, especially if you are betting at lower odds. A stake returned could literally double your money.
Given that a lot of bookmakers will give you a free bet of between £10 to £100, getting a stake returned deal can make a big difference. If you do manage to get an offer like this then we would recommend that you shorten the price of the bet that you are putting on and use some of the value in the stake returned feature to allow you to gain a bigger edge from the bookmaker.
Next up on the list is the wagering requirements. This basically means the amount that you need to wager in order to either trigger your free bet or to release the funds. To be honest, this is much more apparent with casino bonuses, but you will from time to time find a few free bet offers that require this as well.
Let’s look at an example:
The bookmaker grants a £50 free bet when you deposit and bet just £10. But, you need to wager 3x the bonus amount plus your stake to release the bonus funds and any winnings as real cash.
£10 deposit + £50 bonus = £60.
£60 x3 wagering = £180
You therefore have to make £180 worth of bets before your bonus money is available to withdraw.
There are multiple ways you can meet the wagering requirements. If your first bet wins then you can keep betting with your winnings until you eventually wager £180 or more. Alternatively, you can deposit more money and either place a few bigger bets to clear your wagering quickly, or keep chipping away at it with smaller bets, as long as it’s within the set timeframe.
The dream is to find an offer that has no wager requirements, which is actually pretty common for a lot of free bet offers these days.
Excluded Bets and Markets
We’ve spoken about triggers for getting your free funds, but you will find that a lot of free bet offers will exclude certain bets and markets from these triggers, so you need to be aware of this.
Common markets that are excluded:
- “Lucky” bets
- Bonus bets
It means that if you bet on any of these markets or use these bet types then you won’t qualify for your free bet. You need to be really careful here as if you inadvertently place your first bet on an excluded market then some bookies will revoke any free bets, whereas others will still allow you to trigger it once you make a qualifying bet. If in doubt, get in touch with support prior to placing your bet.
Many offers are going to come with a host of exclusions to work through meaning that not all players can claim each of the offers. However, if you are from and reside in the UK then it’s likely that you are going to be eligible for pretty much all the offers we have on OnlineBookies.uk.com.
Where you are located is the biggest sticking point for a lot of exclusions. These days, each territory has its own licenses which means that bookmakers can only accept players from certain places around the world. Because of how people from the different countries bank with the bookmaker, they can’t always be tracked as securely as is preferable, so the promotions in certain territories are stopped.
It’s also worth noting that all promotions will be limited to one per account holder, so you can’t claim the same welcome bonus for your betting account multiple times. Nor can you open multiple accounts under different names as this is essentially fraud and will be flagged by payment methods or addresses.
A lot of bookies will ban multiple offers to the same IP address as well. So if you live in a block of flats or you have a roommate that has already claimed the offer then there is a good chance that the bookmaker will not allow you to claim the offer as well. However, if you can prove that you are indeed both separate people, then often this exclusion can be lifted.
Usage Time Frames
Once your free bet is issued to your account you will likely have a certain amount of time to use that free bet before it expires. The time frame can vary, but expect it to be between 7 to 30 days after opening your account. If you fail to use it within this time frame then the free bet will be removed. Use it or lose it!
The time frame that the bookmaker sets will either be for the bet to be settled by or for the bet to placed by. These are two very different things.
For example, if you need to have the bet placed within the timeframe then you can virtually bet on any accepted market and just let it ride. Whereas if the bet needs to be settled within that timeframe, then the market will need to have closed before the expiry date. So, if you had a free bet with a 30 day expiry, you wouldn’t be able to bet on the winner of the Premier League at the start of the season as the market wouldn’t be settled in time.
Most bookmakers will limit the deposit options that you can use to claim a free bet. The most common methods that are pretty much universally accepted are credit and debit cards. This is because the bookmaker knows they need to be registered in your name at your registered address, so they are safe.
Payment methods such as e-wallets and cheques are two common processes that are banned from most free bet promotions. This is because in the past, with e-wallet payments especially, it has been easy to fraudulently gain multiple free bet offers using more anonymous payment methods like ewallets.
So, the likes of Neteller, Skrill, PayPal, Paysafecard and others are likely going to be banned from these offers, although offers specific to ewallet deposits do pop up from time to time.
The crack down on fraudulent accounts in the betting industry is increasing, and as a result, bookies will require you to send in proof of your identity. These forms of ID are usually along the lines of photo ID (passport, driver’s license etc.) and a utility bill for proof of address.
Whilst this can be a pain, you are going to need to have it sorted before you withdraw your money. This means that the initial withdrawal process can take longer than it should unless you verified your account at the beginning.
Our advice is to have these documents ready to go as soon as you sign up, as some may ask for it at this point anyway. You can contact most bookmakers to get the ball rolling if they don’t initiate it, and this will mean that you can process your first withdrawal with ease.
Remember, you will only need to do this once.
MOST IMPORTANT: Read the T’s and C’s
We’ve stated this already but as you can see from this article, there can be a lot of moving parts and conditions that you need to meet in order to get your free bet. It may seem more effort than it’s worth, but actually, most of this is common sense and you quickly get used to reading the terms, so it doesn’t take long.
By just taking the time to read through the terms and conditions before you take on the free bet offer it will save you a lot of headaches in clearing the amount and ultimately maximise your value.
The good thing these days is that a lot of bookmaker’s T’s and C’s are much more straight forward than they used to be. You don’t have to sift through dozens of pages to work out what’s going on and it’s all worded in everyday language.