Free bets guide

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free bet. Imagine this – a sports betting site that offers you free money in the form of a free bet just to sign up with their site!

This lesson will answer common questions about free bets. It will tell you how and where to claim them, and how to meet the wagering requirements.

A free bet? Isn't that too good to be true?

Well, it kind of is and it kind of isn't. A free bet is simply bonus money given to you when you open an account to use on a single bet or a series of wagers. If you're scratching your head and wondering why you just can't take the money and run, then … well, you can't! Most, if not all “free” bets are bets that you can never withdraw.

What's the point of betting with a free bet, if I can never withdraw it?

If your free bet comes up trumps, then you collect the winnings! Say you spend a free £50 on Andy Murray to beat Roger Federer at 5/4 and the grumpy Scottish tennis ace wins, you've won £62.50! If it had been with your own money, you would be taking back your £50 stake as well, but £62.50 is certainly not something to be sniffed at.

Can't I just put my money on a 'dead cert' and claim my 'easy' winnings?

Say England were playing Macedonia at football (not that England playing anyone at football can be said to be a 'dead cert'!) and the bookies had offered 1/5 on England to win. By using your free £50 you've virtually guaranteed yourself a tenner, surely? Well, the bookies have thought of that, and your bet has to be placed on multiple wagers, or at minimum odds. Usually, the odds are not too ridiculous – usually nothing much worse than evens, so you'll still have a decent chance of winning something.

Any other free bet conditions I need to be aware of?

You may have to wager the same amount of your own money as to the value of a free bet before you can claim it, or you may have to wager any winnings from the bet a certain number of times before you can cash out. When joining an online sports book to take advantage of a free bet, make sure you consult the promotion's Terms & Conditions first.

Now you're clued-up a little about free bets, here are some of the best free bet deals that are currently available:

Sportsbook Amount Min Odds Other Conditions
888sport £88 Evens One free £10 bet for every three normal bets made
Ladbrokes £100 1/5 Awarded after real bet of £5+ made
BetVictor £25 Evens Matched free bet up to £25
32Red £10 Evens Matched free bet up to £10 + 10 free slot spins
BGO Sports £10 None Virtual sports only – first £10 in lost bets refunded
Paddy Power 4x £/€5 1/2 Awarded after real bet of £/€10+ made
Unibet £20 + 4x £5 None Five bets where the stake is returned if lost
Betfred £25 Evens Awarded after a £10 max bet with doubled odds
Coral £20 1/2 Awarded after real bet of £5+ made