Free Bets

free betsThe table below shows free bet and welcome offers from UK licensed operators that have been accredited by us.  Please read all significant terms carefully before claiming any promotions.  You must be over 18 to gamble, terms and conditions will apply, eligibility criteria, payment and country restrictions may also apply.  GambleAware.

We understand that most people using this site knows what a free bet and bonus is and therefore below we have decided to tell you some history about free bets and betting offers, where they originated from and how they have evolved.  However, if you would like some guidance on how to claim them and how they work you can read about it on our home page.  Alternatively if you have specific questions about offers read out Free Bets and Bonuses FAQ.

Best Free Bets For New Customers

New customers only. 18+. Terms & Conditions Apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £50 In Free Bets
T&Cs Apply
New customers only. Register with SUMMER50. Deposit £10+ and place first bet £10+ at Evens (2.0)+ on Sports within 7 days to get 3 x £10 in Sports Free Bets & 2 x £10 in Acca Free Bets within 10 hours of settlement. 7-day expiry. Eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £50
T&Cs Apply
18+ only. New customers only. For verified UK and Ireland clients only. The qualifying bet should start at £/€10 and have 1.9 or greater odds. Following the qualifying bet, you will receive 5 free bets that can be used one after another. Each free bet lasts for 7 days. Single bet only. Pre-Match or Live. No Cash-Out. Max payout – £/€500. #ad
Bet £10 Get £40
T&Cs Apply
18+ Spread betting losses can exceed deposit. Place a qualifying £10 fixed odds bet at odds of 1/2 or greater. Qualifying bet cannot be placed in-play or cashed out early. Get 2x £10 fixed odds free bets, 2x £5 Winning Favourites spread bets, and 2x £5 Total Goals spread bets. Free bet stakes not included in any winnings from the free fixed odds bets. Free bets expire in 28 days if unused #ad
Bet £10 Get £30
T&Cs Apply
18+ New Customers Only. Opt in and bet £10 (odds 2.00+) within 3 days of sign up. No cash-out. Get 3x£10 Free Bets for set markets (odds 2.0+) which expire in 5 days. Cards and Apple Pay payments only. Scroll down for T&Cs. | Please gamble responsibly #ad
Bet £10 Get £30
New Players Only. Free bet - one-time stake of £30, min odds 1.5, stake not returned. 1X wager the winnings. Wager from real balance first. Wager calculated on bonus bets only. Max conversion: £200. Valid for 7 Days from receipt. Limited to 1 sport & 5 casino brand/s within the network. Withdrawal requests void all active/pending bonuses. Excluded Skrill and Neteller deposits. Full Terms apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £30
T&Cs Apply
18+ New Customers Only. Opt in and bet £10 on football (odds 2.00+) within 7 days. No cash-out. Get 4x£5 Free Bets for set markets and a £10 Slot Bonus for Big Bass Splash, 30x wagering, to withdraw max £250. Rewards expire in 20 days. Selected payment methods only. T&Cs apply. | Please gamble responsibly #ad
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets
T&Cs Apply
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Registration required. #ad
Bet £10 Get £30
T&Cs Apply
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 6x £5 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. 7 day bonus expiry. Debit Card / Apple Pay payments only. Click for T&Cs. Please Gamble Responsibly. #ad
Bet £20 Get £50
18+ | UK New Players Only | Opt-in Required | Min £20 qualifying bets, stake not returned | Free bet – one-time stake of £50, min odds 1.7, stake not returned | Bonus Code: FBSBET | 1X wager the winnings | Wager from real balance first | Wager calculated on bonus bets only | Max conversion: £200 | Valid for 7 Days from issue | Excluded Skrill & Neteller deposits | Withdrawal requests voids all active/pending bonuses | Full Terms apply #ad
Bet £10 Get £20 & 20 Spins
T&Cs Apply
Only available to new, verified customers residing in the UK. Place a first ever sports bet (£10 min. stake, single or multiple bets, min odds 1.4. Get 2x£5 in free sports bets, £10 in bonus money at casino and 20 free spins (£0.10 per spin) on eligible NetEnt slots. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #ad
Bet £5 Get £20
T&Cs Apply
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
T&Cs Apply
New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly., 18+ #ad
Bet £10 Get £20
T&Cs Apply
New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of the E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for full T&Cs. Bet Responsibly. 18+ #ad
Bet £20 Racing Get £40
T&Cs Apply
18+ New Customers only. Opt in, bet £20 on Horse Racing, 1/1+ odds in 7 days, no cash out. Get £40 in Free Bets on set markets valid 7 days. Debit Card / Apple Pay payments only. T&Cs apply. See below. | Please Gamble Responsibly. #ad
Bet £10 Get £30
T&Cs Apply
New customers & 18+ only. Min. deposit of £10. Qualifying real money bet of £10. Min odds greater than or equal to 1.5 required. E/W bets excluded. Offer awarded immediately but could be issued the next working day in exceptional circumstances such as technical fault. Additional T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. #ad
Bet £10 Get £20 & 50 Spins
T&Cs Apply
18+ New UK customers. Bet £10 on accas with 4+ legs, min odds 3/1 (4.0). Get 4x £5 Free Bets and 50 Free Spins, valid for 7 days on selected bets and games only. T&Cs apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £20 (4 x £5)
T&Cs Apply
18+ . New customers only. UK residents only. Minimum deposit £10. Minimum eligible bet £10. Min odds: 2.00. Free bets and bonus credited on eligible bet settlement. Free bet stakes are not included in returns. Casino bonus wagering is 50x and the bonus expires in 30 days. Free bets expire in 7 days. Certain deposit types are excluded. T&Cs apply. #ad
Bet £5, £20 in Free Bets
18+. UK+IRE only. Min first bet £5 at odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 4 x £5 free bets. Not valid with Cash Out. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. T&Cs apply. #ad
Bet £5 BetBuilder & Get £10 Free Bet
T&Cs Apply
min odds 3/1 (4.00) / min 3 selections / free bet valid 7 days / T&C apply / 18+ / #ad
£10 Acca Free Bets (Weekly) + 100 Spins
T&Cs Apply
18+, UK only. SPORTS: Place a minimum 2x £10 pre-match 4 leg acca cash bet where odds accumulate to 3.0 (2/1) or more and get a £10 bonus funds to use on multiples (3 or more selection, min odds per selection 1.5 (1/2)). Cashed Out, Asian Handicaps, Draw no Bet wagers or bets with void legs do not qualify for this promotion. Free Bet credited every Monday by 12pm. Maximum 1 free bet per customer per week available from this promotion. CASINO Deposit and Stake £10 on casino slots and receive 100 Free Spins on ‘Bacon Banker’. Qualifying players will have the Free Spins credited by 5pm the next day to their account. Players will need to log in and load up ‘Bacon Banker’ to claim their free spins. Spin value is £0.10. No wagering on winningsFree Spins 7 day expiry. Full T&C's apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £15
T&Cs Apply
18+, New customers only. Min wagering on sport £10. Max one £15 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater. Paid as bonus token with min 4/5 odds req. Selected payment methods only. Bet expires after 14 days of being credited. Play responsibly, T&C's apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £15
T&Cs Apply
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £15 bonus, valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at a min. odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets not eligible. #ad
Bet £10 Get £10 + £4 In Fantasy Tickets
T&Cs Apply
New Customers Only. Strictly 18+. Minimum Deposit £10. Deposit, play your complimentary £2 fantasy ticket, and place a qualifying bet of at least £10 at minimum odds of 2.0 (1/1) and receive £10 in free bets. (2x £5 free bets). The first £5 free bet is credited when the first £2 fantasy ticket has been used. The second £5 free bet is released after 7 days when your second £2 fantasy ticket has been used. Once the qualifying £10 minimum bet is settled, you will receive your first £5 free bet within 24 hours. Free bet winnings are paid in cash - stake deducted from winnings. T&Cs Apply. #ad
Bet £15, Get £15 Free Bet
T&Cs Apply
New Players only. Max. Free Bet Token amount: £15. Minimum Deposit: £15. Minimum wagering on Sport to activate the Free Bet Token: £15. Full T&C's apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £10
T&Cs Apply
Add a bet to your betslip with the minimum stake of £10 and tick “promotion opt in” on the betslip before placing your bet. Once accepted we’ll credit you with a £10 free bet. Minimum odds on qualifying bet 1/1 (2.0). Your qualifying bet must be placed within 7 days after claiming the offer. Ends 31/12/24 at 23:59 GMT. Full T&Cs Apply. #ad
Racing Bet £20 Get £20 & £10 Casino
T&Cs Apply
18+. New customers only. Min deposit £20 (debit cards only). Opt in for £20 racing bonus money. Place a £20+ bet on Horse Racing at min odds 2/5 (1.40) each leg, casino 50x. Unless forfeited, racing offer must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Racing bonus valid for 30 days. Geographical restrictions and T&C’s apply. #ad
0% Commission For 60 Days
T&Cs Apply
Use code COMMFREE to trade with 0% commission for 60 days. Min. £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Instant Banking. Full T&C’s apply.18+. #ad
Bet £10 Get £10
T&Cs Apply
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £10 bonus, valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets no eligible. #ad
Bet £10 Get £10
T&Cs Apply
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £20 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement #ad
£10 Bonuses (Bet £30)
T&Cs Apply
18+ New UK customers only. Promo code: BONUS10. Min deposit & single bet £30. Evens (2.0) or above. Bet must be placed same day as deposit. £5 Free bet added after qualifying bet settlement, £5 in Free Spins within 48 hrs. Full T&Cs apply. #ad
Bet £10 Get £10
T&Cs Apply
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £20 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement #ad
Bet £20 Get £10
18+. New depositing sport players only. Offer only applies to players who are residents of United Kingdom. Min deposit £10, minimum wagering on sport £20, req qualifying bets at min odds at 1/1. Bet expires after 14 days of being credited. Max one £10 free bet per customer, paid as bonus token with min odds 4/5 req. PayPal, Neteller, Paysafe or Skrill not eligible. Gambling can be addictive. Please Play Responsibly. T&C's apply. #ad
0% Commission (For 100 Days)
T&Cs Apply
New 18+ Customers only. 0% commission on all exchange sports for 100 days. Promo code 0COMM100 must be entered during registration. Offer only available to users who deposit via debit card. Standard 2% commission rate applies on 101st day. Not available to API, RDT or trading software customers. T&Cs Apply. #ad
100% Profit Boost Up To £100
18+, New reg only. Claim by placing a min deposit £10 via ‘My Offers’ page within 30 days. 7 days to stake max £10 in-play, min odds 1/1 (2.0). Max. extra winnings £100. Once claimed, 30-day expiry. Cashed out, System & EW bets do not qualify. Other Promotional Play Restrictions Apply. T&Cs apply. #ad
£40 Money Back + £10 Casino
T&Cs Apply
18+ New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: all sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Full T&C's apply. #ad
Bet £15, Get £10 Free Bet
T&Cs Apply
New customers only. Max. one £10 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater. Paid as bonus token with min. 4/5 (1.80) Odds req. T&CS APPLY. 18+ #ad
Bet £50 Get £25 Free Bets & 10 Spins
New customers only, 18+. Min deposit £10. Place a £50 bet on any sport at 2.0+ to qualify for £25 in free bets and 10 Free Spins. Free Bets and Spins valid 7 days. £0.10 Free Spins. T&Cs apply. #ad
50% Loses Up To £25 Free Bet
T&Cs Apply
18+. New accounts only. New customers must have a minimum of 3 bets of £10 at odds of evens(2.0) or bigger on first day. First day losses equals all losing stakes less all returns and the day finishes at 23:59. Free bets must be entirely used and stakes are deducted from returns. Free bets expire after 7 days and are non-withdrawable. Full T&Cs apply. #ad
Up To £35 Free Bet + 10 Spins
T&Cs Apply
We've enhanced our Sportsbook Welcome Offer, giving new UK customers the opportunity to get 50% back as a Free Bet up to £35 plus 10 Free Spins! T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | #ad
50% Back as Free Bet Up to £50
T&Cs Apply
18+ New Customer only. Register with Fafabet and get 50% back as a free bet up to £50+20 casino bonus. Deposit and bet on Sportsbook markets of your choice at odds of evens 1/1 (2.00) or greater is required to qualify for the max free bet, which is based on first day losses. Even a single £10 bet at minimum odds, secures a £5 Free Bet & 5 Free Spins. T&Cs apply. #ad
£50 Deposit Bonus
T&Cs Apply
New bettors; Code SPORT; Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; Valid 60 days; Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply; T&C apply; 18+ #ad
£25 Free Bet Bundle
T&Cs Apply
18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 £5 max qualifying bets. 13 settled bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed on sportsbook within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply #ad
Bet £25 Get £10
18+ only. New customers only. Sign Up using the promo code b25g10fb and make a minimum deposit of £25. Place a minimum £25 bet on any selection with minimum odds of evens (2.0) and receive a £10 free bet upon bet settlement the following day. Full terms apply. #ad
10% Cashback Always
Cashback is cash without restrictions. Full T&C's apply. No Max cashout. Gambling can be addictive. Play responsibly. T&C's apply. 18+ #ad
10% Cashback Always
T&Cs Apply
Cashback is cash without restrictions. Full T&C's apply. No Max cashout. Gambling can be addictive. Play responsibly. T&C's apply. 18+ #ad

History Of Free Bets and Changes Over Time

old picture showing trackside betting at a horse race

There is a saying that in life “you don’t get something for nothing”. This though, is what the gambling industry would want you to believe.

Gambling can actually be traced back to 2,000 BC ever since a clutch of bored Ancient Chinese soldiers realised that you could gamble using tiles which eventually evolved into the game of Mahjong centuries later.

Over nearly four millenniums, the act of gambling progressed significantly with more and more games, each one as creative as the next; many of which are still played today. Some originating from a number of different countries all over the world and becoming gradually sophisticated as time went by.

In its truest form as we all know it, gambling involves staking a numeric amount of currency on a certain outcome during a game, which will have predefined odds that guarantees a precise jackpot.

As late as the early 20th century, certain members of society began to take a dim view of gambling, especially in Great Britain, however, this did not prevent ‘underground’ gambling clubs and betting rackets.

It was horse racing that was especially in demand and an illicit market soon emerged in the back streets of central London, off the back of an entrepreneurial yet rebellious individual whose enterprising east end motorcycle capers, taking bets in the hundreds led to a permanent, albeit illegal Jermyn Street headquarters.

That individual was who millions now know today as William Hill. A household name, but in every respect, perhaps the true luminary of the UK gambling industry. Opening in 1934, Hill perhaps unwittingly created the first ever, unofficial ‘free bet’.

While gambling was still considered illegal, Hill discovered and considerably exploited a loophole which allowed him to take bets in the form of postal stamps or credit and the bets flooded in.

Legalised Off-Track Betting Changed The Game

willim hillIn 1961, gambling became legal in the UK and while by now, Hill’s had a few rivals he was still arguably the most well known.

However, it led to a considerable more companies being formed, many of which had to raise capital in a number of ways.

In the space of six months, the British High Street was home to more than 10,000 betting shops, the vast majority of which sporting the emblematic William Hill logo; respectable, dignifying – a complete contrast from the shady image that it had portrayed previously.

Of course, now with the backing of the government who raked in their fair share in taxes, the established companies not only had the financial clout, but also a firm foundation to build on. The biggest challenge was attracting and retaining the customer.

Those firms who really capitalised on customer acquisition really understood marketing and how to leverage clever techniques to reach their target audience. It is no coincidence that these companies are still some of the biggest today.

Relationships with the media, especially newspapers became key and playing the publicity game was something which the mercurial Fred Done of Betfred soon began to do as a way of differentiating the company from every other.

Relatively late to the game in 1966, Done understood the value of risk. His empire was built off the back of a high stakes bet on England winning the World Cup in that year.

While advertising per se wasn’t really an option for bookmakers, due to the government firmly insisting that all shop fronts be blacked out and just as bleak inside, Betfred went against the grain.

They found a way to make sure that punters kept on returning with a favourable focus on superior customer service. Everyone was offered a hot drink on their visit and treated like people, a tactic which won Done and his firm considerable respect and was the first step to a groundbreaking move.

New Dawn In The Age Of Betting

William Hill shop frontThe nineties brought about a much more relaxed approach to advertising. By now, bookmakers had branded windows and bright interiors and this was just the beginning.

In what was a revolutionary move at the time, coupons began to appear in newspapers, with bookmakers being able to reach many more potential customers. These involved free bets for nominal stakes (terms and conditions applicable) and payouts on an extra place for certain horse races.

This strategy proved a huge success and as word spread, newspapers witnessed a spike in sales. It was quite simply, a radical win-win.

It wasn’t until later that decade though, with the dotcom boom that an abundance of possibilities began to open up. Realising that the future was online, many flagship bookmakers made the smart decision to have a digital presence; free bets as we know them today were consequently brought to the masses and even given a completely new meaning.

victor chandler site 2003
Victor Chandler offer in 2003 (for illustration purposes only)

The internet opened up a whole new world of possibilities and, as a result, we saw many new gambling companies launch, especially from the turn of the new millennium onwards and, as a result these swiftly transitioned into major brands.

Global behemoths such as 888, bet365, BetVictor and Stan James (now part of Unibet) came to the fore, as well as smaller, more agile and niche companies began, such as specialist casino sites (poker).

Each one realised they needed ways of capturing the attention of potential new customers and began to go about this in a highly innovative manner.

Reimagining the Free Bet

betting ads
The image above is for illustration purposes only, these offers are not available

As opposed to the pre-internet era when betting shops would advertise ‘free bets’ in the form of a simple £1 free bet on a particular event, the endless possibilities that moving online presented for highly creative marketing managers literally turned the industry on its head.

The free bet essentially repositioned itself as the ‘welcome offer’, almost overnight and companies would do just about anything to make these tempting for new customers.

Having an online presence also allowed companies to not only track data and analytics better from a marketing and strategy standpoint, but also to use segmentation, which when it came to welcome offers, allowed them to narrow down more on target customers.

This meant that online casinos could provide a choice of welcome offers to their customers who could select them at just the click of a button. Also, the first new customer offers had considerably fewer terms and conditions attached to them, which meant there was much less chance of confusion.

Legislation continues to play a key part in gambling, even more so now as new developments are made every year.

The first free bets were often sizeable with each online gambling firm competing to outdo the other. With the internet still in its infancy and little competitive advantage in web development and design terms for usability and functionality all sportsbooks could do in order to compete was to provide generous new customer offers.

coral site from 2008
Coral free bet welcome offer in 2008 (for illustration purposes only)

It was not unusual to see firms offering completely free £10 and £20 bets to new customers in the hope of retaining their loyalty. Some firms, such as BetVictor offered a choice of either sports or casino free bets and as a result became one of the first companies to start tracking customer preferences for retargeting and database marketing.

There was more to the free bet than meets the eye. It wasn’t just a case of trying to get customers, but tracking how those who took the free bets behaved on their site. Which markets did they bet on? Which casino games or slots did they favour? How big was each stake? How much time would they spend on the site from claiming the free bet to actually wagering?

All of these statistics helped the savvier online gambling firms to build a bigger picture and look to the future sensibly. They could devise marketing plans, decide which markets or types of games to focus on and even predict financial forecasts.

How Free Bets Continued To Evolve

customer loyalty

The ‘free bet’ in as loose a sense of the phrase as there is, gives testament to the fact that the gambling industry is arguably one of the most innovative in the world when it comes to new customer initiatives.

This became only too evident as the years progressed since gambling companies moved online. As more and more variations of the free bet came to the fore, with companies fighting to get the better of each other, it became apparent that some customers preferred certain types of free bets to others.

Also, the capabilities of the internet and software development continued to increase as well, which helped gambling companies to be able to differentiate themselves considerably from one another. This is one important reason why firms knew that they could justify implementing creative changes to the free bet concept.

Having the ability to essentially now customise a site to suit a brand’s direction helped them to gain a sense of identity which customers found that they could relate to; all an important factor following a free bet.

There are several different elements that the best gambling companies knew that they needed to maximise in order to retain customers and now that more technological software advancements could be implemented, it became more important than before to get it right.

A free bet, regardless of the value or variation, was no longer enough; types of games, aesthetics, functionality, in-game bonuses, VIP scheme – these all played a part in securing long term customers.

Essentially, a free bet acts as a lever, with the role being to help convert prospects into customers, so it is up to the company to ensure that a visitor’s experience is fulfilling enough to warrant them depositing on a long term basis.

Types Of Offer Gambling Companies Use To Incentivise

free stampAs we have ascertained, gambling firms use a wide variety of introductory incentives to entice customers to their websites. Most of the time, a lot of thought is put into which type of offer to use by each company and this depends on a number of factors.

In some cases, gambling firms research extensively to understand which kind of welcome deal will suit their target customer, based on historical data, while in others, they may feel that they have a particular kind of product that is better suited to a type of free bet. As such, this product could be advertised to the customer after they claim their offer.

Each type of free bet campaign though, is thought out extensively and quite often, online gambling websites already usually know roughly how many people will take them up on this, and the amount of people who will convert.

The number of incentives that are available range in terms of how they are used by some gambling firms. While some are utilised as new customer offers, others are sent to existing customers in the form of token free bets, in small denominations such as a ‘Free £1 or £2 Bet’ on a certain event, with these usually being sent via text or email.

Furthermore, some gambling companies employ the ‘enhanced odds’ tactic for a specific outcome on a particular event, which although not a free bet, often punters sometimes will find that they get a similar level of value.

However, in terms of welcome offers there are a number of ‘free bet’ based products that companies offer, each having their own unique selling points.

No-Deposit Bonuses

no depositThese are usually the most popular offers for punters, usually because they don’t have to stump up any of their own money. The first type of welcome bonuses to be offered online, mainly they simply require the punter to opt in to quickly register filling in a couple of fields before receiving funds to their new betting account.

The good thing about this is that customers don’t have to risk their own cash and still usually have a decent amount to play with at their disposal which is generally in the £5 region. This is a great way for a customer to familiarise themselves with what is a great offering of products, particularly if they prefer casino games or slots.

Deposit Bonuses

bonusAn interesting variation on the free bet, these, as the name suggests, require the customer to make a small deposit first before receiving what is usually quite a significant amount in free bets.

Often this type of offer is more attractive to more seasoned punters who see the value, while the companies who offer these are usually quite well established with a considerably robust website so understand that they can retain customers due to the quality of their offering.

Free Spins

freeEssentially an online casino equivalent of a traditional free bet, this allows customers to take a number of free spins on slot games with the possibility of winning different amounts. The free spins initiative started as casino-only websites started to become popular, especially from 2010 onwards.

Companies found this to be a very popular tactic to bring in new customers; most slots are designed in a way that encourages customers to keep wagering and are one of the most addictive products in the world online gambling. Fundamentally, this proved to be a masterstroke as far as free bets were concerned as 10 free spins could quickly lead to a series of deposits.

Taxation and Advertising changes

UK Law FlagIn 2016, UK Chancellor at the time, George Osborne declared that all operators must pay a 15 per cent free bet or discounted online bet tax for both online casino and bingo games.

It consequently meant that operators had to be even more savvy and strategic when deciding when to use free bets and what type of free bets to use, knowing that they had to factor this into their financial forecasting.

However, since inception, free bets are still as commonplace as ever and just as innovative, almost as if gambling companies haven’t been affected at all by the recent legislation.

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) in conjunction with the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) has in recent years, have tightened laws around free bets considerably.

Now all advertising communications around free bets, whether this be outbound messages, website marketing or in-shop, gambling companies have to clearly specify certain terms and conditions.

These conditions refer to a customer’s ability to understand the promotion (so they emphasise no jargon) and also are likely to include any requirement for a customer to deposit their own funds, dialogue around restricted odds, eligibility, wagering and withdrawal requirements.

Most of the complaints pertaining to the marketing of free bets in adverts refer to the fact that some gambling companies didn’t used to stipulate the fact that customers had to deposit funds to access their free bet, which caused considerable controversy.

At the time, when free bet advertising changes came into force, the Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shariar Coupal was particularly staunch about where the company stood on the matter.

Coupal said:

“We won’t tolerate gambling ads that exploit people’s vulnerabilities or play fast and loose with eye-catching free bet and bonus offers. Our new guidance takes account of the best available evidence to strengthen the protections already in place, ensuring that gambling is presented responsibly, minimising the potential for harm.”

What Does The Future Hold For Free Bets?

bonus being givenThere has always been innovation in and around the gambling industry and it seems that it is in a constant game of cat and mouse with the authorities to find loopholes around new laws.

Also, every company competes with one another to gain an advantage which means that firms are always likely to find new versions of free bets.

With continuous developments in the world of technology as well, especially mobile, it could become easier than ever for gambling companies to communicate free bets to their customer base.

One thing though, is for certain; when it comes to free bet legislation, gambling companies now know, firmly where the line is and if they choose to cross it, they are aware of the consequences.

Free bets as they were when they first started no longer exist and as far as it goes in the gambling industry, you definitely don’t get something for nothing. Not even the bookie.