What Are Welcome Bonus Offers?
The best place to begin our discussion of welcome bonus offers is at the beginning – what are they? Really, they are exactly what they sound like, special offers made to welcome you for signing up and creating an account with a gambling website. As such, there are a few things that you should know here.
First and foremost, a welcome bonus is only available to those who have created an account with one of the qualifying UK betting sites. This requires that you be a UK citizen, although citizens of Commonwealth nations can sometimes qualify as well. You must also be at least 18 years of age in order to create an account.
In most instances, you will need to use a credit or debit card to sign up and create your account. You cannot activate your account or receive your welcome bonus until this occurs. However, some sites may offer alternatives to connecting your bank account or using a credit card. For instance, you might be able to sign up with PayPal, or to use a cryptocurrency wallet, Apple Pay, or any of a number of other payment options. The point is that you need to have a payment method in place prior to using your bonus.
Second, most welcome bonus offerings are only available to new gamblers. If you have already signed up with a particular sportsbook, you are not eligible. You may attempt to use a different email address, but understand that if the gambling site learns of your deception, there could be serious repercussions.
Finally, welcome bonus offerings come in a range of types. You’ll find cash back, deposit matching, free betting and a great deal more. We’ll discuss some of the more common types later in this guide, but for now, understand that each offers something of value, but there is always a catch. Yes, you can benefit from these offers, but they are ultimately designed to benefit bookmakers, as well. After all, sports betting sites are businesses, and they cannot prosper if they cannot turn a profit. Even welcome bonuses are ultimately designed to help bookmakers make money.
Why Do Gambling Sites Offer a Welcome Bonus?
Now that we’ve discussed a bit about what welcome bonus offers are and a little of what you need to know about them, we need to delve into why they are offered in the first place. As mentioned previously, bookmakers must turn a profit. If they cannot, then they will go out of business. There are a couple of requirements for that to happen, though.
Obviously, a sports betting site must have gamblers. Second, those gamblers must be willing to place wagers with the site. Once those two things are in place, bookmakers can begin making money. The problem is that with the number of online betting sites out there today, it has become more and more difficult for new betting sites to stand out from the slew of other options. Welcome bonus offerings, signup offers, and other promotional tools help them do that.
How do they help gambling sites grow and prosper, though? Aren’t they designed to benefit you, the gambler? Well, yes and no.
All welcome bonus offers come with strings attached. These are usually spelled out in the company’s terms and conditions or terms of service document and restrict how you can use your bonus. We’ll discuss what you need to know about those restrictions and limitations in a later section. For now, understand that things aren’t as one-sided as they seem. Welcome bonuses provide plenty of benefits for betting sites.
There are several other ways that welcome bonus programs can help sports betting sites stand out from the crowd of other options. For instance, they can be worked into marketing collateral, such as banner ads, email flyers, and the like. That builds buzz about what the company is offering, and attracts new players to their site.
Another way that these programs are beneficial for betting sites is that they allow those companies to build healthy, robust mailing lists. When you create an account, you’ll have to provide your name, email address, and possibly other personal information. This data helps the company refine their marketing methods and home in on their target demographic better. It also ensures that they can communicate with you where you live – through email, or even through social media – rather than relying on you to respond to an ad that you might come across in the wild.
So, gambling sites offer welcome bonus programs to attract new players, to help build profitability, and to ensure they have the data necessary for better marketing. Now, how do those bonus programs work? What are some of the more commonly used welcome offers out there? We’ll take a closer look in the next section.
How Do Welcome Bonus Programs Work?
There are multiple types of welcome bonus programmes out there, and they all work slightly differently. Therefore, it’s important to know what you might find in the way of a bonus program, and then how each of those options might work.
No Deposit Bonus
A no deposit bonus is one of the rarer types of welcome bonus programme out there, but one of the most beneficial. In this situation, you’re offered free cash with which to wager. You do not have to make a deposit in order to earn this money – it’s given to you on signup, automatically. However, note that there are usually significant constraints on how this money can be used, when or even if it can be withdrawn from the platform, and more.
With a deposit bonus, the gambling site matches your deposit, usually on a 1:1 ratio, up to a specific amount. For instance, you might wager £50 and the gambling site would match that, giving you a total of £100 with which to gamble. However, be aware that some sites will offer higher deposit matching, often on a 2:1 ratio. That means if you made that same £50 wager, the website would double it with £100, providing you with £150 with which to wager on the platform. Again, terms and conditions will apply to how this money can be used, when and if it can be withdrawn from the site, and more.
A cash back welcome bonus is not quite what it sounds like. Really, this is a points system that allows you to collect points as you deposit cash and make wagers. As your points increase, you have the ability to literally transform them into cash. That money can be kept in your account, but in some instances, it can be withdrawn, as well. Some betting sites will allow you to use your points to buy into a higher-level wagering environment (VIPs). Note that you may not accumulate points on a 1:1 ratio with your deposits. In some instances, it may be on a 1:2 ratio, or even lower. Points may also not translate to cash on a 1:1 ratio. This varies from sports betting site to sports betting site, so pay attention when comparing your welcome bonus offers.
Vig, or juice, is the term used to describe the fees that a gambling site assesses on losing bets (the most common type, and where the site makes most of its money). A reduced vig bet would allow you to gamble without worrying too much about losing more than the amount you bet. This can help you save cash over time, allowing you to perhaps break even with your wagering, even if you hit a streak of losses.
Free bets are often used as a welcome bonus, but they are not quite what they sound like. The gambling site is not going to just let you wager however you want, and back you blindly. Instead, think of this option more like insurance against you losing. A free bet is one that if you lose the wager, the company will reimburse your loss. If you win, you simply collect your winnings and go about your way – there’s no difference for winners, only for losers.
Refer a Friend
Refer a friend bonus programs allow you to earn cash for having your friends and/or family members sign up. However, understand that these often have very stringent requirements. For instance, you might be awarded £100 per signup, but only if your referral takes specific steps, makes a specified number of wagers, or stays with the company for a specified period of time. With that being said, these can be valuable bonuses if you know others who are interested in online betting.