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Bonuses are the most common lure sportsbooks drop in the betting waters to entice bettors to join their sites. There are many different types of sportsbook bonuses available to bettors, each of them with their own unique draws.

There’s two main kinds of bonuses: sign-up bonuses, which only apply to your initial deposit or first few bets, and ongoing bonuses, which apply to the entire length of your sports betting career.

Understanding the different types of bonuses that sportsbooks offer is essential to getting the most value out of your online sports betting experience. In this article, we break down all kinds of bonuses available to bettors.

The Juiciest Sportsbooks Bonuses: Sign-Up Bonuses

Designed to attract new bettors, these “welcome bonuses” offer too-good-to-pass-up free lunches that take a lot of the sting out of depositing your hard-earned money in an online sportsbook.

There are many different types: some sportsbook will match a percentage of your deposit or give you some free bets to place, others will match your first bet or multiply the winnings on your first bet. It’s important to consider the terms and conditions to understand their real value.

These bonuses are only available to new customers, so don’t expect to be able to claim these more than once at each site.

The Most Common of All Sportsbook Sign-Up Bonuses, the Initial Deposit Bonus (Deposit Match Bonus)

These first-time deposit bonuses are not complicated. Simply put, for every dollar you deposit into your betting account with a sportsbook, the sportsbook will match some percentage of that deposit. Usually, it’s between 50% to 100% of the amount you deposit.

These bonuses arguably offer the biggest incentive for joining an online sportsbook, and they can shape the way you bet.

These bonuses are usually applied to the very first deposit you make and are subject to terms and conditions like rollover.

Most bonuses of this ilk do not require you to input sportsbook deposit promo codes to successfully redeem. The majority of deposit bonuses will be credited to your account automatically.

However, a select few sportsbooks will require you to input a code in the deposit process in order to receive your bonus funds. Rest assured, if your sportsbook requires a deposit code for a bonus, they’ll make this information easy to locate, and inputting the code should go off without a hitch.

Betting With Your Sportsbooks’ Bankroll, or Free Bets

Another kind of bonus online sportsbooks offer is a “free bet.” If you deposit, say, $25, you’ll get to place a $10 bet without actually laying any of your bankroll.

If your bet doesn’t pay out, no harm no foul. But if you pick a winner, you get the profit from that bet.

These free bets might not look as attractive as the big 200% deposit bonuses some books offer, but they come with their own set of advantages.

If you’re not looking to bet frequently (Super Bowl props only come once a year, after all) a free bet offers you a little value, some fun (bet a longshot! Who cares? This money isn’t real!) and no long-term commitment to the book.

Some Sportsbooks Will Match Your First Bets: Matching Bet Bonuses

Matching bets are less commonly available at sportsbooks, but some select books still offer them.

With a matching bet bonus, if you lay $25 on one line, the sportsbook will credit you with two of that bet. It’s basically a free bet but limited in such a way that you can’t bet against yourself and guarantee a profit.

The strategy around matching bets is interesting because you’re essentially multiplying your potential payout without changing the risk or the underlying probability.

For this reason, it might be better to bet on short odds over long odds, to set yourself up for a solid win instead of a home run.

What Can Ongoing Bonuses Offer You?

Understanding the value of the ongoing bonuses offered by a sports betting site (also known as lifetime value) is integral in maximizing what you get out of your betting experience.

If your plan is stick with a sportsbook and bet for any sustained period, you should doubtlessly select one that incentivizes your loyalty with ongoing bonuses.

Reload bonuses, refer-a-friend bonuses, and cash back (rebate) bonuses are all part of sportsbooks’ ongoing bonuses programs.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus

This bonus is relatively simple. For every friend that you refer to a sportsbook, the sportsbook will credit you with a deposit once your friend makes their initial deposit.

Obviously, the size of the deposit the sports betting site offers varies widely, but as a general rule of thumb, the percentage is between 25% and 50%. Usually, the maximum amount they’ll credit you with isn’t gigantic, and it won’t be as much as a conventional initial deposit bonus.

Regardless, this is a useful type of promotion if you think you’ve got some friends, family, or some people in the office you can convert or introduce to an online sportsbook.

Reload Bonuses

Yeah, I know, you’re never going to need these, because you’re going to deposit money once and then withdraw for the rest of your life, but humor me a little.

Let’s pretend that some bettors don’t always pick winners and have to reload their bankroll from time to time.

The numbers on reload bonuses are never as big or sexy as the numbers on initial deposits. You’re not going to see 75%-100% with reload bonuses.

On the flip side, you’re not going to be working to clear a hefty rollover, and if you’ve made it through your initial deposit, you’ve probably got a better handle on your betting habits. Reload bonuses are a great incentive to stick with an online sportsbook.

Cash Back Incentives

Cashback and rebates are fairly straightforward: for every dollar you bet (or lose) you get a certain percentage back in your bankroll.

It’s a simple mechanic, sure, but it affects your bankroll management and the way you make bets in a big way. That percentage you receive back in the event of a loss has to figure into your calculation of expected value.

Cashback and rebate bonuses and promotions are relatively self-explanatory, but the extent of their value to a prospective bettor isn’t that obvious on the surface.

Essentially, for every dollar you lay down on a bet, the sports betting site offers you a certain percentage back in your bankroll. This reimbursement alters your bankroll management and your betting strategy. The percentage or dollar figure that you stand to collect in the event of a loss drastically alters your calculation of value in your bets.

If you’re at the point (or expect to be at the point), where you’re crunching numbers to generate the best value for your bets, you’re probably a reasonably seasoned bettor.

Further, reimbursement bonuses mainly focus on particular sports (frequently, horse racing) so if you’re thinking of placing bets mostly in one specific sport or league, search out a sports betting site that offers this lifetime bonus.

Seasonal Promotions

To promote betting around the big events that figure heavily in their annual outlook, sportsbooks offer bonuses specific to those events. Capitalize on this value: you were probably going to bet on the Super Bowl anyway.

An example: sportsbooks want to attract all those bettors looking for somewhere to bet on the Super Bowl, so they’ll offer, say, a free Super Bowl bet of 50% of your deposit. This means that if you make an initial deposit of $100, the book will credit you with a free $50 bet which you can place on the Super Bowl.

This is excellent value, and if you’re looking to sign up with a new sportsbook, consider waiting until some of the year’s banner events roll around and see what they’re offering then.

Secret Bonuses

One rarely mentioned, and highly significant aspect of sports betting bonuses is, the fact that with a few clicks, a call, or a single email, you can often receive un-advertised, secretive, hidden bonuses that are hiding beneath the surface of sports betting sites. As a general rule, unlocking these bonuses isn’t possible for brand new bettors; you must place a few bets with a sports betting site before you can access their hidden bonuses.

We dug around a variety of sportsbooks, calling customer service, sending a few inquisitive emails, and placing bets on some relatively obscure portions of a sports betting site, and we were pleasantly surprised to know that sportsbooks incentivize this kind of behavior with some extra bonuses.

The secretive bonuses lurking between the surface are varied in their character; they won’t be massive deposit bonuses, but they vary from extra refer-a-friend and cash back bonuses to hefty reload bonuses.

You never know what you’ll get or what is possible to unlock by making a few inquiries about the possibilities of hidden bonuses. We found that making a query pays off with a reasonable amount of success.

Top 3 Things to Remember

One way to ensure you’re getting the best sign-up bonus from a sportsbook is to sign up through SportsBettingDime.com. Our list of sports betting sites includes the best deposit bonuses for each sportsbook so you can scan them efficiently and pick the one that’s best for you.

Here are some things to remember before you get started:

  1. The two main types of bonuses at betting sites are sign-up bonuses and ongoing bonuses
  2. Always look for a bonus at your online sportsbook before confirming your deposit
  3. Bonuses can be used to optimize your betting strategy and bankroll management

Anything else you want to know about sports betting bonuses that we haven’t covered? Email us and we’ll make sure to cover it in an upcoming article.