All online bookmakers use incentives to encourage new players to sign up with them rather than with a rival. These sorts of promotions, usually only available to new players, will either be in the form of matched free bets or an enhanced odds offer (sometimes known as an odds boost).
Matched free bets
Matched free bets usually require you to open an account, make a first deposit and then place your first bet. Once you’ve done this, your free bets are credited to your account. The required size of your first qualifying bet will vary, but is usually in the region of £10 to £20. The amount you receive in free bets will likewise vary from bookie to bookie. In some cases, you will get free bets that match your qualifying bet 1:1. In others you might get a boost in the region of 400%-500% i.e. bet £10, get £40 in free bets.
There will of course be conditions applied to your free bets, in terms of minimum odds and the type of bets you can make (like win/place or each way only), as well as restrictions on how long they are valid for.
Enhanced odds promotions operate slightly differently. These promotions give you inflated odds on a
particular match. For example Man City to win at 3/1 rather than the market price of 1/1. There will usually be a maximum stake, probably in the region of £10.
If the bet comes in you’ll get the amount your bet paid out at the starting price (SP) of 1-1 (so £20 in cash) and then you get your enhanced odds winnings (£30) in the form of bonus bets. It’s important to note there will also be restrictions on your bonus bets. These may include maximum odds, bet types and the length of time for which they’re valid. However, if Man City lose, then both your bet and your potential bonus bets are lost. You don’t ultimately benefit from the offer.
So which is the most popular?
So which of the two types of sports betting signup deal is the most popular with UK punters? The fact that you can lose out entirely if you take an enhanced odds signup offer does mean there is more risk than a matched bets deal.
However, this has to be weighed up against the fact that these promotions tend to be on matches where there is a clear favourite, or events with a relatively short priced market. A typical example could be Liverpool to score two or more goals when they are playing a lower ranked team, or Man Utd to be in front at half time and full time when they are the hot favourites. This means healthy profits can be made from this kind of offer, and you can walk away with both cash and bonus bets.
However, because of the fact that you can also come away with nothing, it would seem that matched free bet offers are ultimately more popular with UK punters. That’s why these tend to be the most common type of deal around for new players signing up with online bookies.
It’s also worth noting that if a bookie is offering both sorts of signup bonus, it’s an either/or situation. You can choose one or the other, but not both. However, most online sports betting sites will only offer one of these options, rather than both. So matched free bets tend to be the deal you’ll see most often.
Enhanced odds for existing customers
Nevertheless, there are certainly plenty of enhanced odds specials around for players once you’ve signed up with a bookie. Most online sports books offer them regularly as a means of encouraging punter loyalty. They also provide excellent opportunities for matched betting, as the odds boost can be quite substantial at times. This makes it significantly easier to find a lay market at lower odds from which you can make a guaranteed profit. However, these sorts of offers can disappear quickly. It always pays to take advantage of enhanced odds deals as soon as you see them.