How to Take Advantage of Betting Bonuses and Rollovers
Bonuses and Rollovers
You actually did it! You managed to quadruple your first-ever deposit of $100 to $400. So you head to the cashier tab and click withdrawal. You can't wait to get that money out so you can finally pay your mom back for freeloading in her basement all this time. But to your surprise, the available balance to withdrawal is at $0.00. What gives?
There are dozens of bookies competing with each other to book your action. A way some try to entice you to bet at their site is by offering first-time deposit bonuses. You'll often see numerous sites promoting bonuses such as “First-time deposit match up to 200%” or “Welcome Bonus up to $1000.” This jargon is basically the same. They give you extra dough. However, these bookies don't tell you that this free money comes with a stipulation.
What Is a Bonus?
A bonus is a promotion that books offer to increase customer’s deposits for free. They offer bonuses to attract more traffic and hopefully keep customers coming back. For example, if you deposited $100 and accepted a 100% match bonus, you would receive $200 in your account. Pretty sweet right? Sure, but be aware there are some strings attached, especially when it comes to…
Betting Rollover Requirements
A rollover is the required play-through needed in order to withdraw the initial deposit. If you don't pay attention, this is where the books get you. A rollover requirement can range from 5X to 35x or even higher in some cases. An example of a rollover is if you deposited $100 for a match of 100%, you would receive $200. However, if this bonus has a rollover of 10x, you would need to risk $2000 in order to withdraw anything gained from these bonus funds.
Each company's fine print is different. There might be restrictions on what can be wagered in order to chip away at the rollover amount. Some of them might restrict you to spreads or straight bets only. It's not uncommon to see that only the win amount on a ticket is to be applied to the rollover. This is often implemented to deter players from betting heavy favorites. An example in College Football might be if you wanted to bet Clemson ML -800 for $100 to win $12.50, only the $12.50 would go towards the rollover balance.
Why Do Books Impose Rollovers on Bonuses?
The main reason why books attach these rollovers is to increase the chance you lose your deposit back to them. In order to clear the rollover, you have to wager more. The more you wager, the more they get, regardless if you win or lose because of the vig. For more information on the vig, visit our Gambling 101 section.
Some books might require rollovers to ensure you don't just withdraw right away and collect the free money without risking anything on the site. Or even to meet international money laundering regulations. If books didn't require you to roll over at least 1x your initial deposit, theoretically you could launder money through their sites by depositing “dirty” money and withdrawing the “clean” right away.
Other Types of Bonuses & Promos
Another popular bonus promotion is free plays. These are like match bonuses because they give you extra cash to play with but differ in a couple of ways. Unlike match bonuses, free plays don't usually require large rollover or play-throughs. Typically, you will receive a certain amount of cash separate from your balance. Each book has different restrictions on how you can use the free play, such as betting only on spreads or moneyline or not being able to use free plays with teasers or parlays. Another important thing to remember is that you only get the profit off a win while using free plays. Here is an example of what you would typically see on a ticket if you used a $20 free play to bet on the Chargers spread at +100:
$20 Cash Balance
Bet: $20 Return: $40
$20 Free Play
Bet: $0 Win: $20
As you can see, you do not get the initial bet amount back like a normal wager. Just the winnings.
Odds boosts are another bonus but a little different than match bonuses and free plays. An odds boost will boost odds for certain games/futures/props. For an odds boost applied to a player prop, you might see something like this being advertised:
Odds boost on Aaron Rodgers over 4.5 TDs
It's important to remember that just because the odds get better doesn't mean they are more or less likely to hit.
Are Sportsbook Bonuses Worth It?
A general rule of thumb on using bonuses is that if you are a new bettor and plan on depositing a small amount in hopes to double or triple it, skip the bonuses. They tie up your balance, and by the time you wager enough to meet the requirements, you will have lost it. If you don't mind having a big rollover and plan on sports betting for a while, go ahead and grab that deposit match with the 35x rollover. Having that extra cash will give you more leverage in the long run.
Now that you're an expert on bonuses and rollovers, visit The Odds Factory for FREE advice to complement your FREE cash.