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The definitive guide
to claiming bonus bets

The banning of sign up offers means that there are now more bonus bet offers from bookmakers than ever before. Understanding the different promotions and what’s on offer, is now a key component to betting successfully and responsibly.

To help you wade through the myriad of incentives provided by Australian betting sites and all the associated terminology, we have prepared this all-encompassing guide to understanding, claiming and using bonus bets.

What is a bonus bet?

A bonus bet is a free bet incentive used by betting agencies to entice you to bet. Sign up bonuses are now banned, but there remain two common types of bonuses:

  • A deposit bonus is a bonus that offered to an existing customer but not advertised.
  • A bonus bet promotion is an offer that provides value over and above the normal fixed odds market. The offer may increase your bet winnings, provide an early payout or refund your losing bet.

The method for securing and using bonus bets differs slightly with each betting site. Read our detailed explanation of how bonus bets work.

Bonus bet offers

We define bonus bet offers as those offered by bookmakers to their existing customers.

Bookmakers provide bonus bet offers to their existing customers. You are usually required to place a bet on a selected market in order to qualify for the bonus bet reward.  For example, your bookmaker may promise you a bonus bet if you bet on a nominated match and your team loses by a narrow margin. If you place that bet and lose by the margin nominated, you will earn a bonus bet.

Bonus bet offers come in many forms and are covered in more detail below. There are a great number of these types of bonuses on offer every week, the Free Bettor website provides a great platform for viewing all of the various bookmaker offers.

Eligibility

Before you can claim any bonus bets, you need to know if you are eligible to receive them. To complicate matters, the rules vary depending on what state you reside in and what type of bonus bet you are looking to secure. We provide a state-by-state analysis below.

Victorian residents are not eligible to receive any sign up bonuses, as legislated by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation. However, as a Victorian, you are able to receive bonus bet offers from your existing bookmaker. So for example, you are able to receive a bonus bet as a result of a qualifying fixed odds bet, but you should not be encouraged to sign up for a new account with the promise of a bonus entitlement. To complicate matters further, betting agencies have been known to honour free bets to Victorian residents once they have registered a new account, but this should not be relied upon as a source of free bets.

Much like Victoria, betting companies are not permitted to entice new NSW customers to register an account by offering a sign up bonus. The legislation is provided by Liquor and Gaming NSW.

Bonus bet offers

In most instances, NSW residents are not permitted to take advantage of bonus bet offers from their existing bookmaker. However, there are some offers that are available to you as a resident of New South Wales; these are either usually not advertised, or they are clearly marked ‘NSW betting offers’ by the betting agency.

If you are a Queensland resident, you are no longer allowed to claim sign up bonuses. You are able to qualify for bonus bet promotions, as legislated by the Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.

Gaming legislation in South Australia is administered by the Consumer Business and Services department of the SA Government. The legislation states that betting operators are not able to entice new customers with the promise of free bets or a sign up bonus of any description. This is not to say that bookmakers will not offer a bonus once a new player has registered an account.

Residents of Western Australia face the same exclusions as those from Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. In short, betting operators are not able to entice prospective customers with free bets. However, the WA Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor does allow the promotion of some offers to existing customers.

Residents of the ACT are not eligible to claim free bets and inducements from betting operators when registering a new account. For more information visit the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission.

Tasmanian residents are not eligible for sign up bonuses. The Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance’s Liquor and Gaming department is responsible for regulating gambling in Tasmania.

If you are from the Northern Territory, you are not able to claim bonuses for registering a new account. You are able to qualify for bonus bet offers as legislated by the NT Gaming Commission.

Different types of bonus bets

Bonus bets come in many different forms. It’s important to understand the difference between each type of bonus offer, so that you can evaluate and compare the best options. For ease of understanding, we distinguish between different types of deposit bonus bets, as opposed to the various types of bonus betting promotions offered to existing customers.

Types of deposit bonuses

Deposit bonuses normally come in the form of a matched deposit reward, or a matched first bet offer. Deposit bonuses are not advertised and are only offered to you directly from your existing bookmaker. Matched deposit bonuses are the most lucrative, and importantly do not encourage you to wager heavily in your first transactions with this bookmaker. There are also other types of deposit inducements, including boosted odds specials, insured first bet and no deposit free bets. Each type of deposit bonus is explained in more detail here, but we summarise each below.

1

Matched deposit bonus

The deposit amount is either matched or multiplied to arrive at a bonus bet amount.

2

Matched first bet

The first bet is used to determine the value of the free bet.

3

Winnings boost bonus

A percentage is applied to all winnings on a certain event or time period and credited to an account in the form of a bonus bet.

4

Insured first bet

If a first bet loses, it will be refunded in cash or as a bonus with this type of offer.

5

No deposit bonus

A form of bonus that does not require any deposit or financial commitment from the player. No deposit free bets are popular but seldom available.

Different types of bonus bet promotions

Bonus bets are offered to existing members to entice betting on specific events such as horse racing meets or major sports games such as AFL or NRL. Unlike sign up bonuses, bookmakers offer them to members at any time. They are very common and there are many different types of bonus bet promotions, sometimes referred to as bookmaker specials, deals or free bet offers. For example, you may qualify for a bonus bet if your horse finishes second or third in a race.

Again, it’s important to understand the difference between each type of bonus bet, and the pertaining qualification and terms. For example, a cash back refund is far more lucrative than a bonus bet refund. The various types of bonus betting promotions are explained in details via this link, and summarised below.

Cash back refunds

Promotion type whereby the bet stake is returned in cash.

Early payout

A form of promotion where the bookmaker will pay out winnings on a bet before the event concludes, if certain criteria are met.

Bonus bet refund

A form of betting promotion that sees a bookmaker reward a bonus bet for a losing wager that meets certain criteria.

Odds special

Promotion whereby the betting agency offers highly inflated odds on a particular outcome.

Percentage bonus

A promotion that offers to pay out an additional percentage bonus on top of the ordinary winnings.

Rewards points

Some betting agencies pay out bonus bets in the forms of rewards points. The points can then be converted into free bets.

Other types of bonuses

There also other types of bonuses that all players can be eligible to claim. Existing customers can receive a refer a friend bonus and a deposit reload bonus. These vary between the different betting operators.

Rewards points

Many online bookmakers offer their customers a referral bonus. Normally, the request is sent to the friend via email, if they subsequently register a new account, the betting site will award the referee with a bonus bet. The Sportsbet referral bonus is popular amongst its members, as they are happy to pay a reward in order to welcome a new customer.

Reload bonus

A reload bonus is a free bet paid by the bookmaker to an existing customer, should they make a deposit to their account. These bonuses are randomly sent by betting agencies to account holders that haven’t wagered recently. Most are conditional, requiring the member to deposit $100, in order to receive a $50 bonus bet.

Bonus bet terms and conditions

Another important consideration when it comes to comparing betting offers is understanding the terms of each bonus bet. The conditions of each bonus vary depending on the type of offer, and the betting agency that is offering it.

Minimum deposit

Most betting agencies will allow a minimum deposit of just $10 to set up an account. However, in order to secure a bonus bet, that minimum requirement may be as high as $30. The minimum deposit amount varies between betting sites.

Withdrawal requirements

It’s important to understand what conditions must be met before you are able to withdraw your funds from a bookmaker. Betting agencies normally place conditions on the first deposit amount and any bonus bet winnings. Before withdrawing any winnings, or the deposit amount, you’re normally required to turnover those funds a certain number of times, on selections where the odds are greater than a certain price eg. $1.50.

Turnover requirements

Nearly all bookmakers will stipulate turnover requirements for the initial deposit, and any winnings that may arise from bonus bet money. New players can normally expect to have to turnover the amount of the initial deposit at least 1.5 times before they can withdraw the deposit proceeds. The same applies to winnings from bonus bets, it’s normally a multiple of 1.5 of the winnings amount only.

Pro Tip

Be aware, that if you place a bet in order to win a bonus bet, if that bonus bet is then successful, you may need to turnover those winning proceeds.

Minimum odds requirements

Bookmakers also place a minimum odds condition for turning over first deposits and also bonus bet winnings. Normally, agencies require that wagers be placed on selections at odds of greater than $1.50. If a bet is placed at odds less than the minimum requirement, that wager will not count towards the turnover requirements of the free bet.

Expiry

Unfortunately, bonus bets don’t have an infinite life. In most cases, bookmakers will allow you 30 days in which to turnover over your balance. However, some operators only allow seven days, especially for bonus bets that are won as a result for meeting a qualification.

Promo codes

Many online bookmakers use promotion codes to distinguish one offer from another. The good news is, even if you don’t use the promo code, you’ll still likely receive the free bet or bonus. Promotions codes exist for sign up bonuses, reload bonuses and some bonus bet offers.

What can I bet on?

Bonus bets can normally be used on any sports and racing market. There are some restrictions though, for example, products like Best of the Best and Top Fluctuation are excluded by some betting agencies. Also, bonus bets generally can’t be used to qualify for a promotion.

Bonus abuse

One rule within most betting sites’ terms and conditions is the right to restrict any members’ account if they are deemed to be abusing the bonus offers. A study into betting restrictions prepared by The Australian Gambling Research Centre and the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that betting operators have little tolerance for members seeking to use bonus bets for their own advantage.

Consumer protection

Although the betting sites develop their own terms and conditions relating to bonus bets, it’s worthwhile remembering that consumers are protected by Australian law, that will in most cases override the bookmakers’ own terms. If you spot a promotion that you think is false advertising or misleading you can notify the ACCC – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.