If ‘the best things in life are free’ is a statement that could sum up sports betting bonuses rather nicely, perhaps ‘all is not as it seems’ is an apt line in reminding punters that the wagering requirements that betting firms place on their welcome packages should not be overlooked.
Wagering requirements are the amount you will need to wager before you can withdraw any winnings you may have accrued using a free bet stake or any other betting promotion. They are typically written numerically such as 10x or 20x, and these help you to identify the actual amount you will need to bet.
So, if you enjoyed a £10 bonus which comes from wagering requirements of 20x, you will need to have staked a full £200 before you can get your mitts on any winnings that you may have accumulated.
The good news for punters is that the wagering requirements for sports accounts is typically lower than those put in place on casino accounts; the bad news is that often you have to scroll through reams of small print and terms and conditions before you can actually find out what the wagering requirements are!
Wagering Requirements: An Example
It’s much easier to understand the wager meaning when using a real-life example, and so we’ll take a look at bet365 and their welcome bonuses for new players.
The welcome offer from bet365 is, at the time of writing, handed out as a free bet stake. Your first deposit will be matched in bet credits, but only once you have made bets that have been settled equal to or greater than your initial deposit amount.
These bet credits are an excellent way to have a flutter without risking your own cash, and these can be used on any sport or market. Once used the free bet stake is removed from your account, but any winnings accrued are added to your bankroll as normal, and you are free to withdraw them once the wagering requirements have been met.
Other terms from bet365 dictate that the offer must be claimed within 30 days of registering an account, and that minimum odds of 1/5 must be sought in your qualifying wager meaning that a single bet or multiple must have one selection of 1/5 or greater. And prior to hitting that cash out button if your bet is on the ropes, remember that only the active remaining stake will count towards the wagering requirements, NOT the whole amount wagered before the event.
This example from bet365 is just one way in which wagering requirements are administered; other firms have their own way of managing their sports betting bonuses. Typically though, bonus funds are taken from you after a bet is placed and winnings are yours to keep – after you have satisfied the requirements, of course.
Why Do Betting Firms Use Wagering Requirements?
For some punters, having to bet a certain amount of money before they can get their hands on any bonus cash is a liberty they are not willing to take. How can these betting sites offer such promotions, and then pull the rug from under your feet by putting in place such lofty hoops to jump through?
Bookmaking is a business like any other, and such firms don’t want their generosity to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous sorts for their own benefit. Imagine if sports betting bonuses didn’t have such rules: individuals could sign up for countless accounts at a number of betting sites, get their friends and family to do likewise, and they could pocket thousands of pounds in free bet stakes to use; they’d never have to spend a penny of their own cash!
For some wagering requirements are an underhand trick that bookmakers use to entice new customers, but in reality these firms are offering a nice incentive that can be used to accrue a healthy bankroll – but they are not prepared to be taken for a ride by unscrupulous sorts.
Top Tips for Tackling Wagering Requirements
Now we know that there is no real way to avoid wagering requirements if we want to enjoy sports betting bonuses from the likes of bet365 and co, we must ask ourselves are there ways in which we can quicken the process of clearing these requirements without maximising our own financial outlay?
The answer is yes, but the first thing that all punters must do is familiarise themselves with the specific wager meaning that each firm rolls out.
So what is the wagering amount that needs to be cleared?
Which sports/markets count towards the wagering terms?
Are there additional factors, e.g. minimum odds, that need to be accounted for?
Is there a time limit to clear the wagering requirements?
Grab a notepad and pen and write down the wagering requirements for any betting site that you plan on joining. That way, you will have a clear understanding of exactly what it is you need to do in order to get your hands on your winnings.
The second tip, and the most important, is to bet smart. When you have your free bet stake credits from bet365 or any other firm, don’t waste them on huge accumulator bets that have very little chance of actually landing. All you are doing here is increasing the amount you will need to wager of your own cash in order to satisfy the terms, and lowering your chances of actually having any winnings to withdraw once you have!
Instead, stick to steady single bets or doubles that meet the minimum odds requirement. It’s fair to say that bet365 have some of the lowest minimum odds limits around at 1/5, and if you look at any set of sporting fixtures most of us would be able to pick out a handful of 1/5 winners each weekend. These may not return the most glamorous profits, but they are a low-risk way to get those wagering requirements out of the way.
Where to Find the Lowest Wagering Requirements?
One of the reasons Betting.net was established was to offer punters independent, impartial reviews of bookmakers and betting sites, and one section of our reviews is ‘bonuses and promotions’.
Take the time to read through our bookmaker reviews, and when you have drawn up your own shortlist of betting sites based on our findings be sure to check out the wagering requirements that each has in place; this will help you to finalise your decision on the right bookmakers for you.