Get to Know Sports Betting Offers

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Just like other casino offers, there’s a variety of ways sportsbooks can reward you. Learn about the options here.


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Brian Christopher at BetMGM

Sports betting offers will oftentimes differ from offers inside casinos in both format and terms, because the act of placing bets on sports, and doing so online, can often times flow a bit differently.

For one, sports bets are often not real-time outcomes. You may be betting on an event that occurs a day, a month or even more into the future, whereas most bets made on the casino floor are resolved either instantly, near instantly or within a short period of time (live bingo or keno).

This means the bonuses will be structured based on activity that can take a bit to work through, and so they need to factor this in as well.

With that, here are some bonus offers you may see, and what they mean.

Bonus Bets/Bonus Dollars

Bonus Bets or Bonus Dollars, sometimes previously called Free Bets, can be issued when completing certain activities. Most often on new player offers, a Bonus Offer will be issued if you make a wager and lose that wager, or sometimes if a player just makes a wager of at least a certain amount. 

Some sites can offer pretty hefty Bonus Offers for a losing wager, encouraging players to take a big swing. Of course, if you win on the first bet, you won’t get the bonus offer, but you’ll at least be up after your wager.

The abandonment of language like Free Bets comes because it’s not really free – you spent however much to get that offer, with no guarantee that you can get it back on the second wager. Also, the terms can vary on whether you must bet those bonus dollars all at once, or can spread them out to reduce the risk of losing everything, including the bonus dollars you were issued.

Another variation on this can be Bet $X, Get $Y. We’ve seen at least one example where a player will get bonus dollars for making a $1 wager. There’s no guarantee that you will win on the $1 wager or the bonus dollars wagers, but it does give the players essentially a very low risk offer to get started with that sportsbook.

One thing to keep in mind with a bonus bet, the wager is made with a currency that is not returned to you if you win. So you only keep the profits on any wager made. That means if you’re making a bet with -200 odds, which means every $200 wagered would yield $100 in profit on a winning bet, if you use $20 in bonus dollars, you’ll get paid $10 for that wager if you win. You will not see anything back of those bonus dollars – they’re one-time use and therefore aren’t paid or returned on winning wagers.

Bonus bets will be issued quite often as an offer enticement, whether to new players, inactive players, or very active players. Like any betting offer, they’ll tend to be tailored to a player based on activity.

Site Credit

This works identically to a bonus bet in that you’ve got a credit that you can use to make wagers, with one key difference: If you win, you also get that back as part of your winnings. So using the same example as before, that -200 odds with a $20 wager would yield $30 back to you. 

Site credits are therefore much more valuable than bonus bets, but understandably are less often offered as a result.

Actual Dollars

In some cases, completing actions can award you actual dollars, in that they do not have a wagering requirement and can be withdrawn automatically. An example of this could be a loss rebate on your bets – if you lose, they rebate a portion or (much more rarely) all of your losses as actual dollars.

This has a certain appeal for those who don’t want to be given a credit back, but instead would like to get actual dollars, hence the name. But this is not often made available because it’s a higher cost for the operators vs. a site credit or bonus bet, for example, that may or may not result in a win.

Deposit Offers

Similar to iGaming, sportsbooks may offer a deposit offer, where you will get a bonus based on how much you deposit. It could be dollar for dollar, or “deposit $X and get $Y bonus,” but generally speaking deposit bonuses work the same regardless of the structure.

Generally, a certain amount of wagering activity must be completed to be able to cash out, so it’s important to read the fine print on how much wagering that will be before selecting the offer. If you don’t think you’ll be doing enough wagering activity to satisfy the requirements, or if the amount of wagering is uncomfortable, it may make sense not to select this sort of offer.

Profit Boost

With this type of promotion, when you make a certain type of bet (often more complex, longer odds scenarios like parlays), they’ll increase the profit you’ll make on such a wager by some sort of percentage.

The main goal of these types of promotions is to draw players’ attention to more advantageous wagers for the sportsbooks, like parlays, in the hopes of getting players interested and more comfortable in placing them. 

As we noted in our Parlays section, it may not be advantageous to wager a Parlay vs. making individual wagers for each leg, but a profit boost may close the gap or perhaps even exceed what each individual wager could garner. 

Of course, there’s still the aspect that you have to be right about every outcome you’ve selected, or else you lose the bet, but a profit boost scenario could at least make it worth considering under certain scenarios.


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