SPORTS BETTING BONUS - what are the best betting bonus offers?

Welcome to Bettingformat’s guide to sports betting bonuses! Here you’ll find all the information you need to help you locate and secure the best bonuses possible. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the different types of bookmaker bonuses, how to recognize the best offers, the steps required to successfully claim a bonus, what you should keep in mind and much more. This article primarily concerns itself with bonuses that are for new customers. The majority of new customer bonuses feature the bookmaker matching some percentage of your first deposit. A second type of bonus is called the no-deposit or free bet. A free bet means that the bookmaker will simply deposit an amount in your betting account. For the most part, we will cover betting bonuses, but we will briefly discuss the no-deposit bet as well. Of course, you have to meet the bookmaker’s terms and conditions to unlock the bonuses and convert them into actual money. Read on to learn how it all works!

Reading time: 5 min
Topics covered in this article:
  1. Turnover Requirements / Minimum Turnover
  2. What is a bookmaker bonus?
  3. Amount of betting bonus in percentage (%)
  4. Maximum bonus amount
  5. Terms and Conditions explained
  6. Minimum deposit
  7. Minimum Required Odds
  8. Deadlines
  9. Restrictions on bets / valid bets
  10. Payment Methods
  11. Step-by-step to the best bonus
  12. The alternative to the betting bonus – what is a free bet?
  13. Bookmaker evaluation
  14. Additional bonus offers
  15. Reload Bonus
  16. Cashback Bonus
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Turnover Requirements / Minimum Turnover

It is where the true nature of a bonus starts to reveal itself – in the turnovers. The only way to claim your betting bonus is to win it, and to win it, you must risk it. The first question we must ask is: How much do I really have to win before I can claim my bonus? The answer depends on the bookmaker, but you can expect three to five (3 - 5) turnovers on average. Let’s look at our hypothetical € 200 bonus amount once again. Suppose the bookmaker says we need three (3) turnovers to meet their requirements, we will have to place bets totaling € 600 to earn our € 100 bonus. On the other hand, if we chose to deposit € 40 and thus have a bonus amount of € 80, we would only have to reach € 240 to satisfy the turnover requirements. Sure, 40 is less than 100, but the risk-to-reward is easier to stomach.

  • Initial deposit: € 100
  • Bonus amount: € 200
  • Minimum turnover: bonus amount x 3
  • Total minimum value of all bets: € 600
  • Initial deposit: € 40
  • Bonus amount: € 80
  • Minimum turnover: bonus amount x 3
  • Total minimum value of all bets: € 240

Short and sweet – how do bookmaker bonuses work?

Just to get one thing clear from the very start – we can’t remember the last time we saw a bookmaker who DIDN’T offer some kind of bonus for new customers. With so many bookies in an almost over-saturated marketplace, betting providers are essentially forced to offer you something in order to get your business. Over the past few years, we’ve seen bookmakers tailor their bonus programs to meet specific customer needs. All of this is to say that there’s a veritable ocean of different bonuses floating around which differ in nature and requirement conditions. Don’t be discouraged! Getting a sports betting bonus is a piece of cake – it’s unlocking the bonus that can be confusing. We’re here to help you now, so you don’t have any nasty surprises later. Let’s begin with a basic overview:

A fairly common bonus offer looks something like this: “100% up to € 100!!” But what does that actually mean? For now, let’s assume we are ready to make an opening deposit of € 100.

  • Your opening deposit: € 100
  • Bookmaker's bonus: € 100
  • Amount on your betting account: € 200

Amount of betting bonus in percentage (%)

In the shouty example above, we saw the fictional bookmaker was offering a 100% match on your first deposit. Since we decided to deposit € 100 of our own money and we received € 100 from the bookmaker*, we can expect to find € 200 in our newly-opened betting account.

  • *100% is basically the industry-standard offer, but you’ll also see bookmakers offering 50% and still others will boast 200%. As a general rule, when the percentage is very high, the bonus will be difficult to unlock. A lower percentage may not look as nice, but unlocking the bonus may be easier!

For future reference, when you see the term ‘BONUS AMOUNT’ remember that it means BOTH your deposit and the bookmaker’s matching deposit- in this case € 200. This is very important because when it comes to unlocking the bonus money, you will have to wager the ‘BONUS AMOUNT’ according to the bookmaker’s terms and conditions!

Maximum bonus amount

The maximum bonus amount refers to the “UP TO € 100!!” from our example above. What that means for us is, the bookmaker’s generosity stops at € 100. Even if we deposit € 150, the bookmaker will still only match the first € 100 of our initial deposit. As we mentioned briefly in the opening, both the percentages and the maximum bonus amount can vary a great deal from bookie to bookie. Some bookmakers offer betting vouchers in addition to the classic betting bonuses. We will discuss them in greater detail later on in the text.

  • The bookmaker’s advertised bonus amount should NOT be your only deciding factor!
    In our expert opinion, we feel that the terms and conditions associated with a bonus bet should be strongly considered. A bonus offer may jump off the page with a very high percentage, but when you read the fine print, you’ll see that your chances of actually satisfying the terms and conditions are very low. In the next sections, we will tackle the main points of terms and conditions to eliminate any confusion.

Terms and Conditions explained

The terms and conditions are the keys to unlocking the bonus money. We’ve mentioned a couple times already that a higher bonus percentage may look great, but could be very hard to win. We will now look at the specific elements that make up the scary-sounding TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY. We encourage you to take your time and fully understand each section. A few minutes now could save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Minimum deposit

Sports betting bonuses require a minimum deposit. It’s only logical – the bonus is a matching percentage of your initial deposit! We feel that a good sports betting bonus should also carry a fairly low minimum deposit. Most people don’t want to invest large amounts of money into a bookmaker they’re just getting to know. We’ve seen minimum required deposits as low as € 1 (one Euro- really!) and some as high as € 50. Most bookmakers require € 10 as a minimum deposit. It can be tempting to make a large initial deposit in order to win the maximum bonus, but we’ll demonstrate in the next section why it can make sense to play it cool.

Minimum Required Odds

Hand-in-hand with the required turnover, we find the minimum required odds. What do we mean by this? So far, we know that we have to triple the value of our bonus amount- but how? This is where the minimum required odds must enter our thinking. Let’s go back to our reasonably priced € 40 deposit (€ 80 bonus amount). We know we need to earn € 240 before we can get our € 80, but we don’t yet know the odds which we must wager the money. The bookmaker provides this information as the minimum required odds. In our case, let’s imagine the bookmaker says our bets must be at minimum odds of 1.50. Everything we bet on must have these odds. If we choose an easier betting line, the result will not count towards our bonus commitment. As the minimum odds increase, the odds of winning the bet decrease. A bookie giving you a fair chance to win the bonus will require odds in the range of 1.50 to 2.00. Below is an example of a legitimate bet and one that’s close but ultimately not valid:

  • Bet amount: € 80
    Odds: 1.50
    Payout: € 120
  • Bet amount: € 80
    Odds: 1.47
    Payout: € 117.60


With so much attention going to turnover and odds, it can be easy to lose track of time. Deadlines are a very real part of sports betting bonuses – if you don’t take care of your business on time, the bonus offer is no longer valid. It gets a little murkier when we realize that more than one deadline could be in effect! Let’s keep cool and consider the possibilities:

  • The period between registration and your first deposit. We see 14 days as a fairly common interval.
  • The time you have to meet the bonus terms and conditions. We can easily imagine our bookmaker requiring that we triple our bonus amount within 30 days, for example.

Obviously, the more time the bookmaker allows you to meet the terms and conditions, the easier it will be to accomplish the requirements. Beware of rushed deadlines!

Restrictions on bets / valid bets

Another important factor in unlocking bonuses is to know what types of bets you’re allowed to use and which are considered invalid. Several bookmakers will not allow live bets, while others will require you place your wager in the form of a combination bet. In our bonus reviews, we tell you the bookmaker’s restrictions in plain language to avoid any confusion. Click on the button below to visit our betting school where you’ll find detailed explanations of the types of bets and an overview of several betting strategies. You’ll be a crack in no time flat!

Payment Methods

We feel it’s important to inform you that payment services such as paysafecard, Skrill and NETELLER typically cannot be used to make first deposits with bookmakers. Bookmakers take this precaution in order to prevent bonus abuse. In our bonus reviews, we not only inform you as to acceptable payment options, but we also alert you to geographic restrictions that could affect your eligibility. Check back with us regularly as we will also write reports about selected financial providers such as PayPal and NETELLER.

Step-by-step to the best bonus

It’s important to keep in mind that a betting bonus is just one moment in a lasting business relationship with a bookmaker. Instead of enrolling with the bookie with the largest bonus offer, take a few moments and consider the following steps:

  • Start off by asking yourself a few questions: What am I looking for in a betting provider? What’s important to me? Are the requirements realistic? To help you answer those questions, we invite you to check out our bookmaker comparison page. We tested all of the bookmakers featured on our site on eight crucial points INCLUDING the bookmaker bonus.
  • Step two narrows your search to a specific bookmaker's bonus. Ask yourself these sorts of questions: Am I looking for a high maximum bonus amount? A low minimum turnover? How important is the deadline to me?
  • The third step is a fun one – once you’ve decided on a betting provider, registration and setting up your account is a joy. Use your bonus codes and you’re on your way!
  • Remember, if you ever have any doubts, you can always check our detailed reviews to help you resolve any issue you may be having.

The alternative to the betting bonus – what is a free bet?

You may recall we mentioned the no-deposit bet (AKA the free bet) earlier in this article. Such perks are betting bonuses that you receive WITHOUT an initial deposit. Typically, these are € 5 or € 10 in value and offer new customers a risk-free way to get to know the bookmaker. You can read our detailed article about free bets by simply following the link below.

Our betting bonus rating – how we rank the bookmakers

We spend a lot of time and energy here at Bettingformat comparing and contrasting bookmakers. One of the criteria we consider in our bookmaker review is the bonus program offered by each betting provider. Bookies can earn up to 10 points in our scoring system depending on how we rate their bonus programs. Bookmakers are a clever bunch and they’ve come up with innovative alternatives to the standard betting bonus and no-deposit bonus programs. We’ll take a look at these alternatives in the next section.

What are some other types of bookmaker bonuses?

Apart from the standard betting bonus and no-deposit bonus, bookmakers have created several other sports betting offers. We’d like to introduce you to three of the most common offers:

  • Reload Bonus
  • Combination Bet Bonus
  • Cashback Bonus

Reload Bonus

Unlike the bonuses we’ve described throughout this text, the reload bonus is not aimed at new customers, but rather as a clever, two-pronged promotion for a bookmaker’s existing customers. On one side of the coin, the reload bonus encourages customers whose betting accounts have been inactive for a long time to get back into the gambling action. On the other side, bookmakers can make grand statements about rewarding customer loyalty. Either way you choose to look at it, the facts remain the same: bookmakers will match a percentage of an existing customer’s deposit. The reload bonus functions much like a new customer betting bonus, but the odds may not be quite as generous. If you’re satisfied with your current bookmaker, you can use a reload bonus to spice up your betting account.

Cashback Bonus

As the name implies, this bonus form allows you to put money back into your betting account regardless if you placed a winning bet or not. It’s at the bookmaker’s discretion to decide how much they’re willing to return to your betting account. You can expect to face fairly difficult odds when using this bonus; in many respects it is a risk-free bet and the odds are correspondingly challenging. We know you’re in it to win it, so GOOD LUCK!

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