Welcome to Rick Elliott’s Sports Betting World. This is a new feature that will cover a wide range of subjects but all rated to sports betting. The weekly column will appear each Saturday in your Newsletter and will enhance your enjoyment and hopefully profitability in the field of placing bets on your favourite sport. These articles will form the basis of a guidebook in the battle to beat the bookies.
Sports betting has grown massively over the last 20 years. The onset of the internet, dedicated sports channels and more sports-orientated online bookmakers are factors that have contributed to this explosion. There are now many more sports, leagues and markets to bet on and you can now be the bookmakers by laying odds with a betting exchange. Spread betting provides another option whereby you go high or low on outcomes. If you love betting on sport you have never had it so good!
The bookmaking industry is becoming consolidated due to mergers and acquisitions. However, the market is still characterised by many service providers competing for your custom. Some bookmakers compete on price by applying small profit margins to their odds while others offer bonuses for existing customers. However, the main selling tool is free bets and bonuses for new customers. The best ones in principle are described below.
The best free bets are the unambiguous ones with transparent terms and conditions and realistic wagering requirements. The most common new account free bets are matched deposit offers in which the value of the free bet is related to the initial deposit. The best ones are 100% matched deposit free bets which means the bookmaker matches the first deposit. It is common to see a 50% matched deposit but uncommon to see a 200% matched deposit. Most in fact are 100% matched free bets.
The best welcome bonuses credit your account with betting funds rather than the equivalent in free bets. Offers that don’t stipulate wagering and odds requirements stand out from the rest. It is usual that a condition of receipt of a free bet is that the deposit and bonus must be staked a certain number of times before the funds can be taken from an account. Most commonly the deposit and bonus must be staked about five times but there is usually a time limit of 30 to 90 days. The qualifying process must begin soon after opening an account and making the first deposit.
The logical action would be to turnover stakes on a big favourite. However, there is a minimum odds requirement for qualifying bets which is often even money or lower. There is a separate odds requirement for individual selections in a multiple. Both these restrictions are designed to prevent manipulation of the offers by punters. In some cases the severity of the restrictions negate any benefits from the free bet. The relevant terms now have to be clear and unambiguous. You must be wary of bookmaker free bets and bonuses without transparent and achievable terms.
The Gambling Commission work with the customers (punters) interests in mind. There are also forums and chat rooms online that highlight the poor free bets. If there is a particularly good offer in the industry word will soon get around. Before opening an account to take advantage of the welcome offer you should do due diligence. This involves becoming familiar with the turnover and odds restrictions and the form of the free bets. The better offers have low turnover requirements, high odds limits for qualifying bets and receipt of the bonus in the form of betting funds.