Just about every online sportsbook has a welcome bonus offer when you sign-up for a new account, but to take advantage of any offer out there you usually have to opt-in before making your initial deposit. While any offer of free money to help pad your betting bankroll always looks good on paper, sometimes it could be to your advantage to pass on these bonuses given the rules and restrictions that are often time are buried in the fine print.
A good starting point to make the right decision on taking any free deal is to gain a better understanding of the various types of bonuses a typical sportsbook might offer starting with a free cash bonus. This has the most value to sports bettors since it can be used directly to wager on the games, but it is not yours to keep until you have met a certain rollover requirement.
Very simply, a rollover pertains to how many times you have to bet that initial bonus amount to collect any winnings. If the bonus is $100 and the rollover is 10, then you need to bet $1000 to satisfy this requirement. Some books will allow you to withdrawal your initial deposit before clearing the rollover amount, but any bonus funds and profits from winning bets cannot be claimed until the entire rollover requirement has been met. The one positive of cash bonuses is the ability to not only collect your winnings, but your original bet as well. For example, if you make a $110 bet with a cash bonus and win, your account will be credited for $210.
Another common welcome bonus that sportsbooks may offer is a free play or free bet option. This can be a great way to extend your betting power, but it comes with its own set of requirements and restrictions. The biggest difference between a free play bonus and a cash bonus is that you can only claim your winnings and not your original bet. In the same example as above, if you make a $110 bet with your free play, your account will only be credited $100 if you win. This inherently makes this type of bonus less valuable than free cash. The one positive with a free bet bonus is that the rollover requirement is often lower.
Many sportsbook will offer a casino deposit reload bonus to their regular customers. They can be in the form of cash or free plays with the same rules as described above and depending on the rollover requirement they can be a great way to increase your overall betting power. Some of the pros surrounding a reload bonus include the ability to increase the amount of your wagers while sticking to your money management strategy. Another plus of certain reload offers lets you take advantage of special offers for big sporting events (Super Bowl, Final Four etc.)
One of the biggest cons to keep in mind when it comes to taking a reload bonus would be having your bankroll tied up until you have met the rollover requirement. In some cases it may be much higher than normal and in the end you could end-up losing far more money while trying to reach that number. Another negative aspect is that some reload bonuses come with certain restrictions as to how it can be bet.
The bottom line with taking any type of sportsbook bonus hinges on your particular betting patterns. If you are a casual bettor that only focuses on one sport or a group of big sporting events throughout the year, you are probably better off passing on these offers. If you are an avid sports bettor with a heavy volume of weekly action, then there is a good chance that you can make these bonuses work in your favor if you are patient enough to claim your winnings.