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In the world of online bookmakers and online bonuses, you will often stumble across advertisements that show ‘free bets’ available. If you have never actually used a free bet before, these are common forms of bonuses that bookmakers hand out in order to give players some additional value. Of course, free bets usually apply specifically to sports betting, and it almost goes without saying that these free bets can come in various shapes and sizes.

Here are the top three bookmakers offering free bets:

888 Sport

Get £30 in free bets here

(New customers only. Wager at least £10 at odds of 1.5 or higher on the Sportsbook to be eligible for this offer. Place the bet within 30 days of registering. Other terms and conditions apply.)

Craven Herald:


Get £20 in free bets here

(18+ eligible UK and Ireland players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excluded. Minimum first £5 bet within 14 days of account registration at minimum odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply.)

Craven Herald:

William Hill

Get free bets worth £40 here

(New online customers only, minimum £10/€10 stake, win only, minimum odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 X £10/€10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Terms and conditions apply.)

Craven Herald:

There are a whole bunch of free bet offers that you could potentially unlock in the UK today, with some sites offering no deposit free bets and others offering ‘bet x receive y’ style promotions. We will be covering all of this through the information below, but first and foremost, we should probably get started with showing you who can get these free bet deals to begin with. 

Who can get UK free bet deals?

Free bet offers are generally available for two types of customers. It is quite common to find free bet deals that are advertised solely for brand new customers, but you can also find free bets available for existing players on many of the top sites. To give you a complete overview of how these work, just check out the information for both new and existing customers below. 

New customer free bets

In order to be viewed as a new customer, there are a couple of requirements that are set out by online bookmakers. You must have never actually created an account with that particular brand first and foremost, and of course, you must not currently have an active account either. As long as these conditions describe you, you will be within your rights to sign up and claim new customer free bets. As we've stressed above, different sites will have different offers, although we should mention that new customer deals are generally some of the highest and therefore the most appealing of all offers.

Once you have actually made use of any free bets as a new customer, you are then automatically viewed as an existing player at all online bookmaker sites. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as identified in the existing player section below.

Existing customer free bets

While these offers are generally not quite as high as new player free bets, they can often be advertised with increasing regularity on the best sites. If you choose to sign up with any of the recommended brands we have mentioned above, it is likely that you can get free bets on a daily basis. Some of these free bets will be distributed for the pre-match markets and some of them will specifically be for in-play bets. But don't worry, all of the information concerning the offer will be given within the terms and conditions.

Common forms of UK free bets

Craven Herald:

Now we're getting to the juicy part, for here we will be talking about all of the various types of free bet offers that you could potentially claim on the best online sites. There are actually more forms of UK free bets than you might originally imagine, but this is obviously a positive thing. Once again, if you are searching for sites that offer the best free bet deals in the UK, we would recommend that you stick to our suggested sites mentioned earlier.

With that said, let us now run through some of the more common free bet deals that you can expect to redeem once you've registered with some of these sites.

Risk-free wager

Risk-free wagers are usually offered to brand new customers at the leading betting sites. The reason that these free bet deals are advertised as being risk-free is that you effectively cannot lose with your initial wager. While that might sound a bit too good to be true, we can promise you that these offers do exist. The catch is that these online betting sites will only give you a free bet if your initial sports wager doesn't result in a win, and there will always be a maximum value that you can receive.

More often than not, these risk-free wagers will not exceed £20 in value, but then again, if you do win your first sports wager, you can simply enjoy the winnings.

Bet x receive y

This is one of the most common of all the free bets that you will find in the UK. As the name of the offer suggests, you will be required to wager some money first before you will receive the free bet. Specifically for new customer deals, you will generally find that the free bet is much larger than the initial qualifying wager that you have to place. As an example, you will regularly find ‘bet £10 receive £20’ deals, and you might even find deals where you can bet £5 and receive £25.

Obviously, you want to find offers where the potential monetary reward is the highest possible compared to the initial qualifying wager.

In-play free bets

While all of the previous bonuses we have mentioned are tailored for the pre-match markets, you will sometimes find these free bet deals for when an event kicks off. There will always be some form of pre-requirement before you can get these free bets, but once you receive them, you can then have some fun with the fluctuating live markets. Many punters actually prefer free bet deals for the live markets as it gives them a chance to lock in some huge odds that may not have been available in the pre-match offerings. Of course, this depends on what is occurring in the game, but since you are betting with a free bet, you are not risking your own cash.

Money-back as a free bet

This is different from the risk-free bet that we have mentioned above as you will generally find these offers as existing player bonuses. These incentives will also be dependent on a certain scenario occurring in a game. A prime example of this would be when a football game finishes in a 0-0 draw, in which case there are sites out there where you will then receive your money back as a free bet. This is just one of many scenarios where a bookmaker may choose to give you your cashback, and again, details will be given in the terms of the offer.

Mobile-exclusive deals

Finally, it is becoming more and more common to find exclusive mobile deals with some of the top sites. This is because betting brands are trying to promote mobile apps for members to use, and what better way to encourage this than by offering exclusive bonuses? You could find any of the promotions that we have mentioned above through the native apps that are often available for download on Android and iOS. While this is not guaranteed, it does give you a nice additional bonus to go along with what is available on the main desktop site.

Important terms and conditions to understand

Craven Herald:

As with all free bet offers in the UK, there will always be a set of terms and conditions that apply to the offer. Of course, nobody likes reading the small print, but it is important in this sense to fully understand what the bonus entails. There are some critical pieces of information that will often be found in terms of conditions as well, as identified below.

Expiration date

As much as we would love it to be the case, free bet offers are not valid forever. There will almost always be an expiration date associated with the UK free bet deals that you can claim, and these can vary from a few days up to several months. With that in mind, you still need to ensure that you are fully aware of when the free bet expires so that you can make sure that you use it before it does. After all, there is no point meeting the requirements to get a free bet if you then do not make use of it.

Odd minimums

Odd minimums often apply to the qualifying wagers that you must place in order to unlock certain free bet deals.  Again, this kind of information will be given in the terms and conditions, and it is often the case where you may need to back a market that has odds greater than 1.5 or 2.0. While these are common odd minimums for online bookmakers to give out, the exact minimums for the bonus you're trying to claim can vary.

Wagering requirements

Wagering requirements are not always associated with sports Betting deals, but some sites do choose to apply them. Basically, wagering requirements identify the amount of money you must actually spend on the site before you can cash out any winnings resulting from your bonus. The good thing about free bet deals for sports wagers is that these wagering conditions are rarely substantial, meaning that there is less red tape to cut through before you can enjoy any winnings.

Deposit method restrictions

This is a critical piece of information to be aware of with any free bet deal. Deposit method restrictions are actually very common for new customer free bet offers, as there are several sites in the market today that require you to actually make your first deposit with a set method. Failure to do so will mean that you are then ineligible to claim the welcome bonus, which is obviously not ideal.

Advantages of free bet offers

It goes without saying that free bet offers are always going to be appealing for sports punters, and there are many key reasons for this. This is discussed in the information below.

Zero or little risk

When making a sports wager, you are obviously risking your own cash in the hope of obtaining some kind of winnings. However, when you're actually making a bet with bonus funds, you are not technically risking your own money. This is why free bet deals are often seen as some of the most enticing of all online betting bonuses, although there are obviously times where you will need to take on some risk in order to unlock the free bet in the first place.

Chance to have some ‘free entertainment’

It is the very nature of sports betting that when you have some money on the line, the event becomes that much more exciting. If you manage to claim free bet deals however, you will get the same level of entertainment except you haven't needed to stump up any of your cash for the privilege. There is always the chance that you might even win with your free bet, but of course, this is not guaranteed. For example, you could win with the free bets you get from William Hill.

Craven Herald:

Turns things back in your favour

It is common knowledge that the odds are generally not in your favour when it comes to sports betting. There is a very small percentage of the population that is able to constantly outsmart the bookies and turn a profit, but for most players, this is not going to be the case over the long run. However, by using free bet deals to lay down your wagers, you are reducing your risk and therefore turning things somewhat in your favour.

Can go for ‘riskier’ bets

Different punters are willing to take on different degrees of risk with sports betting. But when it comes to free bets, you can go hunting for those larger returns by backing markets that have very high odds. Players are more willing to do this when they have a free bet at their disposal, and this is actually a strategy that is employed by many punters around the UK.  Obviously the greater the risk of the bet, the greater the potential return, but the flip side is that the chances of winning the bet are much smaller.

Football Whispers breaks down the beautiful game with statistical analysis, feature articles and expert betting tips. Please gamble responsibly.