Different Types of Free Bets Explained

Punters in the UK have become used to claiming free bets through welcome offers on different betting sites. Those who have done this a lot will know that these free bets can be unlocked in different ways, which is something we will delve into in this guide.

free bets explained
Written by Isak Möller
Verified by BettingLounge team
Last updated 30/05/2024

Free Bets Types in the UK

Free bets have become increasingly popular among UK punters in recent years and almost all betting sites have jumped on the train. In fact, those who are looking for free bets will not have to look for long, with several great welcome offers available in the UK. Naturally, the different types of free bets have also increased.

While most of the bookmakers have what are known as deposit free bets, such as a bet £10 get £40 deal, there are also a few other popular types: no deposit free bets, matched deposit free bets and money back free bets. While you might understand the difference thanks to the names, we will delve deeper into how these work in this guide.

The Most Popular Free Bets Types

  • Deposit Free Bets

    This is without a doubt the most common type of free bet out there. As the name suggests, punters need to make a deposit on the betting site to claim the free bets. This is usually £10 in the UK, such as a bet £10 get £30 deal, but some offers can be lower as well as higher.

    Furthermore, just making a deposit will often not be enough to claim the free bets, with most sites demanding a deposit as well as a qualifying bet. The latter usually has a minimum odds (and sometimes even a specific market to bet on) but generally speaking, these free bets are rather easy to claim.

  • No Deposit Free Bets

    No deposit free bets are completely free bets that some bookmakers offer for a limited time. In that sense, the no deposit betting offers are exactly as they sound, a bonus without needing to deposit any money.

    No deposit betting offers usually come in three different varieties. Free bets with no deposit, free spins with no deposit, or a set amount of money to use for free on different sections of the website.

    No deposit betting offers are almost always new customer sign-up bonuses but are sometimes offered to existing players too. We recommend checking out the significant terms and conditions, as you will see where to use the bonus (sports/casino/poker, etc), if there is a wagering requirement, and if there are any depositing method restrictions.

  • Matched Deposit Free Bets

    A matched bonus (also called a deposit bonus) is triggered on your first deposit to a new betting site. A matched bonus means that the bookmaker will match your first deposit amount up to a certain percentage.

    Matched deposit bonuses are great for players who intend to deposit a large amount of money. But, we recommend looking at the wagering requirement before committing to these offers, as they can be difficult, and usually need to be completed within 30 days of signing up.

    For example, a 100% match of your first deposit up to £100. If you were to deposit £100 on your first deposit, you would get £100 in free bets or bonus funds. However, you may need to wager the deposit amount up to 10x (£1000) to unlock the funds for withdrawal.

  • Money Back Free Bets

    We are not huge fans of money-back free bets but, having said that, they are not uncommon in the UK. Essentially, These offers require losses to be made - usually on the first day or the first bet - for any free bets to be credited. So if your first-day losses amounted to £40, then you would get a £40 free bet.

    Of course, the downside to this is that you would have to make a loss in order to claim any free bets. Furthermore, most betting sites in the UK tend to cap this type of welcome offer, meaning you would only get a refund up until a certain amount. Unibet is an example, offering a money-back bonus of up to £40 for first-bet losses.

My Favourite Free Bets Type

Even though it might sound strange, no deposit deals are actually not my favourite. These are very rare and don't tend to be that lucrative, so I much prefer to deposit an amount and get more in return. Especially now that so many betting sites offer very lucrative deals to entice new punters, a decent amount of cash can be made despite a deposit and qualifying bet.

Free Bets for Existing Customers

In addition to welcome offers, free bets can also be claimed by existing customers on betting sites. They are usually offered as a loyalty reward, as is the case with Betway's Free Bet Club, and this essentially gives punters an incentive to bet more with the bookmaker in question. Free bets can also be handed out for specific events, such as the Cheltenham Festival.

Isak is an experienced content writer with a background in sports journalism. Having focused mainly on football in the past, he certainly knows a thing or two about the betting industry. At BettingLounge, Isak makes sure that all of the content is up to date, specialising in reviews of UK betting sites.