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If you enjoy online sports betting, then you are aware of the great number of sports betting sites and apps you can choose from.

The huge competition between bookmakers in the UK has certain benefits for bettors, including a wide variety of promotions and bonuses offered to attract new players. One of the most common bonuses offered are free bets. In the UK, these are usually included as a part of a welcome offer.

Top bookmakers offering free bets in the UK

Betfred: £30 free bets + 60 free spins

Dorset Echo:

(New UK & NI customers only. Promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet of £10+ in one bet transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0) +. Settled within 60 days. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement, 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 60 Free Spins on Justice League Comics. 7-day expiry. Full T&Cs apply.)

Get Betfred Free Bets here

William Hill: Get £40 in Free Bets

Dorset Echo:

(New customers who register via Mobile only (min £10 / €10 stake), win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 x £10 / €10 (30-day expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. By entering the Promo code in the box below you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below.)

Get William Hill Free Bets here

Unibet: Get up to £40 Moneyback bonus

Dorset Echo:

(*New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min.  odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x.  Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Further T&Cs apply.)

Get £40 in risk-free bets here

What are free bets and are they really free?

Free bets, as the name says, are bets that you are allowed to place without having to stake any of your own money. It is basically a bonus that is worth a certain, specific amount of money that has to be used to place an individual bet.

The free bet offers are common on many websites and you can get them simply by signing in or collecting free bet tokens. In any case, when you place a free bet, your balance will remain unaffected.

This means that you are given a chance to win a bet, without having to invest any funds.  However, the stake of the free bet is usually not returned if the bet wins, only the associated winnings.

Are these bets actually free?

While you may be able to find some promotions that are truly, completely free, such as no deposit bets, these are very rare.

In most cases, you will have to place a qualifying bet or at least a deposit before you can claim them. Additionally, these can’t be cashed out – you have to use them to place a bet before you can withdraw any funds associated with the bonus. There is also an option to participate in a club and claim free bets on a regular basis but that comes with specific conditions.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at possible terms and conditions associated with these types of bets.

Pay close attention to terms and conditions

It is important to understand the terms and conditions related to these deals and other promotions and bonuses. These terms and conditions are usually written below the main details. In most cases, they are written in small print as well.

Some of the key conditions to check before you decide to claim them are:

  • Winnings – In some situations, although rare, free bets can come with a cap on the potential winnings.
  • Turnover – Some betting sites may require you to place additional bets with winnings from your free bets before you can withdraw any funds. Another rare situation but possible, especially if you bet with a smaller bookie.
  • Timeframe – Pay attention to the allotted time for using the free bet after you receive it. In most cases, you will have at least a week to place your free bet.
  • Minimum Odds – Most come with minimum odds requirements. While these are not high in most cases, they can vary from one bookie to another.

Other conditions that are also important include minimum deposit amounts where they are required and what sort of bets you can make with your free bets (what sport, whether you can place single or multiple bet, etc.).

Additionally, make sure that you are eligible for the free bet offers since most bookies will have certain restrictions, such as your country, age or restricted deposit methods.

How to get them?

As we already mentioned, the most common way is simply by opening a new account at an online betting website and you can receive new customer free bets as part of the welcome package. However, there are a few different types of bets you can get, both for new and active players.

Types of free bet offers for new players

Dorset Echo:

There are a few different types of free bets for new customers, so let’s check them out.

  • No Deposit – These are quite rare but you may be lucky to come across them from time to time. It means that you can receive a bonus in the form of free bets without having to make any kind of deposit.
  • Minimum Deposit/Qualifying Bet – These two are the most common and very similar. It means that you either have to make a minimum deposit to claim your bets as part of the welcome bonus, or that you have to make a qualifying bet under certain conditions before you can claim them.
  • Risk-Free Bets – This type of a free bet is only awarded if you lose your first bet after you open an account on a betting website. It means that you have to use your own money to place a bet but if you don’t win, you will get free bet credit in the specified amount. If your first bet wins, you will not be able to claim these.

Types of free bet offers for existing customers

Even if you are not a new player, you can claim this type of bet as an existing customer in a few different ways.

  • Free Bet Clubs – Many betting sites have “bet clubs”, which is essentially a type of loyalty or rewards program for active players. In most cases, you will be awarded occasional free bets if you are betting on the site regularly.
  • Consolation Prizes – Some bookies will award these as consolation prizes as part of their ongoing promotions or give them to bettors if they miss on one game in a multi-bet. There are other similar examples of giving away free bets as consolation prizes, like for betting on tennis on some Grand Slams and when your player ends up losing the match after being two sets up.
  • Deposit Bonuses – Many bookies offer incentives for making regular deposits, usually called “reload bonuses”. These bonuses can be awarded in cash but they are also often awarded in the form of free bets that come with certain conditions.

How to choose the best offers

With such fierce competition in the online sports betting industry, it can be hard to choose between different welcome offers. With that in mind, there are a few things to pay attention to when you choose the best free offers to claim.

The most obvious factor to consider is simply the size or the number of bets that you can claim at once, especially when you join a new bookie. However, things are usually not that simple and there are other factors you should take into account, such as the minimum deposit required or the size of the qualifying bet.

Another thing to consider is the timeframe in which these will be credited to your account – will you receive them immediately or will you have to wait a certain time.  Take a closer look at the sports, events and markets that you can bet on with your free bets and other potential restrictions.

Lastly, you need to make sure that the bookie that offers this type of offer is safe and fully licensed to operate in the UK.

Bookmakers with best free bet offers for new players

As we already mentioned, a wide majority of online betting sites offer free bets as a part of their welcome offers. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the best free bet offers for UK players.

  • BetVictor – This bookie has the best welcome offer. They offer £20 in free bets plus a £10 bonus for live casino after you make a qualifying bet of at least £5. The £20 is awarded as two £10 bets – one of which is a single bet placed at even odds or greater, while the other free bet has to be placed as an accumulation bet with at least 5 selections.
  • Unibet – This betting website gives you a chance to place a risk-free first bet, in addition to a £10 casino bonus. The risk-free bet means that you will get your money back if your first bet loses. The minimum you have to bet is £1, while the maximum you can get back is £40. Keep in mind that you have to wager the bonus three times before you can withdraw any related winnings.

Another of our favourite bookmakers not offering free bets is bet365. We couldn’t finish this roundup without mentioning their great user experience. They do have a bet365 sign-up offer for new customers too.

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