How to Find Value in a Sports Betting Bonus

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Almost every online sportsbook offers a bonus when you first deposit. Most betting sites also feature bonuses that let you keep earning extra money on the side.

You may be thrilled to get any type of bonus. After all, you’re essentially earning “free” money on top of whatever you may win.

However, not all sports betting bonuses are the same. Some deals provide more value relative to the playthrough (a.k.a. rollover) behind them.

This page covers general aspects of online sportsbook bonuses along with how you can calculate which deals provide the most value. After all, you stand to earn more profits from betting offers by determining their value ahead of time.

What Determines a Betting Bonus’ Value?

You should consider multiple factors when trying to figure out a bonus’ worth. That said, here are the primary traits that you want to check out.

Match Percentage

With a match bonus, bookmakers match your deposit by a certain percentage. Normally, they provide a 100% match on the deposit amount.

But you can do better or worse in some cases. For example, a 150% match is definitely favorable to 50%.

Here are some examples to show how you’ll benefit from larger match percentages:

  • You plan to deposit $300 at an internet sportsbook.
  • The first betting site features a 100% match; you’ll receive a $300 bonus.
  • The second betting site offers a 50% match; you’ll collect a $150 bonus.
  • The third betting site features a 150% match; you’ll receive a $450 bonus.

Maximum Amount

Online sportsbooks cap their bonus offers to a certain degree. If you’re a high roller, then you want to pay special attention to the size of a bonus.

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Anything worth up to $500 or more should satisfy you. Some betting sites even feature bonuses worth $1,000 or more.

Minimum Deposit

Each sportsbook requires you to meet a minimum deposit. After all, they don’t want to handle a bunch of amounts worth $1.50, $3.25, $4.50, etc.

The average betting site requires anywhere between a $10 and $20 minimum deposit. Even if you want to pursue a really small bonus, you’ll need to deposit the online sportsbook’s bare minimum.

Deposit or No Deposit

Sports gambling bonuses generally break down into two categories:

  1. No deposit – You receive a bonus just for signing up.
  2. Deposit – You must place a deposit to qualify.

No-deposit bonuses entail a small free bet (e.g. $10) or cash amount (e.g. $20). They aren’t worth much, but they also don’t require any financial risk.

Instead, you complete registration and take a shot at earning free money. The free aspect makes these offers very valuable to low rollers.

Deposit bonuses can be worth as much as $1,000. The catch, though, is that you must deposit a matching amount and earn the cash by wagering lots of money.

Time Involved

Many bettors are thrilled to be eligible for a no-deposit bonus. After all, no-deposit bonuses provide an opportunity to win money without investing anything…except your time.

Every bonus deal requires a time commitment of some sort. The time commitment comes from needing to meet terms and conditions.

Of course, deposit bonuses aren’t exactly time-free either. They require you to bet even more money to cash out.

The difference, though, is that your hard work is guaranteed to pay off when you meet terms and conditions. No-deposit bonuses often run out before you can satisfy T&Cs.

Friendly Terms & Conditions

Internet sportsbooks can’t let you cash out bonus funds right away. Otherwise, some bettors might sign up at sites just to get free money and vanish.

So, bookmakers make you earn bonuses by satisfying terms and conditions. Common terms found throughout the industry include:

  • Minimum odds – Every bet must be above certain odds (e.g. -160) while earning the bonus.
  • Maximum bet – You can’t exceed a certain bet amount (e.g. $100) when earning an offer.
  • Playthrough (a.k.a. rollover) – Bookmakers require you to wager a multiple of the bonus (e.g. 10x) before cashing out the bonus.
  • Time limit on play through – Betting sites limit how long you have to satisfy rollover.
  • Claim – You must visit your account and claim the bonus before playthrough starts.
  • Restricted deposit methods – Neteller and Skrill deposits don’t normally qualify for bonuses.

Every term behind a bonus is important. You don’t want to violate any of the T&Cs and risk losing your deal.

However, rollover especially takes center stage. As covered in the next section, it plays a crucial role in determining the value behind your bonus.

Steps for Calculating Value in Sports Betting Bonuses

Again, multiple aspects weigh into a bonus’ value. The match percentage, size, time commitment, minimum deposit, and whether a deposit is required are all important.

But one concrete way to determine bonus value involves looking at how much it’s worth on a per-dollar basis. The following examples show how to compare value in betting offers:

Bonus #1

  • You qualify for a $200 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 10x.
  • 200 x 10 = $2,000 must be wagered to satisfy rollover
  • 200 / 2,000 = $0.10 per dollar in playthrough

Bonus #2

  • You qualify for a $200 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 20x.
  • 200 x 20 = $4,000 must be wagered to satisfy rollover
  • 200 / 4,000 = $0.05 per dollar in playthrough

As can be seen, Bonus #1 is definitely more worthwhile. It provides double the value ($0.10 vs. $0.05) for each dollar in rollover.

Of course, it’s easy to differentiate the value between two bonuses of the same size. Here are a couple more examples that differ regarding size and rollover.

Bonus #1

  • You receive a $150 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 15x.
  • 150 x 15 = $2,250 must be wagered to satisfy rollover
  • 150 / 2,250 = $0.067 per dollar in playthrough

Bonus #2

  • You receive a $400 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 25x.
  • 400 x 25 = $10,000 must be wagered to satisfy rollover
  • 400 / 10,000 = $0.04 per dollar in playthrough

Other Thoughts to Consider

You probably have enough tools to figure out bonus value just by using the math above. But you can take your efforts even further by considering the aspects discussed before too.

How Often Do You Place Bets?

The size of a bonus is important. However, you don’t necessarily need to fixate on this factor if you’re a beginner sports gambler.

A $500 deposit bonus may sound really tempting. But will you gamble enough to meet the rollover on such an offer in time?

If not, then you’ll want to think about placing a smaller deposit. A small deposit and bonus gives you a better chance to satisfy playthrough in time.

Do You Need to Give Up One Bonus to Pursue Another?

Some internet sportsbooks offer both a no-deposit and deposit bonus to new bettors. However, not all betting sites allow customers to qualify for both offers—only one or the other.

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A $10 no-deposit bonus is a nice little reward. Is it worth giving up the chance for a lager deposit bonus (e.g. $200), though?

You need to think about your goals in such cases and go for whatever deal best fits these goals. Or you can simply move on to another online sportsbook.

What’s the Sportsbook’s Reputation?

A popular online betting site may offer the best-looking deal ever. If it doesn’t feature a quality reputation, though, then they might not even pay up.

Fortunately, most betting sites are reputable enough to honor all legitimately earned bonuses. But bad actors due exist here and there.

You can cut through this problem, though, by reading reviews on any online sportsbook you’re thinking about. A little research goes a long way towards choosing a solid bookmaker.

Where Are the Best Sports Betting Bonuses Available?

The sports gambling industry breaks down into two categories:

  1. Regulated markets with licensed betting sites.
  2. Grey markets with unlicensed/offshore operators.

The first option typically provides the best bonus offers. Most regulated jurisdictions are relatively new and still acquiring customers.

They need ways to beat out the competition for these bettors. Lucrative bonuses provide the best path towards accomplishing this goal.

Some legal online sportsbooks feature 100% match deposit bonuses worth up to $500 or more. They may also provide a no-deposit bonus and free bet as well.

Of course, offshore bookmakers in grey markets can also feature quality bonuses too. But the offshore market has been around longer, so the betting sites don’t feel as obligated to feature outstanding offers.


Betting bonuses aren’t always easy to differentiate in terms of value. They feature different sizes and rollover, which makes the process more confusing.

However, you’ll reduce the confusion by focusing on the playthrough and bonus size. You can also use math from the examples provided before to determine bonus value.

Of course, you should think about the other important factors as well. Your betting volume, the bookmaker’s reputation, and if you need to sacrifice one bonus for another are all crucial aspects.