Free Bets vs. Bonuses
Before covering the next step of matched betting, I have to introduce you to the two most common types of bookie promotions: free bets and bonuses. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there’s a fundamental difference between them.
Free Bets (a.k.a. SNR free bets) have a specific feature: they don’t include their stake in potential returns (SNR stands for Stake Not Returned). For example, a £25 free bet placed at odds of 2.0 can potentially return only £25 as its stake is excluded from winnings.
Bonuses (a.k.a. SR free bets, cash bonuses, deposit bonuses) do include their stake in potential winnings (SR stands for Stake Returned). Unlike free bets, bonuses have minimal wagering (rollover) requirements before they can be withdrawn. There are some bonuses that don’t even require the qualifying bet.
It’s essential to distinguish between bonuses and free bets as they have to be cashed in differently. Unfortunately some bookies call their bonuses free bets and vice versa.
Refer to the Terms and Conditions of the offer you sign up for to determine if it’s a bonus or a free bet. If T&C’s state that free bet (bonus) stake is excluded from returns, it’s definitely a SNR free bet. If there’s nothing said about that and/or the minimal rollover requirement is indicated, it’s a bonus.
While bonuses may seem to be more profitable, you should definitely start matched betting with free bets, especially if your initial bankroll is small.
Free bets don’t have any wagering requirements, thus they can be safely extracted with a relatively small bankroll. By choosing the odds wisely, as much as 80% of the free bet stake can be extracted, so they are highly profitable as well.
Always read the Terms and Conditions of the bonus (free bet) you’re signing up for carefully. They contain essential information on how the bonus can be obtained and how it must be used.