Sports betting is only getting bigger, and the online world is rapidly replacing the high street bookmakers. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is because of the fiercely competitive UK bookmakers offers. It’s difficult to head to the local bookies when on your phone. You have access to a bunch of bonuses and free bets.
Free bets are very much a big part of the welcome bonus “industry.” They’re preferred by bookmakers because they don’t actually need to stump up any real cash when issuing them; they simply payout the winnings if the bet is successful. If it’s not, it’s as if that free bet money never existed, which makes bookkeeping and cash flow a little more simple and stripped back.
So, why are bookmakers so generous with free bets? Is there something we’re not realizing? Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of free bets.
Advantages of free bets
There’s no risk
With a free bet, you’re betting with just the credit of a free bet token. No money of yours is put forward, meaning there’s no immediate risk. Sure, if there was money you needed to deposit or bet in order to activate a free bet, then there is some risk. But in and of itself, a free bet is a zero-risk bet.
Clearly, a zero-risk bet is the most enjoyable kind of bet. You have zero pressure or concern about losing your bet, and this actually completely changes the way many of us bet when it’s zero-risk. It’s fun, for sure, as we can bet on even more unlikely outcomes – though we shouldn’t throw away our good opportunity with unrealistic bets.
Explore new strategies
One overlooked benefit, though, is that we can use free bets to explore a new strategy. If there’s a different betting type or market, we can use the free bets to see how we are fair with the new strategy in a low-risk environment.
The more we do something, the better we get at it. The reason for this is that we make mistakes, and we learn from them. Mistakes are important to make for this reason, but clearly, there’s a price to pay when betting. So, free bets are a great in-between. They allow us to make mistakes, learn, and gain experience but limit our losses.
Limitations of free bets
No stake returned
The most obvious limitation when using free bets is that the bet isn’t staked with cash. Therefore, the stake isn’t returned when winning a bet. So, winning an Evens 1/1 bet will return the winnings, which is just the equivalent of the amount of the free bet. Essentially, you’ve converted the free bet to cash with a successful Evens bet. This makes it less fruitful to bet on strong favorites.
It may skew your perception
If you rely on free bets too much, you may develop bad habits and risk-taking behavior that could sting in the real world of betting. The challenge is to treat the free bet as if it’s real money, but admittedly that’s less fun.
Criteria and requirements
Sometimes a free bet isn’t just a free bet; it may have some strings attached. There may be minimum odds when betting with it, you may be restricted from using it for accumulators, or there may be depositing/betting requirements in order to activate the free bet. These things mean the value of the free bet fluctuates on a case-by-case basis.