Understanding The Wagering Requirements Of Free Bets

One of the best ways to build a bankroll for trading on the Betfair Exchange is to take advantage of free bet promotions.

We’ve recently reviewed some of the leading matched betting services and weighed up how much you can make from these offers in 2022.

If you are unfamiliar with utilising free bets, it’s important to understand the concept of wagering requirements and how they apply to your free wagers and any subsequent winnings.

Don’t get starry-eyed about bookmaker promotions

With the Grand National fast approaching and the 2022 Cheltenham Festival recently over, sports bettors are increasingly inundated with free bet promotions to use on Aintree’s headline race. Most of these promotions will have eye-catching marketing campaigns, but it’s important to look further than the sexy slogans.

As with most horse racing free bets, you’ll get terms and conditions displayed in fine print below the marketing banner. Don’t overlook this small print. Within it, you’ll be given the wagering requirements of the subsequent winnings from any free bets.

Terms and conditions will also state any applicable minimum prices for your qualifying bets, as well as any time-limited windows to claim your free bet

Why do wagering requirements exist?

Before we explore the common stipulations within wagering requirements, it’s important to understand why bookmakers and online casinos use them in the first place.

Put simply, they are designed to prevent unscrupulous customers from taking advantage of promotions that are launched in good faith by operators.

Without wagering requirements, customers could potentially withdraw their bonus funds as real money without even having to roll over the bonus funds. In essence, operators would lose money hand over fist just to try and increase their respective customer bases.

Of course, some wagering requirements are more punitive than others, which is what we’ll come onto next.

Common types of wagering requirements

  • Free bets

With outright free bet promotions, the wagering requirements will usually be attached to the free bet itself. Let’s say that your £10 free bet has 5x wagering requirements attached. This means you must wager a minimum of £50 before any remaining winnings linked to the free bet can be withdrawn as real money.

With most free bet offers, you’ll also find that the bonus funds have to be wagered at a minimum odds threshold of 1/2 (1.50) or higher.

  • Matched deposits

Free bet promotions that require you to make a real-money deposit of your own to trigger bonus funds also have wagering requirements attached.

The wagering requirements usually cover one of two options. Firstly, they may cover the bonus alone. For instance, if you got a £100 matched deposit bonus with 5x wagering requirements, you would have to roll over the bonus five times (£500).

However, some rollovers may cover both the deposit and the bonus funds. If you deposited £100 of your own money to bag the £100 matched deposit bonus, this means your 5x wagering requirements would equate to £100 + £100 x 5 = £1,000 – double the amount of wagering requirements attached solely to the bonus funds.

  • No-wagering

Of course, you could get lucky and find some free bet promotions that don’t incur any wagering requirements whatsoever. However, these no-wagering bonuses are typically restricted to small free bets worth no more than £10-£20.

They may also have a minimum odds requirement attached at odds of even (2.0) or greater. This prevents you from placing the free bet on a sure-fire winner.

  • Free spins

We should also touch upon the free spins promotions offered by licensed and regulated iGaming firms in the UK. These online casinos will offer free spins to most new customers for use on selected slot titles. These free spins will typically incur wagering requirements worth between 20x-50x.

Let’s say you win £20 from your free spins and the bonus had 30x wagering requirements attached. This means you would have to roll over your £20 winnings 30 times (£600) before it can be withdrawn as real money – you’re right, virtually impossible!


Hopefully, this article acts as something of an eye-opener before you delve too deeply into the free bet promotions available at your preferred bookies and casinos.

Always keep wagering requirements in mind before you accept a bonus – your first question should be “how easily can I turn this bonus into cold, hard cash?”

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