I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be excited about the prospect of free money. Many Colorado sportsbook ads on billboards, TV commercials, and social media feeds offer big money upfront. However, bettors shouldn’t take these offers at face value. The terms governing those offers are critical to understanding how bettors can take advantage of enticing welcome bonuses.
Giving new bettors money to wager can encourage bettors to start spending money, but all the signs and numbers on a sportsbook app home screen can be a deterrent for new bettors looking to try their hand at sports betting. Getting newbies past this initial bump is crucial.
The Two Main Types Of Welcome Bonuses At Colorado Sportsbooks
Sportsbooks usually offer bettors money in one of two ways: offering deposit bonuses and offering risk-free bets.
Deposit bonuses reward bettors for how much they deposit upfront. Sportsbooks will match deposits up to a certain amount and at a certain rate. For example, BetRivers offers a $250 deposit bonus with a 100% match rate. That means for every dollar bettors deposit, BetRivers will add $1 of site credits, too. BetRivers won’t stop adding funds until they’ve given bettors $250-worth of site credits.
Risk-free bets require bettors to place a bet. Bettors place their first bet, and if they lose, then the sportsbook will add site credits equal to the bettor’s original stake. BetMGM offers a $500 risk-free bet. If bettors place a $500 bet and lose, they’ll get their money back in site credits. But if bettors wager $200 and lose, they’ll only get $200. Bettors get the money they wagered back in site credits up to the amount advertised in the bonus.
What Are Site Credits?
This is one of the most important terms to understand when analyzing sportsbook bonuses. Sportsbooks have cash reserves to pay winners. Colorado’s Division of Gaming has a formula that determines how much cash sportsbooks must have on hand. That way, sportsbooks don’t run out of money if a few underdogs come through. But that cash cushion isn’t infinite. If sportsbooks want to give bettors “free money,” cash isn’t a viable currency.
However, site credits solve that problem for sportsbooks. Sportsbooks don’t have to dip into their cash reserves to attract new players. Instead, they can let their bettors wager on a limited amount of credit. Bettors aren’t indebted to sportsbooks for it, and sportsbooks only have to pay winnings. If bettors lose their wagers, the sportsbooks haven’t lost any cash. But if bettors win, sportsbooks do have to pay real money.
Depending on how the stats work out, welcome bonuses can be loss leaders for sportsbooks. Remember, sportsbooks just want bettors to try betting so they’ll be encouraged to use their own money on subsequent bets. If bettors use real money to place their next wagers, sportsbooks can make more money over a customer’s lifetime than they lose attracting them.
Obscure Welcome Bonus Terms
Our reviews rate sportsbook welcome bonuses every time a new platform comes out. We give similar notices to bettors about reading terms and making sure they understand that risk-free bets aren’t completely risk-free. However, there are other terms and conditions that bettors discover as they play through their welcome bonuses. Here are some of the other terms in the fine print.
Deposit Bonus Terms
There are a few ways to make sure bettors get the most out of their deposit bonus. The first is a minimum deposit bonus. DraftKings’ $1,000 deposit bonus requires a $5 deposit or more upfront. It’s so small that it’s hardly worth article space. But it’s an innocuous detail compared to the playthrough requirement.
DraftKings awards site credits at a 20% rate. That means bettors have to deposit $5,000 to get $1,000 in site credits. However, bettors have to do more than deposit funds. They also have to use that money to bet. DraftKings has a playthrough requirement that awards $1 in bonus funds for every $25 that bettors wager. That means to get the full $1,000 in site credits, bettors must:
- Deposit $5,000
- Wager $25,000
Bettors also have to do all this in 90 days to maximize their bonuses.
But before bettors get up in arms about how hard it is to win site credits, they should take a deep breath. If they only plan on wagering a few hundred dollars, they’ll earn site credits that are proportional to their wagers. The goal of a deposit bonus isn’t to bet everything at once. It’s to cushion bets so bettors can wager with a little more money over time.
Risk-Free Bet Bonus Terms
We’ve made it clear in our reviews that risk-free bets require some risk on the bettor’s part. Wagering cash and getting site credits in return is not an equivalent trade. Bettors can’t withdraw site credits, which isn’t a problem if bettors plan on using their sportsbook over a long period of time.
However, risk-free bets often only apply to the first bet. That means if bettors muster up the courage to bet big on their second wager, it’s no use. The first bet has to be the largest one to get the most value out of a risk-free bet.
Risk-free bets are more straightforward than deposit bonuses. However, risk-free bets are easy to miss. FanDuel may offer a $1,000 risk-free bet. But how many bettors are going to realize they have to wager $1,000 upfront and lose for $1,000 in site credits? Suddenly, the money doesn’t pop as much.
Why Sportsbooks Can Offer Bonuses With These Terms
Some bettors may feel like they’re being cheated. However, they shouldn’t for two important reasons:
- The fine print is readily available.
- Promotions attract bettors, then weed them out.
Accessing the fine print is easy. It’s linked from the promotions page. However, promotions have a more subtle purpose that bettors may be interested in.
Deposit bonuses and risk-free bets don’t give players large amounts of money upfront. Bettors have to earn them through consistent play or by betting big early. Sportsbooks only want to retain bettors who will bet big or consistently. They want to discourage bettors who try to game bonuses then run. Astute or lucky bettors could do that with risk-free bets. But deposit bonuses are far less forgiving.
But welcome bonuses aren’t the only types of promotions. Sportsbooks run promotions for smaller amounts of money on special events like the Masters or Super Bowl. Other types of welcome bonuses scatter the Colorado sportsbook landscape. But understanding deposit bonuses and risk-free bets will prepare bettors for most of the promotions available in the marketplace. Armed with this knowledge, bettors can make more informed betting–and budget–decisions when they join Colorado’s newest sportsbooks.