Bookmaker Free Bets Explained — How Promotions Work

Bookmaker free bets are offered as an incentive for new customers. Generally speaking, free bet promotions are very generous, and they’re a great way to boost your bankroll as you work your way around an unfamiliar sportsbook.

Here’s a full explanation of the main free bet types you’ll encounter.


1. Stake Not Returned — “Keep The Winnings”

SNR is the most popular free bet format. They’re often given when you first sign up to a bookmaker — but sometimes as one-off promotions, too.

The key characteristic of an SNR bet is that any winnings you make on the free bet are returned to your account, and the free stake itself is not re-credited.


  • When you sign up you may need to enter a code to let the bookie know that you want the free bet.
  • Before you obtain your free bet you’ll need to deposit your own money and place one “qualifying bet” of (typically) an equal amount at the minimum odds stated (e.g. over 2.0). This must be your first ever bet at the bookmaker.
  • It doesn’t matter if you win or lose your initial qualifying bet using your own funds — the free bet is still credited to your account. It’s sometimes referred to as a “bet token”.
  • You usually have to risk the full SNR free bet or “token” in one go. You’re not allowed to split the bet up into multiple stakes.
  • SNR bets don’t normally carry a wagering requirement on winnings made from the free bet. This means you can withdraw once the bet has settled.


If you place a £25 SNR Free Bet on a football match at odds of 2/1 and the team wins, then you’ll return the profit of (2/1)*25 = £50 as opposed to the usual £75 return you would expect back (where the £25 stake would also be included).


2. Stake Refunds — “Get Your Money Back”

Bet Refunds are sometimes available as a signup promotion, and frequently given as a bonus to existing customers.

A Bet Refund is when you place a bet with your own money and have your money re-credited in cash, or bonus funds, if you lose. Most bet refunds carry a wagering requirement.


  • When you sign up you may need to enter a code to let the bookie know that you want to be eligible for the refund.
  • Before you are credited with a refund you’ll need to place a bet at the minimum odds stated (e.g. over 2.0). Only the first bet will be eligible.
  • If you are awarded a refund, you’ll usually need to place some more bets at the minimum odds stated (e.g. over 2.0), before you’re able to withdraw. This is known as the “wagering requirement”.
  • Bet Refunds are usually credited as an SNR bet, which makes it less valuable than withdrawable cash (but ultimately much better than nothing!).


If you placed a £25 bet on a horse at 10/1 and that horse loses, then you’ll be credited with either £25 in cash, OR a £25 SNR free bet.


3. Bonus Funds — “Bet With Free Credit”

“Bonus Funds”, “Free Credit”, and “Free Money” are all names for free bets credited as money in your account. Often you’ll be given the Bonus Funds as soon as you first your first deposit. It’s sometimes shown in your bookie account as “bonus balance”.

Unlike SNR free bets or Bet Refunds, Bonus Funds looks and behave like real money in your betting account. A wagering requirements is always attached to the Bonus, meaning you can’t withdraw immediately.


  • You may need to enter a code to let the bookie know that you want the extra balance in your account upon depositing.
  • Before you can withdraw the Bonus Funds you’ll need to place a series of bets at the minimum odds stated (e.g. over 2.0). This is known as the “rollover requirement”.
  • The rollover may be limited to a maximum stake amount per bet.
  • Every stake you place is returned in all of your winnings, as if it were a regular bet.
  • If you bust-out your balance during the rollover requirement, then is the end of the promotion for you. Thankfully the rollover requirements aren’t normally still tied to your next deposit.


If you deposit £25 and are eligible for a 100% bonus, then your balance is doubled to £50 prior to placing a bet. Before you withdraw you’ll need to meet the minimum rollover requirement stated in the terms & conditions for the promotion. For example, this could be 10x (deposit + bonus) = 10×50 = £500 total stake requirement.

That covers the basics of Bookmaker free bets. Make sure you read each promotion’s terms & conditions carefully; requirements differ between sports betting sites.