There are several types of free bet offers that the bookmakers make. This page explains them all, how they work and how they differ.
As the name suggests, this type of free bet comes in the form of a bonus based on the amount you first deposit when you open your account with the bookmaker.
These bonuses will always require some kind of rollover (i.e. you need to bet through your deposit a certain number of times before you can make a withdrawal). Otherwise, people could simply deposit a sum of money, have it doubled and then withdraw the lot!
Because the bookies want you to risk your own money before spending theirs, they will usually add other qualfiers to the bets that count towards your turnover.
For example, they might specify that only bets of a certain price count. Otherwise, people could bet on really low-priced "dead certs" in order to fulfill the turnover requirements.
They will also usually only accept your first bet in a certain market. This prevents people from backing all outcomes in the market for a small loss but an overall gain when the Bonus is taken into account.
They also usually require you to meet the turnover requirements within a certain time-frame - usually 60-90 days or so.
As the name suggests, this type of free bet offer simply matches your first qualifying bet after you've opened an account with the bookmaker.
The word "qualifying" probably needs some clarification.
Each bookmaker will differ in this respect but it is usually the case that this first bet must be for at least a certain amount (usually £5) and must be placed on a selection with a price above a certain level.
Once this qualfying bet has been placed and settled, the bookmaker will credit your account with a free bet which can be staked on any selection of your choosing.
Please note that the stake is normally not returned on these free bets - you only get to keep the winnings, provided the bet won, of course!
This type of Free Bet is rare amongst bookmakers but sometimes a bookmaker will offer a Free Bet simply for opening a new account with them - no actual deposit required.
As usual, there will probably be some minimum price specifications on the use of this free bet and the stake will probably not be returned should your bet win.
This type of Free Bet differs from bookmaker to bookmaker but usually come in the form of something along the lines of "Bet £10, Get £20".
So, you open an account with the bookmaker, place a qualifying bet and once it has been settled, the bookmaker will credit your account with your free bets.
These free bets can either be as one Free Bet which must be used in its entirety or is sometimes split into several smaller free bets.
Be sure to check out the terms of what constitutes a "qualifying" bet with the individual bookmaker - there may well be minimum price stipulations.
Also, the stakes will probably not be returned on the free bets - you only get to keep your winnings, assuming there are any!
This type of Free Bet comes in the form of a refund of lost stakes up to the amount specified in the offer.
There will usually be a minimum amount that you will need to deposit with the bookmaker in order to qualify for this refund.
This type of free bet requires you to place a qualifying bet with the bookmaker of a certain amount (specified in the offer).
A qualifying bet usually means that the bet must be placed on a selection which is above a certain price.
If this first bet wins, you get no free bet.
If this first bet loses, the bookmaker will refund your stake so that you can try again.
Again, this free bet will usually have to be placed on a selection above a certain price and your stake will probably not be returned should this bet win.
Some bookies don't require you to make further bets before withdrawing any winnings from this type of free bet but some do so be careful to read the small print.
This type of free bet comes in the form of a free bet which is calculated by using the average stakes of your first few qualifying bets with the bookmaker (this can vary from bookmaker to bookmaker but it is usually your first five or so).
There are usually minimum price stipulations in place in order for a bet to qualify for these promotions and there are usually time limits in place, too i.e. you must place these bets within a specific time - usually 30-60 days or so.
There are also minimum and maximum stake values which determine whether a bet "qualifies" towards your free bet entitlement.
For example, the bookmaker may only count bets of between £5 and £25. Any above this amount will only be classed as "£25" when calculating your average stake.
Any below will be disregarded completely.