Bookmakers give special offers in various formats to encourage you primarily to open on-line accounts and to keep you using them as an ongoing customer.
The “value“ in these offers is to look for “no lose” ones without conditions, and ones which increase your chances of striking a profitable bet.
THE OPEN AN ACCOUNT OFFER
Understand what is happening in the financial markets. On-line betting is booming. Mergers and consolidations are rampant. Bookmakers with a poor on-line presence are paying silly prices for internet operators. Internet operators are valued on their on-line customer base. Bookmakers “loss lead” new accounts to build value, and make special offers for on-line betting to keep you using them.
You can easily get £1000 in free bets by opening on-line accounts with 20 bookmakers. Don’t. Many of these will commit you to making “matching bets” some of them will exclude short priced ones and others will commit you to a series of bets before you can get any winnings back.
Beware of the information trail you leave. You are giving your personal information to twenty different organizations. Some of these will be reputable UK plc’s others will operate in foreign jurisdictions. Every organization is at risk of hacking, and the more accounts you have the greater the risk of becoming an internet fraud victim. You will also open yourself to a flood of marketing information not only from the companies that you have an account with, but from search engines analyzing your preferences. Worse still you bank or credit card provider will note the number of transactions with different betting businesses, and this could affect your credit rating. Finally if you are in the divorce court, having 20 on-line betting accounts won’t stand you in good stead.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of such offers if you plan to open an on-line account with that bookmaker anyway. It is useful to have more than one on-line account, for instance to choose the best odds or hide your betting patterns. But choose the account carefully based on reputation; long-term offers and rules; and how much you like the site, not because of the opening offer.
THE ENTER OUR CASINO OFFER
Avoid free matching bets to enter a casino, unless you like betting on on-line casinos. On the other hand “play our new game with £10 risk free” is to be snatched at if you have the discipline to move on after waging £10.
THE WEEKLY OR ANNUAL “KEEP YOU USING THE ACCOUNT” OFFER
Any decent on-line betting site will give periodic offers to keep you interested in the account. The free £25 Cheltenham week bet is a no loser. Weekly special offers need more analysis. Why take an enhanced 6/4 price on the odds-on favourite winning the Arc if you don’t normally bet on horses? On the other hand even if you don’t normally bet on football you would have been daft to miss the 5/2 (maximum £25 stake) enhanced odds on there being 3 or more goals scored in a particular football match recently, whilst the same bookmaker offered normal odds of Evens on 2 or less goals scored in the same match. A stake of £68.75 guaranteed a win of £18.75.
THE OFFERS TO LOOK FOR
These are the bookmakers’ offers where you benefit day after day; week after week; and year after year. They have two things in common, they are available all the time and they give you a distinct odds advantage. Two different ones readily available from different UK on-line bookmakers are “guaranteed odds” and “money back if it falls.”
Guaranteed odds means that if you take the price available when you place the bet and the starting price is larger, then your bet will be settled at the starting price. This can work to your advantage in two ways. If the price of a horse ( and often a greyhound) you have taken at 6/4 in the morning, moves through evens then goes odds-on before the off, the prices of the other runners will have gone out. This can enable you to then cover some of these outsiders without diluting your win situation too much. Alternatively a horse the bookmakers have priced purely on form in the morning may drift out in the prices because another fancied runner emerges in the markets. The form horse which is 6/4 in the morning may drift to 3/1 at the off. It is still the form horse and often wins. Again there are opportunities to cover other horses in the race and still win the same as when you placed the bet.
Money back if it falls means that your bet is returned as a non-runner if the horse falls. Hit this in bad weather; large fields; amateur races; and short priced favourites. This is likely to be of greater interest during the winter National Hunt season.
Check the sundry rules. How many places does the bookmaker pay on? This can make an each-way bet a winner at one bookmakers and a loser at another. Also check you bookmaker pays “first past the post or eventual winner” which means that the bet wins if the horse is later disqualified, and conversely that it wins if the horse is awarded the race after a stewards’ enquiry.
So bookmakers want your business. They want to tempt you in and they want to keep you there. To make the most of bookmaker offers you need to avoid it leading you into opening multiple accounts and into betting on things you don’t normally bet on. Look out for “no lose” bets. Read the small print on each way runners and first past the post. Above all look for long-term offers that change the statistical chances of betting profitably in your favour.