In this next section we’ll cover some of the more common questions people tend to have – including topics relating to free bets as well as betting in general.

Got a question not covered on this page? Feel free to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help out.

Free Bet Questions

Why Do Bookies Give Out Free Bets?

Think of a free bet like a BOGOF offer at a supermarket. You’re being offered something extra (a bonus) when you spend your money (place a bet). Just like supermarkets, bookies do this to encourage you to ‘shop’ on their site rather than a competitors.

Many betting promotions, in particular sign up offers, are run as loss leaders – meaning they actually cost the bookie money in the hope that you’ll stick around and keep betting with them once the offer is done.

Why Didn’t I Receive My Free Bet?

Many of us have been in a situation where we expecting to receive a bonus, only for it never to materialise. Here’s our quick check list to find out what went wrong:

  1. Is the bonus awarded immediately? Some sites issue you your free bet the second your qualifying bet has been placed, but others only award it after it has settled. In this scenario you need to wait for your first bet to be completed first. Some bookies also take a little bit of time to add the bonus (eg: up to 24 hours), but this should be listed in the terms.
  2. Do you need to manually claim the offer? Most bookies systems are automatic, but a few require you to manually claim the bonus by emailing custom support. Check the terms to make sure this isn’t the case.
  3. Are you eligible? The first thing to check is whether you’re eligible for the offer. Most welcome bonuses only apply to new accounts, so if you’ve ever bet with the bookie before then you probably can’t claim. This also often applies in situations where you’ve never bet on sports, but you have bet in their casino – especially if you’ve claimed that welcome bonus as some sites run a ‘one offer only’ policy. Most sites also restrict offers by country, so if you’re not in the UK and you found the offer on our site, then make sure that the offer is available in your country.
  4. Have you made the correct qualifying bet? Most free bets require a qualifying bet, but sometimes what you need to do to trigger the offer has specific requirements. In particular watch out for minimum odds (eg: evens or greater), specific bets (eg: match odds only) or sport limitations (eg: only football) because if your bet didn’t follow the rules you won’t get the freebie.
  5. Did you need a bonus code? A few sites use a bonus code system which requires you to enter a code either when registering or when making your first deposit. This is particularly common if the bookie has multiple welcome offers for you to choose from. If this is the case, and you didn’t enter it, then contact support before you do anything else and see if they can add it to your account retrospectively.
  6. What payment method did you use? If it’s a debit card, then you don’t need to worry. But some alternative methods such as PayPal, Neteller, Skrill or Paysafecard cannot be used in conjunction with offers at certain bookies. This is relatively uncommon, but frequent enough to be something you should check.
  7. Has the free bet expired? Once free bets are added to your account, they usually have a time period after which they’ll expire. You normally get at least 7 days, and sometimes up to 30, but we have seen offers expire after a day – meaning you need to move quickly to make sure you don’t lose them. If you have missed out on a bet, try asking support to see if they can add it again.

If none of the above help, then get in touch with the bookies customer support.

What Does Stake Returned (SR) / Stake Not Returned (SNR) Mean?

You may hear these terms banded around from time to time, especially if you hang out on betting forums. Put simply, a stake returned free bet will have the value of the free bet token included in your winnings. If it isn’t returned, then you only receive your winnings.

For example:

  • Stake Returned: Place a £10 bet at evens using a stake returned free bet and if you win you’ll receive £20 back – the £10 winnings and the value of the free bet stake.
  • Stake Not Returned: Place a £10 bet at evens using a stake not returned free bet and you’ll receive £10 back – made up of the £10 winnings only.

Whilst it’s obviously more preferable for the stake to be returned, it isn’t up to us and more and more bookmakers are leaning towards the SNR model. Knowing how free bet stakes are handled makes a big difference in how you want to use that offer.

What Is A Risk Free Bet & How Does It Differ From A Free Bet?

In principle the idea of a risk free bet sounds awesome, but in reality they’re actually a step down from free bets because you only get a bonus if your qualifying bet loses. If it wins, you won’t get anything.

This is different to a free bet where you receive the bonus after meeting the qualification requirements, regardless of whether your bet wins or loses.

What Are Wagering Requirements (WR)?

Wagering requirements are more common for deposit bonuses, but some bookies apply them to the winnings from their free bets (especially if it’s a SR bookmaker). Here you need to place a certain volume of bets before you can withdraw your winnings. These are normally given as a multiplier of the bonus, such as 3x. So if you have a £50 bonus with a 3x WR, you need to place £150 in bets before withdrawing the bonus or the winnings.

Bookie Questions

How Do I Make A Complaint Against A Bookie?

If you’re having problems with a bookmaker, either online or on the high street, your first port of call should be to their customer service. Most issues can be resolved fairly quickly if you speak to the right person, and the bookies are keen to keep your business and avoid bad press – so you’ll often find them to be quite agreeable when it comes to settling disputes.

However, if you’ve tried this approach and not had any luck then there are a few more things you can do. What you do in your next step, however, depends on what your issue is:

  • Missleading Offers – If your complaint is about an offer and you think you’ve been missled, then your complaint should be directed towards the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). The ASA oversee’s all advertising in the United Kingdom, including UK licensed bookmakers. You can find more information on how to complain here.
  • General Complaints – If you have a more general query, then head over to IBAS. This stands for the Independent Betting Adjudication Service who act as a third party mediator for complaints about betting. In order to act on your complaint the operator need to be registered with IBAS, but most are. You can check a bookie’s status here.
  • Severe Complaints – Provided the bookie you’re betting with is licensed in the UK, then you can complain directly to the gambling commission. Although they do ask that you exhaust all other possibilities first and are primarily interested in issues which could be considered a breach of license (such as allowing underage gambling or money laundering). Complaints can be made via email or post.

Please note that none of the above services will be able to return legitimately lost money to you, regardless of the reason.

Is Betting Online Legal?

In the UK, yes it’s completely legal provided that you only bet with a UK licensed operator. All of the bookies that you see on are licensed in the UK, meaning they’re 100% legal. You can check the status of an operator on the Gambling Commission’s website.

Do I Have To Pay Tax On My Betting Winnings?

Since the abolition of betting duty in 2001 there has been no tax to pay on wagers or winnings of any sort. This includes bets place online, on the high street or in a casino. Instead the bookies pay a 15% tax on their profits made from anyone betting in the UK (known as a point of consumption tax).

Why Has A Betting Site Asked For Photographic Identification (ID)?

Bookies have a legal requirement to identify their customers through a process called KYC (Know Your Customer). This is to make sure that everyone betting is of legal age, and to prevent money laundering.

There are a number of ways the bookies check you are who you say you are and often ID checks are done without you even knowing (for example, via a ‘soft search’ of your credit file which doesn’t show up in any reports, but does prove who you are).

The more you bet and the bigger sums that are involved the more likely you are to have to verify your identity by sending in ID. This could be a scan of your driving license or document showing your name and address. The bookies have a legal responsibility to protect this data, so you don’t need to worry about it falling into the wrong hands.

Another reason bookies may ask for ID is if you’re depositing larger sums of money. Here you may be asked to prove that the payment method you’re using is yours, and provide a written statement to say that you personally made the deposits – this removes the ability to perform a ‘charge back’ against the bookie.

What Is The Best Method For Depositing At An Online Betting Site?

There are a few decent options for depositing at an online bookie, with pros and cons for each. Our favourites include:

  • Debit Card – Good old plastic is one of the best deposit methods at a casino. Not only are deposits instant, but they also have the highest limits out of any payment method. The downside is that withdrawals often take a few days to hit your account. You should also note that we’re only talking about debit cards here – credit cards are a terrible way to deposit as they’re seen as cash advances and attract interest immediately.
  • In Cash – That’s right, with some bookies you can deposit and withdraw in cash using a high street betting shop. This is obviously limited to online bookmakers who also have a high street presence, and not all of them offer it, but there are a few decent options. Including Coral and Ladbrokes.
  • PayPal – Most people have a PayPal account, and transactions to licensed operators are permitted from within the UK (the rules may be different if you’re in a different country). The nice thing about PayPal is that transactions are very quick, meaning you can move your money around from one bookie to another without waiting for it to hit your bank account. Be warned though, a small number of bookmakers do not give bonuses to customers depositing via PayPal, so double check the terms of the offer you’re claiming if you want to use this method.