How Do Sportsbook Bonuses Work?

Signage at the DraftKings Sportsbook. Scott Eisen/Getty Images for DraftKings/AFP

You will find that the best U.S. licensed sportsbooks are all vying for your business. It’s kind of like searching for the right bottle of wine, unless you’ve tried one you like there’s no telling how good it is until you bust open the cork and take a swig. Online sportsbooks are pretty much like that but the difference is you are allowed to explore without having to purchase.

What you will often need to do is sign up for an account, and that will allow you to explore the dashboard, get a feel for their lines, and familiarize yourself with their minimum and maximum betting limits.

There are always several choices to choose from if you live in one of the growing number of states that have legalized sports betting so it’s never a bad thing to have multiple “outs” (sportsbooks) that will give you the liberty of choosing the best line. Over the long run, getting the sharpest numbers is critical to making money or diminishing your losses.

Once you have signed up is when the books know they are as close to separating you from your money as they are going to get. They have to make their best pitch and this usually comes in the form of a signup bonus. This is where you can exploit the bookmakers’ largesse because it doesn’t come around very often. Although to be fair, there are reload and loyalty bonuses that crop up from time to time but very few are as appealing as the sign-up bonus.

However, what you must understand with many of these bonus programs is the concept of a rollover. This is simply the sportsbooks way of making sure you don’t bet and run with their money. Therefore, a sportsbook like DraftKings is well-known for giving large sign-up bonuses but sometimes they will come with a rollover that has a multiplier attached.

For instance, if DraftKings (or FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, or any number of licensed U.S. sportsbooks) is running a promo that says they will match up to $1000 of your deposit but to get the match you must meet the 5x rollover requirement. That means you must place $5000 worth of wagers to get the $1000 bonus ($1000 x 5 (5x rollover) = $5000).

It’s not as painful as you might think because if you are betting $100 per wager, it will take you 50 bets to reach your bonus but that’s very doable during the 18-week NFL season. Some might need all season to reach 50 bets at a hundred a rattle while the action junkies will get the job done in a matter of weeks! It’s all in how much and how often you bet.

But remember, quality over quantity is always preferable so don’t just bet to get your bonus quicker. It will be waiting for you when you reach your rollover goal. The goal is to have fun and put money in your pocket, not theirs, so do so at your own pace and don’t feel pressured into betting just to bet.

You must also understand that there are free wager promos that give you the bonus if you lose the bet and allow you to keep it if you win. These incentives are available from time to time but you have to do your homework and find out which books are giving the best deals at any given moment. That’s why when you sign up, it is not imperative to deposit until that book is running a bonus promotion that gives you enough incentive to fund your account.