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What does a risk-free bet actually mean?

You may have heard some people online talking about risk-free wagers and how it is possible to bag free bets to place on your favorite sporting events. It’s not too good to be true; risk-free bets do exist in the online sports betting industry. However, they come in various guises, usually as a means of enticing a new customer to sign up and become a valued member of an online sportsbook.

Oddschecker has a page dedicated to free bet promos, with some of the biggest U.S. sportsbooks and beyond offering risk-free or matched deposit bonuses for new sign-ups. What do we mean when we say risk-free? Let’s say you take up a risk-free bet promotion with a leading sportsbook. You will be allowed to place a risk-free wager (up to a certain amount), and if it loses, the sportsbook will refund your stake with bonus money or another free bet. If you win, you get to keep your winnings from the initial bet.

Keep in mind the terms and conditions attached to risk-free offers

In return, the sportsbooks that dish out these risk-free bets hope that you will continue to place bets with them in the future. It’s a chance for them to get increased exposure. Is there often a catch? Ultimately, it depends on the bookmaker. Some will allow you to sign up and claim a free bet without even needing to deposit your own money first. Meanwhile others will require you to place an initial qualifying bet to get a risk-free bet. Often, these qualifying bets will have stipulations, such as not being able to place the bet at odds of less than evens, for example. This stops you from being able to play the qualifying bet on an almost sure-fire thing to unlock the free wager.

It’s also important to be mindful of any wagering requirements attached to your free bet. Some risk-free bets might look hugely generous on the surface, but they might have hefty wagering requirements etched into their terms and conditions. Wagering requirements mean that you may have to wager the value of the free bet a set number of times before any subsequent winnings can be withdrawn to your chosen bank account or e-wallet, with the latter proving increasingly popular. The rules on wagering requirements differ from sportsbook to sportsbook, so you’ll just have to keep your wits about you.

Unfortunately, sometimes risk-free bets are out of reach for geographic reasons. Some sportsbooks will apply location-based restrictions on whom free bets apply to. There will be some nationalities that the wagers aren’t available to, but if no geographical restrictions are mentioned in the terms and conditions, you can assume that they’re available to all bettors.

How to use risk-free wagers to benefit your bankroll

There are ways that you can also utilize risk-free bets to your advantage as a bettor. Of course, the easiest way to use them is to view them as an expansion of your betting bankroll. If you have a specific wager in mind on a sporting event, perhaps a game in the English Premier League, you can use free bets to try and bag profit to add to your bankroll without risking any of your existing bank. Some people also like to use these free bets as a hedge. If you plan to bet on a certain outcome, you could place a free wager on another possible outcome in the same event; this will increase your chances of turning a profit, without having to risk more of your existing bankroll.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the latest risk-free offers from leading U.S. sportsbooks. Fanduel Sportsbook is offering a risk-free promotion up to $500, but this is applicable only to residents based in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. New customers can place a bet up to the value of $500 on any sporting event, and if it loses, they’ll be refunded up to $500. Similarly, Borgata Sports also offers a risk-free promo, which sees an initial losing bet of up to $250 refunded. The best way to experience the benefits of risk-free promotions is to dip your toe into the water and see how they can aid your own sports betting strategies.