Sports Betting Bonus Guide 2023

The vast majority of legal sportsbooks offer bonuses to new players and numerous promotions to existing customers. These online gambling offers range from deposit match bonuses to risk-free offers, and some sites require exclusive promo codes. BonusFinder US lists the different types of sign-up offers you can take advantage of and how to get the most out of your bonuses.

Sports Betting Bonuses Guide

There are all kinds of sports betting bonuses new players can claim when signing up.

Why Do Sportsbooks Have Bonus Offers?

States have been allowed to choose their own stances on online gambling since 2018, when the U.S Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Since then, more than half of the 50 states have chosen to legalize online and/or retail betting, and numerous sportsbook brands have emerged during this new industry expanding. Many sportsbooks offer welcome bonuses to stand out from the crowd.

To get new customers to try the betting site, many online sportsbooks offer bonuses to people who sign up for the first time. The bonus amounts vary significantly, as do the terms and conditions. In addition to welcome bonuses, sportsbooks give out ongoing promotions, which are intended to keep players betting on the sportsbook. Most retail locations don’t provide any bonus money, which is one of the reasons why people prefer to bet online. Let’s check out more details on betting bonuses.

Types of Available Welcome Offers

There are several types of welcome bonuses you can claim for sports betting. You can only get one bonus per sportsbook, but you can sign up on several sites to take advantage of the different offers. Before you sign up, make sure you understand what the bonus is, how to claim it, and how long it is valid for.

Some bonuses are only valid if you bet on certain sports or place certain types of bets. These should be made clear in the terms and conditions, so make sure to follow those instructions to be eligible for the bonus.

Risk-Free/Second Chance Bets

These are by far the most common bonuses for new customers as the sportsbooks don’t need to give out site credits to all customers. To get this bonus, you must sign up, deposit money, and bet on something (often limitations are detailed in the T&Cs). If your bet loses, you get site credit worth your initial bet, up to a certain point. You can then bet the site credit and withdraw winnings (the stake is not included in the winnings).

For example, if you sign up on sportsbook, deposit $50, and place a bet worth $30 that ends up losing, you would receive a $30 bet credit back. Then, you can choose to bet with either your remaining $20 or with the $30 credit. On many sportsbooks, the credit covers just one bet, but on some, you get a couple credits. If you bet the $30 and the payout is $120, you would end up with $90 since the sportsbook takes back the credit. If you lose the bet made with the credit, you have the $20 of your own money left. However, if you originally bet $30 and the bonus limit is $20, you would get a $20 credit.

Many states are banning certain terminology, such as free bets, and that’s why you see some books calling risk-free bets second chance bets or something similar. Since these bets aren’t technically risk-free, it makes sense to describe the bonus better so that customers understand what they are signing up for.

Deposit Match Bonuses

Another common welcome bonus type in online sports betting is a deposit match. Once your first deposit has been processed, the sportsbook matches it with a percentage of the deposit and up to a certain amount. For example, a 100% match up to $500 means that $250 deposit nets you $250 in bonus money or site credit (meaning you have $500 to bet with), while a $600 deposit leaves you with a total of $1,100 ($600 + $500).

An important factor to consider before claiming a deposit match bonus is the wagering requirements. These are always listed in the terms & conditions, as they explain when you can withdraw any winnings. If the wagering/playthrough requirement is 5x, it means you need to bet your deposit and bonus money five times before you can withdraw. For more experienced bettors, this is no big deal, but new bettors need to consider how much they should tie up in the bonus in order to get through the wagering within the allotted time.

No Deposit/Free Bet Bonuses

No deposit bonuses are more common as casino bonuses, but sometimes you might get a small $5-$10 credit for just signing up on a sportsbook. You don’t need to deposit anything to get the bonus, but you can’t withdraw the funds until you’ve completed wagering. The same goes for free bets; you must bet them before they expire and if you win, you can withdraw the winnings but not the stake. Free bets are usually given out by the big brands in betting before they launch in a new state.

Neither of these is particularly profitable for sportsbooks, and that’s why you see them very rarely. However, some books offer promotions for existing customers for betting a certain amount during a week or wagering on a specific event; free bets are very common rewards for these promotions. You do have to bet first before you get them, which means they are not “free”.

Bet Match Bonuses

A bet match bonus is quite rare these days, but they are bettors’ favorites. You get a matching free bet credit after your first bet has been settled, no matter whether it’s a losing or winning bet. Once you get the credit, you can bet on virtually anything. Bet matches are usually paid with a single credit rather than several, and they are usually lower in value than a risk-free bet or a deposit bonus.

Bet & Get Bonuses

Bet X, Get Y are very similar to bet match offers, as you get a bet credit once you’ve wagered on something. Sometimes you’re required to win your bet to get the site credit, so it’s better to wager on a more “certain” option than to risk it big. The plus side is that some sportsbooks have very low minimum bets, like $1 or $5, you need to make to get the credit. Again, wagering for the credit is most often just 1x, meaning you can cash out any winnings after bet settlement.

How to Pick a Sports Betting Bonus

In most cases, you need to deposit your own money to get the betting bonus. You must also bet on something, so making sure the bets you would like to make contribute to the bonus is important. There are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing a bonus.
Set a Personal Betting Limit

Set a Personal Betting Limit

This is important; don't bet beyond your limits! Just because the bonus is up to $1,000 doesn't mean you should deposit $1,000 and bet with it. If you have an extra $50 and want to try your luck on sports betting, start with that. You can also set deposit and bet limits on your sportsbook account once you've registered.

Pick What You Want to Bet On

Pick What You Want to Bet On

Some sign-up bonuses have limitations what you can bet on with the bonus. For example, some are applicable to straight bets only. Read the fine print for the conditions attached before taking advantage of an offer; all betting sites are required to list the details due to responsible gaming regulations.

Check the Wagering

Check the Wagering

Like you've probably noticed, especially deposit bonuses have playthrough requirements. This means you need to bet the bonus a certain amount of times. If you don't place several bets, you might be wasting the free money you received following your first deposit as you might not complete the rollover requirement.

Place the Minimum Deposit

Place the Minimum Deposit

If there's a minimum deposit to get a bonus, you have to deposit at least that amount, so checking the minimums is very important. If the min. deposit is $20 and you've only put in $10, you won't get the bonus even if you follow other instructions. The same goes for minimum withdrawal limits; if there are some, you have to have more on your account to be able to withdraw.

Existing User Promotions

In addition to sign-up bonuses, online sportsbooks also offer sports betting promotions to existing bettors. These offers let you get some additional bonus money for mobile sports betting, although you often have to spend your own money first; new deposits are not required but you have to spend the minimum amount listed in the promotion terms.

Boosted Odds Promotions

Odds boosts and enhanced odds are probably the most common sports betting promotions for existing players. Sportsbooks have odds boosts for certain events or sports each day, which means you can get more money if your wager is correct. Similarly, reduced juice offerings let you have a better chance of turning profits since the book keeps a smaller cut of your wager.

Reload Bonuses

Reload bonuses are like first deposit bonuses but on a smaller scale. These are more common on online casino sites, but a sports betting site might occasionally match a player’s deposit of $25 in site credits. Read the terms to see the playthrough requirements, which are an important factor to consider for promos too.

Free Play

Unlike a reload bonus, where you get a cash bonus, this usually means free bets. You can get a free bet bonus from most sportsbooks after wagering multiple bets during a week, or getting certain bet types correct for a specific event. They can also apply to live betting only if you place wagers with a certain sum of money prior to the game.

Other Promotions

The greatest wagering sites also have other kinds of promos, like contests, parlay insurance, event specific offers, and early cashouts. You can participate in these promotions by opting in and completing the required steps. In most cases, you can participate over and over again each day or week! Use promotions to place your high risk, high reward bets. You can also find promotions for special sports events like the Kentucky Derby or the World Series on several US sportsbooks. Finally, some of the bigger sportsbooks have loyalty and VIP programs with perks and discounts for active users who earn reward points.

Betting Bonuses & Promos

In addition to bonuses, you can claim promos for existing customers.

Terms & Conditions

Before you can benefit from the bonuses described above, you need to accept the terms and conditions. They detail things like the time period the bonus is valid for, what types of bets or sports you can bet on with it, and the wagering requirements. Responsible gambling laws require operators to post these, so they should be easy to find. Below we detail some of the things you should be aware of.

Bonus/Promo Code

Some sportsbooks ask for a bonus code or promo code when you sign up. When you use one, it tells the sportsbook you want to get the welcome bonus. If a bonus code is required and you don’t use one, you might not get the bonus so make sure to have it readily available in case you need it. You can find all current sportsbook promo codes on BonusFinder US.

Bonus code and promo code are the same thing, so it does not matter which term is used. Affliate code is another term for it, since some brands have different codes for advertisers and themselves.

Wagering/Playthrough Requirements

The wagering requirements are crucial to check for every bonus. If the wagering requirement for a bonus is 10x, you need to wager the money 10 times before you can withdraw any winnings. Keep in mind that they can apply to your initial deposit as well. If you don’t complete the wagering in the allotted time frame, you will lose the bonus money and any winnings associated with it (but you get to keep the money from your initial deposit that’s left). That’s why it’s important to make sure you get a bonus that suits your style of betting; if you only bet once a month $10 or $20 but have deposited $100, you’ll waste most of the bonus money.


Some welcome offers have limits for what you can bet on and how. For example, some offers might only apply to certain sports or on certain bets like straight bets. These will always be listed on the terms and conditions so you don’t accidentally make a wager that doesn’t qualify for the bonus. Below are some other limitations operators often set for their bonuses.

Maximum Bonus

Every bonus has a maximum amount you can get. The max ranges from $50 to $1,250 at the moment but is always clearly stated for each bonus. If you deposit or wager more than the maximum amount, the funds over the limit don’t count towards the bonus money.

Minimum Deposit

Most sportsbooks also require a minimum deposit from customers who want to get the sign-up bonus. Common minimums are $5 or $10 but sometimes you don’t need to wager all the money you deposit to get the bonus. If you deposit less than the minimum, you won’t get the bonus. You can find accepted deposit methods from the sportsbooks’ websites; to get the quickest payouts, you should choose a deposit method that can be used for withdrawals as well.

Qualifying Bet

This means you need to wager a specific amount on specific sports or bet types in order to get the offer. A common is example is that you need to bet $5 or $10 to get the bet credits from the sportsbook. If an initial wager is required, you have to follow the instructions exactly to get the bonus.

Minimum & Maximum Odds

Multiple sportsbooks have minimum odds restrictions for your bonus bet or qualifying wager, such as -200. This means you have to place a bet where the odds are -200 or higher, like +320. The same goes for maximum odds, although these are not common. These requirements also limit some of the bet options you have, so make sure to check if the odds restrictions are specified before betting.


You only have a short period of time to deposit, make you first bet, and wager your bonus. Often you need to deposit and place your first wager within a week/month of signing up to qualify for the bonus offer (depending on the type of bonus, of course). If you don’t engage with the site, the bonus might be withdrawn or the bets you make after the time limit won’t yield you any bonus funds. For deposit bonuses, the bonus will be withdrawn if you don’t complete the wagering within the time limit, so make sure to get to it quickly.

Cash Out

Finally, you can’t cash out any qualifying bets or wagers made with bet credits. Cashing out means withdrawing a wager before it’s settled. If you do, you won’t be compensated in any manner.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Welcome Bonus

Now that you’ve got the welcome bonus, what should you do with it? You should always bet for fun; very few people have the time or money to bet for a living. If you want to keep it simple, just bet on the team you love and root for their success. However, you can try to ensure some winnings if you want to spend a bit more time on betting. Remember that betting should be fun and once the fun stops, you should stop too.

  1. Betting on the underdogs might give you better value if they do win; in addition, the minimum odds restrictions prevent you from betting on the massive favorites anyway. Keep in mind that the underdogs are less likely to win so this might not be a sustainable strategy if they keep losing. If you want to see how much you stand to win, you can use our odds calculator.
  2. Hedging means betting both sides. Do this at two different sportsbooks utilizing the bonuses, or your own money, to make sure you win. Don’t bet both sides on the same site since it can get you banned. Another form of this is arbitrage, meaning you bet on opposing wagers with the same odds; you still make some money or at least break even if you’ve placed the bets correctly. This requires some research and is therefore not suitable for everyone.
  3. Instead of trying to hit a huge parlay, seek for a single bet with similar odds. Parlays are tricky, especially with sports like hockey and baseball, so it might not be the best option for your welcome bonus. If you do wish to place a parlay, you can use our parlay calculator to see how much you stand to win.

States With Legal Online Sports Betting

You have to be within a legal online sports betting state if you want to claim and use a bonus, but you don’t need to be a resident. You can find all online betting states below; most states have several betting bonuses you can choose from.

AZ Sports Betting
AR Sports Betting
CO Sports Betting
CT Sports Betting
IL Sports Betting
IN Sports Betting
IA Sports Betting
KS Sports Betting
LA Sports Betting
MD Sports Betting
MA Sports Betting (Launching Soon)
MI Sports Betting
NJ Sports Betting
NY Sports Betting
OH Sports Betting
PA Sports Betting
TN Sports Betting
VA Sports Betting
WV Sports Betting
WY Sports Betting


1️⃣ How do betting bonuses work?

In general, you register for a new account, put in a promo code if needed, make a deposit, and place a bet. Depending on the bonus, you get it after betting for the first time or right after completing the registration and depositing the minimum amount. If you get free bets or site credits, you can bet them quite normally and cash out winnings. If you have deposit bonuses, you can spend those as if they're your money; just remember to complete the wagering requirements!

2️⃣ Where can I find sportsbook bonus codes?

Right here! BonusFinder US lists all sportsbooks' promo codes you need, so check our online sportsbook reviews for those. Many websites don't require bonus codes, you just need to opt in to get the bonus.

3️⃣ Can I use a sign-up bonus on futures markets?

It depends on the bonus, but generally no. Futures are bets on future events, like who wins the Stanley Cup or the Super Bowl. In many cases, the bonus bet must be settled within a few days, so a future won't qualify unless you bet close to the championship game or series. So if you want to place a futures bet, wait until the bet settlement falls between the dates listed in terms and conditions.

4️⃣ Does every new sportsbook offer a bonus?

Not necessarily. While many bonuses tend to be available in all markets where the sportsbook operates, some operators have started to reduce or remove all types of promotions, as the advertising costs and taxation are so high in some of the states. In general, bonuses begin to disappear or go down in value as a market matures and fewer people sign up to bet for the first time.


Riku is the Editor in Chief at BonusFinder and is a global expert in casino, sports betting and poker.