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One of the best aspects of signing up with a legal betting site is the range of promotions and rebates they’ll offer to enhance your betting experience.
While you might like your chances of winning some money anyway, any time you receive bonus cash or money back on a bet, it will be a welcome boost to your bankroll.
This guide looks at a variety of ways in which you can claim rebates and other forms of extra funds. We will discuss some of the most popular bonus types, in detail, with examples from some of the leading racebooks. The guide ends with advice on ensuring you are fully informed about how any bonus works.
Offering bettors flat rate rebates on bets — win or lose — has been a popular way to offer loyalty rewards for many years. This (live) betting offers return between 3% and 10%, depending on the type of bet (singles, multiples, trifectas and so on) and the amount you bet.
While many gray market bookmakers offer flat rate rebates, the risks associated with betting at these books make them a no-go for informed bettors.
What you will find from the significant legal horse betting sites is a mix of welcome offers and ongoing loyalty rewards that take the place of rebates. These promotions cover regular and occasional bets. You’ll also find special loyalty programs aimed at high rollers.
Here are examples of the rebates and promos available at the big three legal online racing sites:
#1 TVG: New players receive a $20 free bet (no deposit) and 100% matched welcome bonus. Earn credits for every bet, which can that can become wager rewards. TVG promos include sweepstakes, free past performance reports and cashback for three out of four picks.
#2 BetAmerica: You can get a 100% matched welcome bonus, up to $100. Customers earn points for each bet they make. Promos include VIP Daymaker, where losing bettors can get their stake back on their star selection, plus specials for the big races.
#3 TwinSpires: Get $20 in bonus bets for every $100 in bets (up to $100 max). Loyalty points scheme gives regular bettors additional free bets, separate VIP scheme for high rollers. It offers a long list of promos including “Winsurance,” “Bet Back” and added prize money offers.
Online racebooks compete for your business by offering a welcome deal for new customers. These take the form of matched welcome bonuses or occasionally, a free bets bonus.
An excellent example of a welcome bonus is at TwinSpires, which offers a $100 bonus to all customers. This is a straightforward bonus that awards the customer in increments of $20 every time he or she bets $100 at the site.
There is no expiration on this bonus. You must make an initial deposit, keep betting, and the full $100 bonus will be yours. High rollers might want to place a $500 bet immediately and claim the $100 right away, while others might want to place 50 bets of $10 over a few weeks.
While this looks like a 20% rebate, you need to account for the need to bet the bonus money before you can withdrawal it.
One of the most attractive welcome bonus offers featured by racebooks is a 100% match on your first deposit.
For example, when opening a new account at TVG, customers will enjoy a 100% match bonus up to $100. It can be an idea to try and take full advantage of these offers by depositing $100 up front, as this will guarantee the full bonus. Ten smaller deposits of $10 (which adds up to the same $100) will only earn you $10 in bonus cash, as the bonus is only awarded on the first deposit only.
The TVG matched bonus has no strict conditions attached to the bonus money – just as long as you use it for a bet. This makes it the equivalent of an instant rebate, win or lose.
As well as creating generous offers to entice new customers, racebooks also offer a series of incentives to keep existing customers happy.
Most sites offer a loyalty scheme, where customers will earn points every time they bet. Once earning a certain amount of points, customers can convert them into cash and add it to their account.
A good example of a loyalty scheme is Wager Rewards at BetAmerica. By earning 1 point for every dollar wagered, and additional bonus points if placing exotic bets such as exactas and Pick 6 bets. Customers can convert these points into cash at any time.
The rebate potential for these loyalty schemes depends on the mix of bets made. While small in percentage terms, this money will add up over time, providing a welcome bankroll boost.
High rollers can sometimes qualify for VIP schemes. By betting a certain amount, and bettors can enjoy additional benefits such as special promotions and extra deposit bonuses. The biggest bettors can expect custom offers and even a dedicated host.
Another way of rewarding customers is via cashback offers. This is much like insurance on bets involving multiple selections.
As an example of a cashback offer, a horse racing betting site will offer you a rebate on your stake should your selection finish second in a selected race. This kind of offer is usually only available for the bigger races, such as the Kentucky Derby, or the more significant lead-up races to the main events. Occasionally these offers extend to third place, too, with your stake returned to your account.
Insurance bets are slightly different, as they offer rebates when one leg of a combination bet doesn’t win. For example, if you enter a Pick 4 contest and only pick three of the winners, a promotion such as this will see you win your initial stake back as a rebate.
These are promotions mostly available at European sites that offer their own odds, as opposed to betting in a pari mutuel pool. You’ll usually have a choice of either taking the current odds offered by the site or taking the odds at the starting of the race (the starting price).
With a “Best Odds Guaranteed” offer, you’ll get the best of the two. This being the case, you should always opt for an early price, and if the odds do become longer, you’ll get those longer odds. If you took a price early and there is a lot of money for the horse, you’ll keep those longer odds.
At some gambling sites, you’ll receive a bonus with rollover requirements. A rollover requirement is the number of times you’ll need to play through your account cash and the bonus funds before your bonus cash clears.
For example, you might sign up to a new site with a 100% deposit bonus with a 5x rollover requirement. If you then deposit $100, you’ll receive $100 in bonus cash. This means you’ll have to bet the total $200 five times to make the bonus cash yours. And, in this case, it’s $1,000 worth of betting.
Make sure you compare rollover requirements when deciding between bonuses. These affect the rebate potential for each of the offers.
Past performances are a key aspect of reading the form. You would usually pay for the opportunity of reading them. However, some online horse racing sites will offer past performances as an additional perk.
For example, at TVG, you can purchase a series of past performances. However, if you place a bet of at least $10 on the meeting in question, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of this information.
Some sites will also offer free past performances to all members on selected races, especially at the largest race meetings.
In this day and age, when there seems to be a cost attached to any streaming channel, racing fans can enjoy free streaming widely.
All of the three legal horse racing sites offer standard live streaming. You can watch any race you have placed a bet on, and many significant events you can watch in real time.
Whenever you sign up at a new site or take part in any bonus or promotion, it can be a good idea to check the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of both the site and the bonus in question. Yes, the T&Cs can seem a little long-winded at times, but you will find out valuable information.
For example, in the terms and conditions, you’ll find the expiration date for the bonus. There is nothing more annoying than signing up for a bonus and missing out on the full amount of cash because you were a few days late.
You’ll also find out if there are any state restrictions when using a particular site.
Generally, you’ll find all of the terms and conditions above board. However, they can be useful in finding out if a bonus offer is not such a good one.
For example, if you read in the T&Cs that a bonus has a 50x rollover requirement, it’s pretty clear immediately that this offer probably isn’t worthwhile.
If you sign up to a regulated, legal and well-run racebook, you’ll generally find that the bonus and rewards can be plentiful. While flat-rate rebates on bets made are not the standard way to reward loyal bettors online, there are plenty of ways to receive incentives.
Ensure you visit the promotions pages of all the main horse racing sites regularly. Many of the offers are seasonal – often based around the big races like the Triple Crown events. By taking advantage of these offers, you’ll have a little more cash at the end of each year than you might have expected.