One aspect of signing up at a legal horse betting site is the range of promotions and rebates available to enhance the betting experience.
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, with examples from some of the leading racebooks.
- Horse racing rebates: How online horse betting sites replaced flat-rate rebate deals.
- Welcome bonus: Available when you sign up at a new racebook.
- Cash back and bet insurance: Lose your bet but meet the conditions and get some type of benefit.
- Best odds guaranteed: Best available odds, whether taken early or at the start.
- Understanding rollovers: How do rollovers work and what to look for to maximize value.
- Free past performances: Studying the form without payment.
Top horse racing bonus
Horse racing rebates: Offline and online
Offering bettors flat rate rebates on bets — win or lose — has been a popular way for racebooks to offer loyalty rewards for many years. They can 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 dangerous for informed bettors.
What you will find from legal horse betting sites is a mix of welcome bonuses and ongoing loyalty rewards that take the place of rebates. These promotions cover regular and occasional bets. You might also find loyalty programs aimed at high rollers.
Welcome bonuses at online racebooks
Online racebooks compete for business by offering welcome deals to new customers. These may take the form of deposit-matching bonuses, bonus bets or other variations.
An example of a welcome bonus is at FanDuel Racing, which offers a No Sweat Bet where you get up to $200 back if your bet on the Breeders’ Cup doesn’t win.
As well as offering bonuses to entice new customers, racebooks may also provide incentives to keep existing customers happy, such as a loyalty program where customers earn points every time they bet. Depending on the program, customers may then be able to convert the points into cash or other perks.
An example of such a program is Wager Rewards at BetAmerica. It offers customers one point for every dollar they wager and additional bonus points for exotic bets such as exactas and trifectas. Customers can convert these points into cash at any time.
The rebate potential for these loyalty programs depends on the mix of bets a customer makes. While small in percentage terms, this money can add up over time, providing a bankroll boost.
High rollers can sometimes qualify for VIP programs. By betting a certain amount, bettors can receive additional benefits such as special promotions and extra deposit bonuses. The biggest bettors may also have access to custom offers and even a dedicated host.
Horse racing rebates via cash back or bet insurance
Another way of rewarding customers is via cash-back deals. These are much like insurance on bets involving multiple selections.
As an example, a horse betting site may offer you a rebate on your stake should your pick to win finish second in a race. This kind of offer is usually only available for the bigger races, such as the Preakness Stakes, 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.
Best odds guaranteed
These are promotions mostly available at European racebooks 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 that the racebook offers or taking the odds at the start of the race (the starting price.)
With “best odds guaranteed,” you get the best of the two. If you opt for an early price and the odds do become longer, you’ll get those longer odds. If it’s the opposite and the early odds are better, you’ll keep those longer odds.
Understanding bonus requirements
At some sites, you’ll receive a bonus with a playthrough requirement. Such a requirement indicates the number of times you’ll need to wager the bonus funds — or the bonus funds plus your initial deposit — before they become eligible for withdrawal.
For example, you might sign up at a new site with a 100% deposit bonus with a 5x playthrough requirement that applies to your deposit plus the bonus. 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. In this example, that would be $1,000 worth of betting.
Make sure you compare playthrough requirements when deciding between bonuses.
Free past performances
Past performances are a key aspect of reading a racing form. You would usually pay for the opportunity to read them. However, some online horse betting sites will offer past performances as an additional perk. Some sites will also offer free past performances to all members on selected races, especially the largest ones.
Depending on the racebook, you also may be able to watch races right from your computer or mobile device. FanDuel TV, for instance, offers standard live streaming on the company’s online racebook. You can watch races after logging into your account, and many significant events you can watch in real time.
Read the terms and conditions
Whenever you sign up at a new racebook or take part in any bonus or promotion, check the terms and conditions of both the site and the bonus in question. Yes, these terms may seem a little long-winded at times, but you will find valuable information.
For example, in the terms and conditions, you’ll find the expiration date for the bonus. You’ll also find out if there are any state restrictions when using a particular site.
Generally, all of the terms and conditions will be above board. However, they can be useful in finding out if a bonus offer is less beneficial than it appears. For example, if you read that a bonus has a 50x playthrough requirement, the bonus is likely not as worthwhile.