One interesting aspect of signing up with a legal betting site is the range of promotions and rebates offered 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, in detail, with examples from some of the leading racebooks. The guide ends with advice about how any bonus works.
- Horse racing rebates: How the online horse racing betting sites replaced flat-rate rebate deals.
- Welcome offers: Bonuses when you sign up at a new site.
- Cashback and bet insurance: Lose your bet but meet the conditions and get your money back.
- Best odds guaranteed: Best of 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 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 dangerous for informed bettors.
What you will find from 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 might also find special loyalty programs aimed at high rollers.
Welcome offers at online racebooks
Online racebooks compete for 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 withdraw it.
As well as creating 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 bankroll boost.
High rollers can sometimes qualify for VIP schemes. By betting a certain amount, 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.
Horse racing rebates via cashback or bet insurance
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.
Best odds guaranteed
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 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 you took a price early and there is a lot of money for the horse, you’ll keep those longer odds.
Understanding bonus rollovers
At some 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.
Free past performances
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.
Read the terms and conditions
Whenever you sign up at a new site or take part in any bonus or promotion, 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. 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 is not as worthwhile.