US sports betting bonus bets guideIf you’re interested in online sports betting , you’ve probably heard the term bonus bets and may have even seen ads offering these bets, but were unsure as to what they are, how they work, and what, if any advantages, you may get by using them.

If this description fits the bill, you’ve come to the right place, as here, we explain everything there is to know about bonus bets, important rules surrounding these offers, and, most importantly, how you can utilize them properly to get the best value and improve your sports betting experience.

Legal sports betting has seen a massive expansion across the United States ever since the famous PASPA repeal in 2018. New sportsbooks keep entering the ever-growing markets, which leads to more competition and more lucrative offers.

While bonus bets are designed to represent a win-win situation for operators and customers, many bettors are not fully aware of how they work. We have thus decided to create this beginners’ guide to bonus bets, thoroughly researching every single aspect of the topic.

Bonus Bets Key Facts
💻 AvailabilityAll US online sportsbooks
🧑 Who Can Claim Bonus Bets?Offered to new & existing customers
🔥 Top US Sportsbooks Offering Bonus BetsDraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook
🛑 Wagering RequirementsUsually none – keep your winnings
💰 Withdrawing Bonus BetsOnly profits from winning bonus bets

What is a Bonus Bet?

Bonus bets are one of the most common types of promotions sportsbooks issue to their customers to encourage more deposits and bets. The players get it as a reward for completing certain tasks.

With a bonus bet, you get an opportunity to place a wager without using your own money. If the bet results in a win, you can keep any winnings, while the bonus bet amount is deducted from a total.

For example, if you were to receive a $10 bonus bet and place it on a wager with odds of +200, your possible win would be $20 – the total win is $30, minus the value of the bonus bet ($10).

Operators offer different types of bonus bets, and one way to categorize them is by the tasks players need to do to earn them. For example, customers can get a bonus bet by creating a new account, making a deposit, or placing wagers with their own money.

Here is an example. A sportsbook wants to generate more action and increase its player base. They advertise anyone who signs up for a new account with them gets a $10 bonus bet.

The customers see the promo all over the Internet (sportsbooks tend to heavily advertise their newest promotions nowadays), get attracted by it, and proceed to join the operator. Players then receive the $10 bonus bet right upon registration.

Top US Sportsbooks Offering Bonus Bets

All US sportsbooks offer bonus bets in one way or another. These are the most common promotion type you’ll encounter at betting sites, which is why it’s important to understand how bonus bets work and how to get the best value out of them.

That said, these are our top three picks for regulated US betting sites when it comes to the frequency and sheer value of bonus bet offers:

  1. DratfKings Sports US – a generous bonus bet offer for new customers & daily opportunities for existing bettors
  2. BetMGM Sports US – frequent bonus bets covering all major sporting events
  3. BetRivers Sports US – standard bonus bet offers & competitions featuring special rewards

Bonus Bets vs. Free Bets

Many sports betting operators tend to advertise bonus bets as free bets. To avoid any confusion, there is no difference between the two whatsoever apart from the name. In theory, a bonus bet (or a free bet) represents a wager players can place without using their own money.

However, as much as the operators call it a free bet, we find it a pretty inaccurate term because players are always asked to do something as a condition to receive a free bet. If you need to deposit your own money before receiving a free bet, it is not quite free, right?

This is why we prefer the “bonus bet” term. It is exactly a bet that you receive as a bonus for doing something that would benefit the operator.

Are Bonus Bets Real Money?

Bonus bets are not real money. They are tokens that you can use to place wagers and potentially win real money, but you can’t simply cash out the value of a bonus bet.

This doesn’t take away from the value of bonus bets, as they can significantly improve your online betting experience and help you boost your betting bankroll. However, they are not real money on their own and need to be used (wagered) to realize their full potential.

Can You Withdraw a Bonus Bet?

The simple answer to this question is no. Players can’t withdraw a bonus bet. They need to use it for wagering on any sporting market offered by a sportsbook.

Depending on the type of bonus bet, players have the option to wager it in one lump sum or in multiple bets. For example, some sportsbooks will offer a single $20 bonus bet and players can only place a single wager with it.

Other operators will give you $50 in bonus bets, but state that you can use them in any way you want. In this case, customers have the option to place 50 separate $1 bets, two separate $25 bets, one $25 bet, two $10 bets, and one $5 bet, etc. You get to pick the desired combination.

The common thing for both variants is that potential winnings represent real cash and can be withdrawn.

How Bonus Bets Work?

Bonus bets in sports wagering are specific for their simplicity. In most cases, they are not bound to complicated wagering requirements like other promotions.

The principle is straightforward, as the vast majority of sports betting operators allow players to use bonus bets on any sporting markets available. Sportsbooks do impose certain restrictions on odds, markets, and bet types when it comes to other promotions.

They can limit the players to use bonus funds on odds longer than -250 or forbid teasers, for example. These restrictions hardly make sense in the case of bonus bets, though, hence they are rarely applied to them.

If you wonder why the restrictions make no sense when it comes to bonus bets, the answer lies in the fact that bonus bets only pay net winnings. This is very important to remember as it represents the core difference between a standard bet (the one you make with your own money) and a bonus bet. The potential winnings from a bonus bet do not include the initial stake, while the possible winnings from a regular bet do.

Type of Bet Stake Odds Payout
Standard Bet $100 +100 $200
Bonus Bet $100 +100 $100

So, if you place a standard $100 wager on +100 odds, you will receive a $200 payout. However, if you use a $100 bonus bet to place a wager on +100 odds, the sportsbook will pay you only $100. This happens because the bonus bet stake is not included in potential winnings.

How to Maximize Value with Bonus Bets

Players have bountiful ways to use bonus bets, depending on their desires and preferences. The only super-important rule we’d recommend following is not to place a bonus bet on a huge favorite. That way, you would completely lose out on the bonus bet value.

If you place a $100 bonus bet on a -2000 favorite, you would only win $5 from a bonus bet, as the stake is not included in the payout. Getting $5 from a $100 bonus bet sounds like a waste, don’t you agree?

Instead, you should always aim for higher odds with bonus bets. You have the option of going completely loose and shooting for the stars with a +1000 longshot. Unfortunately, this pick will only land around 9% of the time on average in the long run. In simpler words, you’d have to get extremely lucky to nail it. We would thus abandon this strategy as well.

So, how do you maximize value with bonus bets? Some of you may have heard of the term hedging. Don’t worry if you haven’t because we’ll explain it all in detail. Hedging a bet stands for making another wager, opposite from the original one, for the purpose of reducing the loss or securing a win.

Since the bonus bet stakes are not included in potential winnings, the best way to maximize the value would be to place it on a big underdog and back another bet (hedge bet) on the favorite from that specific game. You can shop for lines and check if some of the other sportsbooks available in your state offer higher odds for the favorites in the game you are interested in.

We will take the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Commanders as an example in the tables below.

Bonus Bet WAS Moneyline (DraftKings) Payout
$50 +700 $350
Hedge Bet DAL Moneyline (BetMGM) Payout
$312.55 -835 $350

Your total stake in this case would be $312.55. If Washington shocked Dallas in this NFC East showdown, your bonus bet would be a winner and you would be in for a $350 payout. If the Cowboys justify the favorites’ tag, your other bet would win and you would receive $350.056.

This means that you would be looking at a locked profit of around $37, regardless of the outcome of the affair. That would be real cash, as you would get in a position to withdraw the winnings.

Bonus Bet Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements are the ultimate indicator of the true value of a certain bonus. This is why it is essential for players to carefully read the full terms and conditions associated with any bonus before opting in for it.

Before you think negatively of sportsbooks because of their enforcement of wagering requirements, we’ll tell you that they simply need to do it. Without them, anyone could simply open as many sports betting accounts as possible, take the free bonus money, and withdraw it.

Wagering requirements stand for the number of wagers players need to make before getting in position to cash out the bonus money and potential winnings generated with it. They are much more common for casino bonuses or matched-deposit offers in sports betting.

When it comes to bonus bets as the main subject of this article, most of them come in without any wagering requirements simply due to their nature. As we have learned above, a sportsbook will issue a bonus bet that a player needs to wager once before collecting potential winnings, and that’s it.

That said, some bonus bets do have specific rollover requirements bound to the potential winnings. An operator can give you a $100 bonus bet, but state that you can withdraw potential winnings only after wagering the bonus bet amount 10x.

Please note that these are very rare circumstances, as most bonus bet offers at the popular online sportsbooks in the US do not have additional wagering requirements attached to them.

While we are at this segment, here are the two main things the players should look for while reading the terms and conditions associated with a bonus bet offer:

How much time do you have to use the bonus bet?

All bonus bets have their dates of expiration. Most commonly, we are looking at seven days, two weeks, or a month. Make sure to check how much time you have to use the bonus bet before it expires.

Are there any restrictions in terms of odds or bet types for your bonus bet?

Most of the time, players can use their bonus bets without any odds or bet-type restrictions. However, it is still good to always double-check the terms and conditions to find if there is some hidden catch in the terms and conditions. For example, some operators can restrict using bonus bets on teasers or impose the minimum odds of -200, etc.

How to Use Bonus Bets

The process of putting bonus bets to use can be different from one sportsbook to the next. The most common principle is the one in which the operators add bonus bets on the betting slip. Players will then notice the bonus bet as soon as they proceed to place a wager. They will get the option of placing the wager with their own money or using the bonus bet.

Here is how it works:

  1. Player receives a $100 bonus from a sportsbook
  2. Place a bet on the MLB game between the Angels and the Red Sox (can be any type of bet and any sporting event)
  3. Click the odds for the desired pick (let’s say the Angels win)
  4. A bet slip will then appear on the screen, just like when you want to place a regular bet
  5. On the betting slip, players will notice the standard option to place a bet with real-money balance as well as the option to use the bonus bet
  6. If a player wants to use the bonus bet, they should just select it and click the “Place a Bet” button
  7. Some operators may require entering the bonus bet amount in the adequate box (on very rare occasions)
  8. If you are not sure whether you have a bonus bet at all, you can always visit the “My Rewards”, “My Bonuses” or “My Promotions” sections of your sports betting account (the exact location varies from one sportsbook to another) and find all available bonuses

Now that we know everything about bonus bets, let’s visit some of the most prominent US online sports betting operators to see their ongoing bonus bet packages.

DraftKings Bonus Bets

Bet $5 — Get $200 in Bonus Bets

DraftKings Bonus Bets

DraftKings Sportsbook US has the most attractive bonus bet offer on the market at the moment via the Bet $5 — Get $200 promo. Anyone who opens a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook US and places a $5 wager on any sporting market out there will receive $200 in bonus bets. As per the promotion rules, players receive eight separate bonus bets, worth $25 each.

How to Claim:

  1. Register a new account at DraftKings Sportsbook US
  2. Make a deposit
  3. Place a $5 bet on any sports market
  4. The operator will give you eight $25 bonus bets ($200 in total)
  5. The bonus bets will expire after seven days, meaning you have a week to use them all

This is DraftKings’ flagship promotion and, honestly, one of the best of this kind in the US online sports betting industry in general. The value is huge, as players receive $200 for risking no more than $5 of their own money. The promo provides a great opportunity to apply everything you have learned about bonus bets in this article and take full advantage.

The offer officially runs through February 11 but, knowing DraftKings, we fully expect them to extend it in the following months. If you don’t have a DraftKings Sportsbook US account, make sure to create one. The process does not take more than a couple of minutes and the prize is too good to be ignored.

draftkings ny
Last verified: March 2024
Special Signup Offer
$200 in Bonus Bets
  • Place a $5 bet & get $200 in bonus bets
  • Great mobile betting apps
  • Fast and hassle-free withdrawals
Please play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.

Refer a Friend — Get up to $100 in Bonus Bets

DraftKings Sportsbook US rewards its customers for inviting new players to create an account with the operator as a part of the Refer a Friend promo. Both the referrer and the invited player can grab up to $100 in bonus bets. Unlike the previous promo, this one is also available to existing DraftKings Sportsbook US customers.

How to Claim:

  1. If you are a DraftKings Sportsbook US customer who has a friend who wants to join the operator, opt-in for this offer (available in the “Promotions” department) and you will receive your personal link for referrals
  2. Share the link with a friend
  3. If he/she registers a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook US via your link and proceeds to deposit $25 or more, you will both be rewarded with bonus bets
  4. The bonus bet amount will match your friend’s initial deposit, but it can’t be higher than $100
  5. The bonus bet is valid for seven days

Much like the Bet $5 — Get $200 promo, the Refer a Friend offer is advertised to last until late February. However, the time frame will be certainly extended just as it has been over the last couple of years.

BetMGM Bonus Bets

Bet $5 — Get $158 in Bonus Bets

BetMGM Bonus Bets

BetMGM Sportsbook US has a pretty much identical offer for new registrants. The only difference is that instead of DraftKings’ $200, you receive $158 in bonus bets with BetMGM. The terms and conditions are the same across the two offers, including the seven-day expiration period.

How to Claim:

  1. Create a new account at BetMGM Sportsbook US
  2. Make a deposit of $5 or more
  3. Bet $5 on any sporting event or market
  4. Regardless of the outcome of your initial bet, BetMGM will give you $158 in bonus bets
  5. You will receive two $50 bonus bets and one $58 bonus bet
  6. There is a seven days time limit to use them

BetMGM Sportsbook US has come up with this offer to increase the heat among US football fans in the crunch time of the NFL season. The promo will be active until the Super Bowl LVIII on February 11.

Again, the value is too good to miss out on as you get $158 to play with for a chance to win real money that you can cash out without any hidden wagering requirements.

betmgm sports us
Last verified: March 2024
Special Signup Offer
Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets!*
  • Enjoy live streaming of popular events
  • Great mobile betting experience
  • Variety of betting markets on offer

*Except NY & NV. Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Additional terms apply.

Please play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.

BetRivers Bonus Bets

Get a Second Chance Bet up to $500

BetRivers 2nd Chance Bet

BetRivers Sportsbook US also has a very interesting promo for new registrants. It is quite different from the aforementioned DraftKings and BetMGM promos, which is great because you will get to see a good example of another version of bonus bets. Spoiler alert, this one comes in with certain restrictions but has a much longer duration.

As you can figure from the promo name, BetRivers Sportsbook US allows new registrants to place their first wager with this operator without any risk involved. If the bet loses, the sportsbook will refund the stake. The refund comes in the form of a bonus bet, and the maximum possible amount is capped at $500.

So, you have to option to create a new account at BetRivers Sportsbook US and place a bet of $500 (it can also be as low as $10, but the higher the stake, the higher the value is).

If it wins, the promo will not be activated, but you will still be happy with the money won. If it loses, you will get your stake back in the form of a bonus bet. You will then have 30 days to use the bonus bet, but you have to use it on the odds of -200 or longer. Should you opt for a parlay, each leg has to be with -200 or longer odds.

How to Claim:

  1. Sign up with BetRivers Sportsbook US
  2. Make a deposit
  3. Place your first bet on any sporting market
  4. The stake should be anywhere between $10 and $500
  5. If the bet wins, the promo will not activate
  6. If it loses, you will receive a refund in the form of a bonus bet
  7. You must use the bonus bet within 30 days from the moment it has been issued
  8. The bonus bet has to be placed on the odds of -200 or longer

This is yet another quite enticing bonus bet promotion and well worth taking advantage of by all means. It runs through April 2024.

Those who are new to online sports betting altogether are in the best position, as they are free to take advantage of all three of the aforementioned promotions.

Bonus Bets FAQ

Can I cash out bonus bets?

No. The customers can only use the bonus bet to place sports wagers. However, potential winnings from bonus bets can be cashed out.

Are there bonus bet offers in the US?

Yes, many US sportsbooks offer exciting bonus bet promotions for both new and existing customers. DraftKings has a Bet $5 — Get $200 promo, BetMGM comes up with a Bet $5 — Get $158 offer, while BetRivers gives you a second chance bet up to $500 in bonus bets.

How to get a bonus bet?

Sportsbooks issue bonus bets to customers who complete certain tasks, such as creating a new account, depositing, or placing wagers. You need to check the terms and conditions associated with any bonus bet and complete the required task to get it.

Can bonus bets expire?

Yes, all bonus bets have an expiration date. In most cases, it is seven or ten days. Some bonus bets, such as the one offered by BetRivers Sportsbook US, are active for 30 days.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500