For people with very limited resources, betting can seem like an unaffordable hobby, but bookies are now able to absorb the costs of their payment providers much more effectively than they could in the past, and this has allowed them to accept much smaller deposits.
There is a solid group of big name bookies who now accept £5 minimum deposits which you can see here, and there are even introductory offers aimed at low stakes bettors too.
As always, the terms for each offer are unique so you will need to check them, but in theory, you can find a bookie that will allow you to sign up, deposit and bet £5, and then give you a sign up bonus for doing so.
Most often this will be in the way of free bets via bonus funds being credited to your account, and the amount they give you depends on the bookie. We have seen as high as ‘Bet £5 Get £30 in Free Bets’ in the past, but there is no pattern to this, it just depends what bookies want to do.
We will list the best of the offers that are currently available on this page, but will also explore the subject a little bit to help you get the most out of any offer you might choose to claim.
How Do Bet £5 Get Free Bets Offers Work?
Assuming you are looking at a sign up bonus here, then the process of getting your hands on the free bets is really easy.
Usually there is a link within the offer you are looking at; you click that link and follow any instructions on the following pages, and you will get to the point where you have to create an account.
This is just a case of filling in an online form much like you will have probably done before elsewhere, but here’s an example of what it might look like just to give you an idea.
Once your account is live (you might have to activate it via an email they send to you), you can then make your first deposit of £5 in order to claim your free bets.
If you haven’t done this before you might be a bit apprehensive, but again, it’s easy, and just as safe as buying something from an online retailer.
You might see a few payment options you don’t recognise, but don’t worry about them – just go for whichever method you are comfortable with and make the deposit.
The only thing to note, is that sometimes these sign up offers exclude certain payment methods like ewallets (so Paypal would be an example of that), especially when lower deposit amounts are concerned, so just check the terms to make sure you don’t do yourself out of your free bets.
At this stage, or possibly before, you could be asked for ID. Some people think this is suspect or an invasion of privacy, but this is actually a legal requirement for betting sites. They must ensure all their customers are over 18 and are who they say they are in order to avoid under age gambling and money laundering activity.
This is arguably the most fiddly part of signing up as you will need to upload documents like a passport or driving license, but they tend to be checked quite quickly.
You might not be asked at all, especially if you already have an account with another brand owned by the same big company, it just depends if they can confirm your identity via the details you have already given or not.
Once your deposit is confirmed, you can go ahead and make your first bet which should qualify you for the free bets. Your free bets should be credited almost instantly after the initial bet is placed, although they do sometimes take a little longer. If nothing has shown up you can always contact customer services and check up on it, they can see what the system has done and in some cases can even manually activate the free bets if something has gone wrong.
It’s usually fine though.
How to Make a Bet Using Free Bets
In terms of finding the bet you want to make, browsing sports and markets within those sports, betting using a free bet is no different to betting using your own money.
However, the money you have in your betting account and the money available to you as free bets will not all be lumped in together.
The betslip at your chosen online bookie will show your selected bet, the odds, and possibly some other info or options such as an each way button, and you must input your own stake amount. However, the betslip will usually use your real money funds as default unless you tell it not to, so don’t just put in a stake and assume it will use your free bets, because it probably won’t.
When free bets are available you will tend see a check box or a little toggle that you can flip to tell the site to use your free bet rather than your real money; as long as you have checked and/or toggled, your free bet will be used rather than your cash.
If you have a free bet available but forget to do this, some sites even have a pop up alert after you hit the ‘place bet’ button to notify you that you have a free bet, which is helpful, but they don’t all have one so be careful, as once you place the bet there will be no going back.
Once the bet is made it’s business as usual, except your stake will most likely not be returned should your bet win, only the winnings on that stake.
Rules, Terms and Conditions
It’s important to understand that the bookies aren’t just being nice to you with these offers.
They are there to attract new customers who they hope will then continue to bet with them for the long term, and thus will recover any short term losses they make from these free bet offers.
Remember too, that the bookie only loses here if the punter actually wins their bets, and most don’t.
There will be terms associated with the offer too, dictating the sort of bets you can make (short odds bets are usually not allowed, so there might be a minimum of evens odds cap), an expiry date, and maybe even how the bets must be split up.
Here is an example of some of the main terms that were displayed on a free bet offer:
The main terms will be displayed on the offer itself, but more details will be available via the T’s and C’s clickable link.
Going back to splitting the free bet amount up; if we use a “Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets” offer as an example, they might say you need to use that £20 as 4 individual £5 bets. So you can’t just lump the whole £20 on something that is extremely likely to come off and turn that bonus £20 into withdrawable cash.
Winnings caps are not unusual either, so even if you bet on something that came off with a payout of £10,000, if the cap is £1,000 then that is all you would get – and it goes without saying that the free bet stake is not usually included in any payout.
The terms and conditions don’t tend to be a strenuous read for these offers, you can digest them in a couple of minutes, so it’s advisable to read them.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Free Bets
Some punters are short sighted when they get free bets, and simply look for the quickest way to turn it into cash that they can withdraw.
They make boring bets on predictable outcomes, and sure, they might walk away £20 or so better off at the end of it if nothing goes wrong, but they have wasted the chance to make more than that.
Much better to do some research, seek out the right bet that holds real value – this is the key to successful betting in the first place – and aim a little higher.
You will actually become better at finding value bets if you take this approach too, since you will learn as you go.
If we have 4 x £5 free bets, that’s 4 opportunities to bet on something with longer odds; so if even one bet at 4/1 or better comes off you will be doing better than the person who just stuck all their £5 bets on markets at evens.
Again though, the key is to find the right bet at longer odds, something which you think is incorrectly priced, where you think the bookies may have missed something.
If your free bet must be staked as one amount, the same applies really.
Of course, you could go for something at evens or 1/2 if that is allowed, hope you win, then split the winnings into several smaller bets and then go on the hunt for value, but if that first bet doesn’t come off you’re scuppered.
In an ideal world you would have decent knowledge of a less popular sport which was not excluded from the offer, since these receive less scrutiny from the bookmaker and therefore are more likely to contain good value odds. If this is an approach you could take then go for it.