What Does ‘Paid in Free Bets’ Mean?

Free BetThere is a ton of racing and betting jargon to learn, we can’t get around that fact.

However, largely gone are the days when bookmakers each had their own parlance and so, after some standardisation in the industry (largely administered by the Gambling Commission and ASA), most deals do actually accurately describe what’s being promoted. That is the case with ‘paid in free bets’!

‘Paid in free bets’ means that when you land a bonus from your bookmaker, the amount offered is being given to use in free bets and not in cash.

Some bookmakers will advertise a money back offer when a bet loses, the money back being paid in free bets. Also, a new customer deal may be the classic ‘bet £10, get £30 free’ with again, the £30 being in free bets rather than in withdrawable cash.

You’ll also commonly see this term in conjunction with enhanced odds offers. So if you’re being offered promotional odds of 10/1 on Chelsea to beat Norwich then chances are the boosted winnings will be paid as free bets.

Paid in Cash v Paid in Free Bets

All normal bet pay-outs, and even some special bonuses, are paid out as cash. Simply put, when those returns hit your betting account you can withdraw them into your bank as long as there isn’t a wagering requirement attached.

Other times however, bonuses are paid out as free bets or ‘bet tokens’. When you receive your free bet amounts, you can eventually cash out, but only if you’ve used these free bets to back more winners and even then, this will of course normally be minus the stake as you didn’t have to put any real money on.

NB: The exclusion of the stake from your returns is always something to keep in mind and effectively stops you from simply throwing any free bets at a short-priced favourite and trying to “buy money”. If you use a £5 free bet on an even-money shot and it wins, your full pay-out will only be £5 cash – the winnings from the bet.

Enhanced Odds Example

When the free bets come from an enhanced odds offer, normally you’ll find that it’s paid in two parts. The regular odds should be paid in cash (the ones you could have got without the offer) with the additional “extra” odds paid as free bets.

Let’s say you are offered odds of 5/1 for Man United to beat Everton instead of the normal odds of Evens and you place a £10 bet. If your bet wins you would receive a combination of free bets and normal money:

  1. Regular Odds Paid in Cash – £10 @ Evens = £20 in cash (£10 stake + £10 winnings)
  2. Enhanced Odds Paid in Free Bets – £10 @ 4/1 = £40 in free bets
  3. Total Return = £20 Cash + £40 Free Bets

The two parts should be separate, meaning that your £20 cash can be used however you like whilst the £40 in free bets will need to be wagered on another bet. Sometimes the free bets will be restricted to specific markets, sports or have minimum odds.

When Are Free Bets Handed Out?

Whenever you place a bet using your own cash and not bonus money, not having taken part in a promotion or used odds boosts, you will be paid out in real cash.

As always, any money you return will be withdrawable. When taking advantage of bonuses and promos however, there is a chance you could be paid out in free bets instead.

Any money you have in free bets is always stated clearly by the bookmaker. This may be in your bonus folder, or simply when you open up a qualifying market such as a Premier League football game, the option to ‘use free bet’ will become apparent.

These are some of the reasons bookmakers may offer you a free bet, with the line ‘paid in free bets’ very often listed in the small print:

  • Sign-Up and Welcome Offers – new customer deals take many forms, but the free portion of your bonus is often done in one of two ways. First, there is the ‘deposit match’ meaning they give £20 if you give £20, though wagering requirements or ‘rollovers’ will apply. The second is free bets, usually in the form of separate £5 or £10 bets which need to be used up within a week.
  • Acca Insurance and ‘Money Back’ Deals – most big bookmakers these days offer various forms of insurance for a losing accumulator. If one selection lets you down, you are often offered your money back (up to a certain amount). This money back is given as a free bet. The same thing happens with ‘money back if your horse is second’ promotions and the like.
  • Boosted Odds – the usual small price boosts are free for existing customers. When there is a huge price boost however, usually an odds-on favourite being offered at 33/1, it will go to new customers as a joining incentive with any potential winnings almost certainly being paid in free bets.
  • Random Bonuses – some bookmakers offer their customers a free bet from time to time, normally relatively small such as £5 or £10.

The ‘money back’ deals offered for when something goes wrong in your selection are interesting, but don’t always actually lead to you getting all of your money back!

For example, it may be that the bookmaker offers you your money back should your horse finish second to the favourite. That sounds like a great deal, but if you wanted to back the favourite in the first place then you’re not included.

Also, the small print may inform you that the money back deal only applies to stakes of £10 maximum, meaning if you placed a £30 bet and your horse was beaten by the jolly, you’d only get a £10 free bet to use next time meaning it isn’t really a ‘money back’ deal as such.