Bookmakers are very generous today with their sign-up promotions, as many offer you a free bet without you having to deposit any money into your account first. As always, when signing up for a promotion, though, read all the terms and conditions first so you know exactly what you need to do to qualify and, importantly, when you can withdraw your winning funds.
Here is a look at the best free bet offers with the major bookmakers and an overview of their sites and apps.
In many respects, bet365 lead the way when it comes to their sign-up promotion as they offer their customers a matched bonus up to £200, which is much higher than its competitors. There is a minimum of £10, though, and it comes with rollover terms. In order for you to collect any winnings from your bonus, you need to have rolled over your deposit and bonus three times over at odds of 1.5 or greater. This needs to be completed within 90 days and cash out bets are excluded.
If you are signing up to an account with bet365, you will be impressed with the array of sports and markets which they offer odds on. Not only will you find every market you can think of in their pre-match section, but their offering of in-play opportunities shame many of their rivals.
The website and mobile app are very easy to use, which makes navigating around quick and simple without any problems.
The beauty of betting with Betfair is that you can back and lay a selection on their exchange. You determine what odds you want to offer and you can request what price you want for your bet. With Betfair Exchange, you are betting against other customers and not the bookmaker, so this can often be your best place to find a bit of value. The only downside to Betfair Exchange is that a very small commission is taken from your winnings, but even then, this can still be your best way maximising your returns. If you prefer the more traditional way of placing a bet, Betfair also have a sportsbook, which they operate like any other bookmaker.
If you want to try Betfair for the first time, they offer new customers £30 in free bets. In order to qualify for this promotion, you need to place £10 or more on a single at odds or 1.5 or more. You will then receive 3x£10 free bet tokens in your account.
Betfair’s site is very easy to use as they have an A-Z down the left side of their page so you can find the sport you are looking for very easily. You can also switch between the exchange site and sportsbook on the top row of the page.
Coral is another bookmaker that offers you as much as £30 in free bets when you deposit and bet £10 or more of odds of 1.5 on a single selection. The free bets are credited immediately so you don’t have to wait 24 hours like you do with some bookmakers.
The layout of Coral’s site isn’t its strong point, but you will soon become familiar with it so you will know exactly where to go to get to your market. Look out on their home page for their daily price boosts, which include doubles in horse racing, first goalscorer enhancements and sports accumulators.
Ladbrokes are one of the few firms now to offer the traditional matched free bet offer up to £50. Your qualifying bet needs to be 1.5 or bigger and even if your first bet wins, you still get the bonus into your account.
When betting with Ladbrokes, you are safe in the knowledge that you are doing so with a trusted company and brand. They offer odds on all the UK horse racing and greyhounds, two of their traditional products, while all the major sporting events will be priced up well in advance if you are looking for an ante-post market.
Paddy Power has become known as the cheeky bookmaker that is not afraid to have a bit of fun. That is their tone of voice in their social media posts, television adverts and it is reflected in their offers and promotions. Often Paddy Power are the first, and sometimes the only, company to refund losing bets when they feel their customers have been unfortunate with unusual circumstances.
If you are looking to sign up to an account with Paddy Power, you can take advantage of a £20 risk-free bet. If your selection loses, the £20 is returned in cash, not as a free bet token. This applies to singles only, but there are no terms on what odds you can place your bet on.
The A-Z list of sports is found on the left side of the Paddy Power home page, while in the middle section of the site, you will find all the featured market on that day or later in the week.
New SkyBet customers can receive a free £10 when they open an account and you don’t need to deposit to receive this token. It is a great way to try the site for free. Once you do open an account, if you spend £25 across the week on football bets, you receive a free £5 bet the following Monday with SkyBet Club.
SkyBet offer price boosts each day on the leading football matches and sporting events. These can be found on the centre section of their home page. The bookmaker has an impressive array on betting in-play markets therefore if there is something taking place in the world of sport, you are likely to find live odds on it on their site.
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Due to their sponsorship of the Football League, the bookmaker also run lots of competitions for the chance to win free tickets to a football game near you so keep an eye out on their site for a chance to win one of these prizes.
William Hill claim to be the home of betting and to be fair to them, they have every reason to be bullish about themselves as they are one of the oldest bookmaker brands in the UK and the world. If you don’t already have an account with the firm, you can pick up £30 in free bets for staking just £10 on a single at odds of 1.5 or greater.
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The bookmaker’s sports betting site and app are very popular with punters as they trust the brand and recognise that the firm will offer competitive odds to outdo their rivals. William Hill are particularly very good during the major horse racing meetings like the Cheltenham Festival, where they look to take on the leading runners each day with price boosts.
If you place a bet on a UK horse race with William Hill, you can stream the race on their site or listen to it live on their radio channel. These services are available from your mobile and tablet so you never have to miss a race when on the go.
There are scores of more betting sites available online for you to explore the sign up offers, however, always do some research first before opening an account with a bookmaker you don’t recognise.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge Blaklion had been considered the favourite heading into the Grand National. However, he underperformed as he finished well off the pace in fourth place.
The bay gelding had placed in the top three in 15 of his 21 races prior to the meet at Aintree, including eight victories. Blaklion had a dominant start to his career, winning his opening four races in the 2014 campaign.
He made an impact in his first major race in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham towards the end of that season. Twiston-Davies’ charge produced a dominant run, winning the meet by 11 lengths ahead of his nearest rival.
However, on his return to the course three months later, he pulled up for the first time in his career. Blaklion did not find his form again until the end of 2015, bouncing back from a rough patch through the season to win the Harrison James And Hardie Novices' Chase.
The bay gelding carried that form into 2016 and he notched an impressive win at the RSA Chase at Cheltenham Festival, just edging out Shaneshill by half a length.
Although he failed to notch another victory over the course of the next year, Blaklion remained in contention for victories, producing a decent outing at the Grand National Trial Handicap where he finished in second behind Native River.
As a result, he was considered the leading contender for the Grand National, but lacked the pace down the stretch to compete with One for Arthur. Twiston-Davies’ charge has the ability to compete again but will need to return to form over the course of the next eight months.
The American horse Cause of Causes was the nearest challenger to One for Arthur at Aintree, finishing in second. The nine-year-old has been a perennial contender at the top and has a particular appetite for the big occasion, especially at Cheltenham.
He had a slow start to his career and was forced to wait until his fifth race, when he won the Kilbeggan Maiden Hurdle by a head in May 2012. The victory kick-started an impressive run of form for Gordon Elliott’s charge, which included a victory at Ascot at the end of the year in Ladbroke.
However, the bay gelding failed to kick on in the 2013 campaign, with underwhelming performances at his first appearance at Cheltenham and the Galway Hurdle Handicap. Towards the end of the year, he hinted at breaking through, narrowly missing out on top spot in the Paddy Power Chase.
The frustration continued the following year, as he could only manage second at Cheltenham in the Challenge Cup Handicap Chase, while he competed only twice in the rest of the term. Cause of Causes sent down a statement at the course in 2015 at Cheltenham Festival, however, by winning the Toby Balding National Hunt Chase and ending his 26-month victory drought.
He could only conjure an eighth-place finish at his first crack at the National, while he failed to click into gear for the rest of the season. On his return to Cheltenham Festival, though, the bay gelding delivered another win in the Challenge Cup Handicap Chase.
In 2017, he made it three years in a row with a triumph at Cheltenham by taking the Glenfarclas Chase crown by nine lengths. However, his form could not see him match One for Arthur at the National on his return to Aintree, with a lot of work needed to bridge the gap by Elliott.
Jonjo O’Neill made the decision to pull his charge Minella Rocco out of National due to his determination to prolong the bay gelding’s future at the top.
Compared to the other horses previously mentioned, Minella Rocco is relatively inexperienced, with only 11 races under his belt. However, he has recorded three victories and has only finished outside of the top three only four times thus far in his career.
Minella Rocco secured back-to-back wins to begin his career with triumphs at Kempton Park and Newbury, highlighting his talent from the off.
His first appearance at Cheltenham did not go to plan at the Harrison James and Hardie Novices' Chase, pulling up at the fourth jump, in a race that was won by Blaklion. O’Neill’s charge returned to the course a month later but struggled once again at the venue.
Minella Rocco got back on track with a solid run in his first outing at Ascot, being just edged out at the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Chase. The Irish horse made the first statement of his career, putting in an outstanding run to win at Cheltenham Festival in the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup ahead of Native River.
He failed to build on his momentum, finishing third later in the season at the venue. Minella Rocco then fell for the first time in his career at Aintree, before unseating jockey Aidan Coleman at the Irish Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old found a semblance of his best form at the Gold Cup, although he lacked the pace to beat out Sizing John for the crown, losing out by two-and-a-half lengths. O’Neill’s charge has a lot of talent and the sense of occasion to win the National, but will need a flawless performance to dislodge One for Arthur.
Only six horses have won the Grand National more than once. It has been 43 years since the last competitor to achieve the feat – Red Rum – delivered back-to-back triumphs in the prestigious event, highlighting the challenge ahead of the bay gelding and his team.
One for Arthur had hinted that he was capable of mounting a charge for the crown earlier in the season when he triumphed in the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick.
Therefore, it’s important the eight-year-old has form on his side ahead of the meet as its rivals will be determined to knock him off his perch. There is ample time for Russell to ensure her charge is at its best, including meets at the racecourse where One for Arthur will defend his crown next April.
Destiny awaits the bay gelding over the next eight months, but all the hard work will be worth it for the horse and his trainers should he join elite company in the winners’ circle.