The Different Types Of Free Bets & Promotions Explained

Free Bets offered by Bookmakers are a little bit confusing due to the tricky terms & conditions attached to them. Stringent rules are imposed because free bet promotions give away value to the customers, which leaves the Bookmaker open to abuse.

Here’s a full explanation of the main free bet formats you’ll encounter.


Stake Not Returned (SNR)

SNR bets are the classic, most popular Free Bet format. They’re generally offered when you first sign up to a bookmaker — but sometimes as one-off promotions, too. Typically you may see the SNR bet referred to by the Bookmaker as a “bet token”.

The key characteristic of an SNR bet is that any winnings you make on the free bet are returned to your account, and the free stake itself is not re-credited.

Typical Terms & Conditions

  • When you sign up you may need to enter a code to let the bookie know that you want the free bet.
  • Before you obtain your free bet you’ll need to deposit your own money and place one “qualifying bet” of (typically) an equal amount at the minimum odds stated (e.g. over 2.0). This must be your first ever bet.
  • SNR bets don’t normally carry a wagering requirement on winnings made from the free bet. This means you can withdraw straight away.
  • It doesn’t matter if you win or lose your initial qualifying bet using your own funds — the free bet is still credited.
  • You usually have to risk the full SNR stake on one go. No splitting the bet up.

An Example

If you place a £25 SNR Free Bet on a horse at 3.0 decimal odds and the horse wins, then you’ll return ((3.0 * £25) – £25) = £50 as opposed to the normal £75 return you would expect from a normal bet.


Bet Refunds

Bet Refunds are sometimes available as a signup promotion, but more frequently given as bonuses to existing customers. A Bet Refund is when you place a bet with your own money and have your money re-credited in cash, or bonus funds, if you lose.

Bet refunds do not usually guarantee that you can walk away 100% risk free. There are conditions attached to the refunds returned to your account.

Typical Terms & Conditions

  • You may need to enter a code to let the bookie know that you want the refunded bet.
  • Before you claim a refund (on the Bookie’s website, or via email) you’ll need to place a bet at the minimum odds stated (e.g. over 2.0).
  • This is similar to the SNR bet in that if you lose the “qualifying” bet of your own money then you’re not necessarily out of pocket yet. You have a second chance.
  • Bet Refunds are often credited as an SNR bet, which makes it less valuable than withdrawable cash (because you may lose it).

An Example

If you placed a £25 bet on a horse at 5.0 and the horse loses, then instead of losing your stake outright you’ll return £25 in cash, OR a £25 free bet (typically in the classic SNR format).


Free Money (Stake Returned)

Free Money or “Stake Returned” (SR) free bets are normally given as a signup promotion. When you first make a deposit you’re given extra money in your balance. It’s sometimes shown as “bonus balance”.

Unlike SNR or Bet Refunds, "Free Money" looks and behaves like real money in your betting account. The catch is that it has wagering requirements attached to it before you can withdraw.

Typical Terms & Conditions

  • You may need to enter a code to let the bookie know that you want the extra balance in your account upon depositing.
  • Before you can withdraw the money you’ll need to place several bets at the minimum odds stated (e.g. over 2.0).
  • Free Money bets often carry hefty rollover requirements before a withdrawal is allowed. Unfortunately in some cases this can result in the promotion leaving the player worse off than betting without the bonus.
  • If you bust-out your balance then this is the end of the promotion for you. Thankfully the rollover requirements aren’t normally still tied to your next deposit.
  • As the name “Stake Returned” name suggests, the stake you place is returned in all of your bets as if it were a regular bet.
  • Your rollover may be limited to a maximum stake amount.

An Example

If you deposit £25 and are eligible for a 100% free money bonus, then you double your balance to £50 prior to betting. Before you withdraw you’ll need to meet the minimum rollover requirement. This could be 10x (Deposit + Bonus) = 10×50 = £500 total stake.


Where to Claim Promotions


I can recommend the following Bookmakers who all offer free bets.

Betting Exchanges

You can also claim free bets from the following betting exchanges:

Further Reading:

Precisely How Valuable Are Free Bets?

Step-By-Step Beginners Guide To Matched Betting

Best Matched Betting Services

Toby @ Punter2Pro
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