What Does ‘Paid in Free Bets’ Mean?

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There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to betting but to put it simply, paid in free bets means… paid in free bets! Okay, we admit that’s about as much help as saying Brexit means Brexit. As such, we’ll look in more detail at what exactly this phrase means (paid in free bets, not Brexit!), how it affects you as a punter and in what sort of situations you are most likely to see it.

‘Paid in Free Bets’

Paid in free bets is a phrase that you may see in the full terms and conditions of a betting offer, promotion or free bet, as well as in the key facts about the offer that accompany a banner or image about the promotion. If this phrase is not present or you are just making a normal bet with your own money, your winnings are paid in cash. Well, not physical cash, of course, unless perhaps you are in a bricks and mortar betting shop, but it will be added to the main, real money, balance on your online betting account.

This means that you can use it to make more bets but, equally, if you prefer, you can withdraw the funds and spend them on beer, fast cars, a new set of knitting needles (do knitting needles come in sets?) or whatever else takes your fancy. If, on the other hand, you have been paid in free bets, the value of these free bets cannot be withdrawn. The free bets must be wagered at least once (and sometimes more than once) before you can extract any actual cash from your betting account.

What Offers Are Paid in Free Bets?

Free bet badgeThe phrase ‘paid in free bets’ may be used alongside just about any promotion or offer a bookie has. One of the most common types of promotion to feature this term is an enhanced odds offer. This is a form of new customer deal whereby instead of being offered a free bet, punters are given a huge price boost on a pre-determined game, match or race.

For example, if Inter Milan and are playing AC Milan, you might see a bookmaker offer either side at odds of 15/1 to new customers who join and claim that promotion. Such promos usually offer enhanced odds worth around five to 10 times the standard published odds, though sometimes much more and sometimes a little less.

The terms vary from site-to-site and offer to offer but, in general, you will be paid in cash (real, withdrawable funds) based on the standard non-enhanced odds, with free bets boosting the payout to the advertised figure. So, in our example above, let us imagine you bet £10 on Inter Milan at 15/1 instead of normal odds of 2/1. If they win, you would get £30 in cash (your £10 stake and the 2/1 value) and £130 in free bets.

Typically, those free bets would be stake not returned. That means that you would get the profit from any winning free bets but not the £130 free bet stake itself. Alternatively, with some offers there may be a wagering requirement, meaning that you have to bet through the £130 more than once. Whilst this might sound a little unreasonable, offers like this are usually stake returned, meaning you do at least get to keep all the winnings (once the rollover is completed).

You should note that this type of new customer odds enhancement is different to the smaller price boost you might see for existing customers. For example, if a favourite in a horse race is boosted from 11/10 to 13/10, the chances are that this will be fully paid in cash but if in doubt check the Ts and Cs or ask on live chat.

Acca Insurance, Money Back Deals, Enhanced Each Way & Refund If…

The other major types of promotion where you may see the phrase paid in free bets are often ones offering some form of refund or rebate. There are many offers that fall under this umbrella but some of the most common are those listed in the sub-heading above.

Acca insurance promotions are very popular because accumulators themselves are so widespread and well loved. These offers might, for example, give you your money back if just one leg of an acca lets you down. However, whilst we say “money back”, the refund might be paid in free bets. This is still a generous deal as it gives you another crack of the whip. Assuming you were going to place another bet anyway this means you can have another go without having to add further funds into your account.

Money back and “refund if…” promotions work in the same sort of way. So, for example, you might be offered a refund on losing bets if there is a penalty in a game of football, if a named player scores a try in a rugby match, or if your horse falls or perhaps comes second to the favourite. Once again, rather than the refund of your lost stake being made in cash, it is paid with freebies instead. Not quite as good as real money but still very much better than nothing, especially if you manage to land a winner with your free bets!

Last of all (though as said you may find “paid in free bets” as a term on just about any bookie promotion), let us consider enhanced each way offers. In big golf tournaments and major horse races such as the Grand National, many bookies will pay each way bets based on extra places. Where normally a golfer might need a top four or five to earn you a payout, such offers may pay down to as many as 11 places! Check the terms though because it is possible that only a top-five finish will yield a cash return – those extra places might be – you’ve guessed it! – paid in free bets.

If I’m Going to Keep Betting Anyway Does It Matter About Being Paid in Free Bets?

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If you want to use a refund or enhanced odds return to bet with, rather than to fund that knitting habit you’ve acquired, you may think it doesn’t matter about being paid in free bets. However, that is not quite the case. Assuming the free bets are normal ones, where you bet once and keep any winnings from that punt but not the stake itself, you will be worse off than had you made the bet with a refund or price boost paid as cash.

A £10 free bet at 3/1 will see £30 returned to your balance – the profit from the bet but not the £10 free bet stake. In contrast, if you make the bet with a cash refund/money back/odds boost/free bet, that 3/1 winner will return £40 to your account.

Can Offers Be Advertised As Money Back If It Is Free Bets?

ASA logoIn recent years, there have been lots of steps taken to try and make gambling safer and fairer. This has included the way offers and promotions are advertised and both the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have codes of conduct and guidelines. Much of what they do is more guidance than law though but increasingly they have tried to move bookmakers away from the concept of “paid in free bets”.

The ASA want ads, promotional tweets and other social media output and banners to be as clear and simple as possible. We think it is more than reasonable for the “headline” of an offer to say “Refund if there is a red card” (or whatever), as long as “paid in free bets” is included in the accompanying key terms (and not hidden among the full Ts and Cs). However, it may be the case that the authorities disagree.

The ASA Guidance stated that “Money back” offers must be in cash, not bonuses.” However, when it comes to the use of free bets as payment for other types of offer they have been less explicit. What’s more, as said, this guidance is not necessarily binding and it is certainly not the case that all betting sites and third party marketers stick to it.

The situation is likely to evolve but as long as you read the key facts/terms about an offer you should be able to understand it. From time to time errors can occur in publicity material (as happened in a 2016 50/1 offer but if you ever have any doubt, just contact the bookie in question to clear things up.