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Why do some bookmakers have minimum odds requirements on free bet promotions?

Sports Asked on October 21, 2021

I have noticed that some bookmakers will offer free bets but have a condition that in order for the winnings to be withdrawn they must be placed on bets with at least 1/5 odds for example.

If I have a £5 free bet and wagered it on a bet with even odds then I would expect to win half the time but only double my (free) money. If instead I placed the bet on something with odds of 5 to 1, then I would only win one in every five times but then would make a five-fold return. From the bookies perspective they would expect to pay out the same total winnings across all bets anyway.

Why do they care what odds you pick?

One Answer

It's a question of risk (variance), not expected profit (mean).

Free bets are often offered along the lines of "bet £10, get a £10 free bet". If I can run the free bet through on very short odds, then that's pretty close to a zero risk investment as the "non-free" bet is then pure profit - and at that point the professional gamblers will be on it like a hawk (at least until they trigger the bookie's alerting systems). If I have to run the free bet through at longer odds, it's a riskier investment which is less attractive to the professionals.

Answered by Philip Kendall on October 21, 2021

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