Bonus hunters are punters who specifically target a range of promotional offers at betting sites. By doing so, these so-called bonus hunters can make bets without risking their own money in situations.
You can scroll through the list of bookmakers on a link and see welcome bonus offers available. They are the big captures for the bonus hunters as the type of promotion credits free bets matched to the value of a first bet or a first deposit. They are also more generous than other types of promotions.
But how are they involved in bonus hunting and is the practice legal? We look into this area of online sports betting in a little more depth and explore why bookmakers don’t particularly like this type of player.
The Common Bonus Hunter
If you’re enthusiastic about online sports betting, chances are you’re familiar with the term “bonus hunters.” These are individuals who strategically sign up for multiple accounts with various bookmakers, capitalizing on welcome offers and free bets to place wagers on different potential outcomes of a single event.
This practice is often referred to as bonus-matched betting. To illustrate how it operates, let’s consider a straightforward example involving a UEFA Champions League match featuring Real Madrid against Man City.
Imagine one bookmaker extends a generous welcome bonus that grants up to a £20 free bet if the initial wager on a new account doesn’t pan out. A shrewd punter might place a stake with this bookmaker, recognizing that if the bet were to lose, they could claim a free bet.
Meanwhile, at a different bookmaker, they could utilize yet another free bet bonus to cover alternative scenarios. For instance, they could opt for a Draw No Bet approach or simply back Man City for victory, while separately betting on a potential draw using another betting platform.
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Managing It All
Bonus hunting can take a lot of planning and it isn’t easy. The odds and free bet rewards have to also line up to make it worthwhile. The goal is to create a situation where you will claim something back no matter the outcome of the match.
A free bet from a lost stake on the Real Madrid example above, would at least cover whatever stake is played elsewhere on the match. Bonus hunting isn’t limited to welcome offers as it can also be done through promos for existing customers.
Real-money stakes can be involved in covering outcomes. But bonus hunters try to exploit as many free bets as they can. But that is not always possible because of some limitations of this particular approach to betting.
While leveraging welcome bonus offers for free bets can seem appealing, there are notable limitations to this approach. To unlock these bonuses, an initial financial commitment is necessary.
Bettors typically must deposit a minimum sum into their account and place a qualifying bet to access the free bet reward. Thus, this practice isn’t truly cost-free.
Engaging in this process across multiple bookmakers can entail a significant cumulative financial outlay. Furthermore, it’s important to recognize that welcome bonus offers are a one-time opportunity.
Once utilized (or not), they become obsolete, precluding continuous exploitation. Consequently, the potential gains from these bonuses are finite.
While bonus hunting might offer short-term benefits, its viability as a sustainable strategy is constrained by the necessity for initial deposits, the cumulative costs associated with multiple bookmakers, and the one-off nature of welcome bonuses. Bettors should carefully consider these limitations before committing substantial resources to such endeavors.
Is it Legal?
Certainly, bonus hunting remains well within the bounds of legality. Despite potential disapproval from betting sites, the actions of bonus hunters do not breach any legal regulations. The wariness exhibited by bookmakers towards these individuals is primarily rooted in the perception that bonus hunters could undermine their profitability.
It’s important to emphasize that the practice itself is not unlawful, highlighting the distinction between bookmakers’ concerns and the actual legality of bonus hunting. As long as bonus hunters adhere to the terms and conditions set by betting platforms, their activities remain a legitimate aspect of the sports betting landscape.
What Do the Bookies Do
There’s not too much that happens really on the bookmakers’ side of things. Players can already only hold one account at a particular bookmaker, so there is that limitation.
Bookies could take other steps like imposing wagering requirements, lowering the monetary value of things like welcome bonus offers, cutting back on free bet bonuses and putting more restrictive terms and conditions on the bets that qualify for bonuses.
Bonus hunters aren’t loyal customers. It may be a case of exploiting a welcome bonus, and then withdrawing immediately, which is probably a red flag for the bookie. But the bookmaker really can’t do much about those types of losses going out.
These players don’t care about the quality of the service or the odds offered by the bookmakers as they only care about maximizing their profits.
Beyond the Bonus Hunters
Bettors do also use multiple betting accounts for different reasons besides bonus hunting. There are different strategies like arbitrage and matched betting that can be done when holding accounts at different bookmakers.
The end goal is pretty much the same, oppose market options at different bookmakers when the odds are right, to gain a market advantage where you are not going to lose financially, regardless of the outcome of a particular event.
By holding accounts at different betting sites, punters can legitimately shop around for the best odds on a market selection. That’s common practice, while bonus hunting, which is just exploiting loopholes to extract more value from offers than intended, is not.