The welcome bonus. Featured on just about every online sportsbook under the sun, the welcome bonus is a marketing device used by operators to get new players in the virtual doors, by way of some sort of monetary incentive. Sometimes the juice is worth the squeeze, and sometimes the bonus is inundated with so much fine print that bettors might be better off rolling the dice on an 8-leg parlay.
In New Jersey, where eight online sportsbooks have debuted in the last month-and-a-half, the bonuses have trended strongly toward the player-friendly side, offering even punters crazy enough to take the NY Giants and the Cowboys over 42.5 last weekend (that was me) a decided, albeit temporary, edge over the house.
How much of an edge? By taking advantage of just five NJ online sports betting bonuses, new players will net up to $1,565 in bonuses, at a bonus back rate of over 30%. And all this before other goodies like loyalty points, other promotional bonuses, and spot rewards for continued play are factored in.
Look at it this way: A punter blindly picking NFL spreads stands to lose about 5% of their wagers over time, and the jackpot hunting parlay junkie as much as 10%. A 10% loss will be offset more than threefold by the kickbacks bettors will get back from the house in return for their patronage.
Step 1: Take a $200 free bet at DraftKings
The lines on DraftKings Sportsbook might be a bit more juiced up than what’s found elsewhere, but the welcome bonus is top notch. Players new to the book will automatically receive a free bet equal to the amount of their first wager, capped at $200.
The free bet can then be used for wagering, and any winnings from that wager are the player’s to keep. Do note that if the free bet is not used within 30 days of the initial wager, it disappears. Letting it expire is only about a half-step better than lighting two Benjamins on fire, so be cognizant.
What’s cool about this offer, besides the 1x playthrough requirement, is that players don’t even necessarily have to make a deposit to take advantage. That’s because DraftKings allows players to use their daily fantasy sports winnings at the sportsbook. For those that don’t do DFS, DraftKings offers several depositing options, including PayPal.
This offer expires on October 1, 2018.
Total wagered: $200; Total bonuses: $200
Step 2: Get a 1x match up to $250 at Play SugarHouse Sports
The only reason Play SugarHouse isn’t our first destination is because the DraftKings promo is closing in on its expiration date.
Even prior to the debut of its sports betting operation, Play SugarHouse was known for its industry leading 1x playthrough requirement on all bonuses. This alone was incentive enough to check out the site, but coupled with the sheer number of bonus opportunities offered, it became a value hunter’s dream.
Since adding sports betting, the site’s welcome package has only gotten better, now offering players a 100% match up to $250 (1x turnover), up from a $100 cap. Once claimed, the bonus can be cleared at the book, or via slot, video poker, and Live Dealer wagers.
The only real negative of this offer is that players who had registered an account with Play SugarHouse back when it was just an NJ online casino cannot take part in this offer. That said, there’s usually enough other promos floating around on the site to make a regular check-in a priority.
Total wagered: $450; Total bonuses: $450
Step 3: Take a shot at FanDuel Sportsbook
The land-based FanDuel book at the Meadowlands may be in the midst of some growing pains, but its online arm — FanDuel Sportsbook — is firing on all cylinders.
Currently FanDuel is offering players new to the sportsbook a 100% match up to $100 on their first deposit. In order to clear the bonus, players have to wager just the bonus plus deposit amount one time, for a total wagering requirement of 2x the bonus.
Unlike the DraftKings offer, the bonus funds don’t have to be spent in one shot. What’s more, players with existing daily fantasy sports accounts on FanDuel are more than welcome to take part in this offer, even those who wound up porting their DFS account information to the sportsbook.
There is one caveat worth noting, and that’s wagers on favorites with lines greater than or equal to -200 will not count toward the bonus requirements. So be on the lookout for those appealing underdogs.
Total wagered: $650; Total bonuses: $550
Step 4: The long-play at BetStars NJ
BetStars NJ may have been a little late to the NJ online sports betting party (if six weeks can be considered late), but it’s more than making up for the lost time with an aggressive rollout that includes one of the nascent industry’s biggest welcome packages.
Players new to BetStars NJ, and yes that includes PokerStars NJ account holders, are eligible for up to $500 in free bets on their initial wave of wagers. The first $50 bet will be matched 100% by BetStars NJ, resulting in a $50 free bet. After that, players will net another $50 free bet each time they wager $150, up to nine times.
Unlike the other offers we’ve featured, this will prove more of a long-play for casual bettors, as they will have to wager a substantial amount to clear the bonus ($1,400), but will have a full 90 days from their first sports bet to do so.
There are a few other caveats tied to this offer that knock it down a peg or two. First off, players only have seven days to use their free bets after they’re credited. Also, a qualifying bet is defined as a straight or parlay with minimum odds of +100 — pretty stringent. Still, for players that work within the confines of the fine print, this is a lucrative offer.
Total wagered: $2,050; Total bonuses: $1,050
Step 5: 100% match up to $500 at 888 Sport + $10 no-deposit
At this point, bettors may just want to kick back and enjoy their $1,050 in bonuses (51.2% bonus back rate), but for those who want to squeeze as much juice out of this rare opportunity as possible, there is another worthwhile bonus to be had.
Newcomer 888 Sport has gone live with a double dose of welcome offers for new players. The first requires no upfront investment from the player, as 888 Sport is awarding a $10 bonus to anyone who creates a new account. This bonus does carry a 6x wagering requirement before it converts to cash, however.
Then, depositing players can claim a 100% match up to $500 on their initial go-round. This offer, like the no-deposit bonus, has a 6x turnover requirement, meaning that players who dump $500 on the site are looking at $3,000 in wagers before their bonus clears. Hefty, but certainly within the realm of reason.
Other caveats: The wagering requirement must be met within 30 days and only bets with odds of -200 or higher will count. This offer is only available to players that have not signed up at any NJ sites, including 888 Poker NJ and its online casino.
Total wagered: $5,110; Total bonuses: $1,550
For players who plan to punt off … eh, make educated sports bets with any regularity, there’s no good reason not to take a flyer on these offers. Casuals may want to stick with the ones that are easiest to clear, however, like the offers from Play SugarHouse, FanDuel, and DraftKings, while heavy hitters will get more value out of the big money promos from BetStars NJ and 888 Sport NJ.