There’s this idea in the sports betting industry that all but the most experienced bettors have little chance to come out ahead against the house, and while that may very well be true in the long-run, there are plenty of opportunities for players to turn the odds on their head in the short-term. The most prominent of these come the minute a player finishes the registration process, by way of free bets and a multitude of other no-deposit and deposit bonuses.
So far, most NJ mobile sportsbooks offer some sort of free money incentive to new players, temporarily placing the odds in their favor. And with more mobile and online sportsbooks on the way, it’s important to know what type of bonus offers exist, whether or not you’ll need a promo or bonus code to claim them, and how the fine print attached to them determines their value. We’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide.
Get free money at the best NJ online sportsbooks
What is a promo code and are they necessary?
In order to capitalize on free money offers, a NJ online sportsbook may or may not require the use of a special promo or bonus code. If it does, players will be asked to enter the code at either the time of registration or when they make a deposit, depending on the nature of the bonus.
Usually, the promo code field is conveniently located on the registration and/or deposit page. Once located, all players have to do is enter the code associated with the bonus they want to take advantage of and the bonus will be applied.
In the case where a promo code is not necessary, players can simply gloss over the optional promo code field. However, they still may be required to opt-in before receiving the bonus. This typically entails just clicking an “Opt-in” or “Deposit Now” button on the associated promotional or bonus page.
A promo code is effectively a coupon, except instead of providing a discount on goods, it enables players to receive a better — sometimes much better — bang for their buck. Most NJ online sportsbooks will provide their own promo codes, but because we often offer exclusive promo codes that are better than or independent from the public offer, we encourage players to shop here first.
Who is eligible for NJ mobile sports betting bonuses?
Really, it depends. Sometimes offers are catered exclusively toward new players, while other times a sportsbook may tailor its offers toward returning players or VIPs.
Generally speaking though, you’ll need to meet the following requirements as a prerequisite to cashing in:
- Age: In New Jersey, you must be 21 years of age or older to register an account at an online or mobile sportsbook. No exceptions.
- Identity verification: Upon submitting a registration request, players will undergo a thorough vetting process, set forth by the state’s gaming regulatory body, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. This is designed to ensure that players are who they say they are, and is part of an effort to ward off identity theft and fraud. But don’t worry, the whole process only takes a few moments.
- Location: In order to gamble for real money on any NJ mobile sportsbook, players must be located in the state of New Jersey. Note that they do not have to hold residence in NJ. Also, players may still be able to access their accounts and claim bonuses from outside the state, they just won’t be able to bet.
In the case of a no-deposit bonus, all that’s required to capitalize is to successfully register an account. Other bonuses may have more specific requirements, such as depositing a certain amount, or placing bets within a specified time frame or on a particular sporting event.
Why do online sportsbooks offer bonuses?
Let’s be clear about one thing: NJ online sportsbooks, like every other sportsbook, are in the business of making money. So why on earth would they freely give away money?
The short answer is that they don’t. All bonuses, whether it be a $10 no-deposit offer or a $500 free bet, come affixed with terms and conditions. These terms will vary widely from site to site and promotion to promotion, but if there’s one universal truth, it’s that in order to take advantage of any bonus offer, you’re going to have to give the book some action.
And that’s fair. After all, if a book just gave money away with no stipulations, smart players would just grab the cash and leave. The sportsbook would go out of business and that’s the end of the industry.
Instead, bonuses offered by NJ mobile and online sportsbooks are a marketing device designed to attract new players, engage formerly active players that have taken some time off, and encourage existing players to stay loyal. But that hardly means they’re not lucrative and, potentially, very much so.
It’s really a win-win for both operator and player. Take the free bet offered by DraftKings Sportsbook. The main condition of this offer is that in order to receive the free bet, players must first place an initial wager. Then, they’ll receive a free bet of the amount of the first wager, up to $500. The operator wins because it convinced a new player to sign up for the site, deposit some money, and place a wager. The player wins because they are freerolling their second wager, effectively granting them a mammoth, albeit temporary, edge over the house.
Types of NJ online sportsbook bonus and promotional offers
NJ online sportsbooks have kept their promotional offers pretty straightforward in the early going, but as the industry expands, we expect them to tinker with an array of bonus formats.
The types of offers we’re most likely to see include:
Short of being handed cash, no-deposit bonuses carry the least risk of any bonus format. As one might have guessed from the name, bettors won’t be required to fork over a single dime to secure this bonus; all that’s required is that they successfully register an account and possibly enter a qualifying promo code. Upon doing so, the no-deposit bonus will immediately be allocated to the bettor’s accounts for use on the site.
So what’s the catch? Well, for one, the no-deposit bonus might be affixed with what’s called a wagering, or turnover, requirement. In short, bonuses that carry this caveat require punters to wager their bonus a certain number of times before the bonus converts to cash. It could be 1x, 5x, or even 20x — the lower the better.
There are also cases where only winnings from the no-deposit bonus, not the bonus itself, are cashable. Some sportsbooks may even go so far as to require players to make a first deposit before cashing out winnings from no-deposit wagers.
No-deposit bonuses are generally small, ranging from a few bucks to perhaps as much as $40 – $50. Certainly nothing to gloss over, but not nearly as potentially lucrative as deposit bonuses or free bet offers.
Finally, no-deposit bonuses, like just about every bonus vehicle, have expiration dates. Leave them sitting around long enough, and the funds will go poof. Typically, players will have a generous amount of time to spend the funds, ranging from 7 days to as many as 90 or 180.
Alongside deposit bonuses, free bets are the most widely spread bonus format, particularly to new players. Free bets are just that, wagers that players are allowed to make on the house’s dime. As a somewhat universal rule, players will only be able to cash out winnings from a free bet, and not the free bet amount itself. Still, that’s a pretty solid deal, allowing the bettor to freeroll.
How they spend the free bet is up to bettors. Want a strong chance to lock up a small monetary amount? Bet the moneyline on a heavy favorite. Risk taker? Use the free bet for a four-leg parlay. Either way, you can’t lose.
Free bets can take a couple of different forms:
- Matched free bets: Before receiving this free bet, players must first make a wager. Then, the house will credit their account with a free bet equal to a certain percentage of that wager, typically 100% up to a certain monetary cap. DraftKings Sportsbook pioneered this free bet variant in the U.S., gifting new players that placed an initial wager with a free bet matched at 100%, up to $500.
- Deposit matched free bets: Few-strings-attached variant where players will receive a matched free bet on a deposit. For instance, players that dump $20 on the site might receive a deposit matched free bet of the same amount. Generally, the monetary caps on these bonuses are low, simply because they don’t require any upfront bets on the part of the player — but they’re extremely valuable regardless.
- No-deposit free bets: Some NJ mobile sportsbooks may offer new players a free bet just for signing up.
Something to look out for: It’s not uncommon for free bets to take the form of a refund, meaning that the player will be required to place the upfront investment. If they lose, the player investment is refunded as a site credit. Win, and receive nothing, outside, of course, the funds procured from the winning bet.
Deposit bonuses are the bread-and-butter of NJ online casino sites, and stand to be nearly as prevalent at online sportsbooks. This one is pretty easy understand — make a deposit, and the sportsbook will match that deposit, up to a certain percentage and monetary cap.
As an example, Play SugarHouse offers first-time depositing players a 100% match up to $250. That means if a player deposits $50, they’ll receive a $50 bonus. Deposit $250 and receive the full bonus, but deposit more, say $500, and the player would only still receive $250. If the deposit match were instead 50% up to $250, players would have to deposit $500 to take full advantage.
Just like no-deposit bonuses, deposit bonuses almost always have wagering requirements attached to them. On Play SugarHouse, the requirement is just 1x, which is outstanding. At other NJ mobile sportsbooks, the requirement stands to be much higher, as much as 10-30x, but the monetary caps will be higher too.
We haven’t been shy about pointing out our grievances with operators over their high vigs. It’s not all bad, and there is certainly value to be had in spots, but often times, the juice veers higher than it does at a Las Vegas book. That’s why whenever a NJ online sportsbook offers a discount on its fees, players are wise to take advantage.
An example of this might be that instead of laying odds of -110 for the upcoming week’s NFL games, the book offers -105 across the board. Should a book offer a fee reduction often enough, the savings will really add up.
Cash refunds / bonus back
Even the savviest sports bettor is going to have losing days, it’s just the nature of the game. Sometimes, NJ online sportsbooks will allow bettors to cut their losses by offering what’s known as a cash back refund.
Typically, how this works is that player will receive a certain percentage of their losses back as either cash or a site credit (bonus back), capped at a chosen monetary amount. So, if an offer reads 50% cashback up to $100, then if the player loses $200 or more, $100 is refunded.
Generally speaking, the higher the percentage and monetary cap, the better the offer. Just be sure to read the fine print, as refunds that come in the form of site credits may look really lucrative, but could carry high wagering requirements.
VIP/Loyalty Club bonuses
Players are well advised to select a NJ online sportsbook that offers a VIP Club. A good loyalty program not only awards players points, which can be converted to cash or used for free bets, but also offers players the opportunity to rise through the loyalty rankings, unlocking better and more frequent rewards along the way.
These tiered programs are especially beneficial for frequent sports bettors, as they’ll be more likely to hit a site’s highest ranking and reap the luxuries that come with being a VIP. Top-tier benefits may include higher point multipliers, access to exclusive promotional offers, faster cashouts, gifts, and offers at a site’s affiliated land-based casino.
In New Jersey, most sportsbooks are integrated with a platform’s other verticals, be it online casino, poker, or daily fantasy sports. This presents a unique opportunity for players, as often enough, players will earn loyalty points across all verticals as part of one comprehensive VIP Rewards program. So, if you’re already mixing it up at a site’s online casino, you may want to do your sports betting on the same site, since you’ll have the advantage of starting from a higher loyalty level and may even have enough stored points to purchase a few free bets.
Have a lot of friends interested in sports betting, but currently wagering at offshore sites or with local bookies? Convince them to make the transition to legal, and the two of you could lock up some extra bonuses.
With refer-a-friend bonuses, the referrer will typically receive a bonus once the referred player makes a deposit and places a few wagers. The bonus amounts tend toward the small-to-medium size, ranging anywhere from $20 – $250. Often enough, the referred player will also receive a bonus upon meeting a wagering requirement — be on the lookout for these, as they offer a rare win-win situation.
Tips for finding the best bonus offers at NJ mobile sportsbooks
- Know your wagering requirements: For the most part, wagering requirements in the NJ online sports betting industry tend toward the low side, but there are still instances where the book may try to “get you.” We’ve seen turnover requirements as high as 30x in this industry, meaning players have to wager $3,000 just to clear $100. Avoid them, and go with the ones that are 20x or less.
- Avoid the cashback conundrum: Cashback bonuses are generally a good thing, as they allow bettors to cut their losses. However, some of these bonuses aren’t refunded as cash, but instead as a site credit with high wagering requirements. Be on the lookout for straight cashback deals.
- Matched free bets are best: If a site offers a deal where players receive a $100, $50, or even $20 free bet upon making a $100 real-money wager, grab it. Even if a free bet is only worth 20% of your initial wager, you’ll be playing with a distinct advantage over the house.
- Beware expiration dates: Bonuses expire. There’s really no exception to this rule. So if you don’t think you’ll be able to complete a wagering requirement in an allotted time frame, don’t take the bonus.
- Don’t cancel bonuses: Worse than letting bonuses expire is outright cancelling them. The reason for this is simple: When you’re running through the wagering requirement of a bonus, the funds are pulled from your cash wallet first. A player who deposits $100 and claims a $100 bonus, then loses $100 and cancels the bonus, is left with nothing. Not a positive expectation play, to say the least.
If there’s one common thread throughout, it’s that players are well-advised to read and try to understand the fine print attached to any bonus they’re looking to participate in. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or patience to do that, so we’ve taken the liberty to detail site bonuses in plain language in our NJ online sportsbook reviews.