The UK, with its rich history in horse racing, hosts some of the most anticipated events in the racing calendar, such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.
These events not only draw the attention of horse racing fans but also attract a significant number of bettors.
In fact, such is the popularity of the Grand National that over £250 million is wagered on it in the UK every year.
It helps that the internet has made things a lot easier for those who fancy a flutter on the race. That, and bookies now offer very enticing promotions which we can all take advantage of.
But just what kind of special promotions can we expect to see ahead of major racing events?
Let’s find out…
Types of Betting Promotions for Major Horse Racing Events
1. Free Bets
One of the most common promotions during major horse racing events is the provision of free bets.
Bookmakers often offer these to new customers as a welcome bonus or to existing customers to encourage further betting.
For instance, a bookmaker might offer a £10 free bet when you place a £20 bet on a specific race.
These are undoubtedly the most popular, but you do have to watch out for the T&Cs. As an example when it comes to Cheltenham free bets, the free bet may just be on one specific race.
So make sure that if you opt-in or hope to use the offer, you use it correctly as if it could be a case of ‘use it or lose it’.
2. Enhanced Odds
Enhanced odds are another popular promotion. This involves temporarily offering higher odds on specific horses, usually favourites, to attract more bets.
For example, a horse that typically has odds of 3/1 might be boosted to 5/1 for a limited time.
It’s great if you really know your horse racing and already have your eye on one particular runner.
Anything that can potentially boost your winnings is always welcome.
3. Money-Back Specials
Money-back specials are a popular type of promotion offered by bookmakers, especially during major horse racing events.
These specials are designed to limit the risk for the bettor while maintaining the excitement of placing a bet.
Often, these promotions are conditional, and those conditions can vary widely.
For instance, a bookmaker might offer to return your stake if your horse finishes second, falls at the last hurdle, or if it loses by a nose.
The specifics are set by the bookmaker and are designed to add an extra layer of interest to the betting experience.
Just note that the refund is often given as a free bet rather than cash and is usually equivalent to the original stake up to a certain limit.
These are particularly good offers if you are already torn between a couple of runners, essentially enabling you to hedge your bets.
4. Best Odds Guaranteed
This promotion ensures punters get the best odds available on a horse.
If you place a bet at lower odds and the starting price is higher, you’ll be paid out at the higher odds.
This is absolutely the best one for the Grand National because the odds change fast and frequently on the day of the race.
A horse can start off at 33/1 on the morning of the race and end up at 66/1 by the time the race starts. If you’ve backed it each way and it finishes in the places, then you basically double your returns.
5. Accumulator Bonuses
Accumulator bonuses apply when you place a bet involving several horses across different races.
Again, this applies more to Festivals than individual races, so an excellent option for Cheltenham, which has 28 races over four days.
Bookies may offer an extra percentage on top of your winnings depending on the number of selections in your accumulator.
Plus, returns tend to be higher on accumulators than on individual bets. The only problem is getting all of the selections correct!
6. No Deposit Bonuses
Occasionally, bookmakers offer no deposit bonuses. These are small sums of money given to bettors to place a bet without requiring an initial deposit.
So to get you in the door, a bookmaker may offer you a £5 free bet, no deposit required. And it does exactly what it says on the tin.
You open a new account, you get your free bet, and you don’t have to deposit any cash first.
That said, these are pretty rare offers. So if you see one, snap it up.
Reasons Why Bookmakers Hold Promotions for Big Races
The big question most of us around the promotions and offers for major racing events is: why?
There are already millions of people betting on the likes of the Grand National and Cheltenham, so what’s the point in giving away free money?
I’ve whittled it down to three major reasons: get new customers, keep existing customers, and beat out the competition.
Major horse racing events attract a wider audience, including casual bettors. Bookmakers use promotions as a tool to attract these new customers, hoping they continue betting beyond these events.
Attracting New Customers
Major horse racing events are not just sporting events; they’re cultural phenomena that draw attention from a wide audience.
This includes many who do not regularly bet, so bookies leverage this increased interest to attract new customers who are drawn in by the excitement of the event.
The offers are designed to lower the barrier to entry, making it more appealing for newcomers to place bets.
Plus, they usually tie in with a surge in advertising and marketing campaigns, which are often centred around the promotions and are targeted to reach a wider audience.
Retaining Existing Customers
The days when there were just one or two major high-street bookmakers are gone.
Now, you can hold multiple online accounts with multiple bookies, and they all want you to bet with them.
So to make sure that you stick with them, they reward their regular customers with special promotions as a reward for their loyalty.
These can include enhanced odds, cashback offers, or exclusive access to certain bets.
Plus, and this is a bit sneaky, they can also use data analytics to offer personalised promotions based on your betting history.
This makes the offers more relevant and attractive to existing bettors.
Everyone wants to be top dog, and bookies are no different. They don’t want to be second best or see their market share slide as big events draw near.
Nope, they want that competitive edge, and they are willing to ramp up the offers to get it.
In a crowded market, they must differentiate themselves from their competitors. Unique or particularly generous promotions can help them achieve exactly that.
Attractive promotions can enhance brand image and reputation, and by offering better or more promotions than competitors, a bookmaker can position itself as the go-to platform for betting.
This can have long-term benefits beyond the event itself because once a bookie offers solid promotions, they can draw bettors away from competitors.
The Benefits of Taking Up Offers as a Punter
While this should be self-evident, after all, nobody wants to turn down something for free, there are really good reasons to take up special offers.
Promotions like enhanced odds or accumulator bonuses can significantly increase the potential winnings from a bet, offering better value for their money.
Money-back specials or free bets reduce financial risk and provide a safety net. This allows you to experiment with bets you might not ordinarily place.
Participating adds an extra layer of excitement to the betting experience. The potential for increased winnings or recovering losses can enhance the thrill of the race.
How to Choose the Best Promotions
It’s essential to understand the terms and conditions of each promotion. Look for wagering requirements, minimum odds, and expiry dates.
Different bookmakers offer various promotions. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research and compare what’s on offer.
Find the promotion that best suits your betting style and preferences.
Choose promotions that align with your betting strategy. For example, if you prefer betting on favourites, look for enhanced odds on those horses.
You can always switch to another bookie for another race if their offer is better.