The free sports betting offered by almost every bookmaker from WilliamHill and Ladbrokes to Betfair and Betfred has been around for some time
As with any industry, whether it's supermarkets that open on Sundays or hotels that offer free WiFi, once you do, every other player in the industry quickly follows suit.
Ultimately, this means that what was once a unique selling proposition for a supplier will become the industry standard and any company that doesn't comply will be seen as inferior.
Despite there being hundreds of bookmakers offering thousands of pounds in free bets online, one of the big players made the decision a few weeks ago to end their free bet promotion. Victor Chandler now relies solely on his website and brand name to attract players.
So will the other big names follow suit?
In all honesty, I don't know, but it's a bold move and one that I think was a mistake
I surveyed a small sample of about 200 people through my own website and it was a staggering 99.5% of people who said, “If faced with the choice of betting online for the first time, they would choose a lesser known one Choose Site offers a free sports betting offer through VictorChandler.
This is related to the fact that a similarly sized survey found that 74% of online gamblers stick with one of the first two sites they try as their main source of online betting. Another surprising statistic was that 87% said the main reason they would try a different site instead of their current one is to take advantage of a free bet promotion. Only if they were happy with the site's usability would they consider a permanent switch.
I'm sure if anyone at VictorChandler HQ were sitting and reading this article they would tell me that the site's numbers weren't greatly impacted and were more than offset by the savings in free bet issuance. If that's the case then good luck to them and I hope it works out as I happen to think it's a very smart and user friendly site.
So will the other bookmakers follow suit?
I doubt it. I'm sure while it was very hard for the first page to take the plunge, it will be a little easier for the middle ones to follow, but what happens when it comes to the last few. What if Ladbrokes, WlliamHill and Coral are the last 3 to offer the free bet offer, will Ladbrokes and Coral give up and let WilliamHill dominate new signups? In my opinion this is very unlikely!
In summary, I think the free bet promotion from online bookmakers is here to stay, but if you haven't used some of these and were planning to, now might be a good time to do so before a few more fall out.