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Evan Van Luven
Written By: Evan Van Luven

I run the Sportsbook at Rivalry. Former professional poker player, DFS player, and all-around gaming and gambling enthusiast.

Jul 31, 2019

As a newcomer in the world of esports betting, it can feel difficult to keep up with all the potential questions. We’ve briefly discussed before how appealing some welcome offers and deposit bonuses many gambling sites use to attract new customers can be. They promise 50$ for “free”, right? Remember: there’s no such thing as a free lunch! It’s important to do your research and determine how much a bonus is actually worth before giving away your hard-earned money and valuable user data to a site.

Every bonus offer you see on the internet will either have terms and conditions associated with it or some seriously small text explaining the rules. You must read the fine print to best understand the value of the bonus. These rules will typically outline the amount you need to bet in order to get your funds (called rollover or turnover), as well as the rules regarding how and when you will be able to withdraw the funds.

Earn up to 100% of your deposit, up to $100 – sounds good, right?

You must bet 28 times the deposited amount within 14 days and bets must be placed on odds of 1.75 or more.

That second line makes the whole thing look a lot less appealing, doesn’t it? It’s quite possible that you’ll run out of funds before completing these terms, forcing you to deposit again if you want to unlock your “free” bonus.

There’s also the specific value of the bonus itself, which you can calculate using some fancy math and by taking into account some other elements.

You can calculate the margin the bookmaker is taking by taking the implied probability of both teams in a bet, then checking how much more than 100% they add up to. For instance, let’s look at a game between Griffin (offered at 1.15) and KT Rolster (offered at 4.99):

  • 1/1.15 = 86.96%, 1/14.99 = 20.04%
  • 86.96% + 20.04% = 107%
  • 107% - 100% = 7%

This means that the margin the book is taking is 7%.

Knowing this, we can finally calculate the expected return and overall value of our 100% “bonus”. First, we multiply the rollover by the deposit amount and the margin to see how much we will lose to the site over the course of placing the required number of bets. Then we subtract this from the amount of bonus money promised to us, which will give us the value of this whole endeavor. For example, let’s look at what we get if we deposit $25 and go for this “free” money they’ve promised:

  • we must place $700 in bets to get our bonus ($25 * 28x rollover)
  • we pay 7% of $700 in margin, which is $49
  • this means that the expected return on $700 in bets is $651, meaning on average we lose $49 over the course of unlocking our bonus.
  • therefore the value of this bonus is -$49, so you will lose both your deposit and the bonus funds under normal circumstances

As you can see, this bonus is not particularly appealing to a user: it will be extremely difficult to unlock it without busting your account and having to deposit again. Do you see why this is a good deal for the site and not the user? Make sure you don’t fall for fake bonuses like these!

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