How has the world of bonuses affected the betting market?
Go back 100 years, even 50, and location was everything when it came to business. Your locals were your customers; and this was no different for bookmakers. Punters would visit their local bookmaker of choice and accept the odds that the bookmaker had set, that's just the way it was.
The first bookmaker in the UK is widely considered to have been Harry Ogden, who opened his business in the 1790s. There was inevitably a lot of similar activity occurring earlier in the 18th century, but Ogden is regarded as the first to run a legitimate bookmaker.
However, the way bookmakers as we know them today operate has changed drastically since the 18th century. This isn't purely down to the bookmakers themselves; it's due to the market that they operate in. There's now options; options that are readily available and easily accessible to each customer and prospect.
This easy access to a large number of betting vendors has created vast competition within the market. It's no longer all about getting your punters to spend more with you. It's about keeping what you have, and taking what your competitor will view as theirs.
The impact of bonuses
Bonuses are a major tool when it comes to client acquisition. The theory behind it is simple and is regularly used across the board in business. 'Use us rather than your usual supplier and we'll give you a certain offer.’
The ever changing market and the introduction of bonuses has had a huge impact on the way that bookmakers operate. With competition for punters tougher than ever each bookmaker knows the importance of being perceived as the best place to bet; giving people something extra is a great way to do that.
Platforms such as social media, television and print advertising are utilised on a daily basis by the major bookmakers to build their presence and brand. It's extremely rare that you'll watch a sporting event or dedicated sports channel today without seeing a bookmakers offer; all including offers and bonuses. Bookmakers such as Unibet create numerous relevant offers each week to try and temp potential punters to join them.
Types of bonuses
Free bets - Designed purely to encourage you to open an account. The hope from bookmakers is that you’ll blow the free bet then continue to use them as your preferred bookie. These kind of bonuses usually require you to deposit some cash, which will then be matched by a free bet. Occasionally there will be a free bet offer which doesn't require a deposit; these are gold dust.
Money back specials - Used to encourage punters to place bets by adding a layer of security. For example, offering refunds for losing bets if a football match ends goalless, or if certain outcome occurs, such as Rory McIlroy winning the Masters.
Enhanced odds - These offers are created and promoted at specific times in order to increase betting flow on a certain prediction. You're likely to see an enhanced odds bonus during half-time of a sporting event.
Mobile betting offers and bonuses- Mobile betting is a rapidly growing market and all bookmakers know there's a great opportunity here. A few bookmakers are now offering mobile-specific betting offers, however as mobile is becoming the most used platform for placing bets it's likely that these device specific bonuses will start to diminish.