How to Use Welcome Bonuses, Responsibly

8 min read
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Fact checked by:
Paruyr Shahbazyan
Last Updated: May 27, 2024, 3:21 PM

All About Welcome Bonuses

Welcome bonuses are a common promotional tool utilized by online sportsbooks, designed to attract new users to the burgeoning world of sports betting. These introductory incentives are crafted to offer potential bettors a head start as they begin their journey in sports wagering. While these bonuses can be appealing, offering a seemingly advantageous boost to your betting endeavors, it is crucial to maintain a balanced view. The allure of such offers should be weighed with careful consideration, acknowledging both the potential benefits and the inherent risks involved.

This detailed guide aims to explore the complex landscape of welcome bonuses in a neutral and comprehensive manner. We will dissect the structure of these bonuses, examining the conditions and terms that typically accompany them. Our analysis will extend to both the advantages, such as the possibility of extended playtime and the opportunity to explore a platform's offerings without a significant initial investment, and the disadvantages, which might include stringent wagering requirements or time constraints that could impact the overall value of the bonus.

Moreover, we intend to provide a strategic framework for the responsible use of welcome bonuses. This includes understanding the importance of reading and comprehending the terms and conditions, setting personal limits, and recognizing the signs of irresponsible gambling behaviors. To enrich our discussion, we will incorporate examples from a variety of North American sports betting platforms, highlighting how different operators structure their welcome offers and the implications for users.

Pros and Cons of Welcome Bonuses


  • Discovery: Welcome bonuses offer a practical way to learn about different types of bets and betting strategies without directly using personal funds.
  • Extended Playtime: They can increase your betting capacity, allowing for a longer engagement with the sportsbook without additional investment.
  • Potential for Profit: If managed wisely, welcome bonuses can lead to profit without the need for an initial personal financial risk.
  • Enhanced Engagement: Bonuses can add an extra layer of excitement to sports betting, enhancing the overall experience.
  • Budget Management: Encourages the establishment of a betting budget, promoting responsible gambling practices.


  • Wagering Requirements: Often accompanied by stringent wagering requirements that can be challenging to meet, potentially affecting the ability to withdraw any winnings.
  • Complex Terms and Conditions: The terms can be complex and restrictive, limiting the types of bets or sports you can wager on with the bonus.
  • Potential for Overbetting: The presence of a bonus might encourage making more or larger bets than one would without it, leading to irresponsible gambling behavior.
  • Withdrawal Restrictions: There may be limits or conditions on withdrawing winnings derived from bonus bets, complicating access to those funds.
  • Encouragement of Continued Betting: The lure of bonus winnings can encourage continued betting, potentially beyond what is financially comfortable or responsible for the bettor.

Understanding Parlay Bonuses

Understand the Terms and Conditions

Before accepting any welcome bonus, read the terms and conditions thoroughly. Pay attention to wagering requirements, minimum odds, expiration dates, and any restrictions on bet types or sports. Understanding these conditions will help you use the bonus effectively and avoid surprises.

Set a Budget

  • Even with a bonus, it's essential to set a budget and stick to it. Decide on the amount you're willing to risk and ensure it's money you can afford to lose. Don't let the bonus tempt you into betting more than you planned.

Use the Bonus as a Learning Tool

  • If you're new to sports betting, use the welcome bonus as a learning tool. Experiment with different bet types and strategies without risking your own money. This approach can help you gain experience and make more informed decisions in the future.

Don't Chase Losses

  • If your bonus bets don't go as planned, resist the temptation to chase losses. Chasing losses can lead to poor decision-making and potentially more significant losses. Accept the outcome and focus on making better-informed bets in the future.

Withdraw Profits Wisely

  • If you're fortunate enough to win with your welcome bonus, consider withdrawing some of your profits. This action can help you enjoy the tangible benefits of your winnings and ensure you don't risk them all on future bets.

Know When to Walk Away

  • Responsible gambling means knowing when to stop. If you find yourself getting too caught up in betting or if it's causing stress, take a break. Online sportsbooks often offer tools and resources to help you manage your gambling, such as self-exclusion options and limits on deposits and bets.

Welcome bonuses can enhance your sports betting experience, but they come with responsibilities. By understanding the terms, setting a budget, and betting wisely, you can enjoy the benefits of welcome bonuses without compromising your financial well-being or enjoyment of the game.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, welcome bonuses provide an opportunity to kickstart your sports betting journey. However, it's crucial to approach them responsibly.

While these bonuses offer extended playtime and potential for profit, they come with challenges like wagering requirements and withdrawal restrictions. To use them wisely:

  • Understand the terms and conditions.
  • Set a clear budget and stick to it.
  • Use the bonus to learn without overextending.
  • Avoid chasing losses.
  • Know when to take a break if betting becomes stressful.

By following these principles, you can make the most of welcome bonuses while maintaining responsible gambling practices.

Meet Our Authors

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG


Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.


Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen

Sol Fayerman Hansen is the Editor-in-Chief at With over two decades of experience in sports journalism and iGaming content, Sol finds working with a refreshing experience focused on transparency and responsible, informed sports gambling. 

No, that bonus won't make you rich; it might lead to a gambling addiction even faster.

Notable Achievements

Sol is the creator of the world's largest book on digital art, a work collected by Harvard University libraries for its historic significance. He also served as the head of innovation at the Bank of Montreal, specializing in advanced technologies.

Personal Passion

Writing is Sol's daily practice and his art. He loves enriching readers with every story, reflecting his commitment to helping people through his work.


An avid sports lover, technology enthusiast, and a dedicated collector of both digital and physical art, Sol is habitually curious and a serial experimenter who loves to test new things…it's the only way to learn.

Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Nick Ashbourne
Nick Ashbourne
Senior Writer

Nick has been fascinated with sports since he was first taken to a Toronto Maple Leafs game back in 1998, and he's written about them professionally since 2014.

Nick has covered baseball and hockey for outlets like The Athletic, Sportsnet, and Yahoo Sports, and his sports betting expertise has grown since its legalization in Ontario in 2022. 

Between 2022 and 2023 he worked for a betting startup called NorthStar Bets, and in 2024 he contributed to Oddspedia before joining the Responsible Gambling team.

Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.

Mark Medina
Mark Medina
NBA Reporter

Mark Medina is a longtime NBA reporter that includes stints as a Lakers blogger with The Los Angeles Times (2010-12), Lakers beat writer with the Los Angeles Daily News (2012-17), Warriors beat writer with Bay Area News Group (2017-19) as well as an NBA reporter/columnist for USA Today (2019-21) and (2021-23). Medina is also an NBA insider with Fox Sports Radio and frequent contributor to CBSLA's SportsCentralLA with Jim Hill and with Spectrum Sportsnet.

Daria Tuboltseva
Daria Tuboltseva
Hockey Journalist

Daria went to St. Petersburg State University and earned a bachelor of international journalism. Working as a sports journalist from 2014, from 2016 as a hockey journalist. Covered 5 World Championships, 2022 Winter Olympics, 2020 World Juniors, 6 Gagarin Cup Finals. 

Owner of a telegram channel Coolest Game on Earth.

Integrative nutritionist specializing on sports nutritionology.

Paul M. Banks
Paul M. Banks
Sports Journalist

Paul M. Banks is a professional Content Creator whose career has seen bylines in numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Yahoo, MSN, FOX Sports and Sports Illustrated.

Banks has made scores of guest appearances on live radio and television, featuring regularly on NTD News, WGN-TV, CCTV, ESPN Radio, the History Channel, SiriusXM and CBS Sports Radio.

He is the Founding Editor of The Sports, which has been featured and linked in hundreds of leading media outlets all across the world.

He has also authored two books, one of which, "No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in Sports Media," became an assigned textbook in journalism courses at State University New York-Oneonta.

Nikhil Narain
Nikhil Narain
Cricket Journalist

Nikhil Narain is a die-hard cricket romantic, published author, and has worked for some of the leading digital websites and broadcasters in India and overseas. An alumnus of the London School of Economics, Nikhil's forte is using data and numbers creatively to weave interesting stories and revolutionize the way cricket statistics are generated and analyzed.