While this is standard practice in the ever-growing world of online sportsbooks and casinos in their effort to secure a customer base, the attorney general of Michigan is sounding a warning of sorts for people not familiar with how some bonus offers work.
“Authorization of these programs is very recent, and I urge anyone who is interested in registering to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions related to the promotional packages being offered so that you are not confused about what might be expected,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a press release. “In some instances, site users may be required to spend or deposit a certain amount of money into an account before receiving their free play credits, and users should make themselves aware of such conditions so they are not taken off guard.”
What Nessel is referring to takes a few forms, most notably “free” bets and play-through requirements.
Just a little caution
For some sites, free bets are exactly that: Free bets. Other sites, however, offer “risk-free” first bets, which aren’t exactly risk-free. For example, let’s say a site is offering a $100 risk-free bet. What this may mean, depending on the rules, is if a bettor loses their first bet for $100, they will be issued a free bet for the same amount. If they lose that second bet, they are out the original $100.
Play-through requirements mean a bettor — either at a sportsbook or a casino — may receive money to play with, but in order to “cash out” winnings, they have to wager a certain amount of money first, usually a multiple of the “free” money received.
The attorney general, in the press release, made it clear that her office is only interested in making sure consumers are aware of the fine print before they sign up.
Additionally, all of these operators, except for Barstool, will also be debuting their online casino product at launch.