The start of the NFL season brings with it the return of the most popular focus of wagering among American sports bettors, and Pennsylvania’s 14 online sportsbooks recognize that with some tempting incentives to attract new customers.
In some cases, the operators also have special promotions tied to the NFL’s return for existing customers, such as a “no sweat bet” offer from FanDuel in which anyone can get up to $10 as a free bet to compensate for a losing bet on one of this week’s games. DraftKings, meanwhile, has an “early win” offer for this Thursday’s Buffalo Bills-Los Angeles Rams opener, in which a moneyline bet on either team will be deemed a winner if the chosen team gets ahead by 7 points at any time.
Generally, though, the biggest offers are reserved for completely new customers, as the sportsbooks figure any promotional dollars they sacrifice by attracting them in the first place will be made up over the long haul if they’re retained as players. The operators making such offers are not giving their customers free money they can simply withdraw from their accounts. Rather, they are typically providing the accounts extra funds that can only be wagered, giving a player a greater chance for a successful start as a bettor — or at least a reduced chance of losing money initially.
For the most part, the PA sportsbook welcome bonuses are unrelated to the NFL itself and made available for any kind of sports bet. The most common and generous ones currently are those labeled “risk-free” or “2nd chance” bets or something similar, with the sportsbooks giving the customer a chance to make up hundreds of dollars on an initial losing wager by placing a second bet using equivalent funds provided by the operator. In the best-case scenario, an initial bet is a winner and the offer is never needed, but it can be viewed as a form of first-time insurance.
New bettors need to be careful to read the fine print — commonly called the “terms and conditions” — of any offer, as obtaining it frequently requires a code word to be typed or an “opt in” button to be clicked, and there may be a limit on how long the player has to make use of the bonus (such as seven or 14 days) or a restriction preventing its use on heavy favorites (such as those with shorter odds than -200 or -300).
With that in mind, we note below some of the best offers currently available to new customers in Pennsylvania.
Caesars, despite a big brand name in the broad gaming industry, has struggled to gain traction in Pennsylvania’s sportsbook wars and has generally lagged far behind competitors in the promotions it offers to customers. It recently unveiled a new sportsbook website and app that it promises are better for users, however, and for customers that never used the prior site, it has one of the better sign-up offers.
Under the “Promotions” tab on the website, which is where to find such offers, it states: “NEW USERS ONLY: Place your first bet with Caesars Sportsbook up to $1,250 risk-free, get 1,000 Reward Credits AND 1,000 Tier Credits.”
Clicking on “More Info” turns up information that users should trigger the offer by using the CZRFULL promo code when registering their account and betting $10 or more. Any first wager up to $1,250 that is a loser will result in equivalent “free bet” funds being placed into the account for a subsequent bet to be made within 14 days.
An important note that is common to such offers: If the second bet wins, the value of the free bet is not included in the winnings paid out. More or less, the bettor is given a free chance to get back his original stake or close to it, though that can vary based on the odds of the second bet.
PENN Entertainment does not spend as much on marketing dollars for advertising of Barstool Sportsbook as its competitors, but its welcome offer for new customers is among the strongest in terms of promotional value.
In addition to automatically giving every new user $10 in “bonus cash” for sports betting, its site touts a “$1,000 New Player Bonus. Get 100% back in bonus cash if your first bet loses.” Most aspects are similar to the Caesars offer outlined above, with the exception that Barstool restricts use of the bonus funds bet to one in which odds are -200 or longer.
In addition, Barstool is advertising a temporary “$100 Sportsbook Bonus Giveaway” through Monday for new customers. If they click the “opt in” button on the site and place any wager on any event occurring by Monday, their account will receive the $100 bonus cash for future betting, regardless of the first bet’s outcome.
For existing customers as well as new ones, the site has a “Football is Back” opt-in offer. If you wager $100 or more before 8:20 p.m. Thursday on a futures bet picking the Super Bowl winner, you will receive $7 in sports betting “bonus cash” for every win by your team in the regular season, regardless of whether it ends up winning the Super Bowl.
The brick-and-mortar casino of Parx in Bucks County is consistently the highest revenue producer among Pennsylvania’s land-based gaming venues, even if its online sportsbook is not a leader in volume. It does, however, have a welcome offer that is among the more generous ones.
The betPARX site states for new users: “Make any sports bet and if your first bet is not a winner, we will 100% match your bet up to $750 in a risk-free bet.”
The bonus bet can be made on any sporting event, but it must be used within 10 days. The site also describes the current offer as only being available through Sept. 11.
BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse are identical sites both owned by Rush Street Interactive, while Unibet is separately owned and operated. But their current welcome offers are similar: an equivalent “2nd chance” or “risk-free” bet of up to $500 to give another opportunity to those who lose their first bet.
In the case of BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse, a code must be typed in, players have 14 days after their first deposit to make use of the offers, and their bonus bets must have odds of -200 or longer. Unibet customers must click on their offer before placing the bet, they have 30 days to use any bonus funds, and their bet must be with odds of -300 or longer.
DraftKings has a different wrinkle to its welcome offer from the “risk-free” bonus funds mentioned above. In addition to a $50 “free bet” for those making first-time deposits of $5 or more, it offers a 20% deposit match that can earn betting funds of up to $1,000.
Basically, someone depositing $100 can get an additional $20 in betting funds — or a $1,000 deposit can earn $200, or a $5,000 deposit can earn a maximum $1,000 — but those bonus funds are not placed in an account automatically. For each $1 in bonus funds released, the customer must wager $25 of his own money to earn it. The customer has 90 days to meet that play-through requirement in order to obtain the full bonus cash available.