Make Good Use Of Your Bonus Bets When NC Online Sports Betting Launches

If you’re a sports fan in North Carolina and watched any basketball over the weekend, you probably saw all the sports betting ads, the promo offers and the references to “Bonus Bets.” You may have wondered, “what are Bonus Bets?”

I’m a North Carolina native and UNC Chapel Hill graduate. That means the ACC is in my DNA. (That also means that as a Heels fan I instinctively spell the Blue Devils’ team name “Dook.”) Needless to say, I’m excited about the launch of online sports betting here in NC on March 11, just in time for the ACC tournament and March Madness.

The pre-registration period began March 1, so we NC bettors can now open accounts and even deposit funds to be ready once things tip off. As I create my accounts, I check out all the welcome bonuses offered to new customers.

If you’re new to online sports betting in North Carolina, you’re seeing lots of welcome offers mentioning Bonus Bets to new sign-ups. For example, FanDuel, BetMGM, Bet365, and DraftKings offer Bonus Bets in their “Early Sign Up Offers.”

For new NC sports bettors, it’s probably worth learning how these Bonus Bets work. Sometimes there are differences from site to site, but “Bonus Bets” generally function similarly.

Seven tips for making better use of bonus bets at NC sportsbooks

Here are seven tips to keep in mind as you claim those NC sportsbook promos that include Bonus Bets and start to use them on the NC sites.

#1 Find your Bonus Bets on your account page

Visit the Cashier or click on “Account” and you’ll see both your cash balance and whatever Bonus Bets you have available. The sites all present this information very clearly, so it’s usually quite easy to find your Bonus Bets.

In fact, once you receive your Bonus Bets, it’s probably a good idea to check your account page just to make sure they are listed. Sometimes the site will take some processing time before your Bonus Bets show up, so don’t panic if they aren’t there immediately. But do check with customer support if you aren’t receiving Bonus Bets that you think you should be.

#2 You can’t withdraw Bonus Bets

Bonus Bets are not the same as cash. When you have cash in your online sportsbook account, you can simply withdraw it, if you like. With Bonus Bets, you have to wager them — they can’t simply be withdrawn.

Sometimes you’ll see the Bonus Bets have what the sites call a “1x wagering requirement” or “1x playthrough requirement” attached. For example, that’s how DraftKings Sportsbook NC describes Bonus Bets. That’s just another way of saying you have to wager the Bonus Bet (1x or “one time”) before you can withdraw any winnings earned from it.

#3 Be aware of time limits on Bonus Bets

Very often you’ll find there are time limits on your Bonus Bets. It’s not unusual for the site to award you Bonus Bets that have an expiration date. If you fail to use your Bonus Bets during that period, they’ll disappear.

Time limits on Bonus Bets can vary quite a bit. Seven days is a common limit, with the clock starting the moment you receive the Bonus Bets. Meanwhile, I have some Bonus Bets in my FanDuel Sportsbook NC account right now, including some I won via the Carolina Daily Pick promo that are good through 4/2/24 (e.g., roughly three weeks after online sports betting launches). I have another $5 bonus bet in there that’s good through 3/3/25 (a full year).

#4 Check to see if there are any wagering limits on Bonus Bets

Some sites will offer you Bonus Bets and let you use them on “all markets,” meaning you can wager them on anything. But in some cases, you might find you can’t use Bonus Bets on certain types of wagers.

You often can’t use a Bonus Bet in combination with some other offer like odds boosts, profit boosts, and the like. At Bet365 Sportsbook NC, you cannot use Bonus Bets on special wagers like Bankers, If Bets, Reverse If Bets or Teasers. Every once in a while with some offers you might even have to stick with bets of certain odds when using Bonus Bets (e.g., -200 or longer), but that’s not too common.

5. Sometimes Bonus Bets can’t be divided up, sometimes they can

Some sites give you discrete Bonus Bets you have to use in certain increments. For instance, at BetMGM Sportsbook NC the offer is $200 in Bonus Bets, awarded as four $50 Bonus Bets. You then have to place each Bonus Bet separately — that is, you cannot just bet $5 worth; you have to wager the entire $50 Bonus Bet at once.

Sometimes, though, you essentially get Bonus Bets that work like a separate account from which you can use any amount you like. Check to make sure whether you can dip into a “Bonus Bet account” like this or you have to wager the Bonus Bets in chunks (or all at once).

#6 Indicate you want to use Bonus Bets when filling out your bet slip (if needed)

Occasionally the sportsbook will automatically make you use your Bonus Bets first before you can wager with cash, but you might have to choose to use the Bonus Bets (rather than cash) manually when filling out your bet slip.

For example, at BetMGM you can tap on the “Apply Bonus Bet?” button on the bet slip to make sure you are using the Bonus Bet for the wager.

Pay attention to this, especially if you are trying to use your Bonus Bets within a certain time period before they expire.

#7 Winning Bonus Bets only pay out winnings, not the stake

This is the biggest difference between using Bonus Bets and wagering with cash. When you wager using a Bonus Bet and win at all the sites, you only get the winnings and not the stake amount back as you would when wagering with cash.

For example, let’s say you want to bet on NC State basketball, and you place a $10 moneyline bet and the odds are +120. If you make the bet using cash and win, you’ll get back both your $10 wager and the $12 payout for a total of $22. But if you make the wager using a $10 Bonus Bet and win, you’ll only get the $12 in winnings and not the stake amount back.

That might seem like it doesn’t make any difference — your winnings are the same in both cases. But that difference should change how you view Bonus Bets. When you get $100 in Bonus Bets, that’s not $100 in cash you can potentially turn into a lot more. If you lose your bets, of course, you get nothing. And if you win, you only get your winnings, so a best-case scenario might be winning something close to $100 in cash (if you make a lot of even money bets and do very well).

Best of luck using your NC online sportsbook Bonus Bets

Bottom line: Read over the terms and conditions of any promotion that awards Bonus Bets, so you know exactly what to expect when using them.

It’s up to you how you use your Bonus Bets. If you think there’s nothing to lose, you might use them on several long-shot multi-leg parlays in the hopes of hitting a big win. Or you might stick with safer bets that pay out less but have a higher likelihood of winning and thus put some cash in your account to get you started.

I imagine I’ll approach using my Bonus Bets in much the same way I will when making regular bets, perhaps with a few extra long shots thrown in just for fun. You know, like betting against Dook in the early rounds of the ACC tournament.

About the Author

Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book “Poker & Pop Culture” was published by D&B Books in 2019.