Bonus bets are awarded to you by a bookie, typically as a result of a promotion or as an incentive for depositing money into your account.
While you a free to place bets with bonus bets just like you can with your own cash, there are certain rules around bonus bets that need to be navigated by the punter.
If this is done successfully, bonus bets can be very handy, and just as useful as cash to make a profit.
The biggest difference between placing a bet with cash and placing a bet with a bonus bet is that if successful, the bet stake is returned to you along with your profit.
For example, if you placed a winning $10 bet with your cash on the Sydney Swans to at odds of $2, you would be credited with $20 ($10 stake plus $10 profit).
However, if you placed the same bet with a $10 bonus bet, you would only be credited with $10, as the stake is not returned to you when placing a bonus bet.
Furthermore, most bookies have turnover requirements, whereby you must turnover the profit you make from a bonus bet at least once and with some bookies, up to three or four times.
Taking the Sydney Swans bonus bet example, this means that your $10 profit would need to be bet again with the bookie before you could withdraw that $10 and any profit won with that bet(s).
This would be the case with a bookie that only requires you to turnover the winnings of the bonus once.
However, with a bookie that has a turnover requirement of three times, you would need to bet that $10 profit three times before it can be withdrawn.
A further restriction of bonus bets is that with most bookies, the bonus bets have to be wagered on odds of $1.50 or greater.
Like with turnover requirements, this rule is implemented by the bookies so punters don't attempt to cheat the system, simply placing bets with the lowest possible odds to guarantee turning the bonus into real cash.