VIP Programs For Sports Betting
If you are someone that bets a lot (in both senses of the word) and you aren’t betting at a bookie that has a VIP scheme, then you could be doing yourself out of a whole host of rewards and extra’s.
These VIP clubs are springing up at more and more online sportsbooks these days, and they can add a lot of extra value to the time you spend wagering on the site in the way of bonuses, bespoke offers and promotions, gifts, prize draws, and even invites to big sporting events.
Entry requirements can be a challenge, and even if you do get into one keeping your place can be tough.
Many are tied in with loyalty schemes which can be a great way of taking advantage during your busier betting times, and dropping back down to a regular reward scheme when the purse strings are tighter.
However, not all VIP programs are created equal, and some pretend not to exist at all, but if you read this article you will have a much clearer idea of what to expect when looking for one, and how to go about getting access.
Best Sports Betting VIP Shemes
888 Sport is owned and run by 888 Holdings, one of the biggest and oldest gambling names in the business. This is not a brand who are afraid of big players and if anything they go above and beyond to attract VIP punters to their platform.
They are particularly strong for existing customer promotions for VIP players, often these are similar to the standard offers but magnified by 5-10x in value. This is in addition to all of the usual things very important customers can expect, such as hospitality offers, dedicated account managers, special enhancements, etc.
One stand out feature is their VIP rewards, this gives players cash back depending on how much they stake between Monday and Sunday each week (at 1/2+) on settled bets. The reward starts at £250+ qualifying stake (giving a £25 cash reward) up to £500 for £20,000+ staked. For tiers see the image.
Bookmaker’s set up VIP programs for a number of reasons. Ultimately, it’s all about customer retention so they need to make them rewarding enough to appeal to the punter without costing so much that it bankrupts the bookie.
VIP schemes do a number of things:
- Make big spenders and/or regular bettors feel valued and appreciated.
- Give punters a reason to keep betting with the same bookie.
- Give regular punters something to aim for.
- Attract new customers.
- Build a relationship between bettors and bookies.
In a nutshell, a VIP program will reward punters with prizes, bonuses, gifts, and experiences for their continued business. They might also get more favourable terms and offers.
They differ from one sportsbook to another, but all will be based on your activity on the site. This doesn’t necessarily just mean money; most are targeted towards big spenders but there are some that have different criteria that gives everyone a chance, such as how frequently they log in and bet rather than just how much.
Some are tied in with loyalty points schemes, others are a separate thing all together, and some are so secretive that the bookie pretends they don’t exist (they definitely do).
Tell Me More
Most bookmakers will have a whole department, or at least a few dedicated members of staff, who deal with the VIP club, and these people will work directly with bettors who have been given the prestige of membership and handle their concerns and queries, so they also serve as a personal link to the bookmaker, the face of the business.
There might also be different VIP levels at some sportsbooks with the benefits improving at each stage, it just depends on how they have decided to structure it.
As an example, it could look like this:
|VIP Basic||VIP Bronze||VIP Silver||VIP Gold|
The benefits could be anything but you will always get more of them the higher you are on the ladder and they will always scale up.
Some bookmakers withhold the joining requirements so you can’t see what they are, they just monitor accounts and let people know if they have made the cut. There’s actually a good reason for this that ties in with responsible gambling commitments; they don’t want people spending more than they can afford just to hit the VIP criteria.
Sounds Good, I Want In
Slow down there cowboy, it’s not as easy as all that.
Again, this will vary from one bookie to another, but some of these VIP schemes are incredibly difficult to get onto. Not only that, but membership status is usually reviewed each month, so just because you hit the targets in January, it doesn’t mean you will stay in the club for February.
Chances are that membership will be based on either money staked (and lost), or ‘points’ acquired. These points will be allocated based on your wagering activity amongst other things so in effect it is the same thing.
If the bookie you bet with doesn’t publicise the information about how to join their VIP scheme, this means it will be by invite only. Accounts showing high activity will be flagged by algorithms and then the VIP managers will review them to see if they qualify. If your account is flagged and deemed acceptable, the VIP team will be in touch.
It’s all very 007, isn’t it?
If you feel like you are a high wagering customer and deserve a bit of special treatment, you can always contact the team yourself and ask them to have a look at your account, the number or email is usually available and if it’s not you can go via the support team.
What Can You Get?
Let’s get down to the interesting stuff.
On the face of it, all VIP programs offer the same types of rewards. However, the degree of value they each offer, or the wow factor they come with is what sets some programs apart from others.
Have a look at this list and you will see what I mean:
- Enhanced Comp Points – If comp points are a feature at your bookie, they will have a higher value as a VIP punter than they would as a regular joe. So you can get more rewards for fewer points.
- Dedicated Account Manager – This could be one person dedicated to you or access to a wider team. They will deal with your activity and issues, you can ask favours of them or for special terms and conditions, things like that.
- Exclusive Promotions – This could be anything, but think of the regular promotions and add more of them with superior terms. They can even be personalised to you and the way you like to bet.
- Prize Draws – These might be weekly, monthly, yearly, or random, and only those in the VIP club will be entered. This is a good example of how one club can be better than another – would you rather win a new TV or £10k?
- Enhanced Prices – You could be offered better odds on certain fixtures and again, these can be tailored to the things you like to bet on.
- Hospitality – This can really separate the big boys from the also rans. Invitations to huge sporting events, concerts, plush days out, these are all regularly touted; but while one bookie might have a regular box at Watford FC that you share with 20 other people, another might have backstage passes to watch The Killers, free food and drink all night, and the chance to meet the band afterwards. Bookies that sponsor big teams or events will often tie in hospitality with these things.
- Faster Withdrawals – Jump the queue when you want to take your money out and have your account manager handle it for you.
- Cash Back - The amount you get might depend on the amount you have lost or your VIP level if your scheme is structured in that way.
So as you can see, on the face of it there is a lot to be gained from being in a VIP club, but one bookies’ idea of special treatment might be very different to another’s.
I’m afraid so, yes.
For a start, none of this stuff is actually free. You are only in the club because you spend a lot of money with that particular bookmaker, so you are still paying for it in a roundabout way, but you could say that about Sainsbury’s Nectar points too couldn’t you.
More pressing is the fact that VIP status brings greater scrutiny to your account, which, if you win too often, could see you getting banned. That means matched bettors and those that try arbitrage betting might prefer to stay away. You could try and counter it with ‘mug betting’ but this will probably be picked up when your manager looks into your account, whereas an algorithm could miss it.
There is also the fact that the entry requirements need to be met consistently, one month after the next, and that means you need to bet a lot of money a lot of the time. This is going to cost you in the long run so keeping up VIP status long term isn’t easy, or even sensible.
This leads me on to the most serious potential problem, addiction. If you are desperate to attain or retain membership of the VIP club, it could encourage betting behaviour that is out of character or ill thought through. Best to think of it as a great perk if you get there naturally, but not as a target or any sort of sign of status.
VIP vs Loyalty
I mentioned that some VIP schemes are based on comp points. Comp points are also sometimes called loyalty points, and some bookies have loyalty schemes that use these points in much the same way as a VIP club.
In many ways the terms are all interchangeable, but for me, a loyalty scheme becomes a VIP scheme when personal account managers get involved.
You can be part of a loyalty scheme and trade in points for free bets or even electrical goods and gadgets etc., but it is all handled via computer as if you were internet shopping. There is no human interaction.
With VIP you get face to face time with a representative of the brand, and after that point the rewards become much more interesting and a degree of personalisation can also creep in.
Some bookies blend the two so that the loyalty scheme becomes the VIP scheme after a certain point. This way every customer can benefit to some degree, but only those that wager most frequently or wager the most money get access to the really special stuff.
My Bookie Doesn’t Have One
A lot don’t, although this is starting to change quite rapidly.
Historically, reward points and VIP programs were more the realm of online casinos, not viewed as something a serious bettor would be interested in. But as the years have gone on and the fight for customer retention has heated up, bookmakers have also got in on the act, especially those that also run casinos on the side. Some even cross over so that activity in both the casino and the sportsbook count towards your total.
If your bookie doesn’t run a VIP club of any sort then there isn’t really much you can do about it except finding somewhere else to bet.
This isn’t a bad thing though. With the number of welcome offers flying around you could easily find a new bookmaker that not only ticks all of your boxes but rewards you for joining and depositing and has a killer VIP scheme to boot.
Maybe this is the just kick up the backside that you needed?
I Bet All The Time, Why Haven’t I Been Invited?
It’s not always as simple as being a frequent bettor or someone who bets a lot of money, your betting style and history can also come into it.
Are you a successful bettor? Bookies want to make money at the end of the day, so if you win a lot, or even just more than average, you aren’t all that profitable to them as a customer. Plus, you are already being pretty well rewarded with your winnings.
It’s a fine balance and I know it might not seem fair, but unsuccessful bettors are the bookies' favourite people and it’s them they want to keep sweet.
Similarly, if you bet several times a day but the algorithms and/or VIP account managers can spot patterns in your betting, they may decide that you aren’t right for the VIP scheme.
Here are a few positive and negative indicators for people trying to get onto a VIP scheme:
|Positive Indicator||Negative Indicator|
|Regular deposits||Withdrawing too often|
|Betting big stakes||Betting at low odds|
|Vary your bet types||Betting only occasionally|
|Betting in-play||Betting on niche markets|
A Swizz Or Genuinely Rewarding?
If you mean is this all set up to keep high profit bettors betting – then yes. Yes it is. But it’s not a swizz.
As to whether or not they are genuinely rewarding, well that depends on how you look at it.
The very fact that you are in the VIP club in the first place is because you are spending a lot of money with the bookmaker, so if you are thinking of them as a way to make more profit you have it the wrong way around.
On the other hand, if you look at them as a way to enhance your experience, get the most out of the money you are spending, and minimise the losses you are making then you are probably going about it right.