Why betting site bonuses boost dopamine

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Seeking out the sports betting sites that present the best betting opportunities can take time. There are so many choices and whilst the offers are similar the slight differences can make choose the best online betting site a bit of a challenge. The priorities in a search focus around value for money, including the search for a site that consistently offers the best odds and offers welcome bonuses and other regular promotions that offer value for money. The bonuses on betting sites will make your bets more exciting which will release the feel-good hormone dopamine.

A game of chance

Gambling is a form of entertainment where you test your luck along with many others to win money, and hopefully lots of it.  One of the most popular ways that betting sites entice new players to join up is through the offer of a betting sign up bonus. These work well and most adults have placed a bet at some time in their lives, feeling the thrill of an anticipated win.

How bonuses encourage play

Sportsbooks and other betting platforms have many ways to hook people into placing a bet. There is a psychology to the sites design and the bonuses on offer, all of which tap into one of the main features of gambling, uncertainty. This uncertainty is not just about the chances of winning, but the size of a jackpot and this is what activates the part of the brain that reacts to pleasure, making gambling attractive to those who play.


It is generally known that dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is released in the brain during enjoyable activities such as eating, sex etc., but it is also released during gambling, specifically during times leading up to a possible win. This anticipation creates a buzz that makes the risk of a bet all the more exciting.  

Near-misses release more dopamine in the brain than if you simply lose your bet, even though these near-misses are frustrating and make bettors feel more unpleasant than when the bet lost was a longshot.

Deposit Bonus

The most common incentive used by a sportsbook to sign up new customers is the deposit bonus. Many sites will offer a bonus that matches your original deposit, doubling the value of your account which releases dopamine since the chance of a win feels like it has also doubled. There are also no-deposit bonuses which means you have the potential to win on any game without needing to risk any of your own money.


In addition to deposit bonuses, many sportsbooks offer a range of promotions that increase your bankroll. Some of these are special offers for a specific time period or a particular event like Euro2020 for example. Other bonuses are given to loyal customers to encourage them to continue playing. With free money, it is likely that more time is spent on the sportsbook or higher bets are laid, both of which will trigger the dopamine production area of the brain.  

Betting options

It is not always possible to watch live events from the comfort of our own home, so make sure that the betting site allows you to live bet on a mobile device when you are out and about. This opens up the chance for more live betting on a match in process.

Choosing your betting site

There are many sportsbooks to choose from and many offer a range of markets and sports so that players can bet on their favourite sport with the option to bet on other sports out of season.  Choose a site with a license, usually printed on the base of the homepage, which means they are under a regulatory authority. You can also check reviews by industry professionals who will verify the site is safe, secure and fair.

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