One of the main things that casino players look out for is online casino bonuses. These come in many different forms, but the goal is exactly the same: to attract new customers with some form of cash incentive.
Of course, the more online casinos there are, the greater the competition is. Which means that there are some great offers out there for customers! Below we break down exactly what you should be looking for, before explaining all about complicated terminology such as wagering requirements.
What kind of bonuses are there?
From free spins to cashback incentives, there are all kinds of bonuses to get your head around. These are the most common ones you’ll see on most online casinos:
When you first sign up, many online casinos will match every single penny of your initial deposit. These are usually found in the form of offers such as ‘100% up to £200’ – in this case, they will double everything you deposit up to £200. Some casinos are more generous than others, and others offer seasonal bonuses, so it’s worth holding on until you find a good deal.
This is the holy grail of online casinos. Free spins get customers playing instantly, and they also give players a chance to try out the casino before they deposit. Check the T&Cs before you sign up though: some casinos will only let you use the free spins on certain games, others will give you free spins when you first register, and others will stagger them over multiple deposits. Any winnings you make while be turned into bonus cash.
No deposit bonus
Unlike a welcome bonus, which requires you to make a deposit, a no deposit bonus doesn’t involve you having to part with a single penny! Once you’ve completed the sign up process, some casinos will award you a certain amount of cash for free, which usually has to be wagered several times over before it can be withdrawn.
This is a fantastic chance for players to recoup some of the money they’ve wagered. Quite simply, it’s where, after a certain amount of time, players receive back a certain percentage of the amount they’ve spent wagering. For some casinos, this is a regular occurrence – 888, for instance, offer a 20% up to £20 cashback every Wednesday.
These are the bonuses afforded to the casino high rollers; those who have the ability to spend big. These high roller bonuses often come as a result of depositing a huge amount of money.
Casino reload bonus
These work just like first deposit welcome bonuses, although the terms sometimes aren’t as good. They apply to the subsequent amounts you deposit.
What to look out for
Before you get lulled in by impressive bonus offers, it’s worth taking a look at the terms and conditions. These are a few things to look out for:
‘No cash-out’ bonuses
Just as it says on the tin, this is a bonus which cannot be withdrawn. After a certain amount of time the bonus cash will disappear, although you’ll be able to keep any winnings. Be aware, though, that you may still need to meet wagering requirements before you can withdraw anything.
When your deposit is tied in with your bonus, this is a merged bonus. The downside to this is that you can’t withdraw any winnings, or your original deposit, until you’ve worked through those pesky wagering requirements. Alternatively, non-merged bonuses are those which keep the deposit and bonus separate. Therefore, if you win big on your deposit you’ll be able to cash out without having met your wagering requirements.
Casinos put a deadline on when you need to have worked through your wagering requirements. Make sure to complete the requirements before this time, otherwise you’ll lose your bonus cash and any winnings.
This is the amount each game contributes to your wagering requirements. For instance, while online slots contribute 100% to the wagering requirements, other games (like blackjack) only contribute 10%. So, if you were working through your wagering requirement playing only blackjack, you would have to wager 10 times the amount as you would if you were playing slots.
Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of cashing out the bonus straight away and making an instant profit. Before you can withdraw your bonus cash you need to have wagered a certain amount of money from your own pocket. Typically, this involves wagering 35 times the bonus, plus your deposit.
To give you a better idea of how it works, let’s take a look at the wagering requirements for a 100% bonus. Say you deposit £100 at a casino, you will play with £200 thanks to the bonus. Multiply this by the wagering requirement (35), and you’re looking at wagering £7,000 before you can withdraw any money.
It sounds a lot, but let’s put this into perspective: this is the amount you need to wager – so, you could play 7,000 £1 lines on a slot machine. On some lines you will lose money, but on others you will win. After those 7,000 spins you can cash out any winnings you have left.
There is one way to get around this. When you’re selecting which casino to join, look for those where the wagering requirement applies only to the bonus.
There will always be some people who set out to get round wagering requirements – but the casinos are wise to all the tricks in the book! If a player is found to be playing unfairly, such as registering multiple accounts, then the casino will look into confiscating the bonuses, or even blacklisting the player!
Another way to abuse bonuses is by wagering low or zero-risk bets. These are those with pretty much zero chance of losing; like if you were to bet on both black and red on a roulette wheel at the same time. By doing this, you won’t be able to reach your wagering requirements – and casinos will take away your bonus.
This is the maximum amount of cash you’re allowed to cash out while you’re playing through wagering requirements. It’s implemented by several casinos, so check before you play! For instance, if you win £1000 but there’s a £300 max payout, you’ll lose £700 when you try to withdraw.
Single wager limits
This is the maximum amount you’re allowed to bet on a single wager. Go above this, and you risk losing your bonus cash.
Things to know
Claiming Your Bonus
Once you’ve registered your account, you’ll be invited to claim your particular bonus: either by depositing for the first time, or by filling in a code. After you’ve received your bonus, you’ll be ready to work your way through the wagering requirements using our tips above. Remember to watch out for any time restrictions, payout limits and single wager limits.
It’s important to consider bonuses as ‘goodwill gestures’, or incentives to get you to try out the casino in question. But there are some people who try find a way round any requirements by targeting no-deposit bonuses. They often believe that they can turn a tidy profit without depositing a single penny of their only money. It may sound tempting, but the idea simply does not work at online casinos due to large wagering requirements and the length of time required.
Spotting casino scams
One thing we find new (and seasoned!) players worrying about is the ability to spot a casino scam. While many online casinos offer fantastic bonuses that may seem to be too good to be true, that doesn’t mean it’s a scam. However, check all T&Cs before you play in order to ensure the terms are clear and there’s not a substantially high risk of losing money. Some casinos may even limit the number of games you can use to play through your wagering requirement – often to those with a bigger house edge.