The world of online casinos is highly competitive, with operators vying against each other to convince you to sign up and play with them. One of the main tools at their disposal when it comes to finding and attracting new players is casino bonuses, and in particular, sign-up bonuses for new players. These are incentives to create an account and make your first deposit, and they can often appear very attractive to those choosing where to play.
Best Casino Bonuses
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Offers like £100 free on your first deposit, £200 plus 20 bonus spins or no deposit casino bonuses can seem like a no-brainer – after all, who wouldn’t want free money to get started playing at their chosen online casino? However, it’s important to dig a little deeper with these offers, and to make sure you really understand what is involved before accepting any casino welcome bonus.
So what are the common terms and conditions attached to casino bonuses, how do they work, and how can you use this information to choose the right casino bonus for you?
The first and perhaps most crucial issue of the terms and conditions of any casino bonus is the wagering requirements. This is a limitation on withdrawals from the bonus, and is in place to ensure that operators don’t get ripped off. Imagine a casino offering a £100 no-strings-attached bonus for new accounts. They would quickly be scammed by people setting up dozens of new accounts, simply to withdraw the £100 bonus – a tidy business for any would-be fraudster.
Instead, they have in place what are known as wagering requirements – a minimum multiple of the first deposit that must be wagered through the account before the bonus funds, or any winnings from them, can be withdrawn. This could be 20x, 30x, 50x the original deposit amount.
So in the example of a 100% deposit match bonus on £100 with wagering of 30x, the player would need to bet £3000 (30x£100) before they could withdraw the £100 bonus, or anything they have won from that bonus.
As a player, this means you need the wagering to be as low as possible, in order to ensure you have the best chance of cashing out.
There are also limitations on the games that are supported by these casino bonus offers. For example, some bonuses will not be available for use with roulette or blackjack, and will only apply to online slots play. Or in other cases, you’ll find that only slots contribute 100% to the wagering requirements, while roulette might contribute 10% – in other words, your wagering requirements become 10x bigger (and more difficult) if you’re using the welcome bonus for roulette play than slots play.
These limits are very important to know from the outset to avoid nasty surprises later down the line. This is generally specified in the offer terms and conditions, and you typically won’t find this in the bonus offer headline. A large part of the reason why you should be reading the terms and conditions, these game limits can make meeting wagering much more difficult if you’re not playing optimally to the bonus terms.
So you find yourself with a wagering requirement to meet. Why not just bet big (or smaller) than you usually would to meet the requirement more easily? Not so fast. Bet limits are also a common feature of casino welcome deposits, restricting how exactly you work towards meeting those wagering requirements. There’s usually a minimum and a maximum bet attached to bonus offers to prevent abuse of the bonus, with the casinos keen to ensure you play through your bonus in a specified way. You can be sure this typically disadvantages the player by eliminating strategies that could reduce your risk profile.
Thanks to bet limits, like these other restrictions, it becomes much more challenging to meet your wagering requirement and cash-out, with the casinos actively making you take risks with the free bonus credit. Again, it’s all in order to protect the casino from bonus abuse, and to make sure you play through your bonus in a set way.
The Benefits of Casino Bonuses
So with all these restrictions, what are the benefits of casino bonuses? For all that you are constrained in your use of casino bonuses, they can and do still provide value, especially for new depositors. They provide a kickstart to your gaming, giving you additional bankroll until you find your feet.
They can also prove lucrative if you’re able to meet the wagering requirements and the other terms and conditions, allowing you to win from no-risk wagers. They’re also a great way to get a feel for how a casino operates and how it treats its players, which can be a useful indication for what you might expect later down the line.
How to Choose the Best Casino Bonuses
The best casino bonuses are invariably those with the fewest, or least onerous, terms and conditions attached. When it comes to weighing up different offers, it’s all in the Ts and Cs. Never take a bonus offer at face value – you’re almost certain to be disappointed. Instead, make sure you find out all the applicable restrictions to the offer before accepting it, and remember that accepting a bad offer can do more harm than good to your account.
The easiest way to compare offers is to write out the terms and conditions as they apply to competing bonus offers. Make a grid and compare the equivalent terms between different bonus offers – this should give you the most complete insight into the terms and conditions you’ll be up against when it comes time to trying to cash out from your bonus offer.
Casino bonuses probably won’t be the ticket to your jackpot win, but they are nevertheless a useful tool when you’re weighing up which casino to choose. With the right terms and conditions, these bonus offers can still help you maximise your winnings, either by rewarding your loyalty or incentivising a new account. With free credit available whichever way you cut it, taking advantage of sign up bonuses is always recommended for new players – it’s only a question of finding the right bonus, with the right terms and conditions, for maximum impact.