For many dedicated online punters, there’s nothing better than a juicy casino bonus. You get to play longer, have more chances to win big, and can experience a host of games that you might have been unsure about trying with your own money.
That said, experienced online gamblers will know that a casino bonus is anything but a free meal ticket. Various stipulations await players in a promotion’s terms and conditions. The casino crafts each of them to severely limit the likelihood of the casino paying out.
Different casinos have different policies when it comes to their bonuses. Therefore, some promotions will be mathematically more lucrative than others. Wagering requirements, game exclusions, cash out limits, and other conditions will make it tough for a player to come out a winner. Different bonus types will make heavier use of certain requirements and exclusions too.
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of a bonus can improve a player’s likelihood of coming out a winner. That’s exactly what this article is all about.
General Pros and Cons
Although each bonus type offers its own advantages and disadvantages, some things are pretty universal. They almost all have wagering requirements and other cash out restrictions. Even with these limitations, it would be foolish to pass up the promotions though. After all, they do increase the player’s overall expected value. This is never a bad thing!
- Increased expected value – Playing with free spins or the casino’s money combined with your own instantly gives you a greater probability of profiting – even if the wagering requirements sometimes make that just a fraction of a percent.
- Try new games – Some players are reluctant to play unfamiliar games with their own money. Casino bonuses give an opportunity to try games you might have passed up on before.
- Play for longer – If you’re a serious grinder at online casinos and plan to spend a lot of time with one particular operator, a bonus will give a boost to your account balance. This will certainly mean it’s longer before you need to top up.
- Wagering requirements – Players will usually need to bet their bonus again between one and 100 times. This can mean a lot of gambling before you are allowed to withdraw!
- Game restrictions – Some high return to player games might be restricted entirely from wagering.
- Time restrictions – Most casinos will require players to use a bonus within a certain timeframe. It might be a month, a week, or even a few hours.
With the generalities out of the way, we can look at aspects more unique to different kinds of bonuses.
Deposit bonuses involve a player making a deposit and the casino matching it with a percentage. It’s uncommon to see deposit bonuses lower than 25 percent and higher than 200 percent. For example, players depositing £100 with a 100 percent deposit bonus would have £200 to play with.
One thing to point out is that there may be extra restrictions on deposit bonuses associated with a signup promotion. Casinos will often exclude players attempting to make their first deposit with Neteller or other eWallet services.
As with all promotions, it’s important to check out the wagering requirements, any game restrictions, time limits, and other unique conditions that the casino may enforce. There also may be a maximum cash out too.
Casinos will often award free spins in conjunction with deposit bonuses. Sometimes they gift them purely as a deposit bonus. Other times they just hand them out on their own!
Free spins give players a chance to try their luck on one or a small group of slot machines. They are usually awarded in 5s, 10s, 25s, 50s, or 100s. On rare occasions winnings from free spins are not subject to wagering requirements but they more commonly are. Usually, any wagering can be completed on any eligible game in the casino – you don’t need to wager your winnings on the same slot.
Free spins are without doubt the easiest bonuses to use too. You don’t need to decide what to play them on and there’s usually a link right to the very title specified right in the popup announcing the bonus!
No Deposit Bonus
As the ultimate new player lure, many casinos, such as these sites, offer a chance to play their games for real money with absolutely no deposit. A no deposit bonus can consist of free spins or casino cash, or both. They are entirely free to play, and players can genuinely win playing with these promotions.
However, casinos aren’t charities. They aren’t in the interest of giving potentially millions of customers an easy way to take money from them entirely risk free. No deposit bonuses are known for having some of the harshest wagering requirements around. You’ll also see the amounts offered are very small – 10 free 20p spins or £10 with 40x wagering.
Finally, many players are often dismayed when they discover the maximum winnings cap on a no deposit bonus. One popular website offers £88 completely free for signing up. The maximum you can win is actually just £10. Even if you broke even on a slot through wagering, you’d still surrender most of your winnings by the time you stopped playing.
That’s not to say no deposit bonuses aren’t great though. They’re an entirely free way to try out a new casino, check out new games. They might have hellishly tough wagering requirements but they still represent one of the truly free ways to win risk free money these days.
Wait There’s More…
There is one other bonus type. It’s pretty rare though. Sometimes, once every blue moon, a casino awards free cash – no strings attached. This is usually in conjunction with some other offer it is running at the time. For example, advent calendar-type promotions around Christmas reward £1 free credit behind every door. Absolutely free cash as a bonus certainly is the holy grail of the casino promotion since you can withdraw it immediately.
Other times you might receive free cash for committing a deposit to the kind of wagering requirements discussed above. You should treat this rare type of bonus with caution though. Pay attention to just how many times the casino wants you to play through the requirements and which games are included within the terms.Are Casino Bonuses Worth it?
Casino bonuses are definitely not as lucrative as the casinos would like to make you believe. Their TV ads, pop ups, and sensationalist language often makes them seem like a dead cert. However, the various terms and conditions of a bonus make actually profiting anything but a given. If you think that a 100 percent matched deposit bonus on £10 is going to make you rich on roulette, you’ll almost certainly be disappointed.
All that said, if you’re savvy about which bonuses you take part in, they can increase your expected value at a casino. No bonus type is better than any other (except strictly free cash!). It all depends on the terms and conditions. For example, five 25p free spins on a slot with no wagering requirements is a more lucrative promotion than a 500 percent matched deposit bonus with 500x play through requirements and harsh game restrictions. The devil is in the details!