Navigating the world of online casinos can be a total mind melt. Not only are there hundreds of different casino brands to wade through, but then comes the all-important matter of that welcome bonus!
We are here to unravel the mystery of the elusive casino promotions with our Gambling Bonuses Guide!
Knowing what to look for is key to getting the best out of your online casino experience. Before we even start to talk about bonuses though the first thing is picking a trustworthy casino brand!
Even if it has the best bonus in the world, if a casino isn’t safe or is frivolous with your data, then it’s just not worth it! Always make sure you do your research and checks before you sign over anything to a casino. Particularly, when it comes to your credit card info!
Below are a few things you should be looking out for. If you want more detail about what you should be aware of when choosing an online casino, you can take a look at our Online Casino Gambling Guide.
- Gambling license – you should be aware of which jurisdiction your country falls under when it comes to gambling licenses. The casino licenses should be displayed on the main home page.
- Customer support – do they provide contact details such as live chat and telephone support so you can contact them if needed?
- Banking methods – which payment options are available, are they trusted and made securely?
- Minimum deposits and withdrawals – always check this out before you sign up, some minimum withdrawals can very very high so are only suitable for high rollers.
- Responsible gambling – does the casino have a responsible gambling policy and provide ways to activate account controls?
- Check the customer reviews – read up on the casino and check some reputable forums to see what fellow players think of them. This usually reveals whether they are good at resolving player complaints.
Now you are ready to start looking at the types of bonuses that online casinos offer.
Online casino bonuses are a way for casino brands to attract new customers as well as reward and incentivise play from their existing clients. They can take many forms an often look incredibly tempting. But it’s crucial to take stock and do your due diligence before you sign up to any offers or promotions.
We have come across so many types of casino bonuses in our time, and if you’ve played before, then you will undoubtedly have seen or benefitted from your share of offers too. More times than we care to say we have ended up feeling a little disappointed or let down. Not because we didn’t win, as let’s be honest, that is often the case and comes with the territory of playing at online casinos, but because we have felt duped or mislead by a casino.
To avoid this, always thoroughly check the terms and conditions of the offer. Even the teeny tiny small print will reveal what sort of hoops you might have to jump through to get your cash if you should be so lucky as to win. We will go a little deeper into wagering requirements and terms and conditions a little further on.
Who can claim?
Most casino offers will be open to either new players or existing players, but a quick check of the terms will reveal if you are eligible to claim. You may have to deposit a certain amount to access the offer, or it could be restricted to certain territories, so make sure you look before you leap!
This is one of THE most important things to place on your checklist before you claim an online casino bonus. Don’t sign up for a crazy good ‘no deposit free spins bonus’, only to find the wagering requirements are so unachievable or the time scale to claim is not possible to work with!
- Minimum deposit requirement – check how much you need to deposit to claim the offer
- Playthrough or wagering requirements – how many times you have to play through your winnings to cash out
- Offer expiry – how long you have to claim or use your bonus
- What games contribute towards wagering – you might want to play video poker, but may find that game doesn’t count towards your wagering or you can’t use your bonus fund on that type of casino game. Free spins may also be available on specified slot games only
- Percentage game contribution – some games may contribute 100% towards your wagering while others may be just 10%. Make sure you take a look before choosing which games to use your bonus money on
- Maximum bonus amount – find out what is the maximum amount you can claim and also work out how much you need to deposit
- Maximum bet size – this may be set to a certain amount, for instance, £5
- Cash-out limit – in most cases, you’ll find casinos put a limit on how much you can actually win using your bonus funds
- Value of spins – free spins or extra spins will have a specified value. Usually, it’s the minimum coin or bet value, so they don’t tend to be hugely valuable.
Remember – you must be 18 years or older to gamble online. Always gamble responsibly and only play with what you can afford to lose. www.begambleaware.org
There are so many different types of casino bonuses ranging from free spins, bonus spins, extra spins, spins with no deposit, spins with no wagering, free cash, match deposits…the list goes on. To make life more difficult, casinos often use different terminology for the same thing, so knowing what to look for is vital.
In this next section, we aim to uncover the main types of bonuses available focusing on the different varieties of sign up bonuses you might come across in the hunt for a new casino to play at.
No Deposit Bonuses
Everyone’s favourite type of bonus offers free spins or cash to enjoy the casino without having to make a deposit. Sounds pretty good, but as with everything in life, nothing is for free.
No deposit bonuses are certainly a great way to try out a casino without stumping up any of your own hard-earned cash. But make sure you go into them with your eyes open and not expecting to take home any huge wins. Casinos always have the house edge otherwise they wouldn’t stay in business for long so the scales will always be tipped in their favour.
To claim your no deposit bonus, you will have to sign up for a casino account. They’ll ask you to provide some information including your email, a password and often a credit card, but no cash will be taken unless you make a physical deposit. Your spins or cash will be credited to you within moments, ready to start playing!
If you have been awarded some free spins, these will usually be attached to a specific game or choice of games. If you have found a nice little no deposit cash bonus, then you’ll have the cash credited to your bonus account and be able to use it on your chosen games. Make sure you check which games contribute towards your wagering though.
We have to guide you back to the old wagering requirements once again here. There may be a maximum amount you can win from your spins or a time limit in which to use them, so make sure you are armed with that info before you start.
Wager Free Bonuses
If you happen to come across a wager free bonus offer, they are well worth checking out as you won’t have to play through your winnings to cash out and winnings are usually paid as real money. Sounds like a dream come true for a casino fan, but slow down and take a look at the small print once again as there will be terms and conditions attached and usually you’ll have to make some kind of deposit to be able to withdraw.
Deposit Match Bonuses
Match bonuses are probably one of the most common casino offers you’ll come across, especially when it comes to new customer casino promotions. They are a great way to boost your initial deposit, or in some cases, first few deposits and get a little more for your buck and hopefully play for longer.
For example, a casino may be offering a 100% bonus for new players. This means that whatever amount you deposit, the casino will match it and effectively double it. So for instance, if you deposit £20, they will apply a £20 bonus, and you’ll have £40 to play with.
Occasionally you come across 150%, 200% and once in a while 300% match bonuses. With each of these, the percentage bonus will be applied to your deposited amount. Look out for unlimited match bonuses too. If you see a 100% unlimited match bonus it means there is no upper limit to what bonus amount you can claim so if you are feeling flush, the sky’s the limit! Remember to always gamble responsibly and well within your budget.
While these kind of bonuses are cashable and great for boosting your casino account, they come with wagering requirements so you may be stuck in a cycle of trying to play through your winnings multiple times. The chance of winning anything decreasing the higher the playthrough requirements.
Look out for offers with lower wagering requirements. Sometimes the higher the bonus amount, the worse the deal so check out some of the more modest offers too as you may have more chance of winning with those. Play the odds as they say!
On the flip side…
Non-cashable or Sticky Bonuses
This is where a casino offers a specified bonus amount which once you’ve completed the requirements will be deducted from your casino account and can’t be cashed out. Only your winnings over and above the bonus amount can be removed.
Extra Spins or Bonus Spins
These are often offered as part of a sign-up package. This is where a casino offers free (or bonus/extra spins) in exchange for registering an account and making a deposit. Players will usually receive a specified number of spins for a set game. They are of a set value, and there are typically wagering terms that require you to play through any winnings a number of times before you can cash out.
Strictly speaking, if you see an offer that states ‘free spins’ these should be no deposit spins. But some casinos are still a bit creative with how they describe their offers so always make sure you check first what’s required of you.
These are great if you can find them as they usually mean you are getting a deal that others who go direct to the casino won’t. Casinos often do exclusive deals with affiliate sites. It’s worth doing a bit of research with some of the reputable ones to see if you can pick up any enhanced offers. Something this might mean a bigger match bonus, or more spins, or even both if you’re fortunate!
This is our favourite type of bonus, especially when we find a casino that offers ongoing cashback to their players. This is where a casino gives you a percentage back on your losses no matter how big or small they might be. The percentage tends to be low (maximum 10%), but it can take the edge off a bad session and give you a little credit ready for next time. Cashback is often paid into your real money balance too, so can be withdrawn without needing to meet wagering requirements, so it’s all good! (Well apart from the losing part of course)!
Now you are hopefully ready to be released into the casino wild and seek out the perfect online casino and bonus offer for you. If you want to learn more about the casino industry, what to expect, tips and hints about how to get the best out of your experience, please check out some of our other casino guides. Also if there’s anything you’d like to see us cover in more detail, then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
Strictly 18+ only. ALWAYS GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY. www.begambleaware.org