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Online casino bonuses: Reading between the lines

Online casino bonuses cause a lot of hype and excitement. Who doesn’t love free stuff, especially in the form of casino credits that can potentially become a tidy little sum of cold, hard, cash?

There’s a lot to be gained as casinos give away thousands each year in free casino credits as they vie for your attention, try to hit the top spot, and earn your deposits. But finding the perfect online casino bonuses means being at the top of your game and knowing exactly what to look out for and how to read between the lines of what looks like a fantastic casino bonus.

casino bonuses

It may seem like the casinos are dishing out these generous bonuses for free, but in fact, most of the time they are not because the deal comes with conditions that tie you to the casino, essentially giving them a chance to earn their investment back. This makes it essential that casino players and enthusiast know exactly how to spot the clever marketing ploys used when it comes to online casino bonuses. Luckily for you, we’ve got it all laid out right here, but don’t forget the golden rule of casino success; never, ever take a casino bonus until you’ve taken a thorough look at the associated terms and conditions.

Types of casino bonus

All casino bonuses come with some terms and conditions, otherwise, the casino is effectively giving out free money for nothing, with no guaranteed return, or chance that the player will be loyal to them when the free money stops. But not all casino bonuses are made equally, different casinos have different approaches and can be more or less generous with their patrons.

Casino bonuses and their terms and conditions have become a hot topic of late as the UK Gambling Commission, a first-tier and highly popular gambling territory has cracked down on what they see as the unfair advertising in casino bonus deals, or shall we say not clearly stating the effects of the T&Cs on the player in an understandable way. This is the first step in greater regulation in this regard, and it will hopefully result in the player getting a better deal, but as we are not there yet, let’s take a look how things stand currently.

  • Matched deposit deals: These are the most common type of casino bonus. They ask you to make a deposit and the casino will match the amount.
  • No deposit deals: This is one of the best casino deals online as you are not asked to make a deposit, instead you exchange your details (in the form of creating an account) for a modest amount of free casino credits. This gives you the chance to take the casino for a trial spin and see if you like what they have to offer without invest any of your own cash. However, they are much harder to come by as aside from a direct line to contacting you, the casino has little to gain unless they know they are offering superior service than their competitors. 
  • Free spins: Most casino deals will incorporate or offer Free Spins on selected slots, these can come as part of the initial welcome offer, or as a regular bonus for loyal players to reward them.

Whilst you will come across plenty of other casino bonuses, such as special monthly reload rewards, VIP clubs or cashback deals they will operate in a similar way to the above deals, offering matched casino credits or free spins.

What to look out for in online casino bonuses: The catch

Quite often terms and conditions read like a body of legal jargon and it doesn’t help that they are usually quite lengthy too. Thus making it less likely players will want to dive in and read them.

This is exactly what you need to look out for in those uninviting terms and conditions:

  1. Wager requirements: WRs are expressed as a multiplier (x5, x20, x30 and even up to x50- this is set by the casino) and it is the amount that you must multiply your bonus funds by and play the total of before you are allowed to withdraw ANY funds associated with the bonus. If you try to make a withdrawal before you meet the WR, you will forfeit the entirety of the bonus and any funds that were won with it.

To give an example: You take a welcome offer of 100% matched deposit deal up to $200, it looks and sounds fantastic- yippee free casino credits- but you take your time and check the T&Cs where you see a WR of x20. You decide to deposit just $40 and the casino matches it. Boom, you’ve got $80 in your account, but before you can withdraw any winnings you will need to bet a total of 20×40= $800- now, that’s not a small number.

On top of this, different games can contribute differently to your WRs. For example, the T&Cs may state that slot machines are worth more in WR deductions, $1 wagered = $1 removed from the WRs, whilst table games only are counted at a rate of $1 wagered to $0.70 taken off the total remaining WRs, which seems a whole lot less than fair- remember each casino is different, so if you don’t like a deal, try another one.

At this point, it’s easy to see why players get flustered and annoyed with casino bonuses. If they had not properly read the T&Cs and were not aware (surprisingly, this happens time and time again to players) or they try to withdraw after pocketing a jackpot sum, only to find they lose all their winnings, because they had not met the WR before trying to withdraw. 

Lastly, you also need to consider, if you are making deposits are just $40 do you have the expendable income to spend $800 in the casino?

  • Time limits: Bet you thought it didn’t any more difficult right? Sorry to disappoint, but some casinos choose to add a time limit to the deal, within which you must meet those pesky WRs or lose the bonus funds and any winnings coming from it. For some casinos, the period is as short as 7 days whilst stretch out to a month, which means you really have to have the financial pull to leverage money quickly to fully enjoy a matched deposit deal.
  • Wallet restrictions: Of less consequence, but important to mention, is that some deals may be tied to certain deposit and withdrawal methods. Don’t miss out on a cracking deal, when you’ve found your perfect playing partner just because you used a debit card instead of PayPal- check those T&Cs!!

Get the best deal and know your limits before you register!

Getting the best from online casino bonuses requires you also employ some common sense and work out what you can realistically afford to spend to gain. Free casino chips are fantastic, but not if the cost comes at an all too higher price or as a nasty surprise, because you didn’t check those all-important T&Cs. Fear not, it’s not all doom and gloom, but rather about finding the type of bonus that works for your budget and knowing how to read between the lines. If you are a casino player with a smaller budget or casino commitment issues, you’ll be best suited to a matched deposit deal with wager requirements of less than x5, a no deposit deal, or monthly deposit cashback offer where you’ll earn back a percentage of what you’ve spent or lost. If you’ve got an expendable budget then jump in, worry less about those WRs, and start enjoying some of the most exclusive matched deposit deals online today.