When it comes to online casino players, nothing is likely to get them more excited than the prospect of a nice juicy bonus to use on their favourite casino site. We are going to investigate what you need to be looking out for when it comes to online casino bonuses, and how to understand exactly what you are signing up for.
When it comes to online casino bonus offers, they can basically be divided into two separate camps: Deposit Bonuses and No Deposit Bonuses.
Let’s deal with the most common form of bonus first, which is the one which requires you to make a deposit (or deposits) in order to claim your bonus money. This is by far the most common type of bonus, and is the one which features in all of the biggest bonus offers; if you see a welcome package offering you a four figure bonus amount you can be sure that this is based on a number of deposits. The way a deposit bonus works is by offering to match the amount of a players deposit by a certain percentage, subject to minimum and maximum limits. So for example, a casino may offer a 100% matching bonus based on your first deposit of between $10 and $100. The larger bonus offers are spread between a number of deposits and the percentages here tend to vary. So a wonderful sounding $1,000 bonus may require you to deposit a much larger amount spread over four consecutive deposits within a given time frame, and not everyone is willing or able to make this type of an investment. Of course you don’t need to get the maximum available bonus in order to make an offer like this worthwhile, and generally deposit bonuses are worth taking advantage of if you get the chance.
The real player favourite offer is the No Deposit bonus deal, which does exactly as the name suggests by giving away a cash bonus without requiring an investment from the player. Unfortunately, this type of offer is not as common today as it was in the past, and often-times is restricted to players from a particular small group of countries where players tend to have more cash to spend for online gaming. If you are lucky enough to be offered a No Deposit Bonus then you should snap it up as there is virtually no downside to a deal like this. Of course any bonus – Deposit or No Deposit – will be subject to wagering requirements before it can be withdrawn, but we will deal with that below.
CashBack Offers are becoming increasingly popular in the world of online gaming, and are a regular feature at many virtual casinos. Basically after opting in to a Cashback bonus the player will get a percentage return on his losses over a given period of time.
Free Spins are another very popular type of bonus, with casinos offering these as an incentive for players to try a particular game or to sign up with a site. Free Spins can be used on a particular slot game (or group of games) and the winnings may or may not be subject to wagering requirements depending on the offer in question.
Post-Wager Bonuses require you to play through a certain amount of cash before the bonus is released. These are commonly found on Poker sites, but can be offered elsewhere, although they are not usually too popular with players who expect to see the bonus waiting for them and not have to bet a certain amount before it appears.
Physical Awards are actual prizes which can be awarded to players by the casino, and can range from shopping or restaurant vouchers to tickets to an event to actual prizes such as TVs or gaming consoles. It is more common to find prizes like these being awarded to VIP clients, or else to the winners of specific tournaments or prize draws.
The expression ‘always read the small print’ is especially pertinent when it comes to casino bonus offers. All bonus offers are most definitely not equal, and you cannot measure the worth of a bonus by simply looking at the dollar sum on offer. In the early days of online gambling there were bonus offers which the player could simply withdraw back to their bank without playing, but it didn’t take long for casinos to see that this was not a profitable way of doing business.
Today just about every bonus will require the player to place a certain amount of bets before the bonus money can be cashed out, and this is known as the ‘wagering requirement’. A standard wagering requirement would be something like 40 times the deposit amount, meaning that if you received a bonus of $20 you would need to spend at least $800 on the site (40 x $20) before the bonus funds and any associated winnings could be removed. The wagering requirements can vary greatly from one site to the next, so it is certainly worth investigating how much you will be expected to play through before you accept a bonus offer. Another point worth nothing is that not all games are equal when it comes to wagering requirements, as table games with a low house edge (like roulette, baccarat and blackjack, for example) will not count as much as slot games towards meeting the wagering requirements – and in some cases will not count at all.
While it may seem that high wagering requirements defeat the purpose of bonus offers, this is most certainly not the case. What can seem like an unsurmountable play-through requirement can actually be reached on many occasions by choosing games which pay out regularly and by (with a bit of luck) hitting some bonus rounds to boost your winnings and give you more to play with. Even if you don’t manage to make the wagers required to release your bonus, the extra cash will give you the opportunity to play more games on the site and to have twice the fun with your bonus cash!
Just look for a bonus offer which appeals to you, and don’t forget to read the small print!