One of the biggest advantages of playing casino games online instead of going to a live casino is the generous welcome bonus you’ll get when you first sign up. In 2018, the American Gaming Association reported that there were at least 2,800 gaming sites active online, making it a highly competitive market.
To stand out from the crowd and attract your business, online casinos will offer some very generous deals. However, just like ‘free to play’ video games aren’t as ‘free’ as they seem, you need to understand exactly what’s on offer from your online casino bonus if you want to use it to your advantage. Let’s look at some examples.
What can you get?
The welcome deal at Unibet Casino, Pennsylvania is typical of the welcome bonuses you’ll find at an online casino, with a free $10 bet and a deposit match of up to $500. A free bet is exactly what it says – a free wager using the casino’s money, while a deposit match means that for every $1 you deposit, you will receive $1 in bonus funds.
This might be available just for your first deposit or apply to several initial deposits, so check the details carefully and don’t miss out. These offers might sound like free money, but it is important to understand that these bonus funds are not the same as cash in wagering.
How can you use your welcome bonus?
Most free bets and matched deposits will have some restrictions in small print, dictating when you can use your bet and what casino games or slots are included in a particular offer. You may have a very limited time in which to use your bonus or lose it altogether, or you may find that it’s drip-fed into your account gradually, so you have to come back again and again to use it.
There could also be restrictions on how you can use your bonus. For example, free slots offers rarely include the mega-bucks rolling jackpots. Once again, read the small print carefully and make sure you understand how the bonus works before signing up.
Bonus win limits
Once you start playing online casino games and hopefully winning, there are still a couple of details you need to be aware of if you want to claim your cash. The first is any limit or ceiling on wins using free bets or bonus funds. There’s no point taking putting a lot of money into a virtual slot machine and landing a jackpot if the offer is limited to a $100 win.
That said, smaller win, such as a $10 limit, often have the benefit of being paid out as withdrawable cash, while larger wins are generally subject to a wagering requirement.
What is a wagering requirement?
Wagering requirements are by far the biggest drawback of online casino bonuses. It means that you have to bet the equivalent of your bonus a number of times before you can withdraw it.
This may be anything from 20x to 50x, and the more times you must wager, the more chance there is that you will lose. Almost all bonus offers have a wagering requirement, so the key is to find the smallest one that gives you the biggest chance of winning.
Are casino bonuses worth it?
With restrictions on time and games, limits on wins, and lengthy wagering requirements, casino bonuses might not seem worth taking at all, but they absolutely are.
At the end of the day, you are playing casino games with the casino’s money, so you have nothing to lose, and if you go in into the offer with your eyes open, knowing exactly how it works, you have everything to gain.
Even if you don’t win, you’ll have some free fun along the way and get the chance to hone your skills on your favorite casino games ready for when you play with real money.