New casino players take into consideration a number of criteria such as licensing, software, portfolio, loyalty rewards, customer care, security, fair play, and bonuses while making the decision to sign up for real play at an online casino. New casino players especially study casino bonus offers while signing up. Fortunately for confused new players, the online world is full of casino affiliate websites and review websites that list out the best bonus offers in the industry.
Online casinos offer attractive casino bonuses in the form of free spins on featured slots or free money not only to attract new players, but also to retain existing players. Bonus offers are beneficial not only to players, but also to online casinos. While online casinos use bonuses to attract and retain customers and grow their business, players use bonuses to build their casino bankrolls and make a profit.
Casino bonuses defined
A casino bonus can be defined as a gift of free money offered by online casinos either to encourage new players to sign up for real play or provide an incentive for existing players to continue playing. Casino bonuses serve as marketing tools, helping online casinos promote their gambling product and build their business.
Different types of casino bonuses
Online casinos offer several types of bonuses, the most popular of them being the no deposit bonuses, the freeplay bonuses, and the deposit bonuses.
No Deposit bonuses
These are small gifts of free money given away to new players just for registering a real play account. Players can claim it and use it even before they make their first deposits.
Online casinos hardly offer no-deposit bonuses because players tend to abuse them. The best no-deposit bonus offers can be claimed only if players sign up through affiliate links, although a few online casinos do offer no-deposit bonuses on direct sign up too.
This is a relatively new type of bonus that is slowly gaining popularity in the online casino gaming world. Freeplay bonuses are no deposit bonuses, sometimes running into thousands of dollars, which players can use for around one hour or more to win as many jackpots as they can.
Players can keep any amount in excess of the original bonus amount up to a certain limit as winnings. However, they may have to make a first deposit and satisfy certain wagering requirements before they can request payout.
These bonuses are offered as percentages of players deposit amounts up to a certain amount. For instance, if an online casino offers a deposit bonus of 100% up to $100, it means that players will get 100% of their deposit amounts up to $100 as bonuses. If players deposit $50, they will receive a bonus of $50, making a total of $100 in their accounts. The maximum bonus that can be claimed is $200.
Online casinos offer bonuses not only on first deposits, but also on reloads. They are also known as cash-match bonuses.
A number of online casinos also offer new player bonus packages or composite bonuses, spread over several initial deposits. For instance, an online casino can offer a new player bonus of $10,000, spread over players’ first 10 deposits. In other words, players will get 100% up to $100 each on their first ten deposits.
Online casinos offer several other types of bonuses too, as follows:
Game specific bonuses
These are deposit bonuses that are to be spent only on specified games such as blackjack, online slots, or video poker.
These are deposit bonuses offered exclusively to the online casino’s loyal players.
As their name suggests, these bonuses are offered as parts of promotions launched during festive seasons or special occasions, such as the casino’s anniversary.
Many online casinos reward players with free money for referring their friends.
Usually, online casino bonuses are offered in exchange for performing actions such as registering, achieving a loyalty level, referring a friend, reloading one’s online casino accounts, taking part in a promotion, and so on. Recently, online casinos offer bonuses just to make a loyal player feel special. These bonuses are called incentivized bonuses and are meant to encourage the player to continue playing at the online casino.
Since incentivized bonuses are offered just to make players feel special, they are smaller when compared to deposit bonuses. Players cannot help but feel special and happy when they log in and find a small bonus credited to their accounts. Online casinos give away these bonuses for no reason, but to make players feel happy.
Online casinos might, however, take several criteria into consideration before deciding which of their customers are eligible to receive these bonuses. Accordingly, players might receive incentivized bonuses depending on how much they have wagered and lost, deposited in the past few weeks or months, and so on. Sometimes, online casinos just select players at random and credit incentivized bonuses into their accounts. These bonuses encourage players to play for longer hours at the online casino and wager larger amounts of money.
Composite bonuses, also known as multi-stage bonuses, is a special type of cash match welcome bonus offer devised by online casinos to retain players for a longer time. Having realized that most players sign up, claim their first deposit bonus, clear the bonus, make a profit in the process, and then disappear from the scene, online casinos devised an ingenious type of welcome bonus called composite bonus, which is a large welcome bonus spread over players first few deposits.
For instance, if an online casino offers a welcome bonus of 100% up to $10,000, they will not receive the entire bonus on their first deposit. Instead, they will receive 100% up to $1000 each on their first 10 deposits. This keeps players playing at the online casino for longer periods of time.
Terms and conditions
As smart players might have easily guessed, casino bonuses are not free money that can be withdrawn at will. They are associated with a number of complex terms and conditions that players must read and understand before claiming them. The most common of these terms are the wagering terms.
Before players request a payout, they are required to satisfy the wagering terms. In other words, they will have to play through their bonus amounts or bonus plus deposit amounts within the given time frame in other to withdraw either their bonus amounts or their bonus winnings or both. The wagering requirements vary from one casino to the other.
Depending on individual casinos, bonus offers may be available only to people from specific countries and may be used to play only specified games.
How to claim casino bonuses
Claiming a casino bonus is easy although the procedure varies from one casino to the other. Some casinos directly credit bonuses into players’ accounts, while others require players to either input bonus codes or send an email requesting the bonus.
A bonus code is a combination of letters and numbers, which players have to input in the provided field while claiming a bonus.
If players are claiming the bonus through an affiliate link, they will have to input the bonus code provided by the affiliate website. Sometimes, casinos provide bonus codes to distinguish among a number of game-specific deposit bonuses.
Clearing casino bonuses
As smart players might have already guessed, casino bonuses are not free money that can be withdrawn at will. Players need to work hard to have these bonuses credited to their online casino accounts and withdraw them. Understanding casino bonuses is not that easy either because no two casino bonus offers are alike. Casino bonuses and the various terms and conditions associated with them vary from one casino to the other. Before claiming a casino bonus, players must read everything in fine print and thoroughly understand the various terms and conditions.
The most common of casino bonus terms are the wagering requirements. Players are required to playthrough their casino bonus amount plus deposit amount or only the bonus amount a specific number of times within the given deadline before they can either withdraw their bonus plus winnings or only their bonus.
Players are simply not allowed to withdraw prizes won using bonus money until and unless they have met all the wagering terms and conditions. If they attempt to do so, they will lose not only their bonus amounts, but also prizes won using the bonus amount.
However, in the ClearPlay bonus system devised by Microgaming, bonuses are credited to players’ real play accounts in small increments as and when they are cleared. Players can withdraw their cleared bonus amount and winnings any time they wish without having to wait till the entire bonus is cleared.
Should players take advantage the casino bonuses?
Whenever casinos state that they are offering a massive new player bonus package, new players cannot help but feel excited. However, on second thoughts, casino bonuses are not really that exciting. Simultaneously, it cannot be denied that several smart players have used casino bonuses to make a huge profit.
Before accepting a casino bonus offer, players need to take into consideration the size of the bonus, the wagering terms, and various other terms and conditions associated with the bonus. Even if players feel that the bonus is large enough and easy to clear, the casino might have stated in its terms and conditions that not all online casino games will help players clear this bonus. It may turn out that players will have to wager on casino games with a higher house edge such as Keno and online slot games. If players are interested in playing table games, such a bonus offer will be of no use to them although many casinos also offer game-specific bonuses.
Players, therefore, need to examine the pros and cons thoroughly before claiming a bonus. Online casinos do not make it mandatory for a player to accept a bonus offer. To opt out of a bonus offer, all players need to do is contact customer care and let them know that they are not interested in the bonus.
Settling bonus disputes
According to a report by eCOGRA, the watchdog of the online gambling industry, over half of the disputes that arise between casinos and their customers are related to casino bonuses. If players feel that the online casino has not been fair with them regarding bonus offers, they can always approach eCOGRA.
Players can, however, avoid a future dispute by simply reading the terms and conditions before accepting a bonus offer.