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.
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What is a casino welcome bonus?
Online casinos offer several types of bonuses, but the most popular of them all is the welcome bonus, offered in the form of free spins, no-deposit bonus, freeplay bonus, and deposit bonus, also known as cash match bonus.
An online casino may welcome newly registered players by offering them free spins on a popular slot or a small cash gift. Players can claim these bonuses even before they make a first deposit.
Freeplay bonuses are large no-deposit bonuses, which players can use for around one hour or more to win as many prizes as they can. Any amount in excess of the freeplay bonus amount can be retained as winnings and withdrawn after the wagering terms have been met.
Deposit bonuses are offered as percentages of players’ deposit amounts up to a maximum amount. For instance, an online casino that states that it offers a first deposit bonus of 100% up to $100 will reward players with a maximum first deposit bonus of $100 just for signing up and making a deposit of $100.
Some deposit bonuses are game-specific; accordingly, casinos may offer slots only bonuses, blackjack bonuses, table game bonuses, and poker bonuses. These game-specific bonuses are similar to deposit bonuses, but players will have to use them only on the specified games.
Different kinds 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 casino 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.
Freeplay casino bonuses
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.
Deposit casino bonuses
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 casino bonuses
These are deposit bonuses that are to be spent only on specified games such as blackjack, online slots, or video poker.
Loyalty casino bonuses
These are deposit bonuses offered exclusively to the online casino’s loyal players.
Promotional casino bonuses
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.
Refer-a-friend casino bonuses
Casinos also enhance the experience of social gambling by encouraging players to invite their friends to sign up. Players will either receive a small cash gift for every friend referred or a percentage of their friend’s first deposit amount as bonus.
Incentivized casino bonuses
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 casino bonuses
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.
Casino bonuses and wagering requirements
Beginners might wonder how online casinos can afford to give away so much of free money as bonuses. The simple truth is that deposit bonuses are not free money that can be withdrawn at will. Casinos offer bonuses only to encourage players to sign up and start playing for real money.
Players can also keep prizes won using their bonus money, but they need to fulfil certain wagering requirements if they want to withdraw their winnings and bonus money. In some cases, the bonus amount is “sticky,” and players will never be allowed to withdraw it although they can withdraw their bonus winnings as soon as they satisfy the wagering requirements.
Understanding wagering requirements is quite simple. Players are allowed to withdraw their winnings or winnings plus bonus amount only after playing through their bonus amounts or deposit plus bonus amounts a specified number of times within a specified deadline.
While some casinos credit bonuses into players’ real money accounts in small increments as and when players clear them, others wait for players to clear their entire bonus amounts before crediting them.
How to claim 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 accept 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.
How do you settle casino 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.