A Welcome Bonus at an online casino is like a friendly but firm handshake from the maître d’ at ones favourite restaurant – it confirms the value of your patronage and promises that at this establishment, more so than at any other, they place your wants and needs at the top of their priority list.
For the most part playing at a land based gambling hot spot like Las Vegas, Monte Carlo or Macau comes with a unique set of perks and experiences. The ability to charm new players with the glitz and the glamour, the spectacle they put on for your entertainment, is an easy sell. Only once a player is in the system and has racked up a healthy deposit and above average wagering reputation they will start to see benefits such as cash incentives, hotel rooms and event tickets, to name a few.
This is where online casinos trump their land based cousins right out of the gates. Without the bright lights, celebrity events and the occasional free drink your online suitors have to play to their strengths which boil down to: ease of use, great service and lucrative Welcome Bonuses!
Bonus Rations or Bonus Buffet
An often overlooked aspect of selecting your Welcome Bonus at an online casino is how many bonuses on offer. The smart money knows that casinos offer rolling or reloadable bonuses ensuring you get ongoing incentives across multiple deposits!
What many players overlook is that just because a bonus advert reads “Click here for €1000 Welcome Bonus” doesn’t mean it’s going to be as simple as creating an account and having them put 1000 credits into your player balance.
Your innocuous Welcome Bonus can be offered up many ways:
1. One Off Bonus: A single Welcome Bonus added to your player balance if you meet the requirements
2. Daily Bonuses: Small bonuses added to your account over several days till you reach the advertised Welcome Bonus amount
3. Multi-Deposit Bonuses: A pre-set bonus amount applied to each of the first few deposits you make which can add up to the advertised Welcome Bonus total if you meet the deposit requirements
Eyes Open People! Many multi-deposit bonuses, also known as Daisy Chain bonuses, fluctuate the daily deposit percentage you receive. Be sure to understand the nuances of any bonus you claim.
A Bonus by Any Other Name
As with everything else in life not all bonuses are made equal. In fact it is worth your while to consider your game preferences, your spending habits and even how often you like to gamble before settling on which casino to join up at, and which bonus offer to take up.
“Did Say I Have A Choice? Yes! While an online casino will offer you bonuses, some pushed to you by default when you access you real money account, you do have the option to Accept or Decline the bonus. Choosing those you really want and which suit your tastes will educate the casino staff on what you like and how they can better serve your needs in the long run.”
Here are the most common forms of Welcome Bonuses offered by online casinos to entice you to become a member of their elite circle of friends:
1. The Deposit % Match Bonus: This bonus has a simple premise, your bonus will be the promised percentage of the amount you deposit. For example a 100% match bonus means that should you deposit €150 you will receive an additional €150 (aka 100% of the deposit amount) in bonus credits. You now have a healthy €300 bankroll to get you started!
2. The No Deposit Bonus: This is a very popular bonus as you can imagine since the casinos gives you an amount of bonus credits, and there is no requirement for you to deposit in order to receive them and to then wager them. This bonus is superior to the Free Spins bonus as you can wager on any game in the casino. Be sure to read the section below on Terms and Condition to fully understand this bonus though.
3. The Free Spins Bonus: The Free Spins bonus is exactly as it sounds. When you sign up as a new player at an online casino they will give you a number of free spins with which to try out a single, a predetermined few or in some cases any online and video slot you like. As with the No Deposit Bonus there is no requirement to spend any cash to receive and play these spins. The downside however can be cashout limitations, but more on that in the Terms section below.
4. The Combination or Package Bonus: These are Welcome Bonuses which are made up of a combination of the previously mentioned bonus types to really give you the best chance to enjoy every aspect of the casinos offering. The most commonly found combinations of bonuses in this category are:
- A Deposit Match Bonus + Free Spins: Here you benefit from the extra percentage boost to your bankroll and get some free spins sprinkled on top for good measure – all on a single deposit!
- Free Spins + a Deposit Match Bonus: As above only this time you receive the Free Spins first, with no deposit requirement, with added promise of a strong match bonus when you make your first purchase.
- A No Deposit Bonus + a Deposit Match: Much the same as the Free Spins package bonus above but without the game restrictions sometimes associated with free spins being set on a particular slot machine.
Ignore Your P's and Q's, Know Your T's and C's
At the end of the day while gambling is entertainment it is also a business and there will be activities and requirements associated to bonuses which will encourage you to deposit real money. This works in your favour though as without depositing real money there is no chance of taking home a windfall. Our guide will show you how to maximise the bonus value of that deposit.
There are several aspects of casino bonuses, tips and tricks if you please, worth keeping front of mind as you proceed into real money gambling
a. Wagering Requirements, And Their Tricks!
In order to ensure that clever patrons don’t simply cashout their bonuses, which would see the casino paying out real money on virtual bonuses, they all have wagering requirements associated to their bonuses.
These wagering, or playthrough, requirements often read along the lines of you having to “wager 30 times deposit and bonus amount” or “playthrough the bonus at least 50 times” before you can withdraw your credit balance.
The trick here is to consider the full ramification of the requirement and not be drawn in by a smaller, or repulsed by a larger, wagering requirement. The real thing to pay attention to is whether or not you are playing through a single value or the sum of your bonus and deposit.
Using a 100% Deposit Match Bonus (€150) on a €150 deposit the results are as follows:
Wagering Example #1:
- “wager 30 times deposit and bonus amount”
- 30 x (€150 + €150) = 9000 in wagers
Wagering Example #2:
- “playthrough the bonus at least 50 times”
- 50 x €150 bonus = 7500 in wagers
As we can see looking at the values the ‘higher’ playthrough requirement is actually the better bet at the end of the day.
b. Not All Games Wager Equally
Casinos have very clear understandings of which game types have the best margins for their bottom line. This is clear from the glut of bonuses for slots, and the miniscule number available for low margin games like blackjack.
With this in mind it is worth reviewing the percentage of playthrough allowed on a particular game type before accepting a bonus. While each casino sets its own allowances in this regard the most common brackets are:
- Slots – 100% of playthrough can be met on slots games
- video poker – 20% or less of total wagering allowed on this game
- live dealer games – 50% or less of total wagering allowed
- Roulette – 25% or less of total wagering may be met playing this game
- Blackjack – often completely excluded from playthrough requirements
In short this would mean that as a blackjack player you would only be able to redeem a maximum of 20% of your bonus wagering requirement playing the game you love. To comply with the cashout requirements of the bonus you would be forced to play the remaining 80% on other games before you could withdraw any winnings from this specific bonus.
In this case, as a blackjack fanatic, it would be better to search for a bonus specific to your preferred game selection.
c. Free To Play, Pay To Withdraw
While free play bonuses such as Free Spins an No Deposit have a great risk free upside there does come a time when you will have to make a deposit – if you win big enough to have a cashout!
Lady Luck was in your corner and while playing the game you love, you were able to both meet the wagering requirement of the bonus and land a windfall worth taking home, the next hurdle you meet will be the requirement to make a minimum deposit in order to be allowed to withdraw your winnings. This is not a big issue in most cases as the casinos see this as a sign of good faith and require as little as €10 in order to seal the deal! Should you see a deposit requirement of greater than €20 it will be important to see the next section about cashout limits before deciding to claim that bonus.
d. Free Bonus Cashout Limits
Having to honour a few crazy 5 or 6 figure jackpot withdrawals in the early days of free spins and free cash bonuses has made most online casinos a little gun shy, their solution has been implement cashout caps on free offers.
These cashout caps vary from bonus to bonus and casino to casino but in our experience commonly sits at €75 on the low end and about €400 on the extremely high end (expect about a €100 on average).
What this means practically is that even if you win a €100,000 jackpot on your 50 Free Spins offer your withdrawal will be limited to no more than the maximum allowed cashout as per the specific bonuses terms - and even then only after making prerequisite minimum deposit.
The same restrictions are true of most no deposit bonuses!
Play Smart! Be sure to read those Bonus Terms thoroughly before committing. In most cases a straight up Deposit Bonus will ensure you the biggest bang for your buck when you hit a jackpot! Should you land a windfall it gives you required credits to meet the wagering requirements and have plenty to take home!
For more insights into the best bonuses to claim and the best casinos to sign up with be sure to read the reviews and feedback left by the members of our community. They’ve been through the process already and don’t pull any punches when it comes to laying bare the good, the bad and the ugly of online casino Welcome Bonuses!