Bonus offers are abundant and you may be wondering how they work. Is it just a matter of becoming a player and getting the money? You've seen the adverts "Get €200 Free!", "Buy €50 get €50 Free", "€15 Free No Deposit Required" or "200% Deposit Match Bonus" to name a few. But is there a catch?
Well, it probably won't surprise you that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but from time to time we can try our luck with some freebies like gratis spins. So what does this type of offer at a casino usually mean for you? Here is a short guide to the most common types of gambling offers.
Bonuses are a free cash incentive online casinos offer to attract new players. The majority of them require an initial cash deposit which determines the actual amount of cash bonus you receive. The same thing is valid for reloading promos, but as the name says, those are not granted for 1st, but for repeated deposits made by existing customers. To prevent abuse, there are often restrictions on which games you can and cannot play or a minimum of plays you must make before withdrawing your winnings, but that's about it.
The system at online operators is vastly superior to land-based like ones in Vegas due to the heavy competition for your business. Also, the internet based operators have a much lower overhead cost so they can pass the savings along to players in the form of bonuses and player comps.
They may be found in three forms and we will shed some light on all three of these bonuses and identify some ways to avoid being misled.
Match bonuses when players sign-up
The most common and largest bonus form found on the Internet. As most of you know, casinos reward players with free money when they play. Once knowledgeable about match sign up bonuses, players may use them against the casinos. I know several people who have made a lot of money by using their bonuses against them. Make sure to read the terms and conditions and check out the odds (payouts) and most of your bases will be covered.
This type is usually a percentage based structure. For example, a casino offer might say "100% deposit match bonus up to €100". In this case, you might find there is a minimum deposit amount required to get the bonus, but let's say you make an initial deposit of €75. The free cash you would then get added to your account would be €75 or 100% of what you put in. In any event, in this example, the most you would get is €100 as that is the maximum amount the casino is prepared to give you.
It can also vary from site to site. Some will make you a similar offer with a larger maximum available, but they all operate on basically the same principal.
However, as with the "no deposit required offer" you can't just make a deposit, wait until you get the free cash added to your account then take it all out without play. In all cases, the casino will have terms and conditions attached to the offer and will invariably require you to meet their "play through" or wager requirements before you can withdraw.
These bonuses come with many restrictions and hidden tricks.
The first restriction is the playthrough requirement, or how many times the player must bet his deposit and bonus in order to cash out. Most casinos average around 10x the bonus and deposit, but some can go as high as 25x. This means that once a player has entered into a contract he cannot cash out at all until he has bet the required amount.
The second restriction is often overlooked. Many operators restrict the games that can be played in order to meet the match bonus. For instance, most of them restrict the player from using blackjack, craps and roulette bets to meet the playthrough requirement. Some offer huge match bonuses but restrict all table games, which means players will be forced to play slots and video poker if they want to cash in. You can find restrictions in the terms and conditions, which we highly recommend every gambler reads.
Another trick is subtle and very often overlooked. Casinos that have lower payouts will offer higher amounts. Almost all players look at bonuses and very few look at the payouts. So, they have an incentive to max out their match bonus and offer lower odds.
Free money offers without the need to deposit money
This is a free money offered by casinos for just opening an account and registering a credit card. I have registered several credit cards before and it is safe. The one time I turned my no deposit promotion into €100 and tried to cash out (after meeting the playthrough) I realised what the trick was. Some of them won't let you cash out until you deposit real money and bet it a certain number of times. This is not true of all casinos, but remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Just remember to carefully read the terms and conditions for this bonus type before sign up.
There are a number of online casinos that will give you free cash just to sign up or in other words, become a real money player, and these can range from about €10 up to €25 or thereabouts. But you can't just open account and take the money and run. If that were the case it would be an easy way to make a living.
Normally such an offer will require you to wager a multiple of the bonus amount before you can withdraw it. For example, a casino might give you €15 free no deposit required. To get it, your wagering requirements could be 15 times (15 x €15) that amount before you can withdraw it.
In other words, you would need to bet €225 at the casino before you can get the €15 and withdraw your money. That doesn't mean you have to lose €225 but you must place bets to the value of €225 to get the bonus.
Casino bonuses awarded when using specific deposit method
These bonuses are given to players when they use a certain deposit method. In other words, they are frequently made by a casino to players who use the specific option to open and manage their account. In a lot of instances, these offers can be in addition to any other free cash bonus offer the casino might have running.
To qualify you must use the deposit methods named in the promotion. These are normally the most popular methods and can be based on a percentage level. For example, you might get an extra 5% to 20% over and above the standard promotion if you take this.
As with the other two types mentioned you will find the terms and conditions attached. From experience, the biggest free money bonuses are given by the most expensive payment processors. For instance, players may get a free €25 for using Neteller, but they charge players €10 for every withdrawal. Make sure you are aware of all fees pertaining to cashing out by promoted deposit method before signing up. Most payment processors would not be able to offer such bonuses unless they can afford to make it up somehow.
Few points to watch for
- Nearly every online casino will have a free cash bonus offer available but there are a few exceptions. Look for alternatives on offer.
- Some will require you to claim the bonus and to do so within a specific time period, but this does not apply to them all.
- Some will automatically add it to your account without you needing to claim it.
- If you don't want their welcome offer, then you can ask the casino to remove it from your account.
- The most important golden rule - Always check the terms & conditions made by a casino. Many disputes arise over misunderstandings by players over these. If you know them then you'll know exactly where you stand. The good news is that we have already provided a screenshot of terms.
So there you have it. A quick run down of the most common types of casino offers you'll come across. But please remember the last point we made above, at the end of the day, it's your responsibility to check the detail. The above list contains the great promotions currently available online. This page is updated frequently with new bonus and free chip offers so remember to bookmark it and add it to your favourites.