If you follow the trends and changes in the online casino world, you will be aware that bonuses are not as simple as they once were.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has taken action against unclear terms and conditions at online casinos, and promotions and bonuses that appear, and in many cases are, too good to be true.
This means that the world of bonuses has become more confusing for players, but at the same time, it is, in fact, good news, because it is forcing operators to be more honest about the bonuses they offer.
What will happen next when it comes to the rules and regulations of bonuses is unclear at the time of writing, but you can rest assured that we will be sure to keep you updated on any and all changes that will affect bonuses in the future.Read More
The History of Bonuses
Online casinos have used various promotions to tempt in new players and maintain existing ones since time immemorial, or at least since the mid-1990s when the iGaming world was born.
While these promotions and bonuses can take many shapes and forms, there is one that has always stood above all others, and that is the welcome bonus.
Welcome bonuses tend to come in one of two types, either you are offered bonus money on your first deposit, or you will receive a certain amount of free spins when you make that deposit, although some casinos will offer a combination of the two.
The first example looks pretty simple on the surface, let’s use a hypothetical example that you may well find at many online casinos, a 100% bonus up to £100 on your first deposit.
In principle, this means if you deposit up to £100 the first time you pay money into a casino, the site will double it.
However, it is rarely, if every that simple. This bonuses will normally come with a wagering requirement attached, let’s say in this example that the wagering requirement is 40x the bonus amount.
This means that if you deposit £100, and get £200 to play with, you will have to deposit and wager that £100 bonus 40 times over, meaning it will cost you £4,000 to gain access to any winnings from your bonus money.
Now, it is possible that you will make a profit on that £4,000, but that is by no means a guarantee, and it is also very possible that you will not have, or be willing to spend that £4,000 to access those winnings.
As a result, these bonuses can be of little help to players, even if you deposit the lowest amount that counts towards the bonus, say £10 for a £10 bonus, you will still need to wager £400.
While the wagering requirements can be lower at times, it is pretty much impossible to find a casino that attaches no wagering requirement to a welcome bonus, as a result, many casual players see it as too much work and too much money.
Free spins bonuses will often have similar requirements, for example, you may be offered ten free spins worth £1 each for a deposit of £10, but again, a wagering requirement will be attached, if we use the example above, that is, again, £400 it will cost you to access your bonus funds.
It is important to note, however, that there are certain exceptions to this rule, which we speak about in our free spins guide on this site. If you do manage to find a site that will offer you no wagering requirement free spins, then despite the possibility of a maximum withdrawal amount, it is still more than possible to make a little bit of extra cash from these bonuses.
A shiny welcome bonus is all well and good when it comes to catching the attention of new players, but keeping that attention takes further work, and as a result, you will often find a variety of promotions for existing customers.
While these promotions can often take a similar shape to the welcome bonus options mentioned above, there tends to be more range in these promotions.
Some sites have unique promotions that you won’t find elsewhere, for example, Royal Panda once ran a promotion that involved putting on a panda suit and carrying out a variety of everyday tasks. However, there are more frequent promotions to be found.
Leaderboard based promotions are a popular choice, these include playing a certain number of rounds on a certain slot or table game, which may be paid or free, and may pay out winnings or not, and attempting to win more than anyone else does from these rounds.
If you make your way to the top of the leaderboard, you will win a prize, this could be real cash, bonus cash, free spins, or a variety of other prizes such as technology, holidays, and more.
There are also competitions that ask players to wager the most out of anyone, and top the leaderboard that way. While this type of promotion will normally involve bigger prizes, they will also tend to cost substantially more money.
In all cases, terms and conditions will apply, but due to the legislation changes mentioned at the beginning of this guide, this small print will be much clearer than it once was.
It may take a fair amount of reading to understand the ins and outs of a promotion, but it is always worth reading everything to make sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Often, the best looking promotions come with the most terms and conditions attached to them, meaning that they are not as exciting as they initially look, whereas other promotions may look less impressive, but have less hoops to jump through.
Some promotions are aimed at high rollers, where others are more for the hobbyist, so whatever your playing style and budget is, you will find something to suit you, but it may take some research.
Luckily, we are here to take you through the promotions offered at various online casinos to make the decision much simpler for you to make.