The online casino industry has grown considerably over recent years, benefitting from more sophisticated mobile technology and an increasingly diversified player base. It’s created a fertile land upon which new UK casinos shoot up every week, and these sites have various means at their disposal to attract new players.
One of the most obvious are the commonly employed and widely coveted ‘welcome bonuses’, which are used by virtually every online casino in the industry. These packages promise various combinations of free spins, boosted cash bonuses and other tempters to encourage you to sign up and deposit. It all sounds great on the surface, but there must be a catch, right?
Understanding Online Casino Bonus Terminology
Perhaps ‘a catch’ is the wrong phrase, it’s suggestive of something more underhand than the reality. However, online casinos usually attach some terms and conditions to bonus offers. These conditions are nothing to worry about, but it’s worth understanding a few key pieces of terminology before you commit your cash. I’ve picked out four words and phrases that will help you out, but we’ll start with a quick description of the types of bonus you can expect to receive.
Types of Online Casino Bonus
Typically, welcome bonus packages are built around two types of bonus – free spins and cash match bonuses. The best online casinos understand the value of these offers and will structure their package accordingly. Some will even offer ‘no deposit bonus’ elements, which allows players to try the site before they hand over any cash. Usually, you find a mix and match of the following different bonus types:
– No deposit bonuses – These usually come in the form of no deposit free spins. This type of bonus gives you to play games for real before you have added any funds to your account. You’ll usually receive a small number of spins – maybe 10 or 20 – but some casinos like LeoVegas offer 20 no deposit free spins to newly registered, UK players.
– Cash Match Bonuses – This type of bonus is attached to your first deposit and is usually expressed as a percentage. If a casino offers a 100% bonus, they pledge to ‘match’ the sum of your deposit so that if you credit your account with £100, you have another £100 in bonus cash to play with. Alternatively, if you receive a 50% bonus on your £100 deposit, you’ll have an extra £50 to play with. Cash Match bonuses often come with an upper limit.
– Free Spins – A spin is essentially a single ‘round’ on a video slot. So, when online casino offer free spins, they are ultimately providing free plays on a designated game or group of games. As mentioned previously, you sometimes receive a small amount of no deposit free spins when you register. More commonly, you receive larger bundles of free spins as a reward for making a deposit.
– Reload Bonuses – Most sites attach a bonus of some description to your first deposit, but some also provide further offers with subsequent deposits. These are called ‘reload’ bonuses because they are shared when you top up or ‘reload’ your account.
– Cash Back Bonuses – Rarer as part of a welcome bonus, but sometimes offered as part of an online casino’s overall philosophy, cash back bonuses provide some insurance for a plyer. The casino will pledge to give you a small percentage of any losses incurred back as bonus cash, so you don’t lose the full amount.
Cracking the Jargon of Bonus Terms & Conditions
That quick overview of the types of casino bonus you can expect to receive as part of your welcome bonus segues nicely into this next section and focus of the article. As promised, I’ve picked out four common features of online casino bonus promotions, and I’ll define them one by one. Most players will be familiar with the terms but they’re frequently misunderstood.
1. Bonus Codes
You’re probably aware of the concept of internet coupons or vouchers, and casino bonus codes are the online casino equivalent. They constitute a unique string of text you input when prompted should you wish to collect a bonus. On the flipside, you can ‘opt out’ of a bonus by not using the bonus code. A small number of players will choose to do that so they can avoid associated wagering requirements.
2. Wagering Requirements
If you only understand one piece of online casino bonus terminology, make it this one. Wagering requirements (also known as playthrough requirements, or simply ‘wagering’) are a form of insurance the casinos use to ensure they avoid huge payouts from their own cash pot. They refer to the number of times you will need to ‘turn over’ a bonus amount before you can access associated winnings, and are typically expressed as multiple. Put simply, if you have a £100 bonus and it’s subject to x30 wagering requirements, you’ll need to play through £3000 worth of stakes before withdrawing any associated winnings.
3. No Wagering Requirements
Most online casino players dislike wagering requirements for obvious reasons. Resultantly, some online casinos have sought ways if minimising their impact by removing the wagering requirements from certain bonus offers. Most of the time, they’ll remove wagering requirements from free spins so that any wins generated can be accessed straight away; it’s highly unusual for casinos to provide cash bonuses without wagering requirements. Usually, however, they’ll take out alternative ‘insurance policies’, the most common of which is a ‘maximum win’ ceiling.
4. Maximum Win Ceilings
This one doesn’t need to much explanation, the name says it all. Online casinos will limit the amount of cash you can win from a bonus so they don’t end up with huge payouts on their hands in exchange for limited revenue. They’re more likely to peg no deposit bonus winnings, but can apply a maximum win ceiling to any type of bonus. Needless to say, it’s always worth reading the T&Cs of any bonus offer.
The Enduring Appeal of Online Casino Bonuses
Despite any apparently onerous terms and conditions, most players still love bonuses. While that remains the case, casinos will continue to use them to attract new business. Free spins and cash bonuses still let you play online slots and casino games without using your own cash. They are a great, risk-averse way of trialling new casinos and unfamiliar games. You can find a list of the latest welcome bonus packages at 777 Casino, and you’re certainly not short on choice. Understand the terminology and you can enjoy them all the more.