Virtually every single online casino on the internet offers a welcome bonus, or sign-up bonus, to new customers opening an account. These come in the form of free chips to gamble with, and they represent a major advantage of playing online rather than playing in a land-based venue. It might seem too good to be true that you can get what is essentially free money, but the fact is that you can.
If you play at online casinos, then you should try to take advantage of these bonuses whenever you can, as they are a great way to get more for your money. However, you should also understand exactly how they work. Not all bonuses are created equal and some are much more player friendly than others. Biggest is not always best, and sometimes a small bonus can actually be a much better value than a large one.
This is because they always come with certain requirements that have to be met, and these vary quite significantly from one place to the next. On this page, we explain how casino welcome bonuses work, and we recommend that you take the time to read through this information.
Why Online Casinos Offer Welcome Bonuses
You may be wondering why online casinos offer these welcome bonuses. After all, they’re there to make money and not give it away. The explanation is quite simple, really; they basically view them as a marketing cost. The online gambling industry is an extremely competitive one and there are hundreds of internet-based casinos that all want you to sign up with them. Offering an attractive bonus is one way they can encourage you to do just that.
It makes sense when you think about it. They know that, in the long run, they are more likely to win money from a customer than the other way around. Therefore it’s worth offering a new customer an incentive to sign up with them, as they’ll probably get their money back and more over time. This doesn’t mean that the bonuses are worthless, though, since they still add value for the player.
Benefits of Welcome Bonuses
If you’re planning to deposit at an online casino and risk a certain amount of money, then getting a bonus is obviously a positive. You are only risking money that you were going to risk anyway, and you’re just getting a bit more money to play with. With more chips to play with, you’ll always have a better chance of winning.
Losing is far from guaranteed at a casino, and with a bit of luck on your side, you could easily come out ahead. With the benefit of extra chips to play with, too, that simply becomes more likely. Even if you do end up losing, you get to play for longer than you would have without the bonus, so you’ll still have some extra value.
Terms and Conditions
For the most part, there’s absolutely no downside to claiming bonuses, but as we mentioned earlier, they do come with specific requirements to be met. At the top online casinos, these are usually reasonably player friendly, but at some places, the requirements are so much in the favor of the house that there’s actually not much value on offer. Also, sometimes you may only be able to use the extra chips at certain games, and if you don’t enjoy playing those games, then such a bonus isn’t really of any use to you.
You should always read the terms and conditions of a welcome bonus before you start claiming it. In particular, you should check what the wagering requirements are and what games are eligible.
Casinos add wagering requirements to prevent people from simply depositing, claiming a bonus, and then withdrawing immediately. There’s clearly no benefit to the casino if they’re allowing players to do this, so they include wagering requirements to ensure that they are only giving the extra value to genuine players. These basically state how much you need to play before you can make a withdrawal.
Typically, you’ll have to wager the bonus you have claimed a fixed amount of times. For example, if the wagering requirements are 20x the bonus and you claim $200, then you would need to wager a total of $4,000 before you would be able to make a withdrawal. Many casinos also include what are known as game weightings. These mean that certain games only count toward a percentage of the wagering requirements. Typically these are low house edge games such as blackjack and baccarat. At some casinos, a bonus can’t be used to play low house edge games at all.
Types of Sign-Up Bonuses
Sign-up bonuses can be categorized in a couple of different ways. First, you have deposit bonuses and no-deposit bonuses. The former are also known as match bonuses, and these are awarded by a casino when you make your first deposit. The amount awarded will be a fixed percentage of your deposit. For example, if there is a 50% deposit bonus and you deposit $500, then you’ll receive an extra $250, giving you $750 to play with.
No-deposit bonuses, as the name suggests, are awarded without you having to make a deposit. These are less common and tend to be much smaller, but they still provide added value. They can be a good way to try a casino out without having to risk any of your own money. If you like what you find, then you can go ahead and make a deposit.
Bonuses can also be categorized as sticky or non-sticky. A sticky bonus cannot be withdrawn; it’s for wagering purposes only. Once you have met the wagering requirements, you’ll be able to withdraw any winnings you make using it, but it will “stick” to your account until you have lost it. A non-sticky bonus is much better for a player. Once you have completed the wagering requirements, you’ll be able to withdraw it, along with any winnings you have made.
There’s another type, too: the phantom bonus. This is also only for wagering purposes, but it is automatically removed from your account when you make a withdrawal. You’ll be able to withdraw any winnings you make from playing with it, provided you meet the wagering requirements.
In addition to a welcome bonus for new customers, most online casinos provide plenty of extra value for their existing customers. This can be done using additional bonuses, promotions, and other rewards and VIP schemes.
Finding the Best Casino Bonus
Once you understand the different types of bonuses and how they work, you can then start looking into what’s available at the various online casinos and try to find the welcome bonus that suits you the best. Just remember to check the terms and conditions to make sure you can use it on the games you enjoy playing.
Of course, you may not want to spend your time comparing different bonuses to see which ones are best, and you don’t have to. We have compiled a list of the online casinos that are best for bonuses, so you can simply take a look at that and take your pick.