How to Choose the Best Online Casino Bonus
You might not realise it, but as an online casino enthusiast there’s fierce competition for your custom, there are hundreds of operators from around the world going head-to-head with each other right now, just to get your attention for a few seconds in an attempt to win you over.
The main way casinos draw in new players is through eye-catching welcome bonuses that promise a hefty stack of bonus cash, or a number of free spins on your favourite online slot.
There a number of different bonuses that players could potentially be offered, these include:
- Deposit Bonuses – Bonus cash is added to your account upon your first deposit.
- No Deposit bonuses – Bonus cash is added to your account upon registering, without the need for an initial deposit.
- Free Spin Bonuses – Players receive a number of free spins on a specific game, or a set of specific games upon making their first deposit.
- Cashback Bonuses – Players receive a percentage of their losses back each and every week meaning they don’t have to make any further deposits to continue playing.
It can be worryingly easy to sift through a list of offers and be dazzled by the biggest number that you come across, of course, you’re going to gravitate towards a £1,000 bonus being offered at Casino A as opposed to £50 being offered at Casino B.
This is where you have to be smart, not every bonus was created equally, nor is every bonus quite what it seems from the outside… More often than not that seemingly ‘insignificant’ bonus from Casino B is the much better option, but most people don’t realise that until it’s too late.
If you’re not quite sure where to begin when it comes to choosing the best online casino bonus then continue reading, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide explaining what you should be looking out for when choosing your next bonus.
Wagering requirements should always be your first concern
We think it goes without saying that the very first thing you should always be looking for when choosing a new online casino bonus is the wagering requirements tied to the offer.
It’s all good and well taking a huge bonus that looks good on paper, but what worth does that bonus have if you can’t withdraw any winnings from it? None whatsoever.
Not entirely sure what wagering requirements are? They are a set of conditions that stop players from withdrawing money won as a result of a bonus right away. In the past operators have had issues with players taking their bonus winnings, never to be seen again, losing the casino vast sums of money in the long-run.
Placing wagering requirements on top of a bonus requires players to play through a bonus a set amount of times in order to withdraw any winnings that are made as a result.
You’ll find that most fair online casinos set their wagering requirements around the x30 mark, so if a casino is offering a bonus worth £50 with x30 wagering requirements then you’ll have to place £1,500 worth of bets before you can make a withdrawal.
In order to avoid this, many players seek out bonuses with no wagering requirements, they’re much harder to come by, but they do offer players transparency, and more importantly the opportunity to keep what they win. It’s often worth taking a much smaller bonus in order to enjoy the additional caveat of no wagering requirements whatsoever.
How long does your bonus last?
Bonuses don’t last forever, more often than not a timer will begin ticking down from the second a player has accepted a generous welcome offer, if the bonus hasn’t been used in its entirety within a certain period of time then it’s gone forever… Null and void!
The length of the validity period tends to vary from casino to casino, but you can often expect your free spins to be valid for just 24 hours after accepting them. That sounds all good and well as it takes little to no time whatsoever to get through a small number of free spins, however, you have to factor in wagering requirements.
If you’ve taken it upon yourself to accept an offer with wagering requirements then you’re going to have to sit and play until you’ve made a certain amount of money, now if you know your slots then you know this isn’t the straightforward task that it sounds.
It’s hardly realistic to think that you’re going to successfully play through a bonus with high wagering requirements in such a short timeframe, especially considering many offers with free spins only allow you to bet the minimum stake, so betting aggressively isn’t an option.
Is there a maximum win limit imposed on your bonus?
Like wagering requirements, casinos have often been guilty of imposing a maximum win limit on many of their bonuses, this often goes unnoticed by players as the details regarding this are tucked away deep within the terms and conditions of the offer.
Most casinos aren’t too stringent in terms of their maximum win limit, and will let players withdraw a fair amount if they’re lucky enough to come out of their bonus with a pocket full of money… However, there are operators out there that are much stricter.
The most stringent limitations are often around £5 per player, so despite being offered a massive number of free spins, all you can take away from them is a fiver.
Unsurprisingly this can leave a very bitter taste in the mouth of anyone stung by them, so make sure you take the time to scan through the terms and conditions and ensure that you’re not going to be banging your head against a wall when the time comes to withdraw.
What games are offered as part of the bonus?
Nine times out of ten an online casino bonus is tied to a specific game or a set of games.
Operators realise that they can’t just give you free cash and free reign to spend it wherever you’d like around their site, as players would find the game that offers them the best odds of winning money right away and be gone in a flash.
Casinos that offer players free spins usually do one of two things, they offer players spins on hugely popular games, such as Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst, or Mystery Reels, or they offer players free spins on a game that’s highly unpredictable.
Players are often more than happy to play an online slot they already know and love, and odds are they’ve tasted success with these games before, so the opportunity to win on them again with free spins is just too good to turn down.
Sometimes lesser-known games are chosen to be part of the bonus, usually, this is where players need to be a little bit more street smart. The less you know about a game, the higher the risk that they have undesirable features, such as a low RTP percentage, high volatility (which isn’t a bad thing, but it is if you only have a limited number of spins) and a lack of bonus features that could boost your bankroll.
Recently, casinos have also started offering free spin welcome bonuses that come tied to jackpot slots. This in itself is an incredibly exciting prospect for players, but again, it must be noted that these slots come with a very low RTP (to make up for the jackpot sums of money that are on offer to the player). If you’re planning on taking one of these offers then make sure they’re offering you plenty of free spins in order to give you the very best chance of winning big.
Ultimately, our biggest piece of advice here is to opt for a welcome bonus that’s tied to tried and trusted games that come highly recommended by other players and industry experts.
Is the casino you’re opting to play at safe and secure?
Ensuring the casino you’re playing at is safe and secure is an incredibly important factor that many people often overlook, especially when there’s a lucrative welcome offer on the table.
Any, and we mean any online casino you choose to play with should always be licensed by one of several major regulatory bodies, the main ones are the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA).
Many casinos are also licensed by Curaçao eGaming, however, despite their legitimacy, casinos licensed solely by them should be approached with more caution due to their leniency.
When you’re playing at a casino that’s licensed by any of the main three regulators then you’re guaranteed to be protected in a number of different ways, as these bodies follow strict guidelines to ensure players are kept safe at all costs.
Regulatory bodies such as these ensure that every casino is 100% safe to play at and their games are fair and honest. They also ensure that there are anti-money laundering safeguards and have airtight responsible gambling initiatives in place such as mandatory deposit limits, cooling-off periods and self-exclusion schemes
It can be incredibly easy to be drawn in by an unlicensed casino, as they often flaunt large welcome bonuses to catch the eye of unsuspecting players, but beware, they often lack customer support, have predatory terms and conditions and have rigged games.
What casino bonus is the best to go for?
Ultimately, choosing a casino bonus is down to personal preference. Every player has different needs depending on their style-of-play and the games they enjoy playing, so we can’t tell you to pick one type of bonus over another, as they all have their own merits.
One thing we can say with absolute certainty is that going for a casino bonus with no wagering requirements should always be considered first if the opportunity is there.
Operators that offer no wagering bonuses are usually fair, transparent and have their players at the forefront of their mind. They’re giving up potential profit in order to go the extra mile for their loyal customers, which is more than can be said more for many casinos.
Admittedly you might not get the biggest bonus going, but realistically, what would you rather have? A small bonus with something to show for it, or a large bonus with nothing to show for it?