One of the key incentives that a casino can offer to a new player is the bonus. Everybody likes a bonus and casinos usually offer bonuses both to new players as well as existing ones. That is one of the key differences between bonuses – whether they can be claimed by newly registered players, or by ones that have been active for a while.
There are several things that a player should take into consideration before deciding on whether to claim a bonus or not, or better yet which bonus to claim when there’s more than one to choose from. The welcome bonus is the first bonus that a casino offers, and the term really says it all. We’re going to start with the welcome bonus offers and then proceed on to explain other types of bonuses.
Welcome bonuses are also referred to as new player bonuses. Still, not all welcome bonuses are made the same, some are tied to the first deposit, others are divided into multiple instalments and there are even no deposit welcome bonuses. One thing is fixed though, these bonuses are always offered to new players who are new to the casino and haven’t been active previously.
These bonuses are, as a rule, advertised on the casino homepage and a welcome bonus is the first thing the player notices when visiting a new casino site. The reason is pretty obvious, as this bonus serves as the main incentive for a player to register a casino account. Sometimes, casinos come up with exclusive welcome bonuses that are offered to a limited number of players, via various channels.
Now, we’ll have a look at some of the most common types of welcome bonuses.
First Deposit Welcome Bonus
This is the simplest and probably the most common type of a welcome bonus. When you’re offered a first deposit welcome bonus, you need to register an account with the respective casino and make your first deposit. This bonus is usually expressed as a percentage of your deposit, so if you’re offered a 100% bonus and you make a £25 deposit, the casino will match your deposit, which means that you will get additional £25 to play with. Although we say that this type of a bonus is a match bonus, casinos usually put a limit on the amount you can claim as a deposit bonus. So, for instance if the bonus is 100% match up to £50 and you deposit £60, the casino will award you £50, not £60.
Casinos might set a wagering requirement on your bonus and this requirement gives you the amount that you’ll need to play through before you can claim your bonus winnings. If the wagering requirement is 20 times the bonus amount and you got £20, that means that you’ll need to wager £400 before you can claim your bonus winnings.
Sometimes the wagering requirement might apply to both the bonus amount and the deposit it matched, in this case you will need to add the bonus to the matched deposit and multiply this amount by the wagering requirement. Bear in mind that we’re talking about an amount that needs to be played through, so if you’re required to play through £400, that doesn’t mean that you will need to have £400 in your account.
Free Spins Welcome Bonus
This type of a bonus is also quite common and is often offered as part of the welcome package usually together with a deposit bonus, but some casinos offer free spins as a standalone offer. This bonus is given as a number of spins that the player is awarded. The free spins can be tied to a deposit, but you could also get free spins before you even make your first deposit, right after you register.
So, let’s assume that the offer is 25 spins and it’s a deposit offer. Once you register and make the minimum deposit, you will automatically receive your 25 spins. The bonus terms and conditions usually specify whether the spins can be used on a particular game or games, or on all games that are available on site. In most cases it is the former, free spins bonuses are usually tied to a game or a selection of games. Sometimes, players get the option to pick the game on which they’d like to use their spins.
Once the bonus is in your account, you will just need to launch the game and start playing, the free spins will be automatically calculated. Once you run out of spins you will be able to play using your funds.
Casinos may also set wagering requirements on free spins and it usually applies to the overall value of the spins. Even though free spins bonuses are just that – free spins, each spin has a particular amount, so the total amount of the bonus is calculated when you put all free spins, i.e. their value together. So, if the wagering requirement is 20 times the value of the bonus and you’ve received 25 spins valued 50p each, then the total amount that you’ll need to wager would be 25 times 50p which is £12.50 times 20 – which amounts to a total of £250.
Make sure that you calculate the total wagering requirement and have an understanding of how much you’d be required to wager before you claim the bonus as this will help you put things into perspective and understand which bonus is better, in case you’re comparing two or multiple bonus offers.
No Deposit Welcome Offer
This offer is not offered frequently, but there are at least several online casinos that offer no deposit welcome bonus offers. Both free spins and cash bonuses can be offered as no deposit welcome bonuses.
For instance, if the bonus offer is 10 Free Spins, this means that you will get your spins without being required to make a deposit first. Usually the bonus is awarded right after you register. Same goes with cash bonuses. Let’s say that a casino site offers a £10 no deposit bonus. Once you register and you meet the other criteria, if there are any (sometimes these bonuses are offered only to residents of certain countries), you will be awarded the bonus.
However, the fact that you get a bonus without having to make a deposit, doesn’t mean that there are no conditions and that you are completely free to use the funds as you please. In most cases, with most offers you will be required to wager a particular amount before you are permitted to claim your bonus winnings. In case you manage to win a prize using your bonus funds or your free spins and you fail to complete the wagering requirements, your winnings will be voided and you will not get a penny. That’s why it’s essential to understand the term and conditions and how much you will be expected to wager before you can enjoy the benefits from your bonus, even if it is a no deposit welcome bonus.
Hybrid Welcome Bonuses
These are also called welcome packages and are usually consisted of at least two different types of bonuses we described above. For instance, a welcome package can include both free spins and a cash bonus which are awarded as a package as soon as you make your first deposit. In this case you can use your spins and bonus funds as you please, either combined, or first your spins and then your cash bonus.
A hybrid welcome package can also include a no deposit bonus and a bonus on the first deposit. For instance, it could be 10 Free Spins no deposit, followed by a deposit match bonus once the first deposit is made. As it is usually the case with no deposit bonuses, you get your bonus when you register, but the bonus payout is usually tied to the deposit and the subsequent wagers.
A welcome bonus can be linked to more than just one deposit. Often casinos offer welcome packages where you get a bonus instalment after each deposit. For instance, it can be a match deposit bonus that applies on the first four deposits. This means that with each deposit you could claim a bonus. The percentage and the maximum amount that you can claim for each deposit, as well as the minimum qualifying deposit amount may vary.
Other Types Of Bonuses
Now while welcome bonuses are the most interesting type of bonus and players get most excited about them, there are other types of bonuses that casinos can offer and in fact do offer. Other bonuses can be offered as part of the loyalty programme, or as standalone offers. There is a really wide variety of bonuses and we’ll go through some of the most popular ones.
Refer A Friend Bonus
Referral bonuses are offered in many other industries, so it’s no wonder that casino sites also offer bonuses to players who manage to convince their friends to join the site. This bonus can also be a free spins bonus or a cash amount bonus, but more often it’s the latter and not the former. The bonus amount is usually paid out following the first deposit that the referred friend makes. There can be a limit on the number of friends that a player can refer, but this isn’t always the case.
This is a special type of a promotion and casinos usually organise prize draws for special occasions, like upcoming holidays or so. Players need to complete certain conditions, like wager a specific amount on a game or in general before they get a ticket for the draw and in most cases one player can get more than one ticket.
These prize draws usually include standard prizes like free spins and cash bonuses, but the more valuable prizes may include new smartphones, other gadgets or even major cash prizes, holiday packages and more.
Loyalty Bonuses & Perks
As we mentioned above, most casino sites run loyalty programmes which can include a wide range of prizes, including daily free spins, cashback, and other perks. These programmes usually feature multiple levels and the higher a player is, the more perks and promos will be offered to them. The top levels can also be called VIP levels, but some casinos run a separate VIP programme. Essentially it is the same thing.
At some casinos you would have to deposit and wager a specific amount of money before you can become a VIP player, whereas at other sites you can only become a VIP once you get an invite from the customer service team. Players who reach the top VIP levels might be assigned a special VIP account manager to assist them with everything.