The online casino industry can get a bit of a pounding when it comes to player feedback on review sites and forums. Much of it should be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s almost a sociological reaction, in that players who will have gripes will be vocal about it, whereas those who have had a positive experience, i.e. a winning one, aren’t likely to use a review forum to shout about it.
Regardless, it’s interesting to see one issue that gets highlighted again and again on these forums – casino bonuses. In the UK and other countries with liberal gambling laws, you will have seen many adverts for online casinos touting their promotions, usually a sign-up offer.
This bonus could consist of something like extra cash to match your deposit and/or free spins to use on some slot games. To get an idea of what the best bonuses and promotions are like you should visit Casino.com to see the latest offers. It’s a good example of a popular site with a lot of promotions, yet one that will also clearly spell out the important terms and conditions.
Casinos can’t advertise falsely
Now, here’s the rub. If a casino offers, say, to double your deposit when you sign up, it follows that the money will not be available to be instantly withdrawn. It doesn’t take someone with a finance degree to understand that’s not a sustainable business model. How could the casino stay in business if it simply doubled your deposit and permitted you to withdraw it instantly?
But, on the other hand, an online casino cannot engage in false advertising, otherwise it would have its licenced removed or face a fine from the UK Gambling Commission, as well as get pilloried on social media. The key term here is ‘bonus money’ or ‘bonus funds’, and that’s what gets players frustrated when they haven’t read the terms and conditions properly.
Bonus funds is real cash, but it is restricted until certain requirements have been met. Normally, this means you have to play through the cash a number of times – the term is called wagering requirements – before it becomes available to withdraw. Once you have met the wagering requirements, the money should be your to do with what you like.
Playing slots is the best course of action
There are some other conditions worth noting. For example, a game like blackjack or roulette, which has a relatively high RTP (essentially the opposite of house edge), will be statistically weighted in favour of you turning over that bonus money if you play a specific strategy. In fact, you could guarantee a profit if you hedged your bets. However, the casinos know this, so those games are restricted, perhaps only counting 10% towards the wagering requirement.
To realise the potential of your bonus, it is almost essential to play slots. These normally have the full weighting towards wagering requirement. You can, however, use some strategy. We mentioned RTP earlier. This is the average rate of return for a game over a period of time. So, the higher the RTP the smaller the casino’s house edge. Slot games like Alchemists Lab, Around the World and Desert Treasure have relatively high RTPs, whereas some jackpot games like Mega Moolah may have low RTPs as some of the bets are paid into the jackpot fund.
The point of all this is to say that, yes, there are some restrictions on casino bonuses, but getting an understanding of them will help you use them more wisely. The top tip is to do what most of us neglect to do when making any kind of purchase – read the terms and conditions.
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