Welcome Bonus

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The vast majority of online casinos feature welcome bonuses available exclusively to newly registered members. The purpose of these freebies is to increase the number of active players willing to make deposits. This followed by real money wagers, a goal which is more and more difficult to achieve. That’s because of the growing number of gaming sites that target the same audience.

If your choice is between casinos with similar game catalogues and comparable payment options and terms, the generosity of the welcome offer will likely decide whether you register with one or the other. Be careful, though. The value offered is not the only criteria one should take into consideration. And reading the related terms and conditions is a must.

How Welcome Bonuses Work

The welcome most often takes form of Free Spins and/or Deposit Bonuses. Some operators are willing to hand over the initial gift as soon as you open an account. But the majority will ask that you first fund it with a specified minimum amount. Once you do, they’ll match your deposit by a certain percentage (and up to a certain value). They might also credit a number of Free Spins to use on one or more slots.

Many live casino sites are offering to match not only your first deposit but also the second. Sometimes also the third and possibly a few more. Maybe percentages and values may differ. But a money transfer has to be executed in order to exploit each of these offers.

Don’t neglect to familiarize yourself with all terms & conditions first. For example, you may be living in a country whose residents aren’t eligible. More than a few operators impose restrictions linked to the payment method. It’s not unusual to find that Skrill and Neteller deposits don’t qualify for the welcome bonus.

Free Spins can usually be used only on titles chosen by the operator. They are very rarely applicable in progressive slots. Online casinos frequently limit the maximum withdrawable win amount, especially when it comes to no-deposit spins. It’s equally important to check the wagering requirement and various restrictions applied to bets placed with an active bonus.

Welcome Bonus Wagering Requirements

The so-called „free money“ isn’t exactly free. That’s understandable. If casino operators simply kept handing out cash, they wouldn’t stay in business for long. Instead, players are given a chance to generate a profit by betting with the casino’s money. But they have to meet the wagering requirement (also known as play-through or rollover) prior to withdrawing it. This condition is expressed as a multiplier of the bonus amount or the sum of bonus and deposit.

Let’s say the operator offers a 100% match of your first deposit. Subject to 30x rollover which is applied to the credited bonus amount. You make a €10 deposit and get another €10 in bonus funds. Whatever you win as the result will only become withdrawable once you bet 30 x €10 = €300. If the same casino applied the multiplier to both deposit and bonus (in the above example €10 + €10), you’d have to wager 30 x €20 = €600. Only then would your winnings be released.

Be aware that not 100% of your bets count towards  the wagering requirement. In most cases, slots contribute far more than table games and it’s common to find game types that don’t contribute at all. It may be that, having wagered €300 in RNG blackjack, you find that there’s still €270 to bet before the bonus is cleared (meaning this game contributes only 10%) while another player spends the same amount in a video slot and already gets to withdraw (100% contribution).

The information about the wagering requirement and game contribution is available within bonus terms or the casino’s general T&C. If you can’t find it or don’t fully understand it, contact the operator’s customer service. Ask them to clarify.

Welcome Bonus Restrictions

Imagine this scenario… You come across an amazing welcome bonus with fair play-through requirements, claim it, use it and win. Having wagered it the required number of times, you request a withdrawal. You find that the casino refuses to release your winnings. Why? Because you have inadvertently violated a rule clearly specified within bonus or general T&C.

One important restriction has to do with the maximum bet one can place while playing with an active bonus. If the player wagers more, winnings are void. Another is a restriction in terms of bet types, such as commonly prohibited no-risk bets in a game of roulette. There may easily be more so make sure you’re aware before betting a single cent.

Stickiness could also be considered a kind of restriction. If the welcome bonus is sticky, one can use it to play but will only be able to withdraw the resulting winnings. If welcome bonus isn’t sticky, the casino will pay whatever is left of it as soon as the wagering requirement is met.

How to Choose the Best Welcome Offer?

There isn’t one welcome offer that’s best for everybody. A bonus that requires a deposit made with any payment tool other than Skrill and Neteller won’t appeal to players eager to transfer funds with one of the popular eWallets. High-rollers will want the maximum value of the deposit match to be as high as possible so that they can claim thousands rather than hundreds.

Low-rollers might be happy with a bonus of up to €100 or even less as long as the match percentage is high.Generally, we all want the play-through requirement to be as low as can be, just shouldn’t neglect to check whether it applies only to the bonus amount or the deposit as well.

Game contribution is another important criterion and you should choose the option that makes the most out of bets placed on games you personally like the best. That’s especially valid for fans of live dealer games as many welcome bonuses can’t be cleared by playing Live Roulette, Blackjack or Baccarat.