Despite stringent regulation, licensing, and other laws surrounding online gambling, some players are still skeptical. Perhaps it is the nature of online casinos that is the problem.
Unlike traditional gaming establishments, online casinos have no physical structure and face-to-face contact. Indeed, they are devoid of human interaction for the most part.
Some players feel that online casinos are possibly fixed despite evidence pointing against this and that it is impossible to win on these games. One area that raises questions amongst players is the so-called ‘free’ bonuses and bets that are given out.
Are these legitimate, and genuine, or just fool’s gold?
What kinds of bonuses do online casinos give?
There are a number of incentives offered by online gaming sites, and not just from casinos although they are heavily involved in this area.
Small casino operators and major players like MGM, Bet365, William Hill, and others such as Energy Casino will offer free spins and bonuses. Generally, all online casinos are free to register so to compete with each other and stand out, they need to offer some enticement.
The types of bonuses typical in casinos and other gaming sites are thus:
- Sign-up bonuses
- Deposit bonuses
- Free bets
- Free spins
- Bingo cards
- Promotional bonuses
- Loyalty bonuses
Some of these are fairly clear in what is involved. Free spins refer to slots, and sign-up bonuses refer to new players registering with a casino.
Others may involve a little more in their design. For instance, a deposit bonus might be designed to match whatever a player credits his account with, or it may even double it. There are also high roller deposit bonuses which can be very lucrative. You will see more on that type of bonus further down the article.
Promotional bonuses are often based around major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup. And, loyalty bonuses are there to encourage continued play.
Why are bonuses offered?
In the case of the aforementioned loyalty bonus, these are offered in the hope that the player will keep betting. It may be that once a certain number of bets are placed, the loyalty bonus will appear, often in the form of a free bet.
Bonuses can be offered to encourage deposits to be made or to get new players to sign up, or to retain existing players. While they may seem generous, they are given out to help the casino, not the player.
Around the world, about 1.6 billion people are gambling regularly. 4.2 billion people gamble in some form at least once a year. In the UK, one in four adults gambled within the previous 4 weeks in 2020 when a study was held by the Gambling Commission in the UK.
This same study showed that players held at least 3 different accounts on average. So instead of using one sportsbook or casino, they switch between them. This can explain some reasons why operators offer bonuses as they need to keep players returning.
Are casino bonuses legitimate?
All bonuses given out by online casinos are legitimate on the whole. While there may still be some shady offshore casinos, the vast majority are operated fairly and legally.
The casino industry has evolved over time, and online gaming sites can offer multiple games, and give out bonuses for loyalty or to entice new players.
However, while these bonuses themselves are genuine, there may be some rather tricky small print to watch out for.
What concerns are there with online casino bonuses?
The concern with free bonuses in online casinos isn’t the incentives themselves but the rules that are set around them.
There have been a few stories about casinos refusing to pay out jackpots, and many players have found that free bonuses also don’t appear to give any winnings back.
This is because there are different terms and conditions surrounding different bonus types. Sticky bonuses are those that are non-cashable. This means that any money won with a sticky bonus can only be used to keep playing. It cannot be withdrawn. This can come as something of a disappointment to anyone who wins with a sticky bonus for the first time.
Other bonuses such as deposit matching may only appear after the initial deposit has been gambled. This is to make sure that players don’t deposit money to receive bonuses only to withdraw it straight afterward.
Free bets may only be used on certain events, or in full. For example, if you receive a free $10 bet it may not be used for multiple games but placed in full on one event.
Some free bonuses such as sign-ups may allow you to withdraw winnings, but they have terms that include you depositing and playing a certain amount of money before you can do so.
How can you get any advantage from online casino bonuses and free bets?
One of the benefits of online gambling is that there are more games to choose from than in any traditional casino. They also have sports betting, bingo, and other activities you might not find in all casinos. With these often come options such as free bingo cards, free bets on football or other sports, or free spins for slots.
The way to get the most out of free bonuses is to read the wording behind them. Find out which ones work for you, and your style of play.
If you find sticky bonuses that allow a certain amount to be won and withdrawn then these can be useful for certain games such as progressive slots. Bonuses give you more goes to hit the jackpot, and while you may not be able to claim all of it, you may not win at all without the free spins that the bonus gave you.
High roller bonuses are an interesting option for progressive slots. This is where a player deposits a large sum, and the casino matches it or at least adds a sizable bonus. If you can find cashable high roller bonuses then you can maximize your chances of winning with them.
While casino bonuses are not a scam as such, understanding them is key to being able to enjoy using them.
If you enjoy playing online then there is no reason to avoid sticky bonuses, but doing some research will help you find cashable options too. These are the more desirable bonuses as you will be able to withdraw winnings far more easily.
Read the terms before depositing in any casino, and you will be able to play and win without facing any disappointment when it comes to withdrawal time.