Casino Bonus Offers- Are They Worth Taking? Claim or Avoid?

Posted on May 11th, 2010

casino bonusHere´s a question that we keep getting asked, and since we keep getting asked it, we reckoned we ought to write up a wee article on the subject to help people work through this particular minefield.

The question is: “Is it worth Taking out an Online Casino Bonus, or are they just a gimmick”?

Well, if you are asking this question, you will probably have realised that alot of the promotional copy you see out there from online casinos is not what it first seems. Most casinos promote themselves to new players with the offer of free money bonuses, so you´ll see messages like:

“£500 FREE!”
“£750 and one hour FREE””
“£10 FREE no Deposit!”

Of course, there´s FREE and there´s FREE, if you get our drift. These kinds of bonus offers generally come with some strings attached.

But can you beat the casino at its own game with these online casino offers? What´s to stop you claiming the bonus and then running off into the sunset, for example.

Well, in the past, people have done just that (except a bit more subtly). The casinos call these characters “Bonus Hunters”. Players who specifically apply for the bonus with the express intention of cashing it out as soon as possible, at which point they up sticks and repeat the process elsewhere. Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what the casino is trying to achieve. They are trying to attract new customers (which is the expensive bit). They would then prefer you to stick around, and play for a while so that they can enjoy the fruits of their labour: ie a loyal customer.

Historically, some people have beaten live casinos by taking advantage of some human error or mechanical failure, for example, a careless dealer or a biased roulette wheel. While such instances are rare in live casinos, they are non-existent online. So, is there any way to beat the games?

When you sign up with an online casino , you will normally do so with a bonus code that may double your account balance, for example. But there will be wagering requirements attached to the “Free Money” that tie you to the casino for a certain amount of playing time before you are able to cash out. So a casino might have a x10 playing requirement for example. In this case, if you deposited £100 and got £100 free, you would have to make £1000 worth of bets before cashing anything out.
Now you can work out the average you would lose making those bets based on the pay out of the casino. Say you were playing blackjack, and enjoying a payout of 99%. You would on average lose £1 for every £100 bets you make. (You might win a jackpot or something of course, or you might lose the lot- we are talking averages). So after £1000 of bets you would expect to lose £10 on average. So in this scenario, the deal looks pretty good. You would come out looking pretty and £90 ahead if you cashed out.

But, lets say you were playing big jackpot slots at a 5% house edge and your wagering requirements are 30. you´d need to make £3000 worth of bets now. And your average loss is now £150. this doesn´t look quite so good.

So should you take the bonus or should you leave it? Well, it depends on the following factors

  • Which games you play
  • The house edge of the game you play
  • The wagering requirement

Try and get the facts and figures for all three factors from the casino, and then work out the mini “profit and loss” as we have done above. If you are in the black after your analysis, take the bonus. If you are in the red, avoid the bonus: don´t take it.

Generally speaking, you should avoid the bonuses if you like playing roulette, blackjack, or video poker, as wagering requirements are very strict on these games (unless of course you are happy to play through the bonus on slots). If you like playing slots, do the numbers and make the decision according to the result. Some slots (like the 5 reelers) might be better than others (like more traditional pub slots). Read the T’s and C’s.

Our Top Casino Bonus Tip.
Look out for bonuses that offer you a free hour with some free money to test the games. Or an out and out no deposit casino bonus. There is generally no need to deposit anything, and you will be able to transfer any winnings to a real account after 60 minutes. (At this point, and only at this point will you need to make a minimum deposit, normally around £20).

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