Casino Bonus Offers- Are They Worth Taking?

Posted on November 13th, 2008

Following a number of discussions with our visitors on this subject, we thought that we´d give this topic some “airtime” or some “keyboard time” or whatever you call it on a blog, and run through the pros and cons of bonus offers.

The online casino market is incredibly competitive and there are many companies trying to attract customers to their sites. One way of doing this, and arguably the most powerful tool in the casino´s bag of goodies, is the casino bonus.

These come in many shapes and sizes, of course, ranging from a free cash giveaway, to a match offer (where the casino will double or even triple your deposit) to the so called free hour promotions, where you don´t have to make a deposit immediately to play with the bonus, but you´ll need to eventually if you are going to collect any winnings.

Let´s talk through the match offer, as this is the one you are likely to see the most of, particularly if you are playing from the UK. Typically, the casino will match your first deposit by a certain percentage. Ladbrokes, for example, does a 100% match. So if you make a deposit of £100 at the casino, they will also throw in £100 and you should have £200 to play with.

Sounds good eh? But the old adage: “there´s no such thing as a free lunch” is a good saying for a reason! There are terms and conditions attached to these bonus offers to stop you from being a smart alec and withdrawing the money immediately (well, you can see their point on this one, much as we would prefer them to operate differently).

Here are the main ones.

1. You´ll need to make a minimum deposit to qualify- this is normally between £5 and £25

2. You will need to make a certain amount of bets before you either get the bonus, or you can withdraw it. Today we checked the offer on Ladbrokes, for example, and we note that you´ll need to “turn over” or make bets to the value of six times your initial chip purchase before they open their wallets and you get the bonus. Then you´ll need to play through the bonus a further 4 times before you can withdraw it. (Actually, this is not a bad deal compared to some). Spin Palace casino offers a 100% match as well on the first deposit except theirs is up to £150 as opposed to the £100 at Ladbrokes. BUT, you´ll need to play through the bonus 30 times before you can withdraw it and the minimum deposit is £20 whereas you´ll can have a £5 flutter at Ladbrokes and still expect some goodies.

3. We have talked about wagering requirements (where you have to turn over the free money a certain amount of times). You also need to watch out for any restrictions on the types of games that you can play to meet the requirements. If you play slots, chances are that you will be covered, as most casinos allow play on fruities to count 100% to the play through requirements. If you play roulette, baccarat or blackjack, however, you will need to study the small print as this is where the casinos tend to “pass on their round”.

Going back to the examples above, Ladbrokes only count 10% of bets on Video Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, and All Aces and Holdem High casino games. So if you bet £10 on Roulette or Blackjack £1 of this play will count towards the playthrough. Turnover on Casino War, Sic Bo, Table Poker, and Red Dog games count 50%. Slots count the full 100%.

On Spin Palace, on the other hand, you´ll achieve 100% on all Slots, American Roulette and all Parlor Games, 50% on all Table Pokers, Red Dog, all Roulettes (except American), Casino War and Sic Bo, 10% on all Video/Power Pokers (except All Aces Video/Power Pokers) and all Blackjacks (except Classic Blackjack), all Craps and all Baccarats and finally 2% on Classic Blackjack and All Aces Video/Power Pokers.

Complicated isn´t it?!

So basically what we are saying is that all casino bonus offers weren´t born equal. If you are an American Roulette player, the Spin Palace offer beats the Ladbrokes offer even though the overall playthrough requirement is higher- and that´s because you´ll get penalised for playing American Roulette at Ladbrokes.

No time to read the small print?

Well, we advise you to read the small print, but understand that you might not have the time, or just find them incredibly dull, so here is our quick advice on bonus offers:

1. If you play slots, they are worth going for.
2. If you play table games like roulette, don´t bother unless you are prepared to read the T´s and C´s and hunt down a site that is favorable to your favorite game.
3. If the offer is a “Free Money and 1 hour Free” type bonus where you don´t have to make a deposit to play with a virtual balance, then take the offer. What´s to lose? You can make a decision on whether to make a deposit later after the hour is up. Any winnings you transfer (from the free play account to a real account) will also be subject to a play through requirement, so check the small print. Jackpotcity run one of these types of promotions. The free period is 30 minutes last time we checked.

Our one liner on this?: “If you don´t have time to read the small print, don´t take the offer”.

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