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How do welcome bonuses work?

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How do welcome bonuses work?

How do welcome bonuses work?

Thu Dec 10 2020 02:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

With every online casino offering something different, it can be tricky sometimes to figure out how it all works and how to know which one is the best for you. By looking at how they work in general, it can make it a lot easier to understand all of the small print and get the welcome bonus that offers you the most.

What is a welcome bonus?

The general aim of a welcome bonus is to attract new custom by offering a deal that the casino thinks will most appeal to its audience, which is why they can vary hugely depending on which online casino it is.


It also depends entirely on what the casino wants to promote at the time. You will typically find that some welcome bonuses are tied to new games that the casino is running at the time, or sometimes they are offered as part of a concerted promotion push.


Not all bonuses are for new customers though, and there are many casinos that look to offer as many bonuses for existing customers as they do for new ones. However, some online casinos will focus strongly on just attracting new custom, and will not worry about how their existing clients will react to not being able to access some of these deals.

Benefits of welcome bonuses 

As an example, if there is a new entrant to the market, then it is likely to offer as many attractive bonuses as it is able to, as this is how it will grow its customer base. The ones that have been on the scene much longer tend to entice people in based as much on their reputation as anything else.


When trying to find the welcome bonuses that suit you best, it is also worth bearing in mind whether or not the casino itself matches what you are looking for when online gambling, and whether a casino with less of a welcome bonus is actually more along the lines of what you are after. Although you can easily sign up to more than one online casino, getting hold of a welcome bonus is not always completely straightforward, and does not mean that you will automatically have access to cash just because you win and think you have followed the instructions.


Part of this comes down to wagering requirements, and also the general stipulations under which each casino decides to operate. It is always worth being completely aware of this before you sign up, deposit and start gambling.


There are many positives from a casino perspective, and it is worth bearing in mind that overheads are much less for online casinos than they are for physical casinos, which have to pay for the running of a building and resources, including lots of staff. Online versions run much more leanly, and therefore they can offer things that your average land-based casino would typically not.

Types of welcome bonuses

There are also many types of welcome bonuses, so it is worth looking at each one in detail to get a clearer picture of how they all work. That way, if you are stuck between two choices, the knowledge here may help to swing it for you.

Once you know which direction suits you best, you can start playing all of your favourite roulette games and blackjack games.


It is worth bearing in mind that relatively speaking, there is never such a thing as free money. It is certainly possible to find some so-called loss leader accounts that will give you a free amount when you sign up, no questions asked. However, this is rare, and most online casinos will look to cover themselves from too much financial risk and liability for payout.


When they do offer something for free though, the statistics suggest that the average player will end up spending enough to make up for their loss, and some of these accounts will be large enough that overall, it works out fine for them. In that sense, it is worth them accounting for some loss given how many people they will attract to their site as a result.

That said, many online casinos tend to restrict how much they can lose by enacting what is known as wagering requirements, which place a mandate on how many times you will have to wager your bonus before they allow you to withdraw it.


They will come under a few different names, depending on the location and company, so just doing a search for one term will not always produce the results that you are looking for.

Sometimes, you will see them called playthrough requirements, play requirements or something to this effect, but the overall procedure is much the same.


The general definition of this is classed as the number of times that you will need to bet past your wager in order to be able to withdraw this money. A general expected average for this is 30 times whatever you put in, or are given for free.

If the casino provides you with a $10 deposit, then you would have to gamble with them to the tune of $300 before you could do anything else with the funds.


Some examples tend to give you additional funds if you invest a certain amount yourself, which are often known as matched bets. In this situation, you would end up with $20 in the account, half of which came from you, and you would then have to reach that $300 worth of gambling before you could ask to take the money back out.


For some people, this is no problem at all. The chances are that for these individuals, they would be expecting to gamble that figure or much more anyway, and therefore it is of little concern. However, for those who like to be more free with their betting habits and not feel required to bet just to get closer to withdrawing, it could take a while to get that far.


One other aspect in terms of limitations is linked to which games you can actually play while using your welcome bonus. It turns out that many of these only allow you to play slot games, and specific ones at that, instead of something such as baccarat games.


While this can be frustrating, it is worth pointing out that this does not necessarily apply to all casinos, and each one will have some variance on this.


As for why it seems to be set up like this, it has to do with what value each game offers to the house. As an example, blackjack games are typically less profitable than slot games for the online casino, simply because of the way that margins work.


If there is a certain amount of money levied on a blackjack game, then the casino can win a set and certain amount, but never more than that. Slot games, on the other hand, have their randomisation process set so that the odds are a bit more in their favour for what they recover in cash from the average player.


Of course, this is one of the obvious reasons that some people prefer to play the likes of blackjack and roulette – the odds can be much clearer, and it is far clearer to figure out exactly what you would need to do to win on a hand or spin, while slots possess less skill in this regard.

This aspect of chance is hugely important to how it attracts people in, as many will believe that they are more likely to win by playing blackjack games than on slots over a specific period.


In many ways, this is completely true. That said, it begins to make sense why you would see many bonus schemes set up for slots and not for anything else, and that is because they offer more value for the casinos. This is not to suggest that this is the primary reason why they promote this type of game so heavily, and in fact it comes down to their attractive and fresher-looking visuals as much as other aspects.


It is a lot easier to reinvent slot games, for example, than it is roulette, which has very set conditions and expectations of what it should look like. A greater design process can be implemented for slots, and many different iterations can be delivered, but it is harder to do the same kind of thing for some of the classics.


If you do find an online casino that offers welcome bonuses for playing blackjack, then you may find that you have to wager another ten times worth the original, because they will have discounted it in some way. If we refer to the same example as earlier, of wagering 30 times on a deposit of $10, if you followed the same approach and the discounted worth of blackjack with this bonus was at just 10%, then you would be wagering the total figure to something worth $3,000 in order to withdraw it.


While this can definitely seem excessive, you do not ever have to actually use one of these bonuses in order to sign up and deposit – you can always just use your own money if you prefer. However, there is an added element that if you wager this amount as required and come out with a good amount of money in your account, then you are in a healthy position when you withdraw. If not, then you have only lost the deposit trying to match the amount needed, and you can learn from your mistakes and try again.


Since casinos that still exist clearly have a better business model than those that have failed and become insolvent or fallen into obscurity, it is not surprising that they have found a structure that they can offer and not lose out too much in the long run. If they were losing out, then the chances are that they would not still be operating, as they had encountered significant losses.


While each casino will offer something slightly different, this guide will help you to find what you are looking for much more easily and see what might end up with you being caught out by surprise with something you either did not expect or understand.


Another important thing to get to grips with is that in overall terms, nearly all bonuses can be thrown into one of three different categories, which helps you to figure out where it all lies and what scenario you can apply it to when you visit an online casino. After viewing their terms and conditions, it should match up with what you see here.


Cashable bonuses are the most well-known term and the one used most often by advertising and promotions trying to get people to bet and lure in new customers. These work by letting you cash out the full value of the bonus as long as you have wagered the correct number of times they stipulated.

What you need to do to qualify for these will, of course, vary casino by casino. Some online casinos operate with a relative break clause on this, whereby they have the power to void your bonus and potentially all of the winnings you accrued through it, if you try to cash out early.


The next type consists of two similar but separate bonus types – the sticky bonus. The first of these is something that you can wager with but will not be able to withdraw, even after meeting the wagering requirement. The positive side of this is that you can use it to wager, and therefore build up to meet requirements, but it will immediately disappear after you have gambled enough for their procedures and decide to withdraw.

The other sticky type is where the wager does not disappear after you withdraw and stays in your account so that you can continue to wager larger amounts. However, at no point will you have access to this as cash.


It is always worth bearing in mind that any good customer support should be able to answer questions you have on welcome bonuses, and if not, it should indicate whether they are worth trusting or not.



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How do welcome bonuses work?