Almost every online casino you’ll come across these days offers some kind of welcome bonus. Sometimes called a welcome offer, new player bonus or welcome package, this bonus (or series of bonuses) often helps a player determine whether or not they want to spend their time and their money at a particular casino.
For an inexperienced player, it can be daunting to understand what a welcome bonus is and to untangle the different rules associated with one.
To help our readers out, we’ve put together a short guide that aims to clarify the more complex parts of this popular casino bonus and to help you understand how to pick the bonus that suits you best.
On this page you will be able to learn about what a welcome bonus is, what benefits it offers you, as a player, and how to go about using your bonus to its full potential. We will also talk you through the various terms most commonly used in describing a welcome bonus and what they mean for players.
What is a casino welcome bonus?
In very simple terms, a welcome bonus is an offer or series of offers that a casino makes available to new players. It is the very first offer they can accept as a new player and only new players, who have just opened a casino account, have access to it. A welcome bonus can only be claimed once.
That’s what a welcome bonus is. But what does a welcome bonus involve exactly? Well this comes down to the casino itself. There are no rules as to what the casino can offer as a welcome bonus, provided that everything remains within the restrictions set out by the regulating authorities.
There are, however, a number of bonus structures that are very commonly across the industry, and seasoned players in Great Britain will have become familiar with them. We’ll be discussing these bonuses further.
It is also important to remember that, while a sign-up bonus is exciting and a good way to get more out of your money, all bonuses are subject to certain rules. These are determined by the individual casino but they will often be presented in the same way – in the bonus terms and conditions. Read on to find out what these terms and conditions look like and how to make sense of them.
No deposit casino bonuses
Perhaps the easiest way to classify a bonus offer is whether it is deposit bonus or a no deposit bonus.
Let’s start off with no deposit bonuses. These, as you might infer, do not require an initial deposit in order to be claimed. The only thing a prospective player needs to do is to sign up with a casino and create an account. The player will then be given the option to claim a no deposit bonus, if that casino is offering one.
A no deposit bonus can involve any number of things. It could be a bundle of 50 free spins, for example, or some bonus cash. An online casino that has its own reward wheel might offer a free spin on that, guaranteeing a prize from those available through the wheel.
A casino with a points system can offer new players a set amount of those points, which can then be exchanged for rewards or saved up for later. To sum up, a casino can offer any reward as a no deposit bonus, the most common being no deposit free spins and no deposit bonus cash. It is quite rare to find a casino that offers two simultaneous rewards on a no deposit basis.
Claiming a first deposit bonus
What is the opposite of a no deposit bonus? Why, a deposit bonus of course! This type of bonus is triggered once a player deposits money into their new casino account. As with all bonuses, players are free to opt out of receiving a bonus.
When it comes to deposit bonuses, much the same rules apply as to no deposit bonuses. Casinos can offer all manner of rewards to players claiming this bonus but the most frequently offered types are free spins bundles, a deposit match or a combination of the two.
A free spins deposit bonus is simple. When a player deposits, they will receive a set number of free spins and usually the casino will determine which game those free spins can be redeemed on.
A deposit match requires slightly more maths skills. A deposit match will usually take the format of a percentage and a match limit. An example would be ‘100% up to £100’. This means that the casino will match the deposit by the percentage (100% means it will double the amount deposited) and up to the limit (in this case, £100). Players are free to deposit as much money as they like but the casino will only match the deposit up to the stated limit.
Some casinos will offer a deposit bonus that combines the two rewards. For example, ‘100% up to £100 + 50 free spins’.
Casinos will usually also inform players that there is a minimum deposit limit in order to claim a bonus, often £10 or £20. Players are free to deposit less than this but will not be able to claim the bonus in that case.
A welcome package can include more than one deposit bonus, covering the second, third and fourth deposits in some cases. Each may be different – deposit 1 might be matched 100% while deposit 2 would be matched 50% – but all are usually subject to the same rules.
Using a bonus code
A bonus code is simply a short code, usually made up of a phrase, with or without numbers attached, that players can input when they are claiming a bonus. A lot of casinos do not use bonus codes but some do and players will need to type that code in when making a deposit.
Some bonus codes are exclusive, which means that they will not be available to the general public. These are usually the result of collaborations between casinos and respected casino review sites (like ours!) and can be a great way to claim a special bonus that may be better than the standard ones.
Wagering requirements in casino welcome bonuses
Whether a bonus is triggered by a deposit or not, it will likely have wagering requirements. Some casinos offer bonuses without wagering requirements, usually on free spins. However, it’s important to remember that just because you might not immediately spot the wagering requirements, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any.
Wagering requirements, also called playthrough requirements, are presented as a multiplier. An example would be ‘x35’. These can be applied to both bonus cash and to free spins winnings. What this means is that you must wager your bonus cash and/or free spins winnings that many times before you can withdraw them. Keep in mind that bonus cash and free spins winnings may be subject to different wagering requirements.
Withdrawing before those requirements are met will mean the bonus and all the winnings are forfeited.
Wagering requirements are usually displayed right alongside the bonus itself. They are always displayed in the terms and conditions page, either the general casino one or the bonus terms and conditions. This document may seem long and boring but it’s crucial that all players read and understand it in order to enjoy a smooth, hassle-free casino experience.
Every licensed and regulated casino will have a terms and conditions page. A link to this is often found at the bottom of the homepage and most casinos will also provide a link to it alongside any promotions or bonuses it offers.
A casino welcome bonus is a great way for new players to learn the ropes around a new casino and for veteran players to get a measure of what’s on offer.
It is good to remember though that as a player, you have to abide by some rules as well, namely the wagering requirements and any restrictions laid out in the terms and conditions. Bonus abuse is a serious infraction and may lead not just to a suspension of the casino account but the attention of law enforcement authorities as well.
It’s always best to go in well-informed and casinos make it easy for players to understand their responsibilities and the limitations of the welcome bonuses on offer.
Over time, even the most clueless new players will get to grips with the welcome bonus and it’s easy to see why they are so popular among online casino players. The deposit bonus casino chooses to offer will greatly affect how a player perceives that casino and whether they are happy to return to continue playing after they’ve completed the bonus requirements. A returning player is a happy player and that suits both the online casino operators and the punters themselves.
Below are some casinos with stellar welcome bonuses to get you started.