Understanding Casino Bonuses

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Let’s face it, if all casinos were the same, there wouldn’t be so many of them. But with the online gambling market estimated to be worth $51.96 billion, and growing fast, you’ll find that there’s plenty of variety around to suit all tastes.

So how do you go about finding the best online casino for you?

It could work out very expensive for you to try each one out with your own money, so the best way to test drive a casino is with a free bonus. Almost all casinos will offer some sort of free play to tempt you to give them a go. Of all the offers available, no deposit casino bonuses are the lowest risk, but you may have to work harder to get anything back from them. Whichever offer you choose, you need to make sure you understand the way it works if you are to have any hope of winning, and of getting to keep those winnings as real cash.


Types of casino bonuses

There are two types of casino bonus – no deposit bonuses and deposit match bonuses – and each one has its own advantages. Deposit match bonuses require you to risk your own money to get the deal, but they are usually much bigger and they make it easier to get to any winnings. On the other hand, no deposit bonuses don’t involve any risk on your part, but the sums are much smaller and the winnings harder to withdraw (more on that later). If you just want to try out the casino to see how it feels, and are not bothered about winning at this point, then a no deposit bonus is the way to go.


Common restrictions

Whichever type of bonus you choose, you should always read the small print carefully before you sign up. There are a number of restrictions to look out for, all of which can seriously affect the way you get to play. It is important to completely understand the rules of the offer or you might miss out.

For example, your bonus may come to you as a drip feed, over several days. If you are not available, or simply don’t want to play every day, you could lose a chunk of your bonus funds. Other time restrictions mean you will only have 24 or 48 hours to use your bonus before it expires. Any bonus that is unused will be forfeit.

Most bonuses will also have a ceiling on the amount you can win. This means that you can’t use them to drop the multi-million dollar slots jackpot, or put the lot on black 17 like James Bond and walk away with 35 times your bonus stake. Even so, these limits can often be quite generous, running into the hundreds of dollars.


Getting your winnings

Another important factor to be aware of is the terms and conditions around claiming your winnings. Let’s face it, the casino doesn’t really want to give away money if they can avoid it, and so they will do all they can to stop you withdrawing the fruits of your bonus play. This normally takes the form of a wagering requirement. This means you have to bet your winnings a certain number of times, or to a set multiple of your original bonus, before it becomes real cash that you can withdraw. The idea is that on the balance of probabilities, you will lose before you can really win, even if you play it safe with even money roulette bets.

A second type of winnings restriction is player points. With this system, you must accumulate points by playing real money games before you are able to take any winnings from free money bets. Once again, the idea is that you lose more earning your points than you win from your free money bonus.


Are casino bonuses worth it?

At the end of the day, the value of free casino bonuses depends on what you are hoping to get out of them. If you just want to have a bit of fun and see what the casino is like to play in, then they are ideal. You can spin the slots, place your bets and roll your dice using the casino’s cash. You might not win, but you won’t lose anything either.

On the other hand, if you are hoping to win big with your bonus, you will need to work a whole lot harder. If this is your goal, search for casino bonuses with small maximum wins that you can withdraw as real cash. This may only be $5 or $10, but this can soon mount up if you play at a lot of different casinos.

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