In 2021, the online gambling industry is booming. The pandemic has stimulated interest in virtual casinos as their land-based counterparts were forced to close their doors. The sheer number of sites is astonishing, and every provider tries to stand out from the crowd using unique welcome offers.
Today, these rewards are extremely diverse. A sign-up bonus for users comes in the form of free cash, free spins, or other incentives. After your account is registered, the provider credits it with the advertised amount. Of course, these bonuses come with stringent conditions. The devil is in the details.
Types of Bonuses
The purpose of any welcome offer is to incentivize new users to sign up. The reward may or may not require a deposit. No deposit bonuses are particularly attractive to players, and they give casino websites an edge. Most commonly, the following systems are used:
1. Free Spins
Some casinos offer a specific number of spins for registration — for instance, 50 or 100. Usually, players may use them for any slots in the collection. The most attractive options have progressive jackpots.
Many websites feature games like Mega Moolah on their homepage. This game has an ever-growing prize pool. A fraction of every bet across the casino network contributes to it. Players are excited to try the game for free because they can win millions. The biggest prize — the Mega jackpot — has already been hit several times. Who would not like to get a windfall without depositing a cent?
2. Free Cash
Alternatively, the operator may credit your account with a specific amount of money. Free cash can be used for some or all of the games in the collection. Naturally, casinos are not interested in handing out money, so the withdrawal requirements are usually complex — you cannot cash out the gift before playing.
3. Free Play
As another form of incentive, the casino may provide free playtime. This allows you to explore the system and library before making a payment.
4. Match Bonuses
These are rewards for deposits. Some casinos have misleading advertising because they offer substantial amounts (e.g., $1000) as bonuses for new players. In reality, this is usually the sum of several match bonuses, and it requires an even larger sum of deposits. The provider adds a specific percentage of each payment. For example, you may get five match bonuses that range between 25% and 100%, giving up to $1,000 in total.
Every welcome bonus and any bonus, in general, comes with conditions. Wagering or playthrough requirements show how many times you need to bet the amount if you want to qualify for withdrawal. This is a multiplier — for example, 35x. The higher it is — the longer you need to play to achieve the goal.
Obviously, unscrupulous providers exploit this opportunity. Their requirements are hard to find, and they are also unrealistic. Players are enticed by promises of huge bonuses, but they can hardly ever withdraw them.
Benefits and Drawbacks
On the upside, welcome bonuses have made gambling more attractive and exciting for the regular user. It is in our human nature to seek freebies, and who would reject free cash or playtime? Platforms with attractive offers have more sign-ups and a wider audience of paying customers. As the competition in the industry is fierce, providers cannot ignore welcome offers. Every casino tries to overshadow the competition with some irresistible offer.
At the same time, these schemes are used by scammers. Not every offer may be trusted, and unsuspecting users are taken advantage of. They can spend significant amounts of time at the casino before they realize that their gifts are technically useless.
After users sign up and start playing, they can collect other gifts — loyalty bonuses. Many casinos are part of global networks like Casino Rewards. This system includes six status levels, each with a selection of gifts, bonuses, and games. It is designed to motivate players to stay on the member sites.
What This Means for Gamblers
Users should not take any advertising claims on faith. If you see an attractive welcome offer, check the terms and conditions first and read the small print. The gift may come with unfeasible wagering requirements, so it is only there to lure you in.
If you choose a welcome package with free spins for progressive slots, keep in mind that the outcome of every spin is perfectly random. Reliable casinos are built on RNGs, and their systems are regularly inspected by third parties. Randomness means that anyone can hit the jackpot, with or without bonuses. At the same time, this also means that past bets do not affect the future outcome. This realization will help you stick to your betting limits.