Andrej’s been around since day one. Let’s just say that he could get around an online casino blindfolded. That’s not to say that he does, he’s a perfectionist at heart. Fine print? There is none with Andrej.
Whether you call it a ‘welcome bonus’ or a ‘sign-up bonus’ or anything else, casino welcome bonuses have become the standard in the industry now. With so many online casinos elbowing each other out of the way to try and get attention from prospective players, sometimes a decent welcome bonus can be the tie-breaker that helps you decide which online casino site you now call home. In the UK, you must opt-in for bonuses and promotions.
Welcome bonuses come in lots of different shapes and forms, and this can get confusing for the uninitiated. Deposit matches, casino free spins, it can all sound confusing and convoluted, but trust me, it’s all actually pretty simple.
The most common kind of welcome bonus out there is your straight-up deposit match. This is when online casinos match your first deposit 100% up to a certain limit. This can go as low as £10 and as high as £500. Players usually get their bonus funds almost immediately after their first deposit registers in their account balance.
These are the kinds of welcome offers that have catchy tag-lines like “Deposit £50, Play with £100” or “100% of your First Deposit up to £200!”.
This might look like the casino is just giving you free money, and in a way, they are. However, you can’t make a single deposit of £100 and withdraw £200 minutes later. Players need to redeem their bonus funds by meeting wagering requirements, but we’ll get into more detail about that below. As a general rule, though, unless you’re a high roller, be wary of making a first deposit that’s too big.
Another common welcome bonus is to match players’ first deposits, like we just described above, and to throw in a number of free spins to help sweeten the deal. “Free Spins” are basically slot machine tokens, so you can play slots games without having to wager your own money.
When a casino throws in free spins, each free spin is worth a specific amount. Generally, it’s somewhere around £0.05 or £0.10, but can go as high as £0.50 in some cases. One thing about these free spins which isn’t immediately apparent is that these free spins can only be used on either a small number of specific games, or on a single specific game.
Another thing that players should be aware of is that when casinos throw in free spins, your winnings won’t include the free spin’s initial wager. So, for example, if you use a free spin worth £0.10 and win £0.50, you’ll actually get £0.40. It’s also really common for casinos to add free spin winnings to the welcome bonus’ wagering requirements, but that won’t be too much of an issue for players who aim for a realistic bonus amount.
Welcome packages are the online casino equivalent of rolling out the red carpet for new players. These usually include several deposit bonuses, and possibly some free spins too.
These are the kinds of deals that will, for example, match 100% of your first deposit up to £100, 75% of your second deposit up to £75, and 50% of your third deposit up to £50. While these packages can look amazing, players who are still new to the world of online casinos should make sure to read the terms and conditions in full before making their first deposit. As we mentioned above, and will go into more detail about below, every bonus comes with wagering requirements. Welcome packages, in particular, can be difficult to redeem if players aim too high.
These kinds of bonuses can be phenomenal, as long as players aim for bonus amounts that are realistic and achievable when taking into consideration their own play styles and the casino’s wagering requirements.
When it comes to choosing the “best” casino welcome bonus features, it largely depends on what you’re looking for from an online casino.
By and large, though, you’re going to want to look for deposit bonuses that match 100% of your first deposit. This will make any math you need to do to figure out the best bonus amount for you a lot easier, and it’s how to get the best bang for your buck.
Secondly, welcome bonuses that include free spins are always great because they add on that extra bit of value, and give new players an easy way to try out a few games without having to risk their own money.
More than that, though, the best features of a welcome bonus are actually the terms and conditions. These are the things that can really make or break or a bonus. For example, the wagering requirements will help determine how big of a bonus you should aim for, and the maximum bet amount will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to reach that goal.
This has already been said, but it bears repeating: always read the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions tied to deposit bonuses are extremely important, and you should make sure that you fully understand them before making that first deposit and activating the welcome bonus.
There are several key things to look at when reading through bonus terms and conditions. Even though it looks daunting, trust us, by the time you’re finished reading this, you’ll have everything you need.
We’ve mentioned wagering requirements a few times so far, but what are they? A wagering requirement is basically how many money you need to wager before your bonus funds (and possibly your free spin winnings) are considered to be “redeemed” (i.e. withdrawable). Redeeming your bonus funds is basically converting them from “pretend” money to “real” money.
The wagering requirement is always a multiplier of some sort. You’ll either need to wager a multiplier of your bonus, or your deposit, or both. This is really important to pay attention to, as the semantics around this can make a really difficult wagering requirement look a lot easier than it really is.
For example, if you’re trying to redeem a bonus amount of £10, which was 100% matched to your deposit of £10, then it might look something like this: Wagering requirement: 35x deposit + bonus actually means 35 x (£10 +£10). This is very different from “Wagering requirement: 35x bonus”, which would be 35 x £10.
“Wagering requirement: 35x deposit + bonus” would mean you need to wager £700, while “Wagering requirement: 35x bonus” would be half that, at only £350.
Then you need to look at the terms and conditions to find the casino’s game weighting. Game weighting is basically the fact that some games count more towards meeting wagering requirements than others. Most casinos will have slots games set at 100%, meaning that if you wager £200 on slots games throughout the month, 100% of that £200 will count towards your wagering requirement.
A lot of casinos will set blackjack at somewhere around 40%. This means that if you wager £100 on blackjack that month, £40 (i.e. 40%) of that will count towards meeting your wagering requirement.
If you’re looking at a casino’s welcome bonus and can’t seem to find this information, head to that casino’s review right here on our site. We break down the key terms and conditions of every bonus we review.
Another common thing that players are likely to find in a deposit bonus’ terms and conditions is a list of specific games that either are or aren’t eligible for contributing towards wagering requirements.
Basically, if there’s a list of games marked as ineligible, just make sure not to play those specific games until your bonus has been redeemed. Otherwise, what you wager on those games won’t count towards your wagering requirements.
Similarly, if a casino mentions that specific games are eligible, then make sure to play those games to redeem your bonus funds.
While most well-established were reluctant to add cash out limits in the past, nowadays, things have changed. Don’t be surprised if you come across a maximum cash out limit on a bonus coming from the leading UK online casinos.
Deposit bonus cash out limits start at as low as £500, which is bad, and go as high as £1,000, which is better, all the way to £4,000, which is even better, yet not great. We believe that bonuses should be free of cash out limits. If online casinos want to put safeguards in place, that will protect them from bonus abusers, non-redeemable bonuses are the way to go.
The maximum bet limit, on the other hand, is there to prevent players from employing winning strategies or quick wagering. Deposit bonuses are meant to increase the playtime, and allow players to explore more content, while having a fair chance at winning. In the UK, when it comes to deposit bonuses, the maximum bet limit is usually £5.
It’s far from rocket science, but online casinos like to throw in weird jargon to make it harder for players to evaluate the offers themselves.
In short, non-redeemable bonuses are inferior compared to redeemable deposit bonuses.
Some UK online casinos might offer two, three, or even four welcome bonuses. In 99% of the cases, new players are eligible for only one of them. Make sure you choose the one that fits your gaming habits the most.
“Bonusing-in” your new player status for a bonus that you’re not entirely in, and foregoing the bonus you should’ve picked, stings.
Also, be aware of the timeframe within which you have to complete the wagering requirements. The welcome deposit bonus wagering requirements have to be completed within the given period. Majority UK casinos mandate 30 days, with the longest period on record being 183 days. What we’re trying to say is, make sure you have enough time to complete the requirements. Any unsuccessfully completed WR will have all your bonus balance voided.
Lastly, pay attention to the sister sites of the casino. We’re doing our best to point them out, but due to the influx of new casino sites, some casinos slip through our fingers.