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The online casino industry is a very competitive market. Despite the fact that it is almost saturated new casinos are coming online regularly. New casino brands have to offer something to entice customs to play at their site. Existing brands need new customers to survive also. When it comes down to it most casinos are very similar to each other. The same few software companies supply most of the games so the gameplay is much the same. So promotions are one of the ways to stand out from the crowd. Everybody loves a giveaway. We all like to think we are getting something extra. The most common form of enticement is the online casino deposit bonus. This bonus can come in many forms ranging from a few dollars right up to thousands of dollars.

The Standard Welcome Bonus – Is Far From Standard

Land-based casinos would never dream of giving bonuses to customers to come and play at their venue. Excluding Las Vegas a city built by gambling cash brick and mortar casinos have very little competition close by, so there is no need to draw custom away from other venues. With very few exceptions online casinos offer a welcome bonus to every new customer. This has become an industry standard, the amounts offered however vary greatly. The commonest is what’s known as a match bonus. This is where the casino will give a percentage of a customer’s first deposit as a bonus to be added to the players account. Usually this will be a 100% match of the deposit up to a maximum amount. For example if a new player opens their account with $100 and the bonus is a 100% match up to $100, the funds available to play with will be $200. The maximum bonus amount is an area where online casinos can compete with each other to appear more attractive. The middle of the pack generally hover around $250-$500 range. Some of the well-established big boys go up to a staggering $1000-$1500. The best casino deposit bonus is not necessarily the biggest however, because of one very important factor the wagering requirements. We will go into that a little bit further on.

The Second And Third Deposit Bonus

It is becoming more common for online casinos to give bonuses for not just the first deposit but for subsequent ones also. These are rarely the same amounts but are normally match bonuses. For example the first deposit may be 100% up to $100 the second one may be 50% up to $500 and a third may be 25% up to $1000. All of these promotions are different from casino to casino and give good parameters with which to make your choice. The best online casinos don’t stop there some run monthly promotions where they give deposit bonuses on say the first Thursday of each month. Others have run weekend promos where they will match every deposit made over the weekend. Deposit bonuses don’t just consist of percentage matches there are some that give $25 worth of free spins for any deposit. These normally don’t give you the chance to win any cash and are purely to promote a new slots game, but it’s nice to try for free. The chance to win holidays and cruises, cars and electrical gadgets have all been offered as bonuses for deposits made. These last examples are more like raffles but at least they have no wagering requirements and as such feel much more like a gift when won.

Nothing In Life Is That Straightforward – Casino Bonuses Have To Be Worked For

Online casinos are in business to make profit. Obviously that’s a no brainer. Giving away bundles of free cash would soon see them go under. So the play through clause is used in every bonus given. The play through was originally just a legal requirement to prevent casino accounts being used for money laundering. The idea was seized on however to help mitigate some of the expense of promotional offers. So how does it work? Well, it’s known as the wagering requirements and for every bonus given their will be separate terms and conditions set out before you can withdraw any winnings from said bonus. This is the area that takes a little mathematics to work out what is actually on offer but it is worth doing. The wagering requirements work like this. The idea is that you have to wager the bonus amount a certain number of times before you are eligible to cash out any winnings from it. For example a x20 wagering requirement on a $500 bonus would mean that you would have to wager $10 000 before cashing out. Doesn’t seem quite so good does it? Some casinos go as far as making you wager both the deposit amount and the bonus amount. So this is where your math skill comes into play. A x35 wagering requirement on just the bonus is better than a x20 on the bonus and the deposit amount. The devil is in the detail as it is with most things. Be wary of very large deposit bonus amounts they usually come with a hefty set of requirements there have been some with as much as a x75 play through!

It’s Not Just The Play Through That Counts

Online Casino Deposit BonusThis part of the terms and conditions is a little bit deceptive. Not all games are equal when it comes to counting toward wagering requirements. Every casino will allow 100% of wagers on slots games to count towards the wagering requirement that is a given. The differences come with all the other games. For example Ladbrokes have one of the best ‘game weight distribution’. Pai Gow runs at 25%, Casino Hold’Em, Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Craps 20% and Video Poker and others at 10% some games don’t count at all. Even though this is one of the better ones it still makes it very difficult to hit the requirements if you want to play anything other than slots. There are some online casinos that are twice as bad. It doesn’t stop there either there are bet size restrictions also. These can vary but usually you cannot wager more than 30% of the bonus amount at any one time for it to count towards play through. Another sting in the tail is your deposit is wagered first then the bonus. So it makes sense to read all of the terms and conditions very thoroughly before committing any of your cash. Just one clause in the terms and conditions can radically change the appeal of a particular bonus.

Then We Have The Bonus Abuse Clause

This is an area that player forums are constantly moaning about. It is probably the most talked about aspect of bonuses. It is normally stated as ‘irregular play’ in the terms and conditions and if a casino deems a player has committed this act then quite often the account is closed. The thing is the definition of irregular play is hazy at best. Casinos say it can be when a player only makes even money bets or hedge bets. Some don’t allow you to switch from a’ low weighted’ game to a ‘high weighted’ game after a big win. So if you win at the blackjack table and then go to the slots to complete the wagering requirements they with remove the bonus and winnings. The problem is that it is in the sole discretion of the casino management to decide what ‘regular play’ is or not. There are a host of other written terms that will void any bonus as well as the fact that they can make one up as and when they like. The deposit bonus is really starting to lose its shine.

It All Depends On How You See The Bonus

If you look at the bonus as being the chance to get money out of the casino then you are more likely to succeed with a lower deposit/bonus amount. It is far more likely that you can turn around $100 twenty times than say $500. If however you see your casino visits as purely entertainment then the bigger the bonus amount regardless of play though is better for you. Casino games are designed to favor the house in the first place. We all play them with the hope that we win but most of us accept the fact that in the end we probably will lose. So with that in mind the bonus cash we get should really be viewed as extra fun tokens.

Make Sure Bonus Funds And Deposited Funds Are Separate

All of the reputable online casinos keep the bonus funds separate from the cash you deposit. The less than reputable don’t and it can be very confusing knowing where you stand. Find out which funds you are gambling with. Nobody wants to have a big win at the roulette table thinking that you are playing with your own money, only to find out that it was bonus funds and you still have to stake another $5000 and win to see it. This is major problem for some if you read forum posts. There are far too many casinos out there that don’t make it very clear how it all works. If you don’t understand all of the terms and conditions get written confirmation from the customer service team. If they are vague or you are in any way unsure don’t commit. You can of course opt out of receiving any bonus then there is no confusion. A lot of players that play regularly swear by this and it is becoming a common thing. There are a few online casinos that openly promote themselves as being bonus free. They market themselves by having the lowest house edges. No tricks or gimmicks just a fair shot at winning.

What Is The Future Of The Online Casino Deposit Bonus?

To be honest probably more of the same. The more established brands will give regular customers more bonuses. Monthly, weekly and even daily deposit bonuses will be the norm. The more unusual raffle type bonus may well be the way for some brands to stand out. It would still run on a deposit basis to enter but would be prize based instead of playing funds. This promotion type is used a lot at Christmas and while it is a higher risk for the casino it is very attractive for the players. The online casino is a multi-billion dollar industry and it is growing worldwide daily. With the amount of revenue coming in you can be sure that there will be healthy promotions on a regular basis. It’s very similar to the supermarket running a buy one get one free. There will be some that just go in and buy that product. The majority though will go in to buy it and end up spending a lot more than they intended. It’s known as a loss leader and has been very successful for the retail industry. It seems to be working very well in its own guise for the online casino industry. The lure of something for nothing will get us every time!

Don’t Chase The Cash

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the idea that you can beat the casino and that he bonus cash is just there for the taking. Don’t fall into the trap. Bonuses really are there to get you in the door. If you find yourself reloading your account because you lost all the bonus money and want to get it back you have a problem. There are many charitable foundations set up to help those with gambling problems. All are anonymous and are very well trained. The best online casinos are committed to responsible gambling and will have links on their site to one or more organizations. Remember casino games are meant to be fun. When it’s no longer fun stop.