The Magic of Free Money. Why do online casinos offer bonuses?
How to get Free Money with casino bonuses? Since the earliest days of the online casino, it has been common for websites to advertise promotional offers – otherwise known as bonuses – as a way of attracting new players to their business. As the industry grew, the number of players in the market exploded.
This huge influx of new competition forced individual casinos to look for ways to set themselves apart from one another, kick-starting an “arms race” between many of the bigger players.
In the beginning…
Casinos often get you Free Money and that’s why. This early period in online casino history was somewhat lucrative for the early adopters participating in this new and exciting gambling method. Many of the clauses now synonymous with online casino bonuses such as wagering requirements, prohibited games, bet size limits, and cash-out restrictions did not exist at the time.
These new rules have slowly chipped away at the overall value of many online casino bonuses over the years. Despite this, bonuses remain popular amongst the player community, and casinos are still keen to offer these promotions. So why is this?
How do players benefit from bonuses?
Let’s take a look at it from the players’ point of view first of all. Despite the many restrictions, terms, and conditions attached to casino bonuses nowadays, the offer of “free cash” is too attractive to turn down for many players.
Of course, people are notoriously bad when it comes to reading long lists of terms and conditions too. As a result, many players never realize exactly how restrictive a casino bonus is before choosing to deposit and accept it. By the time these players realize their mistake, it is usually too late, and their winnings have already been confiscated.
Beating Bonuses – Cheating, or Advantage Play?
Going back in time once again to the days when online casino bonuses were often simple and straightforward, a small group of players formed their own community based on the idea of turning these deals into a guaranteed profit.
Forums such as Beating Bonuses expanded quickly. Word got around that if you knew the right games to play and strategies to use, playing casino bonuses could actually become a reliable way of earning a little extra money.
Take Free Money easy. To do this, players would look at every rule attached to a particular bonus, calculate the house edge and wagering requirements of the games they intended to play, and see if the math could be made to balance out in their favor. These techniques are still used today, labeled “advantage play” by the players themselves… and “bonus abuse” by the casinos.
Whichever way you choose to look at it, those same players are still out there today – examining deals, working out which they believe might be profitable, then trying to turn their theoretical advantage into cold, hard cash.
Many players are willing to try their luck regardless of how poor the odds are – gambling is supposed to be fun, after all!
Why DO Casinos Continue to Offer Bonuses Today?
Going back to the original question then, why do the casinos themselves continue to offer these bonuses? The early justifications, such as trying to differentiate themselves from one another, are still as relevant today as they always were.
The need to incentivize new players to spend their time and free money with a specific casino are now even more important, as today’s industry is larger than ever.
For a time, the casinos would compete with each other by continuing to promote larger and more generous bonuses.
However, to remain profitable, particularly with the larger number of players who were now participating – they had no choice but to find ever more complex ways of negating the apparent cash value of the bonuses they were offering. This is how we came to arrive at the situation we are in today.
Bonuses for Existing Players
In addition to the traditional “sign-up” or “welcome” bonuses offered to attract new players, many casinos now also offer regular match bonuses, free spins, or other incentives to their existing customers. These ongoing offers are intended to promote loyalty to a particular casino and can be very effective.
After all, if you are planning to do some gaming at the weekend and make a deposit anyway, why would you not choose to give your money to a brand you already know and trust? Especially when they promise some additional free money on top!
Bonus Restrictions – Keeping the Odds in The Houses Favour
Casinos continue to recognize how popular bonuses are with their player base but have now become extremely adept at using the same tactics as those early “bonus abusers” to calculate the math behind the deals they offer.
Using these methods, the casinos could continue to be seen as offering a generous bonus to the majority of players whilst keeping the actual value of the “free” money as close to zero as possible.
The most common way to do this is to attach a wagering requirement to any bonus funds given to a player. For example, say the casino is offering a 100% match bonus on deposits of £50. They would then include a condition stating that bonus funds must be used to make real free money bets a total of forty times before any resulting winnings are available to be withdrawn.
In addition to this, not every game offered by the casino will count towards these wagering requirements in the same way. Only wagers placed on games with a higher house edge such as slots will be counted in full towards the required amount of betting.
A sliding scale is then used to weight the less profitable games such as Video Poker and Blackjack. Bets placed on these games may only be worth 50%, 10%, or sometimes nothing at all towards the players’ outstanding wagering requirement.
Beware – The Danger of Rogue Casinos
In some cases, the most unscrupulous operators now offer bonus deals, which are virtually impossible for a player to ever cash out from. A bad casino might seem to be offering an enormous bonus, say a 500% match, but will then attach an enormous wagering requirement of up to 100x to both the deposit and bonus amount.
Worse still, a poor casino might choose to lower the value of bets placed on slots to a low figure such as 25% as well. This effectively quadruples the stated wagering requirement figure, but the rule can easily be hidden deep among pages of terms and conditions.
A player dropping £100 into a casino like this would need to place almost a quarter of a million pounds worth of bets to convert such a bonus into cash. As if that wasn’t hard enough, a time limit might also be placed on the need to do this.
As always: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Regulation of Casino Bonuses
In any bonus, you can get free money. Some countries have introduced legislation and/or created official regulatory bodies to protect players participating within the online gaming industry in recent years. This has had a somewhat tempering effect on the online casino bonus, forcing brands to play fair if they wish to offer such deals within the most profitable markets.
For legitimate operators, bonuses continue to be an effective way of attracting and rewarding their customers, whilst the less trustworthy outfits are no longer able to rip players off by praying on those who either don’t know enough or do not pay as much attention as they should to the terms and conditions attached to bonus promotions.
Free Money Some Final Thoughts
Bonuses have unquestionably become much more complicated over the years, both for the casinos to offer and for players to participate in. Despite this, they have also matured, and a good bonus offer today will have advantages for both parties who are a part of the deal.
The casinos are provided with a constant stream of new players and a reliable revenue stream from existing ones. On the other hand, players are offered increased playtime, the excitement of placing bigger bets, and the opportunity to cash out a profit with better odds than they might otherwise have without the bonus funds.
Some casinos have even ditched the older style of bonus in response to all of the market changes. The complicated terms and conditions, rules, and wagering requirements are dramatically reduced or abolished altogether under these new structures. Instead, players are rewarded AFTER they have made a certain value of bets or met other conditions at their leisure.
These deals are effectively an evolution of “cashback” style offers, where a percentage of the profit casinos make from their house edge is given back to the players who made the initial deposits.
Free Money Conclusion:
You always can get free money in any casino. Whichever style of bonus you prefer, or even if you dislike them entirely and instead prefer to simply opt-out of promotions altogether, a wide range of deals will likely continue to be offered for a long time to come.
As long as bonuses remain popular with the majority of players – and are legal for the casinos to offer, of course – they will almost certainly remain an integral part of the online casino landscape.