A good casino welcome bonus is beneficial to both the online casino and the player. For the casino, it helps to entice new players to their platform which in turn strengthens their online presence and community. For the new player, it allows them to properly explore the casino and the games on offer even if their initial deposit is relatively small.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at casino welcome bonuses. We’ll break down the types of welcome offers you can receive as well as how to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing and claiming the right casino welcome bonus for you.
What is a Welcome Bonus
A welcome bonus is a type of special offer that is exclusively reserved for the new players of a specific casino website. Casino welcome bonuses are the main way that online casinos draw in new customers, but with the nature of the flooded online casino market, the welcome bonus used by the casino must stand out from the crowd. This means that often casino welcome bonuses can be extreme such as a match offer of 300% or 100 free spins on a chosen game.
How do Welcome Bonuses Work
Almost all welcome bonuses are triggered when a new player makes their first deposit with their chosen online casino. However, some online casinos will offer small incentives to players just for registering an account or signing up for their newsletter. The welcome bonus on offer may only apply to the first deposit or may add a ‘reload’ bonus, giving continued extras for the second, third, and sometimes even fourth and fifth deposit.
The purpose of the casino welcome bonus is not only to make new players feel welcomed to the site but to also give new players a little extra credit to experiment with and explore more of the games on offer. This benefits the online casino because it allows the player to get a clearer impression of their service and increases the chance of them staying around for future deposits.
Types of Welcome Bonus
There are three main types of online casino welcome bonus:
- Deposit Bonus
- No Deposit Bonus
- Free Spins Bonus
It’s common for sites to offer a deposit bonus plus a free spins bonus instead of just one or the other, but for clarity let’s just break down each type.
Deposit bonuses are, of course, awarded to new players when they make their first deposit. Sometimes an offer will stipulate a minimum amount that needs to be deposited to receive the bonus, while other bonuses simply require a first deposit of any amount to be made. As mentioned, deposit-based welcome bonuses can also extend to a specified amount of subsequent deposits; usually, the next 2-5 that are made.
Deposit bonuses usually come in the form of ‘match bonuses’ which is where the casino will match (or sometimes exceed) whatever amount you deposit. This means that when a casino says they will match your deposit 100% if you deposit £100, your total amount of credit will be £200.
Free spin bonuses are commonly used as an add-on to a deposit or non-deposit bonus and give the casino a chance to guide players towards some of their most popular or newest titles. It is rare for a free spins bonus not to stipulate a specific game, but of course, isn’t unheard of. The amount of free spins offers usually ranges between 20-100 spins.
No deposit bonuses are usually awarded to players upon activating their account. This type of bonus is uncommon with long-time established casinos, but start-up casinos sometimes use this form of bonus to attract and build a customer base. No deposit bonuses are usually free spins, casino chips, or even a form of mini-game where players may win any of the above, or some casino credit. This type of bonus is common outside of welcome bonuses as it is a great way to reward existing and returning players.
How to Choose the Best Casino Welcome Bonus
Choosing a casino welcome bonus is largely down to what you’re looking for as a player. Before agreeing to any offer, decide if the welcome bonus is something you’d actually want or use. For example, when it comes to free spins, look up the game that’s offered. If it’s not something you can see yourself playing then the bonus instantly loses its value. In the case of deposit offers that give an over 100% match reward, check the playthrough requirements. If you can’t see yourself wagering enough to meet those requirements then this probably isn’t the bonus for you.
As with many other services, reviews are your best friend. Do some research on your chosen casino as well as on the welcome offer in question. If the consensus is that the casino doesn’t have good customer service or support, or that the welcome bonus has a ridiculous playthrough requirement then you’re probably best looking elsewhere.
How to Claim a Casino Welcome Bonus
Claiming a casino welcome bonus starts with making an account. If the bonus doesn’t require a deposit then the bonus will either be instantly credited to you, or you may need to accept the offer on the site’s promotion page. In the case of deposit bonuses, of course, your next step will be to make a deposit. You may need to enter the casino welcome bonus code (which is usually a word and some letters and digits) to ‘opt-in’ using your deposit, though this isn’t always the case. The bonus will then be credited to you, and once you meet the playthrough requirements or other terms of the bonus you’ll be able to withdraw any winnings earned.
Common Welcome Bonus Terms and Conditions
The most common term you’ll need to get familiar with when reading up on your prospective casino welcome bonus is the ‘playthrough requirement’. Also referred to as a wagering requirement this term refers to how many times you’ll need to wager through the bonus amount you received before you can withdraw any of the proceeds from the offer. Most casino welcome bonuses have a playthrough requirement of 35-50x, but some can be higher or lower than this.
The other term you’ll want to look out for is whether the bonus is referred to as ‘sticky’. A non-sticky bonus allows players to withdraw any remaining bonus value from their accounts once the playthrough requirements are met. A sticky bonus cannot be withdrawn so you’ll need to wager or spend the full bonus amount that you received and can only withdraw the winnings you earned from wagering as opposed to any of the remaining bonus value.
In general, other basic terms you’ll need to pay attention to are the things that the casino includes and excludes. For example, the money given with some match bonuses are only allowed to be spent on certain types of games, say, slots, but cannot be used on live-dealer or tabletop games. It goes without saying that you’ll want to make sure that the offer you’re looking at doesn’t exclude you from your favorite type of online casino game.
Pros and Cons of Using a Welcome Bonus
As with all things in life, there’s a variety of pros and cons surrounding casino welcome bonuses. Here’s a rundown of some of the things to consider when contemplating signing up with a new online casino:
- Extra credit from your initial investment
- Rewards covering multiple deposits
- Free spins
- A combination of bonuses (welcome packages)
- Freedom to experiment with a variety of different casino games
- Wagering/playthrough requirements
- Cash-out limits/sticky bonuses
- Free spins on selected games only
- Potential time limits to offer
Casino welcome bonuses are a great thing, but they’re not for everyone. While you may think you have to accept the welcome offer presented to you by your chosen casino it’s important to remember that you never have to accept any type of deposit bonus (some non-deposit bonuses are automatic) and can instead play with just the money you’ve wagered.
However, casino welcome bonuses can be great for getting to know your chosen casino, experimenting and honing your play style, and discovering new games you might not have been tempted to play before. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re looking to gain from your online casino experience, just make sure to take time to read the terms and conditions and you’ll always make a smart choice!
The term ‘sticky’ refers to a bonus that is given to the player (often as part of a ‘match’ bonus) that cannot be withdrawn from a player's account and instead must be used in its entirety before withdrawals can be made.
Also known as a wagering requirement, a playthrough requirement dictates how many times a player needs to wager the total bonus amount before they can withdraw their winnings.
Most wagering requirements are set between 35-50x, though some bonuses may require higher or lower than this amount.
There’s no form of bonus that is better than the other. It all depends on what you’re looking for in your online casino welcome bonus. Deposit bonuses tend to be more lucrative, but of course require you to make a cash investment of your own, while non-deposit bonuses tend to be smaller little treats given to you by the casino such as free spins or free chips.