Every online casino will offer you a bonus when you sign up, and more often than
not the more you play, the more they will throw your way. But over time, due to the amount of
bonus abuse and volume of "bonus hunters" looking for a free lunch
, the concept of the
bonus has changed dramatically and without exception, every bonus comes with strict terms
and conditions. Of course you can keep it simple and just play the FSFF
free slots with no download and no registration
(and no bonus!) but there
may come a time when you want to play for real and if you don't already, you really need to
know about the bonus traps.
Lets think logically here for a moment...is a casino really going to give a punter free
money to win and walk away with without at least working for it? With that in mind, let's
look at whether the casino bonus really is an incentive or a hindrance
I think it's sensible to divide a bonus into two here: a signup bonus
which is offered when
you make your first deposit(s), and a loyalty bonus
which reward you for going back to the
same casino. There is a difference and I'll deal with each seperately. Before I do, hopefully
you have read my advice on finding good, safe online casinos
because if you don't know your arse from your elbow, and you take a bonus from a rogue outfit,
you can probably kiss goodbye to your money without even spinning a reel.
The Signup Bonus
The signup bonus will arrive when you make your first deposit, or deposits plural depending on
which casino you signed up to. More often than not you will be required to "claim" it in the
cashier, either using a code provided on the website or by asking support for it. Sometimes
it is credited automatically either immediately, or after a short period of time.
The signup bonus will always have terms and conditions attached which should be clearly laid
out in the "Promotions" tab of the casino website. There are two points of note here: the
games you can play with a bonus will probably be restricted and you will be required to play X
amount of games/money before you can make a withdrawal. The latter is called a "wagering
requirement" while the resriction in games is to prevent bonus hunters playing near 50/50
bets to "grind" out the bonus. The bottom line is that the casino doesn't want to give
people something for nothing anymore because it just gets abused.
As a result, my opinion is that it is too hard to win from a bonus and in trying to grind out
the wagering requirement, you are far more likely to lose the bonus and your initial deposit
before you can get to a point where you can make a withdrawal. A bonus is great if you want
a good long session to check out the games, with an outside chance of winning big, but it's
a risky strategy.
The Loyalty Bonus
The loyalty bonus is a different kettle of fish altogether. Depending on the casino you choose,
you could find regular incentives thrown your way or just the odd enticement. Because the
casino now knows you and sees you as a loyal regular, the wagering requirements and restrictions
will be less than with the sign-up bonus in most instances. There will still be restrictions,
but less strict and they will probably vary from offer to offer.
Personally, while I rarely take a signup bonus, I will often take a loyalty bonus to pass
the time. I tend to look at bonuses as extra entertainment value rather than a chance to win
something, although on the odd occasion I wil use a loyalty bonus to bet big and go for a giant
win! It doesn't usually happen, but on one occasion I won $50,000 from a $45 bonus LOL. Grinding
out the wagering requirement wasn't a problem ;-)
All of the casinos here at Free Slots For Fun
will give you a signup bonus.
And all of them come with tough restrictions. If your approach is to play to win, then
I'd advise you not to take the signup bonus
- play with your own money and if you win you
will be able to cash out whenever you want, no ties.
If you are playing primarily to familiarise yourself with the casino,
have read the terms and conditions of the bonus and see your deposit as expendable, then by all means
take the bonus and you never know, you might get lucky. But I wouldn't bank on it.
As for loyalty bonuses
, take each as it comes, look at the restrictions and make your mind
up on based on that. Some are good, others not so good.