Welcome bonuses are likely the most popular type of casino bonuses at iGaming sites all over the world and usually widely displayed and advertised throughout the site. Online casino operators make sure that the welcome bonus on offer is attractive and lucrative so that players can sign up and make a real-money deposit.
Welcome bonuses are rewarded by casinos to new players when they first register, and as such, come in different shapes and sizes depending on the casino operator. There is no set way to how casinos can structure their welcome bonus, although many sites do make use of the same formula. In this guide, we offer some advice to anyone wanting to get the best out of their casino welcome bonus.
- 1 What is a Casino Welcome Bonus?
- 2 Why Should You Claim a Welcome Bonus?
- 3 The Different Types of Welcome Bonuses
- 4 7 Steps on How to Cash Out a Welcome Bonus
- 5 How to Make the Most Out of Your Welcome Bonus
- 6 Welcome Bonus Wagering Requirements
- 7 Welcome Bonus Eligible Games
- 8 Casino Bonus Codes
- 9 How to Find the Best Welcome Bonuses
- 10 Our Expert Conclusion
- 11 FAQ Welcome Bonus
What is a Casino Welcome Bonus?
A welcome bonus is essentially the very first impression new players get from an online casino. As this is the case, these bonuses tend to be highly advertised and extremely lucrative, especially for depositing players. That said, these bonuses are designed to benefit the player as much as the casino, so while it seems valuable at first glance, it does come with strict terms and conditions that must be met before you can enjoy the full benefits of the offer. It is crucial that players understand the terms that come attached to these bonuses, so you don’t end up disappointed when trying to cash out their earnings.
Players should check the bonus terms and conditions before opting to apply to see if you are eligible to claim the offer. Not checking this could mean that you might lose out on valuable rewards or money if you tried to claim but don’t meet the criteria.
The most critical function of a welcome bonus is to attract new players to the site. In a bid to claim the free bonus, players will join the site, make a deposit and use the funds to try out some of the casino’s most popular games. That said, welcome bonuses are also important to the reputation of the website, and many experts and players will use this as a factor when looking for trustworthy, credible sites.
Why Should You Claim a Welcome Bonus?
A welcome bonus is a great way to get started at an online casino, especially if you plan on making a deposit and playing for real money. That said, even if you don’t plan on making a deposit as soon as you join the casino, this free reward will boost your bankroll and give you more incentive to join the casino website. Using the added funds will help you double your bankroll fast, giving you more opportunities to play for real money and essentially win.
The Different Types of Welcome Bonuses
There are many types of welcome bonuses that casino operators can use to attract new players to their site. Some of them are match deposit bonuses, some are no deposit options, and others can be free spins, free cash and more. While there are no rules to what can be offered as a welcome bonus and what can’t, casinos generally tend to stick to a few tried and tested formulas.
A deposit bonus is a bonus awarded after you make a real-money deposit to a casino website. When you make a deposit, you will receive a certain percentage of that back as a wagering bonus. Many sites offer a 100% deposit bonus, although there are maximum amounts included in the terms of the offer. For example, if you make a R100 deposit, you are awarded a 100% deposit bonus, so your account will be funded with R200. That said, most casinos will put restrictions on the maximum bonus amount that will be matched, for example, up to R200. In some cases, the bonus will consist of a 25%, 50% or 75% match. This is sometimes called a match deposit bonus.
Free Spin Bonus
A free spins bonus is a reward in the form of free spins. These free spins can be used in certain slot games – usually, the most popular or the games the casino wants to promote. Also, casinos use games where the house has an edge of over 3% to improve their chances of retaining some of the cash that is given away as part of the casino bonuses. A free spins bonus is great as it gives players the chance to try out a game for a while completely risk-free. In this way, you can decide if you like the game before spending any real money.
Free Game Bonus
Also known as a free play bonus, these are special bonuses that are not as common at online casinos as one would hope. These are rare among casino operators but hugely popular with players as they consist of a large amount of money injected into an account. The caveat is that players are unable to withdraw it unless all the conditions have been met. In some cases, the bonus will allow you to earn a given amount of money with the cash you’re given, which will then be converted into a small amount that can be withdrawn as cash. As long as you meet the wagering requirements, it is a win-win for the player regardless.
Another common option is to combine the bonuses. This is especially true for match deposit and free spins bonuses, which are combined to form a rather lucrative and exciting welcome offer. For example, the welcome offer will be 100% up to R200 plus 50 free spins. It is usually activated when you make your first deposit, with winnings paid out as cash if you meet the wagering requirements.
In many cases, the free spins are dished out in various multiples over a set number of days and not all at once. This allows the player to use the free spins daily instead of all at once. The free spins are also usually available on select video slot games. Remember that, despite being a combined bonus, there will be wagering requirements for each individual offer.
7 Steps on How to Cash Out a Welcome Bonus
As mentioned a few times before, there are various conditions that must be met before you can cash out a welcome bonus. While casinos use these bonuses to attract new, depositing players, they will rarely give away free cash with no conditions. If this was the case, the operator would face bankruptcy sooner or later. In order to get the most out of your welcome bonus, consider the following:
- Make sure that you are playing at a safe, secure and reputable online casino. Read reviews from credible sources (like our site) to ensure that the casino is well-rated and a top option in the iGaming community. Also, read customer reviews and see if there have been any discrepancies regarding cashing out at the particular gaming site.
- Read the terms and conditions of the bonus thoroughly before making any real money bets or trying to cash out any winnings associated with the bonus offer.
- Make sure that you are eligible to claim the welcome bonus offer. For example, some countries may be accepted at the casino but are ineligible to claim a particular casino bonus.
- Make sure to understand any consequences to opting out of a bonus once you’ve already started. Know what you are giving up by cancelling the offer. It’s normal for human beings to change their mind, but make sure that you won’t be penalised in a way you’re not happy with.
- Check the withdrawal terms. Some bonuses only allow you to withdraw a maximum amount, while others come with a special bonus code to use when cashing out.
- Look out for any suspicious or unnecessarily severe terms and conditions. If you’re not comfortable with a particular condition or restriction, it is best to cut your losses and wait for a bonus you can actually benefit from.
- Remember, many bonuses come with time restrictions for meeting the wagering requirements. Be sure to know how long you have to meet the wagering requirements before a bonus expires and you lose any winnings you have earned.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Welcome Bonus
Welcome bonuses are great for players if you know how to take advantage of the offer. Here’s how to make the most out of your welcome bonus at an online casino.
- Choose a no wager welcome bonus if available – These are basically welcome offers with no wagering requirements. While rare, it does happen and means you can cash out without having to meet the wagering requirements.
- Welcome offers that are spread over multiple deposits are great options – This will help you stretch your bankroll further. These welcome bonus packages provide deposit bonuses on your first, second, third and even fourth deposits.
- Combination bonuses are tops – Look out for welcome offers that include combination bonuses, for example, deposit bonuses and free spins, match bonuses and loyalty points etc.
- Check to see if your preferred payment method is eligible – Another caveat worth mentioning is that in some cases, a specific payment method is not eligible for the welcome bonus. It is important to make sure the payment method you are using forms part of the bonus criteria.
Welcome Bonus Wagering Requirements
Wagering requirements, also known as rollover or playthrough requirement, is a set amount of money that must be wagered before you can cash out any winnings associated with a welcome bonus, or any bonus for that matter. In most cases, you will be required to wager around 30 to 40 times the initial bet and bonus amount combined to qualify for the bonus winnings. That said, this could vary – in best cases, it could be as low as 25 times, in worst cases as high as 50 times. There are no rules to this as is at the discretion of the casino website.
The purpose of this is to prevent the casino from losing too much money. It is also used as a deterrent to players just looking to take advantage of a casino’s welcome bonus without the intention of actually making a deposit and sticking around. Called ‘bonus seekers’, online casinos do not want these types of players at the site and have put these requirements in place to guarantee that all registered players are worth the free money on offer. Ultimately, the welcome bonus should be a win-win situation for both the player and the casino – the player gets a bonus, and the casino gets a depositing player.
Almost every online casino has wagering requirements on their bonuses, although there have been rare cases where welcome bonuses feature no playthrough rates whatsoever. If you find these opportunities, you should take them as they are quite valuable and extremely limited. That said, offering no wagering requirements may mean the casino has instituted other strict conditions that are hard to fulfil.
Wagering requirements of a welcome bonus tend to be significantly higher at newer casino sites compared to established ones as they are looking to make a profit or break even in the first few months of operation. Don’t be surprised to see a new casino bonus with a wagering requirement of 60 – 70 times, while older casinos hover at 35 – 40 times.
Check this before joining an online casino as you might have a better chance of claiming a lucrative welcome offer at an older online casino. It is important to remember that just because a casino site is newer, with a better look and design, that it is the best fit for all casino players. Finding the right casino to suit your needs and preferences on all levels is the key to a successful and rewarding igaming experience.
Welcome Bonus Eligible Games
Remember, not all games are eligible to play using your welcome bonus. In many cases, there will be game restrictions on a welcome bonus. If the bonus includes free spins, the conditions should state the valid games, which will be a video slot or video slots chosen by the casino. There are no rules to what makes a game eligible or not – it is simply a decision the casino makes based on what game they want to promote or what game has the highest house edge etc.
Bonus game restrictions can happen in one of two ways at online casinos:
The bonus can only be used on limited kinds of games at a casino site. These types of games are picked by the casino, although, in most cases, they are online slots, video slots and video poker games. Some casinos may give you a bonus you can use on all games at the casino with some exceptions, most likely table games, live dealer games and lottery games.
In the second case, the bonus will only be valid on specific games, not types of games. For this type of restriction, the casino will indicate what games are eligible by title, for instance, free spins bonus on Starburst online slot. This should be stated upfront and in the terms and conditions. This will vary by casino and could be changed regularly based on what game the casino wants to promote or any other reason.
Sometimes, the casino can limit the bonus to a list of games from a particular software provider. For example, the bonus only being valid on Microgaming, NetEnt or Playtech games. This gives you more options in terms of game titles but less freedom in terms of software providers.
Casino Bonus Codes
Many casinos will offer a bonus code to players to use in conjunction with the welcome bonus. The bonus code is supplied to you by the casino or from third-party affiliate sites. In most cases, you can only redeem the bonus if you use the bonus code and failing to do so means you forfeit the entire bonus.
How to Find the Best Welcome Bonuses
There are some great tips and advice available to help players find the best welcome bonuses on the internet.
Online casinos have become incredibly popular over the last decade or so, and as such, more have been popping up all over the internet. Due to the high volume, competition is rife, and casino operators have had to up their game to attract new players and retain existing customers. In a bid to players happy, new and exciting bonuses are being introduced constantly. That said, almost every online casino will offer some type of welcome bonus.
In fact, failing to offer a welcome bonus will be considered a red flag among most in the community. Players should shop around to find the best bonus to suit your needs and budget. Do not settle for the first casino you come across and remember that casinos always upgrade their offers, so be on the lookout for that as well. When choosing a welcome bonus, consider the following:
The bonus percentage and the maximum amount – Compare the bonus percentage to other sites. Also, find out what the maximum amount is you can receive once you fund your account.
Read the terms and conditions and the wagering requirements – Again, this is one of the most important steps you must take before trying to claim any casino bonus.
Remember that not all games contribute the same way to wagering requirements – Some games like online slots will contribute 100%, while others like video poker or table games may not contribute anything at all.
You don’t have to claim the welcome bonus to play at the casino – Once you sign up to an online casino, you may be tempted to claim the welcome bonus, especially if you do not understand the terms and conditions. The welcome bonus always uses words like ‘free money’, or ‘free offer’ to entice players to claim the offer, then hide the restrictions in the T&Cs.
Do not feel obligated to claim a welcome bonus if you are not sure about what conditions or if the limitations are too severe for your liking. You can still enjoy all the casino has to offer without having to cash in on the first offer you come across.
Our Expert Conclusion
Casino welcome bonuses are a great way for players to get started at an online casino site. If you know how to weed out the good from the bad, the welcome bonuses can be very valuable to new and experienced players alike. With a little experience, any player claims these types of bonuses in the most effective way that truly benefits you and your bankroll.
While not all bonuses are worthwhile, finding the right casino website for you will be the first step to a rewarding and satisfying gaming experience. All of our recommended casinos feature the best welcome offers for new players joining the site for the first time.
FAQ Welcome Bonus
✅ What is the best welcome bonus casino?
This depends on what a player is looking for. Are you interested in landing a lucrative and exclusive offer? Perhaps you prefer a moderate welcome bonus that is easily achievable. Do you want a match deposit bonus, a no deposit bonus, free spins or a combination offer? Based on your needs, you will be able to find the best welcome bonus casino easily through our list of recommended sites.
✅ Can I redeem a welcome bonus on my mobile?
Yes, in most cases, all casino bonuses offered at desktop casinos are available to mobile players through the brand’s mobile site or application. The best online casinos will ensure that their mobile site is fully optimised to offer an almost exact experience as its desktop counterpart.
✅ Should I redeem an online casino welcome bonus?
The short answer is, yes. For many players, redeeming this welcome bonus is a good way to kick-start your igaming experience at the site. Some casinos offer no deposit bonuses, which are very popular among players, while others offer free spins or match deposit bonus to start out. There are plenty of options, so the key is to find an offer that works for you.
✅ Are welcome bonuses easy to claim?
This depends on the casino. In most cases, the casino makes it easy for new players to claim the welcome offer. Some require you to make a deposit, while others just need you to register to the casino and the bonus will be automatically added to your account. Typically, this is a smooth and hassle-free experience that shouldn’t take too much time or stress.
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