You see them advertised everywhere. They can be small, but striking, or massive and dream-inducing. The same rule goes for them all: every bonus gives you additional chances to win. That’s what makes them attractive, and that is why most casino players collect them.
However, there is a lot going on under the hood. If you have not been playing casinos for a long time, you may not be aware of just how many smaller pieces of requirements and restrictions sneak into the terms and conditions.
In this article, we will take a look at what makes a casino bonus a casino bonus, talk a little about why casino bonus UK is arguably better than the bonuses of most other countries, and teach you some casino lingo in the process.
You probably know this already. If a casino bonus came in the form of real money, they would just call it money. The reason they are called bonuses rather than cash is that you need to meet a set of requirements and conditions before you can take out winnings from your bonus money.
In most cases, the casino bonus comes with a wagering requirement, and this is the most important lingo you will hear today. To turn the bonus and your bonus winnings into real money you must meet this wagering requirement.
That means that you must bet a certain amount of money, essentially circulate your bonus bankroll, a certain number of times. Common wagering requirements are between 25 and 50x. If you, for instance, want to meet a wagering requirement of 50, you must bet through the full bonus value 50 times.
It is far from impossible, but can certainly be difficult.
In most cases, you play with your real money first. That is to say, you make a deposit, collect the bonus, but as long as you have not lost your real money, everything you win is cash. It is only if you lose your real money that the bonus is activated.
There are exceptions to this, however. Under certain casino licenses, it is fully allowed to put a wagering requirement on your real money deposit, even if you don’t claim a bonus. In others, it is fine to add the wagering requirement on top of both your deposit and your bonus.
The UK Gambling Commission was smart enough to say that players were free to cash out their deposits at all times. This means that a casino bonus does not in any way slow down a UK player. Most other bonuses also work like this, but thanks to the UK Gambling Commission, any UK licensed casino simply must follow the requirement.
Beyond the wagering requirement, the most common bonus restrictions are the max bonus bet and the expiry time.
The former is a good way for the online casino to ensure that you do not get too lucky. For instance, betting your entire bonus at once could mean some really high and unexpected wins. The max bonus bet is generally quite low and ensures that you must play for a reasonably long time to make the wagering requirement.
This can be frustrating, as you are also playing against a clock. Most bonuses come with an expiry date. It can be as little as 24 hours, it can be a week, it can be 14 days and some are even longer, but that deadline is still there.
You also have the rather frustrating max win. Which is a cap stopping players who are using their bonus from winning massive sums. This cap is not always present and it can be a good idea to ignore these casinos.
There are usually also restrictions against using the bonus at high RTP games like Blackjack and other table games. This is because these are games where players would have a far greater shot of actually meeting the wagering requirements.
Many casinos also restrict their bonus to slots only and even exclude a set of high RTP slots. The full list of excluded games should always be available under their terms and conditions.