The Welcome Bonus
What Is A Welcome Bonus?
When you register at an online casino and start looking into making your first deposit, you’ll likely find some variation of a casino Welcome Bonus. This bonus is an exclusive offer for new customers, redeemable only on the first deposit, which allows players to explore the casino’s slot portfolio, live tables and other casino activities. Depending on the offer, this 1st Deposit Bonus may award free spins on selected games, a deposit match or a bundle of the two! Occasionally, players may stumble upon win multipliers or no-deposit rewards, but these rewards are more common in regular deposit offers.
How To Claim A Welcome Bonus
Claiming any bonus is a relatively straightforward process. After creating and verifying a casino account, head to the deposit page, browse through the available promotions, select the offer of your choice and proceed to the payment page.
A Welcome offer often comes as a package deal, including an additional Reload Bonus for a subsequent deposit (or several), so make sure to check the details of the promotion before opting in. The process is simple, but there are quite a few things you should keep in mind before claiming an offer!
- Make sure that you are eligible to claim the offer. Certain jurisdictions may be excluded or may have different promotions available.
- To create a casino account and claim a promotional offer, you must be of legal age to gamble in your jurisdiction.
- Make sure that you opt-in. Not all bonuses are credited to your account automatically! You may need to tick a few boxes, accept Terms and Conditions, tap in a bonus code or select the offer when making a deposit.
- Make sure that you place the required minimum deposit. Many casino bonus offers grant rewards as long as a minimum amount is deposited into the player’s account. Usually, the min. deposit is €10 or €15 (or an equivalent min. deposit in local currency).
- Read the Terms and Conditions, always. Every offer you encounter will have a set of Terms and Conditions that detail all eligibility criteria, bonus wagering requirements, expiration dates, names and other relevant information. T&Cs apply to every bonus; there are no exceptions! You must read through and fully understand all T&Cs.
- You don’t have to opt-in! If you don’t feel comfortable claiming a bonus or think that the offer’s conditions are unreasonable — you can simply start playing without any Welcome rewards. Even though this offer is only available as a First Deposit Bonus, there will be plenty of other bonuses for you to claim down the line.
What kind of bonus rewards can you get your hands on? Here are the most common bonuses for new players and loyal customers:
Deposit Match Bonus Offers
A deposit match is, by far, the most widespread bonus reward. This offer will boost your deposit with bonus funds, commonly called bonus credit. The bonus credit is money you can use to play casino games, such as online slots or live tables (as specified by the offer). However, bonus credit is often usable on a specific list of selected games and may be subject to wagering requirements.
For example, if you come across an offer that awards 100% up to €50 deposit match and you deposit €50, that means that you will get an extra €50 in bonus credit. The deposit match bonus is not always 100%; it can be anywhere from a 25% to 200% player bonus and will match your first deposit up to an amount determined by the casino.
The bonus credit is usually played through before your deposit is touched, referred to as cash funds. To withdraw the bonus credit, registered and new players must first meet the wagering requirement (if applicable) — more on that later!
In contrast to bonus credit, a deposit match bonus may award cash. Cash rewards are credited directly to the player’s account and do not need to meet the bonus wagering requirements. Due to this reward's nature, a cash deposit match bonus will be significantly smaller or offered as a small, fixed amount instead of a deposit match.
Free spins are every player’s favourite casino reward — what’s not to love about playing the hottest games for free? Many online casinos will offer First Deposit bonuses with free spins, usually called a Free Spins Bonus. This offer can be claimed upon registration, with your first deposit or with a Reload Bonus. These bonus spins can be used on a handful of selected games chosen by the casino, and the number of free spins received will vary. Usually, the number of free spins will correspond to the deposited amount. For example, you may see an offer that states: “Deposit €10, Get 15 Free Spins — Deposit €30, Get 50!”, which means that you will receive 15 bonus spins for any deposit between €10 and €29, and 50 bonus spins for any deposit over €30.
Some casinos will allow you to use the extra spins on any game, but there will be a limited selection of games more often than not. The qualifying games may be of a specific theme, released by a partnered provider or limited to a single casino slot. The bonus wins obtained from a Free Spins Bonus may be credited to your account as cash or bonus credit. In the case of the former, your winnings are to do with as you please; with the bonus credit, your winnings must meet the wagering requirements.
No Deposit Bonus
This bonus is another popular casino promotion, albeit relatively rare. This bonus is usually awarded for registering an account and doesn’t require the player to make a minimum deposit; instead, this offer often comes in the form of a bonus code, which can be redeemed at the online casino in exchange for rewards. Typically, a No Deposit Casino Bonus offer awards free spins or cash, but the amounts will be significantly lower than on a regular Deposit offer. Both the cash rewards and free spins obtained as no-deposit rewards don’t have wagering requirements. However, this bonus may have additional time constraints, game restrictions, max bonus caps and eligibility criteria (such as the player’s jurisdiction).
In some cases, a No Deposit promotion may award bonus credit as an incentive to try out the casino’s game portfolio without putting your cash on the line. Even though a deposit won’t be required to claim the offer, the player must convert the obtained bonus credit to cash before withdrawing any winnings — meaning that a deposit will be necessary to continue playing.
How Does A Welcome Bonus Work?
With so many Welcome bonuses to choose from, figuring out how they work can be a daunting task! We’ve covered the variety of available bonuses; your first step is to choose one that’s perfect for your playstyle.
- Do you prefer playing online slots with exciting features? Look for Welcome bonuses or packages that include a decent chunk of free spins.
- Interested in classic table gameplay on timeless favourites like roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker? Opt for bonuses that offer more cash or bonus credit, which you can use to place chips at the Live Casino.
Next, look for a reputable online casino. The best online casinos will offer bundle deals or generous Welcome bonuses, usually 100% of your first deposit. Make sure that the casino of your choice is licensed, regulated and can legally operate in your country.
Any rewards obtained from a bonus will be credited to your casino account. If you gain bonus credit, the bonus balance will be displayed separately from your cash funds. At most casinos, the bonus money may be played through before the cash deposit is touched. However, you may have the option to play through cash first or forfeit the bonus altogether. Most importantly, you must have a solid grasp of the offer's underlying Terms and Conditions, such as the wagering requirements.
Terms and Conditions
T&Cs apply to every promotion out there, not just Welcome offers. The T&Cs outline all eligibility criteria, promotion duration, max bonus amount, max spins, expiration dates, qualifying games and other important information. Any player who wishes to claim a bonus must read through the Terms and Conditions and agree to every point.
Remember, just because an offer looks great — like 200% up to €500 — doesn’t always mean that it’s a good deal! Large casino bonuses often come with tight restrictions and an unrealistic wagering requirement, especially for new players. You may get a better bonus, but playing through it and meeting the withdrawal criteria may not be easy. Never skim through the T&Cs, apply every bit of attention to the details and only claim the offer if you fully understand all T&Cs. Additionally, Standard Bonus T&Cs apply to most offers on top of the promotion-specific T&Cs, so make sure to read through all relevant documents.
A wagering requirement, expressed as a multiplier, is the required number of times that bonus credit must be turned over before the funds are converted to cash. Only cash funds can be withdrawn from your account, and any bonus credit that is not converted will eventually expire.
- Choose a bonus with a realistic wagering requirement. Typically, a casino bonus will have a wagering requirement between 5x and 40x. The lower the wagering requirement, the better the bonus is for you. In the case of a 5x wagering requirement, converting your bonus credit into cash requires the bonus funds to be turned over five times. If you deposit €10 with a 100% up to €50 bonus credit at a 5x wagering requirement, then a total of €50 must be wagered before the extra €10 can be converted to cash and withdrawn from your account. A wagering requirement below 5x is not unheard of and is quite common on winnings from a Free Spins Bonus. However, anything over 40x is considered too high, even for veteran players and VIP customers.
- Be wary of time constraints. Most bonuses will allow a week (or longer) to play through the bonus funds and fulfil the wagering requirement. Unfortunately, many bonuses that have much tighter deadlines. New customers and seasoned players alike should look for distant deadlines, and only if filling the wagering requirement in that time frame is doable.
- Weighting requirements are not the same as wagering requirements. Weighting refers to the percentage of a bet that would count towards meeting the wagering requirement. It is quite rare but not unheard of. For example, you may encounter a bonus where 90% of every €1 bet counts towards the wagering requirement. That means that to convert €10 in bonus credit to cash, you will need to wager 10% more (on top of the wagering requirement). Thus, €10 in bonus credit with a 5x wagering requirement will require the player to wager a total of €55 to convert the bonus credit to cash.
Now that you’re familiar with all there is to know about Welcome bonuses, here are a few more tips! Before claiming a casino bonus, make sure that the online casino of your choice offers suitable payments. PayPal casino payments, for example, are not available in every region, and certain deposit types may be excluded. Typically, you will have access to various e-wallets and mobile payment methods, as well as debit and credit card transaction.
Look through the casino’s game portfolio. Check out which providers have partnered with the casino and see if you can spot your favourite slots! Many of the best casino bonus offers grant free spins on hot games like Starburst™ or Book of Dead, but some also feature recurring bonuses that shine the spotlight on a wider variety of games. Last but not least, choose a reputable online casino and always read the T&Cs!