What Is A Sign-up Bonus?
The sign-up bonus is designed to encourage us into "buying-in" or registering with a casino operator. The market is saturated and competitive, and as such, casinos employ incentive strategies to recruit new members. There are an assortment of sign-up bonuses such as the no deposit bonus, the match bonus, the free spin bonus and the welcome bonus, but at the heart of them all, lies the simple fact, that we are required to a) download gaming software, and b) register a real money account. The reward for joining comes in the form of free gaming credits. New members are issued with a coupon or sign-up bonus code which is used at the casino cashier to activate their reward. The no deposit bonus requires the least commitment from gamers, since we are not required to make a deposit in order to redeem our free credits, but the bonus is usually nominal and depleted within seconds, unless we are on a good run.
Best Sign-Up Bonuses
In essence, a gambler is rewarded for signing up at an online casino, and the casino is rewarded with the addition of a new client. The sign-up bonus is probably one of the most widespread marketing tools used by operators because it has the lowest risk profile. You see, by offering free money sign-up bonuses, operators are open to exploitation by casino hoppers who utilize free credits to gain profit. They win, cash out and move on to the next enterprise.
Match bonuses on the other hand, require players to make a deposit prior to redeeming their sign-up reward. Usually, an online casino will issue a coupon or match bonus code to every new member via e-mail. Alternatively, the coupon code is displayed on their web page. Either way, a gamer is required to record the details of the code, download the gaming software, make a real-money deposit and then enter his/her code at the cashier. He/she is then issued with their match bonus. The match bonus is a credit amount that equals or matches a percent of, or the entire value of the amount deposited. It must be noted, that match bonuses are usually capped at a specified limit which is usually defined in the operators' terms and conditions of use.
So, it may seem then that players can play the allotted match bonus in the hope of turning a profit and failing this, withdraw the amount they deposited. Unfortunately, this is not a possibility. Online casino operators are well aware that this sort of abuse will occur, and to protect their own interests, they employ what is referred to as a "playthrough requirement". Each casino offers different rules, but basically, gamers are required to place a pre-determined number of bets before they are eligible to withdraw ant funds from their player accounts. This is usually calculated at anything between 10X and 30X the match bonus amount. Sometimes, casinos calculate their playthrough requirements on both the match bonus and deposit amount, so players should do their homework prior to committing to a deposit.
The equivalent of Happy Hour at a bar. Don't be fooled by huge offers, they can be misleading.
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The Appeal Of A Sign-up Bonus
Aside from the no deposit bonus, the other sign-up bonuses usually require that we deposit funds into our player accounts before we are able to redeem our welcome rewards. Even the free spin bonus requires this. Whilst we might accumulate enough winnings during free spins to add to our real-play gaming credits, we are usually required to deposit money before they are activated. And yes, once the funding is complete, we are gifted with our just rewards, but realize this: We cannot withdraw those funds, for they are not entirely free. There are "playthrough requirements" that need to be fulfilled. This is essentially a set of regulations governing how many wagers we need to make before a withdrawal is possible. The playthrough requirement is usually set at between 10X and 30X the total sign-up bonus, but can also include the total deposit amount into that equation. So, if the requirement is 20X the deposit and sign-up bonus amount, which is £1000 in total, we will need to bet £20 000 before we can make a withdrawal. So, unless we are winning enough to see us through the duration of £20 000 worth of bets with only £1 000 in credits, we won't be withdrawing any free money whatsoever!
So, why do we enjoy sign-up bonuses then? Well, for one thing, it allows us to play with casino money while we navigate our way through their gaming portfolios in search of our favorite games. But mainly, its because we understand, that we are after all gambling, and sign-up bonuses allow us to bide time while we battle it out for that massive jackpot!
Make Sure You Understand the Playthrough Requirement
The most common similarity across all welcome bonus incentives is the "playthrough requirement". This is a regulatory structure put in place by online casinos to discourage abuse from players who utilize free credits to turn a profit before moving on to the next casino. The playthrough requirement is usually set at between 10X and 30X the welcome bonus amount, but can sometimes also include the player deposit amount. Basically what this means, is that the player needs to place bets totaling the stipulated playthrough requirement before he/she is able to make a withdrawal. In the case of free money welcome bonuses, the player might also be subject to a maximum withdrawal amount.
A word to the wise though... the greater the bonus, the longer it takes to reach the playthrough requirements. In my mind, its a lot better to void welcome bonuses and take your chances with your own money. That way, you can withdraw your winnings at any time without having to meet casino playthrough regulations. On the other hand, If you don't have much money to play with, the welcome bonus will allow you to enjoy an online gaming experience and give you an opportunity to win utilizing free credits.