How to Choose the Best Welcome Bonus in an Online Casino
In short, you should look for the “wager” parameter. The less wager the better for a player. And watch out for such a trick, when an online casino declares the wager to be one quantity, but in reality, it turns out that it is twice as much.
Besides, it matters a lot which slots you are eligible to play in when the bonus is active. Whereas the lucrative bonuses are rather set in order to mislead you. I am going to explain everything further in this article.
In this article:
1) What is a welcome bonus?
2) The main parameters of a welcome bonus in terms of their contribution
3) The Wager (playthrough requirements) is the main parameter that we have to keep a close eye on
4) It matters a lot what slots you are eligible to play in when the bonus is active
5) Is a high bonus value always good?
What is a welcome bonus?
The competition among online casinos has become tough, therefore gambling operators do their best to attract new players and make them loyal customers. So to speak, online casino give away the welcome bonuses in order to make the casino players happy from the very beginning.
The welcome bonus (or sign up bonus) as its name suggests is designed only for new players of an online casino. Sometimes you are supposed to enter the code in the process of making a deposit, sometimes everything is set up automatically.
It does not matter how the welcome bonus is getting implemented by a particular online casino, the bottom line is you are going to get something valuable (as a prize for registration):
additional cash on your online casino account balance
free spins at particular online slots (some limited number which varies)
or both of them simultaneously
The main parameters of a welcome bonus in terms of their contribution
In my opinion, the best way to make out what welcome bonus is the best on your own is by the understanding of its parameters and how they affect each other.
I suppose they should be named and described briefly. Later, we are going to take a closer look at the most significant ones.
The main parameters of the welcome bonus:
Bonus Value. It means how much you are going to get in terms of money.
Bonus Percentage. Both bonus value and bonus percentage should be reviewed as one unit. I guess you have already come across something like “100% up to 100 USD”. Which means your bonus (in addition to your deposit sum) will be 100% within 100 USD. For example, if you deposit 80 USD, then your welcome bonus is going to be 80 USD x 100% = 80 USD.
Maximum bet size. While the bonus is active you must not make bets higher than this parameter (usually around 3-5 USD)
Active period. The timeframe within which you are eligible to benefit from welcome bonus (normally 7-14 days)
Cancelable or not. If you do not want to be restricted by bonus requirements anymore (maximum bet size, slot choice limitations etc.) and can cancel the given bonus, then it is considered as cancelable. (how to cancel welcome bonus you are able to find out in my article)
Wager (or playthrough) is the last but not least parameter. Suppose you made the first deposit and got a welcome bonus: 100 USD (your deposit sum) + 100 USD (bonus) = 200 USD (your balance at the moment). Of course, you can not withdraw this sum right away, otherwise, the online casino would go belly up. This sum must be played through (or wagered) some number of times (usually 30-50 times). Only after that, if any money is left on your balance, you can request a withdrawal.
The Wager (playthrough requirements) is the main parameter that we have to keep a close eye on
First thing first, let’s discover how wager gets calculated. Two different approaches are used by online casinos:
only bonus sum must be wagered. In example with 100 USD deposit and 100% bonus and wager 35x our wager requirement is going to be 100 USD x 35 = 3,500 USD
deposit sum + bonus must be wagered. Here we are going to have (100 USD + 100 USD) x 35 = 7,000 USD as a wagering requirement
No questions about that the less total sum of the wager the better for an online casino player. Why? Due to the fact that casino games are designed in the way the players are supposed to lose money in the long run. The longer you play the fewer chances to end up with a profit.
It actually makes a huge difference whether the wager is set to be 35x or 70x. With 35x wager, we get legit chances to finish our session with gains and a possibility to withdraw money (since the wagering requirement has been met). And with 70x wager, we have very few chances to get any money eventually.
It should be emphasized that some online casinos use such a trick in order to mislead you (and other players). They call their wager 35x with the condition that deposit sum plus bonus must be wagered, which makes actual wager size equals to 70x.
In “bonuses” section of my website you can get information about actual wager size for each bonus. The incorrect information was readjusted in those cases when an online casino uses the second approach.
It matters a lot what slots you are eligible to play in when the bonus is active
RTP (Return to player %) or house edge varies significantly from one video slot to another. In some slots, it could be as high as 98% (Bloodsuckers Netent), but in some of them as low as 93%. RTP determines how fast or slow we are losing money at online slot in the long run.
Online casinos usually restrict their customers from playing in high RTP slots while the bonus is active. It is understandable from their perspective. Usually, they allow to play in relatively high RTP slots, but still not in the highest ones.
Each online casino sets its own limitations for online slots during the active welcome bonus period. The exact rules can be usually found in “Terms and Condition” on the online casino website.
As for me, I would not make a deposit and claim any bonus at an online casino until it allows me to play in online slots with RTP at least 96%+. Trust me, bonuses for play in slots with RTP lower than that will make more harm than good.
Is a high bonus value always good?
Maybe you are wondering why there is such a huge gap between online casinos bonus values. Some online casinos would offer “300% up to 1000 USD” and some of them only humble “100% up to 100 USD”.
Well, this is another trick. I can offer you a welcome bonus “10000% up to 1,000,000,000 USD” and make wager 70x and allow you to play it through only in low RTP slots. With such conditions, I don’t really care how much of the bonus you get, because after fulfillment of wager requirements, mathematically, there is no way you end up with a positive balance.
In conclusion, don’t fall for huge bonuses in terms of money. The devil is in the details. Take into account, that not the lucrative sum of money makes the welcome bonus appealing for a casino player but rather a low wager and reasonable RTP level at the eligible to play slots.
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