Are casino bonuses worth it? CasinoHawks explains
The true worth and value of casino bonuses is an issue which inevitably comes to mind at some point or another. Are casino bonuses really worth it? Should you claim them when you sign up with an online casino or simply forgo them and play with your deposit balance instead? CasinoHawks shall attempt to answer this question in as much detail as possible to help you figure out what to do as a new online casino player from the UK.
Are casino bonuses too good to be true?
We sometimes get promised thousands of euros as part of a casino welcome package, and of course, this does sound a bit too good to be true. So what’s the catch? Well, while it is true that you can get the maximum of, say £1000 on your first deposit, and a thousand more after that, this also implies that you have to deposit a significant amount in order to get the maximum bonus available. If the casino bonus is a deposit match of 100%, you would need to deposit £1000 in order to get £1000 in bonuses. That’s quite a huge amount to deposit at first go, and some players prefer to deposit smaller amounts in order to get the feel of a casino first. That said, these bonuses would be perfectly suitable for high rollers or for players who are already sure that they’d like to play with the casino in question (due to having heard good things about it from their friends or online casino reviews).
The next thing to take into account to figure out whether casino bonuses are worth it are not would be the wagering requirements. This is truly where the ‘catch’ is in some cases. Online casinos can’t simply give you hundreds of pounds to play with and let you walk away with the money. Just like operators in other industries, online casino operators run businesses after all! For this reason, they most often attach a wagering requirement to a bonus, which would require players to wager the bonus amount a number of times before being able to withdraw any winnings from it. While wagering, players may lose the bonus entirely, and the higher the wagering requirement is (and the lower the RTP of the games played), the more likely it will be for players to lose all their bonus and give it all back to the casino.
Apart from wagering, there may be other requirements linked to a bonus. Usually, there will also be a time limitation linked to the clearing of that bonus, which can range from two weeks to 2 months. What's more, game weighting will also likely apply - for example, while you can wager the bonus, say, 35x on slot games, you would need to wager it many more times if you decide to play a table game with a much lower house edge. Last but not least, some casinos impose caps on winnings from bonuses. These limitations are more common on free spins bonuses, but can also apply to a deposit bonus. That's why reading the terms and conditions are very important to avoid disappointment and unrealistic expectations. Luckily, UK online casinos are now making these increasingly transparent and much less ambiguous than they used to be. In our casino reviews, we always make these terms perfectly clear, so you'll know what you're in for before you sign up and deposit with any casino we recommend.
How can you take advantage of a casino bonus?
Despite wagering requirements and other limitations, there are ways that enable you to benefit from an online casino bonus. First and foremost, not all bonuses are the same and you should carefully select those that come with the most favourable requirements. Wagering requirements on deposit bonuses, for example, differ from as little as 15x and up to 60x. We strongly suggest you choose an online casino with low wagering requirements since this will involve a lower risk of losing your bonus funds as to attempt to clear the wagering requirements. What’s more, there are also some bonuses with come with zero wagering requirements these days. These kind of bonuses are usually smaller in size and are given as free spins bonuses, enabling players to spin on selected games for free without having to wager their winnings.
Another casino bonus to take advantage of would be the no deposit bonus. This usually comes in the form of free spins on registration. These free spins are awarded on selected slots and normally have a low value (£0.20 or £0.50 per spin). Although you cannot expect to win outstanding amounts from these free spins, they’re also a freebie which is worth claiming, especially if they’re also wager-free, as is the case when signing up with bgo casino. However, it's worth noting that if these free spins are not wager free, you eventually have to make a deposit in order to be able to wager any winnings from those spins, which can lead to losing all the winnings and perhaps some of your own money as well!
No deposit bonuses are a great way to start your journey with an online casino. For more information, we suggest you read through our complete guide to free spins no deposit UK bonuses!
Use your bonus on the best games
One other way of taking advantage of a deposit bonus is by using it on the best payout slots. This gives you a better chance of clearing the wagering requirements without losing all the bonus. One way to do this is by playing slots with high RTP and hit rate, or slots that are well known for paying out big amounts! Another great way of finding the best slots to play while wagering a casino bonus is to use Slot Tracker. This software enables you to view how likely it is to clear a bonus on a particular slot – more info about Slot Tracker here!
Can you withdraw money back to your bank account if you claim a casino bonus?
Luckily for players, the situation when it comes to withdrawing funds has significantly improved. Following an investigation into unfair practices which started back in 2016 by the UK Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA), certain unfair terms attached to bonuses for UK players have been eliminated. Some operators previously had restrictions on cashing out while a bonus was still being cleared. Players were being prevented from withdrawing while they were wagering their bonus, or if they did withdraw, they lost any proportion of the bonus they had already earned.
The CMA concluded that this practice was “unfair.” Operators have now adopted fairer conditions, thanks to which wagering requirements no longer apply to players’ Deposit Balance. This means that players can withdraw funds from their deposit balance without losing the bonus; in fact all the best casinos now have two separate accounts: one of them is the player's deposit balance and the other one for players' bonus balance. This is the way it should be, so make sure you check what the situation is like at the casino you sign up with, or if you're in doubt, simply sign up with the casinos recommended on this page, which all keep their players' real-money and bonus balance separate.
Casino bonus checklist
To help you decide whether a casino bonus is worth claiming or not, we've prepared a short checklist that you can go through before you decide to take the bonus.
- Is the wagering requirement reasonable? (we consider a wagering requirement of up to 40x to be quite standard, anything above that you should seriously reconsider because it's very likely that you'll lose all the bonus anyway)
- What is the time limit for wagering? Can you meet it?
- Are there any caps on winnings from the bonus and/or free spins?
- Is the wagering requirement for free spins different? (some casinos offer a lower wagering requirement on free spins as opposed to the deposit bonus)
- Will the deposit balance be kept separate from the bonus balance?
- How soon will free spins expire? Do you enjoy the slot games they are offered on?
If you think that you will be able to wager the bonus amount and free spins within the time limit stipulated, and you verify that there are no restrictions on the amount you can win, then a bonus may be worth claiming given that the wagering requirement is not excessive. After all, online casino games are games of chance and if you're lucky, you can end up winning a substantial amount while playing with bonus money. If you're unlucky and you lose the bonus amount while wagering, then tough luck - you still haven't lost any of your own money and it's up to you whether or not you continue staking real money. So as long as you can still withdraw your deposit balance, we would say go for it and try your luck!
To discover the best bonuses, we suggest you read our guide to the best online casino bonuses in the UK here, where we take a look at individual casino bonuses and their true worth.