Without a shadow of a doubt, the first thing that many players consider before joining an online casino is the casino welcome bonus on offer. But although this bonus may promise large amounts of free cash or spins, sometimes there's more to it than meets the eye. Casino welcome bonuses come with different terms and conditions, which makes it harder to distinguish the truly great offers from those that fail to provide any value. Luckily, thanks to more player-friendly regulations imposed by the UK Gambling Commission, the latest casino bonuses are getting fairer and more transparent. In this casino welcome bonus UK guide, we'll discuss what makes the best casino welcome offers for British online casino players, and look into different types of welcome bonuses available, such as casino welcome bonus no deposit offers, deposit match bonus offers, free spins and more!
The latest trend when it comes to casino welcome offers is for casinos to offer something with no strings attached - which means no wagering!
Also known as a casino welcome offer or sign up bonus, a casino welcome bonus will typically involve free cash, spins or chips awarded to new players for use at an online casino. This is normally rewarded either on sign up, once players complete registration, or on players' initial deposit(s). All kinds of casino welcome bonuses will only be usable at one specific online casino, and will come with various terms that stipulate the validity of the bonus, the games it can be used on, and wagering requirements (if any).
A casino welcome bonus UK offer can only be claimed by players who are aged 18+ and who verify their account via email or phone. Should it be claimed by an underage person and used to play games for real money, any winnings will be forfeited.
Possibly the most sought-after type of bonus in the UK, a casino welcome bonus no deposit offer involves a free bonus on successful registration for an online casino account. This would normally involve a handful of free spins on a specific slot game, or else a small amount of bonus cash. Players would be under no obligation to make a deposit at a later stage, and can win real money from this bonus, although winnings are likely to be subject to wagering.
Whatever form it takes, you should know that a free welcome bonus no deposit casino offer will never be super-generous, because online casinos don't like players to walk away with large amounts of cash without ever having played with them (which we think is understandable). Therefore, we consider an online casino no deposit welcome bonus to be a small gesture from the casino to welcome new players in the best way possible. You can win real cash from these bonuses, but should keep your expectations in check. Moreover, even though you will be under no obligation to make a deposit, you may have to do so in order to complete the wagering (in the hope of retaining some of your winnings or winning even more).
The most common type of casino welcome bonus no deposit bonus would be the free spins no deposit. So many online casinos offer it these days that we've also got a separate free spins no deposit UK guide for our visitors. Check it out to learn more about these bonuses, or if you can't wait, join a free welcome bonus no deposit casino from the list below to claim your offer.
Casino welcome bonuses on deposit typically offer more value to the players, since they would consist of larger amounts of cash or spins. The most common type of casino welcome bonus on deposit is the deposit match bonus. This would consist of a percentage of your deposit that's awarded by the online casino in bonus money, to use on almost any game.
Let's take one example. A deposit match bonus could be 100% of your first deposit up to £200, and 50% of your second deposit up to £400. To get the full amount of the bonus (£600 in bonus money), you would need to deposit £200 on your first deposit (100% x £200 = £200) and £400 on your second (50% * £400 = £200). Some casinos will go even further and award a 200% match bonus, which triples your 1st deposit.
Although you get plenty of bonus money in this way, you must keep in mind that these bonuses will almost always come with wagering requirements and that these must be completed before you can withdraw any real cash winnings. Therefore, all bonus funds awarded as part of a casino welcome bonus will be stored in your player 'bonus balance', which will be separate to your 'real cash balance'.
Wagering requirements for casino welcome bonus UK offers typically range from 10x up to 60x, though they can be higher, especially if the bonus is to be used on table games. Here at CasinoHawks, we don't tend to recommend a wagering requirement that's higher than 35x, since the lower the wagering requirement, the less risk there is of losing all winnings from the bonus before you can cash out.
|CasinoHawks tip: when you check the wagering requirement of a welcome bonus, verify whether the wagering applies to the bonus amount only or to the deposit + bonus amount. A wagering requirement of 40x on the bonus only in actual fact would be easier to clear than one of 35x on both deposit and bonus amounts.|
The latest trend when it comes to casino welcome offers is for casinos to offer something with no strings attached - which means no wagering! Some online casinos in the UK pride themselves on this approach - casino welcome bonuses with no wagering will be smaller compared to other bonuses, but then they come with the reassurance that you can keep whatever you win from these bonuses, so you'll know exactly what you're getting.
There is one catch, however. No wagering welcome bonuses always tend to come in the form of free spins offers, so unless you're a slot player, you're not likely to benefit. If you do enjoy online slots though, we can recommend a number of free spins no wagering bonuses which you can claim on deposit. Not only do these come with no wagering whatsoever, but there's also no cap on the amount you can win!
UK players today are starting to realise the worth of bonuses with low wagering requirements or with no wagering at all, and for this reason we've also prepared a separate guide to online casinos with low wagering requirements here.
Welcome bonuses at casinos that focus predominantly on online slots tend to include a bunch of free spins, or even consist of just a free spins offer. Free spins offers as part of a welcome package will be limited to a specific game or games, with the most popular ones being NetEnt's Starburst and Play N Go's Book of Dead. Each spin will come with a specific value, which will typically be the minimum bet you can play on the slot (£0.10 or £0.20). However, some online casinos also offer high-value spins (which they sometimes call Super Spins, Mega Spins, or something else depending on the casino brand in question).
As we've already specified above, the best free spins offers come with no wagering requirements and no cap on winnings, allowing you to keep all the winnings accumulated for use on other casino games or to withdraw them back to your account. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you can expect to get a much larger quantity of free spins if they come with wagering requirements. Genesis casino, for instance, will award players with a massive 300 free spins as part of its welcome bonus, subject to a wagering requirement of 40x. If you prefer to go for quantity and deal with the wagering, so you could stand a higher chance of hitting a jackpot, we still recommend such offers.
Everyone would agree that free spins offers will not serve table game players much, which is why some online casinos have come up with a separate casino welcome bonus to be used on live casino games. These can involve free bonus chips or cards, or even a deposit match bonus to be used on live casino games only. Some live casinos also come up with a cashback welcome offer which gives players a percentage of their losses back if they get unlucky.
One live casino welcome bonus we recommend is that offered by LeoVegas casino. At this casino, you can get up to £500 to use on its fabulous selection of live casino games, £250 on each of your first two deposits.
LeoVegas Live casino bonus T&Cs: New UK players only. Select Live Casino welcome offer on sign up and deposits. Deposits of £10, £50, £100, £250 matched with a bonus offer of the same value (14-day expiry). Total of two (2) deposit bonus offers available. 75x real money cash wagering of the bonus offer amount (30 days from deposit) must be met before bonus is credited in cash.
Another relatively common type of casino welcome bonus is the cashback bonus, which gives players a certain amount of cash back from their losses. This is not our favourite type of bonus, because it does not give you anything extra - only some compensation in case you lose. However, some online casinos have started to realise this, and are introducing casino cash back schemes that give you something back even if you win! Although this doesn't involve a casino welcome bonus as such, it's a great way of getting rewarded for playing. The below are a couple of casinos we can recommend for their great cash back schemes:
Although they're great for a start, casino welcome bonuses are not the be-all and end-all at online casinos. Lately, we tend to give more importance to the regular bonuses and casino rewards programs offered to existing players. That's why it's recommended to look for a casino rewards program or to have a look at a casino's Promotions page to check what kind of regular offers it runs. You'll find casinos offering reload bonuses or free spins for existing players every week, giving you something to look forward to on a regular basis. Remember, at the best payout online casinos, the rewards will keep coming!
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