About Those Bothersome but Needed Play Through Requirements
Whenever you land on an online casino's home page, you will be invited to take advantage of their great Welcome Bonus or Bonuses for signing up, depositing, and playing. There are thousands of online casinos so competition is steep.
Many online casinos don't have the financial backing to give out lavish sign-up bonuses. They would quickly go bankrupt if new players had a run of good luck using the house's money! So they offer smaller enticements with more garish graphics just to get your attention.
For Some Getting Your Attention is the Goal
As you know, advertising and marketing are all about getting your attention. Once they have your attention, there is at least a reasonable chance that they will sell you something.
A recent example was the world- wide shopping frenzy of clothing and many other items from an online marketing site. They advertised for weeks before the blowout sale so that when the sale started they sold billions of dollars worth of merchandise in just a few hours!
Test a Casino's Helpfulness
The established casinos have a wide range of sign-up and deposit bonuses. There is absolutely nothing wrong with "going to" several casinos to see what they will give you to sign up. If you have any questions, write to the casino. If they have a toll-free number, call them. Their response time is one big factor in your decision to play there or not.
Some Details are Easy to Overlook
There are a few parameters regarding sign-up bonuses that players often overlook.
Some casinos offer very large deposit bonuses. There is a big difference between a 100% deposit bonus and a 200% or 300% bonus!
Casinos vary as to how long the sign-up and deposit bonuses apply. Some casinos will expect you to avail yourselves of their offer in the first week after you sign up; others will let the new player bonuses stretch out over a longer period of time.
Much Overlooked Bonus Wrinkle
The single aspect of bonus management that players routinely overlook is the play through requirement. All online casinos require you to gamble with your bonus money for a pre-set multiple of the bonus before you can withdraw money, including winnings, from the bonus.
This makes perfect sense. If casinos allowed players to withdraw bonus money immediately, the casinos would all be broke before nightfall! In fact, in the early days of online gambling, casinos were far more liberal with their withdrawal conditions and they lost a lot of money.
Because of these losses, many casinos lowered dramatically or eliminated deposit bonuses. Then they had the idea for a play through requirement. They needed to develop software that could track wagering with bonus money as opposed to wagering with deposited funds.
Today the best casinos have software that clearly and easily tracks your play through gambling. Remember, the play through requirement is just for wagering; it has nothing to do with winning money or losing money.
Finding a casino with a fair play through requirement is important even if, like I hope you all are, you gamble online for the fun of it! No one likes to feel after the fact that they were snookered by the casino!
Large and Small Multiples
The key for you as a new player is: How large is the multiple at the casino you are considering joining? These play through requirements vary greatly. It takes a very patient form of due diligence to fully understand the implications of the play through requirement.
Here is an example:
Let's say that you have signed up at Casino X. You deposit $250 and get a 100% bonus so you now have $500 to gamble with.
If the play through requirement is 30 times the bonus, you have to make $7500 worth of wagers before you can withdraw your bonus money or any winnings you have accrued whilst gambling with the bonus money. Clearly, the casino must differentiate between your own deposited money and the bonus money.
It is altogether possible that you will score a nice win early in your first gaming session at the casino but you won't be able to withdraw those winnings until you fulfill the full play through requirement.
When online players complain in the forums about casinos not letting them withdraw it is very often because the players didn't read the terms and conditions and didn't know the casino's rules regarding withdrawals.
I'm definitely not saying that all casinos are fair in their withdrawal practices. That will likely be a subject for another blog entry. However, the play through requirement makes sense even if many players don't like it.
Most casinos terms and conditions are written in small print, are long, and are written in strange gobbledygook. Actually, they are written in a way to protect the casino from fraudulent players and try to cover as much as possible the many situations that can come up. So, they are hard to read. As I have stated before, call the casino or write to them. If the representative can't answer your questions you might decide to take your online gambling business elsewhere.
Another Play Through Wrinkle
Another aspect of play through requirements is that some games, notably slots, count higher toward your play through requirement than do other games. Slots usually count 100% toward fulfilling your play through requirement. If you bet $100 on slots, your account is credited with that amount toward your play through requirement.
If a different game counts only 50% you will receive only 50% credit for your wagers on that game. Video poker usually has a smaller play through percentage value but the payouts on video poker are also often close to or higher than 99%. So casinos protect themselves when new players prefer to play video poker over slots which generally pay out in the 96% range.
Reading Terms and Conditions
As dull as it is, it is vital to read the terms and conditions of any online casino you wish to play at. These t and c, as they are called, are written not only for new player bonuses. They are written for bonuses in general and for all promotions. So take the time and make the effort to learn how to read t and c. Once you've read a couple, you'll be able to skim them and you'll know what each casino requires before you sign up and deposit.