The Search for the Exceptional No Deposit Bonus

By Ben Hamill - February 18 2016
no deposit bonus

Most online gamblers are well aware that many online casinos offer a no deposit bonus. No deposit bonuses are a great way for new players to become acquainted with a casino. Play with their money. If you like what you see, you can deposit and get their Welcome Deposit Bonus Package.

If you are less than satisfied by what you see, you can move on.

Here I'll review some aspects of no deposit bonuses that you may or may not be aware of.

Not All No Deposit Bonuses are Created Equal

There are three very different kinds of no deposit bonuses:

  • Free play for a specified amount of time
  • Free spins at a slots game
  • Free cash

Each casino uses its no deposit bonus in conjunction with other enticements to get players to sign up. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this; in the online casino business, getting new players to sign up is the first big hurdle a casino faces.

Most casinos offer a relatively low no deposit cash bonus along with a much larger deposit bonus. Many casinos have a series of deposit bonuses. Each casino looks for the combination of bonuses that will cause a casino cruiser to stop and sign up.

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Read the Small Print

In this and everything you do at an online casino, you should read the applicable terms and conditions. The t and c, as they're called, are a legal document that the casino must follow. Players are also held to the t and c so it pays to read them carefully. Online gaming is at bottom a fun activity in which you (hopefully) make affordable wagers but you should always be fully aware of the guidelines controlling what you're doing.

(A good subject for an article would be "how to read terms and conditions". That's what I'll write in an upcoming article.)

Welcome to Our Casino

Online casinos also re-evaluate their Welcome Bonus Package regularly. For the casino, the bottom line regarding Welcome Bonuses is "how many people signed up" and "how many players stayed with the casino long term"?

The no deposit bonuses are the first method many casinos use to attract new players.

Play Through Requirements

Casinos give their money away as much as is feasible whilst still making enough profit to stay in business.

Part of the average payback percentage that casinos show on their homepage (usually at the bottom where you have to click on eCogra or the like) includes money that the casino gives away.

But casinos give money away hoping to recoup the money later. The play through requirement is one way the casino hopes to recoup money it has given away or that a player has won through a giveaway.

A Completely Fair Requirement

If a casino offers a $100 no deposit bonus and allows players to receive and immediately withdraw the bonus cash, the casino would quite quickly be out of business.

The play through rule applies to all bonuses, not just to no deposit bonuses. This rule also applies to winnings derived from free spins bonuses and free playing time bonuses.

The casino requires bonus money recipients to play a multiple of the bonus amount before the player can withdraw the money, if any is left, or winnings derived from betting with the bonus money. Some casinos add the deposit along with the bonus and require a multiple on the total amount. This obviously doesn't apply to a no deposit bonus.

There are two key elements involved in the play through requirements. One is the actual multiple you must wager before you can withdraw winnings. Every casino sets its own play through multiples so you have to read the terms and conditions to find out if the casino you're considering has a reasonable multiple.

The multiples range from 25x to over 100x!

The second important element is how the play through requirement is calculated. Most casinos award the most play through points to slots games and the least to some table games. Some games are excluded altogether.

So, if you want to play blackjack instead of slots, you should make sure that blackjack has a reasonable place in the hierarchy of play through games!

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Deposit Bonuses in Disguise

One of the tricks some casinos use is to offer a no deposit bonus but to require a deposit before you can withdraw winnings derived from gambling with the no deposit bonus. This amounts to a disguised deposit bonus.

The amount the casino requires you to deposit before you can withdraw winnings is usually very small. Anyone who wants to enjoy online gambling long term would find the required deposit more of a nuisance than anything else.

But it amounts to a backdoor deposit bonus!

Maximizing Self-protection

Even the smallest no deposit bonus can be turned into a huge bankroll with a few lucky slots spins, a few very lucky bets at roulette, or a big progressive jackpot win. So, to protect themselves casinos have two ways to minimize the amount they might have to pay out to players wagering with no deposit bonus money. The first is simply to limit the games that a player can play with his or her no deposit bonus. This eliminates all of the big jackpots!

The second way casinos protect themselves is by limiting the amount of winnings you can take from no deposit bonus wins.

All of this simply points out once again the importance of reading and understanding the terms and conditions.

A Final Word about Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions at any casino will be written in small print. The spacing might be less than what you're comfortable with. No casino links to its t and c's at the top of their homepage; they link to them at the bottom of the homepage.

When you read any casino's t and c's, you must understand everything. If there's something you don't understand, you must contact the casino and get a sufficient explanation. If not, you can try out a different casino.

In two weeks I'll go into the actual wording of some terms and conditions, without naming names!

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