Best Online UK Casino Bonuses
30 Book of Dead wager-free spins
100% 1st deposit match
*18+. New UK customers only. Opt-in required. 30 free spins on Book of Dead game upon registration with NO wagering requirements or deposit required for spins AND 100% deposit bonus up to £300: Min deposit £10 and 30x wagering requirements apply on bonus (game weighting applies). Max bet applies. T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly, begambleaware.org
10 bonus spins at signup
200% 1st deposit match to £200
*18+ to register. New Customers Only. *10 Free spins on registration *Free spins on first deposit as follows :Deposit £10 or more and receive 40 free spins * Deposit £50 or more and receive 90 free spins * Deposit £75 or more and receive 140 free spins *Deposit £100 or more and receive 190 free spins *Free Spins (35x wagering) *Deposit Bonus (35x wagering) *Further T&Cs apply.begambleaware.org
200% first deposit match
up to £10 no deposit bonus
£10 no deposit bonus: 18+. New players only. 20x wagering requirement. Expires after 7 days. Max withdrawal from bonus winnings £200; First Deposit Bonus: 18+. New players only. Welcome bonus expires after 7 days. Up to 10 (20p) free spins on Super Win 7s for 10 days, Min Deposit £10. Winnings paid as bonus credit. Expire 00:00 every day. Max withdrawal from free spins and welcome bonus winnings £200. Up to 200% deposit match of first deposit (Min £10). Max £100 awarded as bonus credit. 20x wagering on bonus credit. Withdrawing Unspent Qualifying Deposit will exclude the player from these promotions.T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org
The best online casino experience usually starts with the right welcome bonus. And choosing the right casino bonuses means knowing who has the best offers, the lowest wagering requirements, and the most generous rules. After careful analysis of all the options, here are our recommendations!
How to choose the best online UK casino bonuses
There are lots of factors to consider when choosing the best bonus, but three are especially important:
- Is there a non-deposit bonus at registration?
- Is the matching first deposit bonus 100% or over?
- What is the wagering requirement, and does it apply to the deposit, the bonus, or both?
All three factors are explained in more detail below. Please note: this website recommends casino bonuses for slots and video table games only. For recommendations for live casino bonuses please visit Live Casino Buzz.
1. Non-deposit casino bonuses at registration
Experienced UK players will know that registering an account with a new casino is not as easy as it used to be. Online casinos are now required to make “Know Your Customer” or KYC checks by the UK’s Gambling Commission.
Considering the extra hoops now involved, it is nice to be rewarded with a small non-deposit bonus once the registration is successful (especially as KYC checks are often delayed while a real person examines the new account applications).
Casumo get top marks for rewarding players for completing the process. 30 no deposit spins on Book of Dead sounds fantastic, but Casumo have no wagering requirement on these spins, which means this is an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING no deposit bonus.
Unibet also offer 10 no deposit free spins after a successful registration, although they do have a wagering requirement of 35x on all winnings.
mFortune also for their creative no deposit bonus. After signing up for an account, players get a spin on special bonus wheel. Top prize is a fantastic £10 free no deposit bonus! There is a wagering requirement, but at 20x it is one of the lowest around.
2. How high is the matching deposit bonus?
This is one of the most important factor for ranking casino bonuses, but one that is often overlooked by players who get distracted by the more flashier elements of a promotion.
The reason the bonus match amount is so important is simple. Online casino bonuses are like free money (with conditions), and the percentage match is basically a statement of how much free money players will receive. A 100% first deposit match doubles a stake, but a 200% match triples it. More free money means more chances to win.
A 100% match has become a fairly standard offer from the better online casinos in recent years, so Casumo’s bonus to new players is very solid. Casumo, importantly, offer a cap of £300 in bonus funds for their 100% match, which is significantly higher than most online casinos offer to UK players.
mFortune and Unibet both have 200% matches, however. Unibet’s 200% bonus match up to £200 means that with only a £100 players can have a £300 stake to play with. mFortune’s bonus maxes out at £100, which thanks to the 200% match only requires a £50 deposit!
Where bonus amounts get tricky is when it comes to wagering requirements…
3. Know your wagering requirements
Perhaps the most important fact for judging the best casino bonuses is the wagering requirements. This rules require players to play through their bonus (or their deposit or both) a certain number of times before they can cash out their winnings.
The structure of various wagering requirement rules varies widely from casino to casino, so players need to be on their toes to spot the best deals!
a. How high is the wagering requirement?
The headline wagering requirement should always be the starting point for determining the best casino bonuses. The shorthand used by most casinos is a number followed by “x,” which indicates the number of times a bonus or deposit must be played through. As a rough guide, 40x is fairly standard and a wagering requirement below this can generally be considered low.
b. What does the wagering requirement apply to?
This is perhaps the most important factor to understand when considering casino bonuses. Roughly half of online casinos apply the wagering requirement to the bonus amount only, but LOTS of online casinos apply it to both the bonus and deposit combined. An example of this is the Casumo bonus, which lists a 30x wagering requirement to its 100% matching deposit bonus but applies it to both deposit and bonus, equating to a fairly high 60x if the requirement applied to the bonus amount only.
Applying a wagering requirement to a bonus only often results in a lower target, but many quality casinos do apply wagering to both bonus and deposit. There is no standard way for online casinos to structure this, so do not assume a casino who applies wagering to both is being sneaky.
c. What is the time limit?
Casino bonuses always come with time limits for players to meet the wagering requirements. As a good rule of thumb, a 30 day time limit is generous (a great example is the Unibet bonus). The shortest time limits are generally 7 days (which is the limit for mFortune).
Time limits are especially important with high wagering requirements, as can take a significant amount of time to cycle through hundreds of pounds of bonus funds dozens of time. Before signing up for casino bonuses, make sure there is enough time to enjoy playing it through. If a wagering requirement is not met within a time limit, casinos will void any remaining bonus amount.
d. Is there a maximum bet limit?
Hand in hand with the time limit is the maximum bet limit. This is typically £5 per spin/wager, but it can be as low as £1 or even 50p (£0.50).
The maximum bet for the Casumo bonus is a very generous £10.
A maximum bet limit means it will take more time to meet a wagering requirement, so it is very important to consider the time limit with the maximum bet well understood in advance.
e. What are the game weightings?
The last factor to consider when evaluating the wagering requirement for casino bonuses is the game weighting. This is not a reference to how “heavy” games are, but how much each game counts towards the wagering requirement. This is where players can unwittingly get themselves in a bind if they are not careful!
Do be aware that certain slots might be excluded from a bonus offer, and can even have a 0% weighting (in other words, they do not count at all). This can happen with some Progressive Jackpot slots, or slots from a certain provider. Again, this sort of exclusion is generally uncommon, but not exactly rare either. Heavy players of one particular slot or slots from one particular provider should check before playing that the slots they hope to play count.
Things come unstuck when players switch away from slots to video table games, live casino games, or anything other than slots. Typically a live casino game will count somewhere between 0-10% towards a wagering requirement. This could mean a live casino player could find himself unable to meet a wagering requirement at all, or trying to reach a target that is in effect ten times as large as originally thought.
There is good news, however. Certain casinos have specialist live casino bonuses that have distinct wagering requirement rules just for live casino players. TonyBet are a good example, and a review of their live casino bonus is available on our companion site Live Casino Buzz.
Video table games can have reduced game weightings, and are sometimes excluded completely.
There is good news for players, however. Play Bingo at Unibet and wagers count 200% towards any requirement!
For a more in-depth explanation, see our guide to the lowest wagering requirements.
Choosing the best online casino
Great casino bonuses are an important factor for choosing the right casino, but not the only factor.
Players also need to consider:
- What games are available?
- What deposit methods are available?
- How fast are withdrawals?
All three factors need to be discussed in detail to have a better understanding.
1. How big is the game selection?
New slots are being launched by dozens of top-level game designers every day. Most casinos will have access to slots from the two biggest providers, but the breakout slots are not always produced by the biggest companies anymore.
Of the three casinos recommended on this page, Casumo and Unibet both have a particularly large selection of slots available. Both casinos are also great at putting up new slots within hours of their release. If you like playing the hottest slots on offer just as they come online, Casumo and Unibet are hard to beat.
mFortune are one of the few online casinos who exclusively offer players their own exclusive slots. With over 60 to choose from, this gives new players plenty to explore after signing up for a new account. Yes, there is not option to play Starburst of Book of Dead, but there are literally hundreds of other casinos where these games are available. Most mFortune slots have progressive jackpots (really!) and the casino adds new games roughly once a month, so there is almost always something new and exciting to try out.
Exclusive slots are a relatively rare commodity for most other online casinos, but Unibet does have long-term exclusives with boutique slot designer Electric Elephant. Wild Society was created specifically for Unibet players, and was launched with a six month exclusive run. Other Electric Elephant exclusives are in the pipeline we are told.
Like casinos themselves, game providers need to have a license from particular countries to be played in that country. For UK players, that means having a license from the Gaming Commission, and to do this designers have to meet stringent requirements. Many providers do not have a UK license, so this means that no matter how big the game selection is at any given casino, they will not provide slots without a UK license to UK players.
2. Casino bonuses may require specific deposit methods
Finding the perfect online casino is no good if it is impossible to make a deposit.
Unibet accepts deposits using PayPal, which is perhaps the most convenient deposit method for UK players (both Unibet and mFortune allow withdrawals using PayPal, by the way).
Watch out for bonus offers that are not valid for deposits made using specific payment methods. The most common of these are promotions that do not count if players make deposits using the e-wallets Skrill or Neteller.
It is not uncommon for online casinos to place restrictions on withdrawals, although the best online casinos keep these to a minimum.
Following “pending time” (when casinos may investigate any possible violation of terms and conditions) most online casinos will process withdrawals fairly promptly. In general, withdrawals made using e-wallets are the fastest (often within a few hours). Withdrawals using bank transfers normally take the longest time (between 3-5 days), but this is because of the international banking system rather than the working practices of casinos.
If fast withdrawals are important, try to make deposits using methods that provide the fastest withdrawal times. To follow anti-money-laundering best practice, online casinos try to pay withdrawals using the same payment method as used for deposits. Making a deposit by bank transfer makes it much more likely a player will be required to make withdrawals using bank transfers as well. Making deposits using multiple deposit methods can make determining which withdrawal method is valid a complicated issue for casinos – stick to one deposit method when possible!
How to avoid bad casino bonuses
As important as it is to understand what makes good casino bonuses, players should also be equipped to identify casino bonuses that are best avoided. Players should be on the lookout for:
- Very high wagering requirements with short time limits
- Casino bonuses with less than a 100% match on the first deposit
- Casinos which accept UK traffic but are not licensed by the UK’s Gambling Commission
Here is more detail about each of these important points:
1. Impossible wagering requirements
It does not matter how amazing casino bonuses are if it is practically impossible to meet the wagering requirement. In fact, higher bonuses start with higher targets, so do always check before accepting a bonus.
The key factor to understand is what the wagering requirement applies to. Imagine taking a 100% matching deposit bonus of £200 with a 50x wagering requirement. If that wagering requirement applies only to the bonus figure itself, it amounts to £10,000 in wagering. That is a bit on the high side, but not terrible. Now imagine finding out that the 50x wagering requirement applies to the bonus AND the deposit. Suddenly that wagering requirement target is £20,000!
Excuse the deeper dive into mathematics, but the percentage of the bonus match also comes into play when evaluating casino bonuses. If the match is 200%, it matters less if it is a combined bonus and deposit requirement, as much more of the money involved is made up of bonus funds. For 50% matches or 25% matches, which are more common in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th deposit “reload” bonuses, combining the bonus and deposit for a target can make these bonuses into a bad deal that should be avoided.
The time limit is also a key factor. When bonuses expire in 7 days, or something similar, it puts a lot of pressure on players to cycle through their wins quickly. Taking out a large bonus with a short time limit and a low maximum bet limit can be a challenge just to play through. Imagine if some unexpected personal event takes a player away from their laptop or phone for a few days? It could have a seriously negative effect on their ability to fulfil their bonus.
2. Do not settle for less than 100%
We mentioned above the importance of the matching percentage when it comes to judging the best casino bonuses. 100% is probably the most common matching bonus amount, but do look out for matches that are higher, like the Unibet 200% match. Doubling a stake sounds so appealing it can be easy to miss the appeal of tripling a stake, but it is A HUGE ADVANTAGE!
Bonuses come unstuck when they dip below the 100% figure, however. The biggest reason to avoid this kind of bonus is there are simply so many options for bonuses of 100% or more. Why settle for less?
But another reason for avoiding the lower amount is this type of bonus often comes with a wagering requirement that combines bonus and deposit, and if the bonus is only 50% or 25%, suddenly a player can find themselves obliged to accept restrictions on a stake that is mostly their own money. It is simply not worth it.
The good news is, bonuses under 100% are relatively rare. When they do exist, the bonus offers generally lead with a high maximum bonus amount, like “receive a bonus up to £5,000” or similar. By shifting attention to the high bonus amount on offer, players can miss the less advantageous terms. Do not be fooled!
These lower casino bonuses are more common for “reload” bonuses, where for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th deposit players can receive 25% or 50% matches. If the wagering requirements only apply to bonus funds, then this may be worth considering. If it is a combined bonus and deposit target, these bonuses are best avoided (no matter how good the 1st deposit bonus was).
3. Unlicensed casinos taking UK traffic
The internet is full of online casinos catering to people from around the world. There are hundreds that are highly reputable but have, for whatever reason, never sought a license from the UK’s Gambling Commission. Normally these casinos will block UK traffic, or have some other mechanism that prevents players from signing up for an account.
Do be aware that not all casinos which accept UK players are regulated by the UK’s Gambling Commission. Players might not notice this if they do not check. A UK flag or language stating that UK players are accepted are not enough. To be sure, look for the “GAMBLING COMMISSION” text logo in the footer of any page and make sure the logo is linked to a page on the Gambling Commission website that shows a casino is regulated and in good standing.
Here is something else that can cause confusion. It is possible for a casino to have an “international license” that allows it to accept players from around the world. These licenses are only meant to apply to countries that do not have their own national gambling regulation system – which is in fact most of the world. The UK has one of the oldest and most established regulations authorities in the world, however, so these licenses definitely DO NOT APPLY TO UK PLAYERS.
Among other possible issues, gambling on an unregulated casino puts players in a disadvantage when things start to go wrong. While not perfect, the UK authorities have a reputation for fairness and even-handedness. When casino bonuses go wrong it is nice to know there is an impartial third-party bound by the rule of law in a player’s own country who can intervene if necessary. Problems encountered on casinos without a UK license can result in UK players trying to seek relief from the authorities of a tiny Caribbean island thousands of miles away, or worse, no one at all.
Why do casinos offer bonuses?
Bonuses are great, and obviously very popular with players. Anytime someone is giving you something for free it pays to take a moment and consider why exactly this is happening. Are casinos charitable institutions who enjoy giving out large sums of cash to people online?
Players do regularly win large sums of cash online, but over time casinos do make money from players who lose money as they play. This is the entire business model, of course. If players regularly won more money than they lost, casinos would go out of business pretty quickly.
When players sign up for a new casino, they can have several motivations including entertainment and the dream of a big win. A bonus is an attempt by casinos to encourage this dream. In effect they are saying, here is some free money to wager (with conditions) that should help players have fun and provides them with additional chances to win.
The better the bonus offer, the better the chance that players will in fact come away with some extra cash they can withdraw. This means that the strongest bonus offers tend to result in more losses for casinos than the smaller offers.
Online casinos are still willing to offer more generous casino bonuses, however, even when the chance that players will win is increased. The casino is in effect taking a bet that once a player has joined they will want to stick around. They think the playing experience will be so strong that once the bonus is finished players will want to stick with their casino. If a casino is right about this, attracting players with very strong offers is certainly worth doing.
Of course, some online casinos with aggressive, enormous bonus offers are simply badly run, or should possibly even be avoided. If a bonus seems too good to be true, and it comes from a casino a player has never encountered before, this may be an online casino that is best avoided.
The sweet-spot for players is finding well-known, established, reputable casinos with very strong bonus offers. These casinos think a player-friendly bonus is worth providing, even if players do on average win more often than they might like. They think their casino is so good that players will stick around. If there are casinos out there that are so fantastic players are willing to make it their regular place to gamble after the bonus is finished, wouldn’t you want to know?!
Strong casino bonus offers from major brands are, in effect, the best sign of all for prospective new players.
Are casino bonuses the same in the UK as in other countries?
To find the best UK casino bonuses it is important to understand that there very much is a difference between offers made to UK residents and people from other countries.
There are lots of reasons this happens. The most important is regulation. The UKGC does not currently regulate the bonus offers themselves to a huge enxtent, but they do enforce very strict standards for the casinos themselves. Creating a casino that has the resources and standards to receive a UKGC license is simply harder, so casino operators who cannot manage this simply do not enter the market. This means that several top quality casinos are excluded from the UK market (the casino ComeOn! withdrew from the UK market in 2019 because they did not think the effort needed to maintain their license was worth the effort), but it also undoubtedly eliminates many of the less scrupulous operators from the UK as well.
Regulation means the casinos operating in the UK tend to be better resourced and more established, but this is not the only reason UK bonuses are different. Another factor is the UK market is one of the oldest for online casinos, and there are more experienced, educated players taking part.
UK players are more likely to be “bonus literate,” and they expect value for money from their casino providers. They understand how wagering requirements can be set up in a way to make coming away with winnings follow a bonus very difficult, and are wary of anything that seems too good to be true.
A great example of this phenomenon is PlayOJO, who offer 50 Book of Dead free Spins with a £10 deposit to new players. Winnings from these free spins have no wagering requirement. What’s more, PlayOJO have NO WAGERING REQUIREMENTS EVER!
As a casino, PlayOJO are very much focused on the UK market, and use their lack of wagering requirements as a way to differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other options and appeal to experienced players. It is hard to imagine this position being developed outside of the UK (at least for now).
Slots-only casino bonuses
Most casino bonuses are designed for slots players in particular, and are really not intended for players who prefer live casino.
The reasons for this have to do with the economics of online casinos. Slots tend to have a “return to player” rate of between 95-98%. Live casino table games often have much higher rates of return, and for some games the skill of players also comes into effect. In pure percentage terms, the difference is pretty small, but it makes all the difference for casinos.
The way most online casinos deal with this difference is to either forbid players from using their bonus funds to play live casino games (or on occasion prevent players from accessing live casino tables completely while a bonus is in play).
Much more common is for casinos to use game weightings to make it harder to meet a wagering requirement using live casino. This gives players more options than a complete ban, but the result is a complicated system that can be confusing.
When it is allowed, the game weightings for live table games is typically 10% or lower. There are sometimes higher weightings for casino games that are based more purely on chance, such as low-coverage roulette wagers, or wheel-based games such as Casumo’s Topwheel Treasures. On balance, however, game weightings effectively make the wagering requirement multiply by a factor of 10 or 100 if a player wagers only on live casino games.
For this reason, Casinos We Love does not recommend any of the casino bonuses it reviews for live casino play. There is good news, however, for players who prefer live casino games. Some online casinos (but not all) have bonuses that are designed specifically for live casino play. These may have higher wagering requirements than standard casinos bonuses, but much lower than bonuses designed primarily with slots players in mind.
Anyone interested in learning more about these special bonuses should visit our companion site, Live Casino Buzz.
Are casino bonuses the right way to choose a casino?
While the point of this article is to recommend the best UK casino bonuses, choosing casinos solely on the basis of the bonuses they offer is not always the best strategy.
Casino bonuses are designed to attract players with free spins and matching deposit bonuses, but the average player will use up their bonus within a few days or a few hours depending on how often they play. Hopefully they come away with some winnings from the process, but the real question is will they stay?
Online casinos hope they will, of course. This is the entire point of the bonus after all, but players do not need to take this into account. Their concerns should be game selection, gameplay experience, customer service, the convenience of deposits and withdrawals, and security. Players should really avoid any casinos where any of these elements are not up to standards.
Most large online casinos have a good selection of slots and live casino games form the major suppliers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Play’n Go, and Playtech. There can be substantial differences in selection when it comes to medium-sized and smaller slot providers, however. Players should pay attention to who makes their favourite slots and know for sure if they can access them on a new casino before being attracted by an exciting bonus.
While most slot designers release slots for all casinos at once, some get exclusive advance releases of prominent slots that give players advance access for up to two weeks. Unibet currently have a six-month exclusive slot from Electric Elephant, Wild Society, with another exclusive release from the same designer planned for the coming months.
If exclusive game releases are a priority, sticking with casinos that offer them like Unibet and Casumo is more important than chasing new bonus offers every week.
Long gone are the days when playing an online casino meant downloading and installing software. All major casinos can be accessed online with a simple browser and no technical knowledge from the player. But there can still be differences in gameplay experience.
Being able to access slots easily and smoothly on tablets and mobile devices is increasingly important for players. Despite all casinos promising to have great user experiences on mobile devices, there is still variation. If you find a casino that works well on a favourite device, that is a casino to stick with!
More and more casinos are now launching their own apps. While this is a software download of sorts, it is a far step ahead from the old software downloads of yore. When playing a casino in-app players can expect the ultimate mobile play experience.
The good news for players is that all three online casinos recommended in this article – Casumo, Unibet, and mFortune – have excellent casino apps for both iOS and Android devices. Unibet actually has FOUR apps (including separate apps for sports betting, casino, poker, and lottery).
Let’s face it: casino bonuses are complicated and no matter how well they are designed players will have questions. Having good customer service means that players can get answers to their questions quickly, and (more importantly) feel reassured that there is help available if something goes wrong.
Night owls should take note that both Casumo, mFortune, and Unibet have online chat support available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
With so much competition, casinos are well aware that a bad customer service experience can lead to players heading for the exits pretty quickly. Great service is increasingly a priority.
That being said, support staff are not there to help players skirt rules or exploit the system. A big loss can feel devastating, but however upset a player is it is best not take it out on the support team (which does happen – don’t be that guy!).
Deposits and withdrawals
Casino bonuses are exciting, but making payments and withdrawals can be aggravating. Finding a casino that suits your payment and withdrawal needs is a valuable thing – hold on to that relationship!
UK players should be on the lookout for deposits using PayPal. Not only is PayPal dead easy – it also has a great reputation for safety and security.
Unibet accepts PayPal, which is a serious vote in its favour.
Casumo does not have PayPal, but does accept payments with the increasingly popular MuchBetter payment system (which is a British-run system).
Payments and withdrawals can get complicated for UK players, especially if when it comes to “Know Your Customer” (KYC) rules that are enforced by the UK Gambling Commission. Just like banks, casinos are required to have information about the people who place money into and take money out of their systems. Jumping through hoops can be annoying, but these rules are there to fight money laundering and other problems that come with any online financial transactions.
One way to avoid aggravation is find a preferred payment/withdrawal method and stick to it. By withdrawing using the same method as deposits are made, casinos have an easier time meeting regulations. Using multiple deposit methods makes it harder for casinos to follow the rules, and can create delays.
SSL data encryption (signified by a website addresses that begin “https” and not just “http”) is standard now with all reputable online casinos.
Casinos themselves are required to keep deposits separate from their company revenue, so any casino with a UK Gambling Commission license should be safe to play. Security is an issue that most players ignore unless there is a problem, but the good news is that properly regulated casinos are certified safe and fair.
What is bonus abuse?
Anyone who reads the full terms and conditions of an online casino before signing up for an account (which is highly recommended) will find that there is often a paragraph or section that talks about “bonus abuse” or a similar term.
All casinos will say that bonus abuse is forbidden, but what exactly constitutes bonus abuse is not always clear. It can also change over time as bonus offers are altered and sharp-eyed players look for loopholes in the new rules.
Casino bonuses are designed to attract new players and provide them with a good playing experience for long enough that they develop an attachment to the casino and stick around.
For most players, this is exactly what happens (although whether they become loyal or not to a new casino is not guaranteed). For a select few players, however, casino bonuses are treated as an opportunity to exploit the system beyond what is intended and cash in.
This causes two problems:
- If bonus abusers are successful then casinos could suffer huge, unexpected losses and might withdraw or limit a bonus that is popular with mainstream players.
- If bonus abusers are not successful and get caught casinos will often tighten up their procedures to try and catch more out. This leads to increased hassle for all players, not just bonus abusers, and can result in players who are lucky having to justify their winnings instead of just making a withdraw and celebrating.
It is this last point that creates a real customer service dilemma for online casinos. The nature of gambling is players will have completely random large wins. The nature of online casinos is they will also attract players who try to game the system. Telling the difference between the two can be a serious challenge!
Experienced players will have possibly encountered “pending time.” This is a period that normally lasts 24-48 hours between when a player requests a withdrawal and when the processing begins. This is the point when casinos review the winnings of a player and sometimes find sharp practices. It can also be a time when casinos enforce anti-money laundering checks, but mostly it is a delay caused by bonus abusers.
The no-deposit bonus trap
Are the best casino bonuses no deposit bonuses? At first glance, this would seem to be the case. After all, it is hard to compete with free!
In reality, no deposit bonuses are rarely that exciting. This is not because the offers themselves are bad, but they are always very limited. This is the downside of “free” money – very few online casinos are willing to give away very much of it.
The limits imposed on no deposit offers are generally in the form of how the bonuses can be used, and the amounts.
The most common no deposit bonus offers are for free spins. Often these are free spins for a specific game, like Book of Dead free spins. This is great for players who love this particular slot (and there are a lot of players who do) but it is hardly a complete introduction to a new casino. If after enjoying 10 or even 30 free spins can a player feel like they really understand the casino they have just signed up for?
The other, must less common no deposit bonus is a small money amount, normally around £5. This can seem much less restrictive, but the terms and conditions for these offers normally limit play to slots (sometimes very specific slots) so the bonus is often just a free spin offer in a different guise.
So why have we called these offers a trap? Signing up for a new casino just to get the no deposit bonus is generally not a great idea. The bonuses tend to have lots of restrictions to make it unlikely they will result in a huge win, and they are generally small enough that a player will finish them before they have had a chance to really understand a casino (which is a good use of casino bonuses).
No deposit bonus offers do have their place, though. The increasingly strict Know Your Customer (KYC) checks that regulators are insisting casinos conduct means that signing up for a new online casino can be a long, somewhat invasive process. Anyone who has taken the time to fill in endless personal information about themselves, scanned and uploaded copies of their passport, and waited hours for a human to check through their details deserves a bit of a reward. No deposit bonuses that are in essence a “thank you” for jumping through hoops is a nice touch. When these no deposit bonuses have no wagering requirement, such as the one offered by Casumo, there is really no downside.
How deposit methods are important for determining the best casino bonuses
Read the terms and conditions of a surprisingly high number of online casino, and you will find rules that exclude players using certain deposit methods from claiming a bonus. This means no matter how strong a bonus offer is, it cannot be considered one of the best casino bonuses for people using these payment systems.
The most common payment methods to be excluded are the eWallets known as Skrill and Neteller. Casinos are not explicit about why they prevent first deposits being made with these methods from bonus promotions, but some think it is a method for preventing bonus abuse. Players who are serial bonus abusers will repeatedly claim welcome bonuses from the same casino, using different payment accounts each time to obscure the fact that they are returning players. It is possible that players engaged in bonus abuse are able do this more easily using these eWallets.
Not all eWallets are created equal, of course. Some recent advances connect eWallets to mobile devices. This method is not full-proof, but having to use a new mobile device for every new account would certainly make constantly opening up new accounts a challenge.
A new eWallet provider called MuchBetter has used this technology and (so far at least), casinos are allowing players who make a first deposit using MuchBetter to claim bonuses. For more information, see our full and updated MuchBetter Casino guide.