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With so many different online casinos, sportsbook sites, and mobile apps competing for your attention, you will find thousands of different sign-up offers, no-deposit bonuses, and welcome packages with the express aim of having you exploring the brand, signing on the dotted line, and playing some of the most adrenaline-pumping games ever made. And we want to get you to that point as soon as possible, of course, but we also don’t want you to get ripped off by a bad set of terms and conditions. Knowing the terminology employed, the industry averages so that you can make a fair comparison between different brands, and other little tips and tricks for deciphering them will mean you can make an informed decision about each of the deals.Here, we will be going over the most significant bonus terms to look out for when considering a welcome bonus, go over a few of the other promotions you are likely to find when playing at an online casino, and we will show you how to find the best bonuses quickly and easily. So, without further ado, let’s get out our fine-tooth combs, magnifying glasses, and legal dictionaries (joking – it won’t be that bad, we promise), and together we can get stuck right into the small print…

Casino welcome bonuses

When we see the main headline of pretty much any online casino welcome bonus, it can often seem too good to be true. And some of the time, that is exactly what it is. But other times, the casino in question might have very reasonable terms and conditions that merely prevent them from getting ripped off by bonus hunters – those who use underhand tactics to withdraw as much as possible without laying down a cent. The main way to prevent this type of activity is to put a wagering requirement on any bonus received from the casino or any winnings earned from free spins. This works out in one of two ways – either the casino gets the chance to get some of its money back, or the player ends up winning even more in as fair a way as possible.

Wagering requirements come in two main forms. The first suggests that you must play through your bonus a certain number of times – the industry average (so that you can judge a good deal from a bad one) is around 35 times the bonus amount received. The other way you may see it written in the bonus terms is that you must play through the bonus and the initial deposit combined. So, you must wager the total amount by a certain number of times. The industry average for these combined wagering requirements is usually around 30 times the bonus and deposit amounts. When it comes to wagering your free spins winnings, these are often lower than the figures mentioned above, but equally, some online casinos go crazy and expect 40 or 50 times wagering!

Other types of bonus terms

Wagering applies to much more than just welcome bonuses, too, of course. It can apply to no-deposit free spins, sportsbook free bets, and casino cashback offers, where the money you get back is considered as bonus funds until you meet the wagering requirements. Also, only certain games will contribute 100% towards wagering requirements (slots are the main ones here), whereas games such as roulette, blackjack, and baccarat with their super low house edges may only contribute something like 5%. So be sure to keep an eye on those specific terms. Also, some games may be excluded entirely, so you don’t want to waste time playing any of those!

Moving on from there, you’ll also find betting limits mentioned, such as only being able to wager up to, say, €5 per spin on slots or around €25 per round on live casino games. Breaking these rules may result in your bonus being removed and any winnings earned from them being lost to memory. You should also see if the winnings from free spins are capped at around €100, for example. Another one to keep an eye out for is if certain payment methods are excluded from receiving a bonus – quite often eWallets like Skrill or Neteller are not eligible for bonuses. The same thing applies to players from certain blacklisted countries – always check this ahead of time by reading through the terms in full or else by contacting a member of customer support!

Adhering to promotion periods

Another important factor when judging one bonus against another is the amount of time in which you have to complete certain things. For example, a promotion may only be running during a set period of time, so be sure to make your qualifying deposit once that window is open. Also, for things like wagering requirements, you will often only have 30 days in which to complete them or risk losing your winnings – some casinos are even harsher by dropping the amount of time down to a week or 10 days! 

Free spins are particularly time-sensitive, too, as you will quite often only have 24 hours within which to play through them – after that, they will be removed from your account and no one wants that to happen! Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the importance of timezones. Pay attention to whether times are given in UTC, CET, or something else that may need to be adjusted to match the timezone of your own country.

Bonus Terms – conclusion

With this crash-course in bonus terms at an end, you should now be much better equipped in dealing with the details of the small print and you will be able to tell a good deal from a bad one. With all that in mind, be sure to read through our comprehensive online casino reviews right here at GoodLuckMate. We don’t pull any punches when it comes to analyzing the terms of a welcome deal or related promotion. Therefore, we will tell you exactly what seems fair enough while also going to town on any terms we consider harsh or draconian. We’re on your side!

Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus GrendaUpdated: 11 Apr 2022
Nerijus is one of our top writers here at GoodLuckMate, and he knows exactly what casino players want to read about. He got started in the iGaming industry as a player, more specif...

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