Several dozens of new online casinos open up every year. Their market is a fiercely competitive one because they all draw from the same demographic. For this reason, casinos are always looking to poach gamblers from other casinos with lucrative promos. One of the most common forms of this is online casino bonuses. Right off the bat, they provide a ramp up to the casino experience in one of many possible ways. But are there any downsides to online casino bonuses?
What are online casino bonuses?
Online casino bonuses give you some form of extra help when you play their games. This can come in several different packages. Free spins and free bets give you extra turns to try your luck without actually paying the standard price. Free deposits are basically extra padding to your good casino fortune. Typically, casinos award these bonuses to new customers, in hope that they will keep playing the games with their extra benefits and get hooked.
The biggest culprit that can ruin a casino bonus is the wagering requirements. When you claim a casino bonus, it usually comes with a major playtime caveat. For example, let’s say you get 10 free spins. But to actually get to use the 10 free spins, you must play a game for about 100 spins first. You technically do get free spins, but you have to pay tenfold the price to retrieve that.
Wagering requirements force you to grind a certain game to actually make use of the bonuses. But a part of the wagering requirement can also be monetary. These are prevalent in deposit bonuses. To put it simply, deposit bonuses give you some extra money in the casino wallet. But to actually acquire this money, you need to shell out your own cash. This works exactly like any other wagering requirement. It’s less of a freebie and more of an investment from the casino’s side. They do give you real money. But to get 100 INR you might have to spend 2000 INR on spinning slots.
Bonuses Can Be Too Specific
Like an infinite supply of candies, online casinos can afford to spam bonuses year-long every week. Many casinos will actually let you select from several bonuses. They can only do this because of the degree of dilution the bonuses have. They will usually only work with one type of game, and sometimes even one iteration. A bonus that you get on Mega Moolah games will never convert into free spins on Gold Fish. Why is a bonus bad when it gets too specific. Firstly, it forces you to play that game to actually utilize the bonus. If it is a promo bonus, everyone else will also get the bonus. In case you were playing a slot game for a progressive jackpot, the hundreds of extra players will drive down your chances. In other words, the bonuses only contribute to lower the expected value of a bet.
Bonuses Can Expire
The grind and the need to pay money for getting things that should be free is bad enough. On top of all this, casinos can actually put a timer on it. The bonuses do not last forever, they expire. So not only do you need to spend and potentially lose money to get a fraction of it back, you have to do it quite fast. The timer is generally short enough that you have to at least play semi-regularly. If the bonus expires while you are halfway into completing requirements, you lose it anyway. It is a composite of all these factors that can make bonus-hunting stressful.
Advertisement Conceals Downsides
If you have read thus far, you can likely see how difficult using a bonus can be. Another issue to compound on top of this is how they advertise it. The point of a bonus is to draw in more customers, so they silver-coat it as much as possible. The unwary gambler will often mistake a bonus for a freebie – while in reality it is like a loyalty reward. This is essentially how casinos catch the customers in a bonus trap.
Are bonuses useless then? Not always. For a casual gambler who spins a reel on weekends, a bonus has no use. The wagering requirements demand far more attention and investment. On the other hand, if you play casino games frequently enough that you will cover the wagering requirements anyway, the bonus actually is a freebie for you.
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