Take a look at any of our lists of online casinos, sports betting apps and other betting sites, and you will see that almost all of them offer you a welcome bonus to tempt you to try their site. These can often look really generous, running into hundreds, and occasionally thousands, of pounds in ‘free money’. But are these deals really as generous as they look, and what do you need to know to make the most of the bonus deals on offer?
Check the small print
Beneath the tempting headlines, with their big money giveaways, you’ll always find the words ‘T&C Apply’. This is the small print that has all the details of the offer, and it is essential that you take the time to read it. The casino or sports book are not allowed to hide anything from you, so everything you need to know will be there, including how you get your bonus, how much you can win and how you get your winnings. It is up to you to make sure you fully understand the offer before you start to play. There is no point in picking who will win Super Bowl LIV, or going on a winning streak at the roulette table, if you can’t collect your winnings like you expect to. So what should you look out for in the small print?
Check how you get your bonus
There are two main bonuses, depending on whether you have to risk any of your own cash or not. Deposit match bonuses will usually double your money but you do need to make a deposit first. No deposit bonuses mean just that: money for nothing. However, these bonuses tend to be much smaller.
The whole point of offering you a bonus is to get you into the habit of using the app, so you may find that you will get your bonus a little at a time over a week or so. Other bonus strategies focus on getting you to visit as soon as possible, and so may expire in 24 or 48 hours. You need to make sure your offer matches the way you want to play.
Check what you can play
Often a bonus will have significant restrictions on its use, such as selected slots, key football matches or a chosen horse race. This means that you can’t just take your bonus and head for the roulette table or the multi-million-dollar jackpot slots. If you want to use a bonus for a specific wager, then check the T&Cs carefully to make sure it is eligible.
Check how your winnings are paid
Perhaps the most important thing to check is how you will be paid out if you win. Many bonuses will have a ‘wagering requirement’, which means you have to bet your winnings a number of times before you can withdraw them as cash. This can be twenty or thirty times, at the end of which you may have lost most or even all of your original winnings.
Look for bonus offers that pay winnings in cash. This can often be the smaller bonuses, such as no deposit bonuses, but £10 in your hand is always better than £100 that you have to repeatedly play before you can claim it.
Cash in, move on
Like any introductory offer, bonuses are designed to tempt you to try the site in the hope that you will become a regular customer. But it is important to remember that you are not obliged to; you can play your bonus offer on one site and then move on to the next when it runs out. There are hundreds of different casinos and sports books online, all making bonus offers, so you can just keep moving round for the next free bonus if you like.
If you are smart, and read the small print carefully, you can do really well with free bonus offers. You just have to understand how the game is being played and the traps that are being laid. Once you know that, you can use the bonuses to your advantage and really make the most of them.
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