Free bonuses, no deposit bonuses, free spins or free credits are phrases you’ll see used a lot by responsible online casinos today, which begs the question, do all online casinos offer free bonuses? The answer is no, not all of them do.
As effective as free bonuses are in attracting new players to sign up at online casinos (in the hope that they’ll go on to become long, loyal and prolific depositors), not all casinos that operate in the online space make use of them.
Bur before we delve into the reasons why some casinos shy away from offering free bonuses let’s first look at what online casino bonuses are, how they evolved and why they’re so popular among online casino fans all over the world.
What are online casino bonuses?
These are bonuses offered by online casinos to new and existing players to entice them to try a casino or keep playing at the casino. There are many kinds of bonuses including welcome bonuses, no deposit bonuses and reload bonuses.
Ever since online casinos were born in the mid-1990s, bonuses have been widely used. In fact they’re still one of the most powerful and effective tools used by gaming sites to incentive players to support them, not unlike land casinos.
Land casinos have rewarded players for decades by way of ‘comps.’ These ‘freebies’ are given to loyal players and/or winners in the form of free meal vouchers, hotel rooms, tickets to shows or events etc. to keep them coming back.
However, as online casinos are 100% virtual and thus can’t reward players with physical incentives, online bonuses became the next best thing. But unlike comps that are aimed at existing players, online bonuses reward players up front.
What are welcome bonuses?
Enter the welcome bonus also known as a match bonus, matching bonus, sign up bonus or new player bonus. This is a bonus that requires an initial deposit or initial deposits to unlock, and matches your deposit by a fixed percentage.
For example, a 100% welcome bonus up to $100 means that if you deposit $100 dollars and opt-in for the bonus, a total of $200 will be deposited into your online casino account (your original $100 deposit + your matched $100 free bonus).
Some welcome bonuses are bundled with a number of free spins you can use on one or more specified slots. So although technically the free spins aren’t free, you don’t have to spend any credits to spin the reels and potentially win using them.
What are reload bonuses?
Reload bonuses are similar to welcome bonuses in that they need a deposit to unlock and are percentage-based, but are solely aimed at existing depositing players.
What are no deposit bonuses?
No deposit bonuses are just that – bonuses that don’t need a deposit to unlock and are thus 100% free. They just require a new (and free) account registration which is why they’re so popular – it’s always great not having to use your own money.
Plus, if you meet the bonus wagering requirements in full as per the bonus terms and conditions (T&Cs), you have a chance to withdraw a nominal sum of winnings – no strings attached – without having to spend a cent to do so.
There are two main types of no deposit bonuses; those that award a fixed number of free credits that can be used to play slots and other eligible games, and those that award free spins that can be used on one or more specified slots.
Why are free online casino bonuses so popular?
These bonuses are popular for many reasons, the most obvious and important being that they’re 100% free to redeem and use. Another reason they’re sought after is they let players test out a casino, its games and various processes 100% risk-free.
If, however, players like a casino and its offerings, because they’ve already have a casino account the process of making a deposit is quick and easy. Similarly, if they don’t like a casino site they can logoff never to return – no obligation or strings attached.
Players are spoilt for choice with so many reputable UK licensed and regulated casinos to choose from. This is why virtual casinos always try to outdo each other by offering more generous no deposit bonuses with even more benefits and rewards.
For instance, these may include more lenient wagering requirements and in rare cases none at all, which means whatever you win you’re allowed to withdraw.
Why some casinos don’t offer players free bonuses
So now to the crux of why some online casinos choose not to offer no deposit bonuses.
The answer may surprise you in that the decision not to offer these 100% free bonuses is not so much about the casinos, but the requirements of the players they target.
Bitcoin online casinos
For instance, in the case of solely cryptocurrency powered online casinos i.e. casinos that only accept deposits, play and cashouts in Bitcoin (and often other popular digital coins) many don’t offer players the option to claim no deposit i.e. free bonuses.
The reason is many of these online casinos have discovered that players who like to gamble online in almost total anonymity (that playing in crypto coins like Bitcoin affords) have no interest in playing real money games for free with bonus credits / spins.
In other words, these players prefer to dive straight into playing for real money so that whatever they win they can cash out at will, with no wagering requirements or other T&Cs hanging over their heads they need to worry about fulfilling.
The value of such casinos for these players is therefore not the promise of free credits or spins, but the ability to deposit, play and cashout fast and hassle-free.
Trustly online casinos
Another sub-set of online casinos that rarely have no deposit bonuses (or any other type of bonuses) are Trustly-powered casinos. These are European-focused casinos that only support a single banking method in the form of payment gateway Trustly.
Because Trustly creates a safe, secure and importantly anonymous ‘gateway’ between a player’s regular (eligible) European bank account and their casino account, there’s no need for them to register an account and thus divulge any personal information.
This means players (new or old to the casino) can make deposit and be playing literally in a matter of minutes. And to make the process even faster and less distracting, these solely Trustly-processing online casinos have also eliminated any and all bonuses.
It should be noted, however, that in lieu of bonuses some Bitcoin and Trustly casinos offer players cashback on a portion of their losses. Although not the same as free bonus cash, this cashback can be seen as some kind of added player incentive.
So, what’s the answer?
While most online casinos have some kind of bonus offer, as demonstrated above not all of them do and for very specific reasons mostly for the benefit their players.
For our gaming buck, however, claiming no deposit bonuses is a great way to get a feel for casino and its games without worrying about money, and is thus the way to go.