It is not something that is readily admitted, but most online casino players look out for bonuses. In fact, most players are drawn to online casino bonuses, such that the more attractive the bonuses of online casinos under consideration, the more attractive the online casinos look. However, sometimes, online casino players get to find out (when it is too late) that many online casino bonuses are not as attractive as they seem, or even that they would have been better off without the bonuses.
This post is to help prevent that from happening to you. It is to help you avoid falling into the online casino bonus trap – to help you avoid claiming an online casino bonus that will turn around to bite you and leave you regretting.
What is an online casino bonus?
By definition, an online casino bonus is a free credit – free funds to use for gaming in the giving online casino. Who does not like the sound of “free funds”? Are you still wondering why online casino bonuses are so popular? Also, when playing using bonuses, the gameplay and the chances of winning are the same as when playing using real money. Thus, as advertised, online casino bonuses offer the chance of winning casino prizes without risking your own money.
Online casinos are getting creative with their bonus offers, so there are many different types and forms of online casino bonuses out there. The different online casino bonuses you’ll find include: Sign up bonus, Deposit Bonus, No deposit Bonus, Free Spins, Free Bet, Cashbacks, and VIP/ Loyalty Bonus. See Online Casino Bonuses Explained for a detailed explanation of each of these online casino bonuses and more.
Why do online casinos offer bonuses?
If online casino bonuses allow players free gaming along with the opportunity to win real prizes without the players risking real money, why do online casinos give bonuses? The answer to this question can be found in another question, which is “why does the hunter set traps?”. Is your answer something like “to catch and keep…”? Yes, online casinos offer bonuses in efforts to catch and keep players. The bonuses are designed to get people to register as players, and to retain them as loyal players.
How do you get an online casino bonus?
This is where we talk about online casino bonus codes or promo codes. Online Casino bonus codes are simply specific codes which you can use to put the offered online casino bonus in your gaming account. In many online casinos, simply find and enter the bonus code into the appropriate field, and you will be credited with the bonus money. In others, you do not need to input bonus codes; you only need to click dedicated links and the bonus will be added to your account.
What then is the Bonus Trap?
One definition of a trap is “something by which one is caught, unawares”. Another definition is “deceiving someone into doing something contrary to their interests or intentions”. Sadly, these describes most online casino bonuses as we will see shortly.
Thus, casino bonuses that are designed to catch you unawares, or to trick you doing something contrary to your interests or intentions are bonus traps. The many online casino players who have at one time claimed bonuses and go on to regret doing so get caught in the bonus trap.
This is where we discuss what makes a bonus a dangerous trap that you may want to avoid getting caught in. The short answer is “Bonus Terms”, or more appropriately “unfriendly bonus terms”. Thus, you will most likely be falling head over heels into a dangerous trap if you fail to read and understand bonus terms and conditions before jumping on and claiming them.
What are some terms that turn casino bonuses to dangerous traps?
1. A high “price for the prize”
Have you heard the popular saying that “nothing is free even in Freetown”? The saying concludes that you must pay a price to receive a prize. Yes, it applies to the so-called “free funds” of casino bonuses. Getting most of the online casino bonuses requires paying a price. Sadly, sometimes, the price is a high one, or even an impossible one.
Consider a $10,000 deposit bonus structured as follows:
- First deposit: 100% bonus up to $1,500
- Second deposit: 50% bonus up to $3,500
- Third deposit: 10% bonus up to $5,000
An online casino offering this will advertise it as a “$10,000 FREE bonus”, and may go on about how this is one of the biggest bonuses you’ll find in the online casino world. However, what it will not say is that to claim this $10,000 bonus, you need to make deposits totalling $58,500.
The 100% matching of the first deposit bonus means that getting the full bonus requires a deposit of $1,500. The 50% matching of the second deposit bonus means that getting the full bonus requires a deposit of $7,000. The 10% matching of the third deposit bonus means that getting the full bonus requires a deposit of $50,000. That’s a whooping $58,500 that not many players will be able or willing to deposit.
Thus, sounding out this offer as a $10,000 FREE bonus is nothing but baiting you. The $58,500 price to pay to receive the $10,000 bonus is just too high. It may even be impossible to pay this price because the $58,500 price is split into three deposits of $1,500, $7,000, and $50,000 respectively, and $50,000 is definitely going to be higher than the maximum deposit limit.
Thus, when the match percentage of a deposit bonus is very low such that you will need a very high deposit amount to claim the full bonus, the bonus may not be worth it.
Some people may argue that it is not for every online casino bonus that you need to pay a price, and may point to “no deposit bonuses” and free bets as proof of this. However, know that “nothing is free even in Freetown”. That is why online casinos (almost without exception) will require players who have never deposited before to make a deposit before the players can withdraw winnings obtained using no deposit bonuses. There is also the issue of wagering requirements.
2. High Bonus Wagering Requirements (BWR)
With the exception of a few cashback offers, online casino bonuses cannot be immediately withdrawn. The wagering requirement is the number of times you must play through the bonus amount before you can withdraw the bonus (if at all it is withdrawable) or winnings obtained from playing using the bonus. Thus, a high wagering requirement makes it very difficult or impossible to withdraw the amount offered or the winnings obtained from playing using this money.
Consider the 100% first deposit bonus up to $1,500 in our earlier example. If a 50x bonus wagering requirement is attached to this offer, it means that before any player who claims the bonus can make any withdrawal, he/ she must wager a minimum of $75,000 within a specified time period.
Thus, one of the best bonus traps used by online casinos is offering a juicy bonus and including impossible wagering requirement. Players who do not know better jump on the bonus, deposit and play, and may end up with winnings that cannot be withdrawn because of not meeting the bonus wagering requirement.
3. Low Maximum Wager amount when using bonuses
Make no mistake, online casinos do not want to give players an easy ride to meeting bonus wagering requirement. One way the casinos make clearing bonuses (meeting bonus wagering requirement) difficult is including bet caps when using bonus funds. Thus, online casino bonuses usually come with maximum bet amount which is usually far lower than the maximum bet amount when using real money. The lower the maximum bet allowed, the longer (and more difficult) it is to meet BWR.
Consider our example above of needing to meet a $75,000 bonus wagering requirement. If the maximum bet allowed when using bonus funds is $4 per bet, it will take over 18,000 gaming rounds to clear the bonus. Thus, a low maximum bet amount can easily turn gaming to a chore when playing to meet wagering requirement.
Know that “maximum wager amount when using bonuses” is at the root of many complaints in gambling portals about online casinos confiscating winnings. Investigations show that, very often, when using bonuses, players breach this bonus term by placing one or more bets whose amount exceed the allowed maximum bet amount for bonus plays. When this happens, even if they successfully meet the bonus wagering requirement, the casinos will confiscate winnings. Thus, they Inadvertently fall into the trap. We’ve seen many such cases; the players complain in different portals that the casinos have scammed them by refusing to pay out winnings, and the casinos easily refute such claims by bringing evidence that bonus terms were breached.
One question often asked is whether it is right on the casinos’ part to allow a bet to go through when the bet amount is higher than the allowed maximum bet amount only to use this against the player when wagering requirements are met and a withdrawal is requested. Well, it is why we think it’s a trap. Don’t get caught by it. Before jumping on and claiming any online casino bonus, know the maximum amount per bet.
4. Lots of restricted games when using bonuses
It is not every game you can play using real money that are allowed when using bonus funds. Playing even a single restricted game, even if it is just one time, can cause winnings to be confiscated even after meeting wagering requirement.
Playing a restricted game is another oft seen reason why casinos confiscate winnings and refuse to pay. Also, many have asked why casinos will allow the gameplay only for them to use it against the player when a withdrawal is requested. It is why we call it a trap. So, always comb the fine prints in the Terms and Conditions to know what games are restricted, so that you will not be caught in this bonus trap by playing a game that is not allowed and then have your winnings confiscated when you try withdrawing.
Bonus Traps and Legit Online Casinos
That an online casino is legit does not mean that it is free of bonus trap. Even the very legit online casinos need to “catch and keep” players; and casino bonuses has been found to be very effective in doing this. Thus, even when playing in a legit and reliable online casino, watch out for the bonus traps by paying attention to bonus terms as well as the casino’s general terms and conditions. Especially, check that bonuses give you good value for your money, and that it is not overly difficult to meet bonus wagering requirements.