Almost every ad for an online casino screams with an offer of some kind of "free bonus money". Probably followed by a "click here now!". While many of them are enticing, not enough of them are explained properly. As a player it's too easy at cash-out time to find that you've accidentally violated the terms and conditions of the bonus. And now there are problems.
The easy way around that scenerio is to read. Read the fine print in the Terms and Conditions of the promotion before you make a deposit at the casino.
In the T&C you will find several things. One is a wagering requirement. No casino just gives you money you can walk away with. They all require players to wager bonus money a certain amount of times before withdrawing it. The amount of times varies greatly from casino to casino, so a little bit of shopping might be in order before you make a deposit at a casino.
Another thing you'll find is a list of excluded games. On several casino games it is possible to make no-risk wagers. Well placed bets on a roulette table, for example, allow a player to wager thousands of dollars on a spin, without ever risking a dime. Because of situations like this, casinos began listing games that would not count towards the wagering requirement. Now that list has expanded to often include games like Video Poker and Blackjack as well. If your favorite game is on the excluded games list, perhaps it is best to pass on the bonus, or even that casino.
Also be aware that sometimes the casino will simply not count play on an "excluded game" towards your wagering requirement. Other times play on an excluded game will VOID your bonus, and that could be a very unpleasant surprise.
Sometimes casinos have a time requirement built into the terms. Many casinos only offer a bonus if players make a deposit within 72 hours of opening an account. That means if you open an account Tuesday afternoon, but do not deposit until Friday night, you've lost your claim to a bonus.
Withdrawal clauses are also very important. While most casinos allow you to withdraw any bonus you've earned, some do not. These bonuses are known as sticky bonuses, and always remain in your player account at the casino. You can use them to wager with, and you can keep any winnings they produce, but the bonus itself remains in your account until it is lost completely.
Here's an example of a sticky bonus in action. I deposit $100, and it is matched with a sticky bonus of $100. So I take $200 to the slots. If I spend $125 in the slots, now I can no longer cash out. I can only wager the last $75 hoping to win. Suppose on my last dollar I hit big on the slots, and win $10,000. Now I can cash out $9,900. The bonus is the last $100 in my account, and it stays there until I lose it.
Every casino has it's own set of rules regarding their bonuses. Before you deposit anywhere, please read over their rules paying attention to the clauses I've mentioned. This way you'll have a good idea of what they are offering exactly, and whether that offer is really for you.
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