Traps to Avoid in the Terms and Conditions of Bonus Deals

Some casino bonuses look too good to be true. Matched welcome deals at 200% or more - up to several thousand dollars. Free spins and chips to play in live dealer casino rooms, and even tournament entries are all common.

There are some great deals out there. You'll also find a lot of tricks and traps in casino bonuses which mean you are unlikely to ever see a return.

This page takes a look at some key questions to ask before you accept a casino bonus. These involve:

  • What is the Play-Through Requirement for Your Bonus?
  • Is Your Bonus Cashable - or for Play Only?
  • How are the Games Weighted for Bonus Clearance?
  • Is Your Free Spins Offer Capped?
  • Can You Trust the Casino to Pay Out Your Winnings?

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#1 - What is the Play-Through Requirement for Your Bonus?

This is the single biggest factor that separates fair casino bonuses from tough ones. All casinos require some kind of play-through. This means you have to wager the bonus amount a specified number of times before you can withdraw it.

The very best casinos have 25x play-through, usually based on the deposit + bonus amount. For example, if you deposit $100 at a 100% match, you'll need to bet 25x$200 = $5000 before you can make a withdrawal.

At the other end of the scale are casinos which require 50x (combined) or even more play-through. Add to this time limits which vary considerably, and you might not have time to complete the huge play-through before your bonus expires. Most casinos weight games for play-through, this is discussed further in question #3 below.

#2 - Is Your Bonus Cashable - or for Play Only?

A common trap that new casino players fall into is to take bonuses which can't be withdrawn. They will still have a play-through requirement for any winnings. At the same time the bonus amount sits in a special 'bonus play' account. This will disappear when you make your first withdrawal.

There is a world of difference between a bonus which can be withdrawn (after play-through) and one which can't. Make sure you check the terms and conditions of your casino before you make a deposit.

#3 - How are the Games Weighted for Bonus Clearance?

There are three categories of games when it comes to clearing casino bonuses. The best games (usually slots, keno and scratch cards) are fully-weighted, counting at 100% of your bets towards your play-through.

Table games are given lower weightings. This can vary depending on the house-edge. Some games count at around 20% towards your play-through. Others count at 10% or even lower. Keep in mind that this low weighting can make a big difference. From the example above (at a fair casino) you would need to bet $25000 on a table game to clear that $100 bonus.

The final category includes games which count at zero for play-though and banned games. Banned games can void your bonus - making it important to check the small print for any mention of these.

Games with a very low house edge are often zero-rated. Your bets will simply not count towards you bonus clearance. These include single-deck blackjack, video poker and baccarat.

#4 Is Your Free Spins Offer Capped?

Many casinos offer free spins along with your deposit bonus. The best of these offers are worth having, giving you 100 or more free spins over a week.

What you need to know with these extras is whether your wins are capped. Many casinos allow you to win only $100 to $200 from these games. There will typically be an additional play-through requirement before this money can be withdrawn.

Look out for casinos which allow you to win jackpots with your free spins. While these only hit rarely, the huge windfall will make a big difference to your bankroll.

#5 Can You Trust the Casino to Pay Out Your Winnings?

This is the most important question of all. After all, it makes little difference how good a bonus offer is if you are gambling with a shady operator with a track record of delaying payments.

I like to play at casinos with at least 5 years of 'clean' history. You should also make sure they have a valid gaming license, and that their games are tested by 3rd party auditors on a regular basis.

There are some great casino bonus deals out there, make sure you are playing at a reputable casino - and that you take a few minutes to read the small print.

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