One of the best things about online gambling is the sheer quantity of free gifts and bonuses being handed out. Everywhere you look and whatever it is you’re into, it isn’t difficult to find fabulous freebies of all shapes and sizes. In fact, you’d struggle to find a single online casino these days that doesn’t have a hugely generous welcome package up for grabs.
Or at least, so it seems on the surface.
Alongside the usual welcome bonuses worth anything from 100% to 500%, casinos routinely hand out free spins. Regardless of whether you prefer slots to table games, a few free spins to play with always makes for a welcome bonus. But just as is the case with bonus credit in general, free spins aren’t always as they appear to be.
While it’s rare to come across genuinely dodgy deals these days, free spins often have a habit of being anything but free.
Free Vs. ‘Free’
There are basically two types of free spins bonus offers thrown the way of customers these days. One being free spins you’re granted for nothing in return, the other being free spins you qualify for by crediting your account with X amount of money. Say what you want, but in the case of the latter, this doesn’t necessarily qualify as free. You’re entrusting the casino in question with your cash, before being given the opportunity to see how it does business.
On the plus side, no-deposit bonus offers are becoming more common all the time. Many casinos having acknowledge their value and appeal in the eyes of new customers. Always remember that if the casino demands deposits before handing anything over, you’re not technically being provided with anything free.
Still, free spins provided when making a deposit can be better than no spins at all. That is, just as long as you fully factor in all the applicable restrictions.
For example, you’ll typically find that most free spins handed out by casinos are restricted to very specific slots or software providers. Some free spins can only be used on Starburst, others are limited to NetEnt slots and so on. Whether or not these restrictions are of any real consequence comes entirely down to your own personal preferences. Nevertheless, you don’t want to find yourself pocketing a bunch of free spins you have absolutely no use of.
Perhaps the single most important consideration to take into account is wagering requirements. Just as with all casino bonuses across the board, wagering requirements determine if and to what extent the free spins are worth bothering with. While there are a few very rare exceptions to the rule, the overwhelming majority of free spins attach wagering requirements as standard.
Specifically, you can expect wagering requirements of anything from 5X to 50X to apply. In a working example, you may be handed 50 free spins with wagering requirements of 30X. This would mean that if you won £30 while playing with these free spins, you would have to wager £900 in total to gain access to these winnings. The higher the wagering requirements, the more difficult it becomes to access your cash.
If the wagering requirements are excessive, you’ve no chance. In which case, you may wish to consider whether or not it’s worth accepting the deal in the first place.
On top of this, you’ll also find that most free spins carry very strict and specific time limitations. Along with being expected to use the free spins within a set number of days, you’ll also have no longer than a week or perhaps a month to satisfy the wagering requirements. In most instances, doing so is largely impossible for casual players.
So once again, it’s important to take a look at the terms and conditions in full, in order to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. If the time limitations imposed are in any way unrealistic, you might want to reconsider your options.
Too Good to Be True?
Another relatively easy way of gauging the value of any introductory offer is to consider its apparent generosity. On one end of the spectrum, you have the kinds of casinos that offer relatively modest introductory bonuses, which attach equally modest terms and conditions. At the other, you have those that claim to be offering massive handouts for every new customer, though with more strings attached than you’ll know what to do with.
There’s a clear and constant sliding scale to be aware of. The more generous the bonus, the heavier the terms and conditions. So when you come across a casino claiming to be offering £5,000 and up to 500 free spins, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re blowing smoke. While it’s undeniably tempting to focus on the most generous offers out there, anything OTT should be approached with huge caution.
Reviews and Recommendations
If looking to find the very best free spins bonus offers on the web, independent reviews and recommendations are the place to start. The biggest mistake you can make is to read too much into the claims and promises made by the casinos themselves. Rest assured that with such enormous competition, they’ll tell you pretty much anything to get you to sign up.
Do yourself a favour and carry out a quick web search to see what real-life players have to say about the casino and its bonus offers. There are also plenty of independent sites and services, which specialise in honest and impartial casino reviews and recommendations. If it hasn’t won the approval of the masses, it probably isn’t worth bothering with.
Free Vs. Fun…
Last but not least, perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to casino gaming in general is that it’s supposed to be enjoyable. Playing online slots – irrespective of free spins or otherwise – should be about fun, rather than attempting to turn a profit.
Play safe, always read the terms in full and if in doubt, read as many reviews and recommendations as necessary to make a savvy decision.