Casino Welcome Bonuses: The Basics
The online casino industry is growing increasingly competitive and, with new casino sites popping up all the time, casinos are battling it out to attract new customers. An exciting welcome bonus is one of the most popular ways to do this, giving new players the chance to boost their casino gameplay with an introductory rewards offers. But not all casino welcome bonuses are as a good deal as they first seem, and they certainly aren’t a free pass to winning the jackpot. Not only have we created a list of the UK’s best casino welcome bonuses, we’ve picked also out everything you need to know about these deals so that you understand exactly what you’re signing up for.
Welcome bonus variations
It’s not a case of one-size-fits-all when it comes to welcome bonuses, so it’s important to understand the different variations of each. These are the most popular welcome bonuses available at the top UK casino sites.
You’ll find free spins welcome bonuses at a range of online casinos and slot sites. These bonus spins give you the chance to set the slot reels into motion without digging into your own pockets. Of course, you’ll need to make an initial minimum deposit to receive these spins, but these can give your account funds that extra boost. It’s rare that you’ll be able to use free spins on just any slot game in the library- these spins are normally restricted to a certain software provider, or a selection of slots. Free spins for NetEnt slots and free spins for Starburst are some of the most popular free spins bonuses on the market, though some casinos use free spins to promote new slot games.
A matched deposit welcome bonus sees online casinos reward players with a percentage of their deposit as bonus cash, up to a specified amount. This bonus cash is usually dependent on the first deposit, though some casino sites will split it across the first three payments. You might see a matched deposit welcome bonus advertised as ‘100% match up to £200’, which means you’d receive £100 in bonus cash when you make a £100 deposit, giving you £200 to play with in total. Some sites bulk out this matched deposit bonus cash with free spins, too. These offers might be sold as ‘200% up to £100 + 50 free spins’. However, as with any online casino bonus, these bonuses aren’t just a quick way to win big money- there are plenty of restrictions in place that make it difficult to get your hands on any winnings.
No deposit bonus
No deposit bonuses are pretty hard to come by, especially for first-time customers. If you do find one, it’s unlikely that the rewards will be as generous as deposit bonuses. That’s because, with no deposit bonus deals, casinos are giving players something for nothing- essentially, they’re a free welcome bonus. You won’t need to dip into your own pockets to try your hand at blackjack or take a chance on slots with a no deposit bonus. While no deposit free spins are the most common of these bonuses, selected casino sites reward new customers with no deposit free cash that players can use on a wider range of online casino games. Watch out though, no deposit bonuses tend to come with the tightest restrictions.
How to claim your casino welcome bonus
- Compare welcome bonus offers
You shouldn’t sign up to the first welcome bonus you see- you’ll need to compare different bonus deals, as well as the terms and conditions to find a favourite. The Casino Genius list is the ideal place to start, as we’ve found the best casino welcome bonus deals on the market and highlighted the key factors you should consider before you sign up.
- Sign up
Found a casino bonus that ticks all the boxes? You’ll need to create an account to claim the welcome bonus. Click the link on our list to sign up. You can create an account in a couple of minutes and you’ll only need some basic personal information. Don’t forget to opt-in to the welcome bonus if you want to claim the introductory deal.
Unless you’ve chosen a no deposit bonus, you’ll need to make an initial deposit to activate your bonus. Of course, you’ll need to make this deposit via an eligible payment method and it will need to meet any minimum deposit requirements.
Your deposit and bonus funds will be credited to your account almost instantly, which means you’re ready to start playing real money casino games. Browse through the games library and see what takes your fancy- good luck!
Welcome bonus restrictions
Welcome bonuses might be a useful way to stretch out your bankroll and keep you playing a little longer, but they rarely come without some kind of catch. We always recommend reading the terms and conditions before you claim a new customer bonus, just to avoid any unwelcome surprises further down the line, but these restrictions will be attached to the majority of bonuses.
Pretty much every casino bonus has its own wagering requirements stipulating how much you must wager before you can withdraw bonus funds, and any associated winnings, from your casino account. While 25 x to 35 x wagering requirements is pretty standard, some casino bonuses require players to wager bonus winnings over 60 times. This means that, if you were to win just £10 from your bonus, you’d need to wager £600 before you could withdraw any winnings as cash. It goes without saying that this is out of reach for the casual online casino player.
But it’s not all bad news- in a bid to stand out against other online casinos, some are offering bonuses with low and no wagering requirements. It’s pretty self-explanatory, a no wagering welcome bonus means you’ll be free to withdraw any winnings straight away- providing you meet the minimum withdrawal limit. You’ll still need to wager a certain amount of money with a low wagering welcome bonus, but this might only be 10 times any bonus winnings.
Not only will you need to complete these wagering requirements, you’ll often need to complete them within a limited time frame. Failure to do this means your bonus spins or cash, and often any associated winnings, will expire. The more generous among online casinos and slots sites allow players over 30 days to complete any wagering requirements, while others only give a few days. Depending on your budget and gameplay preferences, these time limits can be unrealistic, so it’s important to understand them before you claim.
Even if the wagering requirements and time limits seem realistic, it doesn’t stop there. It’s often the case that your wagers on certain casino games will contribute different percentages to the completion of wagering requirements. While wagers on slot games contribute 100% in most cases, table games like roulette may only contribute 20% and some blackjack variations count for as little as 5%, while some casino games don’t contribute at all. It’s vital that you’re aware of weighting game weighting, as you may find that your favourite games won’t contribute to you meeting wagering requirements.
You can’t always use your welcome bonus on just any game in the casino’s library. It goes without saying that free spins are reserved to slot games, but you might not be able to choose from all titles. A matched deposit deal could come with its own games restrictions, such as live dealer table games. Each casino will outline these restrictions in the terms and conditions, so keep an eye out if you’re hoping to play a particular game variation or title.
Welcome bonuses are far from a free pass to hitting the jackpot. Most sites put winning caps in place to control how much players can profit from bonus funds. It’s up to each casino site to set its own limit, but these can vary from £5 to as much as £250 in some cases. Unfortunately you won’t get your hands on any winnings in excess of this limit.
Good to go?
Now you understand what to look out for when you’re comparing welcome bonus deals, you’re ready to start browsing for yourself. While the sheer number of welcome bonuses at UK casinos can be overwhelming, the Casino Genius team has made your choice a little easier. We’ve picked out the best welcome bonus deals for you to choose from, highlighting the key terms and conditions to help you understand the smaller details of what you’re signing up for.
Frequently asked questions
Still got a question about casino welcome bonuses? Someone might have asked it before!
Can I claim a welcome bonus on my mobile?
Sure. You can usually claim a casino welcome bonus whether you’re playing on desktop, mobile or tablet. The best online casinos have mobile-friendly websites and native mobile apps for Android and iPhone users, so it’s easy to claim your welcome bonus and play your favourite casino games, even when you’re out and about.
Are all deposits eligible for the welcome bonus?
Unfortunately not. You’ll need to meet the minimum deposit requirements to activate the welcome bonus, which may be higher than the casino’s general minimum deposit. On top of this, welcome bonuses are often only available to players who deposit with certain payment methods. For example, many casino welcome bonuses exclude Neteller and Skrill deposits.
Can I use my welcome bonus to play live dealer casino games?
Yes, at some sites. While a selection of online casinos allow players to use their bonus funds as they wish, others restrict players to selected titles. Game weighting for live dealer games also varies between casino sites, so check for this in the terms and conditions if you want to play these games.
I’ve completed the wagering requirements, can I withdraw my winnings all at once?
This depends on how much you’ve won. Casinos often set maximum withdrawal caps, which means you can only withdraw a certain amount of money in a given time period. You’ll be free to withdraw your winnings at any time, if they’re below the limit and you’ve completed the wagering requirements.
Do I need a promo code to claim a welcome bonus?
Not always. You’ll simply need to opt-in to claim the welcome bonus at many online casinos and your bonus will be credited to your account automatically when you make a deposit. Casinos usually make it pretty clear if you do need a bonus code to activate the reward, but you should contact customer support if you have any questions.
Can I withdraw the initial bonus funds as well as any winnings?
This depends on whether your bonus is cashable or non-cashable. While some casinos allow players to withdraw any funds in their account after completing the wagering requirements, others will subtract the bonus amount from the total winnings. A cashable bonus might allow you to withdraw your £40 bonus cash as part of your £100 total bankroll, while a non-cashable bonus would only allow you to withdraw £60.