We meet again, Mr. Bond. Whatever your attitude towards gambling in general, it’s impossible to deny that there’s something special about a casino. Whether it’s in Monte Carlo, Las Vegas or a blustery seaside town in England, a night at the casino is a unique experience. In fact, you could say it’s the ultimate playground for sophisticated adults.
The arrival of online casinos has made this type of gaming all the more accessible. Suddenly, you can try your luck with a quick spin of the reels or a hand of blackjack whenever you feel like it, without having to worry about what to wear or whose turn it is to be designated driver.
Saving money online
Playing online also alleviates another downside to a real casino night – it is likely to be far less expensive. Now of course we all walk into a casino with dreams of hitting the jackpot and walking out with a big profit.
But we live in the real world. The odds of doing so are slim, and the old saying that the house always wins needs to hold true, or the casino will soon go out of business. Then there are the additional costs like transportation and rounds of drinks to consider.
Playing online saves your wallet from the perils of the bar bill, but it also saves money in other ways. A virtual casino has far fewer financial overheads than a physical one, so it can operate on tighter margins. This effectively means a reduced house edge and the casino paying out a greater proportion of its turnover in winnings than a land based facility.
Online casinos go beyond even that, though. Theirs is an incredibly crowded and competitive world. That equates to two things for gamers – lots of choices and plenty of special deals and promotions.
The most intriguing is the current craze of no deposit online casino offers. Can they really be offering casino gaming with real prizes but where you don’t have to deposit any of your own money? If so, how can that possibly work as a business model? We used NoDepositHero to find new casinos that offer no deposit bonuses to dig below the surface and find out what’s going on.
Deposit bonuses and no deposit bonuses
Google online casinos if you dare. You will be assailed by pages and pages of them, from big name established brands that you’ve seen on TV to small operators that set up last week. Every single one of them wants you to register with them instead of one of the others, so they’ll offer the most tempting promos they can dream up.
Joining bonuses are commonplace, and usually involve the casino adding some bonus money to your gambling account when you sign up. So if you deposit $40 into your account, the casino will add $40 more in the case of a 100 percent deposit bonus, or $20 if it’s a 50 percent bonus offer.
With a no deposit bonus, you don’t have to deposit any money of your own. Look again at that list on the NoDepositHero site we mentioned earlier. Some of the casinos offer a bunch of free spins on a particular slot game while others will toss $40 into your account to get you started. So does that mean you can gamble your $40, and either blow it all or maybe, just maybe, hit some lucky reels and walk away with $200 in your pocket? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
The wagering requirement
People sometimes see the wagering requirement as a “catch,” but really it is completely logical – at least, to a degree. Let’s look at that $40 no deposit bonus as an example. When you register, the casino places $40 in your gambling account. Now we can all agree that it wouldn’t be fair for you to just withdraw it and spend it somewhere else. They’ve given it to you to spend in their casino.
So fine, you place $40 of bets. Most slots have an average return of about 95 percent, so wagering $40 will yield an average return of $38. Some players will do better and some will do worse. Let’s say you are on the unlucky side, and have $30 to show for your efforts. Would it be fair to now withdraw that and spend it in the shops? Not really, it still feels like taking advantage.
The wagering requirement stipulates how many times you need to “reinvest” your winnings before you can cash them out. If we’d been permitted to withdraw that $30 in our example above, it would imply a wagering requirement of 1x. If we needed to make another $40 worth of bets, it would be a wagering requirement of 2x.
Now let’s look again at that $40 no deposit bonus. You’ll see there is a 50x wagering requirement attached to it. That means you need to place not $40, not $80 but $2,000 in wagers before you can cash out your winnings.
Keeping it real
You might think that means you’ve got no hope of seeing real money from a no deposit online casino deal, as surely that $40 and its cumulative winnings will be blown away before you can wager $2,000. That might be true, but still, it’s no loss and there is that small chance of a win.
Realistically, though, treat “bonus money” as in-game currency that can only be used on gaming. It provides a risk-free way to have some fun and learn the games – and there’s still that outside chance that you could emerge victorious!