During the early development of online casinos they were all just part of big online gambling sites operated by the leading bookmakers. The idea of introducing a few casino games onto these sites was primarily targeted at encouraging their sports gambling fans to spend more time and of course money on the site, but as we now know it also created a whole new online gambling sector that has a much wider appeal. The success of these first online casinos and of course the increasing popularity of online gambling as a whole was why the traditional bookmakers with their chains of betting shops were quickly joined in the sector by several internet only bookmakers. The increased competition is particularly obvious when we look back at how our lists of recommended online casinos has grown since we began to publish them here at onlinecasino.ie. Since then of course we have seen even more new specialist online casinos come on stream increasing competition between the site operators even further. As with almost every other business sector competition makes it more difficult to attract new customers and encourages marketing strategies such as the online casino bonus offers which have become increasingly common in the online casino sector. Almost every online casino site now offers some form of welcome bonus deal to attract new casino games players to their site, but it is debateable how effective they are in achieving that objective because most of these deals are very similar and do not therefore offer anything different from their rivals. Many observers would also argue that many of these online casino bonus deals are too complicated and not as attractive as they might appear at first glance. It is certainly true that they are not as easy to understand as the welcome bonuses offered on the online sports gambling sites. A free bet or a cash back deal offered by a sports gambling site operator is very straightforward and usually come with few if any conditions, whereas almost all of the online casino bonus offers have a whole list of terms and conditions attached. Most of these welcome bonus offers take the form of a promise to match a new customer’s first deposit with a 100% bonus, doubling their available stake money. Some online casinos also offer reduced bonuses on the second and even third deposits made by a new player into their online casino account. The idea of being able to play casino games with free money donated by the online casino operator is clearly a good deal on the face of it, but just like many other financial agreements the potential problems lie in the small print, namely the terms and conditions associated with the offer.
The most contentious of those terms and conditions is what is generally referred to as the play-through requirement. This defines how much money a player is expected to gamble on playing casino games on the site before being allowed to withdraw any winning resulting from the bonus. That sum of money is usually calculated as a multiple of the sum of the deposit plus the bonus, and is usually at least a multiple of twenty and can be even more. That means that a relatively modest first deposit of say 25 euros which therefore attracts a bonus of a further 25 euros would make a total of 50 euros available to play casino games. A multiple of twenty times 50 euros would however mean that a player who agreed to accept the welcome bonus would be expected to wager at least 1,000 euros on playing casino games in order to satisfy the play-through conditions. That is a lot of money in most peoples’ eyes and may be well in excess of the player’s gambling budget. We should also point out that many online casino bonus deals of this sort also put a time limit on the play-through requirements and may even place restrictions on which casino games actually qualify fully towards the play-through condition. Whilst we feel that it is our duty to point out that the terms and conditions associated with this form of online casino bonus offer may make it totally unsuitable for many potential new casino games players, we also understand why the online casino operators deem it necessary to apply these terms and conditions to their bonus offers. They are after all offering to let us play casino games with their money rather than our own, so they need to ensure that we spend as much time as possible on the site so that they have the chance to at least get their money back. The restrictions on which casino games qualify fully towards the play-through requirements are because some casino games have less of a house edge than others and therefore give the player more chance of winning.
Although many of the online casinos which feature on our recommended list do offer this form of welcome bonus to attract new customers, others have chosen a different way to do that. The most obvious example of a different approach is of course the aptly named No Bonus casino. The No Bonus site operator has chosen to use an innovative cash back offer instead of a welcome bonus. The cash back deal applies to both new and existing players and is a sort of compensation offer when a player has a run of bad luck. If you make a deposit today but then lose all of that money in the same day, you will receive a 10% cash back paid into your account the following morning. There are no conditions attached and you can do what you like with the money including withdrawing it should you wish. If you are one of many who cannot afford to accept the standard type of welcome bonus, this may be a good alternative although clearly nobody wants to suffer the type of loss necessary to trigger the cash back. The other obvious alternative from our list of recommended online casinos is the Free Spins casino whose approach is equally obvious from the name.