Online Casino Bonuses – Too Good to be True?
They’ (whoever they are) say that there is no such thing as a free lunch, that every act of kindness comes with a caveat or an expectation. Whilst that may be a rather cynical world approach to life it does have merit.
As a consumer, it is all too easy to fall prey to an attractive offer or bonus that fails to deliver, one that actually requires you to front up more cash than you were planning to. If you have ever looked for online casino bonuses you will be well aware of these consumer pitfalls.
The online gambling market right now is thriving, with double digit growth forecast for the coming years. With that growth comes saturation, and an abundance of companies fighting it out to entice customers with their ‘unmissable’ offers.
So how can you know whether an online casino bonus is all it is cracked up to be? What warning signs should you look out for? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.
Did you know? There are over 1,800 recognised online casinos operating in the United States, despite online gambling not being legal across every State.
What to look for
No Deposit – The most common type of offers for online casinos tend to be matched deposit bonuses. With these offers, you will immediately be attracted by a flashing monetary value that the casino will give you just for signing up.
Although hidden within the small sprint will be the ‘wager requirements’ or ‘deposit requirements’, these are the terms and conditions that act as a barrier between you and your ‘free’ money.
In order to access your ‘free’ £20, the online casino will require that you ‘speculate to accumulate’, in most cases by depositing and wagering twice that amount. That might all be well and good to someone looking to spend serious cash online, but for the average consumer that’s a lot to front up at first.
You may simply have fancied wagering £5 but all of a sudden you are £40 down in pursuit of the ‘free’ £20 you were initially offered. To avoid falling into that trap always look for offers with no deposit or no wager requirements.
If you are fond of online slot machines check out Slotsia, a site that aggregates the best current offers from online providers. Free spins from Slotsia are grouped, allowing you to check which ones require minimum deposits and wagers.
Bait-and-Switch – This is one of the oldest and most difficult forms of fraud in history, and it is very difficult to stop. Essentially bait-and-switch is the action of advertising a product at an amazing price with the intention of switching the customer onto a more expensive product.
Although these schemes are normally confined to the world of retail or industries such as car hire, they are also prevalent with online casinos. One example of a bait-and-switch scheme in action would be…
-£100 in free spins, no deposit required!
If you had paid attention to the first part of this article you would be rightly excited, thinking to yourself “£100 in free spins, wow, it’s a licence to print money!” Excitedly you’d head over to the website to sign-up, but once there you’d realise that there was only one slot game on the site, and it was terrible.
You would probably still give it a go but after a while, you’d lose interest, especially when shiny new offers and bonuses started to grab your attention. Whilst you would be spinning away offers for poker, blackjack and roulette would gleam in the corner of your screen.
After just 10 minutes you would find yourself playing poker for the first time in an online game with a company you had originally intended to play slots with. This is classic bait-and-switch, and online casinos use it as a way to trick customers into using their sites.
If you see a great offer only to find out that it’s for a rubbish site, cut your losses before you find yourself sucked into playing something you had no prior intention of playing.
Of the thousands of online casinos in operation in the United Kingdom, there are a small minority out to get you. Some will try to scam you into signing up, others will let you wager with no intention of ever paying out and a small percentage will just be downright rubbish.
In order to stay safe when signing up with an online casino make sure you do your research. Use trusted review sites to check out the background and customer satisfaction of online operators. Check the customer feedback from any shiny offer you see and make sure you always read the terms and conditions.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.