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How to identify the best welcome bonuses at online casinos

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With every online casino trying to outdo the competition with a dazzling sign-up offer, it can be tricky for players to decide where to open a new account. Welcome bonuses are not really a feature in any other parts of the online gaming industry, but they’re usually emblazoned across the top of every casino website. This means that the impressiveness of the offer plays a part in enticing prospective new members.

These factors should all be considered when looking for the best welcome bonuses from online casinos.

The size of the bonus

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The size of the bonus is the most eye-catching element of a casino’s sign-up offer. We’ll have a look at why a bigger bonus isn’t necessarily better a bit later on (hello wagering requirements), but size does sometimes matter. If there are two offers that are similar in every way other than the size of the bonus, it’ll be an easy decision to pick the one that gives players $200 rather than $100.

Casino welcome bonuses aren’t just about boosting your account balance, as many casinos also offer free spins. Casinos may ramp up their provision of free spins to compensate for a smaller total of bonus funds. This is geared towards players who prefer online slots, but this may be less useful for those who tend to spend their time with table games. If you prefer blackjack and roulette over online slot machines, it’s worth seeking out a casino with a specific bonus for table games.

Wagering requirements

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A casino could chuck hundreds of dollars of free funds in your direction, but that bonus could be highly inaccessible thanks to strict wagering requirements. A wagering requirement is the amount that you must stake before you can withdraw winnings earned from your bonus. A $100 bonus with a wagering requirement of x30 means that you must play through $3000 of stakes before you’re eligible to access any bonus winnings. 

At face value, the $100 bonus sounds great, but that x30 requirement slightly ruins the fun. Knowing how to beat wagering requirements brings the excitement back into unlocking online casino bonuses. One method is to find welcome offers with lower wagering requirements; a $50 bonus with x10 wagering requirements may be more attractive than an $80 bonus with x20 requirements. Even better is a sign-up offer without wagering requirements, a feature which is becoming increasingly common at online casinos. This means that bonus winnings are yours for immediate withdrawal.

Restrictions on time and games

While it can be tempting to massively alter your staking strategy in order to maximize a $200 bonus with an x30 wagering requirement, the best welcome bonus for an individual is one that lets them play in their usual manner. This makes it important to check the length of a welcome bonus. As in many other industries, it’s vital to read the small print in the bonus’ terms and conditions. You don’t want to be caught out by a 7-day expiration period that didn’t accommodate your usual playing speed.

The same is true when it comes to games. You might be someone who loves playing the latest online slots from a prestigious developer like NetEnt, which would encourage you to sign up to a casino that hosts their titles. Yet a free spin welcome bonus may only be eligible on certain slots, while some slots may not contribute fully to your wagering requirements. The right welcome bonus for a player shouldn’t force a compromise on their choice of games or their standard staking plan, so always read the terms and conditions to ensure the offer caters to your playing preferences.

The bonus isn’t all that matters; there’s no point signing up a site that doesn’t offer you mobile functionality if you prefer to access games on your smartphone, and there’s no reason for a poker lover to join a casino that doesn’t offer poker. However, it makes sense to capitalize on whatever welcome bonus a casino offers, as it gives you a temporary edge against the house.

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