Protect Yourself by Understanding Casino Bonuses
The majority of casinos attract new business by offering players an alluring casino bonus. It's worthwhile knowing how these bonuses work and how they affect you.
WHY DOES A CASINO OFFER A BONUS?
This is the bit it's easy to understand. By offering bonuses, typically in the form of free chips or money, casinos aim to attract and retain players. In effect, the casino uses the bonus as a type of competitive promotion to woo your patronage. It's like a retail store offering a free item with a regular purchase.
TYPES OF CASINO BONUSES
Casinos offer two basic kinds of bonuses: first deposit and loyalty bonuses.
As a first deposit bonus, the casino gives you money to thank you for becoming a member. This type of casino bonus is usually paid after you've signed up and paid your first balance into your Real Money account. The casino will frequently match whatever you deposit up to some maximum amount, which could be $100, for example. Or your bonus may be a percentage of your deposit up to a specified maximum, such as a free 50 percent of the first $250 you deposit. These figures may differ considerably at various casinos, and individual casinos may periodically alter their bonus offerings. Casinos strive to keep their current customers by offering a loyalty bonus, which is a type of promotion used by the casino to thank you for your continued patronage. For example, the casino may add an extra 20 percent to the first deposit made in a particular month, or it may add 10 percent or so to however much you deposit during a month.
WHAT'S EXPECTED OF THE PLAYER
In essence, the casino expects you to identify yourself honestly, refrain from cheating, observe the casino rules stipulated in the terms and conditions, and agree to the conditions that apply to cashing in when you win. It should be understood that you will continue your visit and play for some time if you have accepted a bonus from a casino. There will be a "wager through requirement" - a clause requiring that you must bet a minimum amount of money before you can qualify to receive your bonus. This minimum stake is usually equivalent to some multiple of your initial deposit, or equal to whatever straight bonus you have been granted, or it may be the sum of both these amounts. You'll generally find details on this "wager through" in the published terms and conditions of the casino. Your minimum total bets may need to be anything from 3 to 20 times the amount of your first deposit. By and large, a bigger bonus means a bigger wager through requirement, but there are many exceptions.
WHAT'S EXPECTED OF THE CASINO
As a player you will expect the game play at the casino to be fair and your winnings to be paid honestly and promptly. This much should be self-evident. But be aware that the nature of the games and payouts may change over a period and you'll be expected to comply with any corresponding changes in the terms and conditions.
The nature of the games may change if the casino upgrades its software to enhance various features of play or finds it necessary to modify its payout percentages from time to time to keep fair control of the "casino hold", which is the average profit the casino may be entitled to earn from money paid in by players. Payouts are most likely to change in Slots and Video Poker.
The terms and conditions of a casino are like a contract between you and the casino. They reflect the manner in which the casino undertakes to deliver service to you, the player - so be aware that the casino may need to adjust and tune its bonus and wager through conditions at various times. The golden rule: PLEADING IGNORANCE OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS IS NO EXCUSE!
The casino's terms and conditions spell out clearly what is required in the conduct of both the casino and its players. In any dispute, the casino will expect the player to comply with the spirit and probably the letter of this agreement. In life, as in law, ignorance is no defence.