One of the great success stories of the last couple of decades has been the rise and rise of the online casino. From simply not existing at all, it is a sector that has grown to become worth over $72 billion a year.
In a way, it has been the perfect storm in which increasingly sophisticated technology has collided with an ever-greater desire among casino fans to enjoy their fun remotely.
There has also been a gradual increase in the number and types of games available including many variations on old favourites like blackjack and roulette.
Also, more and more countries around the world have changed their gambling laws to facilitate the online variety. So, it is an ever-expanding market.
Not very surprisingly, this has led to a huge number of different operators entering the market and trying to carve out a particular niche for themselves.
It’s a competitive field
This has meant that there is a huge amount of competition out there, even though certain sites have particular kinds of players in mind. For example, you’ll find ones that play on the retro feel of 1960s Las Vegas while others focus on a more contemporary kind of fun.
But, despite all this variety, there are only so many casino players in the world and it can be quite a challenge for individual casinos to stand out and attract them. One way of doing this is to offer a distinctive range of games. A far more powerful one is to offer bonuses and other incentives to encourage new players to sign up.
The race is on
In itself, this use of the welcome offer has also created a great deal of competition, not least in the area of slot bonuses. Slots games are a particular area of focus as they are by far the most popular on most sites. Therefore, it makes sense to make the incentives to start playing them as appealing as possible to as wide a range of people as possible.
From the players’ perspective this is very good news as it often amounts to them being given free stake money to play. It’s also why it’s a very good idea to have a look around to see what is available before making any commitment with a particular site.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to research bonuses currently on offer. One of the most effective is to visit one of the many review sites available. These not only give the casinos in question an unbiased review, they also list the different bonuses available to allow you to compare them.
There are also numerous online chat rooms where players can share information about the best bonuses currently available.
The bonuses you’ll find
Broadly speaking, the bonuses divide into three distinct groups. The first is free spins on slots. Ever since these games were invented in the late 19th century they have been very popular. So, offering new players the chance to try their luck for free on them is obviously of huge appeal to many.
Often, it’s possible to find sites offering up to 100 free spins on some of the most popular games, an undoubtedly appealing prospect for anyone who likes this kind of fun.
Another very popular form of bonus is the deposit match. As the name suggests, this involves the online casino putting up an equal amount of stake money as the player. Generally, there is an upper limit to this, and this is stake money that can be used to play any game on the casino, including slots. But on some sites the choice of eligible games can be limited.
The third kind of bonus is one that can be increasingly hard to find – and that’s the no-deposit bonus. This is simply amount of cash gifted to the new player to use however they like.
With a deal this good, it’s well-worth searching for bonuses like these and there’s generally a section on the review sites we’ve mentioned that will point you in the right direction.
Why use bonuses?
The natural answer to this question is that it can be like being given free money to wager at the casino. It is also a great way to save money when playing games.
But it’s also a good way to try out different casinos without risking too much. Then, when you’ve found the right casino for you, you can start to commit to it properly.
There are a couple of aspects of bonuses that are worth knowing about because they can also colour your decision making. The first is that most sites have a wagering requirement before you can claim any winnings. This is a multiple of your initial deposit that you need to have played with before you can withdraw your winnings.
The second is that there is often a time limit within which you have to have claimed your bonus or used up your free spins.
Review sites usually flag these up. But it’s also worth checking the small print on the online casino sites before you commit to any one in particular.
With the sector set to grow by over 11% per year until 2027 competition between online casinos is set to become even more intense. So, bonuses could start to be more generous still.
Good news for any potential new players out there – and maybe quite a headache for the casinos themselves.