Breaking Down the Ts and Cs of Online Casino Bonuses

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There is more to claiming an online slot bonus than merely signing up at an online casino and depositing. Before you decide to take any casino bonus or promotion onboard, you should always read the terms and conditions of the promotion. However, that can often be a tedious task. After all, the chances are that you aren’t a lawyer. Terms and conditions are usually written in “lawyer speak” and to say they are lengthy is an understatement. You’re likely to become bored long before you find what you’re after.

Fortunately, once you know roughly what to look for, breaking down the terms and conditions of an online casino bonus is a piece of cake. In this article, we’re going to show you exactly how to do that. We’ll look at the ins and outs of casino bonus terms and conditions, and break them all down for you. By the time you have finished this guide, you will quickly be able to skim through the relevant text to pinpoint the essential parts which you need to know.

What Types of Bonus T&C’s and Requirements are there?

Underneath every promotion at an online casino, should be a link which takes you to a terms and conditions page. Unlike the terms and conditions of a casino (the so-called General Terms and Conditions) these tend to be a touch briefer. So, let’s help you grab the meat of any typical bonus and free bets terms and conditions page by starting with expiration dates.

Expiration Dates

One of the first pieces of information you should look for before claiming a bonus is the expiration date of the offer. This piece of information will tell you when a promotion began, and more importantly when it will end. After all, you wouldn’t want to claim a bonus which has already expired. Fortunately, the expiration or validity dates of any casino promotion is usually amongst the first lines of the offers Ts and Cs.

For example, if a casino is offering new players a 100% match deposit offer worth up to £100, but the bonus funds are only available for 30 days. If you’ve not gambled the total amount of bonus money by the end of the 30 day period, the funds will simply disappear. Any money you deposited in the first place will still be in your account to play with.

It is important to note that some casinos do not publish end dates for long-standing promotions. If this is true, and you are unsure about whether a promotion is valid, you can always contact customer support and ask. Most of the best casinos will take down a promotion which has expired. Others will pop those promos in a section called “previous promotions” or something similar.

Qualifiers

In many cases, players will need to do something to claim a casino bonus. These qualifying conditions are also often displayed at the top of the terms and conditions page. They can usually be found in the general promotional text of the bonus, too. Such things include the amount you need to deposit to claim the offer. The terms and conditions will often stipulate that a minimum amount must be deposited, and as long as your deposit covers that, you’re golden. For example, if a casino site is offering players free spins on deposit, you’re required to deposit money into your casino account before the free spins are released to you.

At the same time, players may need to opt-in to claim bonuses and promotions. The exact procedure for this changes from site to site. However, the page should let you know relatively early on in the text whether you need to do that when you deposit, via customer support or via the promotions page.

Eligibility

Are you eligible to claim the offer where you live? Many players fall foul of this trap. Located in the terms and conditions of any promo will be a series of eligibility clauses. The quickest way to find these may be to press “CTRL + F” and search for a country where gambling is usually illegal, such as the United States. In many cases, this will take you straight to the section that details which players can and which cannot claim the offer.

On top of that, there are other aspects related to eligibility which are worth looking at. Welcome bonuses are usually only valid for first-time depositors. However, there may be other limits attached to other promos. It is worth checking these out. For instance, many casinos will insist that only one bonus can be claimed per player, household or IP address. If several people in your home gamble, this could be an issue.

Players who have temporarily excluded themselves, or frozen themselves out of their account, are often not eligible to claim casino bonuses. If this is the case (and it almost certainly will be), that information can be found in the terms and conditions guide.

Stakes and Wagers

Sometimes, players may claim a casino bonus only to rapidly find that it is not valid on the games they want to play. Just which types of games a bonus is valid for will be displayed in the Ts and Cs of a casino offer.  As well as the game validity, you should also be able to find “contribution levels” for games in the text. The latter essentially tells players that if they wish to clear the wagering requirements of a bonus, which games contribute what percentage towards that.

Players will find that promotions, such as prize draws and slot tournaments, may require specific stakes to be made. Some may even have currency requirements, and these, too, can be found in the terms and conditions text.

Will bonus funds always be used after you have depleted your cash balance, or can you use bonus funds straight away? Are bonus funds eligible for use in a slot tournament or prize draw? These are some of the questions you may wish to ask and search for in the text before claiming an offer.

Prizes

If you’re competing in a prize draw or a tournament, you’re going to want to know when you can pick up any winnings you land. You’ll often find a piece of text concerning that. It will likely say that winners will be credited within so many hours after a promotion has concluded. Generally speaking, you’re looking at waits of no more than 72 hours.

Of course, the main body of text around a promotion should make it abundantly clear how much you can win or pocket with a casino promotion. However, if you do not have that information readily available, the casino is duty-bound to reprint it in the terms and conditions of the offer.

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One crucial thing that you’re going to want to look for is whether your winnings are paid as a bonus or cash. A non-withdrawable bonus (or bonus cash) will typically come with wagering requirements, while a cash prize (also known as a withdrawable bonus) comes devoid of such requirements. The latter can, in a very real sense, be instantly withdrawn from your account.

If you do have to deal with wagering requirements, you should pay attention. They are arguably the most important thing to look for in the terms and conditions of the bonus offer.

Wagering Requirements

Players hate wagering requirements. However, we understand why they are there. After all, if they weren’t, you would be able to snap up a big-money bonus with a simple deposit, and they just run away with the casino’s dough. Wagering requirements stop that from happening.

However, if you must put up with wagering requirements, the least you can ask for is that they are fair. Generally speaking, those requirements (also known as playthrough rates) will typically be displayed by a figure, followed by X. For instance “30x”. Wagering requirements which are over 40x are not worth your time in most cases.

The “X” part means times, and when you see that figure, it means that you will have to wager the bonus at least “that many times” before you can withdraw winnings. With some offers, you may have to solely wager the bonus amount you received. With other offers, it may be that you need to wager the bonus and the deposit total combined several times.

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Players should also note that bonuses come with an expiration date. If you haven’t cleared the wagering requirements within that time frame, any winnings you have acquired with them (as well as the bonus funds themselves) may be removed from your account.

Lastly, keep in mind that not all games are going to contribute the same when it comes to clearing those requirements. No deposit offers usually come with the most stringent wagering requirements. This is because the online casino is giving away free money for the player to play with and you can potentially use the no deposit bonus to win real money.The terms and conditions page will tell you all you need to know about wagering requirements, as well as important dates and gaming contributions rates attached to them.

Any Last Words?

It is common for an online casino to drop a little line in terms and conditions which states that they reserve the right to cancel or extend the promotion at any time, without warning, for any reason. Moreover, they will usually announce that “General Terms and Conditions” will apply to the offer, unless other specified. These are the unknowns of a casino promotion. However, by looking through the lengthy general Ts and Cs of a casino, or by talking to customer support, even these can be unravelled.

You should now have a good idea what the average terms and conditions that you need to keep an eye out for are. The next time you claim a casino bonus, you can feel safe in the knowledge that you’ll have an inkling what to expect. Moreover, you’ll be able to jump directly to the crucial parts, instead of wasting valuable slot gaming time ploughing through endless and seemingly meaningless text.

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