Mobile casinos offer free money left and right, but is it always a good thing? In this article, I look into welcome the bonuses and promotions that casinos offer, and give you solid advice on what to look out for when casinos hand out ‘free cash.' Sometimes, opting out of a promotion is the best way forward, so don't forget to be analytical and extra cautions when you see a deal that's too good to be true. That said, some casinos do offer some excellent promotions which you should definitely claim!
This blog is quite long, so if anything peaks your interest, click on it to jump to a particular section:
- The bigger the better?
- All rules stacked together
- Opting out of bonuses and promotions
To Claim Or Not To Claim
You might have seen my blog post on mobile casino bonuses and promotions, where I explain in great detail every type of special offer that exists in the industry. Yet, the time has come to look at all these seemingly great offers and decide if they really are offering free money or are you likely to lose more money by claiming it? It sure can be very hard to know if you're a beginner in mobile slots… But don't worry – this article will take you by the hand and help you make that decision.
The bigger the better?
I know that you probably can't help it but feel very excited when you see 500% deposit match or a welcome bonus package of £800 and 250 Extra Spins thrown in for a good measure. Massive welcome bonuses are the real draw of many mobile casinos and more often than not, that will be the thing that lures you in. And it's little surprise – with so much competition for players among mobile casinos, they are always looking to offer a bonus ‘one better' than their competitor.
Yet, don't be fooled by the huge sums of money being handed out or ridiculous amounts of Extra Spins being offered. As you can probably suspect, these are often too good to be true and players are subsequently bound by all sorts of rules and restrictions when it comes to seeing any of the winnings from the free money or Extra Spins.
1. Wagering requirements
The first and the most important of those restrictions are the wagering requirements. While I will write a thorough guide on everything there is to know about wagering requirements later in my blog series, let me briefly touch upon them as it relates to accepting or rejecting bonuses and promotions.
Let's get this straight – the absolute majority of bonuses and promotions that you will encounter at mobile casinos will come with wagering requirements attached to them. Ranging anywhere from 50 times, to 30, 25 and sometimes a mere 1 time, this is the number of times you must bet the total sum of the bonus cash (i.e. promotional money) to make it into ‘real money.' I know this is a very confusing subject, so let me explain it through an example.
Lucy is totally ecstatic to have scored herself a first deposit match bonus of £300, but it comes with a wagering requirement of 25 times. This means that in order to clear that bonus sum of money, Lucy would have to wager a impressive sum of £7,500 to see any of the bonus money that she has been ‘awarded.' And you've got to keep in mind that different games usually count towards wagering requirements at different percentages. She could be wagering that amount for ages (if there are no time constraints on the bonus, see below)! Doesn't sound like such a great deal now, does it?
And what about Extra Spins? When a casino awards Extra Spins as part of a promotion, they're essentially giving you free wagers and everything you win from those Extra Spins must also be wagered through a set number of times. This ultimately means that there is nothing ‘free' when it comes to casino bonuses and promotions, with few very notable exceptions.
For example, mFortune mobile casino is a star when it comes to giving you actual bonuses and real promotions as their wagering requirements are just one time! This means that whatever bonus cash amount they award to you, you must wager your winnings through just once to pocket that cash, and that is a great deal. So, whenever you see wagering requirements that are low and these days, I'd say even 20 or times is rather low, you should definitely pay attention.
2. Limited time period to clear offers
Pretty much every mobile casino will impose a limited time period during which you will have to clear the wagering requirements . Fortunately for us, this is a relatively easy rule to explain as it is simply the frame of time within which you must clear the wagering requirements. Usually, the period is set to a week for smaller promotions, but it could also be an entire month for larger welcome bonus packages and mega promotional sums.
So what does this mean in practise? Let's say you've been awarded £200 in deposit match funds which you must wager 50 times, but in just a week. Is that even plausible? Well, considering the large wagering requirements and the not very small sum, it might be impossible to wager through £10,000 in just two weeks. That's unless the luck is massively on your side and you got no day job or family to attend to.
Although it might not seem like a huge deal, I'd advise you to always check for the period within which your bonus or promotion could expire. There is nothing worse than thinking you'll get to pocket all that cash just to log in and find out that it's been made void because you've run out of time.
3. Capped winnings or unable to withdraw
Last, there is the rule of your winnings being limited to a maximum or not being able to withdraw the bonus before you deposit a certain amount. Let's chat about capped winnings first. Quite simply, this rule is imposed so that if you win a massive sum with your welcome cash, you won't get to walk away with it. Imagine a horrible scenario in which you win a progressive jackpot with the no deposit £5 bonus that you get as a welcome bonus, unable to get the money!
It also goes without saying that all bonus and promotional money, be it a deposit match or a flat-out free handout, it cannot be withdrawn as cash. Only winnings can, but as I mentioned above, they are often capped to a smallish amount of, say, £50 or £100. So although on the surface a bonus of £200 might give you plenty of scope to play mobile slots and win a considerable sum, you'll be stopped in your tracks by the limit on the total amount you can win off a bonus.
This brings me to the next point – withdrawing bonuses and promotions at mobile casinos. That is not impossible although there are limits placed on that too. Players most often need to make a deposit of a pre-set amount in order to withdraw, e.g. £20 or £50. In other words, the vast majority of casinos will not let you walk away with any of their money without making you give up some of your own money first.
That said, there are some super-nice casinos that will allow you to keep your winnings from bonuses (albeit capped) and allow you to withdraw after identifying yourself without needing a deposit off you first. This is a very rare occurrence indeed and I bet the number of casinos with such customer-friendly bonus and promotion policies is decreasing every day. It is rather unfortunate, but it places even more responsibility on yourself to check out special offers before you claim them.
All rules stacked together
I've gone through the three points that you must consider before deciding if you want to claim a mobile casino bonus or promotion. Yet, you shouldn't think about them all separately, but all at once. Of course, this is easier said than done, but don't worry. You'll practice deciding which bonuses to claim and which to miss every single week at mobile casinos, so you'll become expert at sniffing out the most worthwhile deals.
You must train yourself to think in a particular way, i.e. ‘how likely am I wager through that £200 bonus twenty-five times in a week, and do I want to do that if my winnings are capped at £50 AND I have to deposit a £30 before withdrawing?' As you can see, if you phrase it like this to include all the terms and conditions, it certainly sounds worse than ‘200% deposit match when your register!‘ type of promotional language that mobile casinos use.
It can be hard to think about casino bonuses and promotions this way. Sometimes an engaging and fun bonus comes by that you simply must claim, no matter how tough the terms and conditions are. Yet, before you go about claiming every bit of ‘free cash' there is, remember that the only free cheese is in the mousetrap. That, with the exception of some stellar mobile casinos which treat their customers fairly and provide genuine bonuses and promos.
Opting out of bonuses and promotions
If you've read through all of the above and have made a conscious decision to opt out of a bonus or promotion, I salute you! Congrats on taking your mobile gambling seriously and making sure that you are only dealt the best of the best offers and that you are in full control of your cash flow. After all, having to wager a deposit match of £200 even thirty times (and that'd be a pretty low wagering requirement in the industry) can sure eat into your wallet…
Believe it or not, at the vast majority of the casinos, you can opt out of bonuses and promotions if you want nothing to do with all the complexities that I described above and are only seeking to play with real cash. Tucked away in the smallest print somewhere in the Terms and Conditions, there will probably be an explanation on how to do it and every single mobile casino will have their own method.
While a handful of casinos will force the welcome bonus upon you, more often than not you will have a chance to opt out of offers, thus ridding yourself of being bind by rules. So what do you do if a welcome bonus or a promotional offer is automatically applied to your account? Well, don't touch it, i.e. don't place a single wager until you can remove it. Usually, you must get in touch with a customer support representative and request that the bonus be removed from your account. That should sort you straight out!