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Free bonus spins generally come in two main varieties. The first of these varieties is a “no deposit” bonus spin that typically gets offered to new customers just for signing up, or to existing customers as a loyalty bonus. Another type of free spin is the “deposit bonus” spin. Typically, casinos will offer free bonus spins to customers who deposit a certain amount, or to those customers who make a certain number of deposits in a given week, month, or quarter, as a loyalty bonus. Within each type of free spin offer, casinos attach several catches and a fair amount of fine print. It’s important to understand how these spins work, when they’re offered, and what the requirements are when using them, even before taking advantage of a special offer.
Free Spins: A Primer on Casinos’ Favorite Special Offer
Free spins come in a vast number of varieties, ranging from “welcome spins” to loyalty spins and much more. Before getting started with online gambling, or accepting a loyalty offer from a casino without understanding how free spins work, it’s worthwhile to consider how free spins are offered, when their winnings can be quite lucrative, and how terminology is used by the industry when offering these deals.
1. Welcome Bonus Free Spins
In most cases, standard free spins can be used at any of the casino’s online slot machines. At a few, rare online casinos, free spins may only be permitted on a select lineup of machines. This is due to different licensing and endorsement deals with slot developers and major casino companies in the United States, Malta, the UK, and other major gambling hubs.
Free spins are usually worth the maximum bet amount of a given slot machine. Customers can play any number of free spins on any slot machine, mixing and matching machines until their spins run out. At that time, they can continue playing with their standard account balance until they win or have exhausted their available funds.
2. Deposit Bonus Free Spins
As with other types of free spins, deposit bonus spins typically are worth the maximum bet value of a given slot machine. As with other types of free spins, casinos may allow these spins to be used on all slots or only a small selection of eligible machines, per their licensing agreements.
3. No Deposit Free Spins
In most cases, no deposit free spins are offered to customers who sign up at a casino for the first time, complete their user profile, and enter bank account or other payment information. The casino views this account as “complete” and ready to take the next step. At this time, free spins are credited to the user’s account and they can use these spins on virtually any slot machine the casino has to offer. After the free spins are exhausted, users can deposit more money if they wish to continue gambling, or withdraw their winnings if they have reached the necessary wagering requirement.
It’s important to understand, however, that wagering requirements often do apply to no deposit free spins at today’s leading online casino websites. Despite carrying no inherent currency values, casino operators are increasingly closing this loophole and requiring that gamblers wager a significant amount of their winnings. In most cases, the wagering requirement for no deposit free bonuses works as follows:
- Customers are awarded a specific number of free spins, which can be used on virtually any slot machine or table game at the casino.
- After their free spins have been exhausted, the casino calculates customers’ total winnings across all games played.
- Customers must then play between 10x and 100x the amount of their calculated winnings before they can withdraw funds to their bank account.
Generally, the goal of this wagering requirement is to encourage, if not require, customers to make a deposit to their account and continue playing online. The most generous casinos will only require customers to play a small percentage of their winnings, but some less advantageous casino operators may well require customers to bid their entire balance goodbye in pursuit of making the necessary bank transfer.
4. Loyalty Bonus Free Spins
Until now, all types of free spins have been pretty clear, in terms of when they’re offered and who is eligible. Other types of free spins are available to people who do make a deposit, don’t make a deposit, or join a casino and place bets for the first time. When it comes to rewarding customer loyalty, casinos retreat into a complex system of algorithms and statistical analysis to determine which customers are most likely to continue visiting the casino, which ones will continue playing slot machines beyond the amount of their free spins, and which ones will be most enticed by an offer of loyalty bonus free spins in the first place.
For this reason, loyalty free spins are perhaps the rarest and least quantifiable type of bonus among online casinos. Customers who receive them are clearly doing something right, but the casino isn’t about to clear up exactly what that is. Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines to follow when accepting an offer of free loyalty spins at an online casino:
- Keep an eye out for an official “accept” button on the loyalty offer, since these offers often require manual acceptance.
- Remember that most loyalty offers often have an expiration period. The most likely expiration periods are three days, one week, or one month. Any offer accepted, but not used, within that window of time will become null and void.
- Remember that the casino’s wagering requirement almost always applies to loyalty spins. When in doubt, check the fine print of a loyalty bonus free spins offer to verify the amount that must be played in order to withdraw all winnings.
5. New Slots Free Spins
6. Free Bets and Free Money
In most cases, a wagering requirement is written as “40x playthrough” or “100x playthrough.” This means that customers must play 40 times, or 100 times, the amount of winnings that they earned on a free bonus spins offer. While this might seem impossible, it’s important to remember that most slot machines pay back about 90 percent of all bets, which means customers will likely still have some residual winnings left after they meet the wagering requirement.
Before accepting any bonus spins offer, it’s absolutely essential to understand how those free spins work with the wagering requirement. The lower the “playthrough” amount, the less customers will have to put back into online slot machines before cashing out. That means a lower number could equate to keeping more winnings with each offer, and it indicates a far more customer-friendly online casino overall.