Best Online Casino Free Spins

As more and more online casinos open their doors to players around the world, the competitive landscape is forcing each operator to offer all kinds of bonus offers to new and existing customers in order to gain and retain their business. Perhaps the single most popular method of attracting new customers, and retaining those customers who already have an existing relationship, is for casino operators to offer free bonus spins.
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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

Online casinos typically offer two types of promotions to new and existing customers. The first is a matching bonus, which will often match the customer’s first deposit and give them even more funds with which to play the casino’s many online slots and table games. The second bonus, and by far the most common one, is free spins. Because free spins have no inherent monetary value, they allow casino operators to give customers a “bonus” that may be worth a few thousand pounds or perhaps nothing at all. There is far less risk for the house to bear, making these spins particularly profitable as well.

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 a crowded online gambling market, it’s important for casino operators to compete for new customers and their very valuable business. One way that casino operators do this is by using a welcome bonus of free spins to everyone who signs up for a new account. In many cases, these spins are offered with a requirement that customers make an initial deposit into their player account upon registering at the casino. Once that deposit is made, customers will see both their monetary balance and their remaining 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

Looking to get a bit more when making a deposit? Deposit bonus free spins are the answer. Somewhat similar to welcome bonus free spins, these spins are directly tied to how much a casino customer deposits into their player account. Some casinos will offer varying tiers of free spins, giving more free spins to customers who deposit a larger amount of money all at once. These spins then take priority when playing casino games; all spins will come out of the free spin balance, rather than the user account balance, until those free spins are exhausted.

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

Online gambling benefits from tight regulation and increasing acceptance among even seasoned gamers, but that doesn’t mean new players are ready to make a deposit right away when they sign up for an account. In fact, many people still have reservations about making a deposit to their player account at an online casino. In response to this, many casino operators offer a no deposit free spin bonus to new users. The goal of these free spins is to allow new users to see how online gambling works, how exciting it is, and how comfortable they are with the platform, before they make an initial deposit.

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

Casinos love loyalty, and they’re prepared to reward it by offering free spins. These spins generally take the same form, with the same rules and wagering requirements, as both no deposit spins and welcome spins. The difference is that loyalty spins are only offered to customers when they’ve been, well, loyal customers of the casino for an extended period of time. This is where loyalty spins are a bit different.

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

The best way to introduce a new slot to online gamblers is to give them a chance to play the new machine without losing any money. This is a highly rare form of free spins, but it’s still occasionally offered when a big, new slot is introduced online. All customers of the casino receive a set amount of spins, typically either 5 or 10 spins altogether, for a single slot machine. These spins are nontransferable, so they cannot be used with any other machine. In many instances, these spins are also free from any wagering requirement that would be in place for other bonus offers, making them particularly lucrative for occasional gamblers.

6. Free Bets and Free Money

In addition to free spins, many casinos give customers “free bets” as a promotional offer in some cases. Free bets adhere to the same rules in terms of wagering requirements, monetary deposits and withdrawal procedures, but differ in one key way: They can be used on more than just slot machines. Free bets can often be used to place a bet on table games, lottery games, scratch tickets, and keno, among other games, at online casinos. This is a great tool to use when exploring new types of games outside the usual array of slot machines.

Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements are a standard part of gambling online, at least when bonus offers are involved. Simply put, wagering requirements restrict customers’ ability to withdraw their winnings from a bonus offer until they have put at least some of their winnings back into slot machines, table games, or other types of games offered by the casino.

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.

A Key Benefit to Online Gambling, When Used Correctly

Like all casino offers, free spins come with a few catches that take time to understand. Once seasoned gamblers learn how to best leverage their free spins into an exciting period of playing and winning, however, they’ll be better prepared to withdraw their winning funds and to take advantage of future offers. As with all offers from a casino, understanding the fine print and the various catches enforced by each casino operator will prepare customers to get the best value from each free spin they play and each jackpot they win as a result.