Free is every player’s favourite word. After all, gambling is all about gaining an edge over the casino, and the best way to get an edge is to play with someone else’s money.
That’s where free welcome bonuses come in.
What are Free Welcome Bonuses?
Free casino welcome bonuses come in many shapes and sizes, but the basic idea is that the casino will give you a freebie that you can use to play some games. If Lady Luck is smiling down on you, those freebies will convert into real money that you can withdraw or gamble.
These bonuses are a little smaller than what you can collect via a matched deposit bonus, so they are often best suited for casual/small stake players. As always, there are terms to consider and requirements to meet. You might not be asked to make a deposit, but you will have winnings caps, game restrictions, and wagering requirements.
Types of Free Welcome Bonus
There are lots of different welcome bonuses and only a small percentage of these can be classed as “free”.
Let’s take a closer look at the different “free” casino bonuses and the sites that offer them.
No Deposit Bonus
The no deposit bonus is the most common type of free welcome bonus.
The idea is that you’ll get a bonus just for signing up. There’s no deposit required and if you win and meet the terms, you can keep the cash.
But the UK Gambling Commission requires all casinos to know who their players are, how old they are, and where they live, so you can’t get that bonus with just an email address and name.
You will be asked for your name, address, and contact details and these will then be used to perform a soft credit check to make sure you are who you say you are. If that fails, you may need to submit a picture ID and proof of address.
Once you have passed this initial step, you must add a debit card to your account. It means that you’re ready to deposit as and when you want, but it’s also another regulatory hoop that casinos must jump through.
After completing these steps, you can collect your bonus. Just make sure you check the terms and conditions, paying special attention to win limits, game limits, and wagering requirements.
If you want to avoid the aforementioned wagering requirements, look for wager-free bonuses.
As the name suggests, these bonuses don’t have extensive wagering requirements. You keep the money that you win, and as long as you meet the minimum withdrawal amount, you can transfer those funds to your account.
Wager-free bonuses are usually offered in the form of free spins, free bingo tickets, or a small number of bonus credits. They are more commonly offered to active players as a way of thanking them for their loyalty, but they are also used as welcome bonuses.
*New players only, no deposit required, valid debit card verification required, 65x wagering requirement, max bonus conversion to real funds equal to £50. Full T&Cs apply. 18+ BeGambleAware.org. Please play responsibly. #ad
Free spins are very common, especially as welcome bonuses.
Casinos will give you a fixed number of spins for use on one or more slot machines. The slots have a fixed value and usually come with wagering requirements.
They’re “free” because you can take X number of spins without wagering any real money. In most cases, however, you can only collect these spins when you make a real money deposit.
Always check the value of the spins, as this will affect the overall value of the bonus and tell you whether it’s worth your time and money. You should also look for the wagering requirement, minimum deposit amount, and winnings cap.
Last but not least, make sure there are no restrictions on your preferred payment method. An increasing number of online casinos are excluding e-wallet players from these deposits, so it’s worth double-checking if you use these methods.
Golden Chips and Live Casino Bonuses
Free spins are great if you love slots, but as those “spins” don’t include roulette wheels, they won’t help you if you prefer table games. For that, you need golden chips, which are the table game equivalent of free spins.
Golden chips can be used to play a fixed number of casino games at a predetermined price. You can play cards, spin a roulette wheel, or try your hand at poker variants.
These promotions are rare, but there are a lot of live casino offers out there. So, if you can’t find golden chips, just look for live casino deposit bonuses or cashback offers.
Free Welcome Bonus FAQs
Yes…and no. You can get some freebies here and there but rarely do they come without a catch. And why would they? We’re talking about a for-profit business here, not a charity. Casinos are there to make money, and they have many ways of doing that.
They might give you freebies to lure you into making a deposit. They might be loaded with wagering requirements that help to balance the odds. Sometimes, they are offered to reward you for your loyalty, in which case you’ve already spent a lot.
If you think you’re getting lots of free money without a catch, you’re either misreading the terms or you’re getting scammed.
Lots of casinos offer these bonuses, and we have highlighted the best ones in the guide above.
If you’ve ever played a slot machine, you will have probably encountered free spins. But these are a little different from the ones offered by casinos.
The free spins you get while playing a slot are offered as part of a bonus round. They are not part of any casino promotion and if you’re wagering real money, you’ll win real money.
The free spins offered by casinos are designed for use on slots. This means that you can technically use casino free spins to unlock slot free spins.
Yes, of course, but whether they are right for you or not will depend on your average deposit and the games that you play. If you’re a high roller who prefers live casino games, you may struggle with the meagre slot-focused promotions typically offered as part of these bonuses.