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There is no such thing like a free lunch or is there? Fact is we all like to collect a freebie once in a while and at online casinos, they are mostly in the form of free spins, extra spins, bonus spins, cash spins or any other form of spins that are given either with no deposit needed, on top of a deposit or as a reward. Over the years, the industry has adopted a number of names as regulations changed and new names were needed to comply with the requirements. Let’s take a look at how free of a lunch we can expect at online casinos.
1. No-Deposit Bonuses and Free Spins
Well, this is your free lunch when you don’t mind setting up an account with a casino. To attract new players, casinos often offer a limited number of free or bonus spins (pick your name) that are credited after registration without requiring a deposit. Basically, a risk-free bonus where a player cannot lose as he does not need any of his own money.
The winnings from the spins are usually subject to wagering requirements (WR) before the balance is turned into withdrawable cash. In addition, winnings or withdrawals are capped at a low amount, generally between €10 and €100. In some cases, casinos will ask you to make a verification deposit (minimum amount is sufficient) before they will process any potential withdrawals from no-deposit spins or bonuses. You might have to wager the deposit once before you are allowed to hit the cashout button.
Conclusion: Never miss to claim this kind of offers as they can boost your gaming budget, although it surely will never be a get-rich-quick scheme, or rich at all for a matter of fact.
2. Free Rounds / Extra Spins on Deposit
This is a very common offer coming from casinos, which can be a risk-free or low-risk option for players if their own deposit can be wagered on Blackjack. Plus, the offers have rarely a maximum cashout limit. You will usually receive a communication or find them on the promotion page in the format – “deposit a defined amount to get a number of spins on a selected slot”.
In general, all casino deposits (including those when claiming the spins) are subject to a one-time wagering requirement (WR) in the casino unless otherwise stated. After that, your money will be usually withdrawable (and should be withdrawn) if the free spins are credited later or the following day.
In this article, we take a closer look at four options for free/extra/bonus spins (oh, just pick a name you prefer, we will call them simply spins where it’s possible), listing them from the best to the worst. These four cases are only valid when you are allowed to withdraw your deposit before the free/extra/bonus spins are played.
We treat all other offers, where you have to play the spins before you can withdraw and have to wager the winnings, as normal deposit bonuses or as a forfeitable bonus. For example, if a casino offers 100 spins at €0.20 value for a deposit of €100 where you have to complete the WR before you can withdraw your money and any potential winnings, then it amounts to a bonus of roughly €19 (for slots with a 96% RTP) equivalent to a 19% deposit bonus on the same deposit. Not that attractive and risk-free anymore.
2.1 Your Own Money May Be Wagered on Blackjack, Free Spins Are Cash Spins
Generally speaking, this is the best and our preferred option for spins offers. Wagering your deposit on Blackjack is low-risk and using a good strategy will keep losses to a minimum. The winnings from the spins are pure cash, which means that you can head straight to the banking lobby to submit a withdrawal as the winnings will mostly get you into profit. Take a look at the example below:
- Promotional Offer: Deposit €50, get 30 spins on Arcane Reel Chaos at €0.20
- 1x WR for your own deposit on Blackjack: Expected result is €50 x 99.6% RTP = €49.80
- Average winnings from the spins: 30 x 0.2 x 96.81% RTP = €5.81
- Average balance ready for withdrawal: €49.80 + €5.81 = €55.61
That is on average over €5 in your pocket, worth a free pizza for each offer you claim. Some casinos ask players to wager their own money 3x (CasinoLuck, Next Casino, WildSlots), 5x and we had even 10x (Everymatrix site Spinson) when they take up an offer for bonus spins on deposit. However, as long as you can wager your deposit on Blackjack, it won’t make much of a difference to the expected value (EV).
There are other forms of offers which fit into this category. Some casinos such as Kalevala Casino will offer coins or points instead of bonus spins that can be converted to real money. The only real difference is that you get a fixed amount and not a variable when you use bonus spins.
Conclusion: Follow the rules and a free lunch is almost guaranteed if you can wager your deposit on Blackjack.
2.2 Your Own Money May Be Wagered on Blackjack, Free Spins Winnings Are Bonus Money
These offers are similar to those under 2.1 but differ in such that the winnings from the spins are not cash and need to be wagered a defined amount of times according to the bonus terms. While not risk-free, they are still a low risk as you can wager your deposit on Blackjack. Plus, the number of spins offered for a deposit is usually higher when the winnings are considered bonus money.
Make sure to withdraw your own money after you wagered it once and before playing the spins if the terms allow it. Most of the times the winnings from the free spins are lost quickly but a good hit can lead to substantial winnings. Use a fair bet size instead of minimum stake as the result will be mostly a loss of the winnings from the free spins anyway, so scoring a big win once in a while will make up for the times you lose out.
Conclusion: Higher risk than for offers with cash spins but can be still profitable if you follow the rules and strategy.
2.3 Your Own Money Must Be Wagered on Slots, Free Spins Are Cash Spins
This is a fairly common type of bonus for free spins without wagering requirements. The low-volatile deposit wagering on Blackjack changes slightly to a higher-risk wagering on slots. You can still minimize losses by using small bet sizes, however, slots have a house edge of 3% to 4% compared to the 0.40% on Blackjack, which means that on average you will lose more of your deposit.
Very often a good hit from the cash spins will make up for the loss to end in profit. Using multiple offers is almost a guarantee to turn out a positive result. You should always calculate whether the expected value (EV) from the cash spins is sufficient to compensate for the house edge of the slots. Below is an example where the EV will not be enough to make a profit:
- Promotional Offer: Deposit €100, get 10 spins on Starburst at €0.10
- 1x WR for your own deposit on slots: Expected result is €100 x 96.50% RTP = €96.50
- Average winnings from the spins: 10 x 0.1 x 96.08% RTP = €0.96
- Average balance ready for withdrawal: €96.50 + €0.96 = €97.46, equaling a loss of €2.54
Conclusion: Only take these offers where the EV from the cash spins is sufficient to cover for the slot house edge.
2.4 Your Own Money Must Be Wagered on Slots, Free Spins Winnings Are Bonus Money
This is the worst option but still OK if the amount of free spins is large enough. For example, an offer for 1,000 free spins at €0.20 for a deposit of €200 can easily be turned into a profit. It surely warrants to at least weigh the value of the offer by comparing the EV from the spins to the expected loss from wagering the deposit once on slots. Take a look at the exact calculation below:
- Promotional Offer: Deposit €200, get 1,000 spins on Archane Reel Chaos at €0.20
- 1x WR for your own deposit on slots: Expected result is €200 x 96.50% RTP = €193
- Average winnings from the spins: 1,000 x 0.2 x 96.81% RTP x 0.70 EV after WR (30x FS winnings) = €135.53
- Average balance ready for withdrawal: €193 + €135.53 = €328.53
Conclusion: On average, you can turn out a profit only if the number of free spins is high enough. However, you cannot expect to make a profit on each occasion.
You can always turn to our GMBLRS Aces for help and advice. They are an open group of gaming veterans, newbies, betting nerds and anyone else who pledged their support for our community. Visit the GMBLRS Aces group now to post your questions or become a member of the group yourself.
Your GMBLRS Team