For anyone that has explored the world of online casino gambling, you have probably noticed a wide array of sign up deals and welcoming bonuses enticing you to deposit money into your account. They will often offer to match your total deposit up to a certain amount, and it looks as if you'll be able to double your money before you even play a game. However, if you are a perennial "Terms of Conditions" skipper, like myself, you may have missed the small print of what terms you're actually accepting.
Depending on the type of gaming you are planning on doing, casinos will attach what's called a "rollover" to your offer. For casino gaming, the rollover is typically 20X. So let's say you enter $100 into your account, and the casino agrees to match your deposit, giving you a pot of $200. The rollover of 20x is then applied to your total balance.
You are not allowed to cash out until the rollover amount is hit. In this case, the total of $200 will be multiplied by the 20X rollover, giving you a total of $4000. You must now bet at least $4000 worth of bets in the casino before you are allowed to cash any amount of money out at all. Agreeing to the bonus has now signed you into a deal substantially restricting your ability to cash out your money.
While most of the bonuses provided create massive restrictions on moving your money and almost guarantee that you will lose your money before being allowed to cash out, they do offer some minor benefits.
For the slot player that just wants to play the game and cares more about quantity than winning and getting out, the multitude of free-spins could be valuable. It also allows you time to familiarize yourself with the games before waging the money you put in from your account.
Another option that accepting these bonuses affords you is to bet bigger per hand or spin than you typically would. Not only do you increase your odds of a large jackpot, but you will hit your rollover total faster by betting more significant amounts per play. So if your concern is just getting to play as much as possible for your buck, accepting the bonuses may make some sense.
There is also the chance that you will hit the jackpot with the bonus money, and that the amount will be substantial enough to make up for the rollover value. At that point, you can just bet whichever amount you are required to meet the total number and then cash out. But while we all gamble with the thoughts of jackpots fueling us, this isn't a particularly intelligent thing to bank on.
Due to the rollovers attached to the bonus credits, it is almost impossible to end up ahead using the gift and then cashing out. With rollovers being 20X on average, it is much more mathematically likely that a player will lose their entire purse before ever coming close to the rollover total. Making 4000 dollars' worth of bets from a $200 balance, and winning enough to keep the gaming going without losing it all is extraordinarily unlikely.
Rollovers aren't always as expensive as 20X, those larger rollovers are typically reserved for casino and slot gaming. For sports betting or race betting, the rollover is generally in the 5X range. Regardless, this still requires you to make $500 worth of bets with a $100 balance. You either have to have lots of really accurate picks, or you will lose your entire balance before coming anywhere near your bonus obligations.
The worst part is that the rollover is often applied to the entire balance the player owns in the casino, not just the bonus credits. So once your money is in the casino, even the money from your own bank account becomes unavailable to move or control. With the mathematical odds stacked against you ever reaching the rollover amount, you are most likely never seeing any of that money again.
Additionally, some casinos have confusing policies regarding which games count towards your rollover responsibility. Not every game will count 100% towards the rollover. This creates immense confusion and dissatisfaction from the gamer's perspective. You could be betting large quantities of your total balance without it counting towards your rollover as you anticipated. A player can feel trapped as if they may never cash out their money again, and they are correct in their feelings.
Top Tip: A player is better off just using the money that they deposited and rejecting any casino welcoming bonuses offering free credits or money. The terms that come attached with these deals severely limit the freedom of the gambler and their odds of ever cashing out.
Betting with standard balances without bonuses allows one to cash out at their leisure. You have no obligation to make a certain number of bets. Should you hit the jackpot or even a decent mid-level payout, you can cash out immediately and use your money without owing the casino thousands of dollars' worth of additional wagers.
Overall, casino welcoming bonuses are a scam. At the very least they are a very poor bet. Their primary purpose is to lock your money into your casino balance in a way that makes it extremely unlikely that you will ever be able to cash out. With a $100 bonus putting you on the hook for $2000-4000 worth of bets, depending on how the rollover is applied, you will need to be extraordinarily lucky even to meet the requirement to attempt cashing out.
Furthermore, these rollover amounts go down at inconsistent rates, depending on the game. While 100% of your slot spins will be applied towards your rollover obligation, most table games only apply 25% to the rollover amount. So with a 20X rollover, you may need to make up to $8000-16,000 worth of wagers just for the ability to access your money. This would take an immense hot streak or a huge jackpot to be worth your while.