There is no better place in the world to play casino online than in the UK. We have the best system of licensing there is, providing protection to consumers and casinos alike, while maintaining an open and transparent industry.
The UK is also hyper-competitive meaning you can get some of the best sign up welcome deals in the world alongside.
At NewCasinoSites.co we don’t think you should pick a casino just for the bonus, that is like buying any yellow new car because you like the colour yellow. There are however a lot of introductory deals available and once you have a short-list of casinos you might want to play with it helps to know which one has the best bonus offers and how to compare them, to ensure you get the best value you can.
In the sections below we look at casino welcome offers and how to read them and get the best from them.
Why Do Casinos Offer Huge Welcome Bonuses?
On the face of it it seems like a con, why would a casino company give you so much money for free? After-all casinos are there to make a profit and surely giving away £100’s often at a rate of 1-200%+ doesn’t make business sense? Well actually in many ways it does.
Online casinos have very low overheads, relative to real world casinos, they don’t need as many staff or to maintain buildings and facilities, at the same time they are open 24/7 from anywhere you happen to be and they can base themselves pretty much anywhere they want to (so long as they get a UK license, see later).
Most of the games you play have set margins too, meaning the casino can almost guarantee their returns from a certain amount wagered, which is why the industry is very profitable.
The fact it can be relatively easy to make a return as a casino however also means it is a highly competitive market. There are hundreds of brands to choose from and therefore to attract players casinos, especially new brands, must offer good incentives for customers to play.
The free market for online casinos means it is perfect for the average player seeking value, introductory free spins and bonuses can help turn the odds more in your favour, which over time can enhance winnings or reduce loses. They are certainly worth taking advantage of if you are planing to play games anyway, but how do you know which ones to choose?
How To Compare Casino Sign Up Offers
The principle motivation for the casino when providing a sign up incentive isn’t for you to win money for free, rather it is to give you some promotional funds to use to allow you to try out the casino without risking of much of your own cash.
Many players however do win with bonuses and if used well you can not only try out a new casino site you may be interested in but perhaps also get a return.
The type of bonus that you should take depends very much on how you like to play online games. If you are a fairly low stakes player perhaps a bonus with a high percentage but smaller overall amount will be most suitable for you, wager £10 get £50 for example.
If however you like bigger stakes you might want a lower percentage bonus but higher overall amount, 100% up to £500 for example.
If you are a slots player and you know the games you want to play then free spins might be the best type of offer for you or if you.
If you have no idea which casino you want to play at or what games you might like then you could look for a no deposit offer (see next section for more details). You are unliekyl to win real money but you can try out a site without staking any of your own cash.
Whatever offer you take here are some of the major terms to consider when comparing these deals.
Often termed rollover, play-through or turnover, this is the amount of times over you will need to bet your bonus before it stops being promotional cash and turns into real withdrawable money.
With most offers bonus cash is awarded straight away when you deposit, but with some you will need to bet your deposit amount first before the bonus is awarded.
The wagering requirement will be show as a multiple of the bonus (e.g 30x) but be careful as in many cases the rollover is shown as a turnover of both the deposit + bonus. For example, if you take a 100% matched deposit bonus and it has wagering requirements as 50x the bonus this would be the same as 25x deposit + bonus. The later way of putting it looks more attractive (which is why they do it) but in effect it is the same thing.
It’s not just bonuses that have wagering requirements, often with free spins the money you win is classed as a bonus and will require a set play-through before you can withdraw.
Wagering requirements are there to ensure you play multiple hands with a casino, thereby trying them out, and also to ensure they don’t end up paying out too much free cash. Casinos pay tax on bonuses and promo cash too and so they need to protect themselves to a degree from losing too much.
There are three expiry times to look out for with a casino welcome offer:
- Is there a time limit from the time you register or deposit to when you can claim the bonus / free spins?
- Is there a time limit to bet through your deposit / free spins or to activate the bonus.
- Once the bonus is credited how long do you have to meet the wagering requirement.
Almost every offer you see will have time limit for the rollover of a bonus, or bonus winnings. If you do not meet the wagering in this time you will forfeit the whole bonus.
If you happen to sign up and miss the deadline to deposit to claim the bonus you should try to get in touch with the casino, after-all they want you to have a bonus to try them out and so will often waive that and still award the promo cash.
Most bonuses will have an average expiry time of 30 days, some smaller bonuses can be as short as 7 days and some bigger ones as long as 90 days, or rarely unlimited.
Free spins tend to have shorter time periods, you may have 24 hours, 3 days or up to 7 days to use them initially. If there is then wagering required on winnings you will have a separate time period to play-through those winnings.
The type of offer again should suit the way you like to play, you shouldn’t feel pressured into using a bonus in a certain amount of time, try to pick the deal to fit with you.
Most bonuses and free spins have game or game type restrictions. The principle reason behind this is some low margin games can be used to exploit bonus offers.
You will generally find table games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat games such as video poker come with additional restrictions. This is generally indicated by a reduced contribution to the wagering requirement. For example a 25x rollover on a bonus where roulette only counts 10% means if you only played roulette you would in effect have a turnover of 250x the bonus.
With some offers the game restrictions are not applied to the entire game but might apply to certain bets. For example, with roulette you may be able to use the bonus to play but not for even money bets (like odd/even, red/black) or you may not be able to use the bonus on the outside of the board.
Again it is critical to read the full terms of an introductory promotion if you intend to play certain games. It is not just table games that are restricted with most offers you cannot use the bonuses on certain slots or in other sections, such as live casino, Vegas, Macau or Games sections.
If a site has multiple gaming sections there is often a different welcome offer for each, and each will be restricted to that given section. Therefore look through the casino first and find which section and offer you would like to use the most. If you claim the casino offer then often you will not be allowed to claim the welcome offer for another section like the Live Casio (although with some you can).
Free spins especially are generally restricted, either to one named slot game or a family of games. Some free spins are open to any slots but these are rarer. Again check to see what game restrictions there are, there is no point signing up to 100 free spins on Starburst if you don’t like the game Starburst.
With some bonuses you are restricted in how much of the bonus you can use for an individual bet or spin and still count to the wagering requirement.
The reason for this is so you don’t bet your whole bonus in one go. This is partly to regulate the bonus to reduce the chances of winning overall but also because the brand is giving you the free cash so you an try them out and they don’t want you spanking your promo money in one go and then leaving.
Generally if there is a maximum bet amount it is often proportional to the bonus amount, but the most common figure is £5. This means if you were playing a slot game for example using your bonus and you bet £10 on a single spin then only £5 would contribute to any rollover (or possibly £0 depending on the terms).
Winnings from free spins often have maximum bet amounts attached to them more so than bonuses.
Maximum Winnings / Conversion
More common for free spins than for bonuses but used for both offer types.
You will sometimes notice a maximum conversion term attached to a welcome offer. This means no matter how successful you are in wagering a bonus or bonus winnings that there is a set maximum that you can ultimately withdraw in real cash.
This will either be shown as a specified amount (e.g. £100) or as a multiple of the bonus amount (e.g 5x or 10x). Specified amounts are more common with free spins (e.g. £8 max win per 10 free spins) and multiples more common with deposit bonuses.
If you have a 100% bonus up to £100, for example, with a maximum conversion of 5x the bonus amount this means if you deposited £10 and claimed a £10 bonus you could only ultimately withdraw £50 from bonus winnings after the turnover is complete. If you deposited £100 and claimed £100 bonus you could then in theory withdraw up to £500 following play-through.
Maximum conversions are almost always attached to no deposit bonuses (see later).
Withdrawing Your Deposit
In general once your deposit bonus is awarded you cannot make a withdrawal until you have completed the wagering terms.
If you try to withdraw your deposit or winnings before completing the play-through you will normally forfeit the bonus.
Therefore if you deposit say £100 to claim a £100 bonus be aware that you will need to leave that deposit and resultant winnings from it in place until you have satisfied the rollover.
You are free to withdraw your deposit and winnings from your deposit at any time, it is just important to be aware that if you do this prematurely you might lose the promo cash.
Skrill, Neteller, PayPal and PaySafeCard
There are many ways to fund an online casino account other than using a debit or credit card.
Many eWallets now exist, such as PayPal an Skrill, and these are used extensively by regular casino players as it allows gambling transactions to be isolated, whether that be to keep them off your bank statement or just to provide you with an easy way to track winnings an loses.
There are also cash voucher schemes, such as PaySafeCard, that allow you to buy vouchers in shops and use these to deposit to casino sites (as well as host of other online merchants).
Whilst these payment options are great for many players unfortunately many are not eligible for bonuses and sign up offers. This is mainly due to past duplicate account abuses with these methods.
Therefore if you do want to claim an offer and deposit using a method such as Skrill it is important you check the full terms to check whether you will be allowed to claim the promotion. If you are not you might want to consider another site, or at least make an initial deposit with a bank card and then switch to an eWallet or voucher mechanism later on.
Some offers require you to enter a code on registration or first deposit to claim the offer. This will be clearly stated in any terms.
This is not done to try to catch you out, principally bonus codes are used by operators because they have multiple welcome bonuses for different sections and therefore you need to enter the code so that they know which offer you want to claim.
Should you forget to or wrongly enter a code that leads to you not being credited with the promo cash then get in touch with the operator. Again it is in their best interests to have you as a customer and if you’ve missed out on the offer through a genuine mistake then they will in most cases manually issue you with the bonus.
If you’ve already claimed an offer for another section of the site however it is possible you will not be able to claim additional ones for other products.
No Deposit Bonuses and Free Spins
No deposit bonuses (NDB) are not as common as they once were, mainly because operators now have to pay tax on ‘free money’ and therefore it is far from free for them to provide. Saying that the industry is still competitive enough that there are brands that will issue NDB or free spins without deposit.
It is worth being aware that very few people win real money from these types of offers. They often are fairly small amounts (£5, £10 / 10-100 spins) and carry high wagering requirements, game restrictions, short expiry times and maximum conversions.
This is understandable as once again the primary reason you are getting this free money is to use the casino site without risking your own cash. Therefore try not to see NDB’s as a route to free cash but simply as a means to get a feel for the site before you risk any of your own money.
With almost all NDB’s you can also claim a subsequent deposit bonus.
Why Only Play With UK Licensed Casinos?
To operate as a casino in the UK, or to accept UK based players wherever they are based in the world, requires operators to possess a UK Gambling Commission (GC) license. You can check an operator has a licence on the GC website.
The gambling commission license ensures all companies act openly and fairly. This includes preventing the industry being used for money laundering or the proceeds of crimes (one reason you need to verify your identity), making sure vulnerable people are protected, ensuring your deposit is protected, ensuring games are fair and providing you with a means of complaint, amongst other things.
The ASA also act independently to ensure advertising is honest and fair and prevents misleading ads appearing, something that is very important for the topic of this page, bonuses.
The Gambling commission and ASA are not however there to police all websites and many unscrupulous agents do try to get UK customers to sign up. They often do this by offering almost unbelievable offers or returns.
If you do choose to sign up with a non-licensed casino in the UK then you are throwing out of the window all of your legal rights. Most of these companies will be based abroad and if they do fail to pay you out, run off with your money or sell your identity or banking information then there is not a lot you can do.
UK licensed casinos provide their license details at the bottom of their home pages, usually with a link to their license on the Gambling Commission site. If you do not see this then it is recommended you do not play with that casino from withing the UK. If you are unsure check with the GC.
UK Compliance and Significant Terms
One of the major advances in the UK over other countries is that casinos are obliged to communicate all their significant terms to you before you sign up or claim an offer. This is one of the biggest advantages of having a regulated and licensed industry.
We feature full compliance text with all of our recommended casinos, which includes all of the significant terms attached to an offer, such as wagering requirements, expiry times, maximum bets, restrictions and all the other aspects discussed on this page.
Where relevant we link to sites T&C’s pages and within one click of all the offers we list you should be able to find a full copy of the terms and conditions. If you can’t contact us immediately and we will fix that straight away.
In the UK you can enjoy playing casino online knowing it is a fair and regulated market space. It is still important to gamble responsibly however and you must be over the age of 18 to play any casino games online, even demo games.