Here at Find My Casino (FMC) we know that the welcome bonus offered by an online casino play a huge part in where you decide to play - but how do online casinos set welcome offers?
From deposit match bonuses to free spins to packages containing both and spread over several deposits, online casinos go to great lengths to entice new players.
But have you ever wondered how online casinos set welcome offers and decide things like wagering requirements and max bets?
We spoke to a Chief Bonus Officer at one of our recommended brands to find out more.
What online casinos consider when setting a welcome offer:
Online casinos consider several factors when it comes to setting bonus offers but the most important is ensuring the offer is attractive to players.
“It’s about coming up with a legitimate bonus that adds value to the player’s experience while also making sure the offer is not too aggressive,” the casino’s Chief Bonus Officer told FMC.
“We also have to be mindful of bonus hunters, which is why casinos put wagering requirements on welcome offers and also set max bets, max wins and the like.”
In short, online casinos are happy to provide players with a generous welcome package but in return they need to protect themselves from those looking to take advantage of bonuses and promotions.
The most popular welcome offers:
Some UK online casinos such as PlayOJO offer just free spins as their welcome offer while other brands prefer to engage players with a deposit match bonus.
The Chief Bonus Officer says that he believes the best online casino welcome offers combine both a deposit match bonus and free spins.
“Combining a deposit match with free spins provides huge value to the player by allowing them to boost their wagering balance and enjoy extra spins on some of the most popular slot games.”
Setting the welcome offer match bonus and the number of free spins:
Deposit match bonuses usually range from 50% to 100% but can go as high as 150%, 200% and in some cases even 300%.
They work by increasing you deposit by that percentage, as outlined below:
50% deposit match – Deposit £10 and receive £5 in bonus cash – Total balance of £15
100% deposit match – Deposit £10 and receive £10 in bonus cash – Total balance of £20
150% deposit match – Deposit £10 and receive £15 in bonus cash – Total balance of £25
200% deposit match – Deposit £10 and receive £20 in bonus cash – Total balance of £30
300% deposit match – Deposit £10 and receive £30 in bonus cash – Total balance of £40
The percentage offered differs from online casino to online casino and is based upon what each casino believes will provide its players with the most value.
“Some online casinos will offer high deposit match bonuses as part of the welcome package, some will offer smaller deposit match bonuses,” tChief Bonus Officer, said.
“Most casinos will know what their players prefer, which can differ from market to market, and will offer that deposit match bonus.
“In the UK, for example, most players are interested in a deposit match bonus of 100% and that is what we offer as part of our welcome package.”
Most deposit match bonuses will be capped at a certain amount, so for example 100% up to £100 meaning the maximum bonus cash you will receive is £100.
This, as well as wagering requirements and max bet limits, is to protect the online casino from bonus hunters – players that accept the welcome offer and then play elsewhere once they have used it.
The same applies to free spins, with the number offered changing from online casino to online casino and based on what each believes is the most appealing to its players.
Why free spins are usually offered on NetEnt slots:
If you regularly play online casino you might have noticed that more often than not, welcome offer free spins must be played on NetEnt slots and in particular Starburst.
The Chief Bonus Officer explains why:
“Online casinos offer free spins on the most popular games so that players actually want to accept and use them. To decide which slots are most popular, we use a ‘players playing ratio’.
“For a long time, this ratio has proved that Starburst is not only one of the most popular online casino games but also a slot that players like to claim free spins on.
“If our ratio shows that players are favouring another slot game, then of course we would change the free spins part of our welcome offer and allow the spins to be claimed against that title.”
How online casinos set wagering requirements for welcome offers:
Wagering requirements have become a big point of difference for online casinos looking to ensure their welcome offer provides even more added value.
Some operators have done away with wagering requirements entirely while others have taken steps to reduce them as much as possible. On average, wagering requirements are set at x35.
The wagering requirement set is based on each online casino’s desire for risk – if there is no wagering requirement in place, they are more open to bonus abuse.
Those that do impose a wagering requirement will use a formula and ratio – taking into account bonus wagers, testing and player behaviour among other things – to set the play through amount.
Ultimately, online casinos are happy to provide welcome packages, but they want to make sure players are genuine and will continue to wager with once they bonus has been used up.
How to identify a good value welcome offer:
Whether a welcome offer is valuable or not will differ from player to player, so you need to look closely at the bonus and the terms and conditions is comes with to decide if it is right for you.
The best online casino welcome bonuses combined a deposit match bonus with free spins and in most cases you can decide whether to accept both parts or just the deposit bonus or the free spins.
Also think about whether the free spins are offered on a game you actually want to play and, most importantly, whether you are comfortable meeting the wagering requirement.
Remember, you will not be able to withdraw any winnings from deposit match bonuses or free spins before the wagering requirement has been completed.
“The decision to accept a welcome offer really does depend on the individual player,” says the Chief Bonus Officer.
“For those that love bonuses and completing the wagering requirement, a welcome offer will likely provide huge value.
“If they don’t like being restricted to certain games, bet sizes and having to complete wagering requirements, then they are probably better playing with their own money.”
The real value is in ongoing loyalty schemes and VIP clubs:
A welcome offer is just that – an introduction to what you can expect at that particular online casino. The real value comes in the loyalty scheme, VIP club and ongoing promotions available.
By playing at the same online casino(s) over time, you will rack up loyalty points, unlock tremendous prizes and perks, and may even receive an invite to the casino’s exclusive VIP club.
“This is where online casinos can really add value to the player experience,” says the Chief Bonus Officer.
“We have an in-house team of customer service agents and VIP managers that are trained to deliver the best possible experience to players that return to our casino time and time again.”