Most online casinos reward new players with a ‘welcome bonus’: a special offer you can only unlock by signing up with a new account. Claiming a welcome bonus is one of the most exciting aspects of signing up to play at a new online casino, as these offers are usually big, easy to claim and fun to use. However, before claiming the best UK welcome offers, it’s vital to learn more about them.
This guide will explain exactly what a welcome offer is, the different types of welcome bonuses available and how to claim them. We’ll also reveal more details about welcome offer terms and conditions, helping you pinpoint the best welcome bonus. Choosing a welcome offer is sometimes confusing, but with this guide, you’ll enjoy this opportunity and get the most value out of each offer.
What is a casino welcome bonus?
Simply put, a welcome bonus is a special promotion that invites you into a new casino. Almost all online casinos offer these bonuses, showering players with rewards after they create an account. This bonus encourages players to sign up by incentivising them to open an account and play at the casino.
Compared to other casino promotions, welcome bonuses are typically the most lucrative; and casinos in fact often lose money on these offers. The bonus itself is considered a marketing cost the casino will earn back over the lifetime of the player’s account—provided he or she plays regularly.
Because casinos depend on new players, they willingly invest a lot of money into their welcome bonuses: allowing smart players to make money off them if they use them right. However, these bonuses do come with terms and conditions you’ll need to be aware of. In addition, many diverse welcome offers are available, and some are much more lucrative than others.
Types of Casino Welcome Bonuses
One of the most important things about casino welcome offers is that many different types are available. Each one has different rules with respect to how you can unlock and use it. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the basics of each type and what they involve to get the most out of your casino bonuses.
A deposit bonus is the most common casino welcome offer, with ‘deposit’ indicating precisely how to unlock it. Simply signing up and depositing is enough to activate this bonus, although exact rules may vary. Deposit bonuses can include matched deposit offers, free spins and more. Generally, you’ll need to make a minimum deposit using one of the site’s accepted payment methods to get your hands on this bonus.
The match bonus is a type of deposit casino welcome offer that provides a match to any deposit you make. The most common type of match bonus is 100%, but other percentages are sometimes offered as well. The casino will match any deposit you make up to a specific amount. For example, a site might advertise a ‘100% match bonus of up to £100.’ In this case, you’ll need to make a deposit larger than the minimum amount to receive your offer, and anything you deposit will be doubled (e.g., if you deposit £100, you’ll receive a £100 bonus, but if you deposit £50, you’ll score a £50 bonus).
Staggered Cash Match Bonus
This is similar to a regular match bonus but instead provides multiple bonuses staggered over several deposits. For example, an online casino might offer to match your first three deposits by 50%, 75% and 100%. You claim this bonus by making three deposits above the required minimum, and each deposit is then matched at the stated percentage.
Free Spins Bonus
This is one of the most common types of casino bonuses and is often included as part of a welcome offer. Free spins allow you to play on selected online slots for free, giving you a specific number of spins that won’t require you to risk your own money. These spins are usually worth the minimum bet, and your winnings are typically subject to wagering requirements. Some casinos also offer cash spins whereby winnings are instantly withdrawn.
Modern online casinos are built with mobile players in mind, allowing you to enjoy your favourite games while on the go. Whether you use a smartphone or tablet, you can log into your account and start playing for real money anytime. Some online casinos offer exclusive mobile bonuses to encourage mobile play. You can typically claim these—whether free spins, match bonuses or something else—by downloading and installing the app on your device.
Free Spins at Registration
Some online casinos are incredibly generous and offer bonuses without requiring a deposit. In some cases, you can receive free spins immediately after creating your account, allowing you to enjoy some games without making a deposit. To claim this bonus, you must sign up and verify your account; free spins will greet you on the other side! You will need to deposit before you can withdraw your winnings, however.
Online casinos often combine several bonuses to form a welcome package that includes free spins, a match bonus, etc. Read through the requirements carefully, as you may need to unlock each bonus separately. These are often the best welcome bonuses because they allow you to enjoy a wide range of games.
No-Deposit Welcome Bonus
No-deposit offers are the most in-demand bonuses, rewarding players simply for signing up. While these often take shape as free spins, you can also find no-deposit cash bonuses. Simply create an account and verify your payment method to score casino funds in your account, ready for you to play with. A deposit is not needed to unlock this bonus, but you must deposit money before withdrawing any winnings.
200% and 300% Bonus Offer
Online casinos may occasionally offer match bonus rewards greater than 100%. For example, you may encounter a site that offers a 200% or even 300% bonus. As with the regular match bonus, you can unlock your bonus by making the required minimum deposit that matches up to the maximum amount. For example, if a casino offers a 300% matched bonus up to £300, you’ll receive a £300 bonus by depositing £100. These are lucrative promotions, but they usually include stricter bonus terms and conditions.
100% Deposit Welcome Bonus
This is the most common type of match bonus, doubling the money you can play with when you first join. Claiming this offer is as simple as depositing the minimum amount, with funds then added to your account and ready for you to use. Of course, as with any other casino welcome bonus offers, terms and conditions apply.
Best Welcome Bonus Casinos in the UK
There are loads of great welcome offers available in the UK, but these are some of our favourites:
- LeoVegas: 10 free no-deposit spins, plus unlock up to £100 and 50 spins
- MERKUR Slots: Deposit £20 to play with £50, plus 50 free spins
- Fun Casino: 100% deposit bonus up to £123, plus 10 free spins
- Unibet Casino: Deposit £10, get £40
- Duelz Casino: £100 match bonus, plus 200 free spins on Book of Dead
- Casushi Casino: £50 100% matched bonus, plus 50 bonus spins
- Grosvenor Casinos: Deposit £20, play with £50
- Mr Vegas: 100% deposit bonus up to £200
- Spin Rio: 100% bonus up to £50 (first deposit), 50% bonus up to £75 (second and third deposit)
- Playzee Casino: 100% bonus up to £300
Cashable vs Non-Cashable Welcome Bonuses
Online casino welcome bonuses are typically grouped into two main categories: cashable and non-cashable. You can cash out cashable bonuses immediately after unlocking them. While these are less common and tend to be smaller in value than their non-cashable counterparts, they’re in high demand due to how much value they offer.
On the other hand, you cannot cash out non-cashable welcome bonuses straight after unlocking them. These are the most common type of bonus, as casinos typically want to discourage players from signing up, claiming the offer and then leaving. Instead, you’re normally required to complete the requirements before withdrawing the bonus.
Although they’re more challenging to extract value from, non-cashable bonuses tend to be much larger. Be sure to check the terms and conditions regarding how to cash out the bonus before you claim it, as this will affect how much value you can obtain.
How to Find the Best Welcome Bonus
Almost all UK online casinos offer welcome bonuses, although some are much better than others in this regard. Therefore, you’ll want to seek out the best welcome options to have the most fun and draw the most value from your online casino experience. This involves examining the overall value of a bonus offer, how easy it is to claim and how fun it is to play with.
Overall, value is an important factor to consider when choosing a welcome bonus. Although a bonus might seem like a great value at first glance, terms and conditions may make it difficult to use. Therefore, you shouldn’t just look at the total value of the bonus and how easy it is to cash out.
The best UK welcome offers are easy to claim: allowing you to unlock the bonus simply by signing up or making a deposit. If a casino makes you jump through many hoops to claim the bonus, it’s typically not worth it. Lastly, consider how you can use the bonus and whether it’s available to use on games you enjoy playing.
Which Games Can You Play with a Welcome Bonus?
In some cases, welcome bonuses are restricted to specific games. This doesn’t happen as much with match deposit bonuses, but it’s common with free spins. You can generally use your matched deposit or no-deposit cash bonus on any casino games on the site.
However, many welcome bonus free spins are restricted to specific games. It’s essential always to review the terms of the bonus before you claim it, helping you understand any restrictions on games you can play with the bonus.
Welcome Bonus Wagering Requirements
Almost all casino welcome bonuses feature wagering requirements that affect how you can use the bonus and whether it can be cashed out. Wagering requirements mean you’ll need to wager the bonus several times before it can be unlocked as cash. These requirements are listed in the terms and conditions, so be sure to check these before you try and claim the bonus.
For example, a bonus might have a’30x’ wagering requirement. For a £100 bonus, this means you’ll need to wager a total of £3,000 to fulfil the requirement. In most cases, you’ll use the cash in your account before earning the bonus. Although wagering £3,000 might seem like a lot, this is often completed relatively quickly.
Welcome Bonus Terms and Conditions, Explained
All welcome bonuses feature terms and conditions. After all, if they didn’t, the casinos would hand out free cash. You should always check these terms and read through them carefully, as they will affect how easy the bonus is to claim and how fun it is to use.
In most cases, wagering requirements accompany welcome bonuses. As explained above, this means you need to wager the total bonus amount a specific number of times before you can cash it out. You’ll often need to complete these requirements within a specific time limit. For example, you might have a week to reach the wagering requirements.
Most welcome offers also have a maximum bet. For example, your bonus might have a maximum bet of £5, meaning you’re not allowed to bet more than that. This can make wagering requirements harder to meet, so it’s important to look out for.
In many cases, wagering requirements don’t apply evenly to all games. Slots usually count 100% towards wagering, while games such as blackjack and roulette may only count 50%. You’ll need to wager twice as much if you use your bonus to play blackjack or roulette.
How to Cash Out a Welcome Bonus, Step by Step
Cashing out a welcome bonus is sometimes tricky, as most casinos want you to keep your money on the site. This is why bonus terms and conditions are typically set up to make cashing out difficult, although still possible. Follow these steps to cash out your welcome bonus and grab your winnings:
- Read through the bonus terms and conditions carefully before you claim the offer. This will help you understand how to get the maximum value out of the bonus and what you need to do to cash out.
- Once you’ve claimed the bonus, you’ll typically need to complete the wagering requirements. Be sure to check the time limit within which this step must be completed.
- You should also check whether any games feature a different weighting towards wagering. In most cases, slots give 100% weighting, and you can play through most bonuses quickly by playing slots.
- Once your wagering requirements are complete, you can withdraw your bonus and any subsequent winnings.
Yes, withdrawing your welcome bonus is possible, but only after completing any wagering requirements. You’ll most likely need to wager your bonus several times before withdrawing it.
This depends on your casino of choice. In most cases, you’ll need to make a minimum deposit of £10, but some sites may have a smaller or larger minimum deposit.
Yes, in most cases, you can use your welcome bonus only within a specific period. This will depend on the casino, but it’s usually one to two weeks (in most cases).
You certainly don’t need to use the welcome bonus if you don’t want to! However, remember it will expire, and you won’t get to use it again after the expiration date.
No, you can only unlock a welcome bonus once from each casino. The bonus is tied to your name and personal information and thus accounted for in that manner.
You’ll need to complete a bonus playthrough before you can withdraw your bonus. Most casinos require you to play through the bonus several times.