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Are Free Spin Bonuses Really That Great?

By Jason Lee
Published on August 09, 2017
free-spins-slots

Most of us have been raised to know that free is good. Free food? Yes, please. Free tickets? Awesome. The thing is though, when it comes to free money or anything in that realm, our spidey senses turn on and start to question if things are too good to be true.

We start asking what the catch is or what exactly is expected of us to get what’s being promised. We start doing our due diligence. Well, we should be at least. The reason we do this is that in most of our experiences, free money or free things that can turn into real money usually come with some sort of catches.

Let’s take a look today at one of the more popular bonuses in the free money realm that gets offered by online casinos and see if they’re worth their weight. I’m talking about free spin bonuses.

What Is a Free Spin Bonus?

Before we can talk about whether free spin bonuses are great or not, we should probably talk about what they are so we are all on the same page. A free spin bonus is something that an online casino will award to players based on completing some sort of prerequisite condition. For example, if you make a certain sized deposit on the site, they might offer you some free spins as a bonus.

These free spins are exactly what you are probably guessing they are. They are letting you pull the reel on a slot machine a certain number of times at no charge. If you win any money on the slot machine on those spins, it’s yours. If you lose on the spins, it’s no big deal. You aren’t out any money because the spins were a free bonus.

What Is Required to Earn the Bonus?

The secret to determining whether or not a free spin bonus is great is to find out some information and the details of the bonus. The first question you need to ask is what you are required to do to earn the free spins. The best value for you is when you don’t have to do anything but create a free account. It’s not uncommon to see sites offering 10-20 free spins on a particular slot machine just for creating an account. You’re not required to put in any banking or credit card information.

What is more common to see are free spin bonuses that accompany depositing onto a site. For example, if you deposit X amount onto a site, they will give you Y number of free spins. This is by and far the most common variation of this bonus that you will see. While this is not as great as free spins for absolutely nothing, it’s still a nice bonus especially if you are planning on joining and playing on the site anyway.

One other time that you will see these bonuses are for existing players “just because”. They may toss some free spin bonuses your way just for being a loyal customer and playing on the site. These may come as a result of raking a certain amount of money or from playing a certain amount of time. Either way, these are usually awarded just for being a loyal existing customer.

Personally, I don’t think any of these are bad trade-offs as long as you are fully aware of what you need to do to earn the bonus. The free spins just for creating an account are a no brainer and should be taken advantage of even if you have no plans of ever playing at the site long term.

How Is the Bonus Paid Out?

The second question (and possibly more important one) that you need to ask is how the bonus money is paid out. Some sites are going to pay you out the money you win from the free spins in “real cash”. Other sites will pay you out in bonus dollars. What’s the difference? It’s big.

“Real cash” is money that you can immediately withdraw without any other conditions. For example, if you play your free spins and win $100, you can withdraw that $100 that day and the site will send it to you. Bonus dollars, on the other hand, cannot be immediately withdrawn. You are forced to play-through them a certain number of times before you can withdraw them.

Sites will have these play-through requirements to prevent people from just taking advantages of bonuses and never playing on the site again. If they let people exploit the site like that, they’d probably run out of money and be out of business. Personally, I fully understand having provisions like this especially on bonuses that don’t require any sort of deposit. It’s not ideal, but I do understand where the sites are coming from.

What does play-through mean? It means that you must wager the bonus dollars again a certain number of times and then they convert into real dollars. For example, let’s say you win that $100 but it is paid out in bonus dollars that require a 20x play through. This means that you need to make a total of $2000 in wagers to receive that money.

If that sounds like a lot, it’s not as much as you think. The bonus dollars are also usually converted in increments. So if you wager $200, $10 will be turned into real dollars. Also, while wagering, you can continue to win more money as well. So it’s not like you are just paying a ton of money to try and free up your free money. The thing to remember as well is that you’re wagering still with bonus money that is nothing you’ve had to put up yourself.

The takeaway here is that you just need to be aware of how the bonus money won from the free spins bonus is paid out.

If it’s paid out in real money right away, it’s an incredible promotion. If it’s paid out in bonus dollars that you have to convert, it’s still a good promotion; it will just take a little time to get your winnings to where you can cash them out.

Any Other Stipulations

As you may already be seeing, the key to deciphering free spin bonuses and judging their merit is information. You need to read the fine print and see if there are any other stipulations or requirements to get the bonus or to cash in on it. Usually, there aren’t many more than what we’ve already covered, but you never know.

The only one I can think of right now that I have seen on rare occasions is sites that require you to make a deposit before they allow you to withdraw. This is different from the sites awarding free spins for making a deposit. These sites will give you the free spins and then before you can cash out your winnings, you are required to make a deposit.

You don’t have to play with that deposit at all, but you have to make it before you cash out. This is usually just to verify your identity and is not some sort of elaborate scam to get you to deposit. I’ve made plenty of deposits in my day (more on online poker sites) just so that I could cash off bonus money. It always works out.

The Final Verdict

The final answer on whether or not free spin bonuses are great or not comes down to knowing what you are getting and being comfortable with it. At the end of the day, free is free. Just make sure that if the requirements to get the bonus are too high, that you don’t cost yourself a lot of money chasing the bonus.

Remember, a bonus should be exactly what the word means.

It should be viewed as something extra that you get that is unexpected. It shouldn’t really be the main reason for you doing anything ever. If you treat a bonus as a bonus, you’ll always be happy with every dollar you get that was unexpected.

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