Demystifying the welcome bonuses at UK-licensed iGaming operators

15 May 2024

One of the most competitive aspects of the iGaming industry is customer bonuses. In particular, welcome bonuses aimed at first-time players. The UK’s iGaming marketplace is especially crowded, posting revenues of $12.6 billion by the end of 2024. One of the most effective ways for licensed iGaming brands new and old to stand out is by launching a rock-solid welcome promotion.

It’s not easy to understand the differences between these welcome bonuses, especially if you’re completely new to the industry. That’s why we’ve put together a guide which explains the most common welcome bonuses at UK-licensed online casinos to help you pick the right one for your needs.

No-deposit bonuses

These bonuses offer the lowest risk in the iGaming market. They require zero money upfront by new players, which is especially beneficial for beginners to iGaming. Most of the best no-deposit bonuses come in the form of free spins. Right now, there appears to be 46 operators which offer no-deposit free spins promotions to British players.

Alternative no-deposit bonuses include free bonus money that’s credited immediately into the accounts of new customers. This bonus money is usually a modest sum and comes with strings attached, such as limitations on which games it can be used on.

Matched deposit bonuses

A matched deposit bonus could be a credible option if you intend to deposit some of your own money into your new online casino account. Essentially, a matched deposit bonus will match the amount you deposit in bonus funds. This is typically marketed as a 100% matched deposit bonus. Your bonus funds are credited at the same time as your real-money deposit is confirmed.

The benefit of this is that it essentially doubles the size of your betting bankroll. Although do be mindful that the bonus funds will have wagering requirements attached – more on this shortly.

Risk-free deposit bonuses

A risk-free deposit bonus is another option for those who are happy to deposit some of their own money to play with. The risk-free element of this promotion relates to a percentage of your losses during the first day or week of your gaming. For instance, you might find that 50% of your losses during the first week may be refunded to your account in free bet credits.

As with the matched deposit bonuses, the free bet credit refunds will have wagering requirements attached.

Referral bonuses

If you have several friends that could be interested in signing up to the same online casino as you, look for sites which offer referral bonuses. Whenever a player signs up using your unique referral code, you’ll receive free bet credits. Any budding online webmaster writing content may look to promote their chosen online casino and seek more referrals.

Explaining wagering requirements

Most bonus credits have wagering requirements attached. You should familiarise yourself with these before accepting any bonus. They stipulate the number of times a player must wager their bonus funds before they can withdraw any winnings.

For instance, if a bonus has a 20x wagering requirement and you receive a $50 bonus, you must wager 20 x $50 ($1,000) before any remaining winnings can be cashed out. Essentially, the lower the multiple, the better the wagering requirement.

Hopefully this gives you a simple benchmark to work with when selecting your first online casino in the UK. There doesn’t need to be smoke and mirrors with these bonuses. Just make sure you read the terms and conditions before signing up.

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