At most online casinos, players who want to receive a bonus have to enter a bonus code. This does not apply universally at all online casinos but bonus codes are de rigueur at most online casinos. The reason is generally not fully understood by gamers so we will explain the practice in light of the recent massive increase in online casino traffic in the United States.
The End of the UIGEA
These initials stand for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It was passed in 2006 and brought online gambling in the United States to a near standstill. In recent years, the law has been challenged and in some states is simply being overlooked as these states regulate online casino gambling within their jurisdiction.
As its name implies, the UIGEA applied only to online casinos. Land based casinos were totally left alone by the law. States have other ways to get tax revenue through gambling including horse and dog racing and lotteries. So, the states have long been deeply involved in gambling. They simply felt that there were so many online casinos that were based outside the United States that it would be too difficult to regulate them for the purpose of eventually reaping a tax benefit from them.
Bonuses as a Marketing Tool
As the states came to realize that they were leaving a lot of tax revenue “on the table”, they started looking for ways to accept online casinos. One major factor is that the experience of almost twenty years of online casinos has shown that the gambling pie is expandable. That means that people like to gamble and will do so as the number of gambling opportunities increases.
In other words, online casinos don’t take money away from land based casinos; they make a trip to a land based casino more attractive for two reasons. First, online gambling makes casino gambling in general more attractive. The second reason is that land based casinos have one very big advantage over online casinos: they have a built-in atmosphere of excitement that cannot be replicated anywhere else.
As players play at online casinos, they develop a desire to go once in a while to a land based casino for everything that a land based casino offers that is unavailable online.
The key element is making players happy enough at their online casino to make them want to transfer their gambling experience to a different type of casino that offers more in the way of atmosphere and amenities.
Bonuses are the engine that drives both online traffic to expand and also makes casino gambling generally attractive to many people. Bonuses offer the illusion that the player is playing with free money. They are a better marketing tool than higher return to player rates for that reason. Players like to feel that they are playing with free money.
The bonuses also extend the amount of time players stay online. This reinforces the positive side of the gambling experience which is ultimately translated into more tax revenue for the state either through online casino gambling or through land based casino gambling.
A Plethora of Bonuses
Online casinos can offer far more bonuses and for a much larger sum than land based casinos can offer. The great number of bonuses that any one online casino can offer requires constant monitoring so bonuses don’t get mixed up with each other. This is where bonus codes come in.
Rather than being a way to confuse players, they are the best way for the casino to keep track of all the bonuses any player can access. Players can take a bonus long after taking the previous bonus.
There are so many possible bonuses that the casinos need a digital way to keep track of them. Here are a few of the bonuses casinos offer:
- Welcome set of bonuses to new players.
- Birthday bonus.
- Anniversary bonus.
- Start of the week bonus on Monday.
- Mid-week bonus on Wednesday.
- Weekend bonus.
- Holiday bonuses.
Casinos are always looking for new bonuses to offer players. One bonus that is truly free is the no deposit bonus. These are generally for a few dollars whereas deposit bonuses may be for a 100% match or more of a deposit up to as much as $1000 or more.
Play Through Requirement
Every bonus a casino offers has to be worked through. This means that the player has to play a factor of the bonus in order to qualify to withdraw some of the money. Otherwise, the casino would quickly run out of money to offer as a bonus because it would have been withdrawn already. Bonus codes are the means by which casinos keep track of all the bonuses they offer and their gaming customers accept.
Because many weeks can transpire before an online gamer fulfills his or her play through obligation, the casino needs to be able to track every bonus fairly and accurately. This is a major part of the regulatory regimen online casinos must adhere to in order to get a license to take on players.
The states that have recently begun regulating online casinos in their jurisdictions realize that computer software has evolved to the point that an online casino can keep track easily every bonus a player has taken during and even after they have worked through the playing requirement.
Since the state has a financial interest in keeping casino gamblers happy, one of the regulations they can and do impose on online casinos is the size of the play through requirement. Gamers in the past were not even aware that there was a play through requirement and thus were subject to onerous 60x or higher factors to be played off. States can impose far more reasonable 30x play through factors. By doing so, the state nurtures the desire on the part of players to play casino games—online or at land based casinos—thus increasing the taxable incomes and profits players and casinos earn.