The online casino market is finally opening up again, some 15 years after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which in effect made it nearly impossible for casinos and players to send and receive money from all manner of banking establishments. The reasons that the UIGEA is falling by the wayside so to speak are complex and not the subject of this news report. This report is about how much coverage online casino gaming is now getting in the United States with stories coming out in the old media, in the blogosphere, and in social media on numerous subjects connected with online gaming.
It was always something of an hypocrisy to make online casinos gaming illegal when so many other forms of gambling were then and still are perfectly legal. That is also not the subject of this report. However, we should point out that online gaming has the potential to greatly offset all the debts states have and that is one of the factors motivating states to embrace online casino gambling.
Advantages of Online Gaming
There are many advantages gamers enjoy when they play casino games online. This is not to say that land based casino gaming is about to go under. The opposite is the case: as online gaming becomes more popular, so does land based gaming.
One area where the advantages of online gaming shows through very clearly is in the wide-ranging area of online casino bonuses.
As more and more Americans become online casino players, they need a clear description and explanation of the many online casino bonuses, how they work, and what gamers should look for.
Types of Bonuses
There are as many types of bonuses as there are imaginative online casino operators. Here is a short list of the “standard” online casino bonuses. There are many more, as we shall see.
- New player bonus.
- Matching deposit bonus.
- No deposit bonus.
- Cash bonus.
- Free spins bonus.
- Refer a friend bonus.
- High roller bonus.
- Bonus games.
Purpose of Bonuses
The main purpose of bonuses is to keep players playing. They feel truthfully that they are playing with the casino’s money so they are tempted to play for a longer period of time.
New player bonuses attract players to sign up at the casino. Some casinos offer a small no deposit bonus—usually for as little as $5 but rarely for more than $50. Most new player bonuses are matching deposit bonuses where the player makes a deposit and the casino “matches” the deposit with a bonus. Some matching deposit bonuses are for more than 100% of the deposit.
High rollers have to achieve that status either by making a huge first deposit or by gambling enough over a relatively short period to qualify as a high roller. Any bonus offered to average players may be enhanced if a certified high roller accepts it.
Secondary Purpose of Online Casino Bonuses
There are thousands of online bonuses. Even as land based casinos are being built in record numbers, they are still numerically far fewer than the large number of online casinos.
The excellence of the instant play gaming platform which allows players to play directly on their internet server without the need to download a heavy casino to their hard drive, allows players to sample many casinos from the comfort of their desktop or mobile device.
Online casinos need a way to appear unique and especially attractive. Graphics is one way. Having spectacularly fast and clear gaming platforms is another way. Offering as many bonuses as they can is still another way.
Difficulties Facing Online Casinos
There are two main difficulties that online casinos must deal with regarding the bonuses they offer. One is keeping track of every gamer’s bonuses and the other is to what extent the casino will accept the risk inherent in allowing players to use the casino’s own money in pursuit of big casino wins.
All online casinos employ a wagering requirement on every deposit. This requirement means that the player who accepts a bonus has to play a factor of the bonus before he or she can withdraw any money won while using the bonus.
There are now many “reports” that instruct gamers on how to read the relevant terms and conditions so they accept bonuses that have reasonable wagering requirements. As such, new online gamers are being instructed that wagering requirements in the 50% range or higher are not reasonable.
The casino has to have sophisticated software that can track every bet made by every player as he or she plays down the wagering requirement for all the bonuses they have accepted. Different bonuses have different wagering requirements even at the same casino. Every article on this subject tells new players—and veteran players as well—to be very sure what the wagering requirements are for each bonus.
Many casinos will allow players to play certain games with their bonus money. This usually means that players can’t play progressive jackpot games with their bonus money. It doesn’t mean that they can’t play progressive games at all; it means that if they do choose to play such games, they will be playing with their own money.
Another way the casinos keep track of bonuses is through the use of bonus codes. At this point, we should list a few of the secondary bonuses players at many casinos can enjoy. The list is comprehensive yet leaves out all the bonuses any single casino might come up with:
- Birthday bonus.
- Anniversary bonus.
- Weekend bonus.
- Monday bonus to start the week.
- Wednesday bonus to spice things up in the middle of the week.
- Holiday bonus.
As you might imagine, the possibilities are quite endless. So, bonus codes and tracking software are essential to keep track of all the bonuses. Every report about the developing online casino presence in the United States and elsewhere repeats that some casinos keep track of their players’ bonuses better than others.
On the one hand, online casino gambling is easy and very popular. It allows short term gambling at home or through mobile devices. Gamers save a lot of money and time gaming online instead of travelling to a land based casino.
Bonuses are a marketing device that online casinos use to keep players gaming at their casinos. Gamers must be aware that there are logistical difficulties on the part of the casino as to how to track wagering requirements. So, players are being told again and again to be absolutely sure of the accuracy of a casino’s tracking software before accepting a bonus from that casino.