Online Casino Bonuses

Online casino bonuses and their inherent complexities are a perennial problem for inexperienced gamblers. Accordingly, I thought it would be useful to go through the terms of the signup bonuses offered by the six casinos on this site and outline any potential pitfalls. Problems can relate to:

• Basic wagering requirements.
• Game weightings.
• Game exclusions.
• Maximum bets.

There are relatively few pitfalls for the inexperienced player in these bonuses, but they are all clearly explained below. Since this page is quite long, I suggest you use the contents links below to navigate to the various sections.

• 32Red
• Intercasino
• Betfair
• Totesport
• Ladbrokes

♠ 32Red ♠

The information relevant to the 32red signup bonus is located on the welcome bonus and bonus terms pages.

Brief summary: deposit a minimum of �£10 to receive a �£32 bonus, up to a maximum of �£160 for a �£50 deposit; after receiving the bonus, you need to wager the bonus 40 times.

Bear in mind that not all games are equally weighted - here is the weightings chart:

32Red game weightings chart

Casino War counts at 50%, so you need to wager twice the basic (32 times) amount. On a Ã�£64 bonus, this would work out as (32 × 64) × 2 = Ã�£4096.

There's one clause in the 32Red terms & conditions which, if you failed to read it, might have a negative impact on your experience:

There is a maximum stake of 6.25 Chips (or coin equivalent) per bet until the playthrough requirement has been met.

For the purposes of this rule a Bet is defined as one roulette spin or one dealer's dealt hand in any table game, or one deal in any Video or Power Poker game (this includes Multi-Hand/Play games).

As such, when a bonus is in play you may not wager more than 6.25 chips. If you make a wager exceeding this (very small!) amount, this term comes into play:

Any winnings derived from bets larger than these limits before playthrough requirements for that bonus have been met will initiate a further playthrough requirement of 100 times the amount won.

Although 32Red will not confiscate any winnings from bets that exceed the maximum allowed amount, the additional 100 times wagering penalty incurred could result in an awful lot of extra wagering before the bonus is fully released.

Apart from this potential wagering penalty, there are no disadvantageous rules in the 32Red bonus.

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♠ Intercasino ♠

The information relevant to the Intercasino signup bonus is located on the first deposit bonuspage, accessed from the promotion page, and also the general bonuses terms and conditions page.

Brief summary: deposit from �£10 to �£500 and you'll receive a bonus matching this amount; wager deposit and bonus 20 times to release the bonus.

Bear in mind that not all games are equally weighted, and some games are specifically excluded (see below).

Here is the weightings chart:

Intercasino game weightings chart

If you played roulette, which counts at 20%, you'd need to wager the total amount an additional five times. On a Ã�£250 bonus, this would work out at (500 × 12) × 5 = Ã�£30,000.

There are two clauses in the Intercasino terms & conditions which, if you failed to read them, could have rather dire consequences:

The following games are ineligible and DO NOT count towards the wagering requirements: Pontoon, Single Deck Blackjack, Superfun 21, Red Dog, Casino War, Texas Hold'Em Bonus, Solitaire, Craps, Slot Tournaments, Baccarat or Baccarat Mini.

If you break this rule and play ineligible games, the penalty is severe:

In the event a player should use bonus funds to play ineligible games PRIOR to meeting the wagering requirements on eligible games, InterCasino reserve the right to refuse withdrawals, remove bonus money and winnings without notice and lock all accounts of players found abusing this rule.

Then there is the "maximum bet" rule:

In the interests of fair gaming, players may not place individual bets equal to or in excess of 25% or more of the value of the bonus credited to their account until such time as the wagering requirements for that bonus have been met.

As such, if you receive a �£100 bonus, the maximum you can wager on any hand is �£25. If you exceed this amount, you run the risk of incurring the following penalty:

InterCasino reserves the right to refuse withdrawals, remove bonus money and winnings without notice and lock all accounts of players found abusing this rule.

So: don't play ineligible games, and don't bet more than 25% of your bonus on any one hand, or you risk having your funds confiscated.

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♠ Betfair ♠

The information relevant to the Betfair signup bonus is located on the promotions page, where you can click on tabs to bring up eligible games list and terms and conditions, and also the standard casino terms page.

In brief summary: you can claim bonuses ranging from �£20 to �£1000 depending on your deposit amount. The required wagering is listed in the terms tab, ranging from 20 to 40 times the bonus amount.

As is almost invariably the case, the games do not all count the same for release of the bonus, and some games are specifically excluded - see below.

Here is the weightings chart:

Betfair game weightings chart

There is a term in the "important message about fair play" which deserves highlighting for its sheer stupidity:

The casino reserves the right to withhold any withdrawals and/or confiscate all winnings for irregular play. Irregular play includes, but is not limited to, any one or more of the following types of play:

Playing equal to or more than 500 consecutive hands/spins on any game and/or playing any game consistently for a period longer than two hours while a bonus is active. EG � You set any game to run on auto spin for 500 spins while you have an active bonus in your account and/or you play for a period of two hours or more (irrelevant of how many sessions) while you have an active bonus. .

In other words: on wagering the bonus, if you play for longer than two hours in total, or play more than 500 hands, Betfair reserves the right to confiscate your winnings.

There is also this rule, as imbecilic as it is commonplace in online casino terms & conditions:

If Betfair becomes aware of a customer who, in the course of participating in a promotion or offer, has become able to guarantee wins and/or profits with no or only minimal risk, and/or benefits from a promotion or offer by participating through more than one Betfair account, and/or displays irregular or unusual playing or betting patterns which Betfair deems to be abusive, Betfair may in its absolute discretion elect to do any one or more of the following:

(i) close the customer's account(s);

(ii) invalidate the transactions or game play which was in contravention of this term; and/or

(iii) withhold the customer's winnings from such transactions or game play.

The reference to "minimal risk" and "irregular betting patterns" is a nonsense.

Since my recommendation for Betfair is the Zero Lounge games, which do not qualify for bonuses, I would suggest steering clear of the Betfair bonuses altogether on the basis of these various imbecilic clauses. I should add that I've played many Betfair bonuses myself and have never had any problem, much less accusations of "irregular playing patterns".

So: don't touch any of the excluded games and you should be alright. However, bear in mind that Betfair carries that draconian clause, and the might invoke it at will.

Update December 2010: another very large bonus confiscation issue recently came to light which resulted in a Casinomeister rogue listing for Betfair. The casino ran an extraordinarily ill-advised promotion which resulted in a loss that may have reached multi-million pound proportions. They ultimately disallowed the majority of the players' bonuses and winnings, citing an old casino favourite, bonus abuse. The reality was that they made a monumental miscalculation - the players followed the terms and conditions and did nothing wrong.

Betfair has subsequently refused to discuss the matter with any and all parties, players and webmasters alike.

Betfair has a growing track record of bonus confiscation issues, which you should bear in mind if you take bonuses here. My recommendation is that you stick to the Zero Lounge games and avoid potential bonus problems.

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♠ Totesport Casino ♠

The information relevant to the Totesport signup bonus is located on the welcome bonus page, and also in the Totesport terms.

In summary: deposit or transfer up to �£100 into the casino to receive the bonus; once received, wager the bonus amount 40 times in order to withdraw it, within 14 days of the bonus being credited or it'll be removed.

Bear in mind, as usual, that games are weighted differently - here's the weightings chart:

Totesport game weightings chart

There are no game exclusions at Totesport. Neither are there any maximum bet restrictions for bonus play.

There is, however, on very contradictory clause in the general terms:

9.10 We reserve the right to withhold the amount of the bonus from any Players withdrawal funds if the bonus is wagered in Baccarat, Roulette or Craps

This must be a mistake, as it directly contradicts the weightings chart in which these three games are allowed. However, to avoid doubt, I would avoid playing roulette, baccarat and craps when the bonus is active.

There is also the standard and non-specific "reservation of rights" clause:

We reserve the right to refuse or rescind the bonus for any reason, including, but not restricted to, player abuse.

I think it's unlikey that an operation of Totesport's long standing would invoke this clause against a legitimate player on their first deposit.

As such, with the caveat of the contradiction over roulette, craps and baccarat, there are no problematic terms here.

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♠  Ladbrokes ♠

The information relevant to the Ladbrokes sign up bonus is located on the sign up bonus page, accessed from the promotions page. The terms are fairly straightforward, with a thirty times wagering requirement for the bonus for play on slots, keno and scratchcards and all the other games weighted to greater or lesser extents. Here is the weightings chart:

Ladbrokes game weightings chart

Roulette is weighted at 10%, which means that you need to wager 10 times more than the default 30 times requirement, or 300 times in total for this game. Other than working out the weightings, there are no problems with this bonus as far as the terms go.

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