Definitions of a Slots Bonus
Free Spins is the name most gamblers associate with UK slots bonuses, but as online casinos have been under fire for misleading their customers things are slowly changing to better reflect what we actually get. Bonus Spins and Extra Spins are some of the names that has popped up, and also do so in our bonus lists.
To make things clear, throughout this page we will use the term “Free Spins” in the loosest sense, simply meaning a bonus consisting of free game rounds in an online slot.
Free to play but what about the winnings?
The main controversy has never been whether the game round was free or not, it has always been free to play, the criticism regards how winnings from the free rounds are treated, but first things first. Before we get into the nitty gritty, let us go through the components of a slots bonus and see how they differ from say a casino match bonus.
- Slots bonuses always come with a predetermined wager level for each spin. The bet size of each spin is typically set to the lowest stake allowed in the video slot it is awarded. There exceptions are but in general, you can assume each spin awarded is valued at £0.10-£0.20. Spins that are more valuable do exist but are less common.
- Slots Bonuses can be tied to one specific game or a collection of selected games. If the latter, it is usually possible to exit one game and play the remaining free spins in another game that is part of the game collection.
- Slots bonuses are always free to play, but beware of how winnings are treated. Wager free spins is the best type of UK slots bonus, with all winnings from the spins credited as real money. To treat winnings as bonus money and apply a wagering requirement the sum is very common.
- Slots bonuses usually come with an expiry date, make sure to use free spins before this.
The Many Names of Slots Bonuses
There are two distinct categories of slots bonuses; one that treats winnings as real cash, and one that treats it as bonus money and are subject to wagering requirements. “Free Spins” was for a long time what everyone called it, no matter the above differences. Many felt tricked by the naming when they found out that they could not withdraw their wins, and consumer rights groups globally has also criticised the naming convention.
Keep your eyes out for Big, Super, and MEGA Spins for more exciting free rounds!
Some casinos has in light of the above tried to clean up their act and in the meantime also used the opportunity to set themselves apart from the crowd and not be just another brand offer “free spins”. Hence, many different names has sprung up, but the two categories we mentioned in the introduction are still valid, although with a grey area where one needs to be extra cautious.
What Casinos call their Free Spins
This list is in no way complete, and there are casino sites that will try to take advantage of names with a good reputation, but in general, it looks something like this.
- Slots Bonuses without Wagering Requirements: Wager Free Spins, Cash Spins, Real Spins
- Grey area: Free Spins
- Slots Bonuses with Wagering Requirements: Spins, Extra Spins, Bonus Spins
Note that here at topcasinosites.co.uk we always try to point out the difference and designate free to mean wager free. We also display it in all our reviews.
Pros and Cons of a Slots Bonus
Slots bonuses are by far the most common type of casino bonus found at online casinos. The main draw of them is that players get to try out a certain game for free but still be able to win real money (or bonus money). In the case of no-deposit free spins, they will give new players a chance to see the casino in action before parting with any cash. Slots bonuses are also a great way to discover games that one might otherwise overlook. Slots bonuses have their limitations though.
Compared to bonuses where players receive credits to spend freely, there are some obvious drawbacks of slots bonuses:
- Players are restricted in their choice of game
- The value of each free spin is usually small
If a player faces a choice between a bonus payed out as money or as spins, the former will always be much more flexible. With bonus money, the player can play most slots that are available at the casino and often to wagers that far exceed the lowest minimum (although often capped at £5 per spin). Slots and spins bonuses are fun but do not expect to earn any substantial money off them, unless you can find the premium variety...
Bigger Spins – Super- and Mega-Sized
Most slots bonuses award free spins predefined with the slots’ lowest possible wager level. Something that high rollers will find very unattractive and unworthy of their time even. For good reason: If a decent win is close to what you usually bet per spin a lot of excitement disappears. To make slots bonuses more interesting they fortunately come in bigger sizes. These more valuable spins work just like any other slots bonus but with each spin played with a bigger bet.
- Big Spins and Super Spins (usually used interchangeably) are typically worth £1 each.
- Mega Spins can be worth anything from £2 up to £10 each, although it rarely goes over the 10 mark.
What to call these more valuable spins is up to the casino and what is Mega for some might be Super for another – but they will always be worth more than £0.20! Since a higher wager comes with greater risk for the casino these free rounds are rare, usually only reserved for VIP players, as contest prizes, or rewarded when making large deposits – especially if we are talking free spins without wagering requirement.
Size matters but there is more
Let us examine a classic slots bonus: 100 Free Spins in Starburst. Although free spins are set to the lowest possible wager level, they will still have all possible paylines enabled in order to give a good impression of the slot. This means that a typical Starburst free spin is worth £0.10. With 100 of them, we get a total value of £10, but… The theoretical return for the game is 96.1% so we are likely to have something just north of £9.6 remaining after the reels have stopped spinning.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10. Game: Book of Dead, Spin Value: £0.50, Max Spins: 50. WR 60x spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the spin winnings amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy applies.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10, max. Bonus £50. Game: Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead, Spin Value: £0.10, Max Extra Spins:50. WR of 30x Deposit + Bonus amount and 60x Extra Spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the extra spin winnings and bonus amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Extra Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy Applies.
Frequently Asked Questions about Slots Bonuses
Always make sure to read the T&C of Slots Bonuses as some casinos can be a bit misleading in their usage of the term. The main point to look for is the wagering requirement and expiry date.
What do I need to consider before accepting a slots bonus?
- Check if there are other bonus options available as slots bonuses are rather limited in terms of game selection and wager levels.
- Check if there is a minimum deposit required to be eligible to the slots bonus in question, and weigh it against the value of the bonus (spin value x amount of spins).
- Finally, keep an eye out for hefty wagering requirements on winnings.
I was promised a Slots Bonus, where are my Free Spins?
On modern casino platforms, you can usually claim an available bonus from some sort of rewards-page, and start playing with a simple click/tap. In most cases other cases the player can find them by following the simple steps below.
- Find the game connected to the promotion.
- A prompt will greet the player, informing them how many Free Spins are available, and asking if they want to use them now. Click/tap “Yes”.
- The system will credit the free game rounds and the player can start spinning.
Most slots bonuses will expire after a couple of days, so make sure to use them before this happens. If all else fails contact support.
How do Wagering Requirements work for slots bonuses?
If a wagering requirement is attached to a free game round it is in an indirect way, it will be onto the winnings rather than the round itself - playing will be free of charge but what is won will be credited as a Cashable Bonus and subject to a wagering requirement.
Here at TopCasinoSites we always try to make the distinction between ‘wager free’ Free Spins - when winnings are credited as Free Money -, and Bonus Spins - when winnings come with a wagering requirement. Unfortunately not all casino sites are as keen to make the distinction, so always make sure to read the T&C of all slots bonuses encountered.