If you've been around the online slots game for any length of time, you've probably heard a lot of talk on the subject of the free spins bonus. It's not hard to see the reason why. Playing online slots is a numbers game and those numbers aren't always in your favour. Any small advantage you can gain is manna from heaven.
In this article, we'll go deep on the subject of free spins bonuses in online casinos. We'll cover the different types, what you need to do to stay on top of new offers and outline why online casinos offer them in the first place.
Before we begin though, for players who might be new to the game, let's briefly describe what a free spins bonus actually is.
In essence, a free spins bonus is as simple as it sounds. It's a specific number of spins at a particular coin value, offered for free to players as a bonus by an online casino. The free spins will usually be limited to a particular game per promotion and there will be terms and conditions for their use - we'll get into these later in the article.
Let's begin with a look at the different types of free spin bonuses you'll come across online.
Types Of Free Spin Bonuses
Free spin bonuses can be divided into two basic classes: those offered as sign-up bonuses and those offered once your account is already up and running. Let's examine them in turn.
These are free spins offered as incentives for new players to sign up with a casino. You'll see them heavily promoted online by casinos and they come in two basic flavours:
- No Deposit Free Spins Bonuses: These are the slot machine equivalent of the "Free Cash Bonuses" you'll see advertised for other casino games. You're able to play immediately without depositing but you'll need to match the wagering requirements to be able to withdraw your winnings and there will usually also be a maximum withdrawal limit attached. They're a great way of essentially trying a game or particular operator out for free.
- Deposit Free Spins Bonuses: In the deposit variation, you're required to make an initial deposit in your account before you can use the free spins. The amount of free spins on offer will often be linked to the amount of your deposit. There's typically no maximum withdrawal limit associated with profits from these spins but wagering requirements will still apply so remember to read the fine print.
In addition to sign-up free spins, casinos will also offer ongoing free spin promotions throughout the year to their members. To take maximum advantage of these, you'll need to keep your eyes peeled for new offers. Let's look at some ways of making sure you stay in the loop.
Staying On Top Of Free Spins Bonuses
By their nature, free spin bonuses tend to come and go quite quickly so you need to keep a constant eye out for the best deals - and act swiftly to have a chance of cashing in! There's a number of commonsense ways savvy players typically stay on top of this.
At the risk of blowing our own trumpet, the first obvious way is to check in regularly here on rouletteanalyst.com. We pride ourselves on keeping slot players up to speed on all the latest free spins so bookmark the site and check in once a week.
We also have detailed guides on casino bonuses across a range of other table games if you're looking to expand your gambling portfolio.
The second thing to keep an eye on is your online casino's blog, if they have one. The smaller slots-only sites may not have the resources to run a regular blog but larger casino sites usually do and they typically use it to announce special offers and bonus deals.
It's also worth following your slots site on Twitter and Facebook to catch breaking bonus news. If they offer a newsletter, sign up to that also and you'll receive special offers direct to your inbox. Swapping tips with with fellow slots fans on casino forums is another great way of keeping up to date.
While you're at it, make sure you're up to speed on your basic slot machine strategy:
Now that you're primed for info, let's look at how free spins work in practice in a little more detail.
Using Your Free Spin Bonuses
Regardless of whether they are sign-up bonuses or one-off offers to existing players, using your free spins is usually incredibly straightforward. For sign-up bonuses, you'll see a notification in your account of how many free spins you have left as soon as you log in.
If you're dealing with an ongoing promotion, you may or may not have to enter a special bonus code to access your spins but often they will be automatically credited to your account. Either way, you'll see them clearly marked on screen.
The devil with free spins is always in the detail - the so-called wagering requirements - and these will vary from casino to casino and from promotion to promotion. Here's a few general pointers to bear in mind though:
- You may have to play the bonus amount offered up to 25 times to be able to cash it out.
- As mentioned at the top, maximum withdrawals are usually strictly limited with the no deposit free spins bonus versions.
- In many cases there will be a time limit attached during which you must cash out winnings or else they will expire. Keep your calendar handy!
Software Providers That Offer Free Spin Bonuses
Behind the scenes, the online slot machine industry is powered by a relatively small number of software companies that build the actual games. The majority of these include the option for free spin bonuses as standard in their flagship releases. Here's a quick list of some of the big names to keep an eye out for:
- Microgaming: Makers of popular 5-reel, 9-line titles such as Thunderstuck.
- Net entertainment: Developers of a solid range of video slots including popular titles such as Dead or Alive and Arabian Nights.
- Betsoft: Hugely popular maker of 3d casino games. You'll see flagship titles such as Greedy Goblins and The True Sheriff in most slot machine casinos.
There's a lot of great games out there for slot fans but Betsoft titles are a particular favourite of ours. If you see a free spin bonus promoting any of their games, jump on it! Here's a sneak peek at one of their latest releases below to whet your appetite:
Reasons Why Casinos Offer Free Spin Bonuses
We've covered a lot of ground so far and with what you know you're already in a great position to make the most of your free spin bonuses.
One thing we haven't gone over yet though is why the casinos are offering these bonuses in the first place. After all, casinos aren't known for throwing away free money. Let's look at a few of the reasons.
First of all, the online slots industry is an incredibly competitive market segment. There's a lot of casinos out there offering essentially the same games and they need to differentiate themselves on factors such as special offers and customer service. Free spin bonuses are a great way for them to do just that.
The second main reason casinos employ this tactic is to promote a new title or revitalise an old game that is losing interest amongst players.
The last reason has to do with Customer Lifetime Value. Casino providers are canny operators, they've worked out down to the last penny, exactly how much they can afford to give away to players up front while still making a profit over the long term.
Other Types of Slots Bonuses
Free spin bonuses are just one of the incentives that you'll come across online when you're playing the slot machines. There's a world of other enticing in-game add-ons that offer a chance to top up your winnings. Here's a few of the more popular ones to look out for:
- Pick to win: Click locations on the screen to uncover hidden prizes when these bonus rounds are triggered.
- Pick and match: Similar to pick to win but you're trying to match pairs of hidden elements here.
- Spin the wheel: You get the chance to spin for big bucks, just as you would in real money roulette, once these bonus rounds are triggered.
- Progressive jackpots: You'll often see all of the above combined into progressive jackpot bonus games that give you the chance to cash out big!
Other Casino Games Offering Bonuses
There's also plenty of potential for free money in other online games besides slots. Let's look at some common alternatives to slots that savvy players can make the most of:
- Roulette: Welcome bonuses and attractive monthly bonuses are the norm with online roulette. You'll also come across some very tempting progressive jackpot offers if you shop around.
- Poker: Keep an eye out for offers promoting free entry into online tournaments along with regular celebrity promos and free chip offers.
- Blackjack: It's a little harder to find decent blackjack bonuses but they're out there! Read the wagering requirements carefully though, they tend to be much more restrictive for blackjack than for other casino games.
That just about wraps it up for our guide to free spins bonuses. We hope it helps you make the most of your slots experience and find a casino provider who gives you the best chance of cashing out longterm. Happy spinning!
Online Casinos With Free Spin Bonuses