How We Find the Best Casino Welcome Bonuses
When evaluating any casino bonus at TopRatedCasinos.ie, our expert team takes a multi-pronged approach. There are various aspects we review in depth before recommending any casino offer, which we’ve summarised for you below.
Bonus value is typically what our players look for first when scouting out a welcome package. Obviously, an online casino offering new players €100 worth of bonuses is going to steal your attention away from a site with a meagre €10 bonus.
Signing up to a new casino takes time and effort, and we want to make sure it’s worth your while. That means bigger value bonuses are likely to receive higher billing, whether they’re given as game credit, free spins, or a combination of the two.
That said, it’s important to think about bonus value in a holistic sense. At first glance, a 200% deposit match up to €1,000 and 1,000 free spins seems fantastic! But if you can only use the free spins on an obscure slot that’s no fun to play, is it really that great? Likewise, if there’s absolutely no chance of a cashable return on a bigger bonus, its true value plummets. That’s why we’ll take into account all the terms of an offer to deduce what our players are really getting, which we’ll touch on next.
The bane of the bonus world, wagering requirements prevent players from immediately withdrawing their bonus or related winnings. They’re put in place by casinos to avoid quickly finding themselves out of money — they’re a business, after all.
Typical wagering requirements sit around 30–40x the value of the bonus. A 30x wagering requirement on a €20 bonus would mean you’d need to wager (30 x 20) = €600 before withdrawing any bonus cash.
Sometimes, the amount is based on the combined value of both the bonus and deposit, ramping up the wagering requirements a whole lot more and putting a cash-out firmly out of reach of most players.
Bonuses with low wagering requirements — around 20x or less — sometimes offer better value to players as there’s a higher possibility of withdrawing some winnings, but even these can be hard to meet. That’s why we always suggest treating any bonus as a way to familiarise yourself with the site and its games, rather than a way to make money.
The best bonuses give casino players a wide variety of games they can be used on. Bonus credit should be eligible for most table games at a site, and we particularly love it when the live casino library is included.
As for free spins, it’s common for only a couple of slots to be eligible. If that’s the case, they’re usually popular titles with broad appeal, but the more slot machines you can use your free spins on, the better.
Online gambling should be fun; no one wants to feel rushed, so bonus time limits are another factor we consider. If your bonus expires within three days, you might not get the chance to use it all up. Likewise, shorter time limits make it even harder to meet bonus wagering requirements. We prefer sites that give players at least 30 days to use their bonus so there’s plenty of time to play through the rewards.
One thing we’ll never do is recommend any bonus at a site without full and proper licensing. Ensuring an online casino is licensed is the first port of call in our reviews, as these operators are beholden to the standards of the regulatory bodies in their jurisdiction — failure to comply could result in large fines or loss of licence. You’re better protected when gambling at these sites, and all our picks are fully licensed by reputable regulators like the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
It’s not just those pesky wagering requirements you need to be aware of — there’s also the matter of win limits. It’s essential you’re aware of any before you play, otherwise you could be left frustrated if you hit a hefty jackpot on a slot, only to walk away with a significantly smaller sum.
Win limits vary widely and often depend on the type of bonus. You’re likely to see lower limits with a no deposit bonus; a max win of around €10 is common. The win limit of matched deposit bonuses usually sits in the hundreds but may even stretch into the thousands.
Welcome bonuses generally don’t sit around forever. Once you’ve unlocked them, you’ll usually be expected to make use of them within a set timeframe. The terms often stipulate the wagering requirements must also be met before the deadline — fail to do so and not only do you forfeit any unused portion of the bonus, but you’ll lose any resulting winnings too.
For that reason, time limits can really hamper the value of a bonus. High wagering requirements combined with short time limits are nigh on impossible to meet. On the longer end, around a month is a fairly standard time limit. Shorter deadlines give players as low as 3–7 days to use their bonus and meet the wagering requirements, although these time limits are more commonly seen with free spins bonuses.
Unfortunately, it’s rare you’ll get free rein to use your bonus however you please. Most terms and conditions include game restrictions, meaning the bonus is only eligible for certain titles.
In the case of free spins, there are usually only one or two slots they can be used on. Fortunately, these games tend to be highly popular titles from top software providers — NetEnt’s Starburst is one common option, as is Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead from Play’n GO.
When it comes to matched deposits or bonus credit, you’re likely to have a broader choice. Most table games will be included, so you’re covered whether you have a penchant for roulette, an appetite for blackjack, or a soft spot for sic bo. One common exception is live casino games — unless explicitly stated otherwise in the offer, these are generally excluded.