Online casinos are currently enjoying a renewed popularity on the web, with hundreds of brand-new operators launching intriguing and enticing casino websites on the net this year. With all this renewed competition, a specific feature of the online casino is playing a pivotal role in the success (or failure) of not only newly launched online casinos, but even well-established brands as well.
That specific feature?
It’s called a ‘welcome bonus’ and, as the name suggests, is designed to welcome new players to an online casino by giving them a solid advantage as new players that may not know how to play all of the available games just yet.
Aside from the range of games that an online casino is able to deliver to its players, the welcome bonus is often the most important consideration made by prospective players as to which online casino they are willing to spend their money with.
However, a welcome bonus can often be a double-edged sword as many newbies eventually find out. While many welcome bonuses claim to be diverse enough to be used for virtually all available games that a casino has to offer, this often isn’t the case at all.
In this article, we take a closer look at what exactly the typical welcome bonus is, how they work, how you can go about getting your own, and why, in most instances, they rarely apply to table games.
What Exactly is a ‘Welcome Bonus’?
The welcome bonus, also referred to as the sign-up bonus, is one of the principle features used by online casinos to attract new members to sign up with them. Hence, most welcome bonuses are quite flashy and offer quite a bit of ‘free cash’ to entice new players to sign on the dotted line so to speak.
Welcome bonuses can be fairly simple or fairly complex, all depending on what the online casino in question is aiming to achieve with their offer. However, at its core, most welcome bonuses will be underpinned with a cash offer that is usually dependent on a confirmation deposit from a new member.
Interestingly, in recent years we’ve seen more and more online casino operators garnish their welcome bonus offers with additional attractions, most notably free spins for their promoted slots. Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how the trend shift towards slots has seen more and more welcome bonus offers move away from other, traditionally popular casino staples like table games.
How Do You Get a Welcome Bonus?
Getting a welcome bonus is actually one of the easiest aspects of any online casino and the offers apply to all new players that are legally able to sign up and gamble with that specific online casino operator.
Some online casino operators will actually offer you a special no deposit bonus first ahead of their full welcome bonus offer. This is intended to give you a bit of free cash so you can explore the casino risk-free. In other words, you don’t actually have to part with any of your own cash in order to get some free cash from the casino. Once you feel that the casino is worth investing your money with, you can go ahead and make a cash deposit of your own money. This will then in turn, qualify you for their actual welcome bonus package.
Of course, you will need to have registered all of your necessary details with the casino first before being eligible for any bonus offers. That includes the no deposit bonus offer and the main welcome bonus package. When we refer to the ‘welcome bonus package’, we’re talking about a bonus that includes a cash portion as well as a free spins portion.
The idea with a bonus package that includes a set of free spins is so that online casinos can attract a broader customer base, since most online casino operators now believe that the average gambler is more interest in easy-to-play, quick to win on slots. For many, the days of playing ‘the long game’, that is to say, learning the ins and outs of a fairly complex game like roulette or blackjack and developing an appropriate strategy, are on the decline.
Why Slots are More Popular than Table Games
As we briefly touched on a moment ago, slots online are the most popular of all casino game types. This is also the main reason why the vast majority of online casino operators focus their time and money on acquiring as many as possible.
The reasons for this trend are actually quite easy to understand and, in the broader context make a great deal of sense for both parties (operator and gambler). Slots are incredibly easy to understand and to play. In fact, with all the advances in digital technology over the past few years, innovative software developers have found ways to make them not only easier to play, but far more rewarding, far more quickly.
For the average gambler looking to make a quick buck here or there at an online casino, this is the perfect combination. Games that are easy to play and easy to win at are like a moth to a flame for most gamblers, and it is little wonder why slots always receive the lion’s share of attention, promotion and reward.
What Casino Operators Really Want
Today’s casino industry is bigger than it has ever been and there are literally thousands of online casinos all competing for the same basic market share. To say that competition is tight would be a gross understatement and the industry is one of the most intensively competitive on the web. To add more pressure and woe to new online casino operators, almost half of all online casinos don’t survive their first year in the business.
The aim of the game, particularly in the initial growth stages, is to get as many feet through the virtual door as possible. The fastest way to achieve this is to push online slots, way more than any other casino game. Why? Because slots are massively popular and the range of slot games that you can sell to the public is virtually limitless.
Can the same be said for table games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker? No, these games don’t even come close to the attraction of slots. For one thing, games like roulette are really old and, to many new generation gamblers, are too slow and a bit intimidating. You have to learn a bunch of rules, it is really easy to lose a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing, you have to remember strategies, and it’s all a bit too much for most new players.
On the other hand, slots can be played right away with pretty much no learning curve, no experience needed, and very little money risked for a few spins. On top of that, slots are fun and most come with really cool animations or characters and some even have detailed narratives and fleshed out characters that you can really get behind.
So why bother with stuffy old table games when you can play a million different slot games? This is precisely what online casinos are now plugging into and it makes perfect sense that their latest welcome bonus offers will reflect this trend and attitude. This is why you will rarely find welcome bonuses that apply to table games. However, if you shop around, you will always and inevitably find the exceptions.
So, You Love Table Games, What Should You Do?
If you do happen to be a fan of table games, don’t despair and give up on opening an online casino account. Yes, it’s true that most online casinos nowadays tend to focus much of their time and energy on pushing online slots and yes, most welcome bonuses will reflect that. However, if you shop around and are willing to spend the time and energy required to filter your options, you may just be pleasantly surprised.
This is especially true of the older online casino operators that opened their doors prior to, let’s say, 2007 or 2008. Many of the first-generation online casinos (1995-2005) still offer a well-balanced selection of casino games that will inevitably include a major share of slots, but quite often, just as many table games. This is because the older online casinos are more closely modeled on real Vegas or Atlantic City casinos, reflecting a greater emphasis on table games.
This also means that welcome bonuses will be a bit more in favour of table game players whilst still giving slots fans good value. Something else that is worth considering if you happen to be a fan of table games, is the live dealer platform which has become very trendy of late.
Live dealer table games give you the best of both worlds, offering the most realistic gaming experience that closely mimics a real casino floor, with the convenience of playing on your desktop or mobile device. In an effort to really push the live dealer platform, you’ll find plenty of newer online casinos that are now starting to actually offer exclusive bonus offers just for live dealer clientele. This could be the best workaround for table game fans looking for solid bonus offers that can set them up for a winning online gaming experience.
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