The online casino industry continues to thrive in the Czech Republic despite the introduction of new regulatory restrictions in early 2017. The legislation, which imposed significant tax increases on gaming companies operating within the country, did not lead to a mass exodus of leading gaming firms as first feared. Royal Panda exited early, but significant brands like Mr Green, Bet365 and Casumo continue to accept and attract legions of Czech players.
Many online casinos are also happy to extend their welcome bonus packages to Czech players. This allows them to take advantage of a multitude of cash bonuses and free spins opportunities when registering with a new site. The offers allow players to trial new casinos without significant risk to their own bank balance. The advantages are obvious, but some seasoned players eschew bonuses altogether. There are good reasons for their abstinence too, especially if they play online slots.
Most significantly, the vast majority of slot bonus offers are subject to specific terms and conditions. These exist for a reason and essentially function like insurance policies that reduce the casino’s risk of incurring heavy losses against bonuses. They can restrict the amount a player can wager on each bet, the maximum figure he or she can win using a bonus, and even how quickly the player can access any winnings generated.
For some players, these restrictions are too onerous to counteract the advantages that the bonus provides. They would rather play with complete autonomy and versatility, so they use their own money. These players are, however, the in the minority. For most, bonuses are worth their weight in gold. And now there are signs that some online casinos are re-evaluating their attitude to the terms and conditions too, which potentially makes the bonuses even more appealing.
Let’s start with the principle of ‘wagering requirements’. They are amongst the most contentious terms and conditions, and severely restrict a player’s chances of earning a significant win. If a bonus is subject to wagering requirements, a player will need to turn over the bonus amount (or the winnings generated from free spins) a designated number of times before they can withdraw the remaining cash.
The impact of these restrictions is best illustrated by an example. If player A receives a £20 bonus that is subject to x30 wagering requirements, he will need to make £600 (30 x £20) worth of bets before he can withdraw the winnings. Unless that player wins big, he’s likely to crash out before he’s fulfilled the requirements, leaving him without any additional funds.
Wagering restrictions are just one way that online casinos reduce risk as well. There are plenty of others too. The imposition of a maximum stake level is another. This will ensure that players can only bet the lowest permitted amount on any given game using bonus cash or free spins. The less you bet, the smaller your chance of winning big. It’s another way of reducing risk. Some bonuses will limit the amount you can pocket too, for example, €200 as well.
The presence of these terms and conditions shouldn’t come as a surprise, nor should players necessarily castigate casinos for imposing them. Sites don’t issue bonuses under the pretence that they are designed to help you win big. They still let you play real money games for free, and that’s enough of an advantage anyway for most players. Free spins and cash bonuses should be used for that purpose, first and foremost and a player shouldn’t expect to win using them.
That said, a new trend has started to develop in recent years. A growing number of casinos are reassessing the terms and conditions they attach to their bonuses. Wagering requirements have come under particular scrutiny. Indeed, some sites now offer free spins deals with no wagering requirements attached to the board. This means that players can withdraw winnings generating from their casino free spins straight away, without turning them over dozens of times.
As competition increases, some casinos are now even removing wagering requirements across cash bonuses too, not just free spins. There is sometimes a caveat; these sites are more likely to impose a maximum win ceiling, for example. It shows it can be done, though, and as more casinos move in that direction, others will follow suit. It’s even possible to find higher value free spins offers these days, and across a wide variety of brands too. The industry is exploring new ways of capturing new business, and players are benefitting from the changes.
Online casino enthusiasts need to adjust their thinking as a result. Traditionally, they would view the distinction between a no deposit bonus and a deposit bonus as the key differentiator when choosing between two bonus offers. However, those who want to both enjoy the longstanding benefits of the bonuses and free spins, but also have a chance of coming out the other end with some winnings, are better advised to choose a bonus without wagering requirements.
The regulatory changes introduced this year were partly a response to concerns around responsible gaming. Bonuses are often criticised for the way they attract impressionable users under false pretences. By removing some of the associated terms and conditions, the casinos do, however, encourage great clarity. It will be interesting to see how the situation develops but seems likely that the trend towards bonuses with wagering requirements and other conditions will continue. That can only be good news for players.