Cons – The Drawbacks
Whenever something seems to be too good to be true, it often is. That’s something I’ve come to realise fully with a number of ‘this one just can’t lose’ horse-racing certainties at 33-1 and bigger!
The drawback with betting bonuses is that there is (in 99% of cases) a catch. Most often this is in the form of a rule which states you can’t withdraw any money until you have played through (wagered) your bonus and/or deposit multiple times. Often this is called a play-through rule, and overcoming it is known as ‘clearing a bonus’.
Added to this, some operators even make their bonuses non-cashable. Meaning you can’t ever cash out. This is rare though – the play through rule is almost always enough on its own to protect the operator’s profits.
What Is The Bonus Play Through Rule?
An example of this might be this offer – Deposit $50 and get a $100 Bonus Free. In this case – if you check the small print – you’ll most likely see that to withdraw any money you would have to bet 3 times the value of the bonus + deposit. ie make 3 x $150 = $450 worth of bets.
That’s great if you can hit winners consistently, but the catch is that most people can’t.
The bookie, casino, or poker room concerned know that they’re likely to come out on top.
Of course, it works great if your very first bet comes in and nets you $500. You then have plenty more possibilities of making bets with the rest of your bonus and coming out ahead at the end.
It’s not all bad though. There are some strategies which we’ll look at soon to get you the best chances of walking away with more than you started with. And remember this is an example. Play through requirements vary from bonus offer to bonus offer. You may find examples which tip the balance further your way.
Note also that in the case of free no deposit bonuses, there is normally a play-through requirement. But of course with these you haven’t actually deposited any of your money. They’re a good deal however you look at it. More on deposit bonuses further below.
The other one to be aware of which tends to apply specifically to casino betting is that some types of bets might be excluded from counting towards play-through. Blackjack is often a good example of this.
The house edge in Blackjack is low,which gives you a lot better chance of playing for an extended period. Those casinos don’t want to make it easy for you now, do they.