The increased popularity of cryptocurrencies is affecting all spheres of our life now – even the gambling business. Online casinos have started accepting Bitcoin and other tokens, and even brick-and-mortar houses offer cryptocurrency transactions.
It’s hardly a surprise. Cryptocurrencies are cheaper and easier when it comes to money transfers, so casinos prefer to use them instead of fiat currencies. Additionally, digital coins are hardly traceable which means higher anonymity both for gamblers and casino bosses.
This article looks at free Bitcoin bonus offers. The first thing to remember is that Bitcoin casino bonuses are usually higher than regular ones. But the list of offers is quite similar to those of well-known fiat-based online casinos.
At first glance, it seems that casinos are too generous with all these hundreds of free bucks and spins. However, such companies never work without profits. Bonuses are designed to attract new gamblers and force them to play more, so the casino can get additional income. Still, that’s not a reason for players to reject such offers. Players also can gain profit by offsetting losses or increasing their starting bankroll. The bottom line is that bonuses must be a pleasant extra comp, not a definitive option to choose a specific casino.
To become more familiar with the various offers out there, I’ve grouped them into two major types: bonuses and promotions
Basically, there are three main offers:
- Deposit bonus: Casino rewards a gambler with additional Bitcoins (BTC) or other coins after the initial deposit. The percentage is different for different houses. For instance, it could be a 50% deposit bonus, which means you will receive extra 0.5 BTC for each 1 BTC transferred. Offers with 100% reward are called match bonuses, in which the casino exactly doubles the deposit.
- No deposit bonus: This is also called “free money”. Unlike the previous option, this bonus doesn’t require owning BTC. Gamblers can register and get a certain amount of tokens for free to start playing. Sounds good, huh? The catch is that free money can’t be cashed out instantly. Casino requires playing a lot to be able to withdraw this bonus. We’ll cover this later.
- Free spins or entries: This is probably the best bonus because it has pretty fair conditions. Free spins for slots or free entries for poker tables can be received without an initial deposit simply after registration. Gamblers may use them with several restrictions – for example, spins are valid only for a week. Or they are available only as an extra bonus for active players.
These types of bonuses are common to all Bitcoin casinos. But each house can provide these bonuses in different forms:
- Welcome bonus: This one is for novice users only. They can get a nice offer for the first-time signing in. Usually, it’s a match bonus with or without free spins.
- Reload bonus: This is for “oldies”. Casinos will encourage players to come back by offering generous discounts. It’s a match bonus as well.
- Game bonus: This depends on game types. For example, blackjack has the lowest house edge, so bonuses there are tiny. Slots are profitable for casino, so they have better offers.
- Sticky bonus: Since a lot of bonuses can be cashed out even with strict conditions, this one is for playing. Gamblers can’t withdraw sticky bonuses.
- Cashback: The unique bonus with which a casino may compensate players’ losses. Normally, houses return 10% to 20% of lost BTC.
There are also unique offers for high rollers. Such bonuses aren’t displayed publicly, so only trusted gamblers with a lot of cryptocurrency in their pockets can get them.
Along with traditional bonuses, casinos offer various programs and promos. The most common are these two examples:
- VIP program: Some casinos reward persistent and loyal players with extra comps. By wagering, gamblers earn points which can be converted to cryptocurrencies. This is similar to real-life loyalty programs. VIPs have several recognition levels depending on the number of points earned.
- Affiliate program: Casinos want to attract new gamblers, so they encourage existing ones to do this. Each friend joined by the referral link will receive some kind of bonus. The owner of the link will also get some fixed amount of BTC or percentage from a friend’s first deposit. Affiliate programs are profitable for both parties.
There can be a lot of other promos, like invitations to progressive slot machines or even huge slot tournaments. The casino may promote games with a lower house edge, offer increased stakes or maximum limits, provide credit lines, and so on.
But what you must remember is that nothing is really free and the system will always win in the long run. Which brings us to the next section.
Limits and restrictions
There’s always a catch. Casinos try to resist bonus hunters who want to get a bonus and cash it out immediately. So, there is a lot of text in the terms and conditions. And while most people don’t read T&Cs, this is one you really want to read it carefully, because it’s your profit or loss at stake. Seriously: always check conditions to know how to get and/or withdraw bonuses.
There are four major restrictions which are similar among almost all Bitcoin casinos:
- Rollover: This is valid for all deposit bonuses. Rollover means that gambler must wager a certain amount of coins before one can withdraw anything. Normally, there is a multiplier. Let’s say you get 1 BTC as a welcome bonus and there is a condition of 50x rollover. Then you need to wager at least 50 BTC to cash out your bonus.
- Maximum limit: This is for free spins and match bonuses. It means that gambler can’t withdraw more than a specified number. Limits are designed to resist bonus hunters without cryptocurrency at all. So you definitely can gain free entry and play without money, and even win. But then you can only cash out a really tiny amount of earned BTC. The rest is for playing.
- Time limit: Bonuses will disappear over time. Limits are different and may vary from a day to a month. They depend on the bonus type or game type. For example, free spins may be gone in 12 hours but the welcome bonus is normally valid for 30 days. Again, check the terms and conditions to find limits.
- Game restriction: The simplest example of this restriction is that gamblers can’t play a certain game to compensate their bonus. That’s because of the low house edge in blackjack or baccarat. Otherwise, these games can contribute only 5% to 10% to rollover amount.
These restrictions are the reason why newcomers should try wagerless Bitcoin casinos first. Such houses don’t offer mind-blowing bonuses like 200% deposit or hundreds of free spins. But there are fair conditions without pitfalls.
Claim and cash out
Well, this is the easiest part of any cryptocurrency gambling. You only need a Bitcoin wallet and the casino account. Bonuses are applied instantly and automatically after registration and/or transferring the first investment. No-deposit offers don’t even require initial capital. Some bonuses like ‘reload’ simply require requesting or accepting an offer from e-mail.
Withdrawal depends on conditions, though. Basically, players can’t cash out any bonus right after receiving it. The casino system may simply reject the transaction, but some websites and apps may remove all bonuses after the rejected transfer. Again, pay very close attention to the T&C so you will know how to deal with the specific casino.
In fact – and it can’t be repeated enough – always read terms and conditions for any of the above when dealing with any casino. Remember: “the house always wins”, so Bitcoin bonuses aren’t there to make you rich – they’re enticements to keep gambling.
Written by Julia Beyers, a freelance journalist who covers trends and prospects for the global game industry, as well as blockchain, cryptocurrency trends and the impact of Bitcoin on various other industries