Do Casino Free Spins Have a Future in the United Kingdom?
After the UK Government ushered in a regime of online gambling regulated by the Gambling Commission, steps have been regularly taken to protect the interests of the players. One of the latest moves concerns the free spins promotions that almost all online casinos offer. The UK Gambling Commission has nothing against online casinos making free spins offers. The issue is the clouding of the terms and conditions in the fine print resulting in the players being misled. The Gambling Commission has asked online casinos not to use the term ‘free spins’ because it is of the opinion that these spins are not really free.
What are free spins?
Free spins are spins for which the stake is not taken from the player’s balance. However, the winnings from the spins are credited to the player’s balance under certain conditions and up to certain limits. If the player is required to make a deposit to get the benefit then the offer is known as deposit free spins. If the player is not required to make a deposit to get the benefit then the offer is known as no deposit free spins.
The issue with existing free spins offers
The problem is with under certain conditions and up to certain limits. The Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority have taken a view that many players do not read these terms. And often these terms are not clear enough for all players to understand them. So players accept the free spins in the belief that there are no strings attached. When they find that they have finally not received any benefit because they have not met the conditions there is bound to be heart burn.
The most common conditions associated with free spins offers at online casinos are as follows.
- The winnings from the free spins are to be treated as bonuses and must be wagered a number of times, sometimes x40, before they can be withdrawn. If players lose the winnings while trying to meet the wagering requirements, they end up with nothing.
- There is an upper limit on the amount that can be withdrawn. So even if you meet the wagering requirements you may not be able to withdraw everything.
- The wagering requirements have to be completed in a short period of time, usually a few days.
- If you wager the winnings from the free spins on certain category of games, the requirements will increase from that stated up front.
The Gambling Commission’s directives
The Gambling Commission is not asking online casinos to change the terms and conditions of their free spins. It wants to bring in greater transparency. It has asked online casinos not to use terminology which implies that the spins are free and without any terms and conditions. Instead, the terminology used should indicate that there are conditions attached and should prompt players to check them out.
Some of names now being used by online casinos are:
- Extra spins
- Casino spins
- Fair spins
- Super spins
- Bonus spins
- Real spins
We at BossCasino recommend only the best online casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. Here is a look at how some of them have adjusted to the change.
The Grand Ivy Casino
The Grand Ivy Casino offers a welcome bonus package against the first three deposits. Against each deposit there is a match bonus and a specified number of bonus spins on designated slot games. The maximum match bonus across all deposits is $1,500 and there are 100 bonus spins. These are obviously deposit bonus spins and the conditions have been spelled out in section 10.3 of the Promotional Standard Terms. Here the online casino uses Free Spins/Bonus Spins, perhaps to maintain continuity with the past for some time. The important conditions are:
- Free spins are only valid within 24 hours of the deposit. If used after this time, any winnings are capped to a maximum of $100.
Spinland Casino offers a similar welcome bonus package which includes match bonuses and bonus spins. Against the first deposit the match bonus is 200% up to a maximum of £3,000 and 50 bonus spins. Against the second deposit the match bonus is 50% up to a maximum of £250 and 100 bonus spins. Against the third deposit the match bonus is 100% up to a maximum of £250 and 50 bonus spins. Spinland Casino gives the main terms and conditions alongside the promotion offer. But you should go through the detailed conditions all the same. The important conditions are:
- Bonus spins on selected games only and must be used within 72 hours.
- Bonus funds are subject to 35x wagering the total bonus, cash & bonus spins.
The welcome bonus package at Hello Casino is also against the first three deposits. You will receive a bonus that matches 100% of your 1st deposit up to £100 and 50 bonus spins on Twin Spin. Then you will receive a bonus that matches 25% of your 2nd deposit up to £500 and 50 bonus spins on Starburst. Finally you will receive a bonus that matches 50% of your 3rd deposit up to £500 and 50 bonus spins on Gonzo’s Quest. The Significant Terms and Conditions are given alongside followed by explanations, which are really helpful. The Promotional Standard Terms are given on a separate link. The important conditions are:
- Wagering is 35 times the total of bonus money, deposit and free spins. Wagering must be completed before any funds can be withdrawn.
- Not all games contribute, or contribute at the same rate towards the wagering requirement. This means that if you are wagering the winnings from the free spins on most slots then the wagering requirements stand as stated. But if you are wagering them on the excepted slots then the requirement automatically increase five-fold.