The favourite reward of the online slots player, the free spin is one of the most common casino bonuses you'll encounter. You're often given some when you sign up for an account, and as a weekly or monthly bonus. Online casinos also like to promote new games by offering a few free pulls at them.
Free spins are exciting because they subvert the typical gambling experience. You're getting all of the potential reward with none of the risk. Of course, gambling would be no fun if you were guaranteed to win all the time (in fact there was even a Twilight Zone episode demonstrating this), so free spins are usually most enjoyable in small doses here and there.
So why do a post on free spins? Don't you just run through them and walk away with whatever prizes you luck into? Well, it isn't quite that simple. There are usually terms and conditions attached to free spins that you may not notice at first look.
How Do You Get Free Spins?
Let's start with the most fun bit, however: getting ahold of those free spins.
The ways that you can get yourself some free slot spins include:
- As part of a "welcome bonus" package
- From guaranteed weekly or monthly bonuses as part of a loyalty program
- From seasonal or temporary promotions
- From a targeted offer via email or private message
- As a reward for making a deposit to your account
- How and when you get free spins depends on the policies and marketing strategy of the individual casino, plus your level of play with them is also often a factor.
How Are Free Spins Valued?
Free spins usually spin the maximum number of lines at the given slot. The actual value will vary from game to game and promotion to promotion, but they rarely exceed £1 per spin.
Are My Free Spin Winnings Mine To Keep, Free And Clear?
It will depend on the casino and the promotion, but the short answer is: no, it's usually not that simple.
Free spin winnings are often subject to either a wagering requirement or a withdrawal cap. We'll explain these in greater detail in the section below.
What Questions Should I Ask About Free Spin Offers?
As mentioned, free spin offers may not be as simple as they initially appear to be. To determine if a free spin offer is going to work out well for you, try to get answers to the following questions about it.
Is there a wagering requirement?
A "wagering requirement" means that you have to play through any winnings from your free spins a certain amount of times. So, let's say for example that there is a wagering requirement of 10x. You go through your spins and walk away with £100 in winnings. You would need to take those winnings and play through £1000 in wagers before you can make a withdrawal. The good news is, if you come out ahead after meeting the wagering requirement those extra winnings are usually yours to keep.
Is there a withdrawal / winnings cap?
You often see withdrawal or winnings caps attached to "no deposit" free spin offers, and/or in place of a wagering requirement. This simply means that you can only keep a certain amount of your winnings. So let's say that you end up with £500 after using your free spins, but there is a withdrawal cap of £100. That means you'll only get £100 and the remaining £400 will vanish into the ether, so you might as well stop playing the free spins once you hit that number.
What games can I use it at?
Free spin offers are sometimes locked to a specific game - NetEnt's Starburst is one you'll often see in welcome bonus offers.
Even if no one game is specified, you should still check to see if there is a list of excluded slots.
How are progressive jackpot wins handled?
We talked about withdrawal caps and wagering requirements before. Progressive jackpot wins are sometimes excluded from these terms. You'll have to check the terms and conditions carefully, because each casino handles this in a different way. But if the casino does not exclude progressive games from free spin use, they may well have such an exception in place.
Some Notes on Game-Specific Free Spins
We noted earlier that free spin offers are often locked to a specific game. If this is the case, it is helpful to check ahead and see if the free spins are equivalent to regular spins or if they are for use only at a bonus game.
What's the difference? In the course of playing a slot normally, you may enter a bonus round where you get a number of free spins. However, this bonus round sometimes gives you an altered version of the reels that is less favorable. So if the free spins are only for use at that particular game, they may take you to the bonus round rather than the standard game.
Maximum Value From Free Spins
Remember to check the bonus terms and conditions carefully to see if each free spin offer fits into your overall gambling strategy!