Here at Just Slots, our aim is to help you find the best slots bonuses, as well as providing you with expert advice on what type of bonus are worth accepting, We also show you how to take advantage of any bonus you take up. Our guide covers all types of slot bonuses, including no deposit bonuses and match bonus offers.
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It is important in any discussion about bonuses to make a distinction between the sorts of bonuses you earn from a casino, either for signing up as a new player or as a form of loyalty reward, and slots with bonuses, e.g., the bonus features contained within slot games.
When we refer to slots bonuses we are generally talking about the the offers you get from online slots sites as an incentive to sign up as a new player, such as free spins and deposit matches. We will look at these in more detail in the section below.
However, in addition to the sort of bonuses you receive form a casino as an incentive, there are also slots with bonuses, i.e., special features within a game where you are awarded free spins or wins with multipliers attached, that are built into the game as a means of enhancing the game play and boosting your wins.
Unsurprisingly, games with better payout rates and the opportunity to play spins for free tend to be popular and attract more players, so these sorts of features have become an integral part of slot game design.
Playing slots with bonuses
There is a huge variety of special features available when you play slots with bonuses, and there is no standard way in which these are awarded. However, there are some features in common that you will find in most games.
Wild symbols are one of the most frequently found special features that are used to award bonuses or trigger free spins. Wilds are used to substitute for other symbols and increase the possibility of hitting winning spins. They are also very often the means through which a free spins bonus round is triggered. In some games, hitting 3x or more wilds on a payline will pay put as a win, in others the wild is simply the means through which access is gained to the bonus round, while in some slots the wild acts as a multiplier and increases the value of any win in which it features (usually between 2x – 5x).
Sticky wilds are also a feature regularly found in slots with bonuses. In this sort of game, when a combination of wild symbols are hit, they award a free spin (or spins), and then they ‘stick’ to the reels, remaining in place for the next spin. This has the effect of increasing the potential for winning combinations.
Another variation is the expanding wild, where the wild symbol expands to take up an entire reel, again creating more chances of hitting a winning spin. In some games, an expanding wild can also be sticky and will remain in place on the reels for subsequent free spins.
Scatter symbols are another feature commonly found in slots with bonuses. The scatter is so named because it does not have to appear on a payline in order to pay out a win or trigger a bonus round — instead, it counts as a winning combination when you hit 3x or more scatter symbols anywhere on the reels.
What makes the scatter symbol different is that in most slot games where it awards wins, the pay out will be a multiple of your total bet, rather than a multiple of the line bet, which is the case with most other symbols. In addition, in most slots with bonuses where a scatter symbol appears, it acts as a trigger for a free spins round or another type of special feature.
Another common feature of slots with bonuses is the win multiplier, which can take several forms. As above, in some games a win where the wild symbol features automatically has a multiplier applied. In most instances, however, multipliers are a key aspect of a free spin bonus round.
Some free spins will automatically have a multiplier applied, so that every win is increased(usually between 2x – 5x), while in some bonus free spins rounds the multiplier is randomly applied and so is different every time the bonus is triggered. This concept can be taken further in some games, where the multiplier increases throughout the bonus round, so that every time you hit a scatter symbol during the free spins, for instance, the size of the multiplier increases.
A further development of this concept is the progressive free spins bonus, where you carry over your free spin ‘status’ each time you play, and the multipliers increase each time you access the free spin round, as in Microgaming’s Thunderstruck II and Immortal Romance. A variation of this can be found in games like Flux by Thunderkick, where you can choose to have a multiplier applied to a free spin bonus round, or instead choose to have additional spins or have wins pay both ways.
In summary, there are a multitude of ways in which you can take advantage of slots with bonuses in order to pick up free spins or increase the size of your payouts. It is this variety in gameplay and the huge range of special features on offer that for many makes playing online slots so enjoyable.
Best Slots Games
Types of slots bonuses
As above, there is a distinction between playing slots with bonuses and the sort of slot bonuses you are awarded by a casino. However, just as there are many different types of in-game slot bonuses, there is also a large range of bonuses that you can pick up when you sign up and play at any of our recommended online casinos.
You will find that all of our recommended UK online casinos offer a Welcome Bonus to new players in one form or another. This is because online gaming is a highly competitive market, and every operator is looking for ways to incentivise you to play at their site rather than a rival’s.
The Welcome Bonus essentially gives you something for free — at least in some senses (more on this below). It can also take many forms, such as giving you a match on your deposits to increase the size of your bankroll, or free spins on specific slot games, or sometimes a combination of both. At some sites, the signup offer will be a one-off deal, at others it can have several tiers. You will also find casinos that offer a no deposit bonus, where you get a reward simply for signing up but without having to commit any cash.
Claiming a welcome bonus
Claiming a welcome bonus is generally pretty straightforward. As part of the sign up process you need to provide name and address details, and then make a deposit into your new account if it is a deposit match bonus. However, there has recently been a significant change in the process.
Not that long ago, bonuses were automatically applied to any new account, and it could be quite complicated to opt out if you didn’t want to receive one. However, under the auspices of the UK Gambling Commission and in the wake of a recent report from the Competition and Markets Authority, the regulations have changed and now you will generally need to opt in if you want to receive a welcome bonus when you sign up at a new site.
A result of this has been to make the role of casino reviews, such as those we feature here at Just Slots, even more important. Our reviews always look at the overall value of a welcome bonus, including the wagering requirements, how long you have to clear the bonus, the contribution slots make to the playthrough, etc., in order to ascertain the overall value of any casino’s sign up deal. If, after reading one of our reviews, you feel that the signup deal a particular site is offering does not provide the sort of value you are looking for, or doesn’t suit your playing habits, you are under no obligation to accept it.
It’s important for both newbies and experienced players to be aware that you are not required to take a welcome bonus, and that not accepting one will not have any bearing on how your account operates, or any other rewards you might be entitled to down the line.
How much is a welcome bonus worth?
The amount you can receive as part of a welcome bonus can vary quite significantly, as can the way in which the bonus is awarded. If a site is offering a one-off deposit match bonus, for instance, you can expect this to be worth in the region of £100 to £200. If there are multiple deposit matches (some sites will give you bonuses on as many as your first five deposits into a new account), such a deal could be worth up to £1,500 in bonus money.
When it comes to slots bonuses, with a no deposit free spins offer you can generally expect to pick up between 10 to 20 spins as part of the deal. When free spins are awarded alongside a deposit match bonus, the number might be anywhere between 100 and 500, depending on the nature of the deal.
The way spins are awarded as slot bonuses can also vary quite significantly. For instance, some sites might award you 100 free spins as part of your sign up deal and you can play them all instantly; other sites might give you the first 10 spins when you make your first deposit, and then 10 spins a day for the next nine days. If a match bonus extends over several deposits, this might also be the case with free spins, and you get a new batch of spins every time you add funds to your account for the duration of the offer.
When it comes to the wagering requirements attached to slot bonuses, over the last few years there has been an upward trend. The wagering requirement (also known as the playthrough, or clearing the bonus) is the amount of money you need to wager in relation to the bonus before you can withdraw it, or cash out any winnings made from playing with it. It wasn’t that long ago that a 30x wagering requirement was the industry standard, and so if you received a £100 welcome bonus, you would need to wager a total of £3,000 (30 x £100) before you could cash out.
However, this has changed and a 40x wagering requirement is now the average at most of the online casinos that we feature, although a 60x playthrough is not uncommon. Also, you should ensure that you read our reviews and a site’s T&Cs before you accept a welcome bonus to be sure whether the wagering requirement applies just to the bonus amount you receive, or to your deposit plus the bonus. If the latter is the case, this effectively doubles the playthrough and so can have a big impact on your ability to withdraw any of the bonus or bonus winnings.
It is also important to know how you can meet the playthrough requirements, as this will vary from site to site. With most of the slot bonuses that we feature, online slots will contribute to clearing the bonus at a rate of 100%, which means that every £1 you wager on slots counts as £1 towards meeting the playthrough.
However, there can be exceptions to this. Some sites will have some slot games which only contribute between 50% – 75% to the playthrough (i.e., every £1 wager only counts as £0.50 or £0.75). At some sites, when you play progressive jackpot slots this helps to clear the bonus, while at some this is not the case. You’ll also find significant variation in the rate at which card and table games, along with video poker and other games, contribute to the playthrough, so it’s important to be on top of this information if you like to mix up your slots play with time spent playing other games.
How long do you have to clear the bonus?
You also need to take note of how long you have to clear the bonus. This will usually be somewhere between 7 and 30 days, depending on how the welcome bonus is constructed. At the end of this time, if you have not been able to meet the playthrough requirements, you will forfeit any of the remaining bonus and/or any unused free spins, and you will also lose any money that you have won playing with the bonus sum, or winnings from free spins.It’s crucial, therefore, to be aware of the time restrictions that are in place on any signup bonus deal.
Is a welcome bonus right for me?
To sum up, when you are considering slots bonuses you have to take all of the above factors into consideration in order to decide whether or not a deal offers value and is worth accepting (remember, you are not obliged to accept a welcome offer bonus). You need to consider the sum you receive, how it is awarded, the wagering requirements and what is required to clear the bonus, as well as how long you have to do so.
One of the best ways of ensuring that you get the maximum value from slots bonuses is to not over commit. If you’re an occasional player who only maintains a fairly moderate bankroll at any given time, for instance, then you are unlikely to be able to clear a £1,500 bonus that comes with a 40x playthrough, or meet the playthrough if you only have 7 days in which to do so.
Similarly, if you play a lot of online blackjack as well as slot games, but blackjack makes little or no contribution to the wagering requirement, then you are unlikely to be getting full value from such an offer.
The key, therefore, to determining whether slots bonuses are worth accepting is to choose one where the amount and wagering requirements match your playing habits, you have time to clear the bonus, and the games that contribute most to the playthrough are the games that you most often play.
A no deposit slots bonus is a form of welcome offer that differs from most other similar deals in one key aspect — you get the bonus, usually in the form of free spins, simply by signing up as a new player at a casino but without having to make a deposit into your new account.
How this works is that you are able to claim the bonus by setting up an account in the usual way i.e., providing name and address details, etc. You are also likely at this time to be asked to add your credit/debit card details, but no deposit will be taken from it. Once this process has been completed, your bonus will be made available.
No deposit free spins
Most no deposit slots bonuses come in the form of free spins on a selected game, so you won’t be able to play them on any game of your choosing. However, this isn’t too much of an issue as they will usually be on an extremely popular and well-known game, like NetEnt’s Starburst.
The number of free spins awarded as part of a no deposit slot bonus won’t be huge — between 5 and 20 is the most common number you can expect at most of our featured casinos. You will only be able to access the spins for a limited period of time (no more than 24 hours) so we always recommend playing them more or less straight away.
Any winnings from your free spin will then be transferred to your bonus account, and you will be able to continue playing with this cash once you then go on to make a first deposit into your account. This minimum required for this first deposit won’t be very large (it’s generally between £10 – £20), and it will also usually come with the site’s standard welcome bonus (although this isn’t always the case, so make sure you check the fine print in the T&Cs).
Free spins playthrough
Winnings from no deposit slots bonuses will usually also be subject to the site’s standard wagering requirements, although this isn’t universally the case — there are some sites that enable you to cash out these winnings without meeting any playthrough, although you will still be required to have made an initial deposit into your account.
It is also worth remembering that if wagering requirements do come into play, they will not only be applied to any sum you won when playing your free spins, but also to later winnings made from playing with this money as well.
Maximum conversion amount
A new feature that is increasingly being seen at our recommended UK online casinos is what is known as the maximum conversion amount. This is the maximum amount of cash that can be transferred from a bonus account to a real money account, and therefore withdrawn. In most cases, it not only applies directly to your free spin winnings, but also to any subsequent winnings made from playing with these funds. Most casinos have a maximum conversion amount of £200, although at some sites it can be as low as £100. Any amount above this that you win will not be able to be withdrawn at any time, although in most instances it will remain available in your bonus account.
Choosing a no deposit bonus
On the face of it, no deposit slots bonuses look enticing, but they still need to be approached with some care. If you just want to check out the game on which the spins are being offered, then this sort of bonus can be a good opportunity to do so without it costing you anything, and you can just walk away, with no commitment made or expectations to be fulfilled.
However, you also need to think ahead. For instance, if you decide you like a site and want to keep playing there, is the rest of the welcome bonus attractive and does it match your needs and playing tastes? If you manage to win from your no deposit free spins, how much is the minimum deposit required to enable you to continue playing with your winnings, and does the wagering requirement attached to these winnings actually make it worthwhile to pursue them? What is the maximum conversion amount, and how will this impact on you?
So while on the face of it, taking advantage of no deposit slot bonuses seem like a no-brainer, you do need to think carefully about all the elements that go into such a deal, and while they are generally worthwhile taking up, they are not automatically going to suit all players equally well.
Free spins slot bonuses are different from no deposit free spins in that your spins are part of a package that will also usually include a deposit match bonus, rather than coming as a stand alone offer. This means that you will be required both to set up a new account and make a first deposit before you can play your free spins.
How many free spins do I get?
The number of free spins you are awarded will vary from site to site, as will the way in which they are made available to you.
When free spins come as part of a match bonus deal, you can normally expect to receive around 100 spins, either in one tranche or spread out in smaller batches e.g., 10 spins a day for 10 days.
When spins are awarded along with each deposit as part of a multi-level welcome bonus, you might receive a greater number of spins, perhaps as many as 500. Each batch of spins will become available when the corresponding deposit has been completed e.g., 50 spins with your 1st deposit, 25 spins with your 2nd deposit, 100 spins with your 3rd deposit, etc.
In almost all cases, your free spins bonus will be awarded on a designated game (or games), and so you won’t have carte blanche as to which slots you can play. However, this isn’t an issue for most players, as the spins will generally available on a well-known and popular slot game, although sometimes they might be for a new release slot, or a game by a developer that the casino operator is particularly looking to promote.
How much can I win?
Winnings from free spins slot bonuses will usually be capped, generally at around £100 to £200 (depending on how many spins have been awarded). Any sum you win playing your free spins will also be subject to the site’s standard wagering requirement, and a maximum conversion amount will also be applied.
When you receive a cash bonus in addition to free spins as a welcome bonus, if the time to clear the bonus expires before you are able to do so, any remaining unplayed free spins will be forfeited, along with any unused bonus cash.
Free spins as part of a welcome bonus will usually only be valid for a limited period of time. If you receive your spins in one batch, you will usually have 7 days in which to play them, but with the sort of deal where you get a smaller batch of spins every day for a set period of time, these are normally only available to play for 24 hours from the time they were released.
Should I take a free spins bonus?
When you are considering the overall value of slots bonuses that give you free spins, you need to factor in all of the above considerations. For instance, is the minimum deposit required to collect the free spins an amount for which you are confident of being able to clear the bonus in the time provided? Is the maximum conversion rate reasonable? Do you play often enough to be able to use all of the spins?
We tend to like slot bonuses that come with free spins attached, but they don’t all necessarily offer good value. This is why we always recommend that you take into account what we have outlined above before you decide whether or not to accept this sort of deal.
A deposit bonus is probably the most common of the different types of slots bonuses found at our recommended online casinos. In its most simple form, when you make your first deposit the casino matches it, thereby increasing the size of your initial bankroll. Within this broad outline, however, there are a number of different variations of the deposit bonus, and these can impact on the overall value that you receive.
How much is a deposit match bonus worth?
At most casinos, you will receive a 100% match on your first deposit, effectively doubling the size of the bankroll you have to start playing with (this first match can sometimes be as much as 200%, although this is increasingly rare). There will be a limit, however, on the side of the cash amount you can receive — at most of our recommended sites, you will get between £100 to £200.
Many slots bonuses also give you match bonuses on subsequent deposits as well, sometimes as many as your first five. However, after your first deposit these matches are rarely worth 100%, most commonly being between 25% and 50%, although the maximum amount of cash you claim will be larger e.g., you might get a 25% deposit match up to the value of $500 as a third deposit bonus. Overall, with multiple deposit match bonuses, the total match rate over the course of all the deposits can be anywhere in the region of 35% to 75%.
Deposit bonus playthrough requirements
Deposit bonuses will be subject to wagering requirements, with the most common rate currently being 40x, although it can be as low as 30x or as high as 60x, depending on each casino’s T&Cs. You need to pay particular attention when looking at the playthrough as to whether it will be applied only to the bonus amount you receive, or to both your deposit plus the bonus. If it is the latter, this will mean that the playthrough is effectively doubled, which will have a major impact on the value of the deal.
You should also take note of how long you have to clear the bonus, as well as the contribution slots and other games make to meeting the wagering requirements.
Is a deposit bonus good value?
How often you play, and the sorts of games you play most regularly — as well as the minimum deposit required to claim a bonus — are the keys to whether a signup deal offers good value or not.
For the occasional player, for instance, a 100% match bonus on a minimum deposit of £20, with a 30x wagering requirement where all slots contribute to the playthrough 1:1, and you have 30 days in which to clear the bonus, is a pretty good deal.
However, slots bonuses with a wagering requirement above 40x, a low maximum conversion amount, a very limited time to meet the playthrough, or where there are restrictions on which slot games clear the bonus, will be nowhere near as attractive an offer. These are the factors you need to take into consideration when you are weighing up any sort of welcome bonus deal.
A redeposit bonus (also commonly known as a reload bonus) is one of the many slot bonuses that are available once you sign up and start playing at a site.
With this sort of bonus, when you make a deposit on a given day, or as part of a special promotion, you receive a match bonus — anywhere between 10% to 100%. The minimum deposit to claim a reload bonus will generally be between £10 to £20, and there will usually be an upper limit in the region of £100. Sometimes, these sorts of slots bonuses are only available for playing specific games.
As with all other bonus types, winnings will be subject to wagering requirements; these will usually be the casino’s standard rate, although sometimes the playthrough will be lower as part of the incentive.
This is a new sort of bonus that has recently been introduced into online casinos after being a success in the online sports betting industry. You can generally receive a cashback bonus either as part of a signup offer for new players, or as a loyalty deal for regular players.
At some sites, as part of a welcome bonus that might also include a deposit bonus and/or free spins, you also get a cashback deal, where you get a proportion of your losses back during an initial period of your membership. The minimum deposit amount required to claim this bonus will be in the region of £50, while the amount of cash back you can expect to receive will be limited to between 20% to 50%.
These sorts of slots bonuses are also increasingly being offered to players as a regular part of a promotions programme. In this scenario, when you make a deposit on a particular day, or make a deposit and then play a specific slots game, you then get a proportion of your losses returned to you. Any money that you receive in this way will be via your bonus account rather than your real money account, and will generally be non-cashable i.e., it can’t be withdrawn.
Cashback bonuses are relatively new and so we are waiting to see how popular they turn out to be when taken as slots bonuses> However, if it is not too limited in scope and you still have the freedom to play your favourite slots games, these are slot bonuses that we would definitely encourage players to explore.
VIP and loyalty bonuses
Online casinos always go out of their way for VIPs — and why not, as these are the players who wager the most. As a reward for loyalty, VIPs tend to get a range of slots bonuses denied to us mere mortals. For instance, deposit matches are handed out more liberally, while loyalty points are also awarded at a better rate. Likewise, VIPs and those players on the top rungs of casino loyalty programmes can also exchange their loyalty points for bonuses and free spins at a better rate of exchange as well.
There are also other bonuses attached to VIP and loyalty programmes, such as faster withdrawal times and larger daily withdrawal limits, as well as personalised customer support and greater access to services.
Many of the sites that we feature here also have VIP or high roller elements to their welcome bonus offers as well e.g., you can get a larger bonus amount, or a greater number of free spins, when you make a single deposit or series of deposits above a stipulated amount.
If you do like to maintain a larger than average bankroll, or you play very regularly and tend to accrue loyalty points faster than most, then it is worth your while investigating the relative merits of the various VIP programs available. Some sites now even make it possible to transfer your loyalty points accrued at one site to another — provided you have a sufficient number of them in the bank, you play regularly, and you bet big!
Refer a friend bonus
This used to be one of the slots bonuses that most sites offered, although it is not now as common as it once was.
The way the bonus works is that when you recommend a mate to sign up (usually via a personalised email link), and they then set up an account and make a first deposit, both you and your friend then receive a bonus. This amount might be anywhere between £20 and £50 (it will, however, be subject to wagering requirements).
This can be a good value bonus and is easy to claim, and is one we would always recommend taking up if you have mates who are already slots players, or just want to give it a go.