1. Choosing a casino with low wagering requirements will take less time and lower the risk. It is essential that you check out the ‘terms and conditions’ of any bonus offer by clicking through to the casinos promotion page and then the ‘terms and conditions’ page. The important parts to note here are the WAGERING REQUIREMENTS and the EXCLUDED GAMES (normally roulette). Though the bonus list is generally kept up-to-date, it is still very important that you check yourself. Generally the terms will say something along the lines of ”the deposit and bonus must be wagered X times before withdrawal”. If is says 5 times for instance and the offer is ‘deposit 50 get 50 free’, then this means that 500 must be wagered before you withdraw.
2. Choose between the download and the no-download (sometimes called flash or java) versions. Over a 56k standard modem a download will take around 25 minutes and about 2 minutes on a broadband connection. ‘No-download’ games should load up pretty quickly although the game-play is often slower. If you choose to download then remember where you’ve saved the file and when it has finished double click on it and choose to save it to the directory it suggests. If you are using an Apple Mac it’s quite likely that you will only be able to play the no-download (flash/java) versions.
3. Register a ‘play for real’ or ‘real money account’. Remember to fill out all the correct details and the address where your credit/debit card is registered to. If you are offered a choice of £ or $ play, and if the bonus offer is the same for both (which is usually the case), it is advisable to pick £ (GBP) if you have a sterling bank account- there are unlikely to be any transaction fees and the bonus will be worth over 50% more. Make sure you make note of your account name/number. The software will run slightly quicker if you have a broadband or network internet connection and ALWAYS remember to turn the sound off from the options menu as this significantly speeds up play. If you have downloaded the software, it is also advisable to change the video options (generally in the options menu) to either ‘run in window’ or ‘standard resolution’ to improve the speed and the graphics.
4. Find out how to claim the promotion. With ‘Boss media’, ‘Real Time Gaming’ and ‘Playtech’ software, the bonuses are generally automatically added upon deposit. With ‘Microgaming’ software, you often have to fill out a claim form found on the website and enter in your user name and a promotion code. Occasionally these may take up to 24 hours to be credited. DO NOT start playing before the bonus has been credited because this will not count towards your required wagering amount.
5. You should always try and keep a rough track of how much you have wagered. There is often a facility to check how much you’ve bet* and they will always tell you if you email their support address. How long the wagering on an offer takes depends a great deal on the software and the stake per hand used and how well you know the tables.
*For Microgaming use playcheck (only updated every hour or so), for Cryptologic use the log viewer (always up to date) and for Playtech look at loyalty points in the cashier screen (generally converted at the rate of $10=1 point – so easy to see your total bets). Other software types often have play history viewers.
6. If you’re losing, stop for a while, close down the casino and then come back. NEVER double your stakes to try and claw back losses. This is the quickest way to lose your money. Play with whatever stakes you feel comfortable with, but I would suggest you go for $1 or $2 at first – if this is available. It may take longer but it makes the chance of a loss much less.
7. Once you’ve completed the wagering requirements you are free to stop and withdraw. If you have not kept an accurate tally of your wagers, email support and ask whether you have completed their wagering requirement – they will generally reply very quickly. Go to cashier/bank section and cash in the full balance. DO resist the temptation to chase that next win. Note down the withdrawal codes and exactly your withdrawal amount. This is essential to tell on your credit card statement who has paid you and where the cheques in the post have come from.
8. DON’T try and register and claim a bonus with the same casino twice. They will know your IP address and could deny you your winnings. Some casinos may also prevent more than one account per household being opened. Check in the terms and conditions if this may be a problem.