Opinion – Should obscene bonuses be left in the past?

Competitive spirit

Finding a good bingo site can be hard.

With hundreds and hundreds of sites to choose from, it can be quite daunting too.

At the same time though, sites are also finding it hard. Acquiring players is vital to their success and with a high level of competition, it can be tricky.

Bonuses are the primary way that these sites compete with each other.

If you spend time exploring the shop windows of the online bingo world, you’ll find bonuses plastered everywhere:

Get £30 free when you make a deposit…

Register now and get a 500% welcome bonus…

Spin the bonus wheel and get more free spins than you can count…

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

Great, right? Why would you ever turn down free cash?

Ah, but therein lies the issue.

How free is free?

You’re a savvy bingo player. You’ve been reading up on Terms & Conditions and you know full well that these bonuses don’t really offer free cash.

When you accept a bonus (no matter the size), you’re also agreeing to a series of wagering requirements. Before you can make a withdrawal, you need to wager your bonus a certain number of times.

For example, say you deposited £10 with a site and received a £40 bonus. If that site has a 4x wagering requirement, you would need to play a total of £200 before withdrawing a single penny.

And that’s just on bingo! Slot players face a whopping 20x requirement on some sites. We’ve even seen sites go bigger than that in the past.

As the bonus gets bigger, so does the amount you need to play to withdraw any winnings. Competition is gradually pushing bonuses up too, as sites seek to make their shop window look more appealing.

Are you likely to ever see the "free" cash you've been offered?

Are you likely to ever see the bonus cash you’ve been handed?

It really feels like we’re reaching saturation point – how much higher can bonuses go before they become a turn-off, rather than a reason to register?

It’ll happen sooner than you think, in my opinion.

The dilemma

Ask yourself honestly – given the option, would you accept a welcome bonus or would you rather just play with your deposit?

Of course, some players still enjoy receiving a huge bonus, as it increases their playing time.

If you fall into this category, fair enough. Receiving more funds to play a game that you love is never going to be a bad thing.

There’s also an argument that having more funds increases your chances of winning big.

Your odds remain the same, but you’re increasing the number of times you can play those odds. Of course, increasing your playing time also increases your chance of winning big slightly, so there is logic here too.

Whether you’re a slot or bingo fan, there’s a constant thrill in knowing that THIS game could be the one. This spin could be the jackpot spin. This ticket could be the jackpot ticket. No arguments here; there’s no replacing that feeling.

The solution?

Still, something has to give. Some networks already offer crazy welcome packages (over £100 for a £10 deposit) – how much further can they realistically go?

There’s plenty of room for experimentation with bonuses, offers and rewards for players. Would long-term incentives to play appeal to a player more? Could we see bingo sites add a progression system which rewards players with new features and games as they continue to play? It’s an interesting thought.

Should online bingo be a sprint or a marathon?

Should online bingo be a sprint or a marathon?

Personally, I would like to see a new site completely do away with welcome bonuses and wagering requirements. Would it be a success? Would players want to play there? Ultimately, that would depend on the quality of the site and that’s far more important to me.

If removing bonuses completely leads to higher quality sites and services, new ideas and games and plenty of innovation, I’m all for it.

Are welcome bonuses (and wagering requirements) a necessary evil? Do they actually provide good value for players? Time will tell.

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