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What Are Free Spins and Are They Actually Free?

Published on 12 June 2015 by Rhi


What Are Free Spins and Are They Actually Free?I have worked in the gaming industry for almost 10 years so kind of take a lot of stuff for granted. When I’m waffling on about No Deposit Bonuses, Video Slots, Sticky Wilds and Free Spins I just assume that everyone knows what I’m talking about. But I forget that many people are new to this scene and may need a little help with the terminology. Today I’m going to talk about ‘Free Spins’, all the different kinds and to explain if they really are free or not.

Free Spins: The Basics

What’s a “Free Spin”?

So, very basically a Free Spin is the chance to spin the reels on a Netent video slot, without paying for it yourself. If you have Free Spins on a certain game, when you click ‘Spin’ nothing will be taken from your balance. Lots of Netent games include a Free Spins bonus round, but none of this applies to those, today we’re talking about the Free Spins that casinos credit to your player account.

No Deposit Free Spins

You’ll often hear about Free Spins and ‘No Deposit Free Spins’ but what is the difference? Well it’s pretty simple. To get Free Spins, you’re required to make a deposit first. For example “Deposit €20 and get 100 Free Spins!”. Whereas with No Deposit Free Spins you don’t need to make a deposit to get them. Some casinos offer them as part of the welcome bonus, simply create your account and you’ll instantly have No Deposit Free Spins to use, and others will reward you periodically as a loyal player by emailing you and saying “hey, we just added a bunch of Free Spins to your account!”.

Can I Win Real Money With Free Spins?

Yup. Although you don’t pay for the spin, any winnings from the spin will be added to your balance. They may come with wagering requirements, which I’ll talk about shortly, but not always.

Why Would a Casino Give me Spins for Free?

Basically, to make you happy. Generally a ‘Free Spin’ will be a set stake and will spin at the lowest amount. So for Starburst for example, it will be a €0.01 Coin Value, so with 10 pay lines, the Free Spin costs the casino €0.10. If they give you 20 Free Spins, that’s effectively €2. This is not a great deal of money in the grand scheme of things and if it encourages players to sign up, or to make a deposit, or to come back again then it’s totally worth it for the player.

Betspin, for example, E-mails me with every new Netent slot release to tell me they’ve put between 5-20 Free Spins in my account to test the game out. They do this because they know I’ll login and use them and if I like the game, I’m likely to make a real money deposit. If not, they know I’ll remember they give me lots of Free Spins so next time I do want to deposit, I’m more likely to use them.

Free Spins: Let’s Go Deeper

That’s the very basic explanation of what Free Spins are, but there is more to consider too. Are there any catches and when are Free Spins actually FREE?

Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements are kind of ‘the catch’ when it comes to Free Spins. There’s always a catch, right? Right. So, we’ve established that the Free Spins cost you nothing, but the winnings are added to your account. This could end up being super costly for casinos, imagine they give you 20 Free Spins and you win €200 without even having made a deposit?! To try and reduce the risk a little, most casinos will add ‘wagering requirements’ onto the winnings from Free Spins.

Wagering requirements can go by a number of different names: turnover requirements, wagering, spin through… all it means is the amount of times you have spin through winnings before you can withdraw them. For example, maybe you get 20 Free Spins and win €30 overall. If there is a x10 wagering requirement, you have to keep playing with the €30 winnings until you’ve spun through €300. Once you’ve spun through €300, you’re able to withdraw whatever is left. It’s not as hard as it sounds, most Netent games have really high “Return to Player Percentages” meaning they pay out a lot and when spinning it’s easy to go up and down and spin through large amounts from a small starting figure.

Wagering requirements will vary from casino to casino and can go from being 0 to all the way up to x50. The lower the better! Wagering requirements only relate to these bonuses, if you lose the €30 before you hit €300 wagering, then it’s over. When you make a deposit with real cash, you don’t have to carry on trying to wager it, that’s all yours as are any winnings you get.

Completely Free, Free Spins

Some casinos do not have wagering requirements and allow you to instantly withdraw any winnings you get from Free Spins. This is incredibly rare, as you can imagine, it’s basically giving away cash, but some casinos can see past this short term loss as they know it’ll keep a player loyal in the long run. Thrills Casino for example, have no wagering requirements on Free Spins, as well as Hello Casino.


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