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Online Casino Bonuses Keep Rising

13 April 2009, by Milton Shaw, Casinospage Staff Writer

Bonuses for new players are certainly not a new phenomenon in the online casino industry.  Ever since casinos first started taking bets in 1997, they have been handing out free money to try to entice new players, but as competition for new players has become more and more intense, bonuses have started escalating to astronomical levels.

Casino bonuses are basically additional funds deposited by the casino in player's accounts.  It is real money that players can withdraw, but it comes with conditions attached that differ from casino to casino.  But generally, there will 'times wager' term attached to a bonus.  This basically means that players will need to turn that money over a certain amount of time before they are able to withdraw it.  This protects casinos from paying out a bonus and the player taking the money and running without actually playing.

Casino bonus policies are many and varied and loyal players will be given plenty of bonuses during their active playing life at a given casino, but the most common bonus is the sign up bonus.  Offered to players signing up for the first time at a given casino, this is the big carrot that casinos dangle to try to win new players.

In the late 1990's when the internet casino industry was still in its relative infancy, but starting to become very competitive, bonuses were in the order of $20 to $50.  The very aggressive operators were offering up to $100.  And these were often less than 100% match bonuses.  That is, deposit $200 of your own cash and the casino would kick in an extra $100.

As the casino industry has matured, competition has continued to grow and the market has been squeezed by new legislative developments like America's UIGEA, meaning casinos are now competing harder than ever for new player patronage.

Sign up bonuses in the last 2 years have rocketed to levels that may not have been considered at all possible back in 2000.  Gone are the $20 offers.  These days anything less than $500 is well off the pace,  and in percentage terms, 200% match bonuses are not uncommon.

The biggest bonus offers currently in the industry are at the $5000 mark, comprising multiple sign up bonuses in varying structures (ie x amount on 1st deposit, x amount on 2nd deposit etc).  At present, the largest bonuses on offer are:

Its hard to know where this exponential escalation in bonuses will stop.  But its hard to imagine that casinos can continue to keeping upping the amounts of money they are handing out to players without it starting to have a serious impact on their bottom lines.

Never a dull moment in the world of online gambling!

 

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