A beginner’s guide to free spins

The term ‘free spins’ appears all the time when reading about online casinos. In fact, it’s unusual to come across any kind of casino news or advice or promotion that doesn’t make reference to free spins.

But what are free spins exactly? Are they really free? How do I use them? Here at CasinoUK.com, we want to help all casino players make the best casino decisions, whether they are veteran players with years of experience or new players who are just starting out. That’s why we have put together a beginner’s guide to free spins, covering every aspect to do with this exciting player opportunity.

What are free spins?

As the name suggests, these are spins on a slot or video slot game that the player does not have to pay for. Normally, a player will bet a certain amount of their own money on a slot spin. In the case of free spins, none of the player’s real money is involved.

Free spins are always given on slot games. When it comes to live casino, table games or sports betting, casinos use other terms to indicate free rounds or turns.

In most cases, a casino will specify which slot game or games the free spins can be used on. They could be valid on a single title, a group of selected games or games made by a specified game provider, like Betsoft or Yggdrasil for example.

Are they really free?

Nothing in life is free, so the saying goes and to an extent, it applies in this case as well. ‘Free spins’ are free in the sense that they do not cost a player money – that would simply be a regular, real money spin on a slot game.

However, a casino will only give a player free spins in return for performing a specific action. No-deposit free spins can be awarded when a player signs up for a casino account with a particular operator, for example. Free spins can be awarded if a player refers a friend, engages with the casino’s social media or makes a deposit.

Free spins do not cost money but they are awarded to players as a reward for something.

Free spins in slot games

Players are often confused by the appearance of the term free spins within a slot game. Although sharing the same name, these free spins have nothing to do with a casino’s bonuses or promotions – they are part of the game itself.

Usually triggered by specific symbols, free spins in slot games are a built-in feature, powered by the software that makes the game work. When you receive free spins from a casino, these are spins on the game itself, not the in-game feature.

Types of free spins

At their core, all free spins are the same. They are simply free turns on a slot game. However, the conditions of claiming bonus spins differ greatly. Let’s take a look at each.

No deposit spins

These spins are awarded without the player needing to deposit any real money. They can be given on sign-up, by simply opting in or by meeting some other criteria set by the casino, such as following the page on Facebook.

Deposit spins

Players are often offered extra spins when they make a deposit, usually as part of the welcome bonus but often during regular promotions as well. Plenty of casinos choose to reward players with a deposit match/free spins bundle combination to give them better value for money.

Launch day free spins

When a new slot game is about to be released, game providers and casinos often work together to encourage players to give the title a try. Launch day free spins are one way that casinos let players get a feel for a new game. These are usually awarded on the same day as the launch and can be deposit or no deposit spins.

Free spins terms and conditions

Every casino will impose limits on how extra spins can be used. These are put in place to prevent abusive or fraudulent use of spins, which would negatively impact both a casino and legitimate players.

The terms and conditions a casino imposes are determined by the casino itself and some variations do exist. However, many will have a number of sections in common.

Free spins winnings

Many casinos will place a limit on the amount of winnings, derived from free spins rounds, can be withdrawn by the player. If a casino sets the limit at £100 and a player wins £200 via free spins, only half of their winnings can be withdrawn.

Free spins wagering requirements

Withdrawals of winnings are only possible once wagering requirements have been met. Just as with bonus money, free spins winnings are subject to wagering requirements, which are displayed as a multiplier ex. x30. In this example, it means that free spins winnings must be wagered 30 times before a withdrawal is allowed.

Withdrawing before that sum has been wagered will usually forfeit any winnings and void remaining spins.

Time limits

Casinos want their players to use their rewards as quickly as possible. Usually, casinos only allow one bonus or promotion to be active at any one time and the faster a player uses their free spins, the faster they can move on to the next bonus.

In both the general and bonus terms and conditions, most casinos will stipulate how long free spins are valid for. This can range between 24 hours to weeks. If players claim free spins and fail to use them within the time limit, they will be rendered void.

Excluded games

This limitation only applies when casinos give players a wide choice of games. Let’s say a casino offers 50 free spins, redeemable on its selection of NetEnt games. In most cases, that casino will not allow the use of those spins on specific titles, usually the progressive jackpot games. The excluded games will be listed in the terms and conditions

Free spins and bonus wagering requirements

When a casino offers a bonus that includes bonus cash and free spins, it’s important to note that free spins cannot be used to meet the wagering requirements of bonus cash. The same goes for promotions that require players to spin a game a set number of times to ensure participation.

When you see the phrase ‘Real money bets only’, that means that your free spins or bonus cash cannot be used to meet the requirements for that bonus, promotion,or tournament.

Making the most of free spins

While there are limitations to using free spins bonuses, most players will agree that they are a great way to enhance their casino experience.

Free spins allow players, particularly new ones, to learn how to navigate a casino’s terms and conditions. They also provide a risk-free way to try out slot games, with the chance to win real cash.

Casino players will need to deposit real money in order to play online in the long term but free spins are a great way to get started on your next casino adventure. Check out our free spins toplist to find reviews of our favourite free spins casinos!

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Nigel Frith