Why Do Casinos Offer Free Play?
If you’ve been playing casino games for a while, you probably have come across free plays at some point. But have you wondered why casinos issue them yet they’re in business and have to make profits?
Wonder no more as we’re about to share everything you need to know about free play including some of the key reasons casinos give them out.
What is Free Play and How does it Work?
Free play is a voucher system adopted in the early millennial days to replace comps. Essentially, it allows players to play a wide range of games in casinos including slots, table, and card games at no cost but for a limited time. The free play voucher is available in various denominations depending on the currencies that the casinos support. With it, you can win jackpots, boost your gambling bankroll, recover from a losing streak, or convert your winnings into cash.
So, how does casino free play work?
Free play comes as an incentive in the form of a voucher in a physical casino or a bonus in an online casino. It is designed to work on a pre-specified category of machines including slot machines and table games. Usually, this system gives you the chance to explore games in a casino before you can commit real cash.
Live casinos load free play voucher in your club card to allow you convert it into cash at the machines. In online casinos, you subscribe to free play by launching applicable games within the time frame the incentive lasts. The winnings you earn here may be subjected to play-through requirements or issued as part of other casino bonuses.
How to Get Started in a Free Play Casino
The ground rules for free play are almost similar across online and land-based casinos. Below is the procedure to follow to get started in a free play casino:
For a live casino, simply walk in and apply for a club/fan/loyalty card. During registration, you may be asked to produce personal verification documents including the identity card or passport to print the details on your club card.
In online casinos, the registration form is available online, usually on the website’s technology category section. Here, you’ll be required to provide personal details like your full name, email address (for account verification and the invitation to the promo), payment details (maybe optional), location, and preferred currency.
You can claim your free play offer in several ways. In a land casino, the management will load your club card with credits which the gaming machine will deduct while you enjoy games. On web casinos, you’ll unlock free play by entering bonus codes or following the invitation links sent to your email. Alternatively, you can redeem your loyalty club points for free sessions on online casino games.
Who started free play and why?
Free Play technology was started the 1980’s by live casinos in the Atlantic City where gambling was first legalised. It was introduced shortly after the invention of electronic player cards which facilitated logging of player activity and earned loyalty points. Initially, the loyalty points in the fan card would be redeemed for prizes like toasters and TVs. Unfortunately, this system denied players a chance to wager back their winnings, and this meant casinos had to seek alternative ways to reward their players.
The next move casinos took was to offer cash in exchange for loyalty points. They did this hoping it would encourage players to put back the money in the machines. However, this too was a bad move as players simply pocketed the money and left.
It is at this point that the idea of Free Play was born with an aim to encourage players to utilise their bonuses within the gaming platform.
Reasons Casinos Offer Free Play
- To reward loyalty
Just like any business entity, a casino rewards loyalty using several methods – one such being through free plays. Giving this incentive is a unique way to appreciate players who in the face of other options choose to play at their platform.
- A way to redeem club points
The majority of online and physical casinos have a fan club that you can join after meeting certain criteria, for example, playing for a specified period or having spent a particular amount of money. Members of these fan clubs accumulate points which can then be redeemed, in some cases, in the form of free play.
- To compensate losses
A streak of bad luck in gambling is not uncommon. Some gaming platforms offer free play to compensate unlucky players usually in the form of cashback bonuses. Usually, the casino will match the total amount lost and restrict the play to a particular game. This gives you the chance to reclaim what you might have lost in a given duration.
- For promotional purposes
To encourage new punters to sign up, some casinos offer free play as part of the welcome promo package.
- To replace cash rewards
Remember the good old days when casinos used to give cash rewards after which you’d walk away loaded? Well, free play is the new system that replaced it to effectively manage voucher queues and facilitate downloading of cash on casino machines.
- To boost player activity
Compared to other common casino giveaways, free play is more effective in encouraging punters to join and play casino games. Remember, this is technically free money that comes with no risks yet it offers you an opportunity to bank home some winnings.
- To promote new games and developers
Some casinos offer free play on new or little-known games which in turn increases its exposure and that of the developer.
What Top Casinos Support Free Play
While free play is not the most popular casino bonus compared to offers like free spins and bonus cash, there are a few gaming platforms that offer the incentive. In most cases, you’ll be given one hour (60 minutes) to play with a given amount of free money. Any winnings made during this time is given to you as long as you’ve met all the terms and conditions set by the casino.
Some of the most popular online casinos that give 1-hour free play offers include:
Benefits of Free Play
- Winnings are usually tax-free
Very few countries monitor the earnings you make from free play sessions because the activity itself is considered recreational.
- Longer sessions lower costs
You can play as long as the free play session lasts. Typically, casinos will allow you to play up to an hour without deducting cash from your real-money account.
- Lower risk of real money
The free play incentive allows you to play casino games at no cost. Except where deposits are required to unlock bonuses, the risk of losing your hard-earned money is nil.
Free Play Bonuses
There are several types of free play bonuses you can claim today including:
These are free plays that reward players with cash earnings. Put otherwise, the winnings you make within the free play session is converted into real cash which you can download and take home.
Instead of giving you cash rewards, a casino can choose to extend the range of games available for play during your free session.
With these offers, the casino unlocks various levels within the free play game without you having to commit your real money.