Best Free Spins & Bonus Spins Offers
An increasing number of slot and casino sites include slot spins as part of their welcome offer and many now have free spins or bonus spins instead of a welcome bonus. We expect this trend to continue into 2020.
- What’s the difference between free spins and bonus spins?
- Why pick a slot spins offer over a bonus offer?
- The small print
- Which slots can I get free spins on?
- But are they really free?
What’s the difference between free spins and bonus spins?
That’s an easy one! Free spins pay out in cash, without any wagering requirements (although there may be other restrictions such as a minimum withdrawal or a win cap). Bonus spins pay out as a slot bonus with a wagering requirement (usually but not always calculated as a multiple of winnings rather than of spin value).
This terminology distinction is one we have been asked to make by several operators and is based on guidance from the Gambling Commission and Advertising Standards Authority. In order not to mislead players, we have a policy of describing all slot spin offers which have a wagering requirement as bonus spins even if the site calls them free spins.
Why pick a slot spins offer over a bonus offer?
- If it is a free spins offer with winnings paid in cash, it’s easy to see why many players would prefer that to a bonus – no wagering requirement!
- Even in the case of bonus spins with a wagering requirement, as long as you only have to do wagering on the winnings (not the initial spin value) if you are unlucky you can just forget it. This can be ideal for trying out a high variance slot.
- You normally wouldn’t get to use a slot bonus until your account is empty of cash but with spins, you get to use them right away
- Spins offers have great entertainment value – you can try out a new slot or play an old favourite risk free.
- There’s also the type of spins offer where you play a game to determine how many spins you receive and again, these have great entertainment value.
The small print
Free spins typically have a short expiry time (24 hours is not unusual). Sometimes free spins that are part of a welcome offer are released in batches over several days. In this case, the free spins have to be used on the day they are claimed and cannot be carried over to the following day. If you forget to log in and claim them they disappear.
The same applies to daily free spins that are given out as part of a loyalty scheme – log in and use them, or lose them!
If the spins pay out as a bonus with a wagering requirement, this will probably also have an expiry time within which the wagering requirements have to be completed and again, this can be on the short side.
Which slots can I get free spins on?
Net Ent slots
The whole free spins thing really got going when multiple sites started to offer free or bonus spins on that incredibly well-known slot, Starburst. These days, while Starburst offers are still widespread, many slot spin welcome offers allow players to choose from a shortlist of Net Ent slots including higher variance titles such as Gonzo’s Quest or Pyramid:Quest for Immortality.
In 2017 some Nektan casinos started offering bonus spins on IGT’s iconic Cleopatra slot game instead of the more usual Starburst, and now a few have them on other IGT slots such as Da Vinci Diamonds. The IGT slot spin offers do seem to be firmly confined to the back catalogue but with so many old classics to choose from, this is not much of a problem.
Free spins or bonus spins on Pariplay slots such as Magical Forest and Las Cucas Locas are usually only found at Dragonfish bingo and slot sites. The stake and winnings are shown in points rather than as a monetary value and converted into a slot bonus after the spins are complete.
Eyecon is the game provider behind Fluffy Favourites, a slot game which is massively popular amongst bingo players and is now starting to appear at casino and slot sites. They make many other slots too (including several progressive jackpots) but Fluffy and its sequels Fluffy Too, Fluffy Favourites Fairground and Fluffy In Space, are almost always the choice for free spins
Elk Studios slots
The first Elk Studios game to appear as part of a free spins or bonus spins offer was the 2016 release Bloopers, and since then we have seen welcome offers including or even consisting entirely of spins on games such as Taco Brothers and Wild Toro. These are generally higher variance than most of the usual suspects (especially Wild Toro) which makes the spins much more entertaining to play.
But are they really free?
There’s no such thing as a totally free spin – which wouldn’t require the player to deposit or play and would pay out in cash with no restrictions or fees – and really, why would there be? But of the offers described as free spins, some are certainly freer than others!
Here are some of the closest things to genuinely free spins we’ve found:
- bgo’s 10 free spins on registration. These would be totally free if they didn’t charge a (small) fee for withdrawals.
- Free spins given out after the player deposits, plays a specified amount or levels up in the loyalty scheme, with winnings paid in cash – at sites such as PlayOJO.
- Daily free spins (the number depending on loyalty level, which is based on lifetime wagering) that can be claimed at certain Dragonfish casino and bingo sites simply by logging in – wins are capped but paid in cash.
- Occasionally a site will give out free spins on a new slot to encourage existing players to try it, but more commonly these are bonus spins offers.
- Free spins can also be given as a reward for opting into or participating in a promotion, or as a prize in a tournament (these usually have an entry qualification).