Casino offers are relatively straightforward in the world of physical casinos. The offer types are pretty standard, what you get for your play is not a precise science but for many players can make sense (and, as I see in social forums, be frustrating at times for those who don’t think they’re getting what their play is worth).
Online casinos are a whole different monster, There’s no hotels or meals to comp, and paybacks on things like online slots or Blackjack are higher than they are in physical casinos, so it certainly makes sense that the offers would be structured differently.
That said, it definitely feels more volatile and fickle, depending on whether they’re trying to drive more coin-in or not, and just simply based on my recent play history. Here’s a few thoughts about it after my most recent round of play on them.
I Hate the Idea of Loss Rebates
Draft Kings loves to send me offers that factor in loss rebates. In fact, the day I wrote this I had my latest one sitting in my inbox. This idea is not enticing to me at all.
I think online casinos, like physical casinos, should trust the math and not reward us for losing. Basing offers on theoretical loss as opposed to actual loss allows us to have that chance here and there to get ahead and avail ourselves of the offer, even though they don’t always work out that way.
Seeing a loss rebate just feels backwards. If I win, I get nothing (except the cash I won, of course, whatever that works out to be). And if I lose, I get 20% of my losses back or whatever the offer works out to be – and it’s completely correlated to my losses, so getting out of the hole is very unlikely.
Worse, you get it as free credits, which means you have to bet the loss rebate through to actually cash anything out, which can just mean losing more.
Bet Guarantees Aren’t Much Better
Bet Guarantees are the same problem, although they’re a bit more generous. These are often awarded to new players, especially on sports betting, because if you lose your bet, they’ll give you the same amount back as free credits. But then you still have to wager the free credits and win, which isn’t guaranteed.
At least with this model, you get your full amount back, as opposed to a fraction, so there’s a better chance to climb out of the hole. But it’s still basically a coin flip, and you could always fail.
I Can Get Behind Deposit Bonuses
The right deposit bonus can be good. Fan Duel regularly does 10% or 20% bonuses with a 1x playthrough requirement, and I’m down with that. Ones that require higher playthrough to cash out are less enticing, just because I don’t always want to play that much to cash out, but if it’s the right offer I’ll still consider it.
This is still better than the previous two as it doesn’t hinge on losses to become effective. To me, I realize they’ve got the advantage, but don’t make my offers reflective of that reality.
Bet X and Get Y is My Offer of Choice
Where Draft Kings gets my attention is when you have to bet a certain amount to get a certain amount of free credits, win or lose. On a recent weekend they sent me a set of offers that gave free credits for every couple hundred wagers on roulette, slots and blackjack. You had to bet more on blackjack to earn than slots, but the blackjack ratio was the most generous, so I spent the bulk of my time on it.
Fan Duel runs daily promotions like this that offer effectively a 10% bonus for your bets. Draft Kings is much more often to do one where you can continuously earn, or earn based on hitting certain tiers, which encourages more coin-in and generally is structured reasonably when it does.
Special Offers Appear Randomly
I’ve twice been brought into Draft Kings’ VIP program for the level of play I did at the time. The first time I was in the program for a few months before the offers stopped appearing. The second time they seemed to be gone within a month, which is just annoying and discouraged me from playing more with them.
Fan Duel offered me some more generous bonuses that kept me on their side for awhile, but one winning streak against one of their promotions and they were gone.
So if you find yourself doing well, or opt to take a break, don’t expect the promotions to stick around, at least not for too long. And you’ll probably have to put in some play to see the offers return, or check your accounts regularly to see if anything special appears.
The Draft Kings offer I saw with the roulette/slots/blackjack free credits was on my account but I didn’t get an accompanying email. After doing that offer, the emails resumed. So keep in mind you might not always be notified of the offers unless you check your account.
What do you think of a deposit bonus with a playthrough requirement of 20x? It should be a break even offer in theory as long as the house edge is 5% or less. But is this worth playing if you might have to lose your real money deposit before you can even access the bonus? Or is it more realistic to treat the bonus funds as backup if you lose your original deposit and to abandon the offer if you win on your deposit?
Hey Ryan – to me, the higher the playthrough requirement, the less exciting it is, because they have rules about how they claw back money if you don’t complete the requirements, like try giving up after the deposit bonus is gone (they ultimately will say the actual deposit went first, which is lame). But even so I will prefer this to those free bets, for instance, because it’s too small a sample size on them – 1-2 wagers and it can all still be gone, whereas you can do smaller bets with the playthrough and ride out the downswings.