No deposit casinos! That sounds like a fantasy surely! Because you deposit money in order to pay to play the games we all love. So a no deposit online casino would be a free casino?!
At that level, it is a sort of fantasy, and just like much of the messaging in the online casino industry, everything is not what it first appears.
However, it is possible to find good UK online casino sites that offer no deposit play in some form or another.
What you cannot expect is long-term free play for real money, or indeed to win any money at all without spending more of your own than you can win.
But no deposit casinos, those sites that offer some sort of no deposit bonus, are still sought after among UK online casino fans.
Are they worth your time and effort?
We’ll have look, explaining what they are, how they work, how you should assess them, and how you can use them and their bonuses safely!
Let’s dive in!
No Deposit Casino Bonuses
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What is a UK No Deposit Casino?
If you want to play casino games, including slots and simulations of table games like roulette and blackjack, then you can do that, and you can do it for the long term. However, licensing restrictions in the UK now mean that you must verify your age to play these games even if you’re only playing for fun.
To do this, you need to find review sites like ours and others that host versions of these games. You simply get given a made-up balance – usually a huge number you’ll never get through – and you can click away for free.
Most players do want to gamble at some point though. But we still recommend doing this, at least from time to time. The best messages around safe gambling always stress that players should be playing for fun, and not really considering money at all. That is very good advice: it’s probably a bit idealistic, but if you can start to think about playing this way more and more often then we think it can only be healthy.
Watch out true no deposit online casinos
So do check out the true no deposit slots sites, which are those that will never ask you to deposit. If nothing else, it’s important to learn your way around slots before you start playing them for money. Casino games too can be learned on simulators without depositing cash, giving you the skills you need for live casino games.
On fun-only sites, you can probably get away with verifying your age with a self-declaration.
You can probably play without depositing too at actual casino sites, but you may well need to go through a more rigorous ID process, including sending copies of documents to the site, and you might have to provide valid payment details even if you don’t make a payment.
The commonest form of no deposit casino though is this: the no deposit welcome bonus casino.
Let’s have a look at what that means:
No Deposit Welcome Bonuses
What people are really looking for when they talk about no deposit bonus casino sites is sites that will let them play real-money games, for cash prizes, without depositing any of their own money.
Such No deposit bonuses are rare. You don’t need to be Karl Marx or John Maynard Keynes to know why.
Businesses that make a regular practice of giving their customers money to spend on their products or services run a massive risk: they’re going to go bust very quickly!
In order to understand welcome (and all other) bonuses, how they are structured, how they work, and how to assess them, you need first of all to appreciate what their purpose is and who designs them.
Bonuses are designed by the casino industry. The casino industry is a capitalist business, and its purpose is to (within the confines of the law) maximise its profits. That’s it. If a casino site could run for one player who bet and lost £1million a day, rather than 100,000 players who each bet and lost a pound a day it would choose the first option.
Welcome bonuses serve this over-arching purpose.
A no deposit bonus will fail in this purpose if it simply gives the player the money, allows them to play games at which they may well win prizes, and then allows them to walk away.
A no deposit bonus will serve this purpose in the way that it is currently structured: it attracts players to sign-up to a site with an attractive looking offer, that includes free play, and it attaches conditions to that offer that make it impossible for the player to withdraw winnings from the site until after he has deposited at least enough money to cover those losses, and ideally it motivates the player to start a long-term relationship with the site.
Recent media coverage has shown the extent to which casino sites make the vast majority of their profits from players who play A LOT.
Most players lose in the long run. That is the iron law of gambling. The games are random, and each spin, toss of the dice or turn of the card is genuinely a new, unpredictable chance for you to win a massive jackpot. But the games are designed to make that very unlikely.
If you want to study the probability and statistics that ensure this then it’s an interesting area, but you don’t need to do that to know that it’s true. That fact is advertised on almost every online video slot in the form of the RTP.
RTP measures the theoretical return to player. This figure is one of the few audited and checked figures that are publically available to players who are interested in assessing game performance. It is compiled by running the game through millions and millions of simulated spins. In order to do that, it may have to make some assumptions about how the player behaves, but it should be basically accurate, particularly over the long term. And the RTP is never over 100%. How could it be?! That would mean that the game lost money. If we take the current industry average on RTP at about 96% then we can see that most casino games should be delivering a 4% profit to casinos. In reality, the idealised player behaviour that helps to compiled RTP may be overstating player skill, and sites that monitor real-time RTP routinely show it coming out much lower than published figures.
So in order to keep profits coming in casino sites just need to have players.
How a no deposit bonus works
A no deposit bonus is designed to deliver these players.
They are clever, and they are effective.
Let’s take a look at an example to see how they work.
While most welcome bonuses are structured as a percentage of the player’s contribution, usually a multiple of it, like 200, 300 or even 400%. They have a maximum amount, usually £100 or more.
No deposit bonuses are more often small amounts of cash
The example we found, which is at a perfectly legitimate and legal UK site, is for a £10 welcome bonus.
This bonus is framed fairly simply, as a “£10 no deposit bonus”.
The devil is always in the detail though and in the case of a welcome bonus that is in the small print of the terms and conditions.
How often do you read the terms and conditions?
This is what we found in this example.
The £10 is for new players only (and thill will be checked when you sign up, and the checking may well be across a whole group of sites owned by one company) as is standard.
You have to opt-in to collect the bonus after you have registered your account.
Your bonus will be paid into your account as “bonus funds”. If you’re new to casinos you need to learn that they usually have two accounts, one of “real money” that you have deposited, and another of bonus funds that are “earned”.
Bonus funds are often regarded quite differently from real money, and you need to check what the rules are on the site you’re using.
In this case, you have three days to claim the bonus after registration.
Then we get to the meat.
Wagering requirements (sometimes also called “play through”) are an amount of money, usually a multiple of your bonus, that you must deposit and play with before you can withdraw any money won with or associated with your bonus.
In this example, it is 50-times your bonus.
And now we get to the real consequences.
You have to complete the wagering requirement within seven days of claiming the bonus.
So, if you accept this bonus you are – potentially – committed to wagering £500 of your own money at this site.
You need to consider if that is worth it.
It’d be worth it if you won a massive prize from your £10 of free bets wouldn’t it?
Well, the next condition on the offer is that the maximum in total that you can win from your bonus is £50.
That’s right. You have to spend £500 of your own money and you cannot win any more than £50.
Does this sound like £10 you want?
In addition to this, there are limits on how you can pay off your wagering requirements.
A small number of games contribute 100% of their value to your wagering requirements. Live casino games contribute just 30%. Table games just 10%.
So, if you enjoy playing a blackjack simulator you would need to spend £5,000 of your own money within 7 days in order to qualify to release a maximum of £50 in winnings from your bonus.
When we first explain offers like this – and sometimes when we see the details explained fully ourselves – we find them quite shocking.
However, these are standard terms and conditions. While there is competition within the casino industry it works like competition within most capitalist businesses and simply sets in place a set of more or less agreed standards across the industry.
The deal for you then is that you will be given £10 to spend and you might win £50 if you spend £500 in a week.
The deal for the site is that they get a player who will try to spend £500 in a short period of time, of which they are pretty much guaranteed to leave behind a decent slice as profit, and it’s very likely that they will then strike up a long-term relationship with the site.
There is a psychological truth that plays well with these bonuses. That is that humans – on average – tend to worry more about losing something they think they have earned than they worry about losing something in the future. That is why – and we always assume long-term, established terms like these must have some success – players are willing to bet that £500 in the hope that they will hang on to £50!
And that’s of those players who even bother to fully read and understand the welcome offer.
No Deposit Free Spin Welcome Offers
There is another variety of no deposit welcome offer.
That is free spins.
Free spins may be offered as a no deposit welcome offer, or they may be untethered from a deposit amount in a broader offer that does have a deposit component to it.
We’ll look at a genuine no deposit free spins offer.
We’ve found a couple of no deposit free spins offers that appear to come with no wagering requirements.
This means that you could potentially collect these bonuses, play your free spins, win, and walk away from the site.
The terms and conditions in these offers are pretty strict though.
For example, this no deposit free spins offer is found at a well-known UK online casino site.
You must register, and you’ll be given 25 free spins on just one game, Lucky Lady’s Charm Deluxe.
This offer was available for a very short space of time, running for around 3 months. We have seen other similar offers that are limited by the number of customers, for example, allowing just 5,000 new customers to enjoy the offer.
The spins had to be used within 7 days and they were worth 20p each, giving your bonus an actual value of £5.
Winnings aren’t capped though, and they are paid into your cash funds.
No wagering requirements are listed on the promotion terms and conditions. The site does warn that the site’s general terms and conditions apply, and this can be a sneaky way of introducing general wagering requirements that apply to all bonuses.
This doesn’t seem to be the case here though, and the general terms and conditions say simply that wagering requirements are defined on individual offers.
You’ll notice that we’re being quite cautious about even describing this as a genuine no deposit free spins offer because such things are so rare and we’re so used to finding surprises in terms and conditions.
Deals like this are great. However, you should still be aware that their purpose remains to get you to a site, to commit you to a site for a certain amount of time, and, in doing so, to persuade you to stick around and spend (lose) all your gambling money at that site.
There’s a slight danger though even to these offers, as every site we’ve ever seen has a clause or clauses in its terms and conditions that stops players from so-called “unfair” practices or “bonus abuse”. One doesn’t have to look too far to find complaints about such clauses online, and they can ban what most players will simply regard as good tactical play and money management.
How to Find the Best No Deposit Bonus Codes
Bonuses and offers are the most common marketing tool in the casino industry. They are also the most commonly used tool of scammers.
The casino industry has come on a long way in the past few years. The vast majority of online casino companies are completely legitimate and legal. We might moan about some of their marketing efforts, but they are operating fairly by legal and business standards.
Scammers rely on people not being informed. And those who are most likely to be uninformed are the desperate and the vulnerable, who are more likely to be on the lookout for quick money. This group of people might also include people who are trying to get around some other part of the law – a key skill in con games is to make the victim believe that they have broken some law as it makes them more likely to connive in further law-breaking, and less likely to seek help from the authorities if they do start to smell a rat.
You should avoid ending up in this situation.
The only way to do this is to play at safe, legitimate casino sites. Your first weapon in this battle is to look for licensing from the UK Gambling Commission. You should always check this licensing properly by clicking through to read the licence.
You should go beyond this too: make sure you’re playing at a legitimate site. Never sign up at a site that you haven’t had a good look around, and that you can’t find at least some third-party information about. Scammers almost never have the time to put much effort into developing a full site, you’ll see just a splash page with the offer.
If you’re taking all the possible safety precautions then you’ve made a good start.
Should I take a No Deposit Casino Bonus?
This seems like an odd question. It’s not. We’ve made it clear, we hope, in this piece that welcome bonuses are not really there for your benefit. They are there to provide as many customers as possible to a casino site in order to maximise that site’s profits.
So it may not be in your best interest to accept a no deposit bonus code.
The best way to consider a site is to check if it’s one that you would be happy to sign up with and spend a considerable amount of time at without any welcome bonus at all.
As the welcome bonus, if accepted, is going to tie you to a site for a while in any case, then there’s little point in accepting a bonus from a site you don’t really like.
A welcome bonus, whether it’s no deposit or not, isn’t really enough on its own to justify signing up at a site in our view.
However, a good no deposit welcome bonus can be a nice way in, and a nice way to look around a site and try out some games without risking any of your own money (though this is very likely to be limited to a single game).
Use them in this way and you should reduce your harms.
As the best we could come up with for unrestricted no deposit bonus was around £5 worth of free credit on a single machine you should certainly accept that there is an absolutely infinitesimal chance of you getting rich off a no deposit welcome bonus.
It’s a chance you might want to take if you find an offer as good as the one we’ve outlined above.
If you think a no deposit welcome bonus is going to cause you to spend more money than you want to spend, or to spend more time gambling than you want to spend, then you should absolutely not accept that welcome bonus.
If you can look at a no deposit welcome bonus and you’ve read all the small print and you’re sure that it’s something you can take or leave then it might be worth considering on its own merits.
Otherwise, you should consider these no deposit welcome bonuses as frills to the casino experience and much less useful in choosing where to play than good customer service, a good set of games, and a safe legal site.
Safety always first!
No Deposit Online Casinos FAQ
A casino that doesn’t ask you for cash?! What a thing that would be! But does a no deposit online casino even exist? And if they do are they safe to use.
In this Q and A, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to understand the world of no deposit online casinos.
What is a no deposit online casino?
Casinos run on money – your money – and that money is deposited. Casinos that offer play without money changing hands must be one of two things: Not a casino, but a review site or similar. It is possible to play casino games of most sorts (usually not live games) for free at lots of sites that have no facility to accept money or pay it out. You should be asked to prove your age if you do this from the UK. A casino with a welcome offer. Welcome offers are the only way a casino site that offers paid play will offer you the chance to play completely for free. No deposit welcome offers are very rare, but they can be found, and we’ll look at them in more detail in this guide.
How does a no deposit online casino work?
No deposit casinos are a form of the welcome offer. A welcome offer is available just once to a player who has never deposited at or joined the site that is offering the offer before. In order to be legal, a site will still need to collect quite a lot of information about a player even if they do not take any money from them. This means you will need to prove that you are of a legal age to play, and probably that you have an address in the UK. It is also very likely that you will need to provide the details of your payment method to the site, even if no money is taken from it in the first instance.
How does a no deposit bonus work?
A no deposit bonus is designed to attract players. They are usually for much smaller amounts of money (or free spins) than deposit bonuses. They are usually for a single, flat amount, for example, £10 rather than 100% up to £100. No deposit bonuses usually have strict rules about how the money is used at the site and how a player can access that money or any winnings they make with that money. YOU NEED TO READ THE SMALL PRINT!
Are no deposit casinos safe to use?
They are safe if they are legal, licensed and legitimate casino sites. The license is your best first defence against dodgy casino sites. Make sure you check that the licence is in place and up to date. The truth of scamming is this: vulnerable people are more likely to fall victim to scams. Vulnerable people who need money are looking for short cuts to money. No casino should be considered as a way to answer money problems, you should always consider gambling as entertainment for which you will be charged. Please don’t think that no deposit casino bonuses will result in you winning large amounts of money. The restrictions on these bonuses mean that you will have to spend a lot of your own money to unlock any money that you are lucky enough to win.
Are free spins a no deposit bonus?
Free spins may be offered as a no deposit bonus. Again, this will usually be a smaller number of spins than you will be offered if you deposit.
What are the restrictions at no deposit casinos?
No deposit bonuses give you something for nothing. Or rather they appear to. In the vast majority of cases (there are exceptions, of course) no deposit bonuses also demand quite a lot from the player. For example, they will have wagering requirements. Wagering requirements are a figure that the player must deposit and play with at a site to unlock bonus funds and withdraw them. These figures can be very high: for example, 20, 30, or even 50 or 60-times the value of the bonus. This will mean that if you accept a £10 no deposit bonus you may have to deposit and spend £500 of your own money, and it may be even more.
Do I need a bank account to use a no deposit casino?
You may not, but you will almost certainly need to provide details of a payment method that the casino site accepts, and this may be a bank account or debit card number. However, you may be able to open an account with a PayPal or other e-wallet account or another payment method.
How should I choose a no deposit casino?
Safety first should be your watchword. Once you have decided that a site is safe then you should consider whether or not it is a site that you want to use, and probably for the long term. It is not good, healthy behaviour to go around picking up all the bonuses. It’s probably far better to find a site you like and stay there for the long term because it offers you a good service.
Are there other no deposit casino options?
It is possible that you will find no deposit offers away from welcome offers, but these are very rare. Most offers require something of the player, and if they don’t demand a deposit as their immediate cost they will almost certainly demand that you play games or otherwise earn your entry into a competition. Make sure you read the terms and conditions.
How do I find no deposit casinos?
Because no deposit casinos are rare they are, antithetically, easy to find. You had better believe that a casino site that is offering a no deposit offer will be all over the web shouting about it! Your best bet is to use your favourite search engine, but also consider using review sites and casino forums and discussion pages in order to find no deposit casinos.