Online casinos are big all over the world, and the last decade or so has seen a huge increase in the number of available sites. These online casinos offer big collections of virtual games, including online slots plus classic table games. While they may not be quite the same as playing at a land-based casino, they still offer a thrilling experience and the chance to win real money.
One of the advantages of online casinos is that you can actually play for free if you want. At a brick-and-mortar casino, you can only play with real money or chips, but online, it’s a little different. All of the games at an online casino are available to play with real money or for free. These free to play casino games work in exactly the same way as the real thing. Only you aren’t risking your own money. So how exactly does the casino make money by offering these games?
Essentially, the free game is a demo and a chance for players to get to grips with the rules and practice before playing for real money. Online casinos still make money from offering free-to-play games because they know that if players enjoy them, they’ll sign up, make a deposit and start playing for real money. It gives players a chance to try the game out before they get started while also allowing the casino to attract players in with the chance to play for free.
How Do Online Casinos Make Money?
Online casinos are able to make money through the house edge. All games have a house edge, which is a slight advantage for the casino. Some games have a smaller edge than others, which is why players tend to favor certain games. The house edge is indicated by a percentage and is the opposite of the return to player (RTP) rate that you can find in the game details.
By looking at the RTP rate of a game, you can get an indication of how much you can expect to win back from a game when playing for real money over a long period of time. For example, if a game has an RTP rate of 98% and you play with $100 over an extended period of time, you could expect to win back $98. Of course, it’s not that simple as random chance is present and will mean that some players win more while others win less.
The house edge on a game with 98% RTP is 2%, and this is where the casino makes it money. Over time, it will always have the advantage. Even when an online casino has to pay out big wins of hundreds of thousands, it will recoup the losses by winning back small amounts from lots of different players.
What About Bonuses?
Most online casinos also provide special promotions and bonuses to their players. Although these can sometimes be worth over $1000 dollars, the casinos are still able to make their money back and profit in the end. The reason for this is two-fold.
First of all, bonuses are a great way to attract new players to sign up. Casinos advertise big welcome offers such as no deposit bonuses, free spins, and matched deposit offers to encourage new players to join and start playing. The bonuses are always relatively easy to claim and act as an incentive for casual and hardcore casino players alike. This means the casino increases its player base, and even if it loses money initially, it gains money in the long term if those players stick around.
Secondly, bonuses usually come with restrictions on how they can be used to ensure that players aren’t just getting free money. Most welcome bonuses have wagering requirements, where the player will need to wager the full bonus and deposit amount a set number of times before they can make a withdrawal. By the time the player has completed the wagering, they will have usually lost some of the bonus to the casino.