With lockdown or social restrictions in place in many countries around the world, as well as the cancelling of almost all live sporting events, gambling businesses have seen some of their traditional revenue streams dry up.
According to the UK’s gaming regulator The Gambling Commission, up to 50% of the UK’s top betting firms’ revenues came from retail venues. But bookies have been forced to shut up shop, leaving casual gamblers who like to place a small flutter now and then with nowhere to go – and no sport to bet on.
Casino in your pocket
Cue a big push by gambling firms to attract everyday punters to the glitzy world of online casinos. Contrary to popular belief, digital casinos are nothing new – in fact, the first opened almost 24 years ago!
What is new in recent times, though, is the quality and quantity of online casino offerings. They have become pretty mainstream, with all the major bookmakers now having casino offerings on their websites or holding significant stakes in independent casino brands.
The biggest growth area for casinos has been mobile gaming. Thanks to smartphones, tablets and laptops, having a punt is now easier than ever, and the power of modern phones means the experience looks just as great as on a PC.
Table games vs slots?
Online casinos have always featured digital versions of the traditional table game favourites. Playing roulette, blackjack or baccarat isn’t for everyone, though. Card-based games or those involving complicated gambling mechanics aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
Hence the rise of the online slot machine. Everyone knows how slot machines work – coin in the slot, push the button, reels spin, hope for a few of the same thing in a row! Slots have become increasingly popular as computer graphics have turned them into mini video game-like experiences with sound effects and cool music. But underneath all the fancy animations and pumping soundtrack they are still just slots, so very accessible to casual gamblers.
Free spins for all?
It’s for these reasons that online slots have become the battleground where casinos and gambling businesses are trying to attract new punters. It’s never been a better time to land some awesome free spins offers and many casinos are pushing the boat out.
If you find a casino with an introductory offer of 10 or 20 free spins on just one slot machine you need to look elsewhere. Increasingly, online casinos are rewarding new account openers with more spins across a wider range of machines.
Many casinos are also improving the restrictions on how you can deal with any winnings from your free spins. Typically, wins from free spins need to be wagered again multiple times before they can be taken as cash.
However, some big-name casinos have taken the extraordinary step of removing the restrictions from their free spins entirely. This means that if you hit the jackpot using one of those free spins, the winnings will end up in your casino account as cash there and then and they are yours to withdraw and spend as you like.
It’s certainly never been a better time to be a new casino player.