Playing Online Slots for Free

How to Wager Responsibly for Real Money

Posted by Harry Kane on Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Playing Online Slots for Free

If you’ve ever read an online casino review, you’ll have probably come across the phrase ‘gambling with real money’. This may sound like a strange piece of terminology, as what else would you wager with when playing your choice of casino verticals or placing remote bets?

However, the term ‘real money’ provides a stark reminder of the primary risk associated with online gambling. More specifically, you have the potential to lose money every time you bet on a particular outcome, which is why you should never wager more than you can afford to lose online.

Because of this, you’ll need to take proactive and practical steps in order to safeguard your bankroll. Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

1. Access Demo Reels and Game Iterations Where Possible

If you enjoy playing slots for real money, you’re not alone. In fact, online slots now account for more than two-thirds of the total online GGY, while this percentage and share of the market is increasing every single year.

However, slots come in many different shapes and sizes, and we’re not only referring to the creative themes and pop-culture narratives that inspire them. In fact, there are different levels of variance too, which impact the frequency (and size) of your wins and bottom-line return-to-player (RTP) rate.

The RTP rate refers to how much you can expect to recoup for every £1 wagered on average and is usually expressed as a percentage between 90% and 97%. This information is crucial from a bankroll management perspective, as it helps you to understand the precise level of risk and loss involved over time.

While theoretically understanding a slot’s variance and RTP rate is one thing, however, it’s quite another to see how these factors impact on the nature of the gameplay. So, we’d recommend identifying casinos where you can play the demo version of your favourite slots for free.

With a game’s demo reels, you effectively play for free while using virtual (and bottomless) credit to fund your stakes. This enables you to get a feel for the pace and the style of gameplay, while also seeing the coin range in play and the minimum (or maximum) bet levels.

Similarly, you can access the slot’s full range of features, transitioning between the base game and bonus rounds as the game requires. You can also gauge the average size and frequency of the base game payouts in real terms, helping you to decide whether the slot is right for you.

2. Plan Your Bankroll Management for the Month

As we’ve already touched on, you should never wager more than you can afford to lose when gambling online. So, you’ll need to create a total bankroll that’s comfortably below this threshold, with this designed to cover a fixed and extended period of gambling.

Typically, we’d recommend setting your bankroll for the month, as most people in employment are paid on a four-weekly basis. However, you can also create a bankroll to cover each day or week, depending on you precise gambling activity and how frequently you’re paid.

If you do create a bankroll for the month, the next step is to plan how this will be distributed across the broad range of verticals and betting markets that you’re interested in. This may include regular slot or table game activity alongside special sporting events, but the key is to organise your activity as much as possible and determine how you intend to spread your bankroll.

This not only makes it considerably easier to manage your bankroll and negate the risk of exceeding this, but it also allows you to get the most from each individual wager and strike the ideal balance between minimising risk and maximising reward.

This may involve wagering close to the minimum bet level per spin when playing slots for an extended period of time. It will also require you to spread each individual wager thinly when playing table games such as roulette, in order to maximise coverage and increase your chances of winning with every single spin of the wheel.

3. Understand the Wagering Requirements

If you’re serious about playing for real money, you’ll want to ensure that you make the most of available welcome offers when signing up at a new casino platform.

After all, this can unlock free bets and spins alongside generous deposit matches, which can complement and leverage your existing bankroll to pursue increased returns over time.

However, you’ll need to understand wagering requirements if you really want to make the most of your bankroll and real money holdings.

Wagering requirements refer to the amount that you’re required to ‘play through’ in order to unlock any winnings associated with a bonus offer. It’s usually expressed as a multiplier of the total bonus value (minus the deposit), and is typically fixed at between 20x and 60x overall.

For example, let’s say that you deposit a minimum of £20 at a casino and the operator matches this as part of their welcome bonus. In this instance, the bonus value is worth £20, while wagering requirements of 40x will mean that you’ll have to play through £800 (£20 x 40) before you can withdraw any associated winnings.

Understanding these terms is key, as even the most generous bonus will prove ineffective if you can’t realistically afford to meet the wagering requirements. Remember, you’ll typically have a 30-day window from your first deposit to meet such terms, and you should be able to achieve this without compromising your bankroll management.

If not, you may want to compare the market to find more viable and affordable offers, which offer value and enable you to participate while continuing to gamble at a comfortable and responsible level.

Author: Ryan Reed