Whether you’re a newcomer to online casinos or a seasoned pro, you’re sure to have encountered offers and bonuses tempting you with the lure of so-called “free spins” on slot machines.

But just how free are they? Do they end up costing you more than they’re worth? Do they involve any risk to your cash?

Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Read on for a quick run-down on how to navigate online gaming and boost your bankroll by making the best of free spins offers available in UK casinos. These offers come in various guises which we’ll get to later; for now, let’s have a look at how they work and how to make them work for you.

Strings Attached!

Nothing in life is free, and that’s true of most of the perks and prizes designed to pull your purse strings in online casinos. However, the free spins offers you’ll find online can be profitable over time if you’re careful.

Beware that they’ll usually come with a wagering requirement, meaning that you can’t cash out any winnings gained from free spins until you’ve staked a certain amount of money. For example, if the terms and conditions state a wagering requirement of 30x, and your free spins have won you £50, you’ll have to stake £1, 500 before you can withdraw your winnings.

So, the bonus is something to be looked at as a long-term gain – by playing at a casino as you usually would you’re making a profit with free spins offers over time, rather than instantly.

Although most of the time free spins offers and bonuses come with a wagering requirement, every now and then you’ll find some that don’t. These are rare, but they’re out there somewhere, and they’re a great way to make easy money that is genuinely free.

Know Your Game

You can increase the value of your winnings by opting for offers on slots with a high RTP. And of course, the lower the wagering requirement, the quicker you can access your cash . . .

Sometimes, bonus offers involving free spins will give you a range of slot machines to select from. Here’s where a little research pays off. Slots vary in both their volatility and the bet level required for a minimum stake. The free spins you’ll get in bonus offers will be of the same value as the lowest bet level of any game you can use them on. If you know what you’re doing, when given the choice of where to play your free spins, you’ll make sure you choose slot games with the lowest volatility and the highest minimum bet level.

Check the Ts and Cs

Make sure you check the terms and conditions of all offers and bonuses. You may find that you have the option to cancel the bonus without forfeiting any of your real money – sometimes the only loss is any profit you’ve made from the frees spins. So if you hit a winning streak with your real money, it might be worth your while to cash out early by cancelling the bonus. Forfeiting your free spins wins can sometimes allow you a bigger win in the end.

What’s On Offer

Free spins are offered in different variations. One of the most common types of free spins is as bonus offers, and you can keep track of what’s available in UK casinos with this free spins guide – a page dedicated entirely to frees spins included in bonus offers. These offers will typically be welcome bonuses for players new to a casino, rewards for loyal customers, or part of a campaign aimed at keeping members. Any winnings are credited to your online account and usually come with a wagering requirement.

Free spins also appear as a game mechanic – for example, as a feature that gets triggered during play, usually by landing a certain number of special symbols. Such free spins often increase your chances of winning big with multipliers and expanding wilds, and they have the further advantage of being free from wagering requirements.

Finally, and less commonly, free spins are sometimes found in the free-to-play demo version of a slot game. Of course, the credits you gain are worthless and can’t be cashed out, but demo play gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with a game without risk.

So, there you have it! For further detail and to keep up to date with available free spins in UK online casinos, have a read of the free spins guide –  you’ll find all your questions answered there.