Unsurprisingly, the casinos want you to keep coming back
Loyalty and VIP programs
Loyalty programs are a common offering by UK casino sites. However, it can be the case that not everything that glitters is gold. While it’s true many casino sites offer incentives for playing, each one is different. With this being the case, it’s hardly surprising that some programs are more valuable than others. As a player, you need to know what they are and how they work in practice.
What are loyalty programs?
An online casino loyalty program is no different from any other reward scheme; when you spend money, you accrue points which have a value of some sort. As you’d expect, each operator has their own criteria. However, as an example, a typical loyalty program will look like this:
Wager £XX to earn YY loyalty point/s.
Use YY points to purchase ZZ bonus/bonus credits.
To help distinguish one system from another, operators will offer things like multipliers, points boosts and loyalty levels.
But, whichever way an online casino dresses up their loyalty scheme, there is one idea you need to keep in mind: consistency counts. To put it another way, the more you wager, the more rewards you can earn. Of course, you shouldn’t bet more than you can afford. However, if you want to make any casino loyalty system pay, you need to play for real money. Assuming you do this, you’ll earn points which, in turn, can be used to unlock some extra value.
How do casino loyalty schemes work?
Here's an example of a casino's loyalty program:
Earn five loyalty points for every £10 wagered
However, unless you play slots, the £10 total will have a different value. Because of weighting contributions, the game you play will determine how much of your bet is acknowledged. For example, every pound you wager on slots will count towards the £10 target as these games have a 100% weighting. In contrast, table poker has a 50% weighting. This means £0.50 of every £1 staked is counted. Therefore, you’ll have to stake £20 to hit the “£10” target.
This is pretty standard practice in online casinos, along the lines of:
100% weighting = All Slots, American Roulette and all Parlour Games.
50% weighting = All Table Pokers, all Roulettes (Except America Roulette), and Sic Bo
10% weighting = All Video/Power Pokers (except All Aces Video/Power Pokers), all Blackjacks (except Classic Blackjack), all Craps and all Baccarats
2% weighting = Classic Blackjack and All Aces Video/Power Pokers.
Once you’ve banked at least 5,000 loyalty points, you can exchange them for £10 in casino credits. Finally, these credits will be subject to a 30X playthrough.
So, looking at this in practical terms, you have to wager £10,000 to hit the 5,000-point goal.
Once you’ve done that, you can claim a £10 bonus which will have a £300 playthrough requirement. As you can see, these are large spending targets. However, when you take into account the VIP levels and their respective bonuses, it’s not as tough as it may seem. For example, once you hit 5,000 points and move to the second tier (silver), you’ll receive a 25% points boost.
Another important point to note is that money wagered is not the same as money lost. Wagering simply means the money you’ve staked (irrespective of any wins or losses). Therefore, it’s possible you can bet £10,000 but win £10,100. This would give you enough points to claim some cashback and leave you with a £100 profit.
With the above loyalty scheme example, the only reward you can collect is bonus cash (this isn’t true of every system). However, what’s important to note with loyalty programs is points are not going to be just handed over to you, consistency is key when it comes to reward programs. Casinos aren’t in the business of giving something for nothing, you have to show you’re loyalty in order to get something back.
What Are VIP programs?
Some online casinos have an invite-only VIP program. Sometimes this can apply to the top level of the loyalty scheme and sometimes it can be for a special set of promotions that only selected players will receive - the unwritten rule is that you will need to wager a considerable amount of money to be chosen.
Benefits of VIP programs
Although each site has its own nuances, it’s typically the case that players who have reached the very top tier are those that have wagered a considerable sum of money. For invite-only schemes, there are no exact requirements.
In general, top tier bonuses at the top online casinos include:
Personalised reload bonuses
Enhanced cashback rates
Personal VIP account manager
Invitations to special events
Should you play the loyalty game?
If you’re a low stakes player or someone that doesn’t play too often, loyalty schemes aren’t going to matter too much.
However, the counter to this is that you don’t have to do anything extra to join one. Because the casino records the number of bets you make and then ranks you accordingly, you don’t have to opt-in or do anything specific. Therefore, if you do happen to play and wager a lot in one month, you could accrue some loyalty points. If you are a high roller you might want to make sure you taking advantage of everything the casino can offer you.
Loyalty programs are great, but they should be seen as a background bonus. If you get to the next tier, great. If you don’t, forget about it. In reality, weekly promotions such as reload bonuses and free spin offers are more lucrative in the short-term. Of course, if you’re a high-volume player, it’s worth focusing on loyalty rewards. However, if you’re a casual player, stick to regular promotions and treat loyalty schemes simply as an added bonus.