One of the lessons drummed into you as a kid is that you don’t get anything for free.
We are always told things like there are no such things as free lunch and that we should beware of anyone bearing gifts.
This is something that become parts of our psyche, we learn to distrust and to become cynical about getting anything for free.
Despite this we remain bombarded by many offers that seem good. Everytime you visit your local Sainsbury’s we are told that many things are buy one get one free or you can get three things for the price of two.
Then there are the DFS adverts that bombard us with news about cheap or cut price sofas.
But when academics do deep studies into those deals they often find that actually, there is no real benefit to these deals.
In many cases the offers are actually just getting you to buy things you don’t need but giving the supermarkets a much needed popularity boost as you think they are very clever and are helping you out.
There is, however, one set of deals that, if you are smart, and if you ensure you use them properly, that actually end up being very good, that can help you to make money and that can allow you to have fun without putting down any of your own money.
These are the free welcome bonus’ that you get when you first sign up to an online casino or betting site. They give you something for nothing in many cases and allow you to win more the first time you bet.
Of course, the long term aim is to get you in and then keep you using their site only with your own money rather than a welcome bonus.
However if you are clever and you only use the bonus then walk away you can take something from online casinos without putting anything back.
It means you can finally look a gift horse in the mouth, you can take the bull by its horns and you no longer need to beware of online services bearing gifts.
Why then do places that are notoriously tight with money feel that they have to offer you something for nothing?
I mean, the house always wins, is a classic phrase that is always uttered whenever anyone talks about casinos.
However, the reason that they have to offer you something nowadays is the fact that they have to face a level of competition that they aren’t use to nor do they particularly want.
In the old days before online casinos and even in recent years when online casinos were not as ubiquitous as they are now, there was no need to compete, they had a captive market, at least in most cases.
Many cities had only a handful of places spread far apart meaning that if you were at a casino and wanted to go to a new one it was a total hassle to try and get to a new one.
When they first started going online many of them were so poorly designed and such a hassle to use that if you somehow managed to find one that wasn’t totally terrible then you would hold onto it and never change.
However, now you can simply change with the flick of a button, the click of a mouse or by clicking on a link.
The quality is much higher than it was with a great number of places all giving you new, fun and interesting games to play.
This means that casinos suddenly need to keep you, they need to make you an offer you can’t refuse and they have to finally compete for your custom.
For once as consumers we are in the driving seat, all of a sudden they need to tell you you are valuable, they have to keep you in their sphere.
So you can play the field, you take different bonuses, you can try different sites, you can play lots of casino games for free before deciding if it’s something for you.
In so many spheres of our lives we have to work so hard to get anything but now we have the opportunity to get something for free so we need to take advantage.
Image courtesy of Nick Ares via Flickr, with thanks.