888 has dialed its commitment to the burgeoning US online gambling industry up a notch.
The operator — which has been a mainstay in New Jersey since the first wave of legal NJ online gambling sites went live in November 2013 — recently unveiled a complete revamp of its no-deposit and first deposit bonus structures.
This overhaul, which covers both online casino and poker, is hands down the most aggressive move made by a NJ operator this calendar year. And with the changeover, 888 now offers new players the most bonus bang for the buck of any industry player sans one.
888’s new online poker bonus comes up Aces
Surprisingly, its New Jersey’s oft-forgotten online poker players that are receiving the sweetest deal.
The no-deposit portion of the offer now consists of:
- $4 worth of bonus money which can be used on either 888 Poker or 888 Casino
- Six $1 tournament tickets, for use exclusively on 888 Poker
- $10 free play for select casino games on 888 Casino
While this is an above average offer for the industry, it pales in generosity to 888 Poker’s new first deposit bonus.
From here on out, players are eligible for a mammoth 100% match up t0 $1,500.
For perspective, until recently the next best deposit bonus offered by a NJ online poker operator was capped at just 40% of that amount (both PokerStars and Borgata Poker offer new players 100% up to $600). Newly-minted Play MGM just upped the ante even further, with a 100% match up to $2,000.
Notably, 888’s new poker bonus is significantly larger than its old industry leading offer, which limited first time depositors to $888 in bonus cash.
As is the case with all NJ online poker bonuses, 888 Poker is simply not giving the bonus funds away. Instead, the bonus will unlock at a rate of $10 per 100 status points earned.
Players earn two status points per $1 paid in rake and tournament fees. Thus, in order to unlock a $10 chunk, they’ll have to generate $50 for the operator — equating to a 20% rakeback deal.
Admittedly, some other NJ online poker sites do offer better clearance rates, but given that entry level players will also earn an additional 5% rakeback via the site’s loyalty program, this is anything but a raw deal.
Not to mention, players will have a healthy 90 days to clear the bonus, which should prove ample enough for most low-to-mid stakes regulars.
Casino bonus swells in size, but read the fine print
In terms of monetary value, 888 Casino’s retooled first deposit bonus parallels that of the operator’s online poker bonus. But there’s a bit more going on under the hood.
To clarify, players will not be eligible for the full $1,500 on their first deposit. Instead, the bonus is divvied up into two chunks:
- On their first deposit, players will receive a 50% match bonus up to $500
- On their second deposit, 888 opens the promotional floodgates with a 50% match bonus up to $1,000
Notice that these are only 50% bonuses. What that means is players must deposit $2 for every $1 of the bonus. So, should a player hope to capitalize on the entire bonus amount, they’ll have to deposit at least $1,000 the first time, and $2,000 the second go-round.
There’s also the matter of the wagering requirement, and here’s where 888 Casino’s first deposit bonus loses a few points. In order to clear the bonus to their cash wallet, players must turnover the bonus amount 30x on online slots, 150x on roulette, or an excessive 300x on blackjack.
Compared to other sites, these requirements tend toward the exorbitant.
Still, it’s hard to deny just how aggressive a move this is for the operator, especially considering that it’s old NJ online casino bonus was capped at just $300.
What’s the outlook for 888 in New Jersey?
888 hasn’t exactly made waves in New Jersey. Its casino offering is very modest compared to other NJ rollouts, consisting of just approximately 60 games. Not to mention, 888 is one of just two NJ online casinos not to have launched an Android app. The other happens to be Harrah’s Casino, which also runs off the 888 platform.
All that said, there are some signs that 888 will abandon its sedentary approach for a more active one. The site added PayPal processing, revamped its cashier, and tossed a coat of paint on its main interface, all fairly recently.
Combine these improvements with the new bonus package and the fact that 888 Casino offers mostly exclusive games, and there’s at least some motivation for new players to check out the site.
As for 888 Poker, which shares partial liquidity with WSOP NJ, the site is desperately in need of a shakeup. Traffic and revenue have sunk dramatically over the past few months, despite the addition of the BLAST lottery sit & go format.
The retooled bonus should go a long ways toward capturing players that previously took a pass on the network, which in turn, might compel previous loyal players to return.