There’s no denying that December is often the best month of the year for taking advantage of great promotions at NJ online casinos. This particular holiday season the bar has been set not by any one single operator, but by a software company that is offering its own prize drawings across numerous sites.
That said, the site-by-site offers are hardly akin to coal in one’s stocking.
Read on to get a feel for which of New Jersey’s online casinos are showing the biggest holiday spirit.
NetEnt’s industry-wide giveaway
Software provider NetEnt appears to have been visited by three ghosts recently, as the company is the sponsor of a promo awarding $200,000 to players that wager on its holiday-themed games.
The Big Holiday Giveaway is a sweepstakes where entries are earned by playing select NetEnt games at multiple participating casinos. There are to be three drawings:
- Players qualifying from December 1-9 will participate in a December 10 drawing with a shared prize pool of $30,000.
- Qualifying from December 10-16 gets you into the December 17 drawing that has a shared pool of $70,000.
- From December 17-23 players will earn entries to the final and largest drawing on December 24. This offers combined prizes totaling $100,000.
Players earn one entry to each drawing for every $20 wagered on a qualified game (up to 50 entries per day for $1,000 bet). The prizes are in cash credited directly to your account on the site you in which you earned the entry, meaning players are free to withdraw there winnings immediately. Each player can only win once per drawing, but it is possible to win in multiple drawings.
While the wide scope of sites participating adds to the excitement, it also presents the only real drawback to the value of the promotion. Since the giveaway shares such a large potential pool of winners it weakens the individual odds of each entry. As a small caveat to offset this disadvantage, NetEnt has decided to bunch the operators into three groups, offering three versions of the top place prize. Lower prize values are unaffected.
One interesting bit to note is that the different operator groups appear to have different prize values and numbers of winners, particularly for the third drawing. Betfair Casino, Golden Nugget, and Pala Casino seem to offer a top prize of $5,000 for the final drawing and minimum prize of $10 for 90% of the winners, whereas Mohegan Sun and Resorts Casino are topping out at $600 for the same drawing, but a bottom prize of $75. This is something to keep in mind, some players may prefer better chance for a medium sized prize while others will want a very small chance at a much bigger one.
SugarHouse runs one last race
Play SugarHouse is prepping to host one of its largest promotions of the calendar year, with a spectacular King Cash event slated to close out the year.
From December 13 to 26 the site will offer King Cash’s $100k Race. Similar in ways to the $50K Race at the beginning of this year, players will earn scratch cards for daily activity that will award instant bonus money or “miles” to travel through a map of NJ. Earning enough miles will bring you to landmarks resulting in more prizes, with more bonuses, additional scratch cards, and deposit offers won along the way. The top prize for completing the race first is $2,500, with the top 30 players scoring at least $250, and anyone else who finishes the race guaranteed a $150 bonus prize, all with SugarHouse’s industry leading 1x playthrough.
What we particularly like about this offer is that it sort of caters to both hardcore players, who will likely have a better chance of scoring a top prize, and casuals, who will still net some nice bonuses via minimal-to-moderate play.
Even until the promotion launches, PlaySugarHouse remains one of the better choices of online casinos. The strength of its iRush Rewards loyalty program on its own keeps it on par with any other major holiday giveaway, especially now that the program is shared with activity on its new online sportsbook. This makes the $100K Race an extra smart play, since the loyalty points earned in the process will continue to result in other rewards.
Speaking of loyalty, Play SugarHouse also has a big event in store for its VIP players. Those who reach Tier 7 or above will be treated to a twist on the casino’s popular bingo games. Entitled $20,000 Holiday VIP Bingo Tournament, from December 10 – 16, players can participate in 20 bingo qualifiers, with winners locking up $100 in bonus funds and an entry into the site largest bingo game yet: $10k. Ten out of the twenty entrants for this event will receive prizes ranging from $200 for tenth, up to a whopping $2,500 for first. In addition, all winners will receive a VIP Holiday Mystery Gift ranging in value from $150 to $300.
Beyond this, VIP players will be treated to usual exclusive deposit bonuses and invites to twice-weekly high-stakes bingo games.
Grade: A-, but only for seriously high-volume players
For very frequent gamblers Golden Nugget is probably the casino to stick with this month. In addition to participating in the NetEnt giveaway, Golden Nugget is running its final monthly leaderboard competition of the year, the Race to the Holidays.
This leaderboard competition has $75,000 in bonus prizes for the month, and adds another $175,000 in year-end prizes for the annual race (for which Golden Points earned this month count triple). The same activity on the select NetEnt games that will earn you giveaway entries will also yield points to advance you through both races.
Unfortunately casual players and/or people that haven’t been keeping up with the races thus far will find themselves so far behind that they should probably stick to Golden Nugget’s Live Dealer games instead. But those willing to end the year with some intensely hardcore gambling and maximizing their Big Holiday Giveaway chances will find extra value in sprinting to the finish.
Hard Rock and Ocean unwrap classic gifts
Hard Rock grade: B+; Ocean grade: C+
Such calendar giveaways were once very common, particularly among online poker sites. The promotions lean toward pure value, a small bonus offer or free gift each day. Of the two Hard Rock’s promotion appears a bit more generous, though at least some of the Ocean offers are worth the time. Either way, there is no reason current players on the sites shouldn’t log in each day to see what they get.
Hard Rock’s Rockin Holidays presents a different small promotion on each day, so far it has taken such form as deposit bonuses, free Wheel of Rock spins, cashback on losses, and even sweepstakes for concert tickets at Hard Rock AC. Admittedly, not every offer will interest every player, but throughout the month everyone can expect at least a few appealing gems.
Rockin Holidays runs until December 31.
Ocean Casino’s Winter Wonderland Daily Bonus Calendar tends a bit more to the gift side of the equation: small amounts of bonus cash, free spins, and extra points multipliers. Incidentally, while Ocean is not directly included in the NetEnt Giveaway, its featured game of the week for December 3-9 happens to be the best of the slots that is part of the trans-network promotion: Fruit Shop Christmas Edition. A week-long leaderboard is running (1 point earned for every $1 bet) with the top ten wagerers earning between $25 and $1,000 in bonus cash.
Fruit Shop Christmas Edition has an expected return percentage of 96.7% (regular Fruit Shop is also eligible, same RTP) making it a worthy consideration for heavy play if stacked with other bonus offers. The only real drawback to this promo is that any bonuses won via the leaderboard are tied to a 10x wagering requirement, which is rather high for a leaderboard bonus.
Winter Wonderland runs until December 24.
Tropicana and Virgin stick with tradition
Overall Grade: B-
Sister sites Tropicana Casino and Virgin Casino can never be forgotten during a promotion cycle. While not participating in the same holiday trappings as the rest of the market, fans of the two casinos are will enjoy the usual constant spread of ongoing offers. As always sufficient play on any game nets you entries to rotating prize drawings, with play on weekends or during Happy Hours rewarding bonus Playback on your losses.
As is usually the case with the sisters, the promotions are a nice value if you are already a happy customer there but otherwise not a reason to switch from another casino where you currently play. Currently of the two, Virgin is the slightly better option, as the site is giving 10x the normal rewards V*points until December 6 with a minimum amount of play. Also every $50 bet from now to December 9 gets you both an entry to the Stocking Stuffers drawing for a $200 gift card, as well as a possible trip to a geothermal spa in Iceland via the monthly Virgin Adventures drawing.