Online casino bonuses come in a few distinct categories. Understanding them can better position you to take advantage of them and turn them into real profits. In the following article we’ll introduce the casino bonus and discuss:
- What an online casino bonus actually is.
- Welcome bonuses.
- No deposit bonuses.
However, more important than the bonus types themselves are specific terms and conditions relating to them. These can really make the difference between a highly profitable and less lucrative proposition. We’ll cover all of that in this article though!
What is a Casino Bonus?
A casino bonus is a promotional tool that iGaming operators use to encourage their members to gamble with them. They might be used to lure a new player into registering for an account or perhaps to prompt an existing player to make another deposit.
Casino bonuses rely on something called bonus cash. Bonus cash functions exactly like regular money when used with any of the casino games. Players can bet on slots, blackjack, in the live casino, and sometimes take their bonus money to the poker section of their chosen casino.
The one thing a player can’t do with bonus money is withdraw. They must first satisfy various terms and conditions to turn the bonus money into real money. This can then be used for additional bets on games or withdrawn.
Wagering requirements will likely include the following:
- Rollover demand – the number of times players must bet winnings from the bonus, the bonus itself, and/or any deposit on eligible games.
- Game eligibility – to reduce their risk, casinos will exclude or limit contributions to wagering made on high return-to-player rated games.
- Time restrictions – depending on the type of bonus, players might have anywhere between an hour and a few months to complete the rollover requirements.
- Maximum cash out cap – again this will depend on the type of bonus. Some casinos will make the maximum you can win from a bonus very low to limit damage to their overall profitability.
Another form of bonus is free spins. Whilst these themselves do not have wagering requirements attached, any winnings from them almost certainly will. Just like with all other important details, you can check this within the terms and conditions of the bonus. There do exist rare “wagerless” free spin promotions. Incredibly rare, these are always worth playing no matter how low the number of spins is!
New Player Bonuses
By far the most common time to receive a bonus is when first signing up to a new casino. Bonuses awarded to new players only are referred to as new player, signup, registration, or welcome bonuses.
New player bonuses can take many different forms. They can be one of or a combination of any of the following:
- No deposit bonus cash.
- Deposit bonus cash.
- Free spins.
It’s worth noting that many modern online casinos will operate a range of different departments. They might have a poker room, a sportsbook, a traditional online casino, a virtual bingo hall. Each of these different sections may have their own welcome bonus too. It’s worth checking all this out before you start the signup process. It might be the case that the bonuses are only valid for a certain period following your initial registration.
No Deposit Bonuses
Contrary to what you might think, some of the most potentially lucrative bonuses are in fact the smallest. The no deposit bonus is unique in the world of online gambling since it requires none of the player’s own money to activate it. Since the casino is giving away an entirely risk-free shot at winning real, withdrawable money, it’s understandable that they would want to keep the amounts small.
For the same reason, casinos will typically make the terms and conditions of a no deposit bonus pretty harsh too. Expect to see many games excluded and a massive rollover requirement. You’ll also probably find that the maximum winnings you can take from these promotions is very low too.
Although it’s certainly not a given that players will take money from a no deposit bonus, they are undoubtedly one of the most profitable bonuses long-term. Since there is absolutely zero downside potential to a no deposit bonus, the risk is also zero. With a deposit bonus, players often need to lock up their deposit as part of the terms and conditions. This means they can end up eating into their own funds just to clear the wagering requirements.
No deposit bonuses don’t require any of the player’s own money whatsoever. There is zero possibility they can lose any funds and they have only the opportunity to win or not. The odds might be long but there’s no limit on the number of casinos you can sign up with to claim no deposit bonuses. Playing 50 of them results in a much greater chance of winning something!
No deposit bonuses will either be bonus cash itself or free spins. They’re most common as a welcome bonus and can be awarded in conjunction with a subsequent deposit bonus.
Another common type of bonus is the matched deposit bonus. These promotions involve the players’ own money, meaning that there is risk involved.
With a deposit bonus, the casino will top up a player’s deposit with casino bonus funds. Typically, the casino will contribute 50, 100, or 200 percent of the player’s actual deposit. This gives the player a lot more bankroll to play with.
Such deposit bonuses will often convert the player’s deposit into bonus money too. This means that wagering requirements will apply to both the deposit and the bonus.
When using these promotions, it’s crucial that players pay close attention to wagering requirements. The higher the wagering requirements are, the less likely they are to make a withdrawal of funds won directly from the promotion.
It’s Not the Bonus Type, It’s the Small Print that’s Important!
No deposit bonuses are the only casino bonuses that are entirely risk-free. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them the most lucrative. How profitable a casino bonus will be for a player will depend on numerous factors. These include:
- Number of times they need to wager their bonus funds – this is perhaps most important. The lower the better!
- Which games are eligible for playing the promotion – different games have different average return-to-player ratings. Casinos will often exclude or limit the wagering contributions of more lucrative games. If you find a bonus that you can use for blackjack, jump on it, they are very rare.
- How long they have to do it all in – time restrictions apply to bonuses. The shorter the window to use it in it, the larger the players bets will need to be to clear the bonus in time. This means the player is considerably more likely to bust out. Look for bonuses without harsh time restrictions on wagering requirements for a better chance of winning.
- What the maximum cash out from the offer is – casinos might force players to forfeit any funds above a maximum cap when wagering has been completed. This can be very low for no deposit bonuses. Obviously, the higher the cap is, the better the promotion.
Get Out There and Try Some
Now that you know all there is to know about online casino bonuses and how to spot the best ones, what are you waiting for? Go try some!
We recommend starting with no deposit bonuses since there are loads of them and players can build up experience without risking their own money. After working through a few of them, you might be lucky enough to take down a prize from one.
You can then try your luck at some of the more lucrative deposit bonuses out there. Stick to high RTP slots that still contribute 100 percent to wagering requirements. Good luck out there!