Online casino bonuses are attractive bankroll-enhancing offers that gambling sites use to entice new players to sign up. These deals come in various formats, but their primary purpose is to encourage players to make regular deposits and keep returning to the site.
This guide is designed to talk you through how casino bonuses work, what deals you’re likely to encounter at casino sites, the terms and conditions for using bonuses, and how to pick the best and most reputable gambling sites that provide them.
What Are Online Casino Bonuses?
Online casino bonuses can best be defined as a reward gifted to a player for creating a real money account, depositing some money into their bankroll, or as a way to say thanks for their loyalty. Many online casinos also have VIP clubs where customers who opt-in for these programs can receive a different range of bonuses and rewards just for being the “big spenders.”
Even though bonuses are essentially free money that the house gives its customers to play with, the player must have spent a certain amount of money before they are eligible to claim a deal. They may also need to meet certain conditions and requirements before they can claim any winnings won from using a bonus.
How Are Bonuses Redeemed?
Players typically need to activate a bonus before they can start using it. At some casinos, the bonus is emailed as a link or sent to a customer as a code to redeem at the cashier. If it’s a welcome bonus (like a no deposit bonus), many sites will automatically credit the balance to your bankroll as soon as you’ve signed up. If it’s a bonus deal for free spins, players will be able to start using these as soon as they have started to play a game.
Most bonus deals are only redeemable on certain classes of games. If a casino offers you a free spins bonus, you may find that you can only use these on slots or a specific slot game release.
While finding a great selection of online casino bonuses isn’t difficult, some deals are better and more effective than others. This is why sites like Gamblingpedia spend hours sifting through reputable casino sites each week so we can point you in the direction of the best and most competitive offers.
The Different Types of Casino Bonuses
Casino bonuses come in various shapes and sizes, but the most common ones are as follows:
No Deposit Bonuses
No deposit bonuses are considered the “holy grail” of bonus deals because they let players try out a casino’s game collection without them needing to front any money beforehand. They also let them keep hold of their winnings!
Most of the time, these deals are offered to new players, but it’s not uncommon for regular players to receive these on birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions too. If a casino site is experiencing problems or having a few technical troubles, a no deposit bonus may also be offered as compensation.
Deposit bonuses are the next-best offers because although you still have to front some money to claim these deals, the casino will typically match whatever amount you put in. That’s also why these are sometimes known as “match bonuses.”
Even though no deposit bonuses are regarded as the best deals, they are usually only valid for a small amount. This is why it can be argued that deposit bonuses are actually better because the amount the casino gives you to play is normally up to 100% of your deposit amount.
If you enjoy playing slots at brick-and-mortar casinos, you’ll love the treatment you’ll get as an online player. Free spins are exactly what they sound like and act as free wagers you can place on a wide range of slot games. Some casinos will offer you hundreds of spins to play with when you first sign up, which helps to conserve your own money and extend your gaming time.
Many deposit bonuses and no deposit bonuses include a set number of free spins you can use in addition to the bonus deals. Still, there are typically some terms and conditions for using these types of offers – more on those later. Free spins often appear as part of a deposit bonus or as a type of no deposit bonus.
Another rare type of bonus is a reload bonus. These are similar to deposit bonuses apart from they only make up a specific percentage of whatever you deposit. So if you plan to deposit $100 and the reload bonus is for 70% of your deposit amount, you’ll get an extra $70 to play with.
Cashback bonuses may be awarded on a weekly or monthly basis to existing customers. These deals reimburse players with a portion of the money they’ve lost on previous bets. Comp points are points players accumulate over time for placing wagers.
VIP customers can receive tailor-made bonuses when they enroll in a casino’s loyalty program. Some of the rewards you can expect include personalized gifts for special occasions, hotel room upgrades, free meal vouchers, and even overseas vacations.
Many online casinos have their loyalty programs broken down into tiers, and customers can choose what tier they would like to subscribe to. The higher the tier, the more rewards they can expect. They can also look forward to other perks like higher table limits, a personal accounts manager, and higher withdrawal limits.
Terms and Conditions for Using Casino Online Bonuses
As is often the case with any type of promotion, there are terms and conditions for using online casino bonuses, which often misleads customers and can arouse disappointment if they haven’t read them properly.
The nature of these conditions is dependent on the type of bonus and the casino that offers it. That said, you’ll find the following standard clauses for using bonus deals below:
The wagering requirement is one thing that catches players out when they want to use a bonus. Many players believe they can withdraw their winnings immediately after hitting a jackpot when they’ve used a bonus, but this is never the case. If a casino allowed every player to withdraw their winnings without them needing to spend any money at the casino, the operator would go bankrupt. So, to combat this, casinos enforce a condition that requires players to wager the full amount of the bonus money before they can withdraw.
Sometimes you will need to wager the bonus plus your deposit amount in order to withdraw your winnings. If it's a free spins bonus, the wagering requirement is normally applied to the winnings earned.
The other thing to be aware of is how the games you want to play affect the wagering requirements because some games contribute more than others. Slot games typically contribute 100% towards the wagering requirement, whereas, table games may only contribute between 5-20%. The reason is that most table games have a low house edge, and unlike slots which are completely reliant on chance, there are strategic ways that players can increase their odds of winning in games like blackjack and video poker.
Just like casinos put limits on how much you can withdraw, many of them also cap how much you can win. For deals like welcome bonuses or some no deposit bonuses, you may find that the conditions state you can only win or withdraw up to a certain amount of anything won as a result of using your bonus. Unfortunately, any amount that exceeds the limit stipulated in the T&Cs will be written off.
Most casinos only offer bonuses in selected countries, so you’ll want to check whether your place of residence makes you eligible to claim a bonus before you sign up. It’s also worth noting that you can only have one account per household, which prevents someone from creating multiple accounts to claim multiple bonuses.
Where to Find the Best Online Casino Bonuses
Now you know all the need-to-know information about casino bonuses, it’s time to hunt down a juicy deal. The casino you choose to play at makes a big difference to the type of deal you will receive, along with the terms and conditions for using a bonus and the games you’ll be permitted to use it on. It’s not always easy to spot a rogue casino, which is why we take the time to carefully analyze and review hundreds of gambling sites each week so you can sign up with confidence and ease.
Feel free to check out our expert reviews on the best online casinos housing the best and latest bonus codes that you can start taking advantage of immediately. And remember, always check the terms and conditions before redeeming an offer!