Online casino bonuses are basically free gifts that an online casino gives to new or existing players. These bonuses can take many different forms, and whilst some will come with a few strings attached, others have none. For example, many casinos offer a bonus just for signing up. Those require little more than providing your email address and other personal details. Other operators will give you bonus cash when you make a deposit of your own.
Anyone who thinks that online casino bonuses are few and far between should think again. It is actually more difficult to find a casino that doesn’t offer bonuses than to find a dozen that do. There’s a very good reason for that, as we’ll explain in the next section.
Different casinos offer different bonuses. Whether you want free spins, free bonus cash or even cash back, there are casinos that are keen to oblige.
Having explained that casino bonuses are free gifts, you might well wonder why any casino would offer them. Aren’t casinos just out to make money from players? And if so, why would they give the stuff away?
The answer is quite simple. There are many more online casinos operating than most people imagine. That means players have plenty of choice when it comes to deciding where to spend their time and money. In other words, it’s a player’s market, and casinos therefore have to work hard to get their share of clients.
Cell phone companies try to beat the competition by offering bigger and better deals. Online casinos do much the same with their bonuses. If one casino offers you $10 of bonus cash just for signing up, another will offer you $20. Both know that the hardest thing to do is get players through the virtual doors. If they can make it worth your while to pay them a visit, they know that you’ll at least give their games a try. And if you like their games, you’re likely to stick around.
Offering casino bonuses is, therefore, a great way for an operator to attract new players. Making additional bonuses available to existing players is also a good way of retaining them. When you look at things from the casino’s perspective, promoting bonuses makes perfect sense.
Every casino tries to make its bonus offers look as fresh, original, and unique as possible. But there are only so many ways to do that. We can therefore discuss most bonuses as belonging to one of several main types or categories. These are:
Each one of these casino bonuses works in a slightly different way. We will therefore take a closer look at each one in turn. We will provide examples where appropriate so that you know exactly what to expect.
A No-Deposit Bonus is one that doesn’t require you to make a deposit of your own to claim it. This type of bonus is most often aimed at those who don’t already have an account with a particular casino. Instead, all you have to do to qualify for the bonus is take a relatively simple action. Such as signing up for an account. There is no obligation to ever play with your own money. Of course, the casino is hoping that you will.
For example, a casino might invite you to claim a $20 Sign-Up Bonus with no deposit required. Here, you only need to sign up for an account and it will be credited with $20 in bonus cash. You can then explore all that the casino has to offer and use the $20 to try its games for yourself. If you happen to win additional cash in the process, your winnings will also go straight to your account. That will allow you to enjoy even more games.
A Deposit Bonus is one that does require you to make a deposit of your own money. That’s a much bigger commitment than simply signing up for a new account. For that reason, casinos have to make these bonuses bigger to reward the action. A No-Deposit Bonus might be worth just $10 or $20. A Deposit Bonus is likely to be worth as much as $100, $500, or even $1,000.
This type of bonus is usually awarded on a ‘first deposit match’ basis. In other words, the amount of your first deposit will be matched 100%, up to a certain maximum.
To illustrate, imagine that you are offered a ‘100% First Deposit Bonus up to $500’. In this case you could make a first deposit of $100 and the casino would add $100 in bonus money. Deposit $300 and the casino would add $300 in bonus money. Deposit more than the stated maximum bonus, such as $600, and the casino would simply add the maximum of $500.
Although the 100% first deposit bonus is most common, some casinos will offer a lower or higher percentage. A lower percentage offer will usually have a higher maximum bonus limit, such as 50% up to $1,000. A higher percentage offer will usually have a lower maximum, such as 200% up to $200.
The Deposit Bonus is always worth looking out for, as it can dramatically increase the amount of gaming action that you get for your buck.
The Deposit Bonus is usually offered to attract players to make a first deposit. In contrast, the Reload Bonus is offered to encourage loyalty. It works in a very similar way but applies to deposits made subsequent to the first. Basically, it rewards you for reloading your account with additional funds.
A Reload Bonus isn’t normally quite as generous as a Deposit Bonus. But that’s because players have probably received one of those before getting to the point of reloading. Even so, these bonuses can still be very valuable. Many casinos offer 50% or more on reload deposits. That gives you a good chunk of additional gaming action for your money. For example, you might be offered a 50% reload bonus of up to $100. That would give you $300 to play with if you were to deposit $200 of your own cash.
Some online casinos will offer a Reload Bonus as a special incentive. Others will give players one Reload Bonus every month or even every week.
A Cashback Bonus is one that gives you a certain percentage of cash back at the end of a certain promotional period. There are several forms of this bonus, but the two most common will give you cash back according to your total wagering amount or according to any overall losses that you have experienced.
To give you an example of the former, you might be offered 10% cash back on all wagering done over a particular weekend, up to a stated maximum. In this case, if you were to wager a total of $300 over the weekend, you would earn $30 in cash back, regardless of whether you made an overall profit or loss.
The latter form of Cash Back Bonus might offer you 25% cash back on overall losses incurred over a particular weekend, up to a certain maximum. If you were to lose $60 over that weekend, you would be given $15 back. However, if you were to have a winning weekend, you wouldn’t get any cash back.
Because the second form of bonus just mentioned only pays when you lose money, it isn’t quite as attractive as the one offered on all wagering activity. In both cases, the Cash Back Bonus can either be paid in real cash or in bonus casino cash, as specified by the casino offering the promotion.
The bonuses described previously have all involved giving you bonus cash or real cash. In contrast, the Free Spins bonus simply gives you a certain number of spins that can be used on one or more specified slot games.
A Free Spins Bonus can be given as an incentive to take some kind of action, or it can simply be offered to all players simply as a gesture of thanks for their loyalty. For example, some casinos will give their players 20 free spins on the ‘slot of the week’ or ‘slot of the month’ as a matter of course. This makes players feel appreciated, and it also helps the casino to put the spotlight on a particular slot game that it wants to highlight.
A Referral Bonus is one that many casinos offer to players. This bonus is paid to any player who recommends the casino to a friend who then signs up for their own account. In most cases, the referred friend will also get a bonus for taking up the offer. The casino will normally give you a referral code to give to your friend so that it can make sure you both get rewarded.
For example, you could be offered a $50 Referral Bonus when you refer a friend and they sign up using your referral code. Your friend could also get $50 for using that code. This makes both you and your friend happy, and it also makes the casino happy, because you’ve basically helped it to get another client.
There are other bonuses that can be found at online casinos, but the ones described above are the main ones. It is more common to find bonus packages that combine two or more of the main types in one bumper package. For example, there are plenty of operators who make things almost irresistible for new players by offering them a Welcome Package. This could include a No-Deposit Bonus and Free Spins Bonus just for signing up, a Deposit Bonus for making a first deposit, and a Reload Bonus for making a second deposit.
All online casino bonuses come with certain wagering or playthrough requirements attached. These requirements demand that the player wagers any bonus received one or more times before it can be withdrawn.
This is standard practice, and it helps casinos to protect themselves from potential bonus abuse. If no restrictions on bonus use were in place, it would be easy for someone to make a deposit, claim a 100% bonus in the process and then withdraw twice as much as they deposited. They wouldn’t even need to play a single game.
Obviously, such exploitation of the bonus offers would quickly put casinos out of business. By insisting that bonuses are played through a certain number of times, the casinos can remain generous and protect themselves at the same time. Genuine players won’t mind using the bonus cash for the purpose intended, so the only people who miss out are the ones who were only looking to exploit the offers in the first place.
Each casino will set its own wagering and playthrough requirements, so you need to look at those before claiming any bonus. Normally you will simply be asked to use the bonus to play games a given number of times before it can be withdrawn as cash. For example, if a casino gives you $100 in bonus cash and has a 2x wagering requirement, you would need to wager that $100 twice. If you have a profit on completion of that requirement, you would be permitted to withdraw it as cash.
Another thing that you should look at before claiming any bonus are the terms and conditions that may be tied to it. These will outline who is allowed to claim a bonus, what the wagering and playthrough requirements are and any other terms that apply.
For example, in addition to setting a wagering requirement, some casinos will also tell you that certain games (such as single-deck Blackjack) won’t count towards that requirement. Conversely, they may tell you that the wagering requirement can only be met by playing certain types of games, such as slots.
It could also be the case that, in order to claim a particular bonus, you will need to enter a specific promo code when making your first deposit. This is normally stated quite clearly in bonus advertisements, but it is always worth checking, just in case.
Ignorance of these terms and conditions can mean that you don’t meet the wagering requirements or qualify for a bonus even when you think you do. Most obviously, you might make a deposit without using a required promo code, and thereby miss out on the offer. For that reason, always check the terms and conditions beforehand.
Now that you have a good understanding of what online casino bonuses are all about, you may well be wondering how you can find them. The good news is that casinos make this quite easy for you. Because bonuses are offered to attract new players, they tend to shout about them loud and clear. This means that you simply need to visit casino websites (or explore our casino reviews) and take a look at what is currently being offered.
Of course, some casino bonuses are better than others. But trying to find the best ones by visiting each operator personally isn’t the most effective way of proceeding. Fortunately, you don’t have to do that. Part of our role here at HowToBet is to keep our own close eye on the bonuses available. We therefore highlight the best and latest bonus available so that you can focus on the much more enjoyable business of playing casino games!
When you have found a bonus that you like, you’ll need to claim it. This is generally a very straightforward process, and if you follow this simple step-by-step guide you shouldn’t go wrong:
First, check the terms and conditions of the bonus. Pay special attention to any action that is required for you to qualify for the bonus. For example, you may need to use a particular promo code or make a minimum deposit. Also, look at the wagering and playthrough requirements to ensure that you are happy with them.
Next, sign up with the online casino offering the bonus. If you need to enter a promo code or make a first deposit to qualify for the bonus, be sure to do that.
Finally, complete any further actions needed to claim the bonus, according to the terms and conditions. For example, you may need to play games to ‘unlock’ the bonus in stages. In that case, you’d need to start playing!
Online casinos are as keen for you to claim their bonuses as you are. That being the case, if you ever run into any difficulty at a casino, feel free to contact its customer support team. You’ll then be guided through the claim process personally.
It certainly makes sense to look for the best casino bonuses around. However, don’t think that you have to choose just one. It is perfectly legal to sign up with multiple online casinos, which means that you can also claim multiple bonuses.
This is important to remember. If an online casino offers a 100% Deposit Bonus of up to $100, and you have a budget of $200, putting all of that into your account might not make the most sense. Instead, you could find another casino offering a similar deal and deposit $100 with each of them. That would give you two bonuses to enjoy instead of just one, which equates to even more gaming fun.
In this guide we have naturally focused on the discussion of online casino bonuses. But it is also worth mentioning that many operators also run loyalty programs. These are designed to reward players over the long term by giving them an ongoing incentive to remain loyal.
Loyalty programs can differ from casino to casino, but they all tend to work in very similar ways. Players typically earn points for every dollar they wager on slots and other games. Those points accumulate over the days, weeks, and months. When a player has collected sufficient points, they can be used to purchase useful rewards. Those rewards can include free spins, bonus cash sums, and real cash sums. They can also include vouchers for meals and accommodation at associated land-based casinos.
Some casinos automatically enroll players into any loyalty program that they run. Others require players to opt-in for themselves. If a casino offers a program that you are eligible to join and you have to enroll, you won’t lose anything by doing so. In fact, you could gain quite a lot. Our advice would therefore be to go for it and get involved.
Anyone who is old enough to play at online casinos (21 or older in the US) is also eligible to claim the bonuses they offer.
Because casino bonuses are essentially free gifts, they have no real downsides. Some will have more extensive wagering requirements than others, but those will be outlined in the terms and conditions. Given that all legal casinos are strictly regulated by state authorities, you can be confident that their bonuses will be perfectly fair.
Casinos offer bonuses in order to differentiate themselves from other operators and attract new players.
Although the number of bonuses that can be claimed from a single operator will be limited, you can easily sign up with multiple casinos. This would enable you to enjoy as many casino bonuses as you want.
You can find some of the very best casino bonuses right here on this page. All bonus details are updated regularly, so check back often for the latest offers.
Get all the latest sports news, expert tips and reviews.