All About Casino Bonuses

No matter where you turn these days, you’re offered discounts and loyalty programs that equate to free stuff. Companies are vying for your business.

Free Casino Money

Casino MoneyYou get a free sandwich for every five you purchase or provide an email address, and you’ll get a drink or a 10% off coupon good for today only. It’s almost a rare occurrence now to pay for goods and not be asked for your club card or coupon offers.

We’re talking about online casinos, though, and they have more of a challenge as they can’t be like Netflix and give you a free month or let you gamble for 50% off. Players would love it, but the websites would eventually shut down.

They’re certainly not going to leave you hanging, though. There are way too many competitors out there, so something needs to catch your eye and call out “good value.” What do they use? The good old welcome bonus.

If you’ve even pulled up one gaming website, you know what we’re talking about as these types of offers are right in your face:

  • 100% match up to £200.
  • Three-tier welcome bonus up to €750.
  • 150% plus 50 free spins.

There are all kinds of twists on these awards, but they typically have the same premise. If you register with them, you get a prize.

Let’s admit it. There’s an appeal factor to seeing that, if you deposit just $50, you’ll end up with $100, or even $200. But, you’ve got to be thinking, “what’s the catch?” and you’d be right. So, read on, and we’ll answer that question.

A side note: Every operator is different with different offers and stipulations attached to their promotional program. We’re providing you with the typical scenarios that are most prevalent, but you’ll want to review the specific information for your go to betting site to help you strategize on receiving the most benefit and, hopefully, a larger final payout.

Types Of Bonuses

Casino BonusesWe’ve only made mention of the welcome bonus so far as it’s the most prevalent and promoted. But, not only does the casino want your business, it wants you to remain loyal and keep coming back, so there are other types of offers that you’ll find out there in the wonderful virtual world of wagering.

The Welcome Bonus

We’ll start with the welcome bonus, but this offer will overlap into other types as it can include any combination of incentives.

This offer is for new players and will most likely be the one with the highest value. Of course, casinos want to keep you, but the most important part is getting that all-important player registration first and foremost.

You should see each site’s welcome offer front and center as soon as you catch a glimpse of the homepage. It will be stated simply like the examples we previously provided and usually does revolve around a deposit match.

Step two on the priority list, following the goal of registration, is making sure you deposit to your player’s account and intend to do some real money wagering, so the objective is incentivizing your bank transfer.

Some sites will give you one shot to deposit as much as possible and will make their match offer quite attractive. They may provide something like a 200% match up to $500. Others will spread out their program over two, three or even more deposits to encourage you to keep coming back for more value-adds.

You could also find the deposit match supplemented with some free spins to beef up the program even more. Remember, these sites are trying to outdo each other, so they try to be as generous as possible with their welcome “gifts.”

  • Open to new players.
  • Accepted or declined upon registration and/or depositing.
  • One of any combination of bonus offers.
  • Rollovers apply.

Deposit Match

We’ll segue right into the deposit match because it is the premise of most welcome bonuses, but can also be given out on a regular basis or through special one-off promotions.

The self-descriptive deposit match is just that; it’s based on whatever you decide to transfer into your betting account. The exact offer will determine how much bonus money you’ll receive. We use the term “bonus money” purposefully as you’ll see when we get into the actual awards shortly, but please don’t consider them to be immediately cashable gifts.

They have strings attached.

If you’re someone who looks specifically for these types of matching deposits, make sure you pay attention to both the percentage as well as the cap. The promotion will be advertised to say something like 100% match up to £100. You then know that, if you deposit £100, you get £100 in bonus play.

If you plan to deposit a significant amount, you may want to locate a site with a higher ceiling, such as 100% match up to £400.

If you’re only transferring a small amount and want to play as long as possible, look for the higher percentage, they are out there. We’ve seen offers of 200% and even 400%.

Reload Bonus

We have referenced deposit matches primarily with welcome offers, but these types of value adds are common for regularly returning players as well. They can be referred to as reload bonuses and work the same way, except you may find the percentage to be lower, like 50% or even 25%.

Lifetime Bonus Guarantee

This is a common term you may come across that’s used when players are offering some reload bonus on every deposit they make. Again, the percentage and the maximum limit will vary, but it’s the casino’s way of saying that you’ll always get some boost to your account when you reload funds.

  • Provided to new or returning players.
  • Accepted or declined when a new deposit is initiated.
  • Determined by the amount transferred into the player account.
  • Rollovers apply.

Free Spins

There are different types of free spin programs. Some are tacked on to the welcome bonus or another promotion, and some can be standalone.

In many cases, they’ll be used to promote a specific game so you may see something like 50 free spins on Starburst. Even if the game isn’t called out, you will want to read the fine print because free spins aren’t usually wide open, they do have allowable or restricted game notations.

Just as welcome bonus programs slightly vary, free spin opportunities do the same. In some cases, you may be issued 100 free spins, but they’re broken down to 20 a day, so you have to keep coming back.

Just as a heads up, anything you win resulting from a free spin will then have some requirements attached just like bonus money. We’ll be arriving at the rollover section soon and will spell it all out for you.

  • Provided to new or returning players.
  • May be offered at any time.
  • Set number of spins and may only apply to specific game titles.
  • Rollovers apply on winnings that directly result from the free spins.

Free Money aka No Deposit Bonus

Is there such a thing as free money? No deposit bonuses can be given out, usually on a case by case basis, to former players who haven’t bet in awhile or to new players through a code that needs to be redeemed.

They are no deposit bonuses, but they’re not technically free money as there are cash out limits as well as wagering requirements.

  • Provided to new or returning players.
  • Code is usually given to trigger the acceptance of funds.
  • Rollovers apply.

High Roller

The term high roller bonus is a bit fuzzy as you probably won’t see any details provided about it. Most sites require a minimum of $500 to take advantage but, before depositing and accepting or declining any other offer, customer service needs to be contacted to see if there is a more attractive deposit match or additional offers to boost the value.

  • Provided to new or returning players.
  • Accepted or declined when a new deposit is initiated.
  • Conditions will vary on an individual basis.
  • Rollovers apply.

Cash Back

If you’re receiving a cash back bonus, chances are it’s because you’ve emptied your player account. You’ll see some operators offer cash back as an alternative welcome option, but you’ll only collect if you lose. It’s pretty much an oxymoron, in that you have to lose to be a winner.

The offer will take the amount of your loss and return a percentage of it to you in the form of bonus cash that then needs to be wagered a specific number of times.

  • Provided to new or returning players.
  • Acceptance can be upon registration or through customer service.
  • Minimum deposit may apply, and total amount of cash back is capped.
  • Rollovers apply to the cash back percentage but are usually lower than match deposits.

No Rollover

We’re about to get to the rollover requirement that we’ve mentioned a few times but, first, let’s talk about the 100% preferred bonus above all others, and that’s the “no rollover.”

In this case, your bonus money converts to real money simply by betting it and winning. You don’t have to wager more than once.

For example, if you are given a no rollover bonus of $20, and you bet it $5 at a time, four times in a row and have a balance of $10, you can then cash out that $10 or keep going. Typical rewards require that you keep playing many, many more times before getting a payout so if you see “no rollover,” you are going to reap more benefit.

  • Provided to new or returning players.
  • Accepted or declined upon offer.
  • A code may be required to claim, and something may need to be deposited before payout.
  • Reward just needs to be played once for cash out.

The Rollover / Wagering Requirement

Bonus RequirementsWe previously referenced “what’s the catch”?

And now we’ll give you the answer.

Whether it’s called a rollover or a play through, or a wagering requirement, it all boils down to the same thing. The casino is telling you that you can’t take your bonus reward and simply cash it out or just play it once like in the no rollover bonus. You need to bet it a certain number of times and then hope that you still come out a winner to then be able to request a withdrawal.

The amount: you may see these listed at any level – a typical casino requirement is 20x, 25x, or 30x, but we’re now coming across much higher ones, like 45x.

One more catch: if you’re entirely new to bonuses like these, this one may take you by surprise. That happens with everyone. Rollovers, for the most part, are not just applied to the bonus you’re given, but they also factor in your real cash deposit. Read that again; we didn’t make a mistake here. It’s necessary for you to play your own money through a specified number of times before you can move it out of your betting account.

Bonus Math

It’s easier to see an example to get the gist of the whole play through concept:

  1. Your offer: 200% deposit match up to €200 with a 30x rollover on both the deposit and bonus combined.
  2. You accept the offer and deposit €200.
  3. Your new betting account balance = €400.
  4. €400 (deposit & bonus) x 30 (rollover) = €12,000.
  5. You need to place bets that eventually add up to €12,000 before you can request any payout.

Not All Games Apply

This is another area that will vary by site but, for the most part, slot games are the only thing that provides a 100% contribution to the wagering requirement. So, if you’re playing a slot game and bet $5, that entire $5 will go toward meeting your rollover.

Some table games and video poker contribute something like 10% so, your $5 bet is only converting to $0.50 toward your play through.

Terms and conditions will vary, and some places don’t take any contribution from tables or video poker and may even exclude certain slot titles.

Take Them Or Leave Them

Bonus GiftEvery player can decide for his or herself if they want in on bonus reward programs. They’re not mandatory but – unless you’re careful – you may accept them without realizing.

When you register, and every time you make a deposit, be sure to go through the entire form carefully. Deposits, especially, have different options with boxes that are already ticked off for you, indicating pre-acceptance, so you’ll need to uncheck each selection.

If you have questions about bonuses or if you’re interested in a high roller bonus or a different type of offer, contact customer service before you make your deposit. It’s easier to get all of your facts straight ahead of time than it is to undo something later.

You Might Think That’s Everything, But There’s More…

  1. Wagering requirements may change with every type of offer provided by one site.
  2. Newer casinos are now providing a status bar to help determine when rollovers are completed.
  3. Bonuses aren’t available to players in every country – sites will note exclusions in terms and conditions.
  4. Free spin profits then, in turn, have a wagering requirement attached unless otherwise noted.

Bottom Line: please take our advice, and read through everything carefully. Just because the rollover isn’t promoted on the homepage doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You should see a “find out more” or similar link accompanying every offer. Be sure to click it and look for the wagering requirement, the limit to the offer, specific games that are excluded, and how and when to claim the bonus. A little knowledge is a powerful thing.