Everything you need to know about casino bonuses
One of the major perks of gambling online as opposed to at a land-based casino is the offering of casino bonuses. These days, right about all online casinos offer some sort of bonuses to new and/or active players. This is great for players who are looking to get more bang for their buck, but it can also be very confusing for new players who are just starting out. That is because all bonuses come with different names, explanations, conditions, and more. But not to worry, as I am here to help you make sense of it all!
In this guide, I will give an introduction to online casino bonuses. I will explain some of the most common bonus types you might come across along with some of the most important terms and conditions to make sense of. And when you feel confident enough about how it all works, you can check my list of the best online casino bonuses for new players. But before getting ahead of ourselves, let's take a step back and understand what it all means.
What is a casino bonus?
Simply explained, a casino bonus is some sort of perk given by a casino to its players. It is not one specific thing, but rather an umbrella term used to describe any type of bonus type – which I will explain below. Bonuses come in all different shapes and sizes and some will be more beneficial to players than others. It is therefore always important to research well and not just go for the first offer available.
No matter the type, casino bonuses are often given as some sort of free way to play. This means that the casino is giving away money (directly or indirectly) and it can be confusing to understand how this can be sustainable for the casinos. From the casinos' point of view, bonuses can be seen as a way of marketing. By advertising their bonuses, the aim is that players will sign up and start playing at their casino.
This can result in an active player who keeps depositing more money into the casino, which could be a good return on investment. And because of the terms and conditions attached, bonuses are rarely 100% free for the players anyway.
Typical types of casino bonuses
Casino bonus is just a general term used to describe the many "gifts" casinos might reward their players with. Depending on things such as what types of games you prefer to play and your budget, some bonuses might be more interesting to you than others. It is therefore important to know what can be offered and what it all means. Some of the most typical bonus types offered at online casinos and sportsbooks include the following:
An online casino bonus that is given together with a player making a deposit. This means that in order to get the bonus, players have to first deposit money into their casino account – normally of a minimum amount and sometimes using specific payment methods. One way of looking at it is that you have to "buy" the bonus, depositing a certain amount in exchange for something in return. While you have to invest something to get these bonuses, they can often be quite lucrative with large sums available.
Deposit bonuses usually take these forms:
- Match deposit bonus: A common type of deposit bonus is a type of match bonus where the casino matches the amount you have deposited – based on a certain percentage and up to a certain amount. Players might for example get a 100% bonus up to €1,000. This means that if you deposit €1,000, you would get another €1,000 added by the casino and a total of €2,000 to play for. It can also be a 50% match or less, or 200% or more.
- Free spins: It is also very common for free spins to be given alongside a deposit. These are a set of game rounds that can be used to play slot games for free, but while still being able to win real money. Often free spins are given to be used on a specific slot or a set of games only and with a set value per spin.
No deposit bonuses
Another type of casino bonus that is becoming more popular and common, is the so-called no deposit bonuses. These are bonuses that do not require a deposit in order to get them and are therefore given for free. While this can be good for players who want to play more risk-free, it is worth noting that these bonuses are often a lot smaller than deposit bonuses – and there will be other terms and conditions attached even though there is no minimum deposit requirement.
These are the most common types of no deposit bonuses:
- Free money: Some casinos hand out a small amount of free money that can be used to play any or selected games for free. This type of bonus is often given as a casino registration bonus for new players who register an account. Players then get a small amount of money added to their account once it is registered and can test some casino games without having to make a deposit first, but still with the chance to win real money.
- No deposit free spins: No deposit free spins work in the same way as free spins described above, with the exception that a deposit is not required in order to get them. Normally no deposit free spins are given in a small amount, for example 10 spins, while deposit free spins might give you 100 spins or more.
Other bonuses and promotions
In addition to the examples mentioned above, you might meet other types of bonuses offered to both new and active players. First of all, some casinos might use different terms than the ones we have done above. Secondly, there are many other types of bonuses that can be available to all or selected players – such as cashback on losses, sports bonuses, VIP bonuses for the most active players, etc. And finally, many casinos offer different promotions to players, such as tournaments and competitions with gift prizes.
Terms and conditions of casino bonuses
As already mentioned, casino bonuses are used as a marketing tool to get players to sign up or stay active at a casino. The casinos are hoping that by offering these perks and gifts, they will get a future return. But the casinos are also normally ensuring their investment by attaching some terms and conditions to the bonus. These are different rules that have to be followed in order to get the bonus, spend it, and/or cash out any potential winnings from it. Typical terms and conditions to keep an eye out for include the following:
- Minimum deposit: Unless it is a no deposit bonus, the terms and conditions will state how much you have to deposit (minimum) in order to get the bonus. Some bonuses are given in full from the minimum deposit, while others are connected to the deposit amount and will give you only the minimum bonus for the minimum deposit.
- Bonus code: How a bonus is claimed can vary a lot from one casino to another. Some casinos make use of bonus codes. They work like promotional codes that you have to type in with your deposit, to customer support, or similar to get the bonus added to your account.
- Maximum bonus: Some bonuses are given as a set amount (€5) while others are tiered (up to €500). No matter how it works, each bonus will always have a cap which is the maximum you can get.
- Maximum win: It is not just the bonus itself that is capped. Sometimes there will also be a cap on the maximum amount you can win and withdraw from the bonus funds.
- Wagering requirement: This is a very typical bonus term that is beneficial for the casino. What the wagering requirement means is that if you win anything from the bonus, you are required to wager the deposit, bonus, and/or win amount a certain amount of times before the winnings can be fully claimed as yours and withdrawn as real money. The requirement is normally shown as a number and an x, indicating how many times you have to wager the amount. A wagering requirement of 35x on a €1,000 bonus, for example, means that you have to wager €35,000 before you can withdraw your winnings. Some of the best casino bonuses are wager-free (meaning they don't have this requirement), but these are very rare.
The above are just some of the most typical terms and conditions, but there might be many others related to a bonus too. It is therefore always important to read the T&Cs well and never accept a bonus without fully understanding what it all entails. If there is ever anything that is unclear, the best thing to do is to contact the customer support of the casino to get it clarified before accepting the bonus.