Types of Casino Bonuses
Casino bonuses can be confusing, especially for newer players. It can sometimes be hard to understand exactly what’s being offered, and how to claim prizes. There are several types of bonuses that are generally offered. For one, there are refer-a-friend bonuses, where both you and a new player that you’ve gotten to use the site will get a reward. There are also loyalty programs that offer bonuses to players who play regularly at a certain casino. Sometimes the bonus doesn’t come in the form of cash to wager. You could also be offered free spins for the slot machines, for instance. These are valuable since each spin costs money. You’re essentially getting free chances to win.
Here the most common bonuses you’ll see out there.
This is the one that most new players will come across and for obvious reasons. Online casino welcome bonuses may also be called a “new player bonus” or a sign-up bonus, among other things. Usually, they involve the casino matching a bet up to a certain amount. So if the bonus is 100% up to $1000, then a player could have $2000 to enjoy the games.
A deposit bonus is offered by casinos to entice players to make a larger deposit. This could be a first deposit bonus or a special deposit bonus offer to existing players. The best deposit bonuses have a good deposit match and reasonable wagering requirements.
The purpose of no deposit casino bonuses is to get people to try out a casino by offering essentially “free” money to play with, without having to commit any of your own. They will invariably also have restrictions on them, meaning you’ll end up having to bet your own money up to a certain amount to be able to claim the winnings from the initial offer.
Similar to no deposit bonuses, free slots spins
are given to new players to encourage them to sign up and test the casino before depositing. The casino usually chooses one of its more popular slots to give away free spins on. Some of the better offers include free spins plus a deposit match bonus.
These bonuses are like loyalty programs. Reload bonuses are offered to regular players to ensure that they keep playing with that casino. Sometimes they come in a form similar to welcome bonuses, and the amounts may differ depending on playing habits from the previous period.
These bonuses match a percentage of your online casino deposit. Many players look for the highest casino match bonuses, which might be 300% or more of your deposit amount.
High Roller Bonuses
All casinos need high rollers, even online ones. High roller bonuses target those “whales” to encourage them to keep spending. At land-based casinos, these are usually extras like free rooms, meals, and tickets to special events. Online casinos offer large cash bonuses instead.
Some casinos offer special bonuses for your birthday. Finding online casinos with birthday bonuses can be a challenge, but it’s a fun surprise when you receive one.
Promo Bonus Codes
Some casinos publish special codes that can be used for a higher than usual bonus. We publish a list of the latest promo bonus codes from online casinos we endorse.
Loyalty / VIP / Cashback Programs
The term ‘VIP Player’ is quite a well-known term to anyone who has played online before. Casino loyalty schemes differ considerably to deposit and no deposit bonuses. Basically, when playing at a casino you are awarded wagering points, which can then be converted into cash. The more you wager, the more points you accumulate and the higher up the staggered VIP ladder you go.
Unlike regular casino bonuses, there are no wagering requirements assigned to cash amounts received from loyalty points.
Tips for Getting the Most From Casino Bonuses
Understand the bonus’s wagering requirements
Wagering Requirements is a term that you will no doubt have come across when playing at an online casino. Usually used in the context of taking a casino bonus from the online casino you play at. Whether it be a new player bonus, a particular promotion being run or a bonus as part of the casino’s loyalty program.
Wagering Requirements are tied with these bonuses, as part of your acceptance of said bonus or comp. So what does wager actually mean then and how does it affect your casino play?
In layman terms, a wagering requirement on a bonus is the total amount you are required to bet at the casino in order to be able to withdraw from the casino. Also, bear in mind that many online casinos issue Phantom Bonuses.
Understand if the bonus is “cashable” or “sticky”
You need to understand the difference between a cash bonus and a play bonus. Cash bonuses can be withdrawn as long as you’ve qualified for the wagering requirements. Simply, as soon as you’ve wagered whatever the required amount is, you can withdraw whatever money that’s remaining in your account. Even if you lose money with the bonus, you may end up making a profit if you’ve reached that requirement. If you get a bonus of $200 and lose $100, you can withdraw that remaining $100.
There are a couple of types of sticky bonuses. For the first type, you can use the bonus money to wager, but you cannot withdraw the bonus amount. You can only cash them out at time of withdrawing from the casino. So, if you are given $200 to play with, and you win $100, you’ll have $300 in your account available to wager. At this time, you can only cash out $100, though, and once you cash out the $200 is no longer available.
The other type of sticky bonus is similar but has a slight difference. Instead of the original bonus disappearing, it will stay in your account for future wagering, meaning you’ll have more chances to win with that bonus.
Cashable Bonuses: These are invariably cashable and have a realistic Wagering Requirement amount attached to them. The purpose of the Welcome and New Player Bonus is to entice players to sign up and play at the casino. You will also find that several online casinos offer No Deposit Bonuses as a way to get you to sign up.
Phantom or Sticky Bonuses: Be wary of accepting any ‘Phantom’ or ‘Sticky’ Bonus. Normally these are for large amounts with a high level of wagering requirement attached to them. In addition to this, should the wagering requirement be achieved, the casino will deduct the amount of the bonus awarded, prior to paying your withdrawal.
Not all games count towards clearing the bonus wagering requirements
Reaching those wagering requirements can be a bit tricky. Sometimes bonuses only apply to certain games like online slots or keno. That means if you try to clear the bonus playing blackjack, the casino won’t count it. There are many players who’ve wagered several times thinking they were going to reach that requirement but then found out that none of those wagers qualified. This can be extremely frustrating, so make sure to pay attention to the terms and conditions of the special bonus.
Some bonuses have time limits
There is often a clause with promotional bonuses that set a time limit on when you can use the bonus. Usually, it’s 7 days, but it can vary. If you don’t play on time, it’ll be gone. This means that you have to meet the requirements within that timeframe, not just use the bonus once. This can be difficult because it’s time-consuming to wager enough to meet the requirements. When you see a bonus offer, make sure that you’ll have the time to wager enough to meet the requirements.
Some bonus offers limit the amount you can cash out from winnings.
Some special bonuses come with something called conversion limits. These are put in place specifically to limit the amount of cash you can make using bonus money. Very often this limit is set at 4 times the amount of the bonus. The casino is not about to let thousands of people get free money, so this is a technique they use to minimize their costs.
Only accept bonuses from reputable casinos
A good way to lose money gambling, whether it’s online or in person, is betting with a disreputable party. Make sure to stick to trusted casinos, which means the casino you choose should be licensed and have a good reputation. If the site is licensed, it will be prominently displayed on the site’s homepage. Usually going with one of the ones you’ve heard of is your best bet. There are lesser-known sites that are perfectly legitimate, but if you’re unsure, go with a big one. You can also read reviews from honest casino portals to get an idea of what past players are saying about a given casino.
So that’s everything you need to know to get started with Casino Bonuses. If there’s anything you don’t understand then most reputable sites have a customer service number to call that will answer any questions you may have.
Avoid bonus abuse
The majority of player and casino disputes that occur are due to the casino leveling ‘bonus abuse’ against the player. Please, please, please read all and any terms and conditions attached to any bonus you accept from an online casino. This includes taking into account those casino games which are not eligible to count towards the wagering requirement.
Exception to the Wagering Requirement Rule
We updated this article concerning bonus wagering requirements at the beginning of June 2018. This is to take into account a great new concept, employed by one of the new casinos we have recently added to the recommended online casinos here on CR.
The casino in question is PlayOJO Casino which was recently reviewed by us at CR and in part to their unique way in rewarding players, has scored nearly perfect marks. PlayOJO does not accept US Players. But if you are a UK player, then this concerns you and is well worth reading on.
PlayOJO does not offer players bonuses per se, instead, they reward their players with perks which they call ‘kickers’. These are in the form of free spins and cash back amounts, which are rewarded based on the turnover players generated whilst playing at PlayOJO.
What is so good about this concept though is that no wagering requirements are employed. When you get your ‘kickers’ at PlayOJO you can do with them as you please. Even cashing them out straight away!
So the rest of this article does not apply when playing at the superb PlayOJO casino!
Phantom Bonuses means the bonus amount received cannot be withdrawn and is deducted off your total balance, once you have made the necessary bets and wagers to meet the wagering requirement.
Casinos Don’t Give Away Something for Nothing
If casinos gave away something for nothing, after all, it would not make business sense to give away bonuses, that you could then just cash out and withdraw, without even placing a bet at the casino of your choice.
No, pretty much all bonuses awarded to players, even those at the highest level of VIP status have a playthrough or wagering requirement attached to them. In most, but not all, and this is why you need to read the Terms and Conditions prior to accepting a bonus, the wagering required is 35 x the value of the bonus received.
On the review pages of CR you will also be able to find those no wagering casinos, which in effect do not burden a player with wagering requirements when receiving an incentive.
Also, you need to ensure you read the Terms and Conditions to see if there are any restrictions on what games are excluded from counting towards meeting the wagering requirement of a bonus. For instance, you will find many casino table games such as Blackjack.
On the flip side though, if you are primarily a slots player, then you are in luck as the vast majority if not all the online slots available at a casino to play, are deemed ok and count towards the wagering requirement of any bonus accepted.
How to Wager When Accepting A Bonus
Ok, so pretty straightforward then, you know how to wager and meet the wagering requirement of any bonus you accept when playing at an online casino. Not so fast! Many online casinos and we have seen this multiple times with player complaints, operate a maximum wagering level upon providing a bonus.
Basically, this means the casino will enforce a maximum bet level when players are trying to meet the playthrough to make their winnings cashable. Now, this maximum bet level can be quite small, ie. a couple of pounds or dollars per bet.
If you reside in the US then no doubt you have found a truckload of online casinos, offering you bonuses which seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, most are in essence too good to be true. With the bonuses on offer being ‘Phantom’.
Whilst we offer a good selection of recommended US Casinos here on CR. They have the same ethos as us when it comes to recommending online casinos.
Also, another thing to look out for is when casinos state ‘Unnatural Betting Patterns’ or the old ‘Spirit of the Bonus’ when refusing to honor a withdrawal. Basically again in layman terms, if you change and vary the amount of your bet size, then you could come unstuck.
The way I play, when I start betting at £1 or £2 a spin, then racking it right up if I have a lucky hit, whereby I have bet £20+ spin before, would fall foul of certain casino’s policies.
So again, make sure you read those terms and conditions fully before accepting a bonus. Also, use google and stick to the recommended casinos here on CR, to ensure you won’t hit the buffers, should you meet the wagering requirement and go to withdraw.
Why do online casinos offer free bonuses?
In the battle between online casinos to get you to sign up and spend your money on their product, the casino bonus has become an important weapon. Just about every online casino you’ll come across offers some sort of bonus. There are the bonuses to keep you playing, like offering to match 100% of your bet, or offering an hour of free play. All of these incentives are great for online gamblers and can be used to great effect.
However, the casinos aren’t giving those bonuses out just for the public good. They’re giving them out because they want you to spend and bet more money. That’s their purpose, and that’s completely the casinos’ prerogative. As a player, you just have to know how best to use those bonuses to maximize your bankroll.
This bonus sounds too good to be true, should I accept it?
If you have never played at a casino online before and have just now decided to do some research before you take the plunge, thankfully you have found the right resource. No doubt the first thing that has struck you when looking for an online casino to open up an account at is the myriad of Bonus offers for new players.
Sounds good right? Well, the answer is actually yes and no. I personally am not adverse to accept the odd casino bonus now and again and many players known as bonus hunters, will only play if they are guaranteed a bonus upon making a deposit. But with everything in life, you do not get anything for nothing?
So what is the catch with accepting a bonus from an online casino? Well, when you accept any bonus whether it be a no deposit bonus or a deposit match bonus, you are by default agreeing to the terms and conditions of said bonus offered.
I have seen countless players complain that they have not been able to cash out their winnings due to the terms and conditions attached to any and all casino bonuses which they have accepted.
Basically in layman terms, when accepting a bonus from a casino, you are agreeing to wager the amount received x number of times. With x normally on average being around 30 times the amount of the bonus received.
It is surprising the number of new players that are not aware of this small but very important fact concerning casino bonuses.
Thankfully you can rest assured that all the casinos listed on CasinoRankings.com, do not offer Phantom Bonuses. With wagering requirements attached to them being achievable.