Online Casino Bonuses Explained

If you're new to online and mobile casino gaming then you've probably noticed that the majority of these sites offer some kinds of bonus. Whether it be a 100% match deposit bonus on your first deposit, a free spins bonus or a no deposit offer, casinos seem to always be giving something away for free.

In light of these offers you're probably wondering what the catch is or how these bonuses really work, because after all, nothing is really ever for free right? Here we'll explain the various online casino bonuses and what the catch really is, so that you can understand these offers and make well informed decisions about which ones to accept and which to avoid.

Why Online Casinos Offer Bonuses

Online casinos don't offer bonuses and free money out of the goodness of their hearts. The online gaming industry is a highly competitive one and as such these offers are promotional and marketing tools used to entice players to play at their establishments.

Online casinos have lower operating costs than land based casinos, and as such they do have some budget available to offer players incentives to play. That said though, these incentives are seldom, if ever, truly free as they do carry certain Terms and conditions including wagering and play-through requirements or predetermined deposit requirements. These will have to be complied with in order to claim the bonus offer and to inevitably cashout once you've played.

Types of Online Casino Bonuses

No Deposit Bonuses

Some online casinos offer players the opportunity to play without depositing their own money. This is called a No Deposit Bonus and the amounts on offer are usually relatively small, for example €/£/$10.

These bonuses are a great way to experience an online casino and try out new games without risking your own hard earned money, but they are not completely no strings attached offers. Some casinos may require you to register your credit card details with them in order to claim the offer - this is not because they are trying to debit your card for the amount later on, but it is a security measure put in place to discourage bonus abuse and the registering of multiple accounts.

Some online and mobile casinos may also require that you make a small deposit in order to cash out any funds that you win from playing on a no deposit offer, again to discourage bonus hunters and abusers.

These bonuses may also be subject to wagering requirements on winnings earned from them before cashouts are permitted.

Cashable Match Deposit Bonuses

These bonus offers are probably the most common at mobile and online casinos and as the name implies, players are required to make a deposit which the casino then matches. So for example if the casino in question offers you a 100% bonus up to £/€/$1000 then if you deposit €200 you will receive another €200 from the casino to play with, giving you a total of €400.

These bonuses always have a wagering requirement or either the bonus amount or bonus + deposit amount before they can be withdrawn. Also, casino game restrictions apply (see more on this below).

Sticky Bonuses

Sticky bonuses are bonuses that cannot be cashed out. This may sound absurd and pointless but they are usually of higher value than the other bonuses on offer and give players more money to play with. This means that you get to play with way more credits that you usually would and if you win, even though you can't cashout the sticky bonus portion, you will still benefit.

Bonus Terms and Conditions

The above-mentioned offers always come with terms and conditions, and while nobody really enjoys reading all of the fine print, it's essential to you in order to ascertain what is required of you in fulfilling these requirements. Two important aspects of all bonuses are the wagering requirements and casino game restrictions, which we will look at now.

Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements on bonuses differ from one casino to another. Some casinos will require you to wager 20 to 30 times your deposit plus bonus amount before withdrawing, while others will require 30 times the bonus amount only.

Knowing what is expected of you in terms of wagering will help you to evaluate whether or not you want to accept a bonus offer.

Game Restrictions

Not all casino games count towards fulfilling wagering requirements for bonus offers. Slots often count 100% towards this, but other games like Blackjack and Roulette may be excluded. Details of which games count and which do not and their weightings will be detailed in the terms and conditions pages.

What to do if you don't want a bonus

Some casinos require you to claim a bonus on depositing while others will automatically credit it to your account. If you don't want the bonus, in the first instance just don't claim it. In the second scenario where it is credited to your account you will have to contact customer support to have it removed, however you do need to do this before you play, bearing in mind that some bonuses are credited an hour after you deposit, so always wait because if you play and accidently use the bonus money you will be held to fulfilling the requirements attached to it.