Casino bonuses are an integral part of the online gambling landscape. In fact, it is almost impossible to find an online casino that does not offer special bonuses and promotional offers to its players.
Beginners to the online casino scene tend to have a hard time understanding these bonuses. When casinos market these bonuses, they use specific keywords that can sound obscure to a new player. There are also several different types of bonuses, which can add to the confusion.
Understanding The Terms
If you take a look at casino sites, you will also see special sections dedicated to "bonus terms & conditions," separate from the regular T&C pages. Some of these terms can turn out to be really complicated with tricky requirements and eligibility conditions.
But that does not mean that casino bonuses are all bad. The situation has improved considerably thanks to increased competition and stricter licensing arrangements. These days, it is relatively easy to find casino bonuses that work in favour of the player.
You just need to know what to look for, in terms of bonus features and conditions. That is where we come into the picture - this guide is designed to give you a quick and easy introduction to the world of casino bonuses.
In case you already know your way around online casino bonus basics, don’t forget to check out our comprehensive list of online casino bonuses.
What Is A Casino Bonus?
A casino bonus is basically a small reward or freebie the casino doles out to players when they do specific activities at the casino website. There are mainly three kinds of activities that all online casinos want to encourage:
Opening an account - so the casino gets a new customer
Depositing cash in the casino account - essential if that new customer is to spend cash at the casino
Placing bets at the games - the most important action that brings revenue to the casino
Casino bonus offers are designed to provide small incentives to players to do these three actions at the casino.
It is a marketing strategy employed by all online casinos, where they spend small amounts of cash on players in the hope that visitors join and play regularly at the casino, bringing in long-term income to the casino.
What Are The Different Kinds Of Casino Bonuses?
One of the most common bonuses offered by casinos is in the form of free cash which is credited to your casino account. This cash can be used to place bets at the different games available in the casino. Then there are bonuses in kind, of which “free spins” are the most common. Many casinos also offer a percentage of cash you lost at their games, in the form of cash backs.
The above three are the most basic forms of casino bonuses. You will encounter these three archetypes at most casinos. Here are the popular terms used by online casinos to describe these bonuses:
As the name suggests, these bonuses are credited to your casino account along with a deposit. New players at a casino encounter them usually in the form of "Welcome Bonus," while regular players have “Matching Bonuses” or “Reload Bonuses.” They all have the same basic principle - you make a deposit of a specific amount, and the casino will add a percentage of that amount as extra credit into your account.
Casinos advertise these deposit bonuses in terms of their percentages - for example, True Blue Casino has a 200% Welcome Bonus, while PlayAmo Casino offers a 100% First Deposit Bonus and a 50% Second Deposit Bonus.
Sometimes, they also use fancy numbers as marketing gimmicks. For instance, if a casino has a specific number in their name, like 24VIP Casino, they will offer a 100% Deposit Bonus with 240 Free Spins.
All deposit bonuses have a minimum deposit limit - this is the minimum amount of cash you need to deposit to claim this bonus. They also have a maximum cash limit, which restricts the amount of free cash that you can get from this offer. Let's look at the following example from our casino reviews:
Joka Room Casino offers a 100% first deposit bonus, with a minimum deposit limit of $20 and a maximum bonus of up to $1000. If you make a $20 deposit, you will get $40 in your casino account ($20 + $20 bonus). To make the most of this bonus, you need to deposit $1000 as you can get an equal amount as a cash bonus. Any deposit above $1000 will not yield extra rewards as the bonus is capped at $1000.
No Deposit Bonus
This type of bonus offer is almost exclusively aimed at new players who are yet to create an account at the casino. The main aim of the no deposit bonus is to attract folks to register at the casino. You don’t have to make a deposit to claim this reward.
But since it is basically free money that the casino is putting into your online casino account, the amounts offered tend to be quite small, often in the $5 - $20 range. The main aim of this bonus is to give new players a taste of real money gambling free of cost. Sometimes, the no deposit bonus is in the form of free spins instead of cash.
You can check out our exclusive review section dedicated to No Deposit Casino bonuses here. Pokie Spins Casino offers 15 Free spins as their No Deposit bonus, while Rich Casino provides a whopping $49 cash as part of their No Deposit offer.
These casinos also enforce quite strict terms and conditions on these bonuses, making it difficult for players to make a profit on them. And that is quite fair because if they didn’t, the casinos would lose a lot of money!
Since they don’t directly involve money, free spin bonuses are the easiest to understand. These bonuses are almost exclusively applicable to video slots and pokies. The casino will offer them as standalone bonuses or more commonly as part of a Welcome Package with a deposit bonus.
Instead of cash, you get x number of spins on select pokies titles at the casino. You can use these spins to wager at the game for free. But if you make any cash wins, you cannot directly withdraw them as you would in case of regular cash wagers.
Instead, those winnings are treated like the bonus credit you get from a Deposit Bonus. You can only withdraw them after fulfilling certain conditions, which we will explain in the next section.
At CasinoShortlist.org, you can find in-depth reviews of all casinos that offer free spin bonuses. Joka Room, PlayAmo, and Pokie Pop are the top three Australia-facing casinos with the most free-spin offers.
This bonus is only open to regular players and high rollers who wager on a regular basis at the casino. If you end up losing cash at the casino over a specific period, like a week, the casino will often trigger this bonus automatically to return a portion of the money you lost in the period.
The percentage usually ranges from 5% to 30%, and it is rare to find a casino returning more than a third of your winnings. The higher percentages are usually restricted to VIP Club members.
Casino Loyalty + VIP Bonuses
These are hard to quantify accurately since each casino has its own unique combination of bonuses. Exclusive offers, tickets to real-world events like concerts and sports matches, higher withdrawal limits, exclusive tournaments, customised and personalised bonuses are all part of an online casino loyalty program.
What Are The Important Bonus Conditions?
When it comes to casino bonuses, probably the most important condition of them all would have to be the Wagering Requirement. It is the single biggest hurdle the casino places in between a player and his/her ability to withdraw winnings generated from a bonus amount or free spin.
Wagering requirements are specified as a multiplier, like 30x, 40x and so on. That number specified is the total number of times the player has to wager the bonus amount he/she received before they can withdraw the amount to their bank accounts.
Let Us Explain It With An Example:
Betchain Casino has a deposit bonus of $200 with a wagering requirement of 50x. Before you can withdraw the amount, you will have to place bets on games worth a total value of $10,000 (200 x 50).
In many instances, your bonus money will get exhausted before the wagering requirement is met. This makes wagering requirements a very unpopular restriction from a player’s perspective.
But for a casino, the requirement serves two important purposes:
- It minimises the risk of losses since the bonus money stays with the casino
- Helps comply with anti-money laundering rules by preventing players from simply depositing cash and withdrawing them on the fly.
Other Important Bonus Requirements To Keep An Eye On Include:
- Only one bonus is applicable per player account, address, bank account, credit card, email address, or household. Do not open multiple accounts at a casino.
- Bonus funds cannot be wagered on specific games, while other restricted games may have higher wagering requirements. Table games are often restricted in this way due to better player odds.
- Maximum withdrawal limits are applicable on certain bonuses like No Deposit bonuses, restricting the amount of cash winnings you are eligible to withdraw.
- To activate some bonuses, you need to enter a bonus code. You can find these at the casino itself, or at affiliates/partner sites.