How Do Online Casino Bonuses Work?

This guide explains in detail how casino bonuses work, and what nuances should be considered by the player before they sign up for this or that casino bonus. Use this guide as educational content rather than a step-by-step instruction, and take advantage of understanding the concept behind each bonus, to be forearmed for future choices.

How Do Online Casino Bonuses Work?

Casino bonuses are one of the most attractive things in any web casino, and many players get lured into gambling because they are salivating for the juicy bonus promotions. However, to get the most of every promotion, the player has to be able to choose them wisely - and this honest guideline will help you do that!

How Do Bonuses Work? 

The player usually gets promotions from the gambling platform, because the platform wants to lure the player into registering an account and betting for real money, or it wants to stimulate the punter to play more. 

This is the only reason why trusted online casinos offer any kind of promotion - to make the players play, and play as often as possible.

All casinos want to do that, and all casinos do that, but some can afford bigger and more attractive rewards, while other casinos believe they can get away with humble rewards. 

The promotions are granted in various forms, but none can be simply cashed out by the player immediately - almost all rewards can be taken profit of only after meeting a set of additional requirements. For example, even if you get a cashback from your deposits and lost bets, the sum of the cashback should be used in betting again for a set number of times, to unlock the ability to cash out the cashback. 

In other words, promotions are rewards for some actions on the platform, but every gift you get can only be cashed out upon another action on the platform.

As you can see, this scheme makes the players play more, and the casinos get a chance to earn more on bets. 

This scheme does not mean bonuses are evil and the players must not take them. Instead, wisely arranged bonuses help the casino operate, and give the player higher chances of winning. But it is crucial for the player to be aware of the real mechanism of bonuses functioning, because in this case, they will be able to make informed choices, take informed risks, and will be happier with their gambling strategies. Online casinos that offer unfair or poor bonuses will be avoided by players, and generous and fair casinos will enjoy well-deserved popularity. 

Basic Types of Bonuses 

All online casino bonuses are given to the player as rewards, either for their depositing, for some kind of action, or achievement on the platform. Those rewards granted purely for action are not tied to depositing, and therefore they are called No Deposit bonuses. For example, if you are offered a gift for registering an account, this is a no deposit bonus, or if you are given a gift for your birthday, this is a free bonus, too. Deposit bonuses are simple - they are granted only upon depositing. 

While there are only two types of rewards - deposit-dependent or deposit independent - the form can be very different, and the rules applied to every reward differ, as well. To be able to pick the most promising and the most suitable reward for yourself, educate yourself about all types and forms, and you will never miss a good opportunity to grasp a lucrative promotion! But pay attention to make sure the promotion is not sticky. 

Sticky / Cashable Bonus 

There is one important aspect every gambler has to keep in mind - sticky vs non-sticky bonuses. Below, you will find a full explanation of these two concepts. 

No casino bonus can be cashed out immediately; bonus money is given to the player for wagering, and the bonus body, so to say, can’t be withdrawn in any case. It is only the winnings that you can cash out. 

The majority of promotions at all online casinos are non-sticky, meaning the money you win upon wagering the bonus can be cashed out. Such a reward makes sense for the player, and it makes sense to claim it from the casino. 

However, some casinos are too smartass, or too financially unstable to afford cashable bonuses. So, they offer sticky bonuses - rewards where neither the bonus body nor the winnings you get after wagering cannot be cashed out. All bonus money and money won by the player are stated to be provided “for the purpose of gambling and fun” only, and not for withdrawal. Casinos try to conceal this unpleasant truth and hide it behind various euphemisms, but the outcome is the same - you can’t withdraw anything you win upon wagering the bonus. 

Therefore, pay attention to what the platform states about their bonus withdrawal requirements. If their rewards turn out sticky - avoid the reward or the whole casino altogether. 

Sign Up 

This is one of the most sought rewards because it is granted upon registering a real money account. You only sign up, and you get the gift immediately, without making deposits. This offer is available only to new customers who register for the first time; if you try to register several accounts, this will not work out and the platform will most likely block you quickly. 

After you sign up, you can get some free cash, free spins, or free chips to bet on games. Please keep in mind that free cash given cannot be simply cashed out immediately. To unlock the feature of cashout, you have to wager the reward on games in the first place, and for a fixed number of times.

Eventually, only money you win can be cashed out, but not the actual money given to you as reward. 

Another important nuance is that, despite the fact that you do not have to deposit to get a sign up reward, and you have to wager it first, in many cases, you will still have to make at least a minimum deposit to the platform only to unlock the withdrawal feature. Casinos apply this rule to prevent customers from simply taking bonuses, playing them through, taking their money and leaving. You have to deposit, and only then you can withdraw what you have already won. After that, you can leave your deposit if you wish, and leave - or, the casino hopes that you will continue playing. 

No Deposit 

No dep bonuses are granted for action, not for making a deposit.

Sign Up bonus is also a no dep type, but it is only given to new customers on the platform. However, a generous casino can offer other no dep promotions, but to already depositing customers - that is, customers who have been on the platform for some time already, made more than one (or at least one) deposit, and made some real money bets. 

No Deposit casino bonuses are rare, though, because not every casino can afford them. And, as it has already been said, the player has to meet a set of requirements - before and after getting the reward - and this set of requirements can be really impressive. 

Another important nuance about all no deposit bonuses in general is that there is always a maximum amount you are allowed to withdraw from what you win. For example, in the majority of cases, maximum withdrawal of cash won by wagering Free Spins is $50 or $100, but not more.

Everything that exceeds that amount left on your balance is forfeited by the platform. While this may seem an unfair condition, the casinos secure themself from bankruptcy in this manner. 

Welcome / Welcome Package 

Welcome bonuses are deposit-dependent gifts, usually combining some cash and some Free Spins, that are granted to all new players after the player makes their first deposit. As a rule, the amount of cash given is added as a percent of the sum deposited, and some Free Spins are piled on top. 

If several bonuses are offered to the new players for their several first deposits (that is, the first, second, third, etc.), this type of promo is usually called Welcome Package. 

Deposit 

Deposit bonuses are all types of rewards that are granted upon depositing or the sum of which depends on the sum deposited. Many platforms offer various promotions, like weekday or weekend deposit bonuses, to already depositing customers. You have to spend a certain amount of money to the site, and it grants you cash or Free Spins as a reward. The promotion can be called in a different manner - be it Weekend, Friday Reload, etc.

The name does not matter, it is the type that matters when you choose a promotion. 

Free Spins 

This type is simple. Free Spins bonuses are spins given on slots games.

When you use Free Spins, your bet amount is paid for by the casino, but what you win is yours, and can be withdrawn after meeting all other requirements.

Free Spins are often given in packages, like 15, 25, 50, etc. Wagering requirements and maximum withdrawal rules usually apply. 

Cashback 

This is a very beneficial type of reward, because you get cash depending on how much you deposited during the previous day, week, or month. The percent of the cashback usually depends on the sum lost in bets. Most cashback casino bonuses have wagering requirements attached, but these are usually smaller than average - for example, average bonus wagering requirements across the niche are x35-50, but for cashback, these can be from x5 to x15, or so. Therefore, cashback is a very advantageous reward. 

Wagerless Bonuses 

This is a very rare type of gift, a bonus that does not have to be wagered through before you can cash it out. The most probable types of reward that can be wagerless are Cashback and Loyalty Points.  

Loyalty Points 

Most online casinos offer Loyalty Programs, also called VIP programs, VIP clubs, etc. In the majority of cases, every customer has enrolled in the program automatically, but sometimes, one has to contact Customer Support.

The loyalty points, also called Comp Points, work in the following manner - every real money bet earns points, and the points accumulate in the player’s account.

The more points are accumulated, the higher is the account’s position within the program. There are usually several levels of accounts, and every higher level unlocks additional benefits for the customer. The Comp points themselves can also be exchanged for cash or Free Spins. 

Valuable Prizes 

Sometimes, web gambling platforms can offer valuable prizes like merch, or VIP party invitations, to loyal customers whose accounts take high levels in the VIP program. However, such type is rare nowadays - only very old online casinos that have been there for decades already may still have such physical rewards. 

Birthday Bonus 

Another rare type of reward is the Birthday bonus, granted to loyal and depositing customers. This means that you can’t register an account on the eve of your birthday, grab the bonus, cash it out, and leave. There are conditions to be met first, to have this reward unlocked. Birthday bonuses are granted usually within 3 days, or 1 week, or so, after the actual birthday, after you contact Customer Support and provide the documents that prove your birthday. Sometimes, the bonus is fixed, but often it is the Customer Support who decides what to give as a gift. 

How to Claim a Bonus 

Some rewards are added to your account automatically, but most of the time, the player has to claim every reward. This is done to make sure the player wants the bonus and is aware that the bonus is added.

To claim a particular bonus, you need to contact Customer Support or push the corresponding button in your customer profile when you make a deposit. Sometimes, a promo code is necessary to get this or that reward. If you want a No Dep promo, you will most likely get it automatically or with a promo code. If you want a deposit-dependent reward, it is usually claimed in the process of making a deposit, or immediately after it - but not after some time, let alone after you’ve made several real money bets. 

General Bonus Conditions 

Bonus Terms and Conditions are part of the General online casino Terms and Conditions, but they explain the bonus rules in a more detailed manner. There are several key statements that you will most probably find in the Bonus T&C. They are as follows: 

  • every reward is granted per one person, account, household, etc., meaning you can’t register one account and take several bonuses at once because you and your sibling use the account together. Or, one person cannot open multiple accounts at the ame casino, to take more bonuses.
  • rewards cannot be added within one account. It means that you cannot get several bonuses and start wagering them all together.
  • the majority of rewards are granted to be wagered only in certain casino games, most likely slots, and only on particular slots. You cannot wager the bonus just in any game you want, and not all games that are actually allowed for wagering the bonus, contribute equally to the wagering requirements. If you do not follow the rules of allowed games, you can spend your whole bonus cash, but meet zero of the wagering requirements. 
  • payment options matter - at some casinos, deposits made via certain payment options are not eligible for bonuses. These options are usually Skrill and Neteller, but the rules may vary.
  • some countries are not allowed to claim any type of rewards at any online casinos. These countries are usually Sweden, Finland, Croatia, Serbia, and others. If you are not sure about your country, check out Bonus T&C for this information. Such limitations are due to local laws of the country, and are not connected to casino’s preferences, so don’t take this personally.

Bonus T&C contain other important information connected to rewards, and every online casino will have its unique nuances that will directly influence your successful and efficient usage of the bonus. So please make sure you read this document carefully. 

Crucial Aspects of Bonuses 

There are several crucial nuances every gambler should pay attention to when they evaluate and choose promotions: 

  • wagering requirements - this is the amount of times the customer has to play through the whole sum of the cash granted to them as reward. For example, if your bonus is $10, and the wagering requirement is x30, it means that you have to wager $300 worth of bets in casino games. Only after these requirements are met, the withdrawal function is unlocked. Moreover, please keep in mind that, until you have an active bonus attached to your account, you will have a maximum bet limit. This means you will not be able to cover the wagering requirements by making 3 bets worth $100 each. Your maximum bet will be from $5 to $10, meaning you will have to make many bets, and probably even make another deposit, to wager through the bonus in full, and be able to withdraw the cash you won.
  • withdrawal requirements - after the wagering requirements are met, the withdrawal function is unlocked, but withdrawal requirements should also be met. These usually include maximum withdrawal, all ID documents to be in place, the account to be verified by the Customer Support, banking options are chosen, etc. Please check what is required by your preferred casino site for a successful withdrawal.
  • maximum withdrawal - not only No Dep rewards have a maximum withdrawal limit; in fact, all bonuses do. In most cases, the maximum you can win by wagering the bonus money can’t exceed $10,000. 
  • no maximum withdrawal - some high roller casino sites offer bonuses with no maximum withdrawal limit.
  • validity - rewards are not valid forever; in most cases, they need to be activated and then wagered during a certain period of time. Most rewards are valid for 1, 3, 7, or 30 days; to find out the validity of a particular gift, check out the bonus description.
  • forfeiting the bonus - if any of the rules are violated by the player, Customer Support has the right to forfeit the active bonus, and void all the winnings received by wagering this bonus, without prior notice to the player.
  • removing the bonus - if the player would like to remove their active bonus for any reason, they can usually do so by contacting Customer Support, but the winnings will also be removed. 
  • voiding the winnings - if you keep the bonus money and winnings on your balance without cashing them out, or without making bets with this money, the winnings can also be voided by the operator as inactive. This can happen if your account is inactive for 6 months or more. 

Bonus Hunting 

Some gamblers pursue an activity called Bonus Hunting. They register at different casinos and try to make the most out of every promotion they are eligible for. If all the rules are followed, such gamblers can actually have some very lucky cases of bonus hunting. All casinos are not very happy about this phenomenon, but they cannot prevent it if everything is done according to the casino’s rules, no laws are violated, and the gambler is experienced and lucky enough to win. 

However, some casinos do actually take measures to prevent bonus hunting.

If several casinos belong to the same operator, or to the same group of operators running many web casinos, you can meet the following bonus rule in their T&C - if the player that registers a new account at one of the casinos, has already played and claimed any bonuses from another casino belonging to the same group, this player is eligible for a smaller bonus, or they have to meet additional wagering requirements. This way, a group of casinos or operators protects themselves from experienced and lucky gamblers who can register at their casinos and take bonuses on a regular basis. 

The other side of bonus hunting is bonus abuse - meaning the gambler, or group of gamblers tries to get bonus money and winnings and get away with some cash by violating rules and laws. Violations may include providing false info about the customer, exceeding the maximum bet limit, trying to modify the gambling software, etc.

If bonus abuse is noticed by the operator, all the funds on the player’s account will be removed, and the account will be blocked. 

Avoiding the Bonus 

Sometimes it happens that you like the casino site, because it is safe, reliable, and entertaining, but you don’t like the bonuses they offer. In this case, don’t be shy to proceed without claiming any promotions, just make deposits at online casinos for real money with your own cash. This strategy will not impact your chances of winning, and you will avoid all the fuss of meeting the wagering requirements and stuff. 

FAQ  

Can I get a bonus for the cryptocurrency deposit? 

For this, you have to play at a cryptocurrency online casino that accepts deposits and bets in cryptocurrency, but even this fact does not guarantee that you will be eligible for the promotion. Look for cryptocurrency casinos that have bonuses for digital coins, too. 

Can I wager bonus money on Live Dealer Games? 

This is only possible if the casino has Live Dealer promotions specifically offered. In most cases, general rewards cannot be used in Live Dealer casinos

Can bonuses be wagered in Table games? 

The majority of general rewards can be used in table games and card games, but these games make very little contribution into meeting the wagering requirements, so wagering bonus in table games usually makes little sense. However, if you get a free chips bonus specially for table games, you can make good use of it. 

Where do I find promo codes? 

If the player needs a promo code to claim a reward, this code will be provided on the bonus description page, or in Bonus T&C. Sometimes, the casino will send promo codes to the customer’s account, or email.