One of the great things about playing at an online casino is the fact that you’re likely to receive a number of large bonus offers just for playing. Sure, a brick-and-mortar casino might give you the occasional free meal or a match play ticket for a hand of blackjack, but that’s nothing compared to what you’ll find at a typical online casino.
What is a Casino Bonus?
A casino bonus is a reward given to players by a casino site. Typically, these bonuses are offered for players who are already making deposits into their casino accounts; the casino will then give you additional money that you can play with on top of it. Each bonus will also come with its own set of terms and conditions that you’ll want to consider before accepting any casino bonus.
Types of Bonuses
The most common type of bonus that you’ll encounter is the new-player, matching first deposit bonus. These bonuses are designed to give new players a big incentive for signing up for an account at a casino site, and are often the largest bonuses offered by casinos.
Typically, these bonuses are designed to “match” the amount you plan to deposit into your account. A fairly common bonus promotion may be advertised as something similar to a “100% matching bonus of up to $1,000.” This would mean that the casino would match 100% of your deposit amount; however, no matter how much you deposited, the bonus would never be larger than $1,000. Not all bonuses use a 100% match, and first deposit bonuses are often significantly larger, with some casinos offering as much as 300% or 400% of your first deposit amount as a bonus.
There are a couple of other types of new player bonuses you might run across while playing at online casinos. First, some casinos offer a small “no deposit” bonus option. These bonuses allow you to play in the casino without making a deposit, and can be a great way of trying a casino without risking any money. However, these bonuses usually have very strict controls over what games you’re allowed to play, and a limit on how much you can win while using the bonus funds. Other bonuses may require you to make a deposit, but offer a flat bonus amount regardless of the amount you’ve deposited.
After your initial deposit bonus, you’re also likely to be offered many more bonuses during your time in an online casino. Most casino sites offer regular “reload” bonuses that allow you to claim additional bonus funds by making new deposits. These bonuses are typically smaller than the new player bonus, but are a great way of getting extra value for your money if you need to add funds to your account. Additional bonuses may also be awarded to players who are part of VIP or loyalty programs; often, these bonuses will be larger than normal or offer more favorable terms as a reward for playing heavily on a given site.
Another way in which casino bonuses can vary is in exactly how the bonus funds work. There are generally two types of bonuses in this regard: the “cashable” bonus and the “sticky” bonus.
A cashable bonus is likely the type of offer you’d imagine when you read about a casino bonus. In this bonus type, you’ll have to meet the bonus wagering requirements before you can withdraw your bonus money. However, once you’ve met all of the conditions necessary, your bonus money is yours to keep.
These days, however, the more common type of promotion is the “sticky” bonus. In these bonuses, you’ll be given money that you can immediately use in the casino. Any winnings you make by playing with this bonus are yours to keep. However, this money is only usable in the casino; once you’re done with the bonus, that money is deducted from your balance, meaning you can never withdraw it. While that’s obviously a negative of this bonus type, this is usually balanced by the fact that sticky bonuses tend to be much larger than cashable bonuses.
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Casino Bonus Terms and Conditions
One of the most overlooked areas of casino bonuses are the terms and conditions. At every casino site, you’ll be able to find a page that details exactly what rules govern the bonus offers you are taking. It’s very important to read this page; while you don’t need to work your way through the entire document, there are a few key points you’ll definitely want to know about before you begin playing in the casino.
First, take a look for the wagering requirement (also known as a playthrough requirement). This determines how much you must wager in the casino before you can withdraw your winnings and/or bonus funds. In almost all cases, this is expressed as a multiple of either the bonus amount or the combined amount of your deposit and bonus. For instance, if the wagering requirements say you must wager 20x the combined amount of your deposit and bonus, and you made a deposit of $100 and received a $100 bonus ($200 total), you’ll need to make $4,000 in bets before you can withdraw your funds.
You’ll also want to check to see if there are any restrictions on the types of games you’ll be allowed to play while you’re clearing the bonus. It’s common for casinos to restrict you only to certain games, such as slots, keno, and/or scratch cards. Many other casinos will allow you to play any games you want to, but will have rules that make certain games count less towards clearing your bonus than others. These game rules are particularly important to consider when clearing a bonus, as playing the wrong games can sometimes invalidate a bonus.
While those two points are likely to be the most important to you when looking at the bonus rules, you might also want to scan for a couple other points. In some cases, there are special restrictions on players from certain countries that require those players to meet increased wagering requirements or prohibit them from taking part in bonuses. You might also want to watch out for any types of wagering that the casino may not allow during bonus clearing; some casinos specifically outline certain types of wagers that could lead you to being labeled as a “bonus abuser.”