Online casino bonuses have gone through a bit of a metamorphosis over the course of the last decade or two. In the early days of online casinos, nobody knew who to trust and casino operators used every trick in the book to offer big bonus money and then avoid paying any of it out.
Today, though, with the help of sites like ours, the industry is quickly becoming much more transparent. With modern players that have all of information they need, there’s much more competition for the title of best casino bonus, and scam operations simply aren’t as viable as they once were.
Keep reading, and you can join this increasingly well-educated class of online players who enjoy games like baccarat, blackjack, slots, keno, poker, faro, roulette and video poker. Best of all, you can get free bonuses when playing on any device, be that a desktop, Mac or at a mobile casino.
Online Casinos With Best Promos
Matching Deposit Offers
The first, and most common, type of online casino bonus is known as a “matching deposit bonus”. These deals have a maximum value, but the amount that you receive is actually determined by your deposit.
In most cases, these are 100% match bonuses, which means the offer will be exactly equal to the value of your deposit.
For example, let’s consider a 100% match bonus with an advertised value of $800. The 100% part means that the casino signup offer will be worth 100% of your deposit. The value of $800 is the maximum size of the bonus, though a smaller deposit will yield a smaller return.
So, in this example, if you deposit $200, you receive $200. That’s 100% of your deposit, and it’s not more than $800. Likewise, if you deposit $500, you will receive $500. It’s only if you deposit $800 or more that you can cash in on the full, advertised value of this type of casino signup bonus.
Depositing more than this, say $1,000, does not lead to more casino bonus money. You’ll get the $800 maximum, and that’s it.
Fixed Casino Bonuses
Next up, we’ve got “fixed bonuses”. These are much more straightforward than matching casino promotions, in that the casino simply pays you a set amount of bonus money, as long as you make a qualifying deposit.
Unfortunately, they are generally smaller, particularly if you have the bankroll to fully take advantage of the really big matching casino sign up bonus opportunities.
Let’s look at an example to see how fixed bonuses work. If your casino says that all new qualifying players will receive a $100 bonus, then that is the only size that your deal can be. You just have to look at the terms and conditions to see what a “qualifying” bonus is.
In most cases, it has to be a certain size, perhaps $75 in this case, and there may be restrictions upon things like valid deposit options and nationalities. So, assuming a $75 minimum qualifying deposit, it doesn’t matter if you deposit $75 or $750 – your online casino bonus will still be $100.
Finally, we have “no deposit bonus” opportunities. These are few and far between (not to mention relatively small) but they have one important advantage over other kinds of promotions – there is no deposit required!
Even as a risk-free fun money player, you can enjoy these bonus opportunities, which makes them ideal for trying out new casinos. For the biggest rewards, though, there will basically always be some kind of deposit requirement.
No Deposit Bonus
Since most no deposit bonus opportunities are relatively small, let’s use an example of a $20 no deposit bonus offer.
Just sign up with the casino, request the bonus (potentially with a code) and watch it land in your account. Then, feel free to play with this money as if it were cash.
Usually, this $20 would be just the first part of a more comprehensive casino promotion package, and your first deposit would still land you a fixed or matching bonus later on.
How Your Casino Bonus Works
Bonus money isn’t just a gift – if it were, players could easily take advantage of online casino bonus opportunities with no risk. Top casino online sites figured this out a long time ago, so they have a few restrictions in place to make sure you aren’t getting the better of them.
With the best sites, these restrictions are very reasonable, but always read the fine print to keep yourself out of any impossible-to-win situations.
First, all 2018 casino promotions are going to come with an expiration date. There’s no way around this one – just make sure you’ll have enough time to meet the other restrictions – namely wagering requirements.
Wagering requirements (also known as playthrough requirements or clearing minimums) are set amounts of cash that you must gamble in order to make your bonus money available for withdrawal. This is primary tool that even the best casino bonus must use to make sure only genuine players are taking part in the action. Luckily, your wagers count whether you win or lose – it simply doesn’t matter.
The wagering requirements for any given casino bonus are generally calculated by multiplying the value of the bonus by a set multiplier – usually between 20x and 50x. The value of all of your wagers must meet this value to completely clear the bonus money for withdrawal, and you only have until the expiration date. These vary widely and, as with so many things related to online casino bonuses, the devil is in the details.
How Wagering Requirements Work
For example, some casinos allow you to withdraw your online casino bonus money in smaller, bite-sized chunks. Others, though, put you in an all-or-nothing situation. Some sites, in an effort to offer the best wagering minimums possible, actually count wagers from different games differently.
Slots may count 100% towards your clearing requirements, while the contribution from table games can be as low as 5% with some operators! Before deciding which offer is the best casino bonus for you, read the terms and conditions to see the details for yourself.
To understand this concept, let’s imagine an example with John. John signs up with a new casino, makes a $300 deposit, and receives a $300 online casino bonus. So now he has $600 to play with, but only $300 of it is available for withdrawal.
The rest needs to be “cleared” by meeting the house’s wagering minimum. Only after doing so his bonus money can be pulled out of his account. John’s favorite games are slots, video poker, and especially roulette.
In this case, let’s assume that the bonus carries a 20x wagering requirement. That means the sum of all of John’s bets needs to add up to $6,000 (300 x 20). To meet this, he could make 60 $100 bets, 30 $200 bets, or even 600 $10 bets.
It doesn’t matter as long as the total money wagered adds up to $6,000 before the casino bonus’ expiration date.
The only caveat is that his favorite game, roulette, only contributes at a rate of 10%. So if he plays roulette, he has to bet 10x as much to meet the same requirement – $60,000!
Focusing on games like slots and video poker, with 100% (or nearly 100%) contribution rates is definitely the easiest way to clear a casino promotion in this kind of situation.
Take Home Points for Enjoying Your Casino Welcome Bonus
The key to actually being able to cash your casino bonus money out can be found in the terms and conditions. Look for obvious clues, like if you can get a bigger deal by using bonus codes.
Then, check out the wagering requirements and how much your favorite games contribute towards it. After all, there is really no reason to chase a bonus that you’ll never clear or one that requires you to play games that you don’t even like.
Finally, verify that the expiration date is really realistic based on your games of choice, preferred stakes, and the wagering requirement that you’re up against. There’s nothing more aggravating than getting within striking distance, and then losing everything by simply running out of time.
This is yet another reason to stick with the top casino online sites of 2018, listed here for your convenience. These are the sites with fair policies that actually make online casino bonuses enjoyable!