When you first venture into the wonderful world of online gambling, there’s a question that will inevitably pose itself the second you enter your very first casino: what is a casino bonus and how do online casino bonuses work? Which fine print should you pay particular attention to? Which types of bonuses are the right kind for you and when should you claim them? All this and much more will be explained today in our extensive blog post.
But, that’s not all! In our second podcast episode, “All you need to know about online casino bonuses,” Jorge Pinto (Marketing Director at Max Entertainment) reveals how bonus offers work, how you can claim them, and what rules you need to pay attention to.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
What Is a Casino Bonus and How Do Bonuses Work?
The iGaming universe would virtually be unimaginable without online casino bonuses. And, as you’re greeted with a vast variety of online casino bonuses whenever you join a casino, it's vital for you to know exactly what you’re dealing with and you’ll have no trouble starting your bonus journey.
Casino bonuses are so popular and sought-after that online casinos keep trying to come up with new ways of attracting players, mixing bonuses up, upgrading their standard bonus packages and sprinkling their already existing casino bonus offers with Extra Spins or other special deals - just to stand out.
Online Casino Bonuses Explained
So, what is a casino bonus, anyway? Simply put, a casino bonus is an incentive offered by an online casino in order to attract new players, keep old players interested in their brand and, in both instances, boost your gameplay with additional funds.
However, if a casino bonus sounds too good to be true, it’s because it comes with certain caveats. Here it’s good to remember the term “wagering requirements” or your number one prerequisite that determines how and if you’ll be able to use your bonus winnings. Namely, to make sure they have taken all the precautions against the so-called bonus abusers (a big no-no in the industry!), casinos will attach wagering requirements to their offer and, until you’ve played through your bonus a certain amount of times (prescribed by the casino itself), you won’t be able to withdraw your winnings. Simple as that.
Which Types of Casino Bonuses Are There?
While bonuses can be sorted according to various criteria, the most common types of bonuses you can encounter at an online casino are the following:
- No Deposit Bonuses
- Deposit Bonuses
- Welcome Bonuses
- Extra Spins
- Reload Bonuses
- Cashback Bonuses
- High-Roller Bonuses
- Loyalty Bonuses
- Referral Bonuses
- Birthday Bonuses
- Exclusive Bonuses
Incidentally, all these types of bonuses are exactly the ones we’ll be talking about today. So, buckle up, it’s going to be a long (but thrilling) ride!
NOTE: In addition to learning about casino bonuses, read a word or two about bonus bagging; it'll definitely serve you in the long run.
What Do I Need to Pay Attention To? Casino Bonus Tips and Strategy
Once you’ve decided to dip your toes in the vast ocean that are casino bonuses, it’s important to keep certain information in mind. Don’t worry; we’ll gladly share all our casino bonus tips with you.
In fact, there is a long list of rules and terms attached to bonuses which you need to be aware of at all times in order to successfully make use of casino bonuses and not be labelled a bonus abuser. Today, we’ll be going over all the important bonus terminology that will help you understand bonuses better, how they work and how you can use them to their fullest potential.
All About Bonus Size, Bonus Percentage, Maximum Bet and Maximum Cashout Amount
For starters, it’s important to know bonuses come in all shapes and sizes, so you don’t have to worry whether you’re the right person for casino bonuses. The truth of it is: you can always find one that will suit your needs and budget best. Leave high-roller bonuses to high-rollers; there’s a bonus with your name on it and it shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket that easily.
Still, there is a typical form a casino bonus will usually take. Oftentimes a bonus - especially a match deposit bonus - will be shown through a standard “bonus formula”. To illustrate it more plastically, let’s take a real example: 100% up to €200. As you can see, the casino will match your deposit with a €100 bonus, allowing you to start playing with €200. (Remember: you can deposit €300, but the maximum bonus amount you will get is still €200.)
Speaking of, when it comes to the maximum bet amount of a bonus, players sometimes tend to overlook this piece of information. Our most sincere advice is: don’t. Basically, if you were to wager a higher amount than the one prescribed while using an active bonus, you will be labelled a bonus abuser and your bet will not count towards the wagering requirements of the bonus. See? Unless you wish to risk forfeiting your winnings, make sure you jot this down.
A word of advice: always check what the maximum bet and maximum cashout amount of your desired bonus is.
Furthermore, always be aware what your maximum win using a bonus may be, for that could prove to be crucial further down the line. Whatever the bonus’s maximum cashout amount is, just remember you won’t be able to withdraw over it - and that’s a fact.
Read the Bonus Terms and Conditions Carefully
Let’s underline this one more time: apart from being familiar with an online casino’s overall Terms and Conditions, you also need to be aware of the bonus’s specific Terms and Conditions. Once you’ve made your deposit and accepted the bonus in question, you’re in, and you can’t go back. You’ve effectively said “yes, I’ve thoroughly read the bonus Terms and Conditions, so I know all there is to know about this offer and I agree to everything listed there, fine print and all”.
Step one: read through the bonus Terms and Conditions carefully. Step two: pay particular attention to the fine print. Step three: enjoy your bonus!
So, make sure you do do that. Read through the bonus Terms and Conditions carefully. There are various clauses that may affect your bonus and potential withdrawals; this is where you'll find information on how to use max bet when gambling at online casino which will serve your gameplay well!
The smaller the print, the more vital it is you fully grasp its meaning. If you still have trouble comprehending a rule or two, the casino operators should be able to untangle the web for you via live chat. Just ping them and ask! (Better safe than sorry, right?)
How Can Payment Methods Affect Bonuses?
Again, this is something you should always check in the bonus Terms or, if not clearly stated, with the casino support through their customer service channels.
For example, sometimes a particular payment method may mean there’ll be unforeseen fees attached to your withdrawals, so make sure you’re fully aware of how your particular deposit and/or withdrawal methods work when combined with the bonus you’re about to claim.
Moreover, your choice of payment methods may also affect the pending time of your withdrawal and the withdrawal timeframes, which is why it’s handy to have all this information before ever claiming a bonus.
Also, there are certain bonuses that can only be claimed using a particular payment method. The rule of thumb for every single instance here is: make you have all the facts before jumping in and you’ll be all set.
Bonuses in Online Casinos vs. Bonuses in Brick-and-Mortar Casinos
As we’re gonna spend 99% of our today’s casino bonus guide dissecting online casino bonuses, it can’t do us any harm to take a quick look at bonuses one might find at a brick-and-mortar casino.
Namely, what can you expect from a fancy land-based casino in, say, Las Vegas? First and foremost, your bonus is the VIP treatment you’re gonna get. That means red carpets, spacy rooms, free chow - and much more if you’re a high-roller.
How Often Can You Get a Casino Bonus?
Short answer: it depends.
A slightly longer answer will have to deal with specific examples. For instance, a welcome bonus can only be claimed once, upon registration. On the other hand, certain casino bonuses can only be claimed on specific days, be it Mondays or weekends. Some offers will run weekly or monthly, other promotions will only be up for grabs during a particular season. On top of everything, there are VIP bonuses and loyalty bonuses which can be snagged at various times on various occasions. (Spoiler alert, but not really, because we’ve already spoiled it for you a hundred times: it’s all right there in the casino’s bonus Terms.)
Plus, it’s important to note that not all bonuses will be available forever. More often than not, you will only be able to claim a bonus in a specific timeframe and, once the bonus has expired, it’s bye-bye forever.
Is the Casino Bonus Cashable or Non-Cashable?
Here’s another distinction between casino bonuses: they can either be cashable or non-cashable. So, what does it mean if a bonus is cashable? It’s exactly as it sounds. If you’re playing with a cashable bonus, you’ll be able to withdraw your winnings once you’ve completed the bonus’s rollover requirements.
If you're dealing with a sticky bonus, your potential winnings will not be spendable.
However, there’s the other kind called the non-cashable bonus, or the sticky bonus. Here’s the cold, hard truth: the winnings made through non-cashable bonuses cannot be withdrawn. Sure, you can claim the deal and play with it, but, ultimately, whatever you win will still be for playing purposes only. You cannot spend your winnings otherwise. Hence: non-cashable.
Hey, but guess where you can always check whether you’re dealing with a cashable or a non-cashable bonus? Bingo! In the casino’s Terms and Conditions, or, more precisely, the bonus Terms. Now would be a good time to once again remind you to always consult the Terms before claiming a bonus. It’ll save you a lot of potential grievances (like, for example, the unpleasant surprise of not being able to do whatever you please with your winnings, should your bonus turn out to be non-cashable).
What Are Bonus Codes and Where Can I Find Them?
Usually, claiming a bonus is as easy as one, two, three. You make your deposit and - voila! - the bonus is yours to enjoy. However, sometimes bonuses will require you to use a special bonus code (much like a coupon!) in order to snatch the offer and start using it. This piece of info should be clearly stated in the bonus Terms and Conditions, so again - what should you do? - check the bonus Terms.
The most common practice for casinos, however, is to put casino bonus codes in their “Promotions” section, attached to the bonus you wish to grab. And how will you recognize a bonus code? Usually, it’ll be a specific combination of numbers, letters, or both that you’ll need to copy and paste before claiming the bonus in question.
You'll find plenty of casino bonus codes in our casino bonus database.
Still, you know where else you can find bonus codes? Right here on AskGamblers. Don’t forget that we’ll always list this info alongside those bonuses that require codes in order to be claimed, especially if they’re made exclusively for you, our AskGamblers members. That’s right; sometimes casinos will not even advertise their bonus codes publicly, but you’ll still be able to get them through us as they’re only available for our website members. Neat, huh? More on exclusive bonuses further down the page, but we’re sure you already get the gist of what they entail.
Types of Casino Bonuses
Remember when we said there’s a casino bonus for every player out there? Well, you’re about to find out just what type of casino bonus is the perfect one for you - and not just in general; certain bonuses can be claimed at certain times, too.
As each of these bonuses has something going on for them that the other type may not have, we’re gonna break down each and let you decide which seems like the best choice for you.
No Deposit Bonus
So far surely you’ve gathered that, in order to claim a bonus, you need to make a deposit. So, what’s the deal with no deposit bonuses, then? How do they work?
First of all, it’s important to know that no deposit bonuses are somewhat of a unicorn in this day and age. Once upon a time, you could’ve found plenty of no deposit bonus deals all over the iGaming world; today, not so much. Unsurprisingly, too.
No deposit bonuses require no deposits, which makes them perfect for trying out a casino.
But don’t be disheartened! Just because they aren’t as frequent as back in the day, you can still come across a good no deposit bonus here and there. When a casino does feature a no deposit bonus offer, it’s a perfect way for you to try out their casino and selection of games without spending any of your own money. ‘Cause, just like its name suggests, you don’t have to make a deposit in order to claim the deal. Usually, all it takes is for you to register at a casino, accept the offer and have fun spinning your way through the casino with the amount of credits placed in your account. Every gamer’s dream come true.
However, don’t forget that no deposit bonuses come with wagering requirements, as well, much like most of the bonus offers in existence, so if you were wondering what the “catch” was, there you go.
Staying at the forefront of the iGaming industry isn’t easy, which is why online casinos constantly strive to come up with diverse deposit bonus options.
That said, a deposit bonus is a casino’s number one way of expressing gratitude to their most loyal returning players, their unique way of saying “thank you for choosing us over and over again”. And, naturally, gambling aficionados love them. How could they not? You get to double, triple, quadruple your initial deposit and play with dozens more credits than you would originally.
Of course, that’s again where wagering requirements come into play, so - and we’ll never get tired of saying this! - make sure you’ve read the bonus Terms carefully and are always aware just how many times you’ll need to play the bonus through, and if it’s cashable or not.
Welcome Bonus a.k.a. Sign-Up Bonus
The so-called welcome bonus, or sign-up bonus, is without a doubt one of the most popular options for both new players and gambling veterans alike. Instead of just saying “hello” and welcoming you to their midst, a casino may offer you an amount of credits that you can use to boost your gameplay upon signing up.
A welcome bonus will sometimes be stretched over several first deposits. If so, you have a welcome package on your hands.
A welcome bonus can sometimes appear in the form of a welcome package, which is an upgraded version of the deal and lets you claim several bonuses after several initial deposits. Quite a cool way to get started at an online casino, wouldn’t you say?
Extra Spins (Formerly Known as Free Spins)
While this particular bonus is usually referred to as “Free Spins”, it is anything but (if you’ve made a deposit, it ain’t free!), which is why we prefer referring to it as Extra Spins or Bonus Spins. Plus, there’s the topic of wagering requirements here, too, so the term “free” truly does not work.
What this type of bonus is particularly handy for is trying out a new online slot. Namely, by claiming Extra Spins, you can turn the reels of a slot without spending (too much of) your money and then decide for yourself whether the slot’s a good fit or not.
Reload bonuses are also a fun way for casinos to award their returning players for their unbridled loyalty. If you’ve previously made a deposit at a casino, you are now eligible for a reload bonus. Simple as that.
However, it’s important to note that certain reload bonuses will be solely compatible with a single type of deposit method. So, make sure your deposit method of choice fits the reload bonus you’re about to claim. Remember how to check whether your deposit method is compatible with the bonus you’re eyeing? Bingo! Terms and Conditions are your go-to source of information always.
Ah, the almighty cashback bonus! Doesn’t that name just burst with optimism? The fact that there is a bonus out there that vouches to reward you for your losses is truly fantasy fulfilled.
Naturally, as it is with all casino bonuses, there are things to keep in mind. For instance, not all cashback bonuses will work in the same way. Some will offer you money back with little to no restrictions; others will give you bonus money which you’ll only be able to use on certain online slots.
What’s more, some cashback bonuses will need to be used in a short time period after you’ve suffered your losses and, should you fail to do so, will no longer be up for the taking. Consult the Terms and you’ll be a-okay.
If you’re not a whale, keep scrolling. Just kidding! High-roller bonuses are always an attractive concept in the world of online gambling. Still, the truth stands: high-roller bonuses are reserved for players willing to bet large amounts only.
Naturally, if you’re a high-roller seeking high-limit betting games, you’ll be rewarded accordingly. Casinos enjoy dealing with whales and will even encourage high-rollers with special bonuses, comp points and special deals.
Loyalty bonuses are a league of their own! A lot of casinos nowadays offer some type of loyalty schemes (even gamified!), but the great thing about loyalty bonuses is that they usually don’t come with as many restrictions as your regular run-of-the-mill bonuses.
Loyalty schemes are often gamified today, which makes claiming loyalty bonuses even more fun!
In a nutshell, a loyalty bonus will be offered to players who have been playing at a casino for a certain amount of time. If you’re recognized as their loyal customer, you might get rewarded a loyalty bonus.
Usually, loyalty bonuses won’t be tied in to a single deposit, but will be stretched over multiple deposits until you’re eligible for such a deal. It’s important to note here that loyalty bonuses will sometimes be done discreetly, through personal communication with the casino.
However, you might also find info on them in the casino’s Terms and Conditions, too, attached to words like “VIP scheme”, “Loyalty Program” or “Loyalty Scheme”.
Referral bonuses will oftentimes be called invite-a-friend bonus or refer-a-friend bonus. There’s no great mystery how a referral bonus works. Basically, if you refer a friend to a casino and they sign up through you, you’ll be awarded a certain amount of bonus credits as a thank you.
Just like it is with most bonus deals, refer-a-friend bonuses differ from one another. One casino may offer bonuses that are only eligible if your friend has made a deposit; some other casinos will reward you just for their registration.
Again, you will not be surprised what a birthday bonus is. Is it your birthday? Great! You get a bonus! That is, if your casino of choice has offers along that line.
Much like it is the case with referral bonuses, birthday bonuses will definitely not be the same in every casino. You might receive Extra Spins, a no deposit bonus or even some coupon codes. Usually, however, the prerequisite for receiving a birthday bonus is that you’ve previously deposited at said casino.
Finally, we’ve come to their majesty, exclusive bonuses! Oh, everyone loves to claim a bonus that’s tailor-made for them. Exclusive bonuses are just that: bonuses created with a special someone in mind, or more precisely, members of a particular community, most often an affiliate website.
Naturally, in our case, casinos will often strike up a special deal with AskGamblers and create bonuses that can only be claimed by AskGamblers members - and no one else. That means that, should you go to a particular casino, you might not even see that there’s an exclusive bonus offered on their website. However, if you were to check our database, you might get surprised at how many more bonuses are just waiting to be claimed - and for a limited period of time, too.
Almost Done… But Not Quite!
This concludes our exciting journey through the magical world of casino bonuses for the day… but only just! Don’t forget to check out our infographic highlighting the most important types of casino bonuses and feel free to use it as your very own online casino bonus guide.
Back to you. Any thoughts to share with us? Comments? Questions? You can always find us at our forum - and we’re as chatty as ever!