How Does a No Deposit Bonus Work?

One Hundred Dollar Bills and Red Bonus Banner

Most online casinos offer bonuses to attract you and other gamblers to their sites. Many of these offers require that you deposit money before qualifying for the bonus.

For example, a casino might feature a 100% match bonus worth up to $500. They’ll stipulate that you must deposit at least $20 to take advantage of this deal. But not all online casino bonuses force you to deposit.

No deposit bonuses give you an opportunity to win money without funding your account.

Obviously, this is an attractive prospect. However, you’ll want to know how these offers work before pursuing them.

That said, I’ll cover the different types of no deposit bonuses (NDBs), how to get them, and what you must know to cash in on no deposit bonuses.

How Do You Qualify for a No Deposit Bonus?

All no deposit bonuses are awarded in the same manner. You need to successfully register for an account and claim the offer.

If you’ve ever played at an online casino before, then you’ll be well aware of the registration process. Most gaming sites feature the same process and require the same information.

Here’s some common info that you must enter when registering:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Date of birth
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Bonus code (often needed for NDBs)

Once you finish completing the registration form, you submit it for approval. You should receive this approval and qualify for your bonus immediately.

The next step is to visit your account and claim the offer. You typically only have a few days to claim a no deposit bonus, so you should compete this step quickly.

After claiming the offer, you must meet terms and conditions to earn your bonus funds. I’ll cover more on terms and conditions later.

Types of No Deposit Bonuses and Examples

No deposit offers come in three main forms:

  • Cash
  • Free spins
  • Free play

Each type of deal gives you a shot at winning free money. But as you’ll see below, they all deliver this money through different means.

No Deposit Cash Bonuses

NDBs are most commonly available in cash form. With these deals, a casino gives you a lump sum of money to play with.

For instance, you might receive a $10 no deposit bonus after registering for an account. You use these funds to meet wagering requirements (a.k.a. playthrough) and, hopefully, withdraw your bonus and winnings afterward.

Here’s an example:

  • You receive a $20 no deposit bonus.
  • Wagering requirements are 40x the bonus.
  • 20 x 40 = $800 must be wagered.
  • You have $30 after meeting playthrough.
  • You can cash out the $30, provided you’ve met other terms and conditions.

Some gamblers commonly assume they’re playing for the original cash value. In the example above, they’d expect exactly $20 after satisfying terms and conditions.

The reality, though, is that cash NDBs can either deliver more or less than the starting value. Everything depends upon how much money is left over after meeting terms and conditions.

No Deposit Free Spins

NDB free spins see you play real-money slots without spending anything. You use the spins to generate winnings that can be withdrawn upon satisfying terms and conditions.

Spin and Win Wheel

Here’s an example:

  • You receive 20 no deposit free spins.
  • You win $15 through the spins.
  • Playthrough is 30x.
  • 30 x 15 = $450 must be wagered.
  • You have $5 left after meeting playthrough.

As you can see, the leftover winnings are what you use to satisfy wagering requirements. If you have any money left after meeting playthrough, then you’ll be able to withdraw the funds once all other Terms and conditions are met.

No Deposit Free Play

Free play refers to when casinos give you a certain amount of free funds along with a time limit. For instance, you might receive $500 in free play with a one-hour limit.

You use the given funds to generate as much money as possible within the hour. Once the time is up, you must meet other terms and conditions to cash out the winnings.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re given $1,000 in free play.
  • The time limit is one hour.
  • You generate $125 in winnings.
  • Wagering requirements are 40x.
  • 40 x 125 = $6,000.

You can cash out what’s left over from the $125 after satisfying playthrough and other terms and conditions.

Terms and Conditions on No Deposit Offers

NDBs are far from a guaranteed source of money. Instead, you need to meet all terms and conditions before withdrawing anything from these deals. You can read about the most common terms associated with these offers below.

Wagering Requirements

Playthrough is the amount you must wager before being eligible to cash out your bonus. Wagering requirements are listed as a multiple of the bonus.

Your goal is to find no deposit bonuses with the lowest playthrough. You’ll have a chance to cash out money from an offer when you can wager less.

For example, a $10 no deposit bonus with 35x wagering requirements is better than a deal with 60x playthrough. Some casinos actually do feature 60x wagering requirements or more to severely reduce the chances of them having to pay up.

Game Restrictions

Your first thought regarding NDBs might be to play whatever game offers the highest return to player (RTP). You’ll likely reduce your losses in this case and improve your chances of earning money from a no deposit deal.

Of course, casinos are wise to this strategy. They reduce contributions towards wagering requirements for certain games.

In some cases, they entirely restrict specific games from contributing anything towards playthrough. Games that are either restricted or carry reduced wagering requirements often feature the highest RTP at a casino.

For example, an online blackjack game with 99.5% RTP might only contribute 10% towards wagering requirements. Meanwhile, an online slot with 96% RTP will contribute the full 100%.

Timeframe on Wagering Requirements

Gaming sites don’t give you an eternity to satisfy playthrough. Instead, they require you to meet this term within a specific amount of time. Common time ranges include anywhere from 30 to 180 days.

You probably won’t need two months to satisfy wagering requirements. However, you should still seek deals that give you more time to meet this term.

Minimum and Maximum Withdrawals

You might assume that you’re able to cash out anything left over from a no deposit bonus, even if it’s just a few dollars.

However, casinos require minimum cashouts regardless of if you’re dealing with an NDB or not. You must have at least enough funds to meet the minimum withdrawal before getting your money.

Most gaming sites won’t process a cashout unless you have at least $10. Assuming you only have $3 left from an NDB offer, you’ll need to keep playing with the $3 until you can meet the minimum withdrawal.

On the other side, you can only earn so much from these deals. Casinos don’t want to award you an NDB only to watch you hit a massive jackpot.

Max winnings on no deposit bonuses often range from $50 to $200. Higher maximums allow you to better capitalize on hot streaks with NDBs.

Maximum Bets

One common strategy for earning casino bonuses is to place huge wagers. With this strategy, you quickly satisfy playthrough and determine if you can collect anything from a no deposit bonus.

But gaming sites want you to use NDBs to try their games and decide if you want to make a deposit. Therefore, they cap the amount that you can bet with an active bonus.

For example, you might not be allowed to wager over $100. If you go over this amount, then you’ll forfeit your no deposit deal.

Required Deposit

Many online casinos also force you to deposit before withdrawing your money. They do this to ensure that you pick out a banking option and can become comfortable with moving money on and off the site.

Deposit Key on a Laptop

You may ultimately never play for real money at the respective casino. But the chances of you doing so increase when you’re forced to deposit and cash out.

Of course, you may need to fund your account anyway to meet the minimum withdrawal amount. If you’ve only gained $5 from your no deposit bonus and the minimum cashout is $20, for example, then you’ll need to deposit at least $15 to get your winnings.

Disqualified from Deposit Welcome Bonus

Some casinos force you into making a difficult decision, either go for a no deposit bonus or the regular welcome bonus.

As for the latter, gaming sites offer lucrative bonus deals to new players. For instance, you might be eligible for a 100% match bonus worth up to $1,000.

Such deals are great if you have a large bankroll and want to chase a sizable bonus. But you won’t have this opportunity if the terms and conditions stipulate that you can only go for the NDB or deposit welcome deal.


No deposit bonuses can be confusing at first. They come in different types and feature several terms and conditions.

However, you can quickly understand how they work when breaking them down by type. No deposit cash, free spins, and free play all work differently.

With cash NDBs, you receive a specific amount of money (e.g. $10). You then use these funds to meet terms and conditions and potentially withdraw what’s left over plus winnings.

Free spins let you play real-money slots without risking anything. You can cash out your winnings after satisfying terms and conditions. Free play awards funds that must be wagered within a certain amount of time (e.g. $1,000 in one hour). You use free play to win money that’s subject to terms and conditions.

Speaking of which, you should carefully read over the terms before going after an NDB. After all, you don’t want to miss out on free money because you place too big of a wager or play a restricted game.

The terms and conditions are set up to give casinos an advantage with these bonuses. You may feel disappointed after failing to earn money from several NDBs. However, these deals are still worth considering if you like casino gaming and want a chance at free money.