One of the biggest allures of real money online casinos are their bonuses. You’ll see big-name casinos offering up loads of money for just signing up and making a deposit!
But you have to be careful what casino bonuses you accept, because not all of them are built with the player in mind.
In this post, we’ll talk about the:
- Types of casino bonuses
- Break down what wagering requirements mean
- Give you tips about how to choose the best online casino bonus
Why You Should Be Wary of Online Casino Bonuses
At the end of the day, real money online casinos want you to make a deposit. Pure and simple.
Once you slide money into your account, you’re automatically required to play with it before making a withdrawal. That’s why deposit limits are so much lower than withdrawal limits. You either have to win a lot, or deposit more, just to withdraw your money.
That’s the brutal cycle that many gamblers get stuck in, and sometimes casino bonuses just compound that issue.
Thankfully, there are smart ways to go about claiming casino bonuses, but first, let’s discuss the different types of promos you’ll see out on the Internet.
Types of Casino Bonuses
There are a few different ways that online casinos give you free stuff. While you probably won’t get a swag bag sent directly to your house, these bonuses can really beef up your gambling account.
No Deposit Bonus
This bonus is exactly how it sounds. All you have to do is sign up with the online casino and they’ll drop some free cash in your account, no questions asked.
No deposit bonuses are highly sought after because they don’t require you to give away any of your banking info. Plus, they’re an easy way to test out the games at an online gambling site before you commit.
Deposit Match Bonus
This one is probably the most common bonus you’ll find. Casinos will match your deposit up to a certain amount. For example, Las Atlantis offers a 280% deposit match, so if you drop $500 in your account, you’ll receive an additional $1,400.
All deposit matches are capped at a predetermined value, meaning you can’t multiply your deposit infinitely. Las Atlantis cuts off their bonus at $14,000, so once you hit that limit, your deposits won’t be multiplied anymore.
A welcome bonus is meant to incentivize new players into adding a lot of funds to their accounts.
Slots casinos will sometimes pair free spins on select machines with their welcome package to sweeten the deal. Alternatively, free spins might constitute as a no-deposit bonus.
Instead of giving you free cash, you get a chance to test out specific slot machines. In our opinion, free spins are one of the best promos you could find, because unlike a no deposit bonus, free spins usually aren’t subject to any kind of wagering requirements.
As the least popular online casino bonus, rebates help you recoup some of your losses or buff up your account balance. There are two ways a rebate can work. Firstly, they can give you back a percentage of your losses from the previous week, say, 10%.
Alternatively, the rebate can give you a percentage of the funds deposited into your account in the previous week (or any timeframe, really). For example, if you deposit $200 in your account on Monday, and the 10% rebate hits on Sunday, you’ll get $20 credited to your account.
Read The Terms and Conditions of Your Online Casino Bonus
Now that you know what each kind of casino bonus consists of, it’s time to discuss the terms and conditions. That’s right, each bonus has a set of rules associated with how you can use it, when you can use it, and what games you can use it on.
While a casino bonus might seem like a super generous offer, it’s probably subject to high wagering requirements.
The main stipulation that appears in a bonus’s terms and conditions is a wagering requirement, which is also called a playthrough or rollover requirement. Why the casino industry couldn’t just pick one and roll with it, we don’t know.
Understanding Wagering Requirements
Wagering requirements are the most common kind of conditions that come with bonuses. They usually appear when you’re given a deposit match bonus or a free cash bonus.
Las Atlantis, as we know, offers a 280% deposit bonus as a welcome package. In the terms and conditions for this bonus, they state that “the wagering requirements for the offer are 35x (Bonus + Deposit).Sign up at Las Atlantis
This is known as a sticky deposit, where both the bonus and the original deposit amount are subject to the wagering requirements. It’s less ideal, but it is what it is.
Now, to figure out how much you have to wager, all you have to do is a bit of math. The equation is simple:
(Bonus amount) + (Deposit amount) x (Wagering requirements)
So, in our case, let’s say you’ve deposited $100 and received a $280 free cash bonus:
$280 + $100 x 35 = $13,300
This means that in order to withdraw any funds you’ve won with your bonus, you have to wager $13,300 or more. Don’t get freaked out, it is a large number, but you can do a few things to reach the requirement. Make sure you’re playing games with a low House Edge, stuff like baccarat or blackjack.
That will help you pad your account. Playing slots is fine, but just know it’s going to take you a lot longer to reach your wagering requirement, especially since Las Atlantis sets their maximum bet to $10.
That’s why larger deposit bonuses aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Yeah, free cash is nice, but if you have to spend weeks working to the wagering requirement, is it worth it?
On top of wagering requirements, casinos will usually stipulate how much time you have to meet said requirements. For larger bonuses, like the welcome package, that might be anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
For smaller bonuses, like a rebate, you’ll have to meet the gambling requirements within 7 to 14 days.
What happens if you don’t meet the requirement within the allotted timeframe?
Usually, casinos will reclaim your bonus and winnings associated with it will be forfeit. It’s a shady practice, but there’s nothing we can do to change it.
How To Choose The Best Online Casino Bonus
- Find a casino bonus with a low wagering requirement. Usually bonuses come with a 30-50x wagering requirement, but if you can find one sub-30, you’re in good shape.
- Don’t pick the highest deposit bonus. Like we saw in the example with Las Atlantis, even with the normal wagering requirement of 35x, the “generosity” of the deposit match made that wagering requirement amount skyrocket. Stick with modest deposit matches, like 100% or 150%.
- Make sure you read the terms and conditions. We can’t stress this enough, but accepting a bonus blind is never a good idea.
- Play the right games. If you have a high wagering requirement to meet, you shouldn’t be playing slots. Sure, you might win a jackpot, but you’re better off playing games with low House Edges and high-payouts, like blackjack or baccarat.
At the end of the day, as long as you’re smart about which online casino bonuses you accept, you shouldn’t have a reason to worry.
Think of casino bonuses like you’re signing the paperwork for a new car.
You want to make sure you read the fine print so you’re not stuck paying 20% interest, and the same applies to casino bonuses.