Should You Chase Casino Promotions?

Casinos run all kinds of promotions designed to get players to gamble more. Some casinos give away cards and large cash prizes, and others run constant promotions like bad beat jackpots and high hand bonuses in poker rooms.

Casino Chips and Deck of Cards

You can earn entries into free tournaments, win free flights and hotel stays, as well as just about anything else you can think of. Land-based casinos aren’t alone in running promotions, as many online casinos offer promotions to their players as well.

Online casinos also offer different kinds of deposit bonuses and reload bonuses to get players to start playing for real money and to come back and play again and again.

On the surface casino promotions of all kinds look like a good thing. After all, isn’t it good when you can win or get something extra for something that you plan to do anyway?

Instead of looking at it that way, why don’t you ask why the casinos run promotions if people are going to gamble anyway? Do you think casinos lose money on their promotions?

Casinos don’t usually lose money on anything they do. Many casinos offer a slots club or player’s club where players can earn comps, and the clubs are designed to make money, not lose it. So don’t believe for a second that casinos run promotions out of the good of their heart. They run promotions to make more money.

Knowing this, the next question you should be asking is if you should chase casino promotions?

The answer depends on what you have to do to get the promotion, and if it changes what you’re planning to do. Here are some things to consider before you start chasing a casino promotion.

Online Bonuses

Online casino bonuses, both deposit and reload bonuses, can be a great way to gamble with a bigger bankroll than you normally can. But before you make a deposit there are a few things you need to know.

Online casinos don’t just give bonuses away for free. Even the ones that are no deposit bonuses have very strict terms and requirements, and the odds of cashing out any money from them are small.

You need to always read the complete bonus terms and conditions before you sign up for any bonus.

Find out what games you can and can’t play, and how much you have to wager before you can make a withdrawal. Also look for anything dealing with a maximum withdrawal amount, as some bonuses limit the total amount you can take out.

If you’re planning to play until you run out of money anyway, you might as well grab the biggest bonus you can find. Or if you plan to take a shot at a progressive jackpot or go bust, a good bonus can give you a better chance to win.

But if you want to play a game with a low house edge and want the chance to get lucky and win some money, you might want to skip an online bonus. The important thing is to educate yourself about exactly what you’re getting into so you can make the best decision.

Online Promotions

Many online casino promotions are in the form of bonuses and free play, so you need to learn about the terms and conditions just like normal deposit and reload bonuses.

But you can find online casino promotions from time to time that aren’t in the form of bonuses, like earning entries into free tournaments. This is most common in online poker rooms, where you can earn entry into freeroll poker tournaments that payout real money.

Land-Based Casino Promotions

As I mentioned in the opening, land-based casinos run a wide range of promotions. Many of them are based on how much you play, so this can lead players to gamble more than they plan to in order to earn entries into the promotion.

Sometimes it’s worth chasing promotions if the pay off can be large, but most of the time it simply costs you additional money in losses. This is where you need to take a hard look at the promotion, what you have to do to earn entries, and how much it costs you.

For most players and promotions you’re going to find that it’s not worth playing more than you originally planned to gain entries into a promotion. Many promotions are based on a draw from all entries, and only a few people win big prizes.

The main promotions that you should consider are the ones where you can earn an entry into a free tournament that pays out cash prizes.

Make sure you understand all of the rules and exactly what you need to do to earn an entry and how the prize pool is paid out.

If you have to play 20 hours to earn an entry into a tournament with 500 people that only pays out a few thousand, it’s probably not worth your time and extra play. But if you’re planning to play 20 hours anyway, you might as well take a chance for some extra cash.

Poker Room Promotions

Poker room promotions usually involve earning entries into freeroll tournaments, but you can also find bad beat jackpots, splash the pot promotions, and high hand promotions.

I haven’t played there in quite a few years but the Excalibur poker room used to have a wheel with prizes on it you got to spin for having certain high hands. It was a nice bonus if you got a big hand, but it wasn’t worth changing the way you play to chase the hands.

This is what most promotions come down to. If you can earn the promotions without changing the way you play it’s great. But if you have to change your normal play in any way, including playing longer, it’s simply not worth the effort.

If you’re already a winning poker player, it might be worthwhile to chase an entry into a tournament by playing more than usual, but even then you need to make sure the free tournament is worth more than you can make playing your normal games.

If the free tournament has 200 seats and the total prize pool is $5,000, the average return is only $25. And you might have to play for hours to get into the money.

If you’re good enough and lucky enough to reach the final table the return will be higher, but you still might be better off playing your normal games and grinding out a profit.


The next time you see a big casino promotion; keep in mind that it’s designed to make the casino money, not you. You can still take advantage of promotions, but try to avoid changing the way you play or gambling more than you originally intended to.

I’ve used online casino bonuses, earned entries into freerolls online and in land-based casinos, and earned entries into land-based casino promotions. Overall, the only ones that I’ve made money on are the poker freerolls, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get lucky.

Just make sure that you don’t change your normal gambling and check all of the rules and terms before you decide whether you should chase a promotion.