How Do Casino Bonuses Work

This article will help you understand how casino bonuses work and how you can determine which ones are worth the most.

how do casino bonuses work
How Do Casino Bonuses Work

Welcome bonuses in casinos are one of the many marketing strategies they use to attract more people to use their platforms. Fortunately for gamblers, especially new ones, they can take advantage of these promotions to try out the games with fewer risks.

This article will help you understand how casino bonuses work and how you can determine which ones are worth the most.

Casino Bonus Explained

Casino bonuses are promotional tools that almost all online casinos use to entice visitors to sign up and keep playing on their website. In 2018, American Gaming Association (AGA) published a report stating that there are currently around 2,800 online gambling sites. With these numbers in mind, casinos constantly try to come up with the most appealing and lucrative signup bonuses to attract new and old players to use their platforms instead of their competitors'.

However, beginners in online gambling have to be aware that all of these welcome bonuses come with terms and requirements that have to be fulfilled in order to withdraw the money. The thing is, a lot of these online casino bonuses and promos are extremely great deals, even with their conditions. Players just have to find the most profitable ones and offer the best benefits.

Types of Casino Bonuses

Casinos offer several types of bonuses to their new and long-time members. To make the most out of these deals, you have to make sure that you fully understand each one.

Welcome Bonus

Welcome bonuses are rewarded to new members once they sign-up. Since the purpose of the welcome bonus is to entice new players, it is usually the most appealing deal out of all the promotions on the website. 

Casinos usually offer a match bonus with their welcome bonuses. It is a type of bonus where the casino "matches" your deposit amount depending on their set percentage. It can be 50%, 100%, 200%, or more, which means you can be entitled to rewards more than twice the value of your deposit. Remember that these come with conditions, and the higher the bonus, the stricter they usually are.

For example, you deposit $50, and the match deposit bonus of the website is 100%. You will then receive $50 worth of incentives, which can be in the form of credits, spins on slots, or other things. Although, casinos also set a maximum bonus amount for every player. You also have to fulfill their requirements first before using the rewards and withdrawing the earnings.

Free Spins

Free spins are among the most common type of online casino bonuses. They are offered to both new and old members. Using these free spins is an excellent way for you to try out the platform's slot games. However, these are often rewarded along with match deposit bonuses. Some websites will give you the free spins first but will require you to deposit and wager a certain amount of money before you can collect your earnings from the spins.

The number of spins will vary depending on the website. Some provide as little as ten spins, while others reward up to 120 spins, depending on your deposit.

Reload Bonus

Casinos offer their regular customers reload bonuses. These are incentives rewarded once a member decides to deposit again into their account. Reload bonuses are less frequent, usually provided on a specific day once a week, and have lower values than welcome bonuses. However, these are still great deals and a source of free credits. Depending on the website, some reward free spins along with the match deposit bonus.

No Deposit Bonus

As its name suggests, no deposit bonuses grant members incentives without putting down any money. All they need to do is create or register an account on the casino's website. These online casino bonuses are often small credits plus some free spins.

However, since these casinos are basically giving away money for free, you should expect tighter terms and requirements.

Other websites will limit the winnings you can withdraw or eventually require you to deposit. Make sure to read their conditions before making an account.

VIP/Loyalty Rewards

VIP programs for loyal and long-term members vary from one casino to another. Some offer deposit bonuses and free spins/free sports bets once the player has surpassed the minimum number of months as a member or has spent a certain amount of money on the website. It can also come in the form of lower withdrawal limits and other incentives.

The best loyalty rewards are given to members who have been with the casino for at least a year. There are sites that hold competitions among their qualified members, and the winner gets an all-expense paid vacation or extravagant gifts.

Loyalty bonuses are the most beneficial of all types. If you're planning to become a regular casino player, consider the VIP program of the website before joining.


Refer-a-friend bonuses are a type of special reward that casinos give to those who have successfully invited a friend to sign up on their website. Some casinos have great referral programs. Usually, the more people you recommend, the better your rewards are, which are sometimes account credits, free spins, or deposit bonuses.

Your online casino will provide your account or email you a personalized referral link you can send to your friends. They will then have to click the link and sign up using it. The system can track it and automatically send the rewards to your account.

Cash Back

You may have heard the word "cashback" from your shopping websites and rewards credit cards. But recently, online gambling websites have also used cashback programs to offer bonuses to their members. It will serve as a guarantee that you can get a portion of your money back once you lose all of them from playing on the website.

The most common form of this is rakeback given to players by online poker rooms to their players. They pay back a certain percentage of the rake they take from the game as an incentive to get players to play on their site.

Cashback bonuses will benefit those who are on a bad streak. Casinos will compensate with account credits or straight-up cash. The amount of cashback a player can get is based on either daily, weekly, or monthly losses depending on the website.

How different types of casino bonuses work.
How different types of casino bonuses work.

Wagering Requirement for Casino Bonuses

Once you visit online casinos and look through their bonus programs, the most common term you will encounter is "wagering requirements". If you're planning to start gambling, you must have a clear understanding of how it works.

A casino chip next to a wrapped present

The wagering requirement, usually in the form of a multiplier, will set the minimum amount of money the player needs to play through to qualify in withdrawing the bonus and the winnings derived from it.

For example, you sign up on a website with a 100% match deposit bonus and a 30x wagering requirement. Once you deposit $50, you're automatically entitled to another $50 cash bonus. However, you won't be able to claim it unless you complete the wagering requirement. In this case, you have to multiply $50 by 30 to calculate it, giving you $1500. It means you have to play through $1500 before claiming the bonus and the earnings, that is, if there are any left.

Furthermore, only specific games can contribute to completing the wagering requirement. One example is slots. Most casinos have a wagering requirement of 30x to 40x, and choosing one with a higher condition than this is impractical. You can also find websites with no wagering requirements, which are always a steal. However, it will all still depend on your casino's terms and conditions, which is why it is essential to read through them before committing.

How to Clear Casino Bonus Wagering Requirements

Now that we know these bonuses have wagering requirements, what's the best way to clear them?

Read the Casino Bonus Terms & Condition

As we've mentioned several times already, read the conditions before committing anything. Fortunately, casinos are obligated to display their terms, so you just have to do your part diligently. Make sure to look at the following:

  • Minimum deposit
  • Wagering requirements
  • Time limit
  • Payment options
  • Bet limit
  • Withdrawal limit
  • Qualified games

It is crucial to take a look at the wagering requirement contribution of specific games. Usually, slot machines have 100% contributions, which means a $1 bet on it equates to a $1 decrease on your current wagering requirement count. On the other hand, table games like online blackjack have lower than 10% or none at all. Play the games with the most contribution to reach the requirement faster.

Look for Qualified Low-Medium Variance and High RTP Games

Aside from the game's wagering requirement contribution, you also have to consider their volatility and RTP

For slot machines, it is better to go with ones with low to medium variance since there are lower risks, and you can play longer. This way, you can manage to complete your wagering requirement better. On the other hand, with RTP or return to player, the higher, the better. However, most casinos exempt high RTP games from wagering. So, it is best to find slot machines with average RTP.

Play with the Lowest Bet Possible

It is more effective to play with the lowest stake possible and play longer than to risk your wager in a high-stakes game with a slim chance of winning. Of course, if you're impatient, then this might not be favorable to you.

Remember that you want to avoid wiping out your bankroll before you even scratch the surface of your wagering requirement.

Avoid any Betting System

There are strategies that gamblers swear by; however, there are some like The Martingale and Paroli that don't guarantee to help increase the player's edge. If you are clearing wagering requirements, best to steer clear from any betting systems claiming "you'll never lose again in casino" or "win at craps any time." You will lose.

People who create these systems target people desperate enough to pay for something they think will help them win. Remember that even experts say that no system can guarantee a win up to this day. What you can do is learn proven and reliable strategies that can increase your odds like card counting.

Taking advantage of a casino bonus is a great way to start your online betting journey, especially if you want to make your money go further.

This article was published on March 1, 2022, and last updated on July 4, 2023.