Online casino bonuses are a big part of online gambling today. Online casinos use them as a marketing tool. Bonuses help attract new players and keep existing ones.

Bonuses used to have a bad name. Back in the day, players struggled to withdraw bonus-based winnings. Complicated terms prevented many winners from withdrawing.

Today things look very different. An increase in regulation and competition changed everything. This combination created a much more beneficial and safer environment for players. 

Online casino bonuses are now fair both in conditions and wagering requirements. At least those offered by reputable casinos.

Read this guide to learn how to navigate this new and exciting environment. And if you know the basics, check out our page on the best casino bonuses

What are Online Casino Bonuses?

Bonuses are rewards you get for performing specific actions. The action can be as trivial as signing up to a casino. Or more advanced, like making an actual deposit.

No matter the type, you must meet the bonus-specific terms to withdraw winnings.

What Are Common Types of Casino Bonuses?

There are several. With many subtypes, each is a universe in itself. But in basic terms, all varieties share similar traits. They have to do with the core bonus type.

Deposit Bonus

Receive extra credit for each deposit you make. That's a deposit bonus in a nutshell.

Usually, you get a 50-100% match to your deposit. Sometimes, it goes as high as 200%, 300%, and 400%. Or even more.

Sadly, this type of bonus always comes with at least two strings attached:

  • wagering requirements
  • maximum withdrawal limits

Always read the bonus terms to avoid disappointment. 

No Deposit Bonus

The bonus most sought after by players. You get something for nothing. Meaning for an action that costs you no money, like registering.

Players who like winning money without risks love no-deposit bonuses.

As a rule, you'll get $5-$20.

So, what's the catch? Meeting the terms required for withdrawing. They can be challenging.

Learn more about no-deposit bonuses here.

Free spins

Free spins are usually available on specific slot machines. 

These goodies are not credited to your account balance. They show up on the side balance. Before becoming yours, you must meet the terms and conditions. When you do, the casino will transfer the funds to your real balance.

Learn more about free spins here.

Cashback Bonus

After spending some time playing, you may be eligible for a cashback bonus. Meaning the casino will repay some of the funds you lost.

Cashback is either tied to a specific game or some milestone. For instance, time spent playing is a standard criterion.

How high are the cashback bonuses? It depends on the type. Some give you a fixed amount. Others are percentage-based. The more you spend, the more you get back.

VIP program

How do most online casinos retain their players? By giving them something special now and then. These programs can vary, and online casinos are becoming more creative about them.

Such bonuses may include a chance to win a vacation or a discount on online shops using loyalty points. If you're playing a lot, check out the casino's VIP programs before signing up. 

Things to Know About the Bonus Conditions

Withdrawal of funds earned with a bonus may not be a trivial matter. With rogue casinos, it can get complicated.

Every casino bonus has its terms and conditions. Read them before committing.

Terms and conditions must be understandable, and the same goes for bonuses. Read the bonus terms, and if there is anything you don't understand, stop. Refrain from claiming the bonus. At least not before you contact the casino support and clarify the terms. Rogue casinos convolute the terms to trick you.

How to tell a rogue casino from an honest one? Read this entry on rigged casinos.

Follow These 6 Tips to Prevent Withdrawing Problems

What can go wrong? Not following the basic requirements. Here are some of the most common bonus terms and how to meet them: 

Open Only One Account

All casino bonuses apply to a single person. Never open more than one account per casino. They might pick up on that and withhold your funds. If you breach the rules of a casino, you never know how they might act.  

Use Your Real Information

Before any withdrawal, the casino will verify your identity.

Always use your real information upon registration. Casinos will ask for documents, including an ID or passport scan. If you get caught using fake ID, they could prevent you from withdrawing your funds or winnings.  

Scrutinize Wagering Requirements

Bonuses are not for you to withdraw. Online casinos give them for you to play. To become eligible to withdraw the funds, you must wager (play) with a specified amount. Usually, this is a multiplier of the bonus.

Example: You receive a bonus of $10 with a wagering requirement of x35. That means you must bet a total of $350 before the funds are in your balance. 

You'll need 350 spins of $1 before withdrawing, whether you won or lost during your game. Most often, players lose all the bonus funds before meeting this condition.   

Figure Out Game Restrictions

Sometimes, casinos will let you play with bonus funds on specific games only.

This restriction is common with table games. Online casinos don't allow playing these games with most bonuses. When they do, the game is likely to have a smaller contribution towards meeting the wagering requirements.

For example, consider that table games contribute 10% towards meeting the wagering requirements. This means if a player needs to fulfill a 35x wagering requirement on a $10 bet, the requirement becomes effectively 350x for table games.

Here's how it breaks down: A $10 deposit is subject to a 35x wagering requirement. However, because table games only count for 10% of the wagering contribution, every $10 bet on these games is equivalent to just $1 towards meeting the wagering requirement. Consequently, this increases the effective wagering requirement by tenfold for table games.

Check for Geographic Restrictions

Bonuses can also be country-specific. To know if a bonus is applicable in your location, you must read the bonus terms.

We include this information with every bonus we list. Like this:

But one can never be certain. Double-check on your own to make sure.  

Check for Maximum Withdrawal Limits

Some bonuses have a withdrawal limit. Any funds won above that amount, you can't claim. For example, if a bonus has a max withdrawal of 200€, the casino will delete anything you win above that.

What are High Wagering Requirements

High wagering requirements are the conditions set by casinos on bonuses, indicating how much a player must bet to withdraw winnings. Commonly, these are between 25x to 35x, with 25x seen as favorable. Anything above 35x is considered high, making it harder to cash out winnings. Some offers may boast 0 wagering requirements but usually come with other terms to consider. Essentially, lower requirements are better for players, but it's crucial to check all conditions to understand the deal fully.

The Key Criterion When Choosing Casino Bonuses

Always play on online casinos with a solid reputation.

Many online casinos offer tempting bonuses, and many players fall for the bait. But it doesn't matter how good a bonus is if the casino isn't going to pay.

There are several ways to determine whether a casino is reputable. You can read how to pick the best online casino. Or go the other way around. Learn how to spot a rigged casino.

Reputation is the No. 1 factor players consider when opting for casinos, says Science.

Online casinos work hard to earn their reputation. When an online casino has a good reputation, they want to maintain it.

How to do due diligence on reputation?

You can check a casino's reputation by reading reviews on this or other websites.

Search the "name of the casino" + "reviews" on the leading search engines.

Having said that, we have already done the hard work for you.

All the online casinos on our website, which have four stars and above, are reputable brands. On these, you can play knowing that they will pay out your winnings.

Be that as it may, caution is in order.

Online casinos will do whatever they can not to pay you. So stay on top of bonus terms at all times.