How Do Casino Bonuses Work?

Olufifun Adeleke

It may be unbelievable at first to find out that casinos are willing to give players free cash. However, with the addition of new casinos into the market every day, most online casinos have to devise marketing strategies to attract new customers and reward the existing ones, and casino bonuses are an excellent way of doing this

Nowadays, casino bonuses are a major deciding factor for players looking to bet in an online casino. Most online casinos usually offer a broad range of bonuses, from deposit bonuses, to free spins and loyalty bonuses.

Before we go on, it's important to note that before your winnings may be withdrawn from the casino website, you may have to spend a little cash. This is how casino operators ensure that players remain dedicated to the website. So, how do casino bonuses work?

Popular Casino Bonuses

Deposit Bonus

A deposit bonus is typically awarded to newly registered players. Players are awarded a deposit bonus after completing the registration process at an online casino and completing their first deposit. Usually, deposit bonuses are awarded in addition to other compelling rewards like free spins.

The amount of money deposited determines the deposit bonuses that a player would receive. For instance, a 50% deposit bonus means that if a player deposits $50, then the player would be awarded an extra $25 as the deposit bonus.

No Deposit Bonus

For many players who may not be ready to commit financially to an online casino, a no deposit bonus may be a good way to play for free. Most of the time, no deposit bonuses are free spins or a small amount of money that is awarded to players without any previous financial commitment to the casino. What this means is that players are not required to make any deposit before they are awarded the bonus. The wagering requirement makes the no deposit bonus relatively stressful to cash out. So we suggest that you try to understand the wagering requirements before you start betting with your ‘free money’.

Free Spins

With this type of casino bonus, you don't get a cash reward. Instead, you‘ll be given free spins to play on specific slots with prepaid credit. Your winnings would then be credited into your player account in the form of bonus credit that you won't be able to withdraw until you meet the wagering requirement.

Loyalty Programs

Most online casinos reward the loyalty of their top players by enrolling them in the loyalty program. Loyalty bonuses are typically the most rewarding bonuses, though it may be difficult to get one. Just bear in mind that the longer you have been a registered member of the online casino and the higher the number of bets you place, the higher your chances of benefiting from the loyalty program.

The rewards available under this type of casino bonus are quite broad, ranging from loyalty points that can be used to purchase items from online shops to exclusive competition, faster cash out time, and even sponsored holidays. Other possible benefits such as lower wagering requirements and higher withdrawal limits can also be enjoyed by players in the loyalty program.

Reload Bonuses

Online casinos reward existing players by awarding them reload bonuses on specific time intervals which may be weekly or monthly, and sometimes even at random. This type of bonus works just like a deposit bonus, except that a reload bonus may not be as high. Reload bonuses may be 50% or less of the initial deposit and must be wagered before the winnings can be claimed.

Cashback Bonuses

For players who may be on a losing streak, some casino operators offer such users a cashback bonus depending on the amount of money lost. Cashback bonuses are usually offered to players as a form of compensation just in case they lose a significant amount of money while betting. Cashback bonuses are usually awarded in the form of bonus credits that can be used on the casino website. So when a cashback bonus is credited into your account, you may keep playing on the website without making any deposit to your account until the bonus is exhausted.

Casino Bonus Requirements

Whether you choose to use a deposit bonus, or a free no deposit bonus, or any other available bonus, the next important thing is to find out what it'll take to actually use or withdraw it. It may be unpleasant to find out you have accumulated a sizable winning and may not be able to withdraw your earnings. There are 4 major factors to consider before deciding to grab a bonus, these are:

  • The wagering requirement
  • The house edge
  • The maximum withdrawal limit, and
  • The game weighting.

Wagering Requirement

It is impossible to expect to receive a bonus from a casino and get real cash immediately. Most casinos would have filed for bankruptcy if this were to be the case. Withdrawable winnings are regulated using what is known as a wagering requirement. The wagering requirement of a bonus is simply the total number of times the bonus must be wagered before the bonus may be claimed. Depending on the particular operator, it tends to vary from 20X to 40X.

So this means that if the wagering requirement for a $20 bonus is 30X, then the bonus amount ($20 in this case) must be wagered 30 times before you can withdraw your earnings.

House Edge

It is very important for players to understand the house edge of the game they decide to play, the house edge of the game is basically how casinos make their profits, and for players to increase their chances of winning, it is better to make the best out of the house edge (dis)advantage, depending on how you choose to look at it.

If a game has a house edge of 1%, the casino is expected to make a profit of 1% from the games. Casino house edge ranges from 1% to as high as 50%. Games like live poker have the lowest house edge since players are playing against other players and not against the casino. Games like slots tend to have a higher house edge.

Maximum Withdrawal Limit

Withdrawal limits are used by online casinos to restrict the amount that may be withdrawn, usually over multiple transactions within a specific period of time. Maximum withdrawal limits are a common feature for most no deposit bonuses and some deposit bonuses. This means that if a no deposit bonus has a $100 maximum withdrawal limit, even if you win $250, you can only cash out $100, the remaining $150 cannot be withdrawn.

Game Weighting

The game weight is the amount that the game contributes towards the total wagering requirement. There are variations in the contributing percentage, this depends on the casino operator, the bonus, and the game itself. This means that if a game has a 50% contribution requirement, you must wager 2X on that game for your game to contribute to the wagering requirement. In most casinos, slots usually contribute 100%. This means that if you bet $50 on slots, $50 contributes to the wagering requirement. Other games like blackjack may contribute as low as 10%.

General Bonus Terms

  • it is important to use authentic information when signing up, otherwise, your account may be suspended by the casino
  • Some casino games, particularly those with higher payouts like table games cannot be played with bonuses, and even if they are allowed, the wagering requirement may be up to 10X the regular wagering requirement.
  • On most casinos, bonuses are limited to one player, that is, only one registered account and only one email address, bank account or IP address. Once a player is caught trying to create multiple accounts, your winnings would be invalid, and your account may even be suspended.
  • Make sure to confirm the validity period of the bonus before you start placing your bets, there is a time limit for most bonuses. Bonuses typically last from 24 hours for some free spins to as long as 4 months. If the bonuses are not cleared within this time frame, they expire, and your winnings would be lost.
  • Some casino bonuses are country-specific, so make sure to check if the bonus can be used by players from your country.
  • For some casinos, only specific games are qualified for the clearing requirement. For instance, games like video poker do not contribute to the clearing requirements since video poker has a low house edge.


If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is”. However tempting a bonus might be, it is very important that you check out all the terms and conditions associated with the bonus, and make sure to understand all that you are required to do before getting started. While some bonuses are designed to work in your favor, this may not be the case for others, and this is why it is necessary to understand how casino bonuses work and how you can get the best out of your ‘free cash’. May the odds ever be in your favor!

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