Are No Deposit Casino Bonus Codes Worth Anything?

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No deposit casino bonus codes and bonuses are marketing tools online casinos use to entice new players to their casinos. I don’t have any insight into how effective these kinds of bonuses are for the casinos hoping to attract real money players. But they’re not my audience, anyway.

This post examines what kind of value no deposit casino bonus codes might have for the average online casino gambler.

How Do No Deposit Casino Bonus Codes Work?

When you sign up for a new online casino account, one of the first things you do is create an account. When you create such an account, you have the opportunity to input a bonus code or promotional code. Usually, this bonus code gives your account bonus chips in proportion to how much you’ve deposited.

For Example:

You might deposit $100 when you first open an account, and the casino might give you a 200% bonus of $200. So you’ll have $300 in your account to play with.

With a “no deposit casino bonus code,” you don’t have to deposit any money in your account to get your bonus money.

It’s like getting free casino chips or like getting free spins on a slot game like in the example below:

El Royale Casino Logo
El Royale Casino No Deposit Bonus Code:

35 Free Spins on Cash Bandit 2 – 35BANDITS

The amount of these no deposit bonuses is usually low, which only makes sense, because a casino doesn’t make money by giving away a lot of money in free chips. Think $25 or $50, tops, and $5 or $10 is more common.

What’s the Catch With Casino Bonuses?

One might think it would be an easy matter to just claim a casino bonus, regardless of whether it required a deposit or not, place a bet or two, then cash out.

Casinos caught on to that trick years ago.

Real money online casinos now require you to wager the money in your account a certain number of times before allowing you to cash out, but they only have that requirement if you’ve accepted one of their bonuses. If you turn down their bonus offers, you don’t have to meet a wagering requirement before cashing out.

In other words, they want to make sure you gamble enough to have a good chance of losing your money before allowing you to cash out.

It’s hard to blame them for this. After all, casinos are like any other business.

Their goal is to make money.

How Do Such Wagering Requirements Work?

A wagering requirement is a multiple of your bonus (and usually your deposit) amount that you have to bet before being able to make a withdrawal.

For example, if you’re playing at a casino with a 35X wagering requirement, and you deposit $100 and get a $200 bonus, you’d need to wager 35 X $300 before cashing out.

That’s $10,500 in wagers.

When I first saw this, I thought it was impossible. After all, if I only have $300 in my account, how can I place $10,000 or more in bets?

What I didn’t account for was that I’d win some of those bets.

But the way casino games are designed, you gradually lose your money over a large number of bets because of the house’s mathematical advantage – the house edge.

And even the best games in the casino, like blackjack and video poker, have a mathematical edge over the player.

That’s how the casino makes its profit.

What Effect Does the House Edge Have on Your Bankroll?

Let’s assume you’re playing slot machines with your money. You probably will have to, as most online casinos only count wagers on slot machines toward fulfilling your wagering requirements.

You have no way of accurately estimating the payback percentage on a slot machine, which is just 100% minus the house edge.

But we know that even at the best casinos, the house edge for slot machines hovers around 6%. You’ll see ads online claiming that Casino XYZ has a payback percentage of 98% or 99%, but that’s just advertising material from affiliate webmasters hoping to get a commission.

What happens to $10,500 when the casino wins an average of 6% of it over time?

  • 6% of $10,500 is $630.
  • Remember, now, that your starting bankroll – including your bonus – was $300.
  • If you start with $300 and lose $630, you have a negative amount.

In other words, if you fulfill the wagering requirements and see the mathematically expected results, you’ll lose all your money – the money you deposited AND the bonus money.

No Deposit Casino Bonuses Don’t Require an Investment

Yes, it’s true that a no deposit casino bonus gives you a positive expectation situation. You’re not risking any money at all, so even if you’re going to lose the entire no deposit bonus 80% of the time or more, the 20% of the time that you show a profit, you’re going to be cash flow positive.

Then you need to start thinking about things like the value of your time and comparing the values of some gambling activities versus others.

You also need to understand how your own psychology works.

Remember, the casino’s goal is to convince you to play their games for real money.

Getting you hooked on gambling real money, even if it isn’t yours, is a great way for the casino to get you to deposit funds that you might not have ever been willing to gamble.

The Terms and Conditions for No Deposit Bonuses Are Usually Different, Too

Online casinos HATE paying winners.

They do everything they can to make sure you don’t have some kind of realistic way to profit from playing there.

One of the things they do with a no deposit casino bonus is require more wagers than a standard bonus might require.

A casino might require you to wager 50X your no deposit bonus before allowing you to cash out.

But they also usually have other restrictions.

A common one is to have a maximum amount that you’re allowed to win. You might get a $50 no deposit bonus but have a maximum win of $100.

Another common one is to require you to make a deposit before cashing out your winnings. You get the bonus without making the deposit, but you can’t cash out the winnings until you’ve made a deposit.

These restrictions combine to make no deposit casino bonuses practically worthless.

What’s a Better Way to Gamble for Free, Then?

If you’re willing to look for them, you’ll find freerolls everywhere. Some of them are worth more than others. Not all of them are exclusively online, either.

I’ll Give You One Example That’s Available in My Area:

One of my local bars offers 4 freeroll poker tournaments each week with a prize of $50 for the winner. They usually have 20 players per tournament, give or take. The tournaments are scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays.

Of course, you can also find bigger and better freerolls in casino destinations. The two I mentioned are just at my local pubs. I live near Dallas, and you can find free poker tournaments every night there. The freeroll tournaments at the casinos in Oklahoma happen less often but have bigger prize amounts available.

Conclusion

So, are no deposit casino bonuses worth anything?

They’re worth more than nothing, sure, but not much more.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but let’s assume that the wagering requirements and maximum win amounts ensure that only 5% of the casino’s potential customers walk away with $50 winnings.

This makes the expected value of the no deposit bonus just $2.50. (5% of $50).

How much value do you place into the actual time spent playing the games?

Since you can play these casino games completely free for play money at all these casinos, an expected value of $2.50 is just a bonus.

Whether it’s enough of a bonus to warrant the time and effort is for you to decide.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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