How Do Casino Bonus Codes Work?

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Online casinos offer several types of bonuses. You can take advantage of cashback, deposit bonuses, free spins, and no deposit bonuses.

In some cases, you can enjoy these offers without doing anything special beyond depositing. Other times, you must enter a specific code to qualify for a bonus.

The following guide discusses everything you need to know about bonus codes. It also covers what kind of offers you’ll be eligible for.

What Is a Bonus Code?

A bonus code is a snippet that qualifies you for a specific deal. It typically involves some combination of letters and numbers.

Here’s an example:

  • An online casino offers several different deposit bonuses—each with their own code.
  • You’re interested in a 100% deposit bonus worth up to $200.
  • The code for this specific offer is “DEP100.”

When Do You Enter a Bonus Code?

You input a bonus code under one of two circumstances:

  • When you’re registering for an account.
  • When you’re placing a deposit.

In the first case, the registration form will offer a blank field for a bonus code. You don’t have to put anything in this field.

However, you do need to input the code if you want to qualify for a bonus. Other information that you must enter includes your name, email, phone number, mailing address, username, and password.

In the second scenario, you enter the code when making a deposit. You choose a banking option, enter how much you want to fund the account with, and input the proper code.

Why Do Online Casinos Require Bonus Codes?

Most real money online casinos offer multiple bonuses at any given time. Therefore, they don’t automatically know what specific bonus you want when registering (no deposit bonus) or placing a deposit (any other offer).

Here’s an example to show which gaming sites require codes:

  • An online casino features two different types of welcome bonuses.
  • The first is a 100% match on your initial deposit up to $500. Its bonus code is “MATCH500.”
  • The second is 200 free spins. Its bonus code is “FS200.”

You can see that these offers differ quite a bit from each other. That being said, they require unique deposit bonus codes so that the casino knows exactly what you’re going for.

Bonus Code vs. Affiliate Link

A code isn’t the only way for gaming sites to differentiate bonuses from each other. Some online casinos separate bonuses through affiliate links.

An affiliate is a website or individual that recruits players to an internet casino. It receives a commission in return for its work. The affiliate uses bonuses as the main means of enticing potential players to sign up with a gaming site.

In order to attract more affiliates, online casinos typically grant them permission to offer lucrative bonuses. If the casino normally provides a welcome bonus worth 100 free spins, for example, they might allow the affiliates to feature an offer worth 200 free spins.

Of course, the casino needs a way to figure out which affiliates are sending which players. They use affiliate links to determine who gets a commission.

Here’s an example on how affiliate links work:

  • A gambling website signs up for a casinos affiliate program.
  • They receive special links to promote the casino.
  • They put these links within text that describe bonuses.
  • You visit the gambling website and see a no deposit bonus that you like.
  • You click on the link and head to the casino.
  • The gambling website now gets credit for any commissions involved with your play.

As you can see, the key difference between a bonus code and affiliate link is that the latter doesn’t require entering anything. Instead, you simply click through a specific link and automatically qualify for a bonus.

What Kind of Bonuses Can You Get Through Codes?

The gaming world features lots of bonuses that revolve around entering codes. You can see common online casino deals below.

No Deposit Bonus

With most bonuses, you need to place a deposit before qualifying. A no deposit bonus, on the other hand, merely requires you to complete registration.

After signing up for an account, you’ll receive either a cash amount or free spins. In either case, you use the offer to generate winnings that can later be withdrawn.

You must satisfy terms and conditions before cashing out winnings (if any are left). Of course, meeting T&Cs goes along with earning any offer.

Deposit Bonus

With these bonuses, an online casino will match your deposit up to a specific amount. In most cases, they provide a 100% match on your deposit.

Unlike with a no deposit bonus—where you can only withdraw winnings—a deposit bonus lets you cash out the entire amount.

Here’s an example on how this works:

  • A gaming site offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $200.
  • You deposit $100 and, thus, qualify for a $100 bonus.
  • You satisfy terms and conditions and can now withdraw the entire $100.

Free Spins

Free spins can come as either a deposit or no deposit bonus. In either scenario, you use free spins to generate winnings through slots.

Here’s an example on how this works:

  • You receive 50 free spins.
  • You use these spins to generate $30 in winnings.
  • You can cash out what’s left of the winnings after meeting T&Cs—assuming any money remains.


A cashback bonus delivers a percentage of your losses back. It typically covers your first week, or so, of playing at a new casino.

Here’s an example on how cashback works:

  • A casino offers 20% cashback on losses occurring over the first week.
  • You deposit $100 and lose everything.
  • 100 x 0.2 = $20 bonus

In some cases, you receive the cashback without needing to do anything else. In other situations, you’ll need to earn the $20 by satisfying T&Cs.

Where Can You Find Bonus Codes?

Online casinos spread the word on their bonus codes through a variety of means. Here are the main places where you’ll find codes that can lead to lucrative bonuses.

Affiliate Websites

Again, affiliates consist of individuals or gambling websites that promote online casinos. They offer news, strategy tips, bonus opportunities, and more to gamblers.

Affiliate websites receive commissions based on the players they send to casinos. They usually entice gamblers into signing up at casinos by promoting bonuses.

In some situations, they merely need gamblers to follow their links to receive commissions. Other times, they offer specific bonus codes that players need to use.

Casino Websites

Gaming sites don’t always need affiliates to do the work of recruiting players. Instead, they can also draw direct traffic through search engines and social media.

That said, online casinos will often list bonus codes on their websites too. They usually put a code for their welcome bonus on the homepage. If you navigate to the promotions section, you’ll find additional offers.

Casino Newsletters

Internet casinos use newsletters as a means of offering bonuses to players. They’ll send emails that include one or more deals.

Bonus codes are often included in these newsletters. Players can use the listed codes to qualify for offers when they visit the casino.

Are Bonus Codes Ever Bad?

For the most part, bonus codes are good. But you might be better off without a bonus code in some situations.

Some terms are so strict that it’s impossible to come out ahead, even with a bonus. Thoroughly research every bonus code before using it so you know what you’re signing up for.

If you’re looking for bonus codes that are guaranteed to give you the most bang for your buck when online gambling, check out the page linked below.


Bonus codes play a necessary role in the gaming world. They allow casinos to sort out which bonus you’re going for when multiple options exist.

Luckily, you won’t experience much trouble in using these codes. You simply find the relevant code and enter it upon registering or placing a deposit.

Some of the different offers that you can look forward to include no deposit bonuses, deposit bonuses, free spins, and cash back.

Because of the variety of bonuses, gaming sites need a method for separating one deal from the next. Bonus codes are their tool of choice for doing so.

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 since early 2016. ...

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