Online Gambling – No Deposit Bonuses (How Do They Work?)

By in Casino & Gaming on
6 Minute Read
Man Thinking Holding Cash

No deposit bonuses are one of the most common deals in online gaming. Internet casinos give these bonuses out to new players who register for an account, no deposit required.

The benefit to no deposit bonuses is clear—you get a free chance to win money.

What’s not so clear, though, is how these offers work. You may especially have difficulty understanding no deposit bonuses (NDBs) when considering that few clear-cut examples exist.

That said, I’m going to cover the different types of NDBs and provide examples on how each of them work.

What Type of No Deposit Bonuses Are Available?

NDBs break down into three general categories:

  • Cash
  • Free play
  • Free spins

A cash no deposit bonus is delivered in the form of a dollar/euro amount. For example, you might receive a $10 NDB.

No deposit free play is awarded in the form of free funds (e.g. $1,000). You must wager these funds within a specific time limit (e.g. one hour).

Free spins work the same for both deposit bonuses and NDBs. You’re given free spins that you use to generate winnings.

The goal behind all these offers is to win money. But as seen below, you use each type of NDB in a different manner.

How Do Cash No Deposit Bonuses Work?

You receive a cash NDB immediately after your account is approved at the respective casino. You use this bonus to meet wagering requirements (a.k.a. rollover) so that you can cash out what’s left over plus potential winnings.

Here’s an example:

  • You receive a $10 NDB.
  • Wagering requirements are 40x the bonus.
  • 40 x 10 = $400
  • You must wager $400 before withdrawing anything.
  • You have $15 ($10 + $5 winnings) after satisfying playthrough.

This scenario presents an optimistic outcome where you not only have the bonus left over but also winnings.

Oftentimes, though, you’ll lose the original bonus before meeting wagering requirements. After all, you’re dealing with negative expectation casino games.

Nevertheless, cash NDBs are still worthwhile. You could get on a roll and win far more than your original offer by the time playthrough is satisfied.

How Does No Deposit Free Play Work?

Free play looks like a fantastic offer on the surface. These deals usually see you receive a large amount of money, such as $2,000.

Unfortunately, you won’t be playing for a $2k bonus in this situation. Instead, these funds are merely meant to generate winnings that you can potentially cash out.

Assuming you wind up with more money than the starting amount, you can cash out the difference upon meeting terms and conditions.

The online casino issuing free play also requires you to wager the money within a specific timeframe. For example, you might be given two hours to play with the $2,000.

Here’s an example on how this deal could play out:

  • You’re given $2k to gamble with over a two-hour period.
  • You have $2,050 left at the end of two hours.
  • You keep the extra $50.

Unlike cash NDBs, free play isn’t usually eligible to be withdrawn after satisfying terms and conditions. Instead, it’s often awarded in the form of a future bonus.

For example, your $50 might be delivered as a 100% match bonus worth up to $50. You’d have to make a deposit and meet further terms before cashing out.

How Do No Deposit Free Spins Work?

Free spins are awarded for play on real money slots. You use these spins to earn winnings that can later be withdrawn.

Here’s an example:

  • You receive 25 free spins after completing registration.
  • You win $20 with the spins.
  • Playthrough is 40x.
  • 40 x 20 = $800 must be wagered
  • You have $4 left after meeting wagering requirements.
  • You can cash out the $4 once other terms are met.

Free spins present a straightforward deal. You play online slots to see how much money you’re eligible to win.

Afterward, these offers work similar to a cash NDB. You simply need to satisfy wagering requirements before cashing out.

Do One of These Bonuses Have an Advantage Over the Others?

Each type of NDB has its own merits. But you may eventually develop a preference for a specific no deposit bonus.

If you’re a slots aficionado, for example, then you’ll appreciate free spins the most. You can use this NDB to play your favorite slots and hopefully cash out the winnings.

Assuming you like a variety of casino games, you should opt for a cash no deposit bonus. Many of these offers can be used on both slots and table games.

Perhaps you’re most interested in starting with a large amount of free play. You can use free play no deposit bonuses to place bigger bets and generate more winnings.

Again, your favorite type of no deposit bonus will come down to personal preference. I suggest going for a variety of NDBs so that you can see which type is your favorite.

Don’t Overlook Terms and Conditions

You should get into the habit of checking terms and conditions before pursuing any no deposit bonus. After all, terms and conditions are crucial to earning money from NDBs.

The terms can differ based on the type of offer and casino in question. However, the following terms are standard among most NDBs:

  • Wagering requirements – You must wager a multiple of the bonus before cashing anything out.
  • Maximum bet – The maximum wager allowed is capped during an active bonus (e.g. $100).
  • Maximum winnings – Your potential winnings from NDBs are also capped (e.g. $200).
  • Minimum cashout – You must have enough funds to meet the minimum withdrawal before cashing out.
  • Reduced playthrough contributions – Games with high RTP contribute less (e.g. 20%) toward wagering requirements.
  • Deposit stipulation – You often have to deposit before withdrawing eligible NDB winnings.

You might initially see a terms and conditions page and be overwhelmed. However, you’ll feel more comfortable with the terms when realizing that they blend together across the industry.

Should You Take Any No Deposit Bonus That Comes Your Way?

If you’re obsessed with winning free money from online casinos, then you should definitely take advantage of any NDBs you find. However, this route isn’t the best use of your time.

Not all no deposit bonuses are created equally. Some are more favorable than others with regard to terms and conditions.

You definitely want to consider the wagering requirements with any online gambling bonus. Your goal should be to find the lowest playthrough possible.

One online casino might offer a $10 no deposit bonus with 40x wagering requirements, for example, while another features the same deal with 60x playthrough. The former obviously presents the better deal, because it has lower wagering requirements.

You also want to look into the casinos that are offering NDBs. A gaming site that’s had issues with honoring bonuses isn’t worth your time.

Additionally, you should ensure that no abusive terms are listed on the terms and conditions page. For example, an NDB that includes a laundry list of excluded games isn’t a good deal.


No deposit bonuses can be confusing at first, due to the multiple types and T&Cs. However, you can always review the aforementioned examples if you need help understanding these deals.

Simply put, casinos want you to earn the free money they’re offering. You must jump through a few hoops to make this happen.

Assuming you’re up to the challenge, then you should appreciate what NDBs have to offer. Namely, they represent the rare chances where casinos are willing to give you something for free.

Of course, you don’t want to go into NDBs with a naive mindset. Gaming sites skew the terms and conditions to guarantee themselves the advantage.

More times than not, you’ll walk away from a no deposit bonus with little to nothing. You shouldn’t get discouraged, though, because you’ll find plenty of no deposit bonuses throughout the industry.

Most of these deals are either awarded through cash or free spins. I can’t really say that one type of bonus has a major advantage over the others. The top NDB depends upon your preferences and the conditions in question.

Speaking of which, you’ll want to compare NDB terms around the industry to make sure that you’re getting a great deal. The better the terms you’re facing, the stronger the chance you have to collect free money.

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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