Bonuses at Online Casinos

Let's face it: there are only a limited number of casino games on the market, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of online sites that offer these games. For you to choose one site over another for your real-money play, sites have to come up with enticing ways to make you a depositor and to keep you a loyal player. Some sites do this by offering different software options or games available in local currencies. However, the majority of sites use bonuses to attract players and to retain them once they are in the database.

We get a lot of feedback about casino bonuses, and in most cases, players are confused as to which bonuses are the best and how to maximize the offers being given by an online casino. While there isn't one standard answer for the industry, we are going to try to de-mystify the world of bonuses and help you get the most out of every deposit and bet you make.

Sites with Excellent Bonuses

One of the most important factors that goes into our comprehensive site reviews is how generous a site is with its bonuses. In fact, we go a step further than checking them out - we get deep into the terms and conditions to see what games don't qualify and what other restrictions exist that may prevent you from taking full advantage of the offers being presented to you.

We'll go into even more detail about the types of bonuses a casino will offer you, but for now, let's get many of you on your way with a list of sites that we consider the highest-rated when it comes to these promotions. These sites will provide the best value overall for gamblers, although you may want to read through some more of our reviews if you have a specific game you like to play or a stakes level that is above or below average.

RankUS Online CasinoSign Up BonusGet Started
#1BetOnline CasinoBetOnline Casino50% up to $2,500Visit Site
#2Sloto'CashSloto'Cash200% up to $1,000Visit Site
#3Slots.lvSlots.lv200% up to $5,000Visit Site
#4Ignition CasinoIgnition Casino100% up to $1,000Visit Site
#5SB CasinoSB Casino100% up to $1,000Visit Site

Why Are Bonuses Important?

We all know that casinos are not launched to pay out players. These operations are huge money makers, and the odds of no matter what game you choose to play are stacked against you. Only a minority of players who make a deposit will walk away with a win, and all players are looking for an edge when they play the games to try to bring the odds closer to their favor.

One way to narrow the gap is to find value in bonuses and promotions that a site offers to entice you to play.

In most cases, these are additional small pieces of cash or free chances to win something, and while they might not seem like a lot individually, each bonus goes a long way towards the goal of profitability.

Now, some players in the early days found all the loopholes necessary to take advantage of casino bonuses, and these bonus hunters caused the entire industry to tighten their belts and the restrictions on players when trying to earn the extras. However, there is still value to be found out there - you just need to know where to look. That is where we come in. Our team of experts have decades of combined experience in the online casino world, so we can quickly spot promotions that are valuable and pass that information along to you via our site reviews.

Types of Casino Bonuses

Online casinos are always adding new bonus offers, and sometimes we can't update our reviews fast enough, so it is equally as important for you to understand each bonus and to be able to quickly evaluate its worth before you accept the offer. With that in mind, let's have a look at the different types of bonuses you are likely to find.

No-Deposit Bonuses

While they are becoming rarer as time goes by, there is still no better bonus than one that doesn't cost you anything to use. Now, these types of bonuses are typically reserved for players who are registering accounts for the first time, which is why we always recommend you create an account whenever you see a free spin or free chip promotion. There is no risk aside from giving up some information to the site, and who knows? You may actually win something before you ever make a deposit. These bonuses typically have a maximum you can cash out if you do manage to win, but we don't have a problem with that, as it is a truly free offer.

There are some other free spin offers that can come as a result of being a loyal player, so you should always check your balances when you log in to your casino accounts because you never know when you will find a few extra bucks or spins waiting there for you.

Welcome Bonuses

The first offer you are likely to see when you land on a casino homepage is the welcome bonus. This is the bonus given to players who make their initial deposit, and it is typically when the casino is at its most generous. Converting a player to being a depositor is one of the hardest things for an operator to do, so having a very enticing offer is one effective way to accomplish the goal.

Welcome bonuses can be a combination of free spins, free chips, and a match bonus on the deposit itself. Sometimes it is only one of the three, most commonly the match bonus. A casino may try to extend your engagement by making the welcome bonus valid over more than your first deposit, but in most scenarios, you will still end up with the same amount of bonus as a site that piles it all into one.

One thing to take into consideration when you see these outlandish bonus amounts is how long you have to convert the bonus. In some cases, you can have as little as seven days, which makes the size of the bonus almost irrelevant. Also, you should take a look at the terms of the bonus to find out what the wagering requirement is.

Explanation of Wagering Requirements

Wagering Requirements are the number of times you have to play through the amount offered to earn the full bonus. This can be calculated in one of two ways: based solely on the bonus, or on the sum of the deposit and the bonus. Here are two examples based on a 100% match bonus of $100:

  • 25x the bonus: you need to wager $2,500 in total to earn the $100
  • 40x the deposit + bonus: you need to wager $4,000 to earn the same $100

This can make a huge difference when it comes to being able to actually convert bonus dollars. We track all these wagering requirements in our reviews of welcome bonuses.

Reload Bonuses

Reload bonuses are almost exactly the same as the welcome bonus, except they are rewarding players for making additional deposits. These bonuses are typical a much smaller percentage than the welcome bonuses, but they also have wagering requirements. The difference is that a site may offer these bonuses for your entire lifetime at their site. Some sites have a different reload bonus at different times during the week to try to entice players to play at non-primetime hours.

Loyalty Gifts

One way a casino can provide a higher perceived value of a promotion is to offer a physical good to a player. While you can track how many bonus dollars or free spins you receive, if you receive some electronics in the mail or an invite to a private event, you may feel that these gifts have more value to you. Casinos count on that, and many of them offer these types of gifts in their loyalty programs. Sometimes you can redeem points for these gifts, and other sites simply reward loyal players with them. We think more sites should get back into the form of giving out these gifts, as they are easier than ever to administer in the online shopping world.

Cashback

This offer is the exact opposite of a bonus on a deposit, and it is more of an insurance policy than anything. Many casinos offer you the option of taking a deposit bonus or taking a percentage of your losses back in cash. If you choose the cash-back option, you should make sure there is no wagering requirement for that money in order to redeem it. Also, some casinos will promote individual games with cashback offers, so you should always check the list of ongoing promotions when you are planning to play to ensure you don't miss out on a way to back up your play in a particular game.

Tournaments/Freerolls

Another great way to find value in an online casino is by playing in the tournaments a site offers. Many casinos offer these tournaments, and while many cost money to enter, there are typically a few a week that cost nothing at all! While the prizes aren't necessarily huge, neither are the fields, so there is definitely some value to be found there. This is especially true of poker freerolls, where players who have some knowledge of the game tend to do very well against contest winners or new players. Check the lobby of your site of choice for a tournament schedule or check out our reviews for sites that offer them.

Conclusion

There are many different types of bonuses available at online gambling sites, but the bottom line is that you need to find the ones that provide you with the best value based on your individual gameplay. Whether that means making a lot of deposits or taking a percentage back on your losses, these amounts are what can sometimes make the difference between being a winning and losing player. Hopefully, this page has given you the information necessary to find the best bonuses and the best sites to go along with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I make a maximum deposit to get the most bonus?
There are a few things to consider when looking at whether or not you should be trying to max out bonuses. First and foremost, we never recommend that you deposit more money than you are comfortable losing at an online casino. We want you to have an enjoyable experience and be a long-time player, so getting into a hole early isn't the way to go. Another thing you should look at is the terms and conditions of a bonus. Some bonuses have a time limit or restrictions on what games can be played to earn bonus dollars. These may be too prohibitive for you to actually convert the maximum amount, meaning there is no need to deposit the max.
I logged in, and my bonus isn't there anymore. What happened?
Many sites have a time limit on bonuses, which means you have a limited amount of days or months to convert the money before it is removed from your account. Bonus dollars without a limit may also be removed from your balance if you are an inactive player for a period of time. The best way to ensure you aren't surprised by missing bonus dollars or free spins is to look at the terms and conditions of each promotion. Perhaps then you could set a reminder to let you know a few days before they are set to expire so you can jump back in and try to convert a few more.
What's better? Cashback or bonus dollars?
This is a personal preference. We think that cashback is an excellent option for most players, and the likelihood is that you are going to lose money in an online casino. This way, there is some sort of safety net to get you back some of your losses. However, many players feel that is an admission of loss before you even sit at a table, so in that case, taking a bonus and trying to increase your balance with extra dollars is the way to go. Again, in this situation, you need to see what games qualify for cashback or bonuses before you make an ultimate decision.
Why are some games not included in converting bonus dollars to real money?
Each game in a casino has a different set of odds, and in some cases, such as Pai Gow Poker, the odds of you not losing the hand are actually well over 50% (there are a lot of tie hands in that game). Most bonuses are typically converted as a factor of the handle (the amount of money you bet), not the amount you lose (this is what cashback is based on). So, if you are playing a game where you don't lose very much but can bet large amounts, you can take advantage of a casino bonus offer. To counter that, most casinos use a sliding scale for bonus conversion that is inversely proportionate to the player odds for the game.
I made a mistake and want to change my bonus offer? Can I do that?
Most sites have a policy that you can only be using one bonus code at a time, and that means you will forfeit the bonus if you choose the second one. This could be fine for what you are attempting to do, but in the case of when you get to choose between one of multiple bonus options, generally, you cannot switch to another during the same bonus period.

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