Bonuses at Online Casinos
Using an online casino is a great way to play your favorite gambling games without having to leave your home. It can be very entertaining and, of course, you have the chance to win some money if luck is on your side. Thanks to the bonuses and rewards that most leading sites offer customers, you can increase your chances of winning and get more added value than at a "real" casino.
If you play casino games regularly, you probably know just how important it is to get the best possible value. The house edge is always against you in the long-run, so you want to do everything possible to move the odds in your favor. The easiest way is to play where bonuses and rewards on offer are generous. We've listed our recommendations for such casinos below and have also provided details on the various types of bonuses you'll encounter.
Online Casinos with the Best Bonuses & Rewards
There are many different ways to go about choosing which online casinos to play at. You may want to look for the widest selection of games or the biggest jackpots. A lot of players prefer to go where they can get a decent sign-up bonus and plenty of other rewards as well. The following sites are all particularly good when it comes to extra value for players; they are reputable and trustworthy. If you're seeking a safe place to play that offers plenty of added value, you can't really go wrong with either of these.
Sign Up Bonuses & Reload Bonuses
A sign-up bonus is something most casino sites offer new players when they first join. At some places, you won't even need to make a deposit. Simply by registering a new account, you'll receive a specified amount of free money. This is known as a no deposit bonus, and it gives you a chance to play all the games before you spend your own money. Obviously, there's very little downside to taking such a bonus, but the amounts tend to be on the small side.
Sign-up bonuses based on making an initial deposit are much more common and are also generally much larger. You make your first deposit, and the site will add an extra amount of money, usually expressed as a percentage, to your account. For example, if a casino offers a 100% sign-up bonus, however much you deposit will be matched in bonus funds: e.g. if you deposit $500, then you get an extra $500.
There will be certain terms and conditions to adhere to (more on this subject a little later), and there will usually be a maximum amount that can be claimed. Some of the top casinos are very generous, however; and these bonuses represent excellent value. You're essentially getting free money to try the games you were probably planning to play anyway. With more funds to play with, you have a better chance of winning money, and at the very worst, your initial deposit will last longer.
In addition to sign-up bonuses for new players, most casinos also offer reloads to existing customers. Reloads work on the same principle: extra funds are added to your account based on making a deposit. Some places offer them to all customers, while some only to regular players. They are commonly credited on your first deposit each month, but some casinos will give them on your first deposit each week or even more frequently.
Bonus Terms & Conditions
Pretty much any bonus you're offered at an online casino comes with terms and conditions. These stipulate what you have to do to first claim your bonus, what it can be used for, and what requirements have to be met before you can withdraw it and any associated winnings. It's very important that you fully understand the terms and conditions before accepting any bonus. A casino may remove a bonus if you don't adhere to the rules; and in the worst case scenario, it may prevent you from claiming any more in the future.
When you have the opportunity to claim a bonus, the first thing you need to check is eligibility. Many casinos will credit any entitled bonuses automatically, but you may have to enter a code when making a deposit or send an email to customer service. You may need to deposit at least a certain amount, and you may even have to do so using specific payment methods.
You should also check how you are allowed to use the bonus, because sometimes there are restrictions in place. You may be allowed only to play specific games, for example. It's worth noting that some bonuses are "play bonuses", which means these additional funds are for wagering purposes only; and you can withdraw any winnings you make, but not the bonus itself. They are obviously not as valuable as bonuses that can be withdrawn, but they do still provide some extra value.
Perhaps the most important terms to be aware of are the wagering requirements (also known as play through requirements) that tell you how much you need to bet in total before a bonus is cleared or released. For example, if you claim a $500 bonus with 15 times wagering requirements, then you will need to place stakes worth $7,500 before making a withdrawal. This might seem like a lot of wagering, but remember that the payout percentage at many casino games is pretty high so it's not necessarily that hard to meet such requirements.
Other Rewards & Promotions
Most casino sites offer a whole host of other bonuses, rewards, and promotions to customers. Loyalty schemes or VIP schemes are very common, for example. These typically reward players with cash amounts directly based on how much has been wagered during the course of each month, and they can add a huge amount of extra value for regular and high stake players. Less frequent and small stake players can benefit too, so these types of schemes are well worth checking out.
Other types of promotions may include wagering leader boards, cash back and rebate offers, and contests with prizes such as electronic items and sporting tickets. Casinos will generally send out details of all their promotions via email on a regular basis, so definitely keep an eye on your inbox to see what's going on at your favorite casinos.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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