Bonuses & Rewards in Online Gambling
If you've read our article on the pros and cons of online gambling, then you'll know that one of the biggest advantages of betting and gaming online are the bonuses and rewards that are available. Every single gambling site that we've ever used offers these in one format or another, although it's fair to say that some sites are much more generous than others.
One of our top gambling tips would be to try to take maximum advantage of bonuses and rewards, as they represent an easy way to get better value for your money. Serious gamblers who are committed to making a profit should always be looking for any extra value they can get, and even recreational gamblers who are just having fun shouldn't ignore the chance to get what's effectively free money.
On this page, we'll help you make the most out of the bonuses and rewards that are available online. We start by explaining what they are and how they work, and we then look at why gambling sites offer them. We also cover all the different types of bonuses and rewards, and finally, we provide some important advice regarding the associated terms and conditions.
Before we get into all that, though, there's something we should make very clear. As we've already mentioned, not every site is as generous when it comes to the extra value they provide their customers with. In order to get the best possible value out of gambling bonuses, you really need to be selective in terms of which sites you use. Luckily, we've put together a list of recommended sites which are particularly generous in terms of what they offer.
Bonuses & Rewards: The Basics
If you have never gambled online before, and know absolutely nothing about the bonuses and rewards available, then here are four main points that are important to understand.
We'll deal with points three and four later in this article, and focus on points one and two for now. Here's a brief explanation of what bonuses and rewards are, and how you can claim them.
Bonuses and rewards come in various types, but each type has the same basic principle. They are all extra money that's added into your online gambling account for the purposes of betting and/or gaming. They usually come with certain terms and conditions attached, which we'll cover in detail later; so they aren't technically "free" money. However, most types are still valuable and well worth taking advantage of.
The methods for claiming bonuses and rewards vary from site to site, and it may also depend on the specific type being claimed. This is generally a very simple process, and the funds may even be added to your account automatically without you having to do anything. Some types will require you to make a deposit before claiming, while others will not.
Please note that many sites require you to enter a bonus code in order to be eligible for a bonus. You should always check to see if this is the case, as failing to enter the correct code may result in you missing out on the extra value.
The Purpose of Bonuses & Rewards
You may be wondering exactly why gambling sites are happy to give away money to their customers in this way. The answer is that they have two very good reasons for doing so.
It's really as simple as that. They want you to sign up as a customer, and they want you to stick around and keep gambling with them.
The online gambling industry is an exceptionally competitive one as there are a plethora of sites for gamblers to choose from. Many of these sites offer very similar products and services, so bonuses and rewards can be effective marketing tools to help them stand out and attract new customers. They are also a great way to keep existing customers happy, and to make sure that they aren't tempted to leave and move to other sites.
Their motives are very much commercial based, but don't let that diminish the fact that bonuses and rewards are a clear benefit of gambling online.
Different Types of Bonuses & Rewards
All gambling sites have their own individual methods for incentivizing and rewarding their customers, but most bonuses and rewards can be labelled as a specific type. There are several different types, and they all fall into one of two broad categories. There are those that are for new customers, and those that are for existing customers.
These are often referred to as sign up bonuses or welcome bonuses, and they are only available to customers who are joining a site for the first time. A site will typically offer one, or possibly both, of the following options.
- Deposit Match
- No Deposit Bonus
A deposit match is where the site gives you a certain percentage of your first deposit as a bonus. For example, an online casino might offer a 100% deposit match of up to $500.
This means that you would receive a bonus of $100 if you deposited $100, a bonus of $200 if you deposited $200, and so on. The maximum amount of money available to claim in this example is $500. Most sites usually require a minimum deposit too. The percentage offered, and the minimum and maximum size of the bonus, can vary significantly between different sites.
A no deposit bonus, as the name suggests, is one where you don't have to make a deposit. Sites that offer these will simply add a few bucks to your account when you first sign up, so that you can try them out without risking any of your money. These aren't as common as deposit matches, and they are usually much smaller amounts.
Bonuses and rewards for existing customers come in all kinds of different forms, but the following are particularly common.
- Reload Bonuses
- Loyalty Schemes
- VIP Programs
A reload bonus is basically a deposit match for an existing customer. At some sites you will be entitled to a weekly or monthly reload, while at others you will be offered them on a pre-arranged basis. Some sites don't offer them at all. An example would be a poker site that offers a 50% reload of up to $250 on the first deposit of every month.
Loyalty schemes and VIP programs are both based on a customer's betting and gaming activity. A typical loyalty scheme will involve some kind of point system, where customers earn points every time they place a sports wager, play for real money in the casino or poker room, or buy bingo tickets. These points can then be exchanged for rewards, and can often be transferred straight into your account.
A VIP program is really just a glorified loyalty scheme, but for particularly valuable players. The rewards are usually better, and there may be additional perks.
The bonuses and rewards that can be earned online usually depend to some extent on which forms of gambling you partake in. For example, a sports bettor might receive their extra value in a very different way as compared to a poker player. For more information on how the bonuses and rewards work for the different forms of gambling, please read the following pages.
Terms & Conditions
If we could provide only one piece of advice regarding online gambling bonuses and rewards, it would be to always read the associated terms and conditions. It really is essential that you fully understand all the rules and regulations. They generally relate to the following.
- What you need to do to be eligible for a bonus.
- How you go about claiming it.
- What it can and can't be used for.
- Whether it can be withdrawn or not.
- If it can be withdrawn, what requirements have to be met first.
- How long you have to meet those requirements.
These are just a few of the most common points covered in the terms and conditions. There are generally many more, and they are usually very lengthy. This is no excuse for not reading them though. If you don't fully understand them, then you might find yourself missing out on some extra value, which is never a good thing.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: November 2015