What are Bonuses?

A bonus is the method by which an online casino encourages new and existing players to make real money deposits. There are a variety of bonuses available, and they usually all come with strict terms and conditions that need to be met before players can access any cash.

Why are they offered?

Most online casinos aim their bonus offerings at new players with the hope of generating more long-term business. The bonuses are designed in such a way so as to entice players to sign-up and make their first deposit.

Types of bonuses

All the types of bonuses on offer can be a bit overwhelming at first which is why we have unpacked and explained each one below.

This is the simplest bonus offering available. All that is required is for a player to register with the casino offering the bonus, and the money will either be automatically credited to their account, or they will need to claim the bonus via email or online submission. Either way, a deposit does not have to be made in order to claim the bonus. There may however be limitations based on the casino’s terms and conditions, such as a maximum withdrawal amount, or the requirement of a token deposit before being able to make a withdrawal.
This is known as a play only bonus and can be redeemed upon making any deposit. After receiving a player’s initial deposit, the casino will send weekly / monthly reload bonus offers to encourage the player to keep depositing money into their account.
This bonus is particularly focussed on drawing slots players. It provides the opportunity to try out the casino’s slot games, and possibly make real money wins, without the need to put down a deposit first. Terms attached to these types of bonus offerings vary from one casino to the next, but generally includes that a deposit must be made at some stage.
With this bonus type, players know exactly how much they are getting upon making their first deposit, irrespective of how much they are putting down. For example, a casino will offer $80 free on deposits of at least $20. So, even if the player deposits $100, they will still only get $80 – taking their available bankroll to $180.
As the name indicates, this bonus is strictly reserved for online casino players, also known as "VIP’s" or "whales", who prefer placing large bets. It differs from regular match bonuses in that the opening deposit required is much higher than usual, but yields are equally high return.
This bonus is usually only offered to new players who make their very first deposit. The casino offers to match their deposit with a certain percentage of the total deposit value. For example, the offer is a 100% match bonus up to $200. This means any amount the player deposits of $200 and under will be matched in equal value, effectively doubling his or her casino bankroll.
This is a non-withdrawable bonus, meaning once players have met the wagering requirements attached to the bonus, they will only be able to withdraw any winnings over and above the initial bonus amount offered, as the bonus money itself will be removed from their account. In light of this, online casinos are generally very generous with sticky bonus offers and values can climb as high as $3000.
Cashback Bonuses are offered to loyal players once a week, or once every few weeks in the form of casino credits or real cash. The amount received is based on a percentage of the player’s losses at that casino. The cashback system differs between casinos, but the payout range usually runs from 5% to 20%. The bottom line is the more you play; the more money you can get back.
In some cases an online casino will strike a deal with the website owner, allowing it to extend exclusive bonus offers to its members. These bonuses can be any of the aforementioned variants, with its own terms & conditions attached.
Offered only to members who have reached a certain player status, these bonuses come in varying amounts and types, and differ between casinos. Some will feature a playthrough requirement, others not, but some form of requirement usually needs to be met before any withdrawals can be effected.

Which casinos have the best bonuses?

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Understanding bonus terms & conditions

When coming to grips with an online casino’s bonus T’s & C’s, these are the key factors players need to look out for:

This is the area in the Bonus terms and conditions that creates the most confusion and is generally linked to deposit bonuses and free spin bonuses. Players will be required to either play through their deposit and the bonus amount, or only the bonus amount a certain number of times before they are able to withdraw any winnings. So for example, upon a deposit of $100 where the match bonus is 100% and the wagering requirement is a playthrough of the deposit and the bonus 20 times, it means the player will need to make $4000 worth of bets on the bankroll of $200. If only the bonus amount needs to be played through, then $2000 worth of bets need to be made before any cashouts can be made. Before accepting any bonus, players must feel comfortable that they can meet the wagering requirements.
Not all games contribute equally toward meeting bonus wagering requirements. Some contribute 100%, like slots, whilst others hardly contribute anything at all. Players need to opt for those games offering the highest percentages when playing through their bonus winnings.
When players don’t follow wagering requirements, such as playing prohibited games, penalties can be incurred. And in cases where players wish to cashout early, they run the risk of forfeiting their bonus winnings altogether.
Players must take note of the match deposit bonus percentage. Is the casino offering a large money limit with a fractional percentage match, or a 100% match up to a certain money value? To illustrate; if the casino offers a 25% match up to $1000, it means the player will need to deposit $4000 in order to receive the matched $1000. Whereas if the match is 100% with a limit up to $1,000, it means both the player and the casino are contributing equally towards the total bonus.

While bonuses may seem pretty straight forward, players should always read the terms and conditions first - not only pertaining to that particular bonus – but also those of the casino in general with regards to bonuses and cashouts. If any further clarity is required the casino’s customer support will be able to assist.