Casino Bonus Guide

Casino Bonus Guide – We all love the idea of getting something for nothing don’t we, ‘free’ is one of the most powerful words you can use to prompt desire and inspire action. So, when online casinos offer us free money, it’s only natural that we all sit up and take notice. Free stuff is one thing, but free money is even better.

Top 5 Online Casinos

Rank Casino Bonus Rating Visit
1 ladbrokes casino Deposit £10 get £50 to play with!Full T&Cs apply 18+. New players only. One bonus offer per player. Minimum deposit £10. Bonus spins on selected games only and must be used within 72 hours. Bonus funds must be used within 30 days otherwise any unused bonus shall be removed. VisitReview
2 casoola 100% Deposit Bonus Upto £300 + 200 Bonus Spins18+ Full T&C's Apply. New UK players Only. £10 min. deposit. £5 max. bet using Bonus. 40 x wagering applies. Bonus valid for 14 days. 30 Spins on pre-selected games will be credited instantly + then 30 per day for 9 days. Free Spins valid for 72 hours from credit. Max. Free Spins winnings £100. Skrill + Neteller excluded. www.begambleaware.org VisitReview
3 playluck casino 100% Deposit Bonus Upto £100 + 100 Bonus SpinsTerms and conditions apply. Offer valid upon 4 deposits. New Players Only. 18+. Minimum Deposit £20. Welcome Package Spilt Over 4 Deposits. 35x Wagering Applies VisitReview
4 888 casino 100% Deposit Bonus Upto £100New players only • £20 min deposit • 100% up to £100 Bonus • Bonus wins are capped at £500 • To withdraw bonus & related wins, wager 30 x (bonus amount) within 90 days • Wagering req. vary by game • This offer may not be combined with any other offer • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time • General withdrawal restrictions & full T&Cs apply VisitReview
5 casushi casino 100% Deposit Bonus Upto £50 + 50 Bonus SpinsFull T&Cs apply 18+. New players only. One bonus offer per player. Minimum deposit £10. Bonus spins on selected games only and must be used within 72 hours. Bonus funds must be used within 30 days otherwise any unused bonus shall be removed. VisitReview

Casino bonuses are by far the most common marketing tool used by online casinos, whether that is to get new players to join them in the first place or to get existing customers to stay and play for longer. Bonuses and free spins aid recruitment, encourage loyalty and help casinos stand out in what has become a very crowded marketplace. Look on any games-related site and you will be inundated with mind-blowing offers that seem to be offering you the world for nothing. But are these deals everything they appear to be, or are they just a way of teasing and tempting you to part with your own cash?

There are many different online casino bonuses, each designed to attract or keep a different type of player. One thing they all have in common is a big headline offer of free money or free spins, designed to catch the eye. Their main area of advertising is online, so the focus is always on the most impressive headline bonuses that appear to be incredibly generous for potential players. However, it is important to remember that each offer will have both benefits and drawbacks and you need to look carefully at the small print to see which one works best for you and figure out how to get the best from the offer.

Understanding the T&Cs

There really is no such thing as a free lunch, and casinos are not in the habit of giving away free money if they can avoid it. Which means that it pays to look this particular gift horse in the mouth to see exactly what you are getting behind the shiny facade of the advertisements. Casinos are not trying to be dishonest or deliberately deceive you, but it is up to you to make sure you have all the facts before you open an account and make any deposit required.

You can think of it as the first game in your new relationship with the casino. They are trying to give away as little as possible, while at the same time looking like they are being really generous. Meanwhile, you are trying to get as much as possible from their offer, while risking as little as possible of your own cash. It can be a real battle, but fortunately for you, most people don’t even bother to try, and rarely read the T&Cs, so the casinos aren’t too bothered if the smarter player sometimes beats them. There will always be enough people who lose to balance it all out.

Types of casino bonus

Casino bonuses and free spins can be separated into two categories, depending in whether or not you need to make a deposit to qualify. You can get most no deposit bonuses and free spins offers simply by signing up, whereas you will need to pay in some of your hard-earned cash to get your hands on a deposit match or loyalty bonus. Many casinos offer both types of bonus to attract as many different kinds of players as they can, or you may find bonus packages that are made up of a combination of casinos’ no deposit and deposit bonus offers, with some free spins thrown in for good measure.

At the end of the day, you are in control and you have a choice of hundreds, if not thousands of different casino bonus and free spins offers available at any one time. There will be an offer that is perfect for you if you just take the time and patience to look around and do your research. You don’t have to be dazzled by the impossible headlines and the promises of riches that they bring; you can choose your casino bonus offer your way, that fits your bankroll, your timetable and the games you want to play. There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but at least you can set the time, pick the restaurant and browse the menu.

No deposit casino bonus

Getting a no deposit casino bonus is the closest thing you can get to free cash. All you have to do is register with the casino, pass their basic eligibility checks and you’ll be given your bonus, or your free spins, with no deposit required. You may need to give them your card details to qualify, but they will not take any money off your card.

Naturally, as you would expect with such a generous offer, a no deposit casino bonus will come with a host of terms and conditions attached to it. This isn’t just the casino being tight fisted and trying to keep hold of their money, it is an important way of stopping people from cashing in without the casino getting anything in return. The more people who take the money and run, the less bonus money there is for the rest of us, so these extra conditions are actually for your benefit as well as the casino.

No deposit bonus offers are a great way of trying out a new online casino, getting a feel for how it looks and the way it works without actually risking any cash. You probably won’t win much, and as we’ll show later, you might find it hard to get at your winnings if you do, but as a player, you have nothing to lose by opening this type of account. There is no obligation to follow up your no deposit bonus or free spins with real money play, so if you just want to play for fun, with an outside chance of winning, this is the best casino bonus for you.

Free spins bonus

free spins can be a stand-alone bonus, your free spins may come with your first deposit or you could get free spins as part of a loyalty bonus for regular players at an online casino. Some online casinos even offer free spins as prizes in their regular competitions and promotions. These free spins will allow you to have a go on selected slots, and they work exactly the same as a paid turn on the slot. However, it is important to keep things in perspective.

While the number of free spins in the brash adverts may look impressive, with offers such as 100 bonus spins or even 500 free spins easy to find, their value may only be a few pence per spin, making the free spins offer only worth a few pounds. You could also find restrictions on which slots you can play with your free spins and the maximum you can win per spin, so don’t expect to drop the progressive jackpot and retire early with your free spins offer.

Free spins bonus

One of the most popular casino bonus offers is free spins on their video slots games. These free spins can be a stand-alone bonus, your free spins may come with your first deposit or you could get free spins as part of a loyalty bonus for regular players at an online casino. Some online casinos even offer free spins as prizes in their regular competitions and promotions. These free spins will allow you to have a go on selected slots, and they work exactly the same as a paid turn on the slot. However, it is important to keep things in perspective.

While the number of free spins in the brash adverts may look impressive, with offers such as 100 bonus spins or even 500 free spins easy to find, their value may only be a few pence per spin, making the free spins offer only worth a few pounds. You could also find restrictions on which slots you can play with your free spins and the maximum you can win per spin, so don’t expect to drop the progressive jackpot and retire early with your free spins offer.

Deposit match casino bonus

While a no deposit bonus may only be worth a few pounds, you’ll find a deposit match casino bonus can be worth much more. In this scenario, the online casino will match the first deposit of new players, pound for pound, up to a stated maximum bonus. This is one of the most lucrative casino bonuses as it effectively doubles the money new players have to play games with. A 100 deposit brings a 100 bonus, and the more you put in, the more you will make in bonus funds.

With some online casino offers, you could find a deposit match on subsequent deposits too, though this bonus is often just a percentage of the deposit rather than a like for like bonus that you get with your first deposit. The idea is to stagger your overall bonus to encourage you to keep visiting the casino and get in the habit of making a regular deposit. This kind of secondary deposit bonus is often wrapped up into a single headline figure for the overall offer, so you need to check the details carefully before you commit. A large deposit match bonus may in fact require more in funds than you are actually matched with over a number of deposits.

Deposit bonus

A deposit bonus is slightly different from a deposit match bonus. Here, new players may be guaranteed a certain bonus if they make at least a minimum first deposit. For example, new players may be offered a 100 bonus when they deposit at least 20. It is important to understand how to trigger this type of bonus so that you do not risk any more of your own cash than is absolutely necessary to qualify for the bonus deal. Using the above example, if you have 100 to play with, you could trigger five 100 bonus offers if you spread your funds around different offers rather than making a single deposit into just one account.

You may find that you are offered a deposit bonus on a fairly regular basis, to encourage you to keep topping up your account, especially when your funds are low or you haven’t made a deposit for a while. These are sometimes referred to as a reload bonus as they happen when you reload your account ready to play again.

Loyalty casino bonus

A casino loyalty bonus works much like a first deposit bonus, but instead of applying to your first deposit, they will be triggered at regular intervals, such as the anniversary of you joining or reaching a landmark deposit level. You might find that you get these whether you are a regular player or not, as they are triggered by dates rather than your account balance.

Naturally, high rollers and VIP players will receive much more in the way of loyalty bonuses, as these are the players the casinos most want to keep. This is the online equivalent of the VIP room in a land-based casino, where the very best players are looked after with exclusive perks that are simply not available to you and I. High rollers making large, regular deposits can even qualify for cashback from some casino operators, refunding some of their losses if they hit a bad run. Sadly, such refunds are rarely available to the average player.

Other online casino bonus deals

Alongside their main marketing bonus schemes, a casino may offer other, smaller bonus types to reward certain activity by players. For example, your casino may offer a small bonus on a minimum deposit made using a selected payment method, such as PayPal or other virtual wallets. This not only helps to promote the fact that they take payments other than debit or credit cards, it also encourages players without these cards, or who have maxed out their cards, to keep playing from other sources of funds.

There is no better advertising than word of mouth when one happy customer tells their friends and some casinos use their existing players to attract new players by offering a refer-a-friend bonus. This will reward both you and your friend when they join the casino and make a minimum deposit.

You may also come across what is called a sticky bonus. These are much like any other bonus paid into a player’s account, except the bonus amount will be removed before any winnings can be claimed.

Terms and conditions

As we discussed above, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and so it is vitally important that you read the terms and conditions of any casino bonus offer, so that you understand exactly how it works and any restrictions that will be placed on players. The aim of any offer is to get the maximum number of new players for the minimum cost, and while the casino is prepared to spend a little on bonus offers and free spins in the process, the offer details will be designed to make this as little as possible. Never get drawn in by an impressive headline bonus without checking the small print. If the bonus or free spins offer sounds too good to be true, that’s because in reality, it probably is.

That said, casino operators are obliged to outline the rules of every bonus offer, whether it is a minimum deposit or wagering requirements, a time restriction or a limited number of games you can use the bonus on. By reading the T&Cs of online casino bonuses carefully, you can make sure you choose bonus offers that match the games you want to play, the minimum deposit you are prepared to make and the time you have available.

Time limits

Online casino bonus time limits can easily catch you out if you are not aware of them, so check the details carefully before you sign up or you might miss out. Players may need to make a minimum deposit within a certain time of registering to qualify for a first deposit bonus, or you may need to use a deposit bonus within a certain time after it lands in your account.

It can be incredibly frustrating for players to make their first deposit at an online casino and receive a large bonus, or hundreds of free spins, only to find that the bonus has expired by the time they log on again. You need to decide when you are going to play and how often you plan to visit and then choose a bonus that suits your timetable. Do not let one day expiry offers dictate when you play; it is your money and your games so you should be able to choose when you visit the casino, not the other way around.

Some bonuses have even tighter time restrictions and will be drip fed to the player a little at a time with a one-day expiry on the bonus funds. If you miss the one day expiry deadline, then you will lose your bonus, it is as simple as that, and many casinos will count on a certain level of missed bonus when they work out the cost of their offers. That said, it is a win-win situation for the casino, because if you do return to the casino every day to claim your bonus within the one day expiry limit, you will create a playing habit that will probably continue long after the bonus has ended.

Wagering requirements

Perhaps the most confusing of all casino bonus conditions is that of wagering requirements. This is where players are obliged to make further wagers on games using their winnings before they are able to withdraw them. The wagering requirement is often set as high as 30x, which means a player must make bets worth 30X their original bonus before they are able to take their prize money.

For example, if you have a 100 bonus as a deposit match, in pounds, euros, or dollars, then you need to make bets to the value of 3000 before your winnings can be withdrawn. Wagering can apply to the deposit amount, the bonus amount or the winnings, or can be a combination of both. It is also important to know that only certain games will count towards wagering.

The idea behind wagering requirements is that the more games a player have to play before they get to claim their winnings, the more chance the casino has of winning it back from them. Fulfilling a wagering requirement on a bonus is also a good way of getting you to establish a regular playing habit.

Wagering requirements apply to nearly all types of bonuses, but they do vary from one casino to the next, so it is well worth checking out the full details before you open an account. A 30x wagering requirement is pretty standard, so you need to avoid anything higher than this and look out for offers that have a lower figure.

Game limits

There are two game limits you need to be aware of when it comes to using a casino bonus. Firstly, you may be limited to the games you can use your bonus funds to play. For example, free spins bonus offers are often restricted to a handful of slots at best and sometimes just one or two very specific slots. This is not necessarily a problem as the skills you learn on one slot are usually transferable to others, but it does mean you will be kept well clear of the big money games. Of course, with a 500 free spins bonus, you will quickly learn exactly how to play the designated slot and all its bonus games, so that when your free spins are over, you will be able to play that particular slot much more effectively and maximise your winnings.

The other game restriction to be aware of is knowing which games will contribute towards wagering. You may find that certain games, such as roulette, will not count fully towards wagering, with only 20% of your wager counting towards the bonus requirement, and some bets within the same game may not count at all. This is similar to sports betting offers, were wagering requirements state that bonus bets must be placed at more than even money to count towards the total. If you are lucky enough to win with your casino bonus, completing the wagering requirement is key, so make sure you understand any rules or game restrictions that apply.

Win limits

Another important restriction to look out for is a max win limit. Many offers will put an upper limit on what you are able to win as part of the promotion, so even if you are really lucky and drop a jackpot or enjoy a run of unbeatable blackjack hands, you will not be laughing all the way to the bank because anything over the set bonus win limit will simply not count. This figure is often buried deep in the small print, and if you are not prepared it can be a serious disappointment, so you need to look carefully.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but often smaller bonus deals with smaller win limits can actually work out better, because these are more likely to be available as cash you can withdraw, without wagering requirements or any other complications. The bigger the bonus win limit, the harder it will be to claim your cash, so perhaps you should aim a little lower. New players who play lots of smaller win bonus offers find that these can quickly add up to a tidy profit, even if they are only picking up a few pounds or dollars each time they win. A pound in the hand is worth far more than two trapped in a lengthy wagering requirement.

The benefits of a casino bonus

With so many terms and conditions attached to casino bonus deals for new players, like max win limits, minimum deposits, wagering requirements and limits on games, you might be wondering if casino bonus offers are worth having at all. But even if you don’t turn your bonus into a cash win, you can still gain a lot from casino bonuses and free spins.

For a start, they are a great way to find out more about a new online casino and see if you like what they have to offer. A casino bonus gives you an excellent opportunity to learn the ropes and see what a casino is really like behind the flashy home page. You might just love it and decide to stay, but if it doesn’t feel right, you can move on without loss.

Similarly, using a bonus or free spins is a great way to learn about the games themselves. Many casino games and slots are quite complicated and take a while to master, so any practice you can get using bonus money or free spins will help enormously. Casino bonuses and free spins help you to learn the basics of games you are unfamiliar with, as well as sharpening your skills on your favourite games, without it costing you a fortune. As a player, it is much better to make mistakes with the casino’s money than to lose a deposit of your own.

Choosing from the myriad of online casinos that are available is never easy, so it is always worth taking advantage of bonus offers and free spins on a new player account to get the first-hand experience before you commit. You could even play for free all the time by hopping from one casino welcome bonus to another, without ever staying to play with real cash. You’ll never win a fortune, but you could have an awful lot of free fun along the way.