Casino bonuses are one of the main advantages of playing at online casinos. They are available in different shapes and sizes and vary from casino to casino. However, to get the most out of these bonuses, you must understand the meaning of bonuses, how it works, how to get them, and the conditions attached to each type of bonus.
Don’t worry! Our beginners’ guide to online casino bonuses and promotions covers everything you need to know. By the time you are done reading this page, you will become a whizz at finding bonuses, decoding the jargon associated with them, and deciding whether they are right for you or not.
What Are Casino Bonuses
Casino bonuses are the rewards you get for registering, depositing funds or gambling at an online casino. These rewards come as free play on selected games, free cash, or non-cash prizes. When you earn a bonus, it helps you get more out of your game by extending your playtime and giving you a second chance at winning real money.
Why Do Online Casinos Offer Bonuses
Casinos offer bonuses and promotions to attract new bettors and keep existing players loyal to their brand. There are thousands of gambling sites on the internet, and the competition is very fierce. For example, if you have ever searched for UK online casinos on Google, you would have noticed there are hundreds of sites you can choose from.
So to beat the competition and get their sites noticed quickly by bettors, online casinos offer rewards like complimentary plays, free cash, and other prizes. They offer these bonuses hoping that new players will try out their games and become loyal customers.
Types Of Casino Bonuses
Deposit bonuses are available at almost all casinos. These are bonuses you get when you deposit at a gambling site. You get them as a match-up of the amount you deposit in the casino. For example, you may get 100%, 50%, or 25% of your deposit as a bonus. Some casinos even offer 200% or more to their customers. Most deposit bonuses have a maximum limit. So it is common to see sites offering promotions like a 100% match-up bonus up to £100.
This limit means that you cannot get bonuses bigger than the maximum amount regardless of how much you deposited. Likewise, casinos have a minimum amount to deposit to qualify for this bonus. For most casinos in the UK, the minimum deposit to earn a bonus is £10. Deposit bonuses come mainly in three forms: welcome, reload, and 2nd, 3rd and 4th deposit bonuses
This is the largest deposit bonus in most casinos. It is the bonus you get when you make your first deposit at the site. They are usually a 100% match-up of your deposit bonus. If you like to take advantage of welcome bonuses, we recommend checking our picks for the best casino welcome bonuses.
These are bonuses you get for depositing at a casino on a designated day. The value of the bonus you get is often around 25% or 50% of your deposit. For example, some casinos offer 25% reload bonuses on every deposit made on weekends.
2nd, 3rd, and 4th Bonuses
You get these bonuses when you make your second, third, and fourth deposit. They are usually in the range of 50% – 100% of your deposit. These bonuses are not as common as welcome bonuses and reload bonuses.
No Deposit Bonuses
A no deposit bonus allows you to play in an online casino and win real money without depositing a dime. Usually, all you have to do to earn this bonus is create an account at the casino. The no deposit bonus may be free cash, bonus spins, or other prizes. These bonuses are not as big as deposit bonuses, so you should not expect a big amount. The standard for no deposit bonuses in the UK is £10. However, some sites occasionally offer a higher amount.
Though offering no deposit bonuses to players seems like madness, casinos do it to attract new customers and hope they will deposit to their account after losing the bonus. Some casinos also offer no deposit bonuses during special occasions like
- The casino’s anniversary
- Your birthday
- An apology for a technical glitch
Like other types of casino bonuses, free spins come with certain conditions. For instance, winnings from free spins are not available for withdrawals immediately. You will have to wager them about 40 – 60 times before you can cash them out. In addition, there is always a maximum amount you can win with free spins. When you win money with free spins and satisfy the wagering requirements, the winnings are credited to your account. However, free spins should not be the only factor to consider when deciding on a bonus to choose.
Cashback bonuses allow you to get back a percentage of your net losses at a casino. They are often expressed in percentages, usually 10-30%. Most casinos credit it to your account as bonus credit rather than real money. Also, cashback bonuses come with wagering requirements. However, the number of times you are to roll them over is usually smaller than that of free spins and deposit bonuses. Additionally, there is a set maximum for the amount you can get with cashback.
Let’s explain cashback bonuses by sharing an example. Let’s assume you play at a casino that offers a monthly 25% cashback with a £100 limit. It means if you lose £300 during your play in the last month, you will get 0.25 x £300 = £75 as a cashback bonus in your account. Here is another scenario to explain the maximum limit. Let’s say you lost £600 in the last month; you are supposed to get a £150 cashback bonus. However, the casino will only return £100 to your account because that’s the maximum you can claim.
Cashback bonuses are worthwhile. They are always a net gain to you and a disadvantage to the casino. Check out our post on the top cashback bonuses if you like to try out this offer.
These promotions are similar to the VIP and loyalty programs available at land-based casinos. Depending on where you play, loyalty programs can come as a VIP Club with many levels and benefits. The higher your rank at the club, the more benefits you get. Loyalty programs can also be a point-based system where you earn points that can be converted to free play, cash, or other bonuses
In most casinos, all players can be part of the loyalty program. However, some sites do throw the gate of their VIP club open only to a few members. Here, players become a part of the club via an exclusive invitation from the casino. The main goal of loyalty programs or VIP clubs is to keep customers playing at a casino for a long period.
• Wagering requirements
Most of the casino bonuses you will come across on the internet have wagering requirements. These requirements are often represented in figures. For example, you may see 20x, 40x or 60x wagering requirements. These figures show the number of times you must play before you can cash out your bonus and all the associated winnings from it. Usually, the higher the bonus you get, the higher the wagering requirements.
It’s also possible to come across bonuses that do not have wagering requirements. However, the downside to these bonuses is that you cannot turn them into cash. You can only use them to experience the online casino and have fun playing some of their games.
Another part that is often confusing to beginners is whether they are to wager only the bonus they earned or both the bonus and their deposit. Usually, it works this way – if you get a no deposit bonus, you wager only the bonus. However, you wager the bonus and your deposit if you get a deposit bonus. Below are examples of both scenarios to help you to better understand how wagering requirements work.
Scenario A (Wagering the bonus only):
A casino offers you a £10 no deposit bonus
Wagering requirements: 50x
Y our bonus winning: YTo withdraw your winnings (Y), you will have to wager the £10 bonus at least fifty times. In other words, you must place a bet of £10 x 50 = £500 before you can cash out Y from the casino.
Scenario B (Wagering the deposit and bonus):
A casino offers you a 100% match-up bonus of up to £100
Wagering requirements: 40x bonus + deposit
Your deposit to the casino: £50
Bonus earned: 100% of £50 = £50
Your winnings: Y
To cash out your winnings in this scenario, you have to wager your £50 deposit and £50 bonus at least 40 times. This means you have to place a bet of £100 x 40 = £4000 before you can cash out your winnings from the casino.
• Maximum cash out limit
There are many reasons we always emphasize that bettors should at least skim through critical sections of bonus terms and conditions before making a decision. One such reason is the cashout limit. This limit tells you the maximum amount you can cash out from your bonus.
So regardless of how much you win with a deposit, no deposit, reload, or free spin bonus, there is a maximum amount you can turn to cash and withdraw. For example, if you win £1,500 with your bonus and the cashout limit is £200, the casino will only pay the £200 and not £1,500.
You may get a higher cashout limit at some casinos when you join their VIP club. So it is worth checking out this section of the casino and what it offers if you are a bonus chaser. It is a no-brainer that sites with higher cash-out limits are the most appealing.
• Bonus validity period
Every bonus has a validity period, also known as an expiration date. You are to use the bonus and meet all the conditions attached to it before the end of this period. The validity period ranges from 24 hours to a few months. A bonus with a short expiry date will most likely force you to overspend and increase the level of risk you are taking.
For example, let’s say you win a £2,000 bonus at a casino and the wagering requirement is 40x, and the validity period is 48 hours. It means you will have to play at least forty times within two days before you can turn your bonus into cash. We advise staying away from bonuses with unreasonable expiration dates and choosing only bonuses that offer you more flexibility.
• Payment methods
It is not uncommon to see casinos list out the list of deposit options that are not eligible for some of their bonuses. So when joining a casino, you should consider the eligible banking options before making your first deposit. This information is often available on the casino’s bonus and promotions page. Some deposit methods casinos usually exclude from bonuses are Skrill, Neteller, Paysafecard, and PayPal.
• Restricted games
Just because a bonus is big does not mean it will be worth your time and money. You should look out for hidden elements in the terms and conditions before choosing a bonus. One of the factors to consider is the games that are eligible for the bonus. For instance, if you enjoy playing slots and you get a bonus for baccarat, it does not make much sense to choose the bonus. Playing games,
you do not enjoy or like because of bonuses will likely result in losses for you. So take your time to find credible casinos that offer bonuses and promotions on your favourite games.
• Check the casino’s credibility
Don’t be swayed by an attractive bonus to the extent of forgetting to check whether a casino is legit or not. Not all online casinos are credible. Some are out there to scam unsuspecting players. So before you choose a casino bonus, you must confirm that the casino holds a license issued by the UK Gambling Commission, Gibraltar Gambling Commission, or Malta Gambling Authority.
In addition, you can check online reviews to find out what experts and users have to say about them. What’s more, you can save yourself the legwork of scouring the internet to find credible casinos by starting with our list of top online casinos. All the casinos on our site are legit and trustworthy. Also, they have all the necessary licenses they need to operate in the UK.
Where To Find The Best Casino Bonuses Online
Searching for the best casino bonuses can be tiring and time-consuming. You will have to scour the internet for several hours and check out several UK online casinos. You don’t have to do this tiresome job yourself. Our experts are always working tirelessly to bring our readers the best casino bonuses for UK players. Start your search for generous bonuses with our list of best casino welcome bonuses, best no deposit bonuses, best free spins, best no wager free spins, or top cashback bonuses.
What is Bonus Hunting
Bonus hunting is the term used to describe the abuse of bonuses by players. When players, who have no intention of playing at a casino, take advantage of the rewards offered by the site just to make profits, it is called bonus hunting. Other terms used to describe these activities include bonus bagging, bonus whoring, casino whoring, and bonus abusing.
Bonus hunting used to be very easy in the past when online casinos offered big bonuses with low wagering requirements and no game restrictions. Today, it is a whole new ball game as most bonuses now have about 40x wagering, cashout limits, and game restrictions.
Is bonus hunting worth it?
No, we do not recommend hunting for bonuses. There are several other ways to win real money at a casino. Besides, there are consequences if caught abusing bonuses. While the most common punishment for bonus abuse is to withhold your bonus, it may attract more severe penalties like
- Suspension of your account at the casino
- Being banned from accessing bonuses
- Outright ban from all sister casinos
We have covered almost everything a beginner needs to know about casino bonuses. But if you still have some unanswered questions, you can check our casino bonus FAQ below.
Can I win real money with a casino bonus?
Yes, you can win real money with casino bonuses. All you have to do to get your winnings credited to your account is to meet the bonus wagering requirements.
Can I cancel a casino bonus?
You can cancel your bonus by signing into your casino account and canceling the bonus from there. If you do not know how to go about it, you can contact the casino’s customer support to cancel the bonus.
What are casino bonus codes?
Some bonus requires you to input a code to claim the offer. You won’t get the bonus if you do not input the code.
Do bonuses have a validity period?
Yes, most bonuses come with a time frame. You must use the bonus and meet the wagering requirements before the end of the period. If you don’t, you will forfeit the bonus.