|Online Casino Bonus Guide | Picking the Best Casino Bonuses
Joined: 11 Mar 2006
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Guide to Online Casino Bonuses
This online casino bonus guide explains the different types of online casino bonuses, casino promotions, and casino bonus terms and conditions. I hope this information will assist you in choosing the best online casino bonuses and lead to a more enjoyable gambling experience.
Casino bonuses can add a lot of value to your gambling budget, but it is important to understand the different types of online casino bonuses and use the ones that suit your needs. Some bonuses are better than others and you should always read the terms and conditions of any online casino bonus before you claim them. Please remember that all casino bonuses have rules (terms and conditions) which must be followed and bonus rules vary greatly from promotion to promotion and casino to casino.
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Casino Bonus Terms and Conditions Explained
What is playthrough? What are Wagering Requirements?
We would all be rich if we could claim huge casino bonuses and then cash out without playing. For this reason, all online casino bonuses have playthrough requirements or wagering requirements. Playthrough is the amount you have to wager before before you can request a cashout or payout. Playthrough is expressed as a multiplier figure.
Example of a typical playthough or wagering requirement:
100% Match Bonus with 25x playthrough (deposit + bonus)
If you deposit $100 you would start with a $200 bankroll which would need to be wagered 25 times ($5000). That means you would have to place $5000 in wagers on games that are allowed to be played with the bonus before you can withdraw any winnings from the promotion.
What is a Sticky Bonus?
A sticky bonus is bonus money that you do not get to keep when you request a cashout. If you use a "sticky" bonus, the bonus money will be deducted from your balance when you cashout. A sticky bonus rule is more common in no deposit bonuses than deposit bonus offers. Some sticky deposit bonuses are cumulative which means they add up each time they are claimed, even if you lose, and are subtracted from any future payout request you may make. The good news is that sticky bonuses are not very common at the top online casinos.
Example of how a sticky bonus works:
A $100 deposit with a 100% ($100) sticky bonus attached would make for a $100 deduction from any payout request.
What is a Cashable Bonus?
A cashable bonus is bonus money that you keep after meeting playthrough requirements when you request a payout. Cashable bonuses are the opposite of sticky bonuses.
Example of how a cashable bonus works:
If you make a $100 deposit with a 100% ($100) cashable bonus attached and win $100, you would have a $300 casino balance that could all be cashed out.
What is a maximum cashout limit? What is max cashout?
A maximum cashout limit is a restriction on the amount you can cashout after using a bonus. Maximum cashout rules can be expressed in the form of a multiplier, such as 10x the bonus amount maximum cashout, or by a total maximum possible cashout, such as $500 maximum cashout. Almost all free bonus offers and no deposit bonuses have a maximum cashout rule. The good news is that deposit bonus offers rarely have a maximum cashout rule. I strongly urge you to avoid any deposit bonus offer that has a maximum cashout rule.
Example of a typical maximum cashout rules:
$100 Free Chip with a $500 maximum cashout.
500% Deposit Bonus with a maximum cashout of 10x the bonus.
What is a maximum bet limit?
Most free chips or non-deposit bonuses have a maximum bet rule which limits the amount your can bet per spin. Many Realtime Gaming casinos have a $10 maximum bet per spin while playing a free chip.
What are game restrictions? Why do online casino bonuses have game restrictions?
Online casino bonuses have game restrictions because different casino games have different average payout percentages. The average payout percentage on certain table games, such as blackjack, is almost always higher than slot games. It is easy to see why a casino would offer more bonuses for slot games than blackjack.
Most online casino bonuses have game restrictions which limit the kind of games you can play while using a bonus. It is very important to check what games you are allowed to play with any bonus because playing a restricted game with a bonus will usually void your winnings. Although most online casino bonuses are geared toward slot play, it is important to note than some slot games, such as progressive slots can still be excluded from play while using a bonus offer.
Basic Types of Casino Bonus and Casino Promotions
What is the difference between an Upfront Bonus and a Cashback Bonus?
Most online casino bonuses are upfront bonuses which means the bonus money is given in advance, with or without a deposit. If you claim a typical 100% match bonus code or coupon the bonus money will be added instantly to the amount of money you deposit. The exception to an upfront bonus is a 'cashback' bonus which is bonus money given after you have deposited or after you have lost your deposit money.
What are Deposit Bonuses? How does a deposit bonus work? How do I use a deposit bonus?
A deposit bonus is free bonus money given to a player who makes a deposit at an online casino. There are three types of deposit bonus: match bonus, reload or percentage bonus, and fixed amount bonus. All deposit bonuses have terms and conditions which usually include a wagering requirement and game restrictions. Some deposit bonuses are only for play on certain types of games, so it is important to check the terms and conditions before you claim any bonus offer.
Deposit bonuses are usually claimed by entering a bonus code or coupon code in the casino cashier before a deposit is made. Deposit bonus offers have an upper deposit limit and also may have a deposit minimum. Some casinos may offer deposit bonuses that have a maximum cashout limit. While a maximum cashout limit is standard on no deposit bonuses and free chips, I suggest you AVOID deposit bonuses with a maximum cashout rule.
What is an Online Casino Match Bonus?
A match bonus is free money given by an online casino which is usually equal to or higher than 100% of the deposited amount. The casino 'matches' the amount a player deposits so the player has a higher balance to play with. For example, if you are offered a 100% match bonus up to $100, then your deposit would be matched up to $100. If you claim a 100% match bonus and deposit $100 then your account balance will be $200. Match bonuses are often offered as welcome bonuses to new players on their initial deposit(s).
Example of a typical match bonus:
100% Match Bonus up to $200
Reload or Percentage Bonus
A reload bonus and a match bonus are essentially the same thing. The term reload bonus is typically used if the percentage offered is less than 100% or if the bonus is offered for existing players.
Example of a typical reload or percentage bonus:
75% Reload Bonus up to $100
Fixed Amount Bonus
A fixed amount bonus specifically states the exact amount of bonus money you will receive for a precise deposit amount. For example, the casino offers a $100 bonus on a $50 deposit. In that example the bonus is 200% of the amount you deposited, but depositing more will not increase the bonus amount.
Example of a typical Fixed Amount Bonus:
Deposit $25, Get $50 Free (The starting balance would be $75)
Why would I use a Deposit Bonus? Why would I avoid a Deposit Bonus?
A good way to extend your online gambling budget, and to gamble longer without spending more money, is to use online casino bonuses and promotions to increase your casino account balance. The downside to casino bonuses are the bonus rules and requirements that must be followed when using a casino bonus.
Pros of using a deposit bonus:
The great thing about deposit bonuses is that they increase your gambling bankroll. If you deposit $25 with a 400% match bonus your casino balance is $125. A larger balance allows you to bet higher and hit bigger or to play longer.
Cons of using a deposit bonus:
The downsides to any deposit bonus are the rules you must follow or the bonus terms and conditions. The bonus terms and conditions should be the first thing you consider when choosing a bonus.
Most deposit bonuses have wagering requirements and game restrictions. Although uncommon, the worst rule a deposit bonus can have is a maximum cashout rule which limits the amount of money you can withdraw. I strongly urge you to avoid deposit bonuses with a maximum cashout rule.
A large portion of deposit bonuses will only allow play on slots to complete the wagering requirement. That's great of you are a slot player, but if you play blackjack you will have a harder time finding a deposit bonus to meet your needs. Table game bonuses are offered at many online casinos but they are usually a smaller percentage than the slot bonuses.
Deposit bonuses will almost always have playthrough or wagering requirements. Obviously the lower the requirement the better. If you hit $500 the first spin and you have $1000 wagering requirement to complete, you may loose the $500 you won before you meet the wagering requirement and are allowed to cashout your winnings.
What is a No Deposit Casino Bonus? How do I use a no deposit casino bonus?
Most online casino players, including myself, started online gambling by way of a no deposit required bonus. No deposit bonuses can be called free chips, no-deposit tokens, n/d bonus, or cash rewards. Free spins and free-plays can also be a type of no deposit bonus.
Many online casinos offer no deposit bonuses for new players to try the casino for free (without depositing) or as a reward for loyal players who deposit at their casino. No deposit bonuses are usually a predetermined fixed amount of bonus cash that can be claimed by using a coupon code, no deposit bonus code, or free chip code.
It is important to read the terms and conditions of a no deposit bonus before you play the bonus because you will not be allowed to cashout any winnings if you break the rules. Most no deposit bonuses have game restrictions, wagering requirements (also known as playthrough), and maximum cashout rules. Game restrictions state which games you are allowed to play with the bonus. A maximum cashout rule states the maximum amount you can win from the no deposit bonus. Wagering requirements or playthrough is the amount of money you have to wager prior to requesting a cashout or payout.
Example of a typical no deposit bonus offer with terms and conditions:
$20 No Deposit Bonus 40x Playthrough, $200 maximum cashout, Slots Only
What are Free Spins? How do Free Spins Work?
Free spins are a finite number of spins on a certain slot game. Free Spins can be no deposit bonuses or they can be offered in combination with a percentage deposit bonus. Online casinos frequently offer free spin bonuses when new slot games are released to give players an opportunity to try the new slot. After playing the free spins on the specified slot a player can keep the winnings of the free spins after fulfilling the terms and conditions of the offer. No deposit bonus free spin offers usually base wagering requirements on the amount won during the free spins.
Example of a typical deposit bonus free spin offer:
100% Match Bonus plus 50 Free Spins on X Slot
Example of a typical no deposit bonus free spin offer:
50 Free Spins on X Slot for Depositors at X Casino
Example no deposit bonus free spin terms:
60X The amount you win during the free spins wagering requirement
What is cashback? What is a cashback bonus?
My favorite type of online casino bonus is a cashback bonus. Cashback bonuses usually allow you to play your deposit without and rules or restrictions and then claim the cashback bonus if the deposited money is lost.
A cashback promotion is a bonus given after you play your deposit. Cashback is usually offered as a percentage of the amount you deposit if you lose. Cashback bonus percentages are usually lower than match bonuses. Many casinos only offer a cashback bonus if you do not claim a match bonus with your initial deposit.
Not all cashback bonus offers are created equally. They all have terms and conditions, but the best cashback bonuses have no maximum cashout rule, so your winnings are not limited. Game restrictions for cashback varies from casino to casino, but all cashback bonuses will have playthrough or wagering requirements that must be met before you are allowed to request a payout.
Example of a Typical Cashback Bonus Offer:
25% Cashback Bonus if you lose your deposit and Didn't Claim a Match Bonus
In this case a $100 deposit with 25% cashback would give you a $25 cashback bonus.
Typical Cashback Bonus Terms and Conditions:
20x wagering requirement on X games or X slots and no maximum cashout.
Why use a cashback bonus?
The great thing about cashback bonuses is that you can usually play your deposit without any bonus restrictions and then use the cashback if you happen to lose.