Things you need to know about casino bonuses and free spins

The possibility of winning big cash prizes has always been the main reason why people go to land-based casinos or play at . However, the prospect of receiving some extra value on top of this existing potential becomes an even bigger drawcard for many players when they are considering signing up with a particular online casino. This is where casino bonuses come into the picture. 

Casino bonuses can be defined as incentives offered by a gaming platform to attract new players to sign up or encourage existing users to continue playing there. These bonuses usually take the form of additional funds, free spins, or other perks that can enhance your overall gambling experience and potentially increase your winnings. However, it's important to note that not all bonuses are created equal, and understanding how they work is crucial if you want to make the most of them. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore the different types of bonuses available, what they mean, and how to use them effectively to maximize your chances of winning big. So, let's dive in!

Types of Casino Bonuses

The world of online gambling is highly competitive, which means that casinos are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to lure customers in. One of the most effective methods they use is offering different types of bonuses. Here are some of the most common ones you're likely to encounter:

Welcome Bonus

As the name suggests, this type of bonus is intended to welcome new players to the casino. It typically involves matching a certain percentage of the first deposit made by the user, up to a specified amount. For instance, a 100% match bonus up to $200 means that if you deposit $100 into your account, the casino will add another $100, giving you a total balance of $200 to start with. Many casinos extend this welcome bonus over multiple deposits, so it's worth making larger deposits to maximize the amount you can claim.

Reload Bonus

A reload bonus is similar to a welcome bonus, but it's designed for existing players rather than new sign-ups. Essentially, it gives you a reward for topping up your account balance. The terms may vary, but it could be something like a 50% match bonus up to $100, meaning that if you deposit $200, you'll receive an extra $100 from the casino, for a total of $300.

Cashback Bonus

This type of bonus provides a percentage of your losses back to your account. For example, a 10% cashback means that if you lose $100, you'll get $10 credited to your balance. While it may not completely offset your losses, it can help to soften the blow and give you a second chance. Some casinos offer unlimited cashback, which can be especially appealing if you're going through a streak of bad luck.

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Loyalty Bonus

Online casinos often have a loyalty program that rewards regular players. The longer you stick around and the more you play, the higher your loyalty level will rise, and the better the perks you'll receive. These can include exclusive bonuses, personalized customer support, and invitations to VIP events. Some casinos even offer lifetime cashback or rebates based on your annual gaming volume.

High Roller Bonus

If you're a big spender, some casinos are willing to offer special bonuses to entice you to keep playing. These high roller bonuses can be extremely generous, providing large matches on your deposits or exclusive access to high-stakes games. However, the catch is that you usually need to make significantly larger deposits to qualify - sometimes as much as several thousand dollars.

No Deposit Bonus

Perhaps the most attractive type of bonus for any player is the no deposit bonus. As the name implies, this type of bonus does not require you to make any initial deposit; you simply sign up for a new account or verify your mobile number, and the casino gives you free credits or spins as a thank-you gift. While the amounts involved might be relatively small ($10-$50), it's a great way to try out a new casino without any financial risk and potentially win real money paypal casino.

Free Spins

Free spins are a popular bonus that is specifically geared towards slot games. They allow you to play a certain number of rounds on a selected slot machine without charging your account. Each spin gives you a chance to hit the jackpot without having to place a separate bet. Winnings from free spins are typically credited to your regular balance and subject to the same wagering requirements as other bonuses.

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How Do Casino Bonuses Work?

While bonuses may seem like free money, they don't actually work that way. There are always certain conditions attached that determine how you can use the bonus funds and when you're allowed to withdraw them. These conditions are collectively known as wagering requirements or playthrough.

Wagering Requirements Explained

Wagering requirements refer to the number of times you must gamble the sum of your deposit, bonus, and any associated winnings before you're permitted to cash out. Let's say you claim a $100 bonus with a 35x wagering requirement. That means you need to place bets totaling at least $3,500 (100 × 35) before you can request a withdrawal of your winnings and any remaining bonus funds. If you haven't met the playthrough within a specific timeframe, usually 30 days, the bonus will expire.

Contribution Percentage

Not all games contribute equally toward clearing wagering requirements. Slots and scratch cards usually offer 100% contribution, meaning that every $1 wagered contributes $1 toward your playthrough. However, table games like blackjack and roulette may have lower contribution percentages, often ranging between 5% and 20%. This makes it harder and slower to fulfill the wagering if you prefer playing these games. It's essential to check the contribution percentage for each game before you start playing.

Minimum Deposit

To claim a bonus, you usually need to make a minimum deposit, which varies from casino to casino. It could be as low as $10 or $20, but in many cases, you'll need to deposit at least $30-$50 to get any bonus funds. Failing to meet the minimum deposit will prevent the bonus from being automatically added to your account.

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Expiry Date

Most bonuses come with an expiry date beyond which they become void and irrecoverable. This deadline usually ranges from seven to 30 days, depending on the casino. It's crucial to utilize the bonus and fulfill the wagering requirements before the expiration date to avoid losing the opportunity to cash out your winnings.

Strategies for Maximizing Your Chances of Winning With Bonuses

Although claiming bonuses can significantly boost your bankroll, it's essential to use them judiciously to maximize your chances of turning a profit. Here are some key strategies that can help you make the most of your bonuses:

Read the Terms and Conditions Carefully

Before accepting any bonus, take the time to thoroughly read and understand the accompanying terms and conditions. Pay attention to the wagering requirements, expiry dates, minimum deposits, and game contributions. Failing to comply with these terms can render your bonus useless or result in forfeiture of your winnings.

Choose Bonuses With Reasonable Wagering Requirements

Not all wagering requirements are created equal. Some casinos impose extremely high playthrough ratios that make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to clear the bonus within the stipulated period. Therefore, it's wise to seek out bonuses with lower wagering, ideally below 35x. This will make it easier to fulfill the requirements and enjoy a higher conversion rate of your bonus to real winnings.

Focus on Games With Higher Contribution Rates

As mentioned earlier, different games contribute differently toward clearing wagering requirements. Therefore, it's strategically sound to concentrate on games with higher contribution rates, particularly slots, during the bonus period. This will enable you to make faster progress toward completing the playthrough and unlocking your winnings. Once you've cleared the bonus, you can then switch to games with lower or no contribution if you choose.

Manage Your Bankroll Effectively

Bonuses should be viewed as a supplement to your existing bankroll, not a substitute. It's crucial to set a budget before you start playing and stick to it rigorously. Never chase losses or bet more than you can afford to lose in pursuit of meeting wagering requirements. Remember that online casino gaming should be enjoyed as entertainment, not as a means of making quick cash.

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Consider the Reputation and Fairness of the Casino

It's not just about the bonus; the reputation and fairness of the casino are also critical factors to consider. Before signing up, do your research and read reviews from other players. Look for casinos that have a good track record, prompt customer service, and use reputable game providers with verifiable Random Number Generator (RNG) certifications. This will ensure that you have a fair and enjoyable gaming experience, regardless of whether you end up using bonuses or not.

Should You Accept Every Bonus Offered to You?

With so many bonuses vying for your attention, it's tempting to accept them all without thinking twice. However, this approach is far from ideal if your goal is to maximize your profits. Here's why you should exercise restraint while claiming bonuses:

Not All Bonuses Are Profitable

Contrary to popular belief, not every bonus can lead to substantial profits. Many bonuses come with excessively high wagering requirements, restrictive timeframes, or unfavorable game contributions. Calculating the expected value (EV) of a bonus can help you determine whether it's worth pursuing. If the EV is negative or very low, it's usually better to decline the bonus and stick to your own funds.

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Bonuses Come With Time Constraints

Bonuses generally come with strict time limits, usually ranging from one week to a month. This tight schedule can be stressful and time-consuming, forcing you to prioritize bonus play over enjoying other games you might prefer. If you find yourself struggling to complete the requirements within the designated period, it might be wise to forgo that particular bonus.

There Are Better Ways to Claim Rewards

Instead of blindly accepting every bonus that crosses your path, it's often smarter to focus on taking advantage of promotions that align with your individual playing style and preferences. Some players thrive on high-risk, high-reward strategies and prefer not to be bound by wagering requirements. In such cases, it might be more profitable to use a bonus only occasionally and instead rely mainly on your own funds and a solid banking strategy. Alternatively, some players benefit from opting into loyalty programs or cashback schemes, which provide tailored rewards based on their specific gaming history. By exploring different types of rewards and finding the ones that suit you best, you can significantly enhance your long-term earnings potential.

Tips for Responsible Bonus Usage

While bonuses can undoubtedly enhance your gaming experience, they must be used responsibly to avoid falling into the trap of compulsive gambling behavior. Here are some tips to help you stay in control:

Set Limits Before Claiming Any Bonus

Before accepting a bonus, establish clear limits on how much you're willing to deposit, spend, and lose. Decide on a budget for chasing bonuses and treat it as part of your overall bankroll management strategy. Stick to your limits rigidly, and never exceed them merely to fulfill wagering requirements.

Don't Chase Bonuses

Resist the urge to pursue every single bonus available. Instead, focus on the ones that align with your preferred games, betting range, and playing frequency. Remember that not every bonus is suitable or necessary for your gameplay style.

Always Read the Fine Print

Thoroughly review the terms and conditions of each bonus to comprehend its nuances fully. Understand the wagering requirements, game contributions, minimum deposits, and expiry dates. If the conditions seem too restrictive or unfair, it might be prudent to forego that bonus.

Take Breaks If Needed

If you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or like you're not enjoying the gaming experience anymore, it's time to step back and take a breather. Use the time-out or cool-off periods provided by responsible gambling features to clear your head and reflect on your habits. Utilizing these tools demonstrates strength and commitment to responsible bonus usage.

Final Thoughts

In today's world of online gambling, bonuses have become a ubiquitous feature aimed at drawing and retaining players. Understanding the various types of bonuses, how they function, and the strategies for utilizing them can significantly boost your prospects of profiting from them. However, it's imperative to remember that bonuses should be regarded as supplemental perks rather than guaranteed moneymakers. Employing responsible bonus practices and prioritizing long-term earning strategies can help you savor the thrill of online casino gaming while minimizing risks and maximizing enjoyment.


Is it possible to win real money from casino bonuses?

Yes, absolutely! Winning real money from online casino bonuses is possible, but it requires careful management and strategic utilization. By choosing bonuses with reasonable wagering requirements, focusing on games with high contribution rates, and adhering to responsible bonus practices, you can increase your chances of converting bonus wins into real cash payouts.

Can I withdraw my bonus funds directly?

Typically, bonuses cannot be withdrawn directly. You must first meet the wagering requirements by placing bets with both your deposit funds, bonus funds, and any resulting winnings. Only after fulfilling these playthrough conditions can you withdraw any remaining real money balance from your account.

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Are all online casinos safe and fair?

While the vast majority of online casinos are legitimate and operate fairly, it's essential to exercise caution and due diligence before signing up. Ensure that the casino is licensed by a reputable regulatory body and uses Random Number Generator (RNG) technology to guarantee fair game outcomes. Additionally, reading player reviews and checking for external audits can provide insight into the casino's trustworthiness.

About the author 

Peter Clayton

Peter is one of Bojoko's developers working on the matching casinos with players feature. When he isn't busy writing code, he shares his years of experience working in the industry