Bonuses are rampant throughout the world of online casinos. You can’t navigate online casinos without hitting one somewhere. The question isn’t how to get online bonuses, it’s which ones are right for you.
To successfully answer that, the key is reading the fine print. Some bonuses are well worth what they claim, while others are worthless. By focusing on the details and fine print, you can get the best online casino bonuses.
What Are Cashable and Non-cashable Bonuses?
Some types of bonuses have more value than others. A cashable bonus is a money deposited directly into your online casino account. You can wager with it or withdraw it. It’s your money. A non-cashable (or “sticky” or “phantom”) bonus is never your money. You can wager with it, but you can’t have it. If you try to withdraw it, the value disappears. Because a cashable bonus always has a greater per-dollar value than a non-cashable bonus, you’ll want to choose an online casino that offers cashable options.
How Do I Get a Welcome Bonus?
Welcome bonuses usually are offered just for signing up at the online casino. They offer these as an incentive to join their program and continue gambling there. They’re willing to stake you for a few bets, counting on the expectation that you will then continue gambling with your own money.
Welcome bonuses come in two flavors:
- A No-Deposit Bonus credits your account without requiring you to deposit any money. You are free to gamble with the bonus until you hit the wagering requirement or go bust.
- A Match Deposit Bonus matches (or exceeds) your initial deposit into the casino.
Remember, online casinos don’t make money by giving it out for free. They’ve loaded these bonuses with rules and requirements that, just like casino games, ultimately profit them.
- As you might imagine, welcome bonuses are always non-cashable. Casinos will not allow you to withdraw the bonus, only the winnings. Otherwise, people would just claim the bonus and cash out.
- Most casinos limit the amount you can win from the bonus. Sometimes this is as low as $50. Read the fine print.
- Welcome bonuses usually require the player to make a minimum number of wagers, and sometimes this can add up to as much as 60 times the amount of the bonus itself. That’s $600 in wagers on a $10 bonus or $6,000 on a $100 bonus.
- Match Deposit bonuses will often have wagering requirements that are multiples of both your bonus and deposit before you can withdraw earnings.
- Some casinos limit the games you can play with bonus money. For example, you might only be allowed to play slot machines with your bonus.
- Some No-Deposit bonuses require a real deposit before you can withdraw your winnings.
- On the other hand, MANY No-Deposit Bonuses become inactive if you actually make a real deposit.
- Finally, you only get one welcome bonus. If you take a No-Deposit bonus, you become ineligible for a Match Deposit bonus. If you take a low Match Deposit bonus, you can’t come back for a higher one.
Understanding the wagering requirements of any bonus is critical to determining whether it is a good bonus for you to take or not. Factoring in the house edge, a high multiple will reduce the expected value of the bonus to practically nothing. In fact, because of wagering requirements, the value of nearly all No-Deposit bonuses is zero. In those cases, the benefit is being able to play a few games without wagering your own money.
How Do I Get a Referral Bonus?
When you convince another gambler to join an online casino, both you and the person you have referred receive a bonus. Referral bonuses are almost always non-cashable. In fact, they are a lot like No-Deposit bonuses and come freighted with conditions that reduce their value.
- Almost all referral bonuses require that you have real money deposited in your own account and that the referred person deposit money in their own account within a certain time frame.
- Referral bonuses come with stiff wagering requirements.
- Some casinos limit the amount you can win on the referral bonus.
All these conditions, especially wager requirements, significantly reduce the value of referral bonuses.
Getting Cashback Bonuses
Almost all online casinos offer cashback bonuses. Also called an “insurance” bonus, a cashback bonus is a certain percentage of gaming losses that are returned to your account.The payback varies widely from casino to casino, but generally they pay back 5% to 20% of losses. All cashback bonuses are based on the amount and size of wagers. The higher and more frequent your bets, the higher the percentage:
- Almost all cashback bonuses are cashable bonuses with no wagering requirements.
- Cashback bonuses only apply to deposits you make, not to any welcome bonus you receive.
- Not all games are included in cashback programs. Casinos don’t like to offer cashback bonuses on games with a low house edge, such as blackjack.
- Many cashback bonuses come with a cap. You must pay close attention to this cap, because sometimes it can be as low as $100.
- Keep in mind that you are getting a cashback bonus for losing money. If you lose $10,000, a return of $100 is cold comfort indeed.
- While cashback bonuses do not come with wagering requirements, the qualifying wagering requirements can be pretty stiff. Before getting excited about any program, check the wagering requirements to see if you can afford them.
How do you get your cashback bonus? For most online casinos, cashback bonuses are automatically paid at the end of a prescribed period. For other casinos you will have to ask for the bonus to be paid.
How Do I Get Comp Points Bonuses?
Nearly all casinos offer online comp points when you wager a certain amount of money in a game. For instance, an online casino may give you one comp point for $25 in wagers.
Comp point awards vary from game to game. Casinos award the highest rate of comp points to the games that profit them the most. For example, online slot machine wagers may accrue points at the standard rate, while online blackjack(with a low house edge) may accrue points a 10% of the standard rate.
Again, read the fine print carefully:
- Some comp points bonuses are cashable. You are awarded real money to your account without any restrictions.
- Other online casinos treat comp point bonuses just likeno-deposit bonuses, meaning they have wagering requirements and limits on the amount you can win.
- The value of a no-deposit bonus is zero. Therefore, you don’t want comp points bonuses that are really No-Deposit bonuses.
Free online casino bonuses can enhance your gaming experience and stretch your casino dollars. The key is to make sure you read all the conditions and understand how to use each bonus you receive.