Online Casino Bonuses Explained

Twenty years ago, there was a smattering of trusted online casinos offering their services to gambling fans. Now there are literally tens of thousands of registered online casino companies operating out of almost every territory in the world.

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This plethora of availability may seem overwhelming at times to new players, but it has many benefits. In order to stand out from the crowd and sign-up as many new customers as possible, most online casinos use juicy bonuses to attract new players.

However, as with everything involving money, casino bonuses aren’t often straightforward and can be at times incredibly hard to understand. In this article, we lift the veil on casino bonuses and give you the lowdown on the two main types of bonuses and the limiting conditions that providers can place on them.

Aren’t online casino bonuses already easy to understand?

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There are many different types on bonuses that online casinos use to hook players with.

On the face of it yes. There are two main types of new customer bonuses used by the majority of online casinos – no deposit bonuses and deposit bonuses. However, both of them can differ greatly from one provider to another.

They can also come with a range of limiting conditions that make redeeming your offer difficult, expensive, or at times painfully annoying. Below is a brief rundown of the two main casino bonuses on offer along with important information on the limiting conditions that some providers may impose on new customers.

No deposit bonuses

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Free plays can be a great way for beginners to gain an understanding of casino classics such as roulette

Let’s start with the best type of online casino bonuses, the ones that don’t require you to make any commitment to spend your money. No deposit bonuses are often offered up to new customers by established providers during traditionally fallow operating times such as January and February.

If you sign-up to a no deposit bonus your account will be immediately credited with a cash figure or an alternative free-spin/free-play amount for a specific game. Normally an online casino will an impose a time restriction of 60 minutes for players to use their bonus reward.

Any money won above the no deposit bonus amount will be yours to do with as you wish, whether you want to withdraw it and close your account or use it to fund future spins and plays. No deposit bonuses are a great way for beginners to get to grips with classic land-based casino games like blackjack. But, if you want to make some serious money wagering, then it’s important to brush up your skills beforehand. Check out this insightful blog post at 888 Casino before you play, giving you all the tips on how to win at blackjack.

Deposit Bonuses

Customer acquisition is important to companies, but it is nowhere near as important as customer retention. Online casinos, just like any other business are looking for value and loyalty from their customers.

One way to ensure that a new customer is likely to continue playing with an online casino is to require them to make a deposit when they sign-up. Deposit Bonuses allow online providers to not only appeal to new customers but to make them more likely to stick around too.

These offers usually come in the form of matched deposits, for example if you sign-up for a particular site they might match your first deposit up to a limit of £100. Similarly, to No Deposit Bonuses, these offers will have terms and conditions so it’s important to check them out before you go and make your first deposit.

When you find offers like this, always ensure that the deposit amount is within your budget, a site offering to match your first deposit up to £200 might seem tempting, but if that’s out of your budget look for smaller cash offers.

Playthrough Limits

The two offers mentioned above are the most common type of online casino bonuses that you will see but what makes them different from one provider to another is the limiting conditions placed on them.

Many bonuses use playthrough caveats to make sure that their new customers are more likely to stick around after using their bonus. Here is an example of how a playthrough limit may apply to an enticing online casino bonus:

  • Bonus: 50 Free Spins for New Customers
  • Small print: In order to avail of 50 free spins new customers must deposit a minimum of £50 and spin at least 500 times on selected slots.
  • What that means: After signing up to the site you will have to deposit £50 into your account and spend that, or perhaps even more, spinning away on a range of slots selected by the provider. In essence, you’ll have to spend a lot of time and money playing before you can get your hands on your ‘free’ spins.

Wager Requirements

A more straightforward but still equally sneaky condition that many online casinos place on their offers is a wager requirement, which might look something like this:

  • Bonus: £10 In Free Bets for New Customers
  • Small print: £10 free bet will be available once the customer plays the deposit amount x20 before cashing out.
  • What that means: In order to get the fairly measly £10 offer you will have to deposit and use a minimum of £200 and not cash out any winnings earned from that money. Which makes this offer nothing more than a 5% cashback incentive and not a generous freebie.


“There is no such thing as a free lunch” is an adage that holds particularly true when it comes to online casino bonuses. Whilst there may be a few companies willing to offer their customers no-strings attached cash incentives to play, most bonuses out there will come with a number of limiting conditions.

Therefore, it is not simply a case of choosing an online casino with the ‘best’ cash bonus, rather it is a matter of choosing one with a bonus that suits your budget and playing habits. Don’t get blinded by big monetary incentives that you may not be able to afford, instead be savvy, read the terms and conditions and select an offer that won’t cost you a fortune to redeem.