gambling in Las Vegas

What Is A Casino Welcome Bonus?

What is a casino welcome bonus? That’s exactly what we will examine today. Today’s post is going to be a deep dive into looking at exactly what online casino bonuses are – including everything from deposit bonuses and welcome bonuses to free spins and bonus cash bonuses – we will show you what you need to know when playing with bonus money, and just about everything else casino welcome bonus related!

To kick things off, let’s take a look at what a casino welcome bonus is, and the fundamentals of how it works.

What Exactly Is A Welcome Bonus?

A casino welcome bonus, also known as a sign-up bonus or new player bonus, is an incentive that online casinos offer to attract and reward new customers. The bonus usually comes in the form of a matched deposit bonus, free spins, or both – and players usually receive this welcome bonus when they either sign-up (if it’s a no-deposit bonus) at a new online casino, or when they make their first deposit.

The amount of the welcome bonus can vary greatly between online casinos, but if it’s a standard matched deposit bonus, it usually falls within the range of 100% to 400% of the total first-deposit amount. For example, if a casino offers a 100% match welcome bonus up to $500, a new customer who deposits $100 would receive another $100 in bonus money from the casino to play with, for a total bankroll of $200. The max bonus amount in this case would be $500 – $500 + $500.

While welcome bonuses allow new players to essentially double their bankroll and play casino games with the casino’s money instead of theirs, it’s worth noting that almost all casino bonuses come with terms and conditions like wagering requirements and payment method exclusions. This ensures that online casinos limit their financial liability and aren’t simply handing out free cash.

Why Do Online Casinos Offer A Deposit Bonus?

Online casinos offer generous welcome bonuses for several reasons – and it actually makes a lot of sense once you begin looking into it. First and foremost, welcome bonuses are a major incentive for new customers, and a lot of players will actively go searching – and join – casinos that offer generous welcome bonuses. Today, there are more online casinos operating than ever, so capturing the attention of potential customers is tough – all the more reason why it’s so important for casinos to offer lucrative welcome bonuses to its players.

After all, the cost of acquiring new players is high for operators, so big bonuses help offset expenses while aiming to build a recurring customer base, even if the bonuses so lose the casinos money initially.

Secondly, welcome bonuses encourage new users to make a first-time deposit. Since players can’t cash out wins from bonuses (in most cases) until they’ve completed the wagering requirements, this, essentially, ‘buys the casino time’, allowing the player to check out the game range, the overall user experience, customer support, and so on. They’re hoping that players like you are impressed, and decide to deposit in the future.

If players have a fun experience and win some money along the way, they are more likely to continue playing after the bonus funds are used up, often making additional deposits in the future to keep playing. This directly benefits the casino’s bottom line and makes their welcome bonus investments worthwhile.

Types of Welcome Bonuses

While most online casino welcome bonuses share some common themes, they can vary widely in terms of amount offered, and the actual structure of the welcome bonus. For example, some casinos will offer a new-player welcome bonus, in the form of a matched deposit bonus, while others will offer free spins.

Some offer just one, while others let players claim more than one – so that’s why, below, we will examine the different types of welcome bonus you’ll likely see when gambling at online casinos

Matched Deposit Bonuses

A matched deposit bonus, also referred to as a match bonus, is one of the most common types of welcome bonuses offered by online casinos. As the name suggests, it matches a new player’s initial deposit up to a certain percentage and/or amount. For example, a 100% deposit match bonus of up to $500 means that when a customer makes their first real money deposit – let’s assume it’s worth $100 for this example – the casino will match it with a 100% bonus, so the player would receive $200 in total. $100 of this is their own deposit, and $100 is from the online casino.

However, this doesn’t just mean the player then has $200 to do what they want with. Depending on the online casino they’re playing at, the bonus funds may be kept separate from the cash balance – having its own terms and conditions- or, it may be combined together, in which the player will need to complete wagering requirements on both their deposit and bonus amount before they can withdraw anything.

Match bonuses effectively allow new players to (usually) double their first deposit, and while the wagering requirements can be high, if a player is planning on making a deposit anyway, there’s usually more to gain, than lose, by claiming a matched deposit bonus if it doesn’t affect the amount they were going to deposit anyway.

While most online casinos offer matched deposit bonuses worth 100%, you can also find higher ones – especially at crypto sites. For example, some online casinos offer 200 or 300% matched deposit bonuses ,with some known to go as high as 1,000%! Be warned however; generally speaking, the higher the percentage, the harsher the terms – and if it’s a really high percentage match, there’s a good chance it’s a rogue casino, so always keep this in mind.

No-Deposit Bonuses

A no deposit bonus allows new casino players to get bonus money to play with without requiring an initial deposit of their own funds. These offers provide a set bonus amount ranging from $10 to $50 typically, depending on the casino. Some online gambling sites will instead provide no deposit free spins valid on selected slot game titles. Players just create a new account to instantly claim the no deposit amount, although some no-deposit sign-up bonus offers require you to verify your ID, phone number, or email address.

Now, when it comes to no-deposit bonuses, this type of casino bonus doesn’t require players to deposit any of their own funds. However, online casinos can’t simply give away free cash, so to compensate for this, sites generally have strict terms and conditions – high wagering requirements, for example – to limit their financial liability and prevent players from abusing the offers.

No deposit bonuses effectively give players free rein to test out casino games risk-free using house money. If the experience is enjoyable, players often then make a first real money deposit to keep playing with more on the line after sampling with the hassle-free bonus.

For the casino, despite giving away small amounts to players without them needing to make a deposit (or, in most cases, without them even needing to register a payment method,) it’s great marketing – and casinos know that if players have a good experience they’ve far more likely to come back and play again in future.

Free Spins

Free spins are a popular form of welcome bonus awarded by online casinos, allowing new players to spin the reels on select slot games for a set number of rounds without spending any of their own money. The spins let you play risk-free, often testing out new games.

Casinos tend to offer free spins bundles ranging from 10 to 100 spins, usually applicable on one or a small handful of specified slots. The number of spins often changes, too. For example, some online casinos will award you with more free spins as you deposit larger amounts of money. One example of this, for example, would be a casino offering players 50 free spins on a $10 deposit, and 100 free spins on a $20 deposit.

One of the biggest benefits of free spins promotions is that players can try out new video slots without risking any of their own money. This is why game developers often partner up with online casino sites, running free spins promotions around the release of new games. Some online casino welcome bonus promotions also include free spins, and the slot machines that the free spins can be played on often change frequently.

No-Risk Sports Bets

A no risk sports bet, often called a risk-free bet, has become a popular welcome bonus among online sportsbooks looking to attract new punters to their site. As the name implies, these offers allow new players to place an opening real money bet without any risk – if the wager loses, the player gets refunded a free bet equal to the amount of the losing opening wager.

For example, a sportsbook may give new customers one no risk bet up to $500 on their initial bet placed. If the customer loses the first $500 bet, they receive a $500 free bet to try again. If the original bet wins, the player keeps the cash payout as normal. Free bet tokens typically come with a time limit to use, such as 7 days.

For sportsbooks, no risk bets allow them to attract new sign-ups in a very competitive market by eliminating the fear of losing money on an introductory bet. Even if the player loses, they get to essentially try again for free. If the bettor wins, they already have a positive association with the sportsbook aligned to profits, increasing the chance they stick around.

No risk bets allow brands to stand out while showcasing the betting experience. Even when losing the first free bet, over 15% of players end up depositing their own cash. Now, some sportsbooks run no-risk bet promotions in conjunction with an online casino welcome bonus. This is great for online gambling operators; they know that a lot of gamblers enjoy both casino games and sports betting, so by offering both, they showcase different online gambling products they offer.

Sign-Up Cashback Promotions

A cashback style online casino bonus is less common than a matched deposit bonus or free spins, but if you know where to look, you can find this promotion at online casinos. While each site will run this promotion slightly different – some will only offer cashback on online slots, for example, while others will only refund a small amount of bonus cash – a cashback promotion generally allows new players to claim a percentage of their net losses back within a set timeframe, up to a defined amount.

For example, a 100% cashback bonus up to $75 means that if a new customer loses $75 in their first week of play, the casino would refund the full $75 into their account. If the player loses more than $75, they will only receive the $75 back.

These bonuses act as loss insurance, allowing new players to sample casino games while having losses partially or fully negated. If the player wins during the cashback qualification period, they keep all payouts as usual while the bonus protection expires. If they lose, some or all deposited funds spent are returned to give them another chance.

For online casinos, cashback welcome bonuses have a few advantages. First, they minimize risk for new players unsure if they’ll like available games, incentivizing sign-ups. Second, refunding losses requires players to make an initial deposit, recouping some revenue.

Third, by returning cash to try again later, casinos buy more time to impress bettors and hopefully convert them into regular depositors. However, what makes cashback promotions somewhat complex, is that many online casinos will have slightly different rules on the bonus money terms. For example, some casinos won’t impose wagering requirements on bonus money from cashback, while others do. Some sites restrict bonus money from cashback to online slots only, while others restrict it to casino games only!

Multi-Stage Online Casino Bonuses

While most online casinos offer a standard welcome bonus on a new player’s first deposit, some operators take it a step further with multi-stage bonuses. These offer players a bonus on not just their first deposit but also second, third and sometimes even fourth or fifth subsequent deposits. Multi-stage deposit bonus promotions have become increasingly popular at crypto casinos, as they tend to have lower overheads, allowing them to offer bigger, more lucrative bonuses. So, how does a multi-stage casino bonus work?

You’ll generally find the first casino welcome bonus is the most generous. For example, a multi-stage bonus may offer 100% up to $500 on your first deposit, 75% up to $250 on the second deposit, and then 50% up to $300 on the third deposit. This totals up to $1,050 in potential bonus cash. The catch is players need to make additional qualifying deposits within (usually) a set period of time to keep the subsequent deposit bonuses active.

Multi-stage casino bonuses effectively allow new sign-ups to maximize bonuses across multiple payments instead of a one-time lump sum. While the match percentage often decreases with each subsequent stage, the cumulative totals end up being much higher compared to a standard one-off welcome bonus. Some online casinos also combine free spins into multi-stage welcome bonus promotions.

How Does A Matched Deposit Bonus Work?

Matched deposit bonuses, one of the most popular welcome bonus types, effectively give new casino players extra money on top of their initial deposit that can be used to play more games for a chance to win real cash. Here’s a step-by-step overview:

First, a player signs up for a new real money account with an online casino advertising a matched deposit bonus, for example 100% up to $500. This means for every dollar deposited for the first time, another dollar is given in bonus funds up to $500.

The player then makes his or her deposit; you’ll want to check that the payment method you want to use is accepted, as many online casinos have restrictions on which payment methods can be used to claim matched deposit bonuses. This is to prevent bonus abuse, and minimize the risk of the casino being defrauded; a once massive problem in the online gambling industry.

Once the deposit has been successfully processed, the bonus will be automatically credited to a player’s account. However, casinos can credit matched deposit bonuses in two different ways. Usually, when claiming a matched deposit bonus, your deposit and the bonus funds are combined in your casino account. This means you use both your deposited money and the bonus money when you start playing.

The wagering requirements, which are conditions set by the casino on how many times the bonus amount must be bet before winnings can be withdrawn, apply to the total amount. For instance, if you have a 30X wagering requirement on that $100 bonus, you’ll need to bet a total of $3000 before withdrawing any winnings earned from the bonus.

In contrast, a parachute bonus, also known as a lifeline bonus, offers more flexibility. Here, your real money deposit and bonus funds are kept separate. You first play with your own money, and only if you lose that do you start using the bonus funds. The significant advantage is that if you win while playing with your deposit, you can withdraw these winnings without meeting any wagering requirements.

The wagering requirements only come into effect if you start using the bonus funds. This type of bonus is favorable for players as it offers a safety net (the bonus funds) without restricting withdrawals if they win with their initial deposit. In some countries like the UK, online casinos are no longer allowed to run non-parachute bonuses – which is great news for players. However, this is in no way mainstream, so always take care to check the terms and conditions of any bonuses you’re thinking of claiming.

Understanding Bonus Money Terms and Conditions

Navigating the world of casino bonuses can be tricky, but understanding their terms and conditions is crucial for a rewarding gaming experience. Casino bonuses, not just welcome bonus offers, almost always come with specific rules and requirements.

These terms dictate how you can use the bonus, what you need to do to convert your bonus into withdrawable cash, and other important details. Grasping these terms helps you make informed decisions about which bonuses to accept and how to use them to your advantage.

Online Casino Bonus Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements are a key part of most casino bonuses. They indicate the amount of money you need to bet before you can withdraw any winnings earned from a bonus. For instance, a 30X wagering requirement on a $50 bonus means you need to bet $1,500 in total.

These requirements prevent immediate withdrawals of the bonus amount and ensure fair play. They vary widely between casinos and even between different bonuses at the same casino. Lower wagering requirements are generally more player-friendly, making it easier to convert bonus funds into cash.

Understanding which games count towards meeting these requirements is also crucial. Not all games contribute equally to wagering requirements. For example, slots usually contribute 100%, but table games like blackjack or roulette might only contribute a fraction of each bet. We will look at game contributions (also known as game weighting) in the following section.

Game Contributions

Game contributions refer to the percentage of each bet that counts towards meeting wagering requirements. These contributions vary based on the game type. Typically, games with lower house edges like blackjack or video poker contribute less than games like slots.

For example, if a casino states that slots contribute 100% and blackjack contributes 10%, it means that every dollar bet on slots counts as a dollar towards meeting the wagering requirements. In contrast, for every dollar bet on blackjack, only ten cents are counted.

These differing contributions are designed to balance the risk between player and casino. Games that are less risky for players (like blackjack with strategic play) contribute less to discourage bonus abuse. It’s important to check these contributions before you start playing, as they can significantly impact your strategy for meeting wagering requirements.

Time Limits

Nearly all online casino bonuses come with some kind of time restriction dictating how long players have to meet wagering demands before the offer expires. Limits typically range from 24 hours up to 30 days maximum, depending on the promotion type. Understanding how long you have to use your bonus money can help you plan, especially if you’re playing with large amounts.

With deposit matches for example, playthrough requirements usually must be met within 14-30 days before unused bonus money is removed. No-deposit bonuses often have shorter spans, often ranging from as little as 24 hours, up to a week.

Other factors like multi-stage bonuses also complicate matters, giving initial deposits more time while subsequent reloaded funds may only get 7 days for example.

Payment Method Exclusions

Another term that may surprise you when you begin claiming casino bonuses is the payment method exclusions. Certain payment methods might be excluded from qualifying for casino bonuses. Often, EWallets like Neteller or Skrill, are excluded due to past issues with bonus abuse. Casinos have found that these payment methods can be used more easily for creating multiple accounts or engaging in other fraudulent activities.

When you choose a payment method that’s excluded from bonus eligibility, you won’t receive the bonus even if you meet all other criteria. It’s essential to read the bonus terms carefully to know which payment methods are accepted. If you’re a player that, for example, only uses EWallets, you may have to do some searching to find an online casino that offers welcome bonuses to EWallet-depositing players.

Not all bonuses have payment method exclusions, but welcome bonuses and high-value offers are more likely to have such restrictions. This is because these bonuses are more susceptible to misuse, and casinos need to manage their risk. Always check the terms before depositing, especially if you’re looking to take advantage of a specific offer.

Some casinos also offer special bonuses for using certain payment methods. These incentives encourage players to use methods that are safer or more convenient for the casino. For example, a casino might offer an extra bonus for using crypto – something we’re seeing quite a lot at the moment – and this is usually due to their processing costs being lower for those payment methods.

Limits on IP Addresses

Casinos often limit the number of bonuses that can be claimed from a single computer or IP address to prevent bonus abuse. This is particularly important for promotions like no-deposit bonuses or free spins, which are susceptible to abuse. The rule ensures that each player has a fair chance to enjoy the bonus and prevents individuals from creating multiple accounts to claim the same offer repeatedly.

These limits mean that if multiple people in the same household or using the same network want to claim a bonus, only one person may be eligible. You should always be aware of this, especially if you’re playing with a VPN; a VPN, unless private, is shared with thousands of other users, and it’s very easy for a casino to simply turn around and say that someone else under your IP has already claimed a bonus.

In some cases, casinos might also track devices through unique identifiers like MAC addresses. This is another layer of security to ensure that each player only claims a bonus once. If you’re playing in public spaces or using shared networks, be mindful of these restrictions as they could inadvertently affect your eligibility for bonuses.

If you’re ever worried about this – or if you’re genuinely not sure if someone in your household has claimed a bonus before, it’s best to reach out to the casino’s customer support team before signing up and making a deposit. This will help to prevent any issues later down the line.

Maximum Cashout Limits

When it comes to online casino bonuses, another crucial aspect to consider is the maximum cashout limit. This limit refers to the maximum amount you can withdraw from winnings earned through a casino bonus. For example, if a welcome bonus has a maximum cashout limit of $500, even if you win $1,000 using the bonus, you can only withdraw a maximum of $500.

This term is especially common in offers like no deposit bonuses or free spins, where the casino doesn’t have a chance to make as much money as they would from matched deposit bonuses where a player is likely to be making a large deposit.

Now, when it comes to matched deposit bonuses, you’ll usually find that if there are any maximum cashout limits in place, these limits are generally higher compared to other types of casino promotions.

Thankfully, unless you’re playing at an online casino powered by Realtime Gaming, it’s somewhat unlikely you’ll run into maximum cashout limits. However, it’s still worth being aware of – and, as mentioned, if you’re planning on claiming no-deposit bonuses there is a strong chance there’s a maximum cashout limit in place.

Game Exclusions

In casino bonuses, we’ve already talked about not all games contribute equally to the wagering requirements. However, what we didn’t cover yet, is the fact that many games are often excluded completely from wagering requirements attached to welcome bonuses. For instance, games like blackjack or certain video poker variants might be banned from being played with bonus funds, entirely.

Some casinos also exclude specific high-volatility slots from bonus play. These slots have a higher potential for big wins, which could lead to significant financial exposure for the casino if played with bonus funds. It’s important to check the list of excluded games in the bonus terms to ensure your favorite games contribute to the wagering requirements.

Another reason for game exclusions is the promotion of new or less popular games. By excluding popular titles, casinos encourage players to try out different games, potentially discovering new favorites. This strategy also helps balance the gameplay across various offerings in the casino’s portfolio.

Lastly, software providers may have agreements with casinos that restrict the use of their games in conjunction with bonuses. This is usually due to licensing agreements or the game’s mechanics, which might not align well with bonus play.

Ongoing Casino Bonuses

While welcome bonuses are a fantastic way to start your journey, the adventure doesn’t end there. Ongoing promotions offer continuous incentives, keeping the thrill alive for regular players. These bonuses come in various forms, from reload bonuses, cashback offers, to loyalty points and exclusive VIP perks.

Each type of bonus offers unique benefits and enhances your gaming experience in different ways. Understanding these ongoing bonuses can help you make the most of your time at the casino, ensuring a fulfilling and strategically advantageous gaming session.

One-Off Free Spins Promotions

One-off free spins promotions are a common form of ongoing bonus offered by online casinos. Unlike free spins that are part of a welcome bonus package, these are usually offered to existing players as part of special promotions or events. They might be given to celebrate a new game launch, as a reward for loyal players, or as part of a seasonal campaign, for example.

These free spins are often subject to specific terms and conditions, such as being usable only on certain slots or carrying their own wagering requirements. If they’re being offered as part of a VIP or Loyalty Program, you’ll often find that the terms and conditions are more favorable than those attached to new sign-up bonuses.

VIP/Loyalty Schemes

VIP programs and loyalty schemes are reward systems offered by online casinos to recognize and incentivize loyal players. These programs are structured to provide various benefits and perks to players who frequently play casino games. The more you play, the higher you climb in the VIP tiers, unlocking progressively better rewards. These rewards can include exclusive bonuses, personalized gifts, access to special tournaments, and even a dedicated account manager.

The structure of these programs usually involves earning points based on your wagering activity. For instance, you might earn a point for every $10 wagered on slot games. As your points accumulate, you reach higher levels of the VIP program. Each level comes with its own set of perks, and the highest levels often offer luxurious benefits like all-expense-paid trips, invitations to exclusive events, or higher withdrawal limits.

Loyalty schemes are designed to add an extra layer of excitement and value to your gaming experience. They are often the same as VIP programs, although some online casino sites offer both loyalty schemes and VIP programs. The latter is designed to reward the highest-staking players, with entry usually dealt with on an invite-only basis.

If you’re worried that perks will ‘dry up’ after you’ve claimed a welcome bonus, VIP/loyalty programs are a great way of ensuring you can continue to claim casino bonus promotions.

Comp Points: Collect On Most Online Casino Games

Comp points, short for complimentary points, are a part of many online casino loyalty programs. These points are earned by players as they make real money bets on various casino games. The rate at which you earn comp points often depends on the type of game you play, with some games offering more points per wager than others. These points can then be converted into rewards like bonus cash, free spins, or other prizes offered by the casino.

The conversion rate of comp points to rewards also varies between casinos. Some casinos may offer a straightforward conversion, such as 100 points for $1 in bonus cash, while others might have different tiers of conversion rates based on the player’s level in the VIP program. The flexibility of comp points makes them a popular feature, as they allow players to choose how to redeem their points based on their preferences.

As you accumulate more points, you can climb the tiers of the VIP program, unlocking more exclusive and valuable rewards. Comp points casino bonus funds often come with their own terms and conditions, however, so always be mindful of this.

Reload Bonuses: Different To Welcome Bonuses

Reload bonuses are a type of promotion offered by online casinos to existing players. Unlike casino welcome bonuses, which are only available on your first deposit, reload bonuses can be claimed on subsequent deposits. These bonuses are designed to keep players returning to the casino and to reward their loyalty. A reload bonus typically matches a percentage of your deposit with bonus funds, similar to casino welcome bonuses, but usually, at a lower percentage rate.

The frequency and size of reload bonuses can vary greatly between casinos. Some casinos offer them regularly, such as weekly or monthly, while others might provide them as part of special promotions or to players who have reached a certain level in their loyalty program. The terms and conditions of reload bonuses, like wagering requirements and maximum cashout limits, also tend to differ from other casino bonus promotions, so, again, always make sure to check them before claiming any.

Tips On Choosing The Right Online Casino Bonuses

What you are primarily interested in is finding out the wagering requirements and the allowed games. These two factors will probably make the decision for you, but whilst browsing through the T&C’s of a casino Bonus, there are a couple of other things to look out for.

You’ll need to know whether you are actually “eligible” to claim the Bonus, how it’s credited to your online player account, and whether your location comes with any additional requirements. Also good to find out is if any maximum cashouts apply to the winnings of a Bonus.

When claiming an online casino Bonus, you need to find out whether it’s credited automatically or whether it needs to be claimed by you. Some online casinos insist that once you sign up and make your first deposit, you either claim your Bonus through a link on the website’s “Promotions” page or you can email the online casino support team to request the Bonus. Others simply credit your account, though this may not happen immediately, but the T&C’s will tell you.

In actual fact, claiming a casino Bonus is a far better method for the player (be aware that the casino often says that this must be done within 24-72 hours of registering at the casino). Why? Because you can deposit, play your own money and if you win, cashout without any restrictions. If you lose, then you can claim your Bonus and have another go with the restrictions attached! With auto-credited Bonuses, you are immediately subject to wagering requirements which can interfere with your ability to win.

For sure you will be able to find some online casinos that have some good deals. Most of the casinos however will ask you to wager at least 15 times the total of the deposit and casino Bonus before you can withdraw. Combined with the game restrictions, the wagering requirements often make it difficult to win, so be very careful to read the T&C’s and understand these fully before you decide to deposit.

A few online casinos, primarily those using RTG software, place a maximum cashout on any money won using the Signup Bonus. Typically this might be 10 times the amount of the casino Bonus awarded, so before you go chasing that progressive Jackpot, make sure you know if this rule applies. A similar principle is sometimes attached to promotions. In general, at reputable casinos anyhow, this rule should be clear in the T&C’s of the casino Bonus or promotion, but it’s another reason to make sure you fully understand them before you deposit!

You can pretty much be sure that any game that includes 50/50 bets, or close approximations, will not be allowed when you are counting bets towards a wagering requirement. Consequently games like Roulette, Blackjack and Sic Bo are almost always disallowed.

A lot of online casinos also exclude Video Poker games (or allow them at an increased wagering requirement) largely because these games often offer high expected returns and can be used to the player’s advantage in Bonus situations. You will also find a lot of Bonuses are called “Slots Only” Bonuses and consequently can only be wagered on Slots which typically have a 90%-95% expected return.