Jun 6, 2017

How Online Casino Bonuses Work

author Peter S.

Welcome bonuses are now being offered by every online casino. It's one of the most effective ways to lure new players to play. In casinos, you can find many types of welcome bonuses (first to x deposit bonus, no-deposit bonus, free spins, etc.). Read the article and find out how online casino bonuses work.

The glory days of online casino bonuses were sometime between 2005 and 2010. Back then, bonuses had minimal or even no wagering requirements. Taking such a bonus was highly profitable. However, today's casinos have tightened up the terms and conditions quite a bit, and nowadays, you can hardly find a bonus that casinos don't make money on.

Even so, casino promotions are attractive and, above all, generous. To begin with, though, let's take a look at a fundamental analysis of how online casino bonuses work.

Types of Bonuses and Promotions at Online Casinos

Online casinos offer several types of bonuses and various promotions. It is hard to say what promo is good or bad but it is necessary to know all the types of. It mainly depends on the players themselves and their preferences. Do you like to play slots? Find a casino that offers hundreds of free spins upon deposit. Once you understand online casino bonuses, it will simplify your choice of online casino.

No-deposit bonus

The no-deposit bonuses are not as common as the others, but you can still find them in some casinos. Among players, this is a quite popular bonus, because all you have to do is make an account and after that, you get real money to play with.

In some casinos, you must write to customer service. Either directly via a live chat or just sending a simple mail in a form that the casino gives you in advance. In some cases, the bonus is credited automatically after you enter the promo code for no deposit bonus. But don’t get excited too early, before you can make any withdrawal, you must meet the conditions. We'll talk about them later. Some bonuses cannot be withdrawn, they are so-called "sticky", and they are only for play.

These bonuses are mainly for less trustworthy players who want to try the game for real money but do not want to risk their own. No-deposit bonuses are far smaller than welcome deposit bonuses. In general, the higher the bonus, the more stringent the conditions for withdrawal. However, it is still a very good offer. Take the chance to beat the casino with his own money. You will not get such an offer at any land-based casino.

Free spins on slot machines

Sometimes no-deposit bonuses are also in the form of x free spins on the slot machines. Suppose you get a 100-spin bonus on one of the slot machines at the casino. Once you have played these free spins, the winning amount will be credited to your casino account. In most cases, however, you cannot withdraw it instantly. During free play, you cannot change the amount of the bet and in most cases the number of lines.

This form of no-deposit bonuses has begun to emerge in recent years. How does this bonus work? It is really easy. After a deposit or registration casino credits you with free play on selected games. In most cases, it’s one or more online slots. After you get the bonus, you simply open a game and start playing.

Usually, there is also a maximum limit to what you can win with these free spins. But on the other hand, many online casinos now offer no wagering requirements for free play bonuses. That means, that you can keep all your winnings and withdraw them practically instantly.

Welcome bonuses, deposit bonuses, and match bonuses

These bonuses are common in almost all online casinos. And they are very popular. Especially the fact, that they have much easier terms to fulfill than most no-deposit bonuses. Welcome bonuses are also far more valuable. All these bonuses work on the same and very simple principle. You put money into the casino and get x% of your deposit. These values are different, but you will most often encounter 100%. But in soma rare cases you can also get up to 200% or higher of the bonus.

However, the most common is a 100% bonus. And what does this mean? If the casino adds 100% of your money to your deposit. So the currency on your account doubles. If you put in € 100 and you have a 100% bonus, your balance will be € 200. The same is true with 200%. In this case, you would be credited with € 100 as your deposit and another € 200 as a bonus. You have a total of € 300.

VIP club and loyalty program

Once you start playing at the real-money casino and you have already got an entry bonus, check out how you can maximize your profits. In this case, it’s a good idea to look at the offers of the VIP club and the loyalty program.

If you are a regular player or just thinking about it, the VIP Club and Loyalty Program is the best way to get a lot of benefits and interesting offers. Gambling is not just a fun hobby that improves your mind and game skills, you can also benefit from it. Just ask yourself who does not like to get something extra, especially when it comes to money. So why not play as much as possible?

Most VIP clubs and loyalty programs are based on collecting points called comp points. This casino bonus works pretty easily. For each dollar you spend, or another predetermined amount, you get a certain number of points. Once you have reached a certain number of points, you can exchange these points for money or something else, like electronics or paid vacation.

The loyalty point rate and other scoring systems vary for each casino, so always make sure you read all the important information and that you are perfectly familiar with the program rules. In any case, if you become a regular player in your favorite casino, you will feel like a real high roller thanks to these benefits. Players in a VIP club get great gifts every day.

How online casino bonuses work - Wagering Requirements

No matter the bonus you claim, there are always requirements attached to it. The most important ones are the wagering requirements. These are the most common point of contention between players and casinos. Before you claim your bonus, we strongly recommend that you read the terms and conditions to avoid potential problems.

If you've already claimed a bonus at least once, you'll know what it's all about. For the bonus and any winnings from it to be withdrawable, the player must have wagered a certain amount of money before doing so. It is usually a multiple of the bonus or the sum of the bonus amount and the deposit.

Example 1 - Multiplying the sum of the deposit and the bonus

For example, if you deposit €500 with a 100% bonus and a wagering requirement of 35x bonus + deposit, you will need to wager €35,000 ((500 + 500)*35) before you can withdraw. It is based on each bet placed and includes any bet that results in a win.

Example 2 - Bonus multiplier

Let's say you deposit €1,000 and receive a bonus of up to 75% of your deposit with a wagering requirement of 40x the bonus. Before you can withdraw the bonus money, you will need to wager €30,000 (750x40).

Wagering requirements for individual games

To make things less complicated, casinos only count a fraction of the bet in the wagering requirements for table games. The specific part depends on the particular casino game, and this information can be found in the general bonus terms and conditions. For example, it might look like this:

Casino game %
Slots 100 %
Pai Gow, Red Dog, Let It Ride 25 %
Casino Hold'em 25 %
Roulette 25 %
Baccarat 20 %
Blackjack 20 %
Stravaganza 20 %
Craps 20 %
Video Poker 20 %
Casino War 5 %
All other games 100 %

Let's look at roulette, for example. According to the table, it only counts for 25%. Very simply put, for example, for every €100 wagered on the roulette table, your wagering requirements will be reduced by only €25. The total amount of bets you have to place and the total amount of money you lose on average will increase rapidly. The calculation is straightforward.

We will take the same bonus as in the previous case. For a deposit of €1000, we will get an additional €1000 bonus. The wagering requirements are 35x bonus+deposit, so €35,000. However, these numbers only apply to slots. If you want to wager the bonus on roulette, you will need to make bets worth €140,000.

Additional terms and conditions for casino bonuses

Wagering requirements are not the only condition for getting and keeping casino bonuses. If you click on the terms and conditions, you will find other rules as well. We recommend this document carefully before deciding to redeem a bonus.

The Minimum Deposit

This applies to deposit bonuses. The player must send a minimum deposit to be eligible for the bonus. So if the minimum deposit is €10, you must send €10 or more to your account.

The Maximum Bet

If you have active bonus money in your account, your bet amount is limited. In practice, this means that your bet per game round cannot exceed, for example, €5. Keep an eye out for the gamble feature, where you can double your winnings. (You'll find it on slots and some versions of video poker). If you try to double your winnings above the maximum allowed bet, you will be in breach of the bonus conditions. Which can lead to the bonus being voided.

Excluded Games

When meeting wagering requirements, the casino will often prohibit you from playing some games. In other words, you cannot wager bonus money on these excluded games. You can find a list of these games in the bonus or general terms and conditions. These are usually Live games, casino table games, and online slots with specific game features.

Excluded Countries

Some countries prohibit online casinos from offering some or all types of bonuses. Again, the list of countries can be found in the general or bonus terms and conditions. If you are unsure, contact casino support. They will be happy to tell you if you are eligible for a bonus.

Bonus Validity

Once the casino credits the bonus money or free spins to your account, the time limit starts to run. For bonus money, you must meet the wagering requirements. For free spins, you must use them by that date. If you don't, the bonus will be forfeited and deducted from your account.

Bonus Code

Some bonuses at online casinos require you to write a bonus code. When you are claiming a bonus, you will find a box in your account that says "Insert promo code". In it, you will enter the password of the promotion you want to get. These promo codes are listed on the bonus information, or the casino will send them to you in an email.

Maximum Withdrawable Amount

This condition most often applies to no deposit bonuses. The casino uses this to protect itself for cases where the player wins large amounts with one spin. Let's say you get €20 for signing up and get lucky and manage to win €100. However, the maximum amount is only €50. Only €50 can then be converted to real money. The remaining €50 will be forfeited.

Is it worth taking casino bonuses?

Bonus Profitability Calculator

Using the calculator is easy. Fill in the values in the predefined fields and the calculator will automatically calculate the theoretical profitability or loss rate of the bonus.

Bonus profitability

Now that you know what casino bonuses are out there and what requirements you need to meet, you'll be wondering how to tell if a casino bonus is a good deal. This is because due to the high wagering requirements, in some cases you will be forced to wager much more than you will actually get with the bonus. And there aren't many bonuses without wagering requirements.

All casino games have a set payback period. This payback rate tells us what percentage the game pays back to the players on average and what percentage the casino gets. Let's take a look at the popular Starburst slot machine. It is set at 96.1%. This means that on average, for every €100 wagered, €96.1 is paid out in winnings. Due to the fact that you are continuously winning and losing as you play, the amount of money wagered and money deposited will vary.


Let's say we deposit €200 into a casino account and play the slots until we get to zero after 5crown bets. During the course of our game we had the following winning spins: 2x€10(€20), 3x€5(€15) and 1x€25(€25). So in total, we will win €260 from €200 stakes. It is to determine whether the casino bonus is profitable that we will count this total sum of deposits.
The theory is that by calculating using the payback, we will determine the average deposit required to meet the wagering requirements. We then simply compare this required stake to the bonus amount. If this deposit is higher than the bonus amount, on average it is not a good idea to claim the bonus.

What will you need to calculate? Not much. You just need to know the house edge of the game you will be meeting the wagering requirements on. The whole formula can then be simplified to wagering requirements x house edge.


So let's say you deposit €2,500 in a casino and get another €2,500 as a bonus. The wagering requirements will be 40x the bonus amount, so 40x2500 = €100,000. 100,000*0.039 = €3900. So on average, this bonus is not a great deal because you will get a €2500 bonus from the casino, but you need to deposit €3900 to meet the wagering requirements.

How to calculate bonuses on table games

To make things less complicated, casinos only count a portion of the bet towards the wagering requirements for table games. How much this is usually chosen by the casinos themselves. This is mainly because table games such as Blackjack or Roulette offer bets that have a chance of winning up to almost 50%, and it is no longer such a problem for them to meet the wagering requirements. In our theoretical example, this might look like this.

  • Slots - 100%
  • Blackjack, roulette, baccarat - 25%
  • Video poker - 10%
  • Other games - 0%

Let's look at roulette for example. According to the table, this only counts for 25%. In very simple terms, for example, for every €100 wagered on the roulette table, your wagering requirements will only be reduced by €25. The total amount of bets you have to make and therefore the total amount of money you lose on average will increase greatly. The calculation is very simple.

We will take the same bonus as in the previous case. For a €2,500 deposit, we get an additional €2,500 bonus. The wagering requirements are 40x the bonus, so €100,000. This time we will lose these requirements on roulette. The house edge for roulette is quite clear, namely 2.7% for European roulette and 5.26% for American roulette. Let's say we play European roulette.

There are several ways to calculate how much money we will need to deposit in total to meet the wagering requirements. In the end, however, we just need to modify the formula we have already encountered:

Betting requirements x house edge x 1/%contribution share

100,000 x 0.027 x 1/0.25 = €10,800

Again, this shows that on average, players will lose €10,800 on roulette to get the €2500 bonus.

At this point, it is easy to say that all calculations represent averages over a long period. So it doesn't mean that you have to be at a loss every time you receive a bonus. However, these calculations should give you an idea of how wagering requirements work and the importance of playing games that count 100% towards wagering requirements.

In Conclusion

As you can see, understanding how casino bonuses work may not always be easy. For complete beginners, we recommend playing without bonuses. Violating the bonus terms and conditions is one of the most common transgressions committed by players. Often they don't even want to. They simply didn't read or understand the terms and conditions. Even very experienced players are therefore advised to read the terms and conditions thoroughly and stick to them.

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