Online Casino Bonuses and Promotions Explained

Players are inundated with online casino offers from deposit bonuses to free spins and cashback. Here’s a detailed guide to what they are, how they work and how to find the right bonus for you…

Guide to online casino bonuses

Online casinos offer players a range of promotions to incentivise them to play at their casino and to reward them for their loyalty and this guide to online casino bonuses will help you maximise the value they can provide.

There are several types of bonus and promotion offered, from deposit match bonuses to free spins and cashback.

These casinos offer the best bonus offers. 

These rewards can add significant value to your play; boosting your wagering balance or allowing you to place several free spins.

But if this sounds a little too good to be true, that’s because it can be.

Most bonuses come with terms and conditions that players must adhere to. This usually includes wagering requirements that need to be met before winnings can be withdrawn.

If you don’t meet these requirements, and in the time stipulated, you will forfeit the bonus and any winnings that have come from it.

PROMOTIONS ARE A BIG PART OF PLAYING AT ONLINE CASINOS:

For most players, bonuses are an important factor in deciding where to wager – some even enjoy the challenge of completing the wagering requirement.

For others, however, the added value provided by the bonus is negated by the often-steep wagering requirement imposed and they prefer to play with their own cash.

There is no right or wrong approach, but either way it is important that you understand the different types of bonus offered, how they work and the terms they come with.

Only then is it possible to decide whether accepting an offer is the right option for you.

THE DIFFERENT BONUSES OFFERED BY ONLINE CASINOS:

A no deposit bonus is where online casinos give players free money without requiring them to make a deposit of their own. This is usually a small amount – £10 or £20 – and allows players to explore the casino without wagering with their own money.

No deposit bonuses often come with strict terms and conditions – only winnings from the bonus money and not the bonus money itself can be withdrawn. Winnings are then subject to high wagering requirements of anything from x50 to x100.

A casino may also offer a no deposit free spins bonus. Instead of receiving free cash, players receive a set number of free spins. Again, strict wagering requirements are usually applied to any winnings.

A deposit match bonus is where the online casino will match your deposit up to a set amount. This can be over a single deposit or several deposits. This bonus is most commonly offered to new players but can be used to reward loyal players from time to time.

Free spins are offered by online casinos to allow players to play certain slots games without having to wager with their own money. Winnings from free spins are usually subject to wagering requirements before they can be withdrawn.

A reload bonus is very similar to a deposit match bonus but is offered to existing players to reward their loyalty or to encourage them to play at the casino after a period of time has elapsed or if their account funds have depleted.

A cashback bonus is where the online casino refunds some or all of your losses into your wagering account. It is usually worked out as a percentage of your total losses over a set period of time with the amount returned ranging from 5% to 25%.

Some online casino brands, including PlayOJO, have based their loyalty schemes around offering players cashback on every wager they place whether they win or lose.

The welcome package offered to players varies from online casino to online casino, but usually consists of a deposit match bonus, free spins or a combination of the two. Most welcome offers are over a single deposit, but some are spread over several deposits.

WHY ONLINE CASINOS IMPOSE WAGERING REQUIREMENTS:

While online casino operators want to incentivise and reward players, they are still businesses and can’t give away free cash and free spins all of the time.

By imposing wagering requirements, they ensure that players don’t simply sign up and then withdraw the bonus offer. Instead, the offer is used to extend their gameplay at the casino.

The good news is that some UK online casinos have reduced the wagering requirements imposed on some bonuses and promotions, while others have done away with them altogether.

WAGERING REQUIREMENTS EXPLAINED:

Wagering requirements simply refer to the number of times you have to re-wager bonus money or free spins winnings before they can be withdrawn as cash.

On average, wagering requirements are x35 but can go as high as x60. For no deposit bonuses, it is not unusual for the requirement to hit x100.

As a rule of thumb, the lower the wagering requirement the easier it is to complete and the more likely you are to unlock your bonus money and any remaining winnings.

Here’s how they work for the main types of bonus:

DEPOSIT BONUS WAGERING REQUIREMENT EXAMPLE:

Online casino A offers a deposit bonus of 100% up to £50.

The offer comes with a x35 wagering requirement, which means you must wager the bonus amount x35 before the bonus and/or any associated winnings can be withdrawn.

For example, you deposit £50 (the maximum amount that will be matched with bonus money) and receive another £50 from the online casino.

The wagering requirement would be £50 (the bonus money) x35 (the wagering requirement) which comes to £1,750.

This means you must re-wager £1,750 before the bonus money or any winnings from it can be withdrawn as cash.

It is worth pointing out that some online casino sites take this a step further and require players to re-wager their deposit plus the bonus.

Using the same example as above, you would have to wager your deposit (£50) plus the bonus money (£50) by x35. This works out as £50 + £50 = £100 x35 = £3,500.

To be clear, this means you would have to re-wager £3,500 before the bonus and/or any winnings from it could be withdrawn as cash.

FREE SPINS WAGERING REQUIREMENT EXAMPLE:

Online casino B offers you 50 free spins on Big Time Gaming’s Bonanza slot.

The offer comes with a x25 wagering requirement on all free spins winnings, which means you must wager any winnings 25 times over before the remaining balance can be withdrawn.

For example, if you win £10 from your 50 free spins, you will have to wager £250 (£10 winnings x25 = £250) before being able to withdraw your winnings as cash.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN IT COMES TO WAGERING REQUIREMENTS:

You are usually given a set period of time to complete the wagering requirement – this can range from a couple of days to a month or more.

Different games contribute different amounts to the wagering requirement. Slots usually contribute the most, with table and live dealer games contributing less.

For example, it might be that for every £1 wagered on slots, £1 will come off the wagering requirement but for every £1 wagered on blackjack, £0.20 will be deducted.

Contributions will differ from casino to casino, so it’s always best to check bonus T&Cs. Alternatively, wagering requirements can be found in all of our online casino reviews.

PAYMENT METHODS CAN AFFECT THE BONUSES YOU ARE OFFERED:

In some cases, the method you use to deposit can impact the bonuses and promotions you are offered by an online casino. This is usually the case with the welcome package.

At some online casino sites, welcome bonuses are not available when depositing with eWallets such as Skrill and Neteller.

Online casino operators say this is due to challenges with player ID verification and know your customer requirements. Combatting fraud is another reason cited.

In most cases, if you have deposited via an eWallet you will still be eligible for ongoing promotions, bonuses and cashback schemes, just not the welcome offer.

There are two casinos that do allow you to deposit with Skrill and Neteller and claim a welcome bonus:

HOW TO CLAIM AN ONLINE CASINO BONUS:

Claiming an online casino bonus is very straight forward.

When it comes to a welcome package, simply open an account, accept the offer and, if required to, make a deposit.

In most cases the bonus will be added to your account automatically, but at some casinos you will be required to input the bonus code manually.

If the offer includes free spins, you will usually be automatically redirected to the game where they can be played.

If you are an existing player and want to claim an online casino bonus, this is usually done through the “bonus” section of your player account.

In some cases, you are required to contact customer support to claim a bonus – in this instance the agent will usually assign it to your account for you.

HOW TO DECIDE IF AN ONLINE CASINO BONUS IS RIGHT FOR YOU:

Online casino bonuses are not for everyone.

More casual players can be deterred by wagering requirements, which is why some online casino operators now impose small requirements or none whatsoever.

Experienced players often like the challenge of completing the wagering requirement and if they were likely to bet that amount anyway, bonuses can add significant value to their play.

Either way, you should consider the following when deciding whether to accept an online casino bonus or not:

  • What you have to deposit to unlock the bonus
  • Are free spins offered on a game that you actually want to play
  • The wagering requirements imposed, and the time given to complete them

Find My UK Casino recommends that you don’t play at a casino based only on the bonus offered. Instead, consider them for what they are, a nice little perk.

When deciding where to play, focus on other factors such as reputation, games offered, transaction times and the quality of customer support.

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