How Online Casino Bonuses Work: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that online casinos are becoming more common in British Columbia, you may be one of the many new players who have joined the online casino scene. If so, welcome.

It’s understandable that things may be just a little confusing if you’re just starting out. Even veteran land-based casino players tend to get mixed up when it comes to online bonuses, and what the difference is between a deposit bonus and a no-deposit bonus, as they’re entirely different animals. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll give you everything you need to know.

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Step 1: Understanding Casino Bonuses

The first thing you need to do is brush up on your bonus knowledge. There are several types out there:

  • Match Deposit. This is the most common bonus on the market today. It requires the deposit of a certain amount of money, which the casino will then match, thereby boosting your playing balance. For example, a $10 deposit with a 100% match will give you a total of $20 to play with.
  • Free Spins. This bonus is often bundled with the one above, with casinos giving players a certain number of free spins to go alongside their deposit. You’ll usually get a relatively high number of spins, but each will be the lowest bet on offer (e.g. $0.20 per spin).
  • Cashback. This is where the casino gives you a partial refund on any losses. For example, a 20% cashback offer with a $200 limit, with a $400 loss in the first week. The casino will give you a total of $80 back, soothing the overall loss just a little bit.
  • No Deposit. The best offer, perhaps considered the holy grail of the casino bonus, is the no-deposit bonus. It’s a little less common than the others we’ve already discussed, but there are still many online casinos that offer this no payment, no credit card required bonus.

Step 2: Read the Small Print

This is probably the most annoying step of the whole thing, but it’s a necessary one. It’s something we all know, but it’s worth reiterating: ads are always better than the truth. It’s how all companies sell their products/services. You need to check the terms and conditions before signing up, just in case the bonus is not quite what it’s cracked up to be.

For example, you will want to know whether the bonus is cashable or non-cashable. As you’d expect, it’s the cashable bonus that is more generous. It means that once you meet the terms, you can cash out the full amount of your balance. With non-cashable bonuses, you can only withdraw the winnings on your bonus, not the bonus amount itself.

Step 3: Enter the Bonus Code

Before you hit submit on your sign-up, just make sure you enter any applicable bonus codes. Even the flagship offers usually require the player to enter a code in order to take advantage of the best offer.

Remember, once you have an account, you can no longer take advantage of most bonus offers. So it’s really worth paying attention when signing up. You may also wish to search on Google, just in case there are better codes out there.

Step 4: Playing Through Your Bonus

The reason casinos can be so generous with their ‘free’ money is the existence of wagering requirements (WR), one of the many casino terms you should become familiar with. This determines how many times you have to play through the bonus before being able to withdraw. For instance, if your bonus is $100 and the WR is 10x, you will need to place $1000 worth of bets before being able to hit the withdraw button.

If that WR is too high, it may not be worth signing up, unless you’re in it for the long haul. Playing through that bonus may take a while before you can cash out. If it’s higher than 50x, it’s going to be mathematically very difficult to hit the threshold before running out of your balance.

Finally, be sure you’re aware of which games qualify. Some live dealer games will not count at all, and most table games will only contribute to the WR by 10-25%. Slots tend to be fair game, on the whole.

Final Step: Become a Bonus Hunter

Now you’ve read our guide, you’re ready to become the casino’s worst nightmare, the bonus hunter. This is where you jump from deal to deal, signing up for new online casinos on the regular.

Of course, operators hate this. They design bonuses as potential loss leaders to drive new business that stays, but if you play your cards right, it’s possible to extend the fun by hopping from one operator to the next.

Word to the wise: don’t rely on casino bonuses as a money maker. Instead, think of them as a way to multiply your game time, with the potential to win a jackpot always present, but not guaranteed. All we’re saying is to stick to your day job, folks!