Online Casino Bonuses

One of the great perks of playing casino games online is being able to benefit from numerous promotional deals. One way or another, you are being offered to play (and potentially earn money) by using someone else's cash. Great, right? But before you accept such a gift, make sure you understand how you can use it, what can be won, and under which conditions. 

Types of Online Casino Bonuses

No Deposit Bonus

No Deposit Bonus is usually offered to players as a reward for opening an online casino account. You'll be given a certain amount of cash to play with without having to make a deposit first, plus get to keep the resulting winnings. There will be some limitations and conditions, of course. Normally there is cap to the amount you can cash out, and wagering requirements to be met before you'll be allowed to do so. Regardless, it's a great way to test how the casino functions before handing them any of your own cash.    

Match Bonuses or Deposit Bonus offers

Match Bonuses provide balance boost by matching a percentage of your deposit and almost always come with a maximum bonus amount you can receive. For example, once you claim our offer of 100% match up to R1,500 and make a deposit of R500, we'll throw in another R500 to give you a total of R1,000 to play with. These kind of bonuses are regularly given as a sign-up offer, and often also as so-called reload bonuses.

Free Spins

Free Spins are not communicated as cash amounts but the result is basically the same – chance to play and win without investing your own money. Obviously, they can only be used on slots. Whatever you manage to win while spinning for free will have to be wagered a certain amount of times before you'll be able to collect.

Cashback Bonuses

Cashback Bonuses are offered as a kind of insurance against loosing.  While you won't get any cash up front, having lost some of your own while playing over a certain period of time (days, weeks, a month), the casino will refund a percentage of your loss (with max amount always capped).

Comp Points

Comp Points can be considered an indirect cash bonus as they can be taken advantage of only after a period of time, or more specifically, after you have managed to accumulate a certain number of them. Having stashed the specified amount, you'll be able to redeem your points for cash or a range of goodies.

Freerolls and Slot Tournaments

Finally, there are the Freerolls, slot tournaments which offer a chance to win one of the cash prizes without having to bring any of your own money to the table. You'll be provided a certain number of free credits to use on a specified game, and by achieving one of the top x scores, get to collect a share of a guaranteed prize pool. 

Cashable vs Sticky Bonus

The bonuses you receive can either be cashed out themselves, or used only to play. The first are called „cashable“ and the latter „sticky“. In each case you'll have a chance to withdraw your winnings providing you have met the play-through requirements. Depending on the casino, sticky bonus will „disappear“ once you make a withdrawal, and  less often it will remain on your account available for further use.

Wagering Requirements

We've now mentioned wagering or play-through requirements quite a few times, so it might be a good idea to finally explain what they are. Let's do it with an example: You've been made an offer to collect R500 bonus having made a R500 deposit. The casino informs you that, prior to making a withdrawal, you'll have to play through deposit + bonus amount (in this case R1,000) 30 times. This means you will need to make R30,000 worth of bets before cashing out.

New players can easily get impressed by huge bonus amounts offered, and claim them before checking the total value of bets they'll need to make prior to making a withdrawal request. They might get tricked into accepting hundreds of thousands in bonuses without realising they come with steep play-through requirements of, let's say x80. While anything is possible when gaming online, the chances of fulfilling such harsh conditions are incredibly small.

Another important point you need to keep in mind is that, as a rule, not all casino games contribute the same. Bets made on slots will almost always count 100%, but it will never be the case when it comes to table games.  While it varies from one casino to another, you might find that only R250 out of total R1,000 you have staked on a poker game will help liberating your cash from the casino's hands. And some of the games might not contribute at all. So, make sure to read the respective T&C before you choose which ones to play.

Other Things to Check Before Saying „Yes“

Once you accept free money, it's likely you will not be able to make stakes of any size you want, that is if you're hoping to cash in your winnings. Normally the allowed bet size is expressed either as a % of the bonus amount received, or as a fixed number. Not complying to these rules might make a withdrawal impossible.

Some offers also come with game restrictions, specifying which game category you can use the bonus on and which you can't. Others either make the bonus available to players of only certain nationalities, or will alternatively not allow residents of a number of specified countries to claim them. It's also not rare to see eligibility depending on deposit method, excluding those made via, for example,  Neteller and Skrill.

Should You Use Online Casino Bonuses or Not?

The bottom line is you're getting a chance to play for free and win money you can take home, so why not use it? But before you do, get informed. Going through the points listed above will make sure you know exactly what you're getting and under which conditions, which is a good way to avoid nasty surprise long after you have said „I do“.