Casino Bonus Guide

casino bonus guide

Casino bonuses come in various forms and unless you know what these are, you could end up with issues such as having to wager more than you expected or not being able to withdraw your entire winnings.

In this article, we'll be taking a look at the different types of casino bonuses and what they mean. We have put the various bonuses into two categories - 'Bonus Acquisition' and 'Bonus Type' with the former being how you qualify for a bonus and the latter being the actual type of bonus.

Bonus Acquisition

Casino bonuses are what make playing at a casino actually profitable. There are no casino games which are profitable in the long-term without bonuses or incentive in place as the casino has a house edge on every game. If you've heard the term 'the house always wins', it's because they have a mathematical advantage whichever game you play and will ultimately come out on top over time. However, by including casino bonuses in the mix, we're sometimes able to make it so that we the players actually have the edge.

Let's take a look at how we're able to receive casino bonuses.

1. Sign Up Bonuses

Sign up bonuses are bonuses which are available to new players at a casino. They're also called 'welcome bonuses' or 'new player bonuses'. Nearly every online casino will offer new players some kind of bonus with the value ranging massively from £5 all the way up to £5,000.

There are different types of sign up bonuses but the majority are a deposit match. These are bonuses based on how much you deposit and are usually in the range of 50% - 200%. 

Here is an example of a sign up bonus:

'100% match up to £300'

This means that if you make a deposit, you will receive the same amount in bonus funds up to a maximum of £300.

Another example would be:

'50% match up to £500'

With this sign up offer, if your first deposit was £100, you would receive a £50 bonus. If your deposit was £1000, you'd receive a £500 bonus.

2. reload Bonuses

Reload bonuses are similar to sign up bonuses except that they are for existing players who may have already claimed the sign up bonus. 

Reload bonuses are usually of a smaller amount than sign up bonuses but can still be very profitable over time. 

The casino may offer all players a reload bonus on specific days or weeks of the month or you may be offered a personalised reload offer based on your game play.

3. loyalty bonuses

If you play at a casino regularly or wager large amounts, you may be offered a loyalty bonus. The majority of the time, you will not be required to make a deposit in order to receive the bonus and they are simply a way for the casino to say 'thank you' for playing at their site (and to keep you coming back!).

You'll often be notified of loyalty bonuses when you are credited with them either via an email or text.

Bonus type

We now know how we receive casino bonuses, now let's get to the types of bonuses you can receive.

There are many types of casino bonuses which some novice players might not know about or understand. However, if you want to make a profit from casino bonuses in the long term, it's essential to know everything there is to know about every bonus that you claim.

Let's take a look at the different types of bonuses.

1. sticky bonuses

Sticky bonuses, also known as 'phantom bonuses' are instantly added to your bonus balance after you have made a deposit. You can bet using your sticky bonus but when you make a withdrawal, the bonus amount is deducted from the balance. Basically, a sticky bonus can be wagered and used to make a profit but you can never withdraw the original bonus amount.

For example, if you received a £100 sticky bonus when you made a £100 deposit, your balance would be £200. You then play with your balance and get it up to £500. When you go to make a withdrawal, you would be able to withdraw £400 (your balance - the sticky bonus amount).

2. cashable bonuses

Unlike sticky bonuses, you are able to withdraw cashable bonuses. You will have to meet the wagering requirements first but once these are met, you will be able to withdraw your original deposit, any winnings and your bonus.

For example if you deposited £100 to receive a £100 cashable bonus with x20 wagering, your balance would be £200. If you were to complete the wagering requirements and had a balance of £500, you would be able to withdraw the full amount.

3. cash before bonus

Bonuses under this category are not used right away. If you received a £100 bonus for depositing £100, your balance would be £200. When you start wagering, your cash balance is used first. If you win using your cash, you can usually withdraw your cash + any winnings. However, if your balance depreciates below your original deposit amount, your bonus will begin to be used. At this point, you must complete the wagering before you are able to withdraw any winnings or your bonus balance.

4. cashback bonuses

Online casinos sometime offer cashback on net losses. You will only receive these bonuses should you make a net loss, usually during a specific time period. Sometimes, you can also receive cashback bonuses on net winnings.

For example, if the offer was 25% cashback on net losses on Tuesdays and you lost £100, you would receive £25 back. Sometimes these refunds are credited as cash and sometime as bonuses with wagering requirements.

5. post-wager bonuses

Unlike many other bonuses, post-wager bonuses require you to wager a specific amount with your own money before the bonus is credited. As you are risking your own money first without the guarantee of receiving the bonus, if you do receive one, they usually have relatively low wagering requirements or are sometimes credited as cash.

6. free spins

Free spin bonuses are extremely popular and there are usually multiple of these types of offers available each day.

An example of a free spin offer would be: Wager £10 on slots and get 10 free spins

The value of the free spins vary depending on the offer and the slot they are available to be used on. 

Sometimes the winnings from the free spins are yours to keep as cash but other times they will come with wagering requirements.

Other things to consider

As you can see from above, there is a lot to consider when playing casino bonuses. As well as the above, there are a few more important factors to take into consideration.

1. game weighting

The majority of casino bonuses come with wagering requirements but sometimes, not all casino games count equally towards wagering.

For example, if you received a £100 bonus with x20 wagering it would mean that you would have to wager £2000 (£100 x 20) before you could withdraw the bonus and any winnings.

However, some casinos require you to wager more depending on which games you use for wagering. Some examples would be:

  • Slots: 100%
  • Roulette: 100%
  • Blackjack: 50% 

This means that blackjack only counts 50% towards wagering and so if you were to choose to play blackjack with your bonus, you would have to wager twice the amount (£4000) before your bonus & winnings were withdrawable.

It is worth using an advanced casino calculator to determine which game to wager on as sometimes, despite the higher wagering requirements, blackjack is still the better choice and returns a greater EV (expected value). Matched betting site ProfitSquad have one of the most advanced casino calculators available which can calculate the EV of almost any casino bonus.

2. RTP (Return to player)

When wagering a bonus, you may opt to choose a game you're most familiar with or enjoy the most. However, we claim casino bonuses to make a profit and not all casino games will return the same profit on average.

Each casino game has a mathematical RTP. This is the amount on average that the game will return to the player based on how much is wagered.

For example, blackjack has an RTP of around 99.5% meaning that on average, for every £100 wagered, the player will receive £99.50 back. The RTP of slots can vary depending on the game and sometimes, which casino you play it at. Generally, most slots have an RTP of between 90% - 98% and so it is worth checking to see that you are playing the slot or casino game which will pay out the most on average, thus increasing your overall profit.