Just like with bookmakers, online casinos offer new customers bonuses when they sign up. They work as an incentive for the customer to play at the casino and they’re a great way for casinos to attract new customers. Depending on the casino bonus on offer, there is usually a good chance of making a profit from them. The sign up bonuses offered by online casinos can be in various forms of which the more common types being :
- Deposit bonuses
- No deposit bonuses
- Free spins
If you’re looking to make money from casino bonuses you have probably already dabbled in matched betting with bookmaker bonuses. Matched betting is completely risk-free and at no point is your money at risk. However, when using casino bonuses, there is a risk. The reason why casino bonuses are listed on matched betting sites is that despite there being a risk to your own money, there is a greater chance that over time you will profit from them than lose.
How casinos make money
Casinos make money by having an edge over the punter in every casino game. Lets take a look at one of the most popular and well known casino games, roulette as an example :
As well as having the option to bet on numbers and various other sections of the roulette table, you can bet on Red or Black. Whichever colour you place your chips on, if the ball lands on a number with that colour, you double your money. Seems pretty fair doesn’t it? Not quite. Despite there being an equal number of red numbers on a roulette wheel to black numbers, there is also the green zero. If you bet on red or black and the ball lands on zero, your bet loses and you get nothing in return. The green zero is the casinos edge.
- Number of red : 18
- Number of black : 18
- Number of green : 1
The chance of the ball landing on your choice of red or black is = (100/18) x 37 = 48.65%
If betting on red or black on roulette was a fair game then the chances of your bet winning would be 50% but as you can see from the calculation above it is actually slightly below that at 48.65%.
The same goes for if you bet on a single number which pays out at 36/1. As there are 37 numbers on a roulette wheel the true odds are actually 37/1, giving the casino a 2.7% edge. This edge percentage is the amount which the casino, on average, will profit from all bets placed. The casino won’t win 2.7% of everyone’s bets, as you could place a £10 bet on number 7 and it could win. However, on average, over thousands of bets, the casino will mathematically profit 2.7% in total from bets placed.
Making money with casino bonuses
So if the casino has an edge on every game, how do you make money?
The answer to the above question is to use casino bonuses to give you, the player, the edge. Just like the casino, even when you have an edge, you won’t profit every time, but you will profit on average. The average amount you will profit is known as the ‘expected value’.
Expected Value (EV)
If you’ve visited the casino bonus section of matched betting sites you may have noticed the term ‘expected value’ or ‘EV’ mentioned. When referring to casino bonuses, the expected value is the amount you can expect to profit from the bonus on average. It may be more, it may be less, but on average it will be this amount. If you toss a coin into the air and call it you would expect to guess right 50% of the time. You may get it wrong 10 times in a row but do it enough times and it will average out at 50%.
Casino Bonus Example
Now that we’ve established how casinos make money, we’ll take a look at an example of a casino bonus and show how you can make a profit from it.
Coral offer a £50 casino bonus when you deposit £10
– To receive this bonus we need to deposit £10.
– To withdraw the bonus we need to wager the bonus amount + the deposit amount 24 times.
Our aim is to play through the wagering requirements of the bonus so that we can make a withdrawal. To see if we are likely to be left with a profit at the end of the wagering requirements we must do a little maths to calculate the expected value.
As mentioned, the wagering requirements for this bonus are the bonus amount + the deposit amount x 24. That works out as (£10+£50) x 24 = £1,200. So after accepting this bonus, we must place £1,200 of bets before we can make a withdrawal.
When working your way through the wagering requirements of casino bonuses it is important to read the terms and conditions of the bonus as a lot of the time the casino puts restrictions on which games contribute towards the wagering requirements. For example, Blackjack may only contribute 50% which would mean you would have to wager twice as much to clear the bonus. The majority of the time slots contribute 100% towards the bonus and so these are usually the preferred game of choice. You are also able to set online slots to auto-play mode so you don’t have to be clicking a mouse for hours on end.
Online slot payout percentages vary but are usually 95% or higher. It is possible to find slots with a payout of over 99% such as the Ocean Princess Slot which has a payout percentage of 99.1%.
Ok, so you’ve received your casino bonus and have opened up the Ocean Princess slot. What are the chances of you making a profit on this bonus? Lets take a look.
As the payout percentage of the slot is 99.1% you will expect to receive back £99.10 for every £100 that you wager. The casino’s edge on this slot is 0.9%. As you will be wagering £1,200, the casino will, on average, profit £10.80 from you (0.9% of £1,200).
Therefore, at the end of your wagering requirements you will have deposited £10, received £50 and given the casino £10.80, making you a total profit of £39.20.
There we have it. That is the logic behind making money from casino bonuses. However, as mentioned previously, there is still risk. You could be unlucky and not win any of your spins and lose your deposit and bonus before meeting the wagering requirements. On the other hand, you could get lucky and hit the jackpot with your bonus! It’s happened before, just look at the screenshot below from a matched bettor who won a staggering £597,136,92 from a 20p spin whilst wagering a casino bonus!
Big win from a Profit Maximiser members
On average though you will profit from these bonuses providing the expected value is positive. To work out the expected value of a casino bonus, use the equation below.
Casino Bonus Amount – (House Edge x (Wagering Requirement Amount/100)) = Expected Value
Finding casino bonuses with a positive expected value
You could spend hours trawling the internet looking for casino bonuses that have a positive expected value but it really isn’t worth it. There are hundreds of casinos online and looking through the terms and conditions of everyone would be quite a time consuming process. Thankfully, the majority of the top matched betting sites find these for you and list them along with the expected value and instructions on the best way to complete them. MatchedBets and OddsMonkey both have casino bonus sections which display a number of mathematically profitable offers and so we recommend joining a matched betting site rather than go this process alone.
Hopefully this article will give you a better understanding of how casino bonuses work and how it is possible to profit from them. Despite matched betting sites listing the majority of casino bonus offers for you, this information may come in useful should you receive a personal bonus offer from a casino. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page.