Online Casino Bonuses Explained – Try some exclusive bonuses today!
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Apart from the fact that you can play without having to leave your house, online casino bonuses are one of the best things about gambling online. These bonuses come in all shapes and sizes and are aimed to get you to sign up and play with a particular casino.
While all casinos out there try to market their bonuses as the best thing since the sliced bread, there are many things to know about these offers to be able to truly pick the best ones among them. While it may seem simple, the bonus size itself is just one aspect and, surprisingly enough, it is not the most important one. A huge bonus that you will never get to see a dime of hardly does anything for you as a player.
This guide will help you with advice on what to look for and how to find the best online casino bonuses. With the help of these tips, you’ll be able to discern really good bonuses from those that only look that way on the surface. You’ll learn what really important details are, why, and how to find them.
The Size Matters… To an Extent
Let’s first talk about one thing that everyone notices first. The size of a casino bonus. You’ll often see casinos offering amazing “200% up to $2,000” bonuses. While getting $2,000 for free sure sounds great, ask yourself why would anyone just give you that much money? Of course, they want you to play with their casino, but is it worth two grand to them? The answer is usually no, and in the rest of this article we will explain why these offers are usually not very player-friendly. From the experience, the bonuses are in the middle range.
Offers between $100 and $500 will usually turn out to be of the best value. The amount may be smaller, but other conditions attached to these bonuses will usually turn out to be much easier to meet. A $200 that you get to keep, at least in part, is still much better than $3,000 that you don’t get a single cent from. Of course, really tiny bonuses, like $10 or $20, don’t do much for you either. However, these are often very easy to clear and can represent a quick way to score some additional cash for your online casino bankroll, without having to go through too much pains. Even these tiny bonuses are often better than the huge ones.
Casino Bonuses and Playthrough Requirements
If you’ve been playing at online casinos for some time, you are probably aware of wagering (or playthrough) conditions. These are basically conditions which stipulate how much money you need to wager before the bonus become available for withdrawal. Wagering requirements are usually written as a footnote or hidden deep in the casino terms & conditions. However, even though they are purposefully made so as to seem irrelevant, wagering requirements are the single most important thing about online casino bonuses. Let’s take a real life example of a 200% bonus up to $2,000. You need to deposit $1,000, and you get $2,000 extra in bonus money. At first glance, this sounds awesome. But, a better look at the terms and conditions stipulates:
- 30x on deposit + bonus amount
This means you will need to place 30 x ($1,000 + $2,000) = $90,000 in wagers before you are allowed to withdraw the money. This is a lot of bets to place without busting your bankroll. You will need to spend many hours playing and Lady Luck will have to be by your side for quite a while for you to cash out even a few hundred from this initially amazing bonus. The best casino bonus from a player’s perspective is the one featuring reasonable wagering requirements. For example, a $200 bonus with 25x bonus amount only stipulation is much more reasonable. You will need to place $5,000 in wagers, which is still a decent chunk, but it is an attainable goal.
– Other Special Requirements
If you have experience with casino games but not with online casino bonuses, you may have an idea that you can clear even these huge bonuses by “playing smart.” But, casinos will not be outsmarted. Apart from the basic wagering requirements, there are also many additional rules regulating what you can and can’t do with the bonus money. While these vary from one casino to another, for the most part they include:
- No low risk wagering
- Certain games only account for a small percentage
- Betting limits
- You can’t go from big bets to betting small after you hit a big win
For those who don’t know, low risk wagering encompasses betting on short odds, like 2:1 or 3:1. That means you can’t just play red or black on roulette, expecting to lose small, and walk away with the rest of money. Most casinos will let you make these bets without repercussions, but they will not count towards meeting your wagering requirements. Likewise, you can’t play the game with really low casino edge. For example, a good blackjack player, with a solid knowledge of the basic strategy, could play enough hands of blackjack to expect to meet the requirements losing only a small percentage of the initial funds.
However, if the edge for the house is marginal, they will simply set up higher requirements for the online casino bonus. At most places, your blackjack bets will only account for 5% to 10% of wagering. So, using the example above, you will effectively have to bet not $90,000 but $900,000 playing blackjack only. Usually, the only games where your bets are counted in full are online slots, scratch cards, and similar, where casinos know exactly how big their edge is and there is nothing player can do to change the fact. Betting limits are in place to further restrict your use of online casino bonuses. Usually, you will only be allowed to place up to 10% of the total amount on any single bet or spin. This is the way for casinos to further limit their exposure. They want players to use the bonuses to have fun, but they are not particularly keen on the idea of someone winning huge. After all, that’s not good for the business.
That’s not to say good online casinos will refuse to pay money you win playing fair and square; but, as long as you are playing with their money, you need to follow their rules. Finally, let’s look at the above example, where you start with the $3,000. Let’s say there is 10% rule in place and you are playing online slots at $30 per spin and trigger bonus games or hit a big payout. All of a sudden, you are looking at $15,000 in your cashier. For most people, this is a lot of money. Although you have to wager $90,000, you don’t mind spending next week playing slots whole day at $1 per spin, making sure you don’t lose too much from your huge win. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Wrong! Casinos will not let you do that. If you win big playing $30 per spin, you can’t move down to betting $1 all of a sudden. You will be accused of bonus abuse and will likely have all your winnings confiscated. You could lower your bet a bit, but any significant drop in limits will probably be flagged by the casino security.
Sticky vs. Non-sticky Bonuses
One final thing to consider when looking for the best online casino bonuses is whether they are “sticky” or “non-sticky” bonuses. In the event you don’t know, the difference is this:
- Non-sticky online casino bonuses: you get to keep all the money when you meet the wagering
- Sticky bonuses: you only get to keep your winnings
If you pay attention, you will discover many of these huge, impressive bonuses are sticky, so you get all this money, but the only thing you can use it is to play higher limits then you would usually. Even if you get lucky enough to meet these difficult playthrough requirements, the initial $2,000 will be removed, so you will only get to keep whatever is left of your deposit + any winnings. While the idea of playing higher using online casino bonus money may seem attractive, don’t be fooled. With sticky bonuses, you don’t get anything special. It is just an encouragement to gamble more, while casino, thanks to big wagering requirements, puts nothing on the line.
Be Smart When Picking Your Online Casino Bonus
Now you have enough information to be able to discern between favorable and unfavorable online casino bonuses. The best casino bonuses are non-sticky, feature reasonable playthrough requirements, and are not highly restrictive. There will always be some restrictions placed on online casino bonuses, as the house always tries to keep an edge. But there are those who actually give you a chance to win, and then there are those who are straight lying to you, using marketing tactics to get you to deposit. The latter ones know you stand almost no chance to win, and they don’t particularly care. Since you have a choice, you should always stick to places where you can actually win and take advantage of bonus offers. After all, if you are willing to deposit your money with a particular casino, why not get something tangible in return?