How a Online Casino Bonus Works

With so many trusted online casinos around offering up multiple different bonuses it can be hard to keep track of it all, so our experts are doing it for you.

🦮  A Beginner’s Guide to Bonuses

Online casino real money sign-up bonuses are offered by nearly all casino operators online. They’re a way to entice new customers to sign up to their platform. Some may require you to make a deposit or even wager some of your funds, others may require no deposit whatsoever.

But why do casinos offer them out?

Well, people love to feel like they’re getting a good deal. So when the best online casinos start offering you the possibility of $1,000 for free, whether it be through a deposit match or some other form of bonus, it is hard for players to turn down.

But while the rewards themselves may be free, there are often catches with them. There can be wager requirements or other limitations placed on them, such as limiting the amount you can win.

There are a few reasons why an online casino real money sign-up bonus can come with limitations. If online casinos were to just give out $1,000 in cash, people would just take it and walk away. Creating new accounts to get as much money as they can before someone catches on. 

Also, by making people have to wager their bonuses a set number of times, it lowers the chances of people winning. Anyone can win a one-off bet, but trying to do it again and again is a lot trickier. That’s not to say people don’t win off their bonuses, because they do. But operating this way risks casinos losing less money.

That’s why it is always important to check out the T&Cs of any bonuses before signing up to a site to use them. Because while one online casino may offer more than another, their wagering requirements may be higher. So taking the smaller offer can sometimes work out more in your favor.

Recommended Casinos

1 DraftKings Casino Review
100% deposit match up to $2000, plus $75 in site credits
Players from
ct mi nj pa wv
2 Borgata
100% welcome bonus worth up to $1,000
Players from
nj pa
3 Caesars
100% up to $2,000. Plus, you’ll get a $100 gas card.
Players from
mi nj pa wv

👁️  What are the Different Types of Bonuses?

You may have seen a number of adverts for an online casino with free sign-up bonus real money. And if you did, it is likely that you have seen numerous different bonuses being offered. That’s because there are many different types of bonuses available, and ways in which bonuses are awarded.

Below, we have compiled a helpful guide to the different types of bonuses you may encounter. Expanding on what they are, how they work, and the limitations you can expect to see with them.

Different BonusTypes
Welcome BonusFree Spins BonusCashable Bonuses
Match BonusReload BonusNon-Cashable Bonus
No Deposit BonusLoyalty and VIP ProgramsRefer-a-Friend Bonus

Welcome Bonus

Welcome bonuses are directly aimed at new players, in an effort to try and bring in new customers to an online casino. The type of bonus and the value offered differ between operators, but most commonly, they will require you to deposit funds into your account in return for a reward.

They usually have a short expiration in which the free credits, spins, or whatever reward you receive has to be used. This is commonly seven days from receipt of your bonus. If not used, any welcome bonus will be lost.

There are almost always wagering requirements too, that will require you to wager a set amount before you can withdraw any winnings won with them. If a wagering requirement states you must wager your reward 30x and your bonus is $100, that means you would have to wager it to the amount of $3,000 before funds could be withdrawn.


Match Bonus

A match bonus can be offered to both new and existing players and works by a casino matching the value of your deposit. There is usually a minimum amount you have to deposit, and a maximum amount a casino will payout. With wagering requirements attached as described above.


No Deposit Bonus

A no deposit bonus is one of the best available bonuses from any trusted online casino, because there is no risk with them. That is because you are not required to deposit or wager any funds in order to get them. Meaning you get to enjoy playing games for free.

These are usually offered to new customers, but sometimes existing customers will receive them too, especially if part of a casino’s rewards program. They also always come with wagering requirements.


Free Spins Bonus

Free spins can be offered to both new and existing customers. For new customers, they may come as part of the welcome bonus. Existing customers, usually are awarded when you deposit funds or wager certain amounts.

They offer a number of free spins on eligible online slot machine games, usually at a low stake, and then any winnings go into your bonus funds pot where you must meet wagering requirements to withdraw them. For more details, check out our dedicated free spins guidelines page.


Slot machine bonus symbols

Reload Bonus

While it may seem most bonuses are for new customers, reload bonuses are exclusively for existing loyal customers who have already made a deposit. They come in the form of free spins or bet credits, and face the usual wagering requirements.


Loyalty and VIP Programs

Some online casinos have their own rewards programs, with BetMGM and Caesars being two. This is to encourage players to continue to play with the same casino brand rather than moving to a competitor.

The rewards differ between each operator but they work in a very similar way:

The kind of rewards available can vary from free bets to being able to redeem points for breaks away in partnered hotels, or allowing players to eat for free in partnered restaurants.

Many mobile casino apps even allow you access to your rewards accounts to keep track of what points you have earned, and what rewards are available to you.


Cashable Bonuses

This is the term for bonuses that you can cash out, usually once wagering requirements have been met.


Non-Cashable Bonus

A non-cashable bonus works when you can play with it until you lose it or you get ready to cash out. Except when you cash out the amount won will be deducted from your balance, only allowing you to cash out withdrawable funds.

This is similar to when you play demo versions of games because you are playing with funds that don’t matter if you lose them, but you also don’t gain anything when you win.

The one difference is when these funds are used for online casino tournaments. A casino will allow you to use them to see how much you can ‘win’. With the highest earners making up a leaderboard, in which the best players will earn rewards.


Refer-a-Friend Bonus

The refer-a-friend bonus is available to both new and existing customers and works by rewarding players for referring new customers.

It usually works by offering both parties free bet credits, but only becomes active once the new player has deposited and wagered a certain amount. For example, you can get $50 for referring a friend, and they will get $50 too, but first, they must deposit and wager $50 to activate the reward.

There are usually yearly limits to how many rewards you can earn for referring friends. The most common number of friends allowed to be referred tends to be between ten and 20 referrals, depending on the value of the free bet credits rewarded.


💡  How to Claim a Welcome Bonus

The welcome bonus is one of the main bonuses you will have to claim yourself because many existing customer bonuses are applied automatically, or simply ask you to opt-in on the promotions and offers page of your casino.

Here are the main ways to claim a welcome bonus:

Once you get the available bonus, you will want to check the T&Cs for any bonus wagering requirements, and how long the promotion period lasts before your bonus expires. There may also be other restrictions such as specific bets you can’t use your bonus on, or a maximum amount you can win from it.

🔧  How a Bonus Really Works

To give you an idea of how a real money online casino bonus really works, here is a step-by-step explanation. For this example, we’ve picked a 100% matched deposit bonus:

  1. Make your required deposit up to the value on offer, for our example, this is $1,000;
  2. The casino will credit an additional $1,000 to your account in bonus funds;
  3. You now have $2,000 to play with;
  4. Your bonus funds will be used first, and will have a wagering requirement;
  5. If the wagering requirement is 10x, this means you must wager $10,000 for a $1,000 bonus;
  6. Once you have wagered the full requirement, any winnings from bonus funds are withdrawable.

Online Casino Bonus Real Money

Yes. For example, some online casinos will offer you a deposit match and free spins.

This would be against the operators’ terms of service, and your account will be closed if found doing so.

No, players who are referred must be of legal gambling age because they will be required to deposit funds and place a wager.

Bonuses are frequently updated, and new promotions are usually brought in when old ones expire.

What is best for one person, may not be the best for someone else. It is important to do your own research to see which best suits you.