Useful tips

Different Types of Casino Bonuses Explained

There are many benefits to playing real money casino games online, with the abundance of bonuses and promotions being one of the most prominent. These offers are both for total beginners looking for their first casino and existing players. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of casino bonuses that are currently available.

Once you know a bit more about them, you’ll be able to decide which offers are most suited to the games you want to play, and the budget you have.

No Deposit Bonuses

No Deposit Bonuses

The most common no deposit bonuses are for new players. Casino operators use the lure of a no deposit offer to entice customers to register an account. You can think of these as a ‘try before you buy’ type deal. There are two kinds of no deposit bonus; one is free spins on a popular video slot, and the other is bonus cash. Of course, if you have a passion for slots, free spins are the way to go. However, the advantage of bonus funds is that you can play a variety of table games, in addition to slots. Therefore, you get to sample more of what the casino has to offer. For the latest no deposit bonuses and a more detailed look at these amazing offers, it’s worth checking out for all you need to know.

A few things to be aware of with no deposit bonuses; firstly, most offers will come with wagering requirements. We’ll explain these in more detail further down the page, but in short, wagering is the number of times you have to turn-over the bonus before you can withdraw any winnings.

Other stipulations that you may encounter are a maximum win cap, and time restrictions for how long the bonus is valid for.

Matched Deposit Bonuses

As the name suggests, players can claim these bonuses by making a deposit. They work by the casino matching your deposit by a specific percentage; for example, 100% up to $500. There will be a minimum deposit amount, typically around $10 or $20, required to activate the offer. So the more you deposit, the larger the bonus.

Many casino welcome offers are matched deposit bonuses. However, existing players can also snap them up in the form of reload offers, which are generally a part of the casino’s weekly promotional deals.

The benefit of a match deposit bonus is that the player can load up their account with bonus funds. This provides an abundance of free games that you can enjoy. Like no deposit offers, the majority of match deposit offers come with wagering requirements. The secret for finding high-value bonuses is to choose the offers with the lowest wagering, as you stand more chance of clearing it and coming away with a little extra cash.

Free Spins

Casino free spins bonuses come in many shapes and sizes. You can pick them up as:

  • No deposit bonuses
  • Part of a welcome package with a deposit match offer
  • As a welcome bonus by itself
  • Game of the week promotions
  • Loyalty rewards

The reason why there are many types of free spins offers is because they are a player favorite. Slots are easily the most popular online casino game, and free spins are what these players want.

How a free spins bonus works depends on the type of offer and your chosen casino. With some promotions, you will be restricted to only one slot, whereas other times, you can play a selection of different games.

Furthermore, the value of each free spin can vary, we have seen offers where the spin value is $0.10 and others as high as $0.50. Before jumping in and claiming one of these bonuses, this is something you want to check.

For example, you may see Casino A offering 50 free spins (at $0.10 each) and Casino B offering 25 free spins (at $0.25). At a glance, the 50 free spins catch the eye, but the overall value of the spins is less than the second offer. A lot of players look for free spins no deposits when joining a casino as they feel this is the best offer.

A common misconception with free spins bonuses is that you can’t win the jackpot. This is completely inaccurate. The free spins are used on the same real money slots you’d play with cash from your casino balance. That means the odds of you hitting the top prize is identical.

Once again, most free spins bonuses do come with wagering requirements. However, a growing number of casinos are now switching to no wagering offers - we will explain more about these below.

No wagering bonuses

To fully realize the potential of no wagering bonuses, it’s a good time to delve into wagering requirements.

What are wagering requirements?

The wagering requirement is the number of times a bonus needs to be played through. For example:

  • 100% up to $100 - wagering requirement: 40x the bonus amount

Let’s assume; you deposit $100; the casino will then credit your account with another $100 in bonus funds. The total wagering requirement is 40 x $100 = $4,000. If you hit this target - you will need a few good wins - the remaining bonus funds are transferred to your real money account; from which you can withdraw the cash.

Something to keep an eye open for when reviewing wagering demands is that certain sites include the deposit amount as well. Here’s an example:

  • 100% up to $100 - wagering requirement: 25x deposit and bonus amount

25x appears more attractive than 40x, and this can catch some players unaware. However, if you take a moment to calculate the total wagering, you’ll see $100 deposit + $100 bonus = $200 x 25 (wagering) = $5,000. Therefore, the golden rule is to always calculate the end total based on how much you want to deposit and the size of the bonus.

Lastly, wagering requirements for free spins are simply a multiple of your initial winnings. You’ll see a phrase such as ‘35x wagering on free spins’ in the terms and conditions. So after using them if you won $5.00, the total wagering will be 35 x $5.00 = $175.

This brings us back to no wagering bonuses. These are merely offers that do away with the wagering. The winnings go directly into your real money account. As you can imagine, such bonuses are wildly popular because you stand a much better chance of turning a profit.

Cashback Bonuses

Cashback Bonuses

A lot of casino bonuses are designed for slot players, but cashback offers are the exception. Quite often, you get cashback on table games, such as roulette and blackjack.

They work by refunding players a percentage of their aggregated losses on a particular game during a specified time period. This may not sound great because you only get cashback if you lose.

However, several casinos have these bonuses with no wagering requirements, which effectively means you are reducing the casino’s long-term advantage. Every player has sessions when they lose - a cashback deal softens the pain, and it gives you more money to play with when you hit a winning spell.

Loyalty Programs

Casino sites want to keep their players happy (and active), which is why 99% of online operators have some kind of loyalty program. Most of the time, players will earn reward points (also known as comp points) for playing real money games.

The amount of points you earn depends on the games you play. For instance, you get more reward points for every $10 wagered on slots compared to playing blackjack or video poker.

The rewards you can pick up differ greatly, according to where you play. Some loyalty schemes have ‘Reward Shops’ that allow you to exchange your points for free spins and other appealing offers. You can also convert points for real money.

More traditional loyalty programs are like VIP clubs. These are more geared towards high-rollers; those players who spend big bucks in the casino. In a VIP club, you can expect to receive free games, monthly cash bonuses, a personal account manager, higher deposit and withdrawal limits, invites to exclusive tournaments and events, and much more besides.


You should now have a general understanding of the main types of online casino bonuses. Which ones are best? The truth is, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ bonus that suits every player. You need to think about what you want from the bonus, and what your playing budget is.

What is important is to take your time in comparing multiple offers to find the best deals. You need to read the terms and conditions for things like minimum deposit amount, wagering requirements and maximum win caps.

As we’ve highlighted in this article, don’t take a bonus merely on face value. It’s easy to be swayed by operators offering hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bonus cash, but if the terms are not player-friendly, then the offer itself is close to worthless.

The point is - there are some absolutely fantastic bonuses currently available, and some that you should avoid with a barge pole. Pick the former, and you’ll get the most enjoyment and entertainment from your time playing.

Shawna Dudley

Shawna is an ambitious and free-spirited digital nomad with expertise in creating high-quality and SEO-friendly guides and reviews in the iGaming and travel industry. Follow her on Twitter or Linkedin or send her an email.