How Casino Bonuses Work

People want casino bonuses. You want casino bonuses.

(I couldn’t make a more obvious pair of statements if I tried.)

But seriously, there are thousands of Google searches every month for bonuses, coupon codes and free money offers, and any variation of those phrases you can think of.

For example:

… and so on.

But finding the perfect offer is only one half the battle. You should also have a good understanding of how casinos bonuses work. Otherwise you run the risk of losing it to the casino.

So lets get to understanding.

Casino Bonuses: Why They Exist

Online casinos offer bonuses to encourage players to sign up and deposit. You could easily sign up and play games for free. Lots of you probably do. But when the casino waives the proverbial carrot in your face (the $x,xxx in free money), and all you have to do to get that money is deposit, it gets you off the fence. You make a deposit because you’re on the receiving end of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Other bonuses, such as reload offers, are designed to get existing customers to come back. They might run out of money, and not play for days or weeks. The casino notices and offers them a tiny incentive to come back, redeposit and play some more.

The Catch: Play Through or Wager Requirements

There is a catch. The casino isn’t going to just give you hundreds or thousands of dollars, then let you withdraw whenever you want.

They’ve already made that mistake once. Never again.

So each bonus will come up with conditions. The most common is a play through or wager requirement. This is a number of times you are required to wager your deposit or deposit plus bonus before you can cash out.

For example, a casino might have a 30x wager requirement. Most casinos will apply this to both your deposit and bonus money.

So, say you deposited $500 for their 100% up to $500 match offer. With a 30x requirement, you would have to wager $30,000 ($15,000 for your deposit and the same for your bonus) before you could ask to cash out. This prevents you from making a deposit for that $500, and cashing out immediately after receiving it.

Play through requirements will vary from casino to casino. The only constant is that slots will have more relaxed terms than table games.

Play Through Requirements: Why Are Table Games Harder?

Table games have requirements that are 2-4x harder to complete. In other words, if the slots play through from above is 30x the deposit plus bonus, playing blackjack or video poker will require you to wager 120x that amount. Instead of $30,000, you’d have to wager $120,000.


My guess is that it’s because table games have a lower house edge. Slots have a 2-5 percent edge, keno 25-29 percent. Blackjack? 1 percent or less. Baccarat? 3 percent or less. Proper strategy brings these odds down further.

So it’s harder for the casinos to make money. To offset the variance on such a low edged game, they make it harder for players to clear their bonuses. The offers are usually smaller, too.

Failing the Wager Requirements: What Happens?

This depends on the casino. But if you fail to meet the wager requirements, fail to meet them before the expiration date (which many casinos use), or play the wrong games, then it’s possible the casino will void your bonus. They will also keep whatever winnings you won with the bonus money.

The same applies to cashing out too early.

That’s why it’s important to understand the terms beforehand. It would suck to win something outrageous, like $1,000 or $10,000, only for it to be stripped away. But it happens.

Note – That’s why it’s also important to opt out of the bonus if you don’t want it. Because if you win a lot of money, it can be taken away if you don’t follow the rules, whether you wanted the bonus or not.

Rogue Casinos: How They Affect Your Bonus

We strongly recommend not signing up to rogue casinos. You’re always going to have the best experience at a casino that is safe, reputable and fair.

But many players sign up to these casinos anyway, usually because they offer a large bonus.

So how about some honest criticism? If the casino is likely to steal your deposit, cheat you at their games, and retroactively go back on their T&Cs, what makes you think they’re going to fulfill their promises of giving you free money?

I think my point has been made. Read our reviews, and our page on rogue casinos to avoid joining a bad casino.

Casino Bonuses: Where to Go From Here

That’s the general idea behind casino bonuses. But where do you go from here?

Here is what I recommend you do:

When you make your deposit, often times the bonus will be automatically given to you. Other times you might have to use a bonus code or let the casino know you want it. Our reviews will fill you in on what each casino does.

Then enjoy yourself. And the free money.