The competition between online casino operators for players is heated. As a player you can take advantage of this competition by enjoying welcome bonuses and schemes designed to reward regular play. Of course, trust and safety are paramount when choosing a casino -here at OnlineCasinoStrategy.org we only feature casinos with solid reputations to go with their bonuses.
Bonuses help you minimize the overall house edge and can give you a better chance of being around when those winning streaks come along. By understanding the different bonuses, and the quirks in the terms which make some bonuses more valuable than others, you’ll be getting the best value possible while you play. Here you can discover which bonuses online casinos regularly offer, along with recommendations for both US and international players.
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Online Casino Welcome Bonuses
The Welcome Bonus is a tool used by every casino. These are the huge promotions you will see proudly displayed on every site, offering 100%, 200% or even bigger matched bonuses on your first deposit, which can sometimes add up to several thousand dollars.
By rewarding new players straight away with a big bonus, the casinos hope to entice players to make bigger deposits and stick with their brand. Many casinos split up their welcome bonuses into several parts – allowing players that do not have large sums to deposit in one go to benefit by taking up to 8 ‘first’ deposit bonuses in a row.
In addition to the matched part of the welcome bonus, you might get some free play or free spins thrown in too. The bonus funds are credited to your account straight away, and are usually accessible to play with once your deposited funds have been lost.
Clearing Your Welcome Bonus – What to Watch For
If your bonus funds can be withdrawn (some cannot), or you wish to take out your winnings from this credit, you will have to meet the casinos wagering or ‘play-through’ requirements. These vary dramatically between different casinos – and often have a time limit.
You can normally expect the play-through to be between 20-40 times the bonus amount. Some sites need less, while others have been known to require 50x or more of the combined total of the bonus and deposit. You will usually find this information in the terms and conditions section on your casino’s website. Our Casino Reviews include information on bonus clearance rates at the different sites. Keep in mind that some casinos record the play-through requirement in terms of the bonus amount only, while others show this as a proportion of the bonus plus deposit.
While every dollar you wager on slots or scratch card games will typically count as 100% of their value towards bonus clearance, bets made on table games and video poker may only count for 20%, or even down to 5% of their actual amount.
Some low house edge games may be excluded completely; or you can find welcome bonuses which permit slots play only. This makes it very important to check the small print through, to know how much you need to bet and avoid losing your bonus by playing a prohibited game.
Reload Bonuses can be claimed once your welcome bonus is completed, this is a bonus matched to a new deposit. Often you can find online casinos with these offers running at regular times, for example every week or once a month. Other casinos may send you personal reload offers via e-mail.
Generally these work in the same way the welcome bonuses do, although there may be a smaller match percentage or the offers may be focused on certain types of game.
These are a type of reload bonus, or even a welcome bonus, where the player does not have to make any kind of deposit in order to get a bonus, thus the No-Deposit Bonus name. They are usually dependent on how much you play, and will come with high rollover requirements when you want to cash it out. Look out for the different clauses it may have in order to fully appreciate and use this bonus.
Casino VIP / Loyalty Programs
Many casino sites award comp points, or VIP points, as you play real money games. Aside from being used as an easy way to track bonuses, these are rewards in their own right and can later be traded for bonuses, cash, or used in the casino’s shop to buy merchandise.
Often you will find online casinos running tiered VIP Clubs. These have different levels you can achieve by collecting more points, thereby rewarding loyal play. Then the higher level you climb to, the more points you gain per bet, making it easier to hit the various VIP offers.
Free Spins and Playing Credit
Free Spins can be tied up with the sites’ welcome bonus or awarded separately, and allow you to try out certain slots. Your free spin offers will usually come with conditions which either limit wins, or mean you have to meet wagering requirements on any profits before you can cash out.
From time to time you can find online casinos offering free credit to try out other games – for example Live Dealer casino games. Again this may be as part of the welcome bonus, or awarded separately.
Mobile Casino Bonuses
With more and more players accessing online casino games through their smartphones and tablets, many sites have been offering mobile bonuses to encourage players to try out their mobile-friendly games.
This may be in the form of a reload bonus, free play or credit, or a boost to your VIP rewards. Such offers tend not to get a lot of coverage on the main webpage, so it is worth checking the casinos promotions page if you are thinking about logging in on via your mobile device.
Examples: Two Top Online Casino Bonuses
Bovada provides a clear choice for US casino players, with a long history in the industry and solid reputation. The Welcome Bonus is a 100% match worth up to $3000, with $2000 available for slots and $1000 for table games, this bonus can be taken over multiple deposits. Bovada also provides a rewards program, mobile bonus and regular reload offers – which are often themed around different games.
Meanwhile international players should check out the 888 Casino. New players are provided with free credit (with capped win limit), just for registering an account –if you like what you find you then then claim a 100% matched welcome bonus too. In addition to this, players on 888 can benefit from the VIP Club, different daily offers with reload bonuses and free spins, and special rewards for playing Live Casino games.