These days, no one joins a real money online gambling site unless they are getting a bonus for their troubles. It only makes sense. After all, with so many gambling sites offering them, why would you signup to one that doesn’t? But what are the best bonuses? Which ones work better for you as a player and what are the terms? In this guide to top online casino bonuses we aim to find out.
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Types of Real Money Casino Bonus
There are many different types of online casino bonus. Some of these are more common than others; some can be included together as “package bonuses” and some just won’t benefit you at all as a player. So, let’s take a look at what types of bonus you can expect to find.
Matched Deposit Bonus
This is the most common bonus and it often goes by the name “welcome bonus” or “new member bonus”. It will be displayed as a percentage amount and there will be a monetary limit. It all corresponds to how much you need to deposit in order to get a certain amount of money in reply. So, if the matched deposit bonus offers a maximum of $500 for 100%, then it means that you can deposit anything up to $500 to get the same amount of money as a bonus. And if you deposit more than $500, then you will get a maximum of $500 free.
These bonuses are better suited for bigger players, but there are a few things to watch out for. Firstly, make sure you’re getting at least 100%, as some offer less. Secondly, make sure there is a high maximum, and one that covers your deposit. Thirdly, check the play-through rate (discussed in more detail in the FAQs).
No Deposit Bonus
This is the most coveted of online casino bonuses. You will find people requesting “no deposit casino codes” and “no deposit promo codes” on countless forums and review sites. The problem is, they do not benefit everyone. A no deposit bonus basically rewards you with a bonus without you needing to make a deposit. In most cases, you don’t even need to input you credit card details or link to a PayPal account (find more details on our PayPal guide).
However, there is usually a play-through rate and the money is never more than $20 and rarely more than $10. As a result, they only really benefit low-limit, casual players. If you’re a high-roller, or just prefer to bet with hundred as opposed to tens, then you won’t get any benefit from these bonuses.
Free Spins Bonus
This is another bonus that always sounds better than it actually is. The casino offers hundreds of free spins, which allow you to play for free on certain slot machines. Sounds great, right? Well, there are a couple issues. Firstly, there is a sizable play-through rate. Secondly, and most importantly, the spins often have a very low value.
Although they are often overlooked, these bonuses are actually one of the best and in our mind they are essential for a good online casino. A loyalty bonus rewards you for regular play. It is the bonus that matters when all the others have faded away and it’s the only incentive you have to stick around even when your welcome bonus has gone. Not many casinos have these because most players are dazzled by the promise of a big welcome bonus and just don’t pay attention to these bonuses. However, the grinders and the high rollers do pay attention, and if you are a serious gambler then you should as well.
Best Casino Bonus
So, which bonus is best? Well, the truth is, it’s not an easy question to answer. There are several top online casino bonuses out there, but the “best” is entirely dependent on how you gamble and on how much you gamble, as well as several other factors. For instance, if you gamble in $10 and $20 amounts and never deposit more than $20 at a time, then a no deposit bonus will be best for you. If you spend this amount all of the time and only play slots, then a free spin bonus might be the best bet.
If you like to gamble a lot of money then you will probably be better off with a matched deposit bonus. If you’re a high roller gambling in the thousands or tens of thousands, then it’s all about the loyalty bonus. So, take a look at your deposits, take a look at the bonuses and work out from there which one will give you the best return for your money.
No Deposit Bonus Codes
These codes are widely available, but don’t bother with sites that just list codes. The majority of them do not work and they are there to try and tempt you into clicking on something you should not be clicking on. “No Deposit Bonus Codes” is a big keyword where these codes are concerned, and it’s one that many try to exploit.
As a site, it’s a good one to have, but as a player you need to avoid it. Instead, just search for keywords like, “Best No Deposit Bonuses” and even the title of this article, “Top Online Casino Bonuses”. The vaguer you are the better in this industry. That is counter intuitive, but it’s true.
Best Deposit Methods for Real Money Casino Bonuses
The method that you use to deposit rarely affects the bonus that you will receive. But there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, on Bitcoin gambling sites you can only use this cryptocurrency to pickup bonuses, and they rarely have anything else available. Some other sites will also reward you for using specific methods and will not give you a bonus for using others.
We have seen sites that offer big bonuses and then offer an extra 10% if you use a certain web wallet; we have seen sites that will give you nothing if you use bank transfers; and we have seen sites that will half your bonus if you use credit cards. There are many different rules and many different sites, so do your research, pay attention and you’ll be good.
Terms and Conditions: Your Rights
It’s frustrating when you don’t get a bonus that you were promised. We hear comments like this all of the time:
“I didn’t get my bonus, I’m reporting them to the regulator!”
“They didn’t pay me my bonus! The Gambling Commission will hear about this.”
“I’m complaining and quitting. They didn’t give me what I wanted!”
We have some bad news for you, because while this industry is tightly regulated, audited and licensed, there is a certain grey area when it comes to casino bonuses. You need to bear all of the following in mind:
The Gambling Commission are Useless
We all have the assumption that if something goes wrong, we can email the GC and they will put it right. That’s just not the case. We have worked closely with people who had serious issues that should have been cut and dry, and the GC made a pig’s ear out of them. Also, when you message them they tell you that it will take between 4 and 6 weeks to reply.
And that doesn’t apply just the once, that’s the case for every message you send. So, be prepared to wait a very long time. Because if you ever have to reiterate, to make an amendment or to reply to an email to clarify something that they misunderstood (which will happen) you could be adding 6 weeks to your case.
You’re Not Covered for Bonuses
We know what you’re thinking: “I don’t care about the wait. I’m prepared to wait to get a result”. Except, when it comes to bonuses, there will be no result. Same goes for customer support and many other things. That’s because you don’t have any right to a bonus. They are well within their rights to take it out from under you nose if they choose. That applies regardless of what you did to unlock it and what they promised you. The T's & C's back them up, and so does the law of the land.
The Commissions Don’t Want to Hear Your Complaint
So now you’re probably thinking, “I don’t care. They screwed me over and I want to complain”. Well, we have more bad news. The commissions don’t want to hear your complaint and they do nothing about them when you do complain. They insist that you complain to the casino But when you do, you will be told, “Thank you. We are dealing with it internally.” There is no finality. No conclusion. No satisfaction. Simply put, nothing will be done.
What You Should Do
If you have a complaint about a bonus or something else, then unleash it on the review sites, on forums, on social media and everywhere else. This is what hurts the casino the most and what they pay attention to the most.
Going From Nothing to a Fortune: The Ultimate Challenge
Believe it or not, it is possible to go from nothing to a small fortune on these gambling sites. You need a lot of luck and persistence, but it can be done. Just follow these steps:
- Create an Account: You need a web wallet or even a debit card that has no money on it but can be used to verify your details and transfer cash.
- Find no Deposit Bonuses: Do your research, collect as many as you can and verify your details if needed. But don’t deposit anything.
- Play Specific Games: Avoid slot machines and focus on low house-edge games of blackjack like Switch and Double Exposure. Play small amounts and burn through your bonuses this way.
- Move Money: Once you have won some money playing those games you can begin to move your money to your chosen banking method.
- Bigger Deposits: Find free spins bonuses and deposit the minimal amount. Use those free spins and then use your money on blackjack.
- Move Again: Move any profits back to your banking method.
- Even Bigger Deposits: Try your hand at matched deposit bonuses that offer 200%. Again, stick with blackjack and other high payout games.
The final step is the biggest, but if you can get over this then you stand a great chance of coming away with a lot of money. We have heard from gamblers who were able to win over $5,000 using this method. The problem is, it took them many hours of research and play, and in total they spent 6 months doing it.
FAQs About Real Money Bonuses
Are There High Roller Bonuses?
There are high roller bonuses. In most cases you will need to focus on specific sites. But you can also just email the casino in advance to let them know that you are a high roller and to ask if thy have any specific bonuses available to you. They understand that competition is high and that you can always just go elsewhere. They also want your money, as one high roller can be better than a thousand casual players.
So, in most cases they will be more than happy to help you out. You should avoid live chat and emails for this as you will get a much better response if you give them a ring. You can also just focus on online casinos that offer loyalty bonuses, as these are highly beneficial to high rollers. They will reward you every time you play, and because you’re spending big money, it means you can get more rewards.
Can I get Bonuses for my Mobile?
Not only do many top online casino bonuses work with your smartphone and tablet device, but there are also many bonuses that were created with these devices in mind. The most common mobile bonus is one that simply offers you free spins on a certain mobile slot machine. This is done to draw more attention to a casinos’ mobile software and to get more people playing on it. But you can also find matched deposit bonuses that only work when you use your mobile to deposit.
Where are the Best Bonuses?
New online casinos tend to have the best ones. They are competing in a very competitive industry, so they know that they have to do a lot to attract new players. As a result, you can always find the best bonuses on the newest casinos, especially if those casinos are attached to large brands. That’s why so many players search for the “newest online casino bonuses” and why you should do the same if you want the best bonuses.
You can find more information on these new sites on this site. So, take a look around, find the sites, claim the bonuses and start earning today.
So, the Gambling Commission Won’t Help me Get My Bonus?
Unfortunately not. As mentioned above, the terms and conditions cover the casinos and you will note something along the lines of, “Bonus is subject to approval and we serve the right to refuse certain players.” Most casinos will not try and trick you though. They offer bonuses for a reason and that reason is to get players into their site. They know that by refusing a bonus that player will likely never come back, so they just don’t do it.
What is a Play-through Rate?
The casinos want to stop you from making a deposit, getting your bonus and then withdrawing a profit. They also want to stop you from playing a few games, winning big and then taking all of your bonus money with you. So, they install something known as a “play-through rate”. This is basically an amount of times that you need to roll-over your bonus money before you can unlock it. From your point of view, it means you will need to risk thousands to withdraw hundreds. From their point of view, it means they can cancel out variance. This basically means they stand a better chance of winning.
Where are the Best Bonus Codes?
The best bonus codes can be found on the best review sites. However, they don’t always work. We mentioned this above for no deposit bonus codes and the same applies with all bonus codes across all real money online casinos. In most cases you are simply better off clicking an affiliate link so that you can see the promotions page directly.
When you click the link you should be able to see what kind of bonus is on offer, confirming what the affiliate site promised you. If you can’t see this then leave the affiliate link, visit the casino directly and look under their “promotions” page. If you can’t find anything there either, then there probably isn’t a bonus available and you should look elsewhere.
Can I Play Free Slot Games with Bonuses?
One of the popular banner ads of decades gone by featured a slot machine that invited you to “take a spin”. You didn't even need to leave the site you were on, and when you spun, you won! The only thing you needed to do was visit the site and collect your prize. Most of you will be smiling smugly at that, because you probably never fell for it. But many people did.
That was the sort of scam that thrived, because it offered something for nothing. In a section above we told you how it was possible to actually go from something to nothing. But there are no slots you can play for free that allow you to win real money. This is a question we get asked a lot from hopeful readers, and it’s just not possible. The closest you can get is to find a site that offers free spins without a deposit, but those are very rare.
Am I Always Guaranteed Casino Registration Bonuses?
Not at all. While they are very common, not all online casinos have them. Typically, the casinos that offer them and the casinos that offer the biggest ones are the ones in the most competitive markets. So, European casinos, Australian casinos, etc., On North American casinos however, you rarely find any bonuses. These are legal because they operate in a grey area and there is a lot of uncertainty.
They are rare, so casinos know that they just need to exist in order to attract players and to beat the competition. That means they rarely offer casino registration bonuses.
Will my Casino Registration Bonus be Unlocked Automatically?
For the most part, yes, but there are sites that do not release their bonuses automatically. We consider this to be a cheap, low-blow, as we’re convinced they do it to avoid handing out bonuses.
They know that most players expect real money bonuses to be handed out immediately, so they hide a clause in the terms and conditions that specifies that you have to manually enter the code during signup; that you have to email them after signup; that you have to use Live Chat to unlock it; or that you have to bet on certain games. That’s why you should always check the info beforehand, either through review and info sites like this, or through the terms and conditions.
There are many great real money bonuses out there, but as we have discovered over the course of this guide, not all is as it seems. You need to understand that you’re not always covered, that you won’t always find a bonus that suits you, and that you should read the terms and conditions. Still, even on the face of that, we would always recommend that you look for bonuses before you signup to a new casino.
With so many of them out there, it seems ridiculous that you would even consider signing up without in. In fact, with so many big bonuses, it’s amazing that an online casino would even consider not offering one.