Online Casino Bonuses Explained

Casino bonuses can be a profitable and generous freebie but in my experience the best casino bonuses are offered by casinos powered by the 'big 3 casino software companies' (Microgaming, Playtech, Cryptologic). Click here to find out more about these software providers.

However, you'll find some subtle differences in the bonus offers from casino to casino (so make sure you pick the one suited to your gaming and experience). And remember that if a bonus offer seems too good to be true it usually is and could be an indication of an unsafe casino, so be careful!

Bonus Tip

Many online gamers split their budget between several casinos, meaning they can benefit from multiple bonus offers. I personally have accounts with Betway Casino, UK Casino Club and Captain Cooks Casino in addition to a few more which I occasionally play if they have good offers or new games not available at my core casinos.

When you factor in all the sign-up bonuses, monthly bonuses and loyalty bonuses this strategy has real kudos. Just split your gaming budget between each casino to make sure you get x3 the action without extra expense.

Casino bonus review

Depending on your choice of casino, you'll find several key bonus offers and features. Scroll down to check them out before you jump straight in to bank the free cash!

'Deposit' Bonuses

Deposit casino bonuses offer gamers free cash based 100% on their deposits (such as 'deposit up to £100 with your first deposit and get £100 free'). The best deposit bonuses have a 'tiered' style meaning you can continue to get an array of bonus spins and free cash with multiple deposits.

Advantages of 'deposit bonuses'
- Instant bonus cash winnings (great for experienced gamers or gamers who know they will be playing regularly)
- High, guaranteed bonus reward levels (no need to win to bank up to £1000 in free bonus money)

Dis-advantages of deposit bonuses
- No free 'real money' gaming session

'No-deposit' Bonuses

No deposit casino bonuses offer you a risk-free trial of genuine casino games, complete with a free bonus credit bank and usually an 'against the clock' style gaming sessions. With luck and skill you get the the chance to convert your credits into real winnings (often between £20 and £100).

Advantages of 'no-deposit' bonuses
- Zero risk for new gamers (great for trialling the casino before you deposit)
- No deposit needed to start the bonus
- Only deposit if you win
- Good for novice gamers/anyone new to online casinos

Dis-advantages of no-deposit bonuses
- You must win during the bonus session to receive the full bonus
- You need to make a deposit to access your winnings after the bonus session

Bonus Wagering requirements

All online casino bonus offers have in-built wagering requirements. Essentially, these bonus feature are not designed to trick you out of money, instead they are simply there to make sure both the casino and gamer has a chance to win.

In-game bonus wagering requirements
- Casino bonus gaming sessions frequently contain a 'minimum bet' limit. For example, the terms of the bonus offer may be, 'Place over 500 bets during the bonus session to activate your winnings'. Essentially the minimum bet limit simply prevents gamers from placing big bets on Red or Black at roulette, which would almost guarantee success every time!

Bonus winning withdrawal requirements
- Once you've banked the bonus cash (with a little luck, strategy or skill) you can't simply click 'withdraw' and scoop the cash! In an ideal world maybe but this would mean you could literally win £100 whenever you liked, with zero risk! Instead, you'll usually be required to meet one or two requirements:
- Make a deposit (for example, deposit £50). Once you've made the required deposit amount, your bonus winnings will be credited to your account.
- Play your bonus cash through a certain volume of bets (for example, x30 your bonus winnings). So, if you won £50 during the bonus session, you'd need to wager 30 x 50 = £1500 in bets. This may sound like a lot, but most gamers place up to 100 bets per session, meaning you can quickly achieve the target. With a little luck, strategy and logic you'll be able to cash out your deposit and game risk-free with the casino bonus cash.

Bonus Gaming limitations

Most casino bonuses have certain restrictions concerning both the games available, the maximum amount you can win and the volume and wagering level playable.

Max bet value
- Many casinos limit the max bet amount playable with bonus cash. Essentially, this prevents players from getting lucky with a single bet!

Betting volume
- Most free-play casino bonuses require you to place a certain volume of bets with the bonus cash, before you can claim your winnings.

Game availability
- Bonus sessions are often played in mini-casinos, offering a smaller selection of games than the full casino lounge (note: a good casino bonus will offer you real games available in the main casino and a range of table games, video slots and fruit machines)

Game restrictions
- Bonus winnings are not limitless and you can not strike huge jackpot wins. Check the small print on casino bonuses to see the max available win amount.

Play-through limit
- Whether you opt for a deposit bonus or free bonus gaming sessions when you sign-up to a casino you're not allowed to simply scoop the cash and withdraw instantly. Most casinos require you to play your bonus winnings through a pre-defined volume of gaming (known as 'play throughs'). Note: some games have higher play-through values than others, so check the terms and conditions whenever you snap up a new casino bonus.

Max bonus win levels

Thus far I'm yet to find an online casino with a bonus reward that is 'un-limited'. For example the biggest payout restriction is with the progressive jackpots, which aren't available to bonus gamers! However, most reputable casinos offer the chance to win up to £100 during timed bonus sessions, and cumulative deposit bonuses which can be worth anything from 100.00 to 1000.00.

Top Raking Bonus Recommendations

Betway Casino Bonus *****

Betway Casino offers gamers the chance to scoop up a deluxe $1000.00 in deposit match bonuses and rewards. If you're planning on playing regularly with the goal of becoming an intermediate gamer within a few months then this is one of the web's most premium bonus offers. The bonus contains a first deposit 100% match bonus of up to $250 with your first deposit, a 25% match bonus up to $250 free with your second deposit and 50% with your third deposit of up to $500. The Betway Casino Bonus has a 50x the bonus amount play-through requirement.

UK Casino Club Bonus ****

UK Casino Club offers players a $700 bonus spread over the first five deposits. You will receive a 100% match bonus up to $100 on your first deposit; a 25% Match Bonus up to $100 on your second deposit, 10% match up to $200 on your third, 25% on your deposit of up to $200 on your fourth and on your fifth deposit you will get a 100% match up to $100.

Captain Cooks Casino Bonus ****

Captain Cooks Casino offers players a $500 Free Play Bonus and 1 hour free play to win! After the hour is up you get to keep whatever you win provided it is $20 or more over your initial $500. And if you don't win anything you'll spin the wheel of chance to determine what bonus you get.

Long-term 'Loyalty Bonuses'

Signing-up to a few new online casinos can deliver hundreds (even thousands) in free cash rewards. However whether you strike it lucky and max-out your free wins, or are less fortunate the glamour of the sign-up bonus period doesn't last forever (although with the latest Spin Palace deposit bonus, your final reward is after 1 year of gaming!).

So does this mean you should frequently search for new online casinos to play, in search of more freebies? Well while I'm not against being on the look-out for genuinely hot casino bonus offers, it makes much more sense to take a look at the bonus incentives offered to long-term gamers at some of the top web casinos. In fact, a high-class casino loyalty scheme can offer significantly higher reward levels than sign-up bonuses.

Casino Loyalty Clubs

Deluxe online casinos have "free access" VIP Loyalty Clubs and the top websites will even automate your entry into the clubs, as soon as you download and register your account.

Essentially whenever you game, your earn points based on your wager size and volume. Loyalty Clubs traditionally contain tiers of reward, meaning as you game more, you progress through the levels to gain higher levels of reward for example...

- Bronze 50 points per 100.00 wagered
- Silver 60 points per 100.00 wagered
- Gold 65 points per 100.00 wagered
- Diamond 70 points per 100.00 wagered
- Platinum 75 points per 100.00 wagered

Once you've built-up a bonus bank of points you can redeem them for real bonus cash funds. In effect, although I play at multiple online casinos, I tend to focus the bulk of my gaming volume on as few as 3 casinos, to ensure I benefit from the free credits 'to the max'. Whether you plan on gaming with 100 bets per week or 1000 plus you can instantly start benefiting from loyalty bonuses.

Learn more on how to claim your bonus at these casinos now.