CASINO BONUS EXPLAINED
Casino bonuses occasionally cause friction between players and online casinos. Above list is for Canadian dollars, for bitcoins see here.
Main reason for the friction is that players are not always aware of the limitations that come with bonuses. This is not always the players’ fault, as casinos are often not too keen on educating us players about the rules attached to each bonus.
However, all offers come with rules and limitations. They are NOT free casino money to do as you please with.
Most limitations have something to do with how and when you can cash out the bonus money. I’m sure you agree that it is understandable that the bonuses come with cash out limitations. If the casinos just handed out free money, they’d go out of business in a hurry.
So let’s see what kind of limitations the best and worst bonuses come with.
DEPOSIT MATCH-UP BONUSES
Casinos limit the sizes of their bonuses. No matter if you are getting a welcome bonus (the one you get when you first sign-up to a casino) or a retention bonus (offered for existing customers), the bonus always has some kind of a limit which is most often tied to the amount you are depositing.
These match-ups always show two things: match-up percentage and the maximum bonus size. A typical example is something like “100% up to $100” on your first deposit.
This means that the casino multiplies your deposit with the percentage shown to calculate the size of your bonus. So if the percentage is 100%, your bonus will be the size of your deposit.
Sometimes the percentages are a bit more difficult. Like “25% up to $100”. If you want to find out how big of a deposit you need for getting the biggest possible bonus, use this formula: “maximum bonus / the percentage * 100”.
So in our example the deposit for getting the largest bonus is: $100 / 25 * 100 = $400.
ROLLOVER / WAGERING REQUIREMENT
Most common limitation attached to bonus offers (especially welcome bonuses) is a rollover requirement.
Rollover requirement, which can also be called a wagering requirement or a play through requirement depending on the casino, dictates how many times the bonus money needs to be played with before in can be cashed out.
Most online casinos have a rollover requirement of 30 to 50.
Here is how a rollover requirement works:
Let’s say you get a bonus of $100 from a casino that has a 30x rollover. This means you need to wager 30 x $100 = $3000 before cashing out.
This sounds like a lot, but it’s less than you’d think. Since both winning and losing rounds, as well as playing with the winnings counts towards the limit, betting $3000 is no big deal. It’s 300 rounds of $10 slots spins for example.
Note that not all games count towards the requirement. This is called a game contribution limit.
GAME CONTRIBUTION LIMITS
When wagering towards rollover requirements are calculated, not all casino games are treated equally: some games contribute less than the full bet size towards the wagering requirements.
How much each game contributes towards playthrough requirements changes from casino to casino, but these are typical numbers (same as the ones at Microgaming casinos for example):
- Slots: 100%
- Casino Holdem: 50%
- Roulette: 10%
- Video poker: 10%
- Blackjack: 5%
- Blackjack Switch: 0%
When you play a game with a percentage smaller than 100%, your bet is multiplied by the percentage and the result is counted towards clearing your bonus.
For example using the above numbers a $20 bet on Roulette would contribute $20 * 10% = $20 * 0.1 = $2 towards clearing your bonus.
New casinos especially have strict game contribution rules. Some casinos go as far as pretty much exclude all games except for slots. This is the reason why the bonuses on our slots list are way better than the ones on our video poker or blackjack / roulette -list.
“FREE” CASINO MONEY
Occasionally you may see offers for “free” stuff at casinos – free spins or free casino money you get without depositing. It’s always healthy to be a bit skeptical when you see something like this.
Most of the time this no-deposit “free” money isn’t real money at all. Standard practice (for example at Mummy’s Gold Casino and Pokies.com) is that anything you happen to win with your free spins or free money is considered bonus money, which needs to clear by playing with real money before it can be cashed out. So in fact, the no-deposit offer is actually a dressed up normal deposit bonus.
It’s worth noting though that free spins are sometimes (rarely) actually free. For example, our free spins list’s star Guts offers free spins as part of it deposit bonus package and those spins are actually free real money spins with no strings of any kind attached.
LOYALTY & RETENTION BONUSES
In addition to normal casino bonuses, loyalty bonuses are an important consideration.to sign up bonuses.
Most casinos run a VIP-scheme, where your real money gaming accumulates VIP-points. Once you hit a certain number of points, the casino will consider you a VIP-player and starts offering you loyalty bonuses. Often these VIP-schemes are multi-level, so the more you play the better the retention bonuses the casino hands over to you.
Retention bonuses are usually smaller than sign-up bonuses. Terms & conditions of these offers are usually the same as other bonuses’ – casino’s don’t like writing their bonus policy more than once, so the same rules often apply to every single promotion they have.
Bonuses are not available forever. There is usually a time limit for both when you can get a bonus and how long you have to clear it.
Welcome bonuses are usually only available during your first week as a client of the casino.
Most casinos are quite relaxed about this limit: if you happen to spend the first week playing free games just for fun, you can contact customer support to get your bonus if you do decide to deposit. You are almost guaranteed to get the bonus, since after all the casino wants you playing with real money!
After you have received your bonus, you have a certain amount of time to reach its playthrough requirement. Normally you have 30 days to clear your bonus.
DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY (AND PLAY SLOTS)
You don’t really need to worry about the small print. As long as you remember that you can’t withdraw them in real Canadian dollars right away, you are golden.
If you want to pay any extra attention to the issue, make sure that you play a lot of slots when you get a bonus.
Slots are pretty much the gambling game bonuses were invented for. They always contribute 100% towards bonus requirements.