Imagine going to Las Vegas for the first time and walking down The Strip – how do you decide which casino you’re going to enter? Maybe you recognize a name, maybe you like the colors or the theme, or maybe you’re looking for a spot that offers tons of different gambling options for you to choose from. In short, there are tons of factors that go into a decision about where you stop and play.
You also have the same choices with online casinos because most of them have a lot of the same games, are members of the same jackpot network, and offer mostly the same lines in their sportsbooks. Land-based operators can attract players with free hotel rooms, free buffets, and free limousine rides but on the internet they can’t offer such inducements. Therefore, one of the only tools in their box is to try to lure new players through their virtual doors with bonuses, which are straight-up cash incentives for signing up and depositing with them.
Best Casino Bonuses
Now that we’ve established that every operator is going to have tons of different offers to sort through, let’s examine what factors contribute to the best casino bonuses and what you should be looking for when shopping around. Surprisingly, it’s actually not that easy to figure out because usually the terms and conditions are buried deep inside the website.
The first thing anyone’s going to notice is the size of the bonus, specifically since the percentage of the offer is always in such large print. However, don’t be fooled by big numbers and make sure to read the section below to see how these are manipulated by the House.
The most common way to make you think that you’re getting more than you actually are is to include a maximum amount on the bonus, which ensures that the operator doesn’t expose themselves to too much risk. The more money they give away, the more money they can lose. So the advertisement will sometimes have “500%” in large font and “up to $100” in much smaller font. This technically isn’t “underhanded” but it is slightly misleading.
The average max is around $500 to $1,000, but the range of denominations is vast and can start at as little as $100 and go up to as high as $5,000 at some places. However, higher maximums are usually guarded by another little condition that the House places on them: time limits. Having a deadline by which players have to use the entire bonus amount has been getting a lot more popular in recent years, and some operators have time limits that are measured in days, not months. Again, the range is wide, with one of the longest deadlines available being 3 months after your first deposit, and the shortest being 48 hours after.
Nearly every gambling website in the world offers what is known as a “Welcome Bonus” that is given to new accounts to entice players to try out their games and the operation as a whole. These offers are usually the most confusing because as mentioned above, they can come in many different forms and will always have different percentages, requirements, and terms and conditions, so you should know exactly what you’re getting into before giving depositing with them for the first time.
The first thing anyone’s going to notice is the size of the bonus, specifically since the percentage of the offer is always in such large print. It will be based on the amount of your first real money deposit with them, ensuring that all players are rewarded fairly, with the average being around a 200% match. That said, you can definitely find offers as high as 500% and as low as 25% – it all depends on the operator and which part of the casino you’d like to play in.
Yes, the category of games you want to play will determine the percentage you get because each one has specific odds and generates different levels of revenue for the House. This is why a slots bonus is always going to give players the most free money: the return to the operator is high and they make a lot more money off of these machines. Therefore, they’re more than happy to give out large match offers to slots players since the lion’s share of the money will be returned to them over time.
Whenever you’re seated at table games like blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, or Let It Ride, the odds are much better to the player than slot machines so the operator’s bonuses for these types of games are almost always lower. In addition, if you’ve been playing a certain game for a while you’ll know all of the rules and probably have an optimal strategy that you employ – obviously meaning that you’ll lose much less than you would spinning on one-armed bandits, which have outcomes that are totally random.
Extending the logic above, it’s easy to see why Sportsbook Bonuses are always going to be the smallest ones offered at online casinos because players who are knowledgable about sports and know how to bet them can win a lot of money. There’s no way that lines managers want to give these people an even bigger bankroll to help them take down the House, so sports offers are usually kept to a minimum.
Once an operator has your registered as a player in their system they certainly don’t want you to wander off and go play somewhere else, which is why they’ll offer their customers a “Reload Bonus” if they come back after the first time and deposit again. They want to keep you now that they have you because they know full well that it costs them a lot more to find a new player than it does to keep a current player.
Just like a welcome bonus, a reload will usually be based on the games that you want to use it for and the money will be locked into that channel. Terms and conditions will vary.
Don’t think that you’ll be able to just run off with the loot because to prevent gamblers from signing up for a new account, depositing, then immediately withdrawing and pocketing the bonus, casinos always institute wagering requirements before the free money is released. This requirement is referred to as a “rollover” in the online gambling industry and the specifics change from place to place.
Since there is so little to differentiate casinos among “window shoppers”, increasingly attractive bonuses were offered to stand out in the frenzied competition for new players. In the early days of Internet gambling it did not take long for sharp players to realize that there was a profit to be made simply by opening an account, grinding out play to meet the wagering requirements at a game like blackjack (with a low house edge), collecting the bonus, and then simply moving on to the next casino – a practice known as “bonus hunting“.
The online operators quickly adjusted their offerings to combat these Bonus Bandits and they became tied to games more favorable to the house, such as slots, and the requirement to clear the bonus was sometimes raised up to 40 times the deposit or more. The same restrictions are now applied to bonuses to all players, not to mention the qualifications for most loyalty programs.
How to Get the Best Online Casino Bonuses
There’s one simple way to always get the best online casino bonuses and that’s to have multiple accounts up and ready to go. The reason for this is that many operators have flash promotions or crazy offers that are only good for the same day that they’re announced and sometimes it can take a few days to open up a new account if there’s an issue. And if you don’t have an account in good standing, you obviously can’t cash in on the promo.
Occasionally fraud teams will want to ask a few questions to make sure that you’re not stealing anyone’s identity, or perhaps you’re trying to sign up through public Wi-Fi and get flagged for attempting to open up a duplicate account, or any of the tons of other little things that can cause delays. It’s absolutely free to register accounts so it totally make sense to take a few minutes one day and open up a bunch so you have the freedom to play where you want and when you want.
Failing that, check back to this website often to see what our various partners are promoting: it’s a surefire way to stay in the loop. Just read our section detailing online casino bonus news and you’ll always end up with the best offers out there.