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Ultimate Guide to Online Casino Bonus

Author: Preston Davis | Updated: May 28, 2023

When it comes to online casinos, there’s no better way to boost your bankroll than with a bonus. Most UK Casinos offer bonuses worth hundreds or thousands! The best part? They’re free money you can use on any game on the site.

Making the most of these bonus offers can boost your bankroll and help to minimise the house edge.

Yet, casino bonuses can be difficult to wrap your head around. There are lots of different types of offers for UK players to choose from. This can make direct comparisons difficult. That’s not to mention all the specific terms and conditions for each offer in this ultimate guide to casino bonuses. This article will help you understand which ones are worth it for your gameplay style, so read on!

Casino Bonus Basics

Before we crack on with all the details, we need to ensure we understand the basics, namely, the types of casino bonuses you might encounter. All bonuses can be divided into two categories. These are welcome bonuses and bonuses for existing players:

Welcome Bonuses

Also called signup bonuses, a welcome bonus tends to be the best casino bonus a site offers. Their purpose is to draw new players to the site. They can only be claimed by new players that register for a new account. Note that you cannot legally make multiple accounts with anyone site. Check out our UK Gambling Laws page for more information.

There are many different types of casino bonus welcome offers. Examples include a no-deposit bonus, a deposit match bonus, a free spins bonus, and more! If you don’t know what these are yet, don’t worry. We walk you through all the different types of casino bonuses in a minute.

Casino Bonuses for Existing Players

All other promotional offers fall into this category. Anyone can claim these casino bonuses if they fulfil a specific requirement. This might be making a deposit, referring a friend, or reaching a certain tier in their rewards programme. Their purpose is to encourage player loyalty. The casino is trying to prevent losing valued customers to other gambling sites.

As with the welcome bonus, casino bonuses for existing players come in all shapes and sizes. You might get a deposit bonus for refunding your account or free spins on certain days of the week. We will walk you through some common promotions below. But always check out the promotions page on your chosen site to learn more!

Different Types of Casino Bonuses

All online casinos will offer a unique set of promotions. Some will appear wacky and weird to appear interesting, while others will stick to more conventional bonus types. As such, it would be impossible to cover every conceivable promotion! Yet most casino bonuses will fall into one of the below categories. Understand these, and you should be well on becoming a bonus pro.

No Deposit Bonus

No deposit bonuses are only for new players. Where available, they usually make up part of the welcome bonus. As the name suggests, these bonuses are awarded to players for registering an account. No deposit of any amount is required. It is the casino’s way of saying thank you for joining. You can use the bonus as a “taster” to see what the site is about before playing for real money.

The beauty of these bonuses is that any winnings off the back of the deposit bonus are yours to keep. This means you can make a profit without risking your own money. With such a great setup, no-deposit bonuses are among the most sought-after promotions.

Yet they can cause the casino to lose a lot of money. This is great for us, but not great for them! As such, no-deposit casino bonuses are rare. They will only ever award free spins or a minimal cash prize when they are available.

Matched Deposit Bonus

A matched deposit bonus is a common promotion. The casino gives you a percentage of the deposit as bonus funds. As such, you will always see a deposit bonus as a percentage. The casino will also always state an upper limit. For example, “100% match up to £100” or “20% match up to £1,000”.

To illustrate this better, we will walk through the above examples. To claim the maximum bonus of £100 for the first offer, you must deposit £100. This is because the casino matches your deposit 100%. For the second offer, the £1,000 might seem appealing. But at a 20% match, you’d need to deposit £5,000 to claim the maximum bonus if you can afford this, then great! But if you only have £100, the first offer would be more lucrative. Depositing £100 and claiming the second offer would only equal a £20 bonus.

Deposit bonuses often make up part of the welcome bonus. If claiming a deposit match welcome bonus, it will be applied to your 1st deposit on the site. Sometimes, sites will spread the offer over your first two or three deposits.

A deposit bonus might also be available for existing players as a “reload bonus”. In other words, you get rewarded for refunding your account.

Free Spins Bonus

Free spins are pretty self-explanatory. They are bonus spins you can use on an online slot game of the casino’s choosing. The site often gives you free spins for new slot titles or any games they promote. The casino bonus T&Cs will always state how many free spins you get and what game they are redeemable on.

The free spins work as if you were playing for real money. If you hit winning symbols, then you receive a payout. If you clear the wagering requirements, the free spins winnings are yours. However, the outcome of the slots is down to change. Whether you’ll get bonus winnings from your free spins is entirely down to luck.

Online casinos award free spins for all types of reasons. They are a standard no-deposit bonus given as part of the welcome bonus for new customers.

Free Money Bonus

free money bonus (also called a free cash bonus) is a fixed bonus. Sometimes, a small free cash bonus is given as a no-deposit bonus. These offers are usually between £5 and £15 in value. Still, they are arguably the most lucrative of all casino bonuses. You are guaranteed cash funds without risking any of your own money.

However, you must deposit more often than not to claim a free money bonus. Unlike a deposit match bonus, the bonus amount won’t change regardless of your deposit size. For example, a site might run the casino bonus “Deposit £20, get £10 free”. To receive the bonus money, you need to make a minimum deposit of £20. You can deposit more than £20, but you will only receive a maximum of £10 in bonus money.

Loyalty Rewards Bonuses

Many online casinos in the UK run loyalty rewards programmes. These generally follow the same tiered setup. Players earn loyalty points with every real money wager they make. The more loyalty points you have, the higher your tier. You can work your way up through the different tiers. The higher tiers reap the best rewards, meaning the most loyal players get the best benefits. The more money you put in, the more you get back.

One of the things you unlock as you progress up the levels is exclusive casino bonuses. The bonus money on offer and the bonuses available vary greatly. They gradually increase in generosity the higher up the loyalty ladder you climb. At the lower levels, you might be given free spins. As you progress, deposit bonuses, no-deposit bonuses, cashback bonuses, and cash rewards become available.

Understanding Bonus Terms & Conditions

Now we know the different types of casino bonuses; we need to learn to read the T&Cs. Always read the bonus terms and conditions before claiming any casino bonus. We cannot stress this enough! If you don’t know what you’re signing up for, you could forfeit your bonus without meaning to. In the below sections, we discuss specific things you should look for.

Casino Bonus Wagering Requirements

Did you know you cannot withdraw winnings from a casino bonus immediately? This is all down to wagering requirements. Wagering requirements are the essential part of the terms and conditions!

Almost all casino bonuses come with wagering requirements. This includes deposit bonuses, free spins, reload bonuses, and more. They stop players from withdrawing their bonus winnings immediately after claiming an offer. In other words, they are in place to protect the casino. But if you don’t understand them, it can be a nasty shock.

How Wagering Requirements Work

Wagering requirements will always be expressed as a multiplier. For example, “30x wagering requirements” or “25x wagering requirements”. You need to multiply the casino bonus amount by this figure to determine how much you need to spend. This multiplier applies to only your bonus funds, not the qualifying deposit.

For example, to clear a £10 online casino bonus with 30x wagering requirements, you’d need to make £300 of bets. You cannot profit from the bonus until you have wagered this amount. As such, bonuses with lower wagering requirements are much more profitable. This is because they’re much easier to clear.

Time Limits for Wagering Requirements

It is also worth paying attention to any time restrictions. Most casinos need you to meet the wagering requirements within a certain period. Around 30 tends to be the industry standard, but online casinos can choose any time. Clear your casino bonus winnings within this time frame to withdraw them as cash.

You should also be aware that some casino games won’t contribute to the wagering requirements. Others will count only partially towards them. In most cases, it is exclusively slots that contribute 100%. Bet £100 on slots; you’ll clear £100 of the wagering requirements. Yet many table games usually have lower contributions.

For example, online blackjack might only account for 10%. You can still play this game, but betting £100 would only clear £10. Slot games are usually the way to go if you want to clear your bonus quickly.

Other General Terms & Conditions

More general T&Cs apply to all casino bonus offers. This includes the value of the casino bonus and how long it is valid. Other things you should look for include the following:

Qualifying Deposit Amount

For all deposit bonuses, a minimum deposit always applies. It is usually around a £20 deposit, but this depends on the site you’re using. Always check the minimum deposit before funding your account if claiming a welcome bonus. These bonuses are only valid on your first deposit. If your first deposit doesn’t qualify, you’ll miss out.

Accepted Payment Methods

Sometimes, an online casino will restrict your payment methods when claiming a deposit bonus. For example, you might have to use a debit card rather than eWallets. Check that the casino bonus is valid using your preferred payment method. If not, do you have an accepted method available? Use this instead so you can still claim the bonus money.

Casino Games Restrictions

Some casinos also impose game restrictions. This prevents you from using the bonus on all casino games. For free spins, this is obvious—you can only claim the offer on specific online slot games. But the same is true for other casino bonus types.

For example, some UK casinos won’t allow you to spend your bonus playing live casino games. You might forfeit your bonus money if you play casino games that are not allowed.

Max Bet for Casino Bonuses

If you have an active bonus, beware of the max bet limits. In most cases, you can only bet a maximum of £5 at a time when clearing the wagering requirements. If you are still clearing your free spins winnings or bonus balance, stick to the max bet. If you don’t, you could lose your casino bonus.

Maximum Winnings Available

There is always a cap on the bonus amount you can receive. For a casino deposit bonus, this is usually made clear. The deposit bonus will always have an “up to” figure, which is the maximum you can claim. The best casino bonus will have the highest value for the lowest input.

However, maximum winnings also apply to free spins. This is where players get caught out! You won’t win this much if you hit the jackpot when using your bonus spins. You’ll only win up to the maximum free spins winnings per the T&Cs.

Game weightings

Although it may be challenging to determine if a bonus is worth taking, you can often find this information by reading the terms and conditions of the offer. For example, some casino games may be prohibited entirely while others only count at a reduced rate.

For example, blackjack and roulette have a lower house edge than slots. More plainly, if you play blackjack or roulette instead of slot games, the casino will make less money from you in time. Playing games where the house advantage is lessened gives you a higher chance of finishing the offer with some of the bonus still available. To attempt to halt this practice, casinos include phrases like this:

“Roulette counts 5% towards the wagering requirement” 

“Blackjack counts 10% towards the wagering requirement”

This means that when the casino says there is a 20 times rollover on the combined deposit and bonus, it is much higher when the bonus is played on these games.

For example, if you only count blackjack as 10%, every £10 played on blackjack would only count as £1 towards the rollover.

With roulette, you should wager at least double that amount, so £20 for every 1 pound to count towards the rollover. The total amount needed on a £100 deposit would be an incredibly large sum of either £20,000 if played solely on blackjack or an astounding £40K when betting roulette.

Some casinos will go as far as to ban these games permanently whenever you get a bonus. Take care not to disobey this rule; even if you play £1 on a banned game by mistake and happen to win big, the casino could reclaim your earnings, citing that it goes against their rules.

Household Restrictions

Most casinos will have terms along the lines of the following: 

“This bonus is limited to one per household or shared house/IP address.”

This means You’re the only one who can participate in this bonus–not your partner or other family members living under the same roof. And if you try to access the bonus from a friend’s house using their Wi-Fi, it won’t work because casinos crosscheck IP addresses too. So basically, don’t have multiple people from one household participate in the same bonus.

How to Claim Online Casino Bonuses

Learning about online casino bonuses is challenging, but claiming them is easy!

The best casino bonuses are automatically applied to any player that makes a qualifying deposit. This means you don’t need to do anything to claim it. Create an account, make your first deposit, and receive the casino bonus. If you’re claiming a welcome bonus, most work this way.

In other cases, you will need to input a bonus code. This will usually be displayed in the bonus advertisement. Check your emails if you are claiming an exclusive offer, such as a loyalty bonus. You might have a unique bonus code you need to enter that can be found here.

Always check the online casino bonus terms and conditions even if you don’t see a bonus code. You don’t want to miss out on a promotion for not checking! When using a bonus code, enter it when making your deposit on the site. After funding your account, the bonus credit will be available for you to use.

FAQs

What exactly are online casino bonuses?

Online casino bonuses are incentives offered to players by online casinos in the form of free money or extra spins that can be used to play a variety of casino games. The bonuses are designed to attract and retain players by providing them with the opportunity to boost their bankrolls.

What kinds of online casino bonuses are available to players in the United Kingdom?

Welcome bonuses, no deposit bonuses, deposit bonuses, cashback bonuses, loyalty bonuses, and free spins bonuses are all available to UK players. Each bonus has its own set of terms and conditions, which vary from casino to casino.

How do I get a casino bonus online?

To claim an online casino bonus, you must first register with the casino that is providing the bonus. Following registration, you will be prompted to enter a bonus code or opt-in to receive the bonus. You may also be required to make a deposit or meet certain wagering requirements in order to activate the bonus.

Is it true that online casino bonuses are completely free?

Although online casino bonuses are frequently advertised as free, there are frequently terms and conditions that must be met before the bonus can be claimed. Wagering requirements, minimum deposit amounts, game restrictions, and time limits are all examples of terms that can affect the value of a bonus.

How do I determine whether an online casino bonus is worthwhile?

Consider the bonus's terms and conditions, such as wagering requirements, game restrictions, and time limits, when determining whether an online casino bonus is worthwhile. To ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck, compare the bonus to other offers available at various online casinos.

Can I cash out my online casino bonus winnings?

After meeting the wagering requirements and other terms and conditions, you can usually withdraw your winnings from an online casino bonus. However, some bonuses may have withdrawal limits or other restrictions that limit your ability to cash out your winnings.

What characteristics should I look for in an online casino bonus?

Consider bonus size, wagering requirements, game restrictions, and time limits when evaluating online casino bonuses. Look for bonuses from reputable online casinos with a history of fair play and prompt payouts. You should also read reviews and seek advice from other players to ensure that you are choosing the best bonus for your needs.

Preston Davis is a gambling writer based in London. He's always on the lookout for new Online casinos, bonuses, and games to write about - so you can be sure he's on top of any news as soon as it breaks. Preston takes his work seriously but likes to have fun too - which is why he thoroughly tests everything he reviews before giving his final verdict. Preston enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children when he's not writing or playing games.