Ultimate Guide to Online Casino Bonuses

Ultimate Guide to Online Casino Bonuses

Casino bonuses and promotions are one of the most exciting aspects of an online casino. In one way or another, they give you free funds to play with. Some of the best UK casinos will offer bonuses worth hundreds or thousands of pounds! Making the most of these 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 terms and conditions which are specific for each offer. But that’s where we come in. In this ultimate guide to casino bonuses, we teach you everything.

Casino Bonus Basics

Before we crack on with all the details, we need to make sure we understand the basics. Namely, understanding the types of casino bonuses you might come across. 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 bonuses that a site will offer. 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 more than one account 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. These casino bonuses can be claimed by anyone, so long as they fulfill 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 find out more!

Different Types of Casino Bonus

All online casinos will offer a unique set of promotions. Some of these will back wacky and weird to appear interesting. Others will stick to more conventional bonus types. As such, it would be impossible for us 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 your way to 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 any money of your own. With such a great setup, no deposit bonuses are one of 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. When they are available, they will only ever award free spins or a very small cash prize.

Matched Deposit Bonus

A matched deposit bonus is a common promotion players receive when depositing. The casino gives you a percentage of the deposit amount back as bonus funds. As such, you will always see a deposit bonus expressed 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 are going to walk through the above examples. To claim the maximum bonus of £100 for the first offer, you need to deposit £100. This is because the casino is matching 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 to you. 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 on your 1st deposit on the site. In some cases, sites will spread the offer over your first two or three deposits.

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

Free Spins Bonus

Free spins are pretty self-explanatory. They are bonus spins that you can use on an online slot game of the casino’s choosing. Often, the site will give you free spins for new slot titles or any games they are promoting. 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 the same as if you were playing for real money. If you hit winning symbols then you receive a payout. The free spins winnings are yours to keep, as long as you clear the wagering requirements. 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 common no deposit bonus given as part of the welcome bonus for new customers.

Free Money Bonus

A free money bonus (also called a free cash bonus) is a bonus of a fixed amount. In some cases, 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, more often than not, you will need to deposit to claim a free money bonus. Unlike a deposit match bonus, the bonus amount won’t change regardless of how big your deposit is. 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 still only receive a maximum of £10 in bonus money regardless.

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 the tier you sit in. 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. Put simply, 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 type of 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 even 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 walk through some of the specific things you should look for.

Casino Bonus Wagering Requirements

Did you know you cannot withdraw winnings from a casino bonus right away? This is all down to wagering requirements. Wagering requirements are the most important 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 come as 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 times 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 as well.

For example, to clear a £10 online casino bonus with 30x wagering requirements, you’d need to make £300 of bets. Until you have wagered this amount, you cannot profit from the bonus. 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 length of time. Clear your casino bonus winnings within this timeframe to withdraw them as cash.

Wagering Requirements Game Restrictions

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 and 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. If you want to clear your bonus as fast as possible, slot games are usually the way to go.

Other General Terms & Conditions

More general T&Cs apply to all casino bonus offers. This includes things like 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 required, but this depends on the site that you’re using. If claiming a welcome bonus, always check the minimum deposit before funding your account. These bonuses are only valid on your 1st deposit. If your 1st deposit doesn’t qualify, you’ll end up missing out.

Accepted Payment Methods

In some cases, an online casino will restrict the payment methods you can use 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. If you play any casino games that are not allowed, you might end up forfeiting your casino bonus money.

Max Bet for Casino Bonuses

If you have an active bonus, beware of the max bet limits that apply. In most cases, you are only allowed to 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, ensure you 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! If you hit the jackpot when using your bonus spins, you won’t win this much. You’ll only win up to the max free spins winnings as per the T&Cs.

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. Simply create an account, make your first deposit, and you’ll receive the casino bonus. If you’re claiming a welcome bonus, most work in this way.

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

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