Casino bonuses are fantastic. They give online gamblers extra time at the tables and, most of all, more chances to win. They also work well to save the punter money in the long run, since they won’t need to deposit nearly as often!
Players love casino bonuses because they give the opportunity to try games they might not have previously considered for a reduced price and they can even make for entirely risk-free profits. It’s pretty clear that the opportunity to win is the main incentive to use casino bonuses, but which are the most lucrative? And which will save you the most money long-term?
No Deposit Bonuses
No deposit bonuses are up there with the most mathematically profitable bonuses around. The simple fact that the player doesn’t use any of their own money and takes a free opportunity for real-money profits means that they cannot have a negative expected value.
Whereas wagering requirements for deposit bonuses will often attempt to still give the house an edge (since the player’s own money is involved), this simply isn’t possible with a no deposit bonus. With zero chance of losing, it’s fair to say that these types of bonuses really are risk free.
That’s not to say they’re an untapped goldmine. Far from it. No deposit bonuses will often have some of the harshest wagering requirements around. Playthrough requirements, time restrictions, and even cash out limitations will all mean that you’re much more likely to lose with a no deposit bonus than you are to win.
Although you obviously can’t use the same no deposit bonus multiple times with the same operator, there is nothing to stop you trying your luck with all the iGaming venues that offer these bonus types. If you grind your way through 20, 30, or even 50 of these bonuses, your chances of winning become much greater! With an entirely risk-free shot at winning, it’s no surprise that no deposit bonuses are the most popular type of bonus.
Deposit bonuses are another firm favourite of casino operators and players alike. These do require that players use their own funds. Typically, a casino will match a first deposit up to a certain amount. Different percentage matches are common. These might be 50, 100, 200 percent, or even more.
Players depositing with £100 would receive £100 extra if the matched deposit bonus was 100 percent. The entire balance will usually be issued as “bonus money” rather than real money. Bonus money always has terms and conditions associated with its withdrawal. The player must satisfy these before their balance will become regular cash once again.
It’s All in the Small Print
Whereas a no deposit bonus will always provide a risk-free chance to win, deposit bonuses are a little different. A deposit bonus could be wildly profitable, or it could be all-but-certain to cost you your entire deposit. It’s all in the small print!
You see, all online casino bonuses have terms and conditions associated with their use. The popup upon which you saw the “£500 free cash” promotion might not detail these but there will be a link on there to a document fully explaining the bonus’s rules.
Although there are usually loads of distinct terms associated with a bonus, for the purposes of determining how profitable a promotion is, we only usually need to consider a few.
It’s really good practice to always make sure to always consult the terms and conditions thoroughly prior to claiming a bonus. Casinos can remove promotions from player’s accounts for breaking the rules, even by accident.
Easily the most important of the terms and conditions to look at when thinking about the profitability of promotion is the wagering requirement. This refers to the number of times you will need to bet your winnings from a promotion through eligible games before you can withdraw it.
Typically, the wagering requirement will be referred to as a number followed by an “X”. Common wagering requirements might be 10x, 20x, 30x, or even 100x.
The point of the wagering requirements is to force players to play games that favour the house. The casino hopes that by doing so the player will lose the bonus funds and it won’t need to pay out. This sounds sneaky, until you consider that tens or even hundreds of thousands of people might claim a particular promotion. If there was a high likelihood of the player winning from a promotion, the casino wouldn’t stay in business very long!
Certain games will be excluded from the wagering requirements too. Games with the lowest house edge, such as blackjack, or particularly high RTP slots will either contribute nothing at all or some tiny percentage.
When considering the wagering requirement of a casino bonus, the lowest number of playthroughs that you can complete using some low house edge game will be best. It’s pretty rare to find something like a 10x rollover requirement that you can use on a 97 percent RTP slot but they do exist!
Another method a casino will use to make it more difficult for the player to withdraw funds is by including a time limitation. Bonus funds might disappear after a set amount of time. It might be a few months, a week, a day, or even just a few hours.
The lower the time limit, the higher stakes a player will need to play. This invites a lot more variance and will usually result in them busting out long before they make it through however many rollovers are required.
Conversely, bonuses with long time restrictions are much more favourable. The perfect bonus would have favourable wagering requirements and a nice long period within which to satisfy them. The lower the bet you can make versus the size of your bank roll, the lower your variance will be. This will mean you are much more likely to get through the entire rollover without busting out.
Most bonuses will enforce a winnings cap. However, the difference between a large winnings cap and a smaller one is vast. Big limitations on bonuses will be in the thousands. They exist to protect the casino from utter ruin from a single lucky player. If the player won a progressive jackpot for example, perhaps the casino would only allow them to take £10,000 since the player didn’t even bet their own money.
Right at the other end of the spectrum are the kinds of winnings caps associated with no deposit bonuses. These will often be just £5, £10, or £20. Again, casinos aren’t too fond of paying out big – less so when the player hasn’t even made a deposit yet!
All other things being equal, the higher the winnings cap, the more lucrative the bonus. Winnings caps can also result in some interesting gameplay considerations. If the most you can possibly win from a bonus is £10, is there really any point in bloating a progressive jackpot prize pool if you would be forced to surrender all but a tiny percentage of the prize on completion anyway? Probably not.
The Perfect Bonus?
At the beginning of the online gambling revolution, there were plenty of highly lucrative casino bonuses. Players could deposit £500, receive £1,000 and play perfect strategy blackjack through £10,000 worth of hands, taking a healthy profit. Casinos soon wised up to this and it’s all but impossible to see such a generous promotion these days.
That said, the juicier bonuses are so much more profitable than stingier ones. With your new knowledge, you can now quickly look past the attention-grabbing popups into the terms and conditions. Check for low wagering requirements, high RTP eligible games, high winnings caps, and long time periods to complete it all in and start making the most of those bonuses today. Oh, and don’t forget to hit up a load of no deposit promotions too!