General / There’s Always a Catch: Here’s Why You Need to Understand the Way Casino Bonuses Work

There’s Always a Catch: Here’s Why You Need to Understand the Way Casino Bonuses Work

Updated on August 31, 2022 | by Alex Smith

Casino bonuses

Ready to claim that bonus and try your luck at that online casino? Slow down there, partner. Before diving in, you need to make sure you understand exactly what you’re in for. Because unlike freebie groups like Freecycle, casino bonuses come with some T&Cs attached that might surprise you.

Types of Bonuses

There are a variety of different bonuses available to online casino players. It can pay to choose carefully if you have different welcome bonuses on offer since you’re (generally) only able to pick one welcome bonus – just once – on signup. Of course, if it’s not a welcome bonus, and simply for returning players, the terms may be different – you might be able to claim multiple bonuses at once. Here are the most common types of bonuses you’ll encounter at online casinos.

No Deposit Bonus

A no-deposit bonus is a specific type of bonus where you don’t have to deposit funds into a casino – you can play straight away. This typically comes in a dollar amount, for example, $100. 

Percentage Match Bonus

This is the opposite of a no-deposit bonus. With this bonus, you will receive extra funds based on the percentage of the money you deposit. At some casinos, this will happen multiple times, sometimes on a sliding scale. For instance, your first deposit may have a 150% match bonus, your second bonus might be 75%, and your third and fourth deposits could be 25%. If you’re depositing $100 each time, this adds up to $275 in free money at the casino.

Free Spins Bonus

A free spins bonus is where you get free spins on the slots instead of free money. This could be 10, 20, or 50 free spins – or whatever amount the casino decides to give you. It could be a no-deposit bonus, or it may be a bonus for returning players who haven’t played in a while or people who deposit more than X amount.

The Catches

Getting something for free usually comes with a catch.

You need to remember that after all, online casinos are businesses first and foremost. And a business’ main aim is to make a profit. So while it’s always great to play towards a potential win, it’s also good to keep in mind that you won’t be pocketing any moolah as easily as you might wish. That’s why you should always play for the sole purpose of having fun, not as some money-making endeavor. In fact, one of the most common mistakes players make when trying to maximize a no-deposit bonus is thinking whatever balance is credited to one’s account is instantly withdrawable. If only life were that simple. The sad reality is, that there’s no such thing as free or easy money.

Here are the most common catches behind casino bonuses.

Limited Games You Can Use Your Bonus On

In casino-land, games are governed by the Return to Player (RTP) percentage. If a casino lists an RTP of 97% on a game, that means as the amount of play tends to infinity, the player will get back 97c on the dollar – the house edge is just 3%. 

It’s unlikely you’ll find games with a very high RTP on the list of games you can spend your bonus on. Casinos also usually don’t allow you to spend your bonus on games where there can be a degree of skill involved, for example, poker.

In fact, for many bonuses, you might find that you can only use them on one or two games at the casino, which can aggravate some players!

Limited Deposit Amounts for Percentage Bonuses

Have a percentage match bonus of 1000% and think, “Hot damn, I’ll throw down $5000 on it!”? Think again. For percentage match bonuses, you can be limited by the maximum deposit amounts that the casino has put into place. If you’re keen to get the most out of this bonus (and understand the terms of using it!), you can deposit the maximum.  

A Steep Wagering Requirement

See that 60x wagering requirement? That means that if you’re given $100 as a bonus, you’ll need to bet a total of 60 x 100 = $6000 before you are able to claim any winnings from the bonus used. Ouch. Hope you’ve won big!

A Lower RTP After a Promotional Period

Oftentimes, new games are set with a high RTP to encourage users to play the game. If it’s allowable within jurisdictional law, a casino can then reduce the RTP after the bonus promo period. Players caught unaware may be confused that they aren’t winning as much as before – so watch out for this one.

Read the Fine Print and Do Your Calculations

The best way to not get caught out when it comes to casino bonuses is to always read the fine print in the deal. This, combined with a few easy calculations for your wagering requirement, and finding the best RTP, can help you to make the most of your casino bonuses. Happy playing!