How to Tell When a Bonus is Worthwhile


We break down the various kinds of casino bonuses, in addition to whether they’re worth your time.

If you see any casino online, you are going to see gigantic banners claiming to offer you free money. Welcome bonuses, free spins, deposit bonuses and more are often spread across every page of the casino.

The notion of getting free cash can make us skeptical, but these bonuses actually can provide you free money to play, and still allow you to win big with real money. Of course, not all of the bonuses are created equal. Based on the website you see, and even your gambling habits, some bonuses will be more rewarding than others.

So how do you know whether you should go for a bonus? Continue reading to find out all you will need to know.

Kinds of Bonuses

There’s a huge selection of bonuses on the market. While they might use different terms, they tend to fall into the following kinds:

No Deposit Bonuses are, as the name suggests, bonuses that you get without having to deposit any money. These are usually small cash sums or a specific number of free spins, all played for real cash rewards. However, there are ordinarily payout and game limitations, in addition to wagering requirements (explained below).

Welcome Bonuses are designed to reward players for their initial deposits. These are typically the most generous bonuses that a casino will give, offering gigantic game bonuses of hundreds or thousands of dollars. But again, there’ll be wagering requirements and they may not be as rewarding for all players.

Deposit Bonuses are for existing players. They may be set to particular days or for particular events, giving more deposit bonuses as you continue to add funds to your casino account.

Free Spins are, as the name suggests again, spins you can enjoy for free on top online slots. These are best for trying out new games, although again there may be payout and game limitations, in addition to wagering requirements.

Loyalty Rewards keep gamers coming back for more. If the best bonus you got was a welcome bonus, you would just keep signing up for new casinos all of the time. Loyalty rewards often include additional services in the casino, free play money, entrance into thrilling tournaments or events, bespoke gifts as well as luxury travel.

Game Contribution Rules and House Edge

Prior to deciding on a bonus, one of the first things you will have to think about is the games you like to play with. Are you a slots purist, just spinning the reels? Would you like to play card games such as blackjack or poker, or maybe some live dealer roulette?

Based on the games you enjoy, you will encounter a different house advantage. As we all know, all games are in the casino’s favor. As they say, eventually, the house always wins.

However, some games have better chances than others, and even variants of the exact same game can have different chances. American Roulette has a higher house advantage than European Roulette, and just adding a deck of cards into a game of blackjack can increase the house advantage.

Most online slots have a return to player (RTP) of 90-98%. This is the amount you can expect to get back once you play, minus the house edge. So, by way of instance, if you are playing a game with a 2% house advantage, your RTP will be 98%. For each $100, you can expect to get $98 back.

It’s never that easy, of course.

These calculations have been done based on tens of thousands of matches across countless players. Any individual player could get far better, or worse, results.

Of course, the casino takes this into account, and that’s why some games are not included in bonuses or contribute less to wagering requirements. Generally speaking, slots contribute 100 percent and are a portion of any bonus online. Poker, blackjack and video poker will lead less, if they are allowed in any way.

Limits on Deposits or Payouts

There are usually limits set up to protect the casinos even though you’re using these bonuses. By way of instance, you will want to check if your banking system of choice will allow you to even maintain the welcome or deposit bonus. Most online casinos accept eWallets like PayPal, Skrill or Neteller, but will not allow you to maintain a bonus when you use them.

Additionally, there are limits regarding how much a casino will pay out, and if. By way of example, a casino may limit the amount they’ll pay out on free spin bonuses. This is normally capped at about $100, even though some casinos may go higher or lower.

So don’t expect to hit a large jackpot for free and just pull out the cash. Not only are there wagering requirements to fulfill, but you also might only be eligible to draw a specific amount.

In addition, while a bonus is in use, most online casinos will have rules about withdrawing your winnings. The best online casinos have different wallets for your casino accounts, with winnings from the real money deposits going into your money wallet, without affecting your bonus.

However, some sites will only allow you to withdraw your funds when you’ve fulfilled the wagering requirements of a bonus, or else you forfeit your bonus and any related wins.

Bonus Wagering Requirements

If bonuses literally only gave out free cash, they would all go bankrupt. Instead, they provide bonuses and require that you play with them a certain sum. The concept is you will really use your bonus, and then have the ability to withdraw any winnings as soon as you’ve transformed the bonus money into real money.

Wagering requirements may vary anywhere from 20x to 50x or even greater. They could apply to only the bonus amount, or the bonus and deposit amount. So, you might discover a casino claiming that a $1,000 bonus with 35x wagering requirements on the bonus amount, with another casino offering a $700 bonus with a 25x wagering requirement on the bonus and deposit amount that results in precisely the identical play through requirements.

It is important to check not just how big the bonus maybe, but also in the event, you will have to play through the bonus and the deposit amount, or just the bonus amount. Likewise, free spins may have wagering requirements on the winnings, forcing you to keep spinning the reels before you can convert your winnings to real cash.

When to Avoid a Bonus

Okay, so sometimes a bonus is rewarding, and at times it’s not. But how do you know?

Well, it comes down to mathematics. First, you will have to ascertain the wagering requirements. As shown previously, you just multiply the wagering requirements from the bonus or bonus and deposit as needed.

So, a $1,000 bonus using a 35x wagering requirement is $35,000. A 100% match of $100 bonus which needs you to wager the deposit and bonus 25 times is ($100 + $100) x 25 = $5,000.

Okay, so now you know how much you will need to wager, you will want to add at the contribution rate. By way of instance, slots typically contribute 100 percent to the wagering requirements, so if you are thinking about playing slots you can skip this step. But if you are planning on playing roulette, which typically contributes 10% towards bonuses, you will want to multiply that wagering amount by 100/10. Video poker may contribute 25% towards bonuses, which means multiplying by 100/25.

Here is how it would work out using the aforementioned examples:

  • $1,000 bonus x 35 wagering requirement playing slots = $35,000 play
  • $1,000 bonus x 35 wagering requirement playing video poker $140,000 play through
  • $1,000 bonus x 35 wagering requirement playing roulette = $350,000

Of course, you won’t be losing that sum of money, you will only be playing it through. You will likely win very often while playing, based on the house advantage and your fortune in a specific game. As soon as you’ve got the amount to play, you will want to multiply it by the house advantage of this game. This provides an indication of just how much you can expect to lose while trying to satisfy with the wagering requirements.

For example:

  • $1,000 bonus x 35 wagering requirement on roulette = $350,000 x 0.027 home edge in European Roulette = $9,450
  • $1,000 bonus x 35 wagering requirement playing video poker $140,000 x 0.0046 in Video Poker = $644
  • $1,000 bonus x 35 wagering requirement on slots = $35,000 x 0.0265 home edge playing Big Bad Wolf = $927.50
  • $1,000 bonus x 35 wagering requirement on slots = $35,000 x 0.0377 home edge playing Gonzo’s Quest = $1319.

Certainly, the roulette player should prevent this bonus, as they would stand to lose $9,450 attempting to redeem the $1,000 bonus. Meanwhile, the video poker player would just likely lose $644 to find the $1,000 bonus, coming out ahead. The slots fan might have a somewhat different result depending on which game they play.

These different components can have an influence on the value of a bonus. Generally, the chances are in favor of slot players, with a few adequate rewards for blackjack or video poker lovers provided they contribute enough towards the play through requirements.

So, is a bonus rewarding?

It truly depends upon the wagering requirements of the game you intend to play its house advantage. Some bonuses may give you extra money to play with, while others just don’t add up. Make certain to check before you claim a bonus to get the maximum value.

And bear in mind, the purpose of playing casino games online is to have fun, not only win big. So think for yourself whether the spins or hands of cards are rewarding for the total amount of excitement and thrills you will enjoy in the procedure.