Welcome Bonus - this is commonly awarded to a player when they sign up at an online casino. The first deposit is often given a 50%, 100% or in some cases a 200% boost. Some casinos offer multi-stage packages with bonuses awarded on multiple deposits rather than just the first.
No Deposit Bonus - as its name suggests, you don’t have to make a deposit to take advantage of this type of offer. Some casinos offer a small amount e.g. £5 or £10 to let players have a proper look at their site with real money without having to deposit their own cash.
Free Spins Bonus - as well as monetary rewards, many online casinos also throw in some free spins with their welcome package. These are often restricted to specific games, a favourite being NetEnt’s sci-fi classic Starburst. Free spin bonuses aren’t just for new players either. Many online casinos regularly give away free games if players make a deposit on a certain day for example or complete a series of challenges.
Match Deposit Bonus - this is like a welcome bonus. Whatever amount you deposit, the casino will match to give your balance a boost.
Reload Bonus - this is available to existing rather than new players. It can be a match or a percentage bonus. You’ll have to make a new deposit to take advantage of these types of offers.
No Deposit Free Spins Bonus - some online casinos offer free spins just for registering. You won’t have to make a deposit to use these. More rewards are usually on offer when you do come to make a first deposit. No deposit free spins are sometimes awarded to existing players too.
Loyalty Bonus - it’s not just about landing new players. Casinos want to hold on to their regulars and one way of doing that is by awarding loyalty bonuses. These are usually triggered when you reach certain milestones.
Birthday Bonus - celebrate your big day with some bonus funds. This depends on how much you’ve played at a casino and what games you’ve frequented. If you’ve played a lot of blackjack for example, you may be given some free chips on your special day.
VIP/Hi Roller Bonus - some casinos have special programmes for their VIP customers. This can involve the usual bonus money and free spin giveaways as well as access to special prizes and exclusive events. Some casinos award loyalty points which can used to buy special extras or tech or other goodies in a special VIP store. I really like Gate777 Casino’s VIP Lounge where you can benefit from bonuses, faster cashouts, dedicated account managers, increased withdrawal limits, cashback and even holidays.
Cashback Bonus - some sites, like Trada Casino, offer cashback. If you have a losing spell, a casino will sometimes refund a percentage of that amount. This usually covers a specific period of time. For example, a casino might refund 5% of losses in a certain week or month.
Sign up/registerThe first thing you’ll need to do is register at your chosen site. Regulations from the UK Gambling Commission aimed at preventing problem gamblers and under 18s from gaining access to online casinos means that you’ll need to verify who you are.
This is a simple process that involves uploading photo ID like a passport or driving licence as well as a bank statement or utility bill. At some casino sites, you will be verified automatically just by providing your name and address details (they use services like Experian). Otherwise, some will insist on this when you register, others when you make a first deposit or withdrawal.
After you’ve signed up, you’ll usually be taken to the deposit page where you’ll often find details of what is included in the welcome bonus package. You’ll then need to make a deposit to take advantage of offer. For example, there might be a 100% bonus on your first deposit worth up to £100. Deposit £100 to claim the maximum £100 bonus.
Be sure to read the small print here as many casinos won’t let you claim a welcome bonus if you use a money wallet like Skrill or NETeller to make your first deposit. PayPal is a little different. Casinos like Trada do accept PayPal and will let you claim a bonus.
Some casinos will require you to use a special/bonus code to take advantage of a bonus offer. If you’re not sure about that, contact customer service before you make the deposit. Occasionally, bonuses are restricted to specific slots. These should be flagged up clearly but be sure to read the full terms of the offer.
Most casino bonuses require you to complete a series of wagering requirements before you can withdraw the bonus (and any winnings) funds you’ve been awarded. Some sites require you to wager your deposit a specific number of times. For others, it’s the bonus amount. For most casinos, you’ll have to play through your deposit and bonus (referred to as D+B too).
Many casinos offer a 40x deposit and bonus wagering requirement. That means you’ll have to wager the total amount you deposited, plus the bonus awarded, 40 times before the bonus element can be cashed out. Say you deposited £100 and received a 100% bonus which takes your total to £200. You’d have to wager that amount 40 times (£8,000) before you could withdraw the bonus money.
You can cash out your deposit whenever you like of course. It might have an impact on the bonus though. Again, read the T&Cs.Eligible Games
To complete those wagering requirements, you just play normally. Most slots contribute 100% to the requirement. For example, if you wagered £150 on a slot that would be £150 off the wagering requirements. There are occasionally a few exceptions such as slots with a particularly high RTP (like Thunderkick’s 1429 Uncharted Seas or NetEnt’s Blood Suckers).
If you like to play table games like roulette or blackjack, then proceed with caution as these often fulfil only a small percentage of a wagering requirement. For example, wagering £100 on roulette might only count as £10 of your wagering requirement (i.e. 10%). Some bonuses will only be available if you complete the wagering requirements on specific slots too.
Max Bet/Stake Size
Online casinos restrict the amount a player can bet on a specific spin and still have it count towards their wagering requirement. Trada for example has a maximum of £4 per spin while at All British Casino it’s £5. You need to check this before you start wagering – if you play at smaller stakes (which most of us do), it won’t matter.
You’ll normally be given a specific timescale to complete the wagering requirements. This varies from casino to casino. Genting, for example offers players 30 days. If you don’t complete the wagering requirements in the set time, you’ll forfeit the bonus and winnings from that bonus. The money you deposited is always your of course.
In some instances, there will be a cap on the amount that it’s possible to win from bonus money or free spins. This is usually from bonuses and free spins where no deposit was required.
Bonuses and free spins are usually restricted to a single player. Multiple accounts are not allowed. That means any bonus will be limited to a single household, IP address and email address.
Gambling laws in many countries are far more restrictive than the UK. That means players from those countries aren’t allowed to play at an online casino. If you’re in the UK and you use one of our recommended casinos (which of course are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission) then you should be fine. Most casinos will have a list of restricted countries.
Casino bonuses should be clear and transparent. If there are wagering requirements, they should be outlined in an open and straightforward manner. Likewise, restrictions of methods of deposit, maximum win amounts and the like. Make sure you fully understand the bonus before depositing your hard earned.
UK players protected by the Gambling Commission
What if things go wrong? A study by the UK Gambling Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority found that many online casinos had work to do when it comes to creating transparent and fair bonus schemes.
“Online gambling operators could be breaking consumer protection law, through terms and conditions of bonus promotions that are not clear and instances where they have restricted customer rights and ability to access their own money and winnings.”
If that’s the bad news, the good is that the UKGC is on the case. Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission said,
“Too often we have found that the terms and conditions have been complicated, one-sided and difficult to understand. Addressing this is a priority in our recently launched strategy – a roadmap for a fairer, and safer gambling market. Our work over the next three years will include ensuring greater transparency from gambling firms in the information they make available to their customers and we'll be working with the industry to ensure that consumers can make decisions about their gambling more confidently.”
In short, players are protected.