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Online casino bonuses are one of the biggest reasons the industry has seen such a huge influx of players from more traditional land-based casinos. The value that players get from online casino bonuses far outstrip the rewards on offer in more traditional casinos, and because they can be redeemed immediately, they are hugely popular with players.
Traditional casinos would run loyalty programmes that offered gadgets, watches, drinks coupons and other “rewards” which, while being fun and quirky, never actually improved a player’s gaming experience. That all changed with the boom in online casino play during the 90s as more and more online casinos developed their loyalty structures and perfected bonus rewards and special online promos.
There are now a wide range of online casino bonuses available to players and these rewards vary in type, size, quality and value from casino to casino. If you’re a new player (or even if you’ve been playing for years!) it can be difficult to differentiate between all the different types of online casino bonuses, and understand which type offers the best value for you style of play.
Just a few of the types of online casinos bonuses available at quality casinos include:
- Welcome Bonus
- Wager Free Bonus
- Live Casino Bonus
- Best Casino Bonus
- Cash backs and top ups
- No Deposit Bonus
- Deposit Bonus
- Free Spin Bonus
In this section we’ll be looking at every type of online casino bonus in-depth, giving you the low down on exactly what you can expect, why the bonus may be valuable and exactly which type of online casino bonus fits best with your playing style and strategy.
We’ll cover the traditional Welcome Bonus, the Deposit Match Bonus, Free Spins Bonuses and more to help ensure that you make informed decisions when choosing the bonus that is right for you. Too many players tend to opt for Bonus rewards that either do not suit their play or which don’t represent the best value in the context of their gaming habits. Quality casinos will always give you a choice when it comes to bonuses, and will offer a full explanation, terms and conditions and various loyalty prizes along the way to help deliver the most valuable gaming experience possible.
If you’d like to find out more about every type of online casino bonus, and see which bonuses offer the best value for you, read on below as we break down the advantages of every type of online casino bonus available.
The Welcome Bonus at any online casino is arguably the most valuable reward on offer and gives players a real opportunity to enhance their chances of winning soon after joining.
The Welcome Bonus has been around for years and has taken various forms as different casinos have experimented with different ways of rewarding players.
All Welcome Bonus offers however are based on a simple concept – players are rewarded with a bonus as soon as they open a real playing account and deposit their first funds. This helps to ensure that when you first start playing you have a sizeable bankroll which gives you more freedom to try the games on offer at the casino as well as testing different betting sizes and gaming strategies.
So how does the Welcome Bonus work?
The majority of Welcome Bonuses at casinos these days are Deposit Match Bonuses and this means that the casino will match a percentage of the amount you first deposit in your account up to a certain threshold. The percentages may vary slightly between casinos but the most popular offers are 100%, 75% and 50% Match Bonuses.
For example, if the casino you join has a Welcome Bonus of a 100% Match worth up to €300 and you decided to deposit the highest amount (€300) your account balance would reflect a total of €600, doubling your available funds. This is how the bonus is broken down:
- Your original deposit of €300
- PLUS, the casino matches your amount by 100% adding a further €300
Some casinos like NightRush and Hyper Casino also offer players even further rewards by delivering a Welcome Bonus “package” that consists of more than one Match Bonus offer. This is incredibly lucrative for players as it allows them to enjoy the benefits of their Welcome Bonus long after they have made their first deposit and means there is less risk that they will burn through their bonus cash.
At Online Casino Ranger we advise players looking at joining an online casino to choose one that provides the flexibility and rewards of a Package deal rather than a one-off. The benefits are obvious and this is one of the highest value options that players can enjoy. For a full list of casinos and their Welcome Bonus offers, check out our Casino Review pages where we go in-depth into the type of Welcome Bonus offers provided by various top casinos.
Wager Free Bonus
Almost all online casino bonuses that you can claim will have some sort of wagering requirement. What this means is that in order to withdraw your bonus cash, you will have to play a certain percentage of bets beforehand. The reason casinos implement wagering requirements is to prevent unscrupulous players from joining a casino, depositing a huge sum and then withdrawing their entire deposit PLUS the bonus cash the casino has added.
Clearly, this would result in casinos going bust pretty quickly as it would literally be giving money away – therefore the wagering requirements are in place to prevent casino fraud. This is beneficial for the player too as it adds an extra layer of security.
Wager Free bonuses are the only exception and some online casinos offer Bonuses which have zero wagering requirements. These are often part of a special loyalty programme reward, may be a prize as part of a tournament or simply a thank you for playing at the casino often.
Like all other types of online casino bonuses, your Wager Free Bonus is usually paid directly into your account and is available to use immediately.
Live Casino Bonus
One of the most exciting new developments in online gaming is Live Casino or Live Dealer offerings as they bring all of the excitement, rewards and stunning gameplay of real-life casinos directly to your laptop, mobile or tablet device.
These games are the ultimate casino experience, with the action delivered in real-time in HD quality video. Games are hosted by professional dealers and you enjoy an immersive gaming experience that allows you to chat and interact with both the croupier and other players.
One of the reasons that Live Casino Bonuses are so popular with players is that they are used almost exclusively for classic table games like Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat. Because these games offer you a range of strategic approaches, having additional funds to play with helps ensure that you can experiment with different wagering options, bet big when you’re on a roll and enhance your play by playing multiple hands at the same time.
Live Casino Bonuses are often based on the Match Bonus principle which means that your account will be credited with additional bonus cash based on the percentage of the bonus available.
Check out some of the Live Casino Bonus offers we have reviewed at various casinos lately, which come in a number of different tiers, including:
- 100% Live Casino Match Bonus
- 75% Live Casino match Bonus
- 50% Live Casino Match Bonus
- 25% Live Casino Match Bonus
Live Casino Bonuses offer great value to players, especially if you prefer table games to online slots. These bonuses are designed to allow you to expand your gaming strategy and experiment with multiple hands, different betting sizes and unique approaches to your play.
Most serious online gamers play a fairly large percentage of Live Casino games because the rewards on offer are so good. Added to this, the action is fast, immersive and enjoyable – all of which makes Live Casino Bonuses amongst the most popular type available.
For a full list of the casinos that we have reviewed which offer Live Casino Bonuses, check out our independent review page for more info.
Best Casino Bonus
The best casino bonus for you depends on the type of games you enjoy, what sort of playing strategy you employ and how often you play. Clearly, the needs of a high roller player on slots who bets at €50 or more per spin is different to a more conservative table game player who bets €5 a hand on Blackjack.
Understanding the type of player that you are and where the best value lies in promotions, bonuses and rewards are crucial to give yourself the highest possible chance of success. You’ll need to evaluate your gaming habits and look at things including how often you play, how regularly your fund your account, what maximum bet size you are prepared to wager and the type of games you prefer.
This will help you build up a picture of which Casino Bonus is best for your needs. Below we’ll touch briefly on some of the most popular online casino bonuses for each type of player, that we believe offers the best value. You may find that you fall somewhere between two or more types of player, especially if you enjoy a variety of games. The trick is to try and claim the bonuses and rewards that suit your strongest gaming attributes and build your strategy around this.
Best Casino Bonuses by Player Type:
- Online Slot Players – Free Spins Bonuses offer Slot players fantastic value as these are designed exclusively for Slots players. If you employ a strategy that puts an emphasis on placing a high volume of spins then Free Spins Bonuses are ideal for you. When you take up this type of bonus, you’ll be given a set number of Free Spins on a pre-selected game (they will be loaded and ready to go as soon as you open the recommended Slot) and any winnings you accrue will be added to your account as Bonus Cash. It is simple, efficient and offers great value.
- Table Game Players – If you’re the type of player who enjoys games like Blackjack, Video Poker, Roulette, Pontoon, Baccarat, Craps or other table games then the best value Casino Bonus for you is definitely the Deposit Match Bonus. These bonuses work by boosting your bankroll, giving you a higher amount of cash to play with on the tables. This is important as it can help you play multiple hands or try different strategies to beat the house.
- Live Casino Players – Live Casino Players have been particularly spoiled recently as there are a slew of new casinos offering outstanding live Dealer games. These include Live Blackjack, Live Roulette, Live Baccarat and more and if you’ve been playing for any length of time at all, you’ll know that having funds to mount a serious assault on the tables is crucial to your success. The Live Casino Bonus is your best path to building up a sizeable bankroll. Like with Deposit Match Bonuses, try look for an online casino that offers a Package Deal as this represents the best chance of big value.
- Brand New Players – If you’re just starting out playing online the variety of online casino bonuses can be bewildering and confusing. To help get you started we recommend looking for a Wager-Free Bonus. While these bonuses are generally smaller than other types of casino bonuses they are ideal for getting started and allow you to play risk-free and experiment with the casino before you fully commit. These bonuses are also an excellent way to discover your favourite type of game and will allow you the flexibility to play different games without burning through your bankroll.
Cash backs and Top-ups
Most of the online casino bonuses that we have covered so far in this piece are offered to players when they first join an online casino. But what about the rewards available when you are already a member and are looking for a further boost to your play?
Many online casinos offer a Loyalty Programme or Loyalty Club which rewards players for playing regularly. This makes sense as it benefits both players, who get a regular diet of high-value rewards, and the casino which builds loyalty and brand recognition with players. So what types of bonuses are most popular with existing players then? Arguably two of the most exciting, highest value casino bonuses for players are the Cash Back Bonus and the Top Up Bonus. We’ll go into the advantages and benefits of each individually below.
As any casino player will tell you, losing is an inevitable part of playing. Whether you play at a land-based casino or online, at one stage or another you will lose a certain amount of your bankroll. That is part and parcel of gaming and the very best players are the ones who manage their losses carefully and don’t chase losses when luck turns against them.
But what about when you do lose, is there a way to recoup some of your losses so you can live to fight another day? You betcha! With Cash Back Bonuses from your casino, you can claw back a percentage of your losses as a Bonus Cash reward which is paid into your casino account. This is the casino’s way of rewarding you for playing and helping to minimise the impact of your losses.
Bash Back Bonuses are particularly popular with existing players as they help lessen the impact of that horrible feeling of a loss. Unlike Match Bonuses, Cashback Bonuses are almost never given at a percentage of 100% for obvious reasons.
You can, however, get Cashback Bonuses of 5%, 10%, 15% or even 20% which may sound relatively low, but when you consider that otherwise, you would have lost the entire amount, they can be very valuable. Cashback Bonuses are generally paid into your Bonus cash account and are subject to wagering requirements, make sure you check out your account T&C for further details.
Top Up Bonuses
Every casino player likes to be treated well by their online casino and it can be a simple gesture that brings a smile to the face. One of the nicest ways for online casinos to reward their players is with a Top Up Bonus which adds a little extra to a player’s account.
This is done in two main ways, one when a player makes a deposit, the casino will often “top up” the amount so that they have more to play with or they can add a mystery top up at any time, depositing bonus cash for a player into their account.
Whichever option is used, the Top Up Bonus is highly valuable as this extra Bonus Cash can be used on any game at any time. Players generally love Top Up bonuses as they give them a little bonus boost which can help them play more often or adjust their playing strategy to play with a higher wager amount.
To find out whether your online casino offers a Top Up Bonus structure, check out the Promo or Loyalty Page for more information.
No Deposit Bonus
No Deposit Bonuses represent fairly good value for players as, like the name implies, they do not require a deposit. The No Deposit Bonus tends to split opinion in the world of online gaming as it can be both an annoyance and an attractive option if you’re new to online gaming.
More established players tend not to like No Deposit Bonuses as much as they encourage players to try their luck at a number of online casinos jumping around until they can claim one. This puts stress on the casino itself if too many players try to claim something for “free”.
This is because the way No Deposit Bonuses work is that you are given access to play a casino’s real money games with a set amount of Bonus cash. You can then claim your winnings as a bonus when you open a new account and deposit real funds.
While this can be attractive for some players it doesn’t really offer that much value and certainly less than for more established Welcome Bonus amounts.
Like with any other online casino bonus however, it depends on what type of player you are, and you could find that the No Deposit Bonus suits your style of play. To see casinos that offer this type of Bonus, check out our casino review pages.
Free Spins Bonus
Free Spins Bonuses are hugely popular with Online Slots players because they offer fantastic value and the chance to try different games.
Traditionally the Free Spins Bonus comes as part of a Welcome Bonus Package but there are a number of good online casinos that offer the Free Spins Bonus as either a standalone deal or as a loyalty reward for existing players.
The way the Free Spins Bonus works is that players will be given a certain amount of free spins, usually around 20 Free Spins, on a selected, popular slot.
Players then start their Free Spins and any winnings accrued during the Bonus Spins are added to the players account as bonus cash. This is particularly good if you ware a heavy Slots player as you’ll be able to enjoy gaming on some of the best slots out there with the chance of keeping any winnings.
What’s more, some online casinos include Bonus Wins within Free Spins (for example if you trigger the Second Screen Bonus Feature) in your winnings. If you’ve ever played slots online, you’ll know this can rapidly add up!
Many of the best online casinos also offer Free Spins in the form of their Slot of The Week promotions for existing players. This sees the casino picking one of their most popular online slots and offering players a certain number of Free Spins to try and win as much as possible. Accumulated winnings are then added to your account as a “thank you” for playing at the slot.
Many players look for a Free Spins Bonus on their favourite games as this means that once the Free Spins Bonus has been played and claimed they can continue playing the game with real money (or their recently claimed bonus) and increase their chances of landing the game’s biggest jackpot. The higher the volume of spins you place on a game the higher your chances of winning the jackpot, so free Spins can be a fantastic way to inch your way closer to this mark while being rewarded for your play!
One of the most exciting developments in online casino bonuses is undoubtedly the significant increases in Tournament Prize play.
It is only over the past few years that the prize pools for Slot Tournaments have increased so dramatically and this is incredibly good news for dedicated Slots players because it arguably gives them an edge versus other types of players in terms of how much they can earn in bonus rewards.
Slots players can claim a regular Match Bonus, Welcome Bonus, Free Spins Bonus AND take part in Slots Tournaments to further boost their bankroll!
So how exactly do Slot Tournaments work? Generally, Slot Tournaments are played on the casino’s most popular games and players will need to register and pay an entry fee beforehand to enter. The Tournament play will begin on the stated Slot at an exact time and date and last usually for an hour or perhaps two.
The aim of the Tournament is to rack up more wins in the allotted time than any other player which places a premium on a high volume of spins. Players will generally see a leader board updated in real-time showing the players who are playing best.
At the end of the Tournament the player that tops the leader board not only keeps all of his or her winnings but ALSO scoops the combined prize pool on offer which is provided by the casino. Generally, this will be a big amount enhanced further by the collective entry fees.
Slot Tournaments (sometimes called Slot Races) offer amongst the best value of all online casino bonuses as players can rack up seriously big cash prizes, often with little, or no wagering requirements. There are a number of online casinos currently running Slot Tournaments and we believe this is one of the trends set to dominate casino play in the next few years.
If you’re an online Slots player and have yet to try Slot Tournaments, we urge you to give it a go as the action is fun, fast and exciting and the rewards are definitely worth it! You can check out our online casino reviews for information on casinos that regularly run Slot Tournaments offering big tournament prizes.
Casino Bonus Wagering Terms
As we touched on briefly early in this piece, one aspect of online casino bonuses that players should be aware of is the wagering requirements for each bonus.
While not every type of Casino Bonus has a total Wagering Requirement, it is an important aspect to bear in mind so that you can budget your play responsibly. There is no use taking a bonus only to later discover that playthrough requirements mean you have to wager a certain amount you were unaware of. As players the responsibility lies with us to investigate play through requirements.
Perhaps the best place to start is to look at exactly why these play through requirements are in place. So, why do casinos attach play through requirements exactly?
Part of the reason is that clearly Casino Bonuses cost money, the bonus cash has to come from somewhere and that is generally directly from the casino’s own pocket. Casinos realise that offering loyalty bonuses and promos helps encourage players to play more and gives them a better opportunity to win. So, in an ideal situation, it is win/win for both casinos and players. The complications arise however when players act in bad faith, claiming a bonus and then immediately withdrawing it without even playing!
This means the casino directly loses money as a result of the player’s dishonestly. To combat these rogue players, casinos have introduced playthrough requirements which mean that players must play with a percentage of the bonus cash before withdrawing it. This is fair and open and means that players are more protected and that casinos don’t have their bonus generosity taken advantage of.
All experienced casino players know the reasons behind wagering requirements and understand that the teams running the best online casinos really have little choice. By protecting their interests, they are more able to offer real, honest players weekly bonuses, free spins, promos and tournaments, so the wagering requirements in fact work incredibly well for players too.
Make sure that you check your casino’s T&C pages for in-depth information about wagering requirements on specific types of bonuses, games and loyalty offers. The rules are in place to protect honest players as well as the casino itself, so it is worth taking the time to familiarise yourself with the process at your online casino.
Casino Bonus Codes
Casino Bonus Codes work in the same way as discount codes at online retailers and can be redeemed to get discounts, special offers and exclusive rewards.
Online casinos generally use Casino Bonus Codes on special promos that differ significantly to their regular line up of rewards and bonuses. They will email or text players a special code to redeem which can only be used once and this will entitle the player to whatever the special bonus is.
Generally, in our experience Casino Bonus Codes are used to boost Match Deposit Bonuses and/or increase the amount of Free Spins available in a specific offer. Casino Bonus Codes offer fantastic value to keep your eyes out for these special deals from your casino.
Casino Bonus on Registration
Some online casinos also offer a “Bonus on Registration” which is slightly different to the standard Welcome Bonus in that you don’t actually need to deposit real funds to claim it.
These Bonuses are generally smaller than the bigger Welcome Bonus Packages as they are a direct gift from the casino and have no strings attached. You may find that these bonuses are worth around €5 to €10 but don’t let that put you off – they are often a kicker that is boosted when you DO deposit money at the casino.
These bonuses can also be very useful as they give you the opportunity to try a few different games, check out the casino software and experiment on mobile – without risking your own cash. Any winnings you manage on this No Registration bonus will help held in your Bonus account until you open a live account and may be subject to wagering requirements.
Tips on using casino bonuses
Now that you hopefully have a clearer idea of the different types of casino bonuses available, which type of bonus may suit your style of play and where to find different types of online casino bonuses, we’ve got a few tips and ideas on how to maximise your bonus potential.
We’ve been in the casino industry for many years and have watched as loyalty programmes and rewards have evolved over time. Right now, is arguably one of the best times to be an online casino player as there is a plethora of outstanding bonuses available for players.
Competition between casinos is fierce as they compete to grab players’ attention and outdo each other on bonus rewards. This is good news for players as they directly benefit from the increasing generosity of loyalty programmes and bonuses.
Here are a few tips and ideas for maximising your Bonuses, no matter which casino you play at:
- Sign-up to emails – With so many privacy laws in place you need to make sure you sign up to a casino’s marketing emails as this is still the primary way they send players new offers and special deals. By opting out of marketing material, you end up losing out on exclusive rewards, invitations and free bonuses that could otherwise boost your play! Once you’ve opted-in we also advice whitelisting the casino or adding them to your contacts so that you make sure you get their latest offers.
- Find out about Loyalty Tiers – Most good online casinos will add you to a loyalty programme as soon as you open an account. You won’t need to apply but generally, you’ll start off on the lowest tier. By playing regularly you can work your way up the loyalty tiers where rewards, bonuses and prizes get bigger and bigger with each tier. The highest VIP tier of most loyalty programmes sees players enjoying 5 Star holidays, the latest gadgets, BIG bonus rewards and exclusive VUP competitions. When it comes to online casino play it pays to know which loyalty tier you’re on and how to progress to the next tier.
- Time your deposits – Most online casinos run deposit match bonus offers for existing players on a regular basis, this means that if you’re smart you can time your regular deposits to match the casino’s schedule. This can help you boost your bankroll significantly by taking advantage of the most generous match bonuses as and when they land.
- Check the expiry date – The majority of online casino bonuses have an end date so that they fit within the casino’s loyalty rewards programme. Keep an eye on this date and make sure you take up the offer before it expires! We’ve seen plenty of players save the details of a particularly generous promo and then wait too long to claim it.
- Bonus money vs real money – The debate in gaming circles about bonus money vs “real” money will rage on forever, some players swear by real money bonuses and others by bonus cash offers. Whichever type you prefer the main thing is to make sure that the type of bonus suits your style of play. Investigate exactly what the promo or bonus has to offer, including any wagering requirements, and select the deals that offer YOU the best possible value for your money.
- Do the research – Too many players simply choose the very first Welcome Bonus or offer they receive without giving thought to how it benefits their play. We strongly encourage you to check out the casino you want to join beforehand and read through its bonus and promo pages to make sure it offers substantial rewards beyond the initial Welcome offer. To make it easy, we have links to all of the top online casinos for your region on our site and our in-depth reviews all have sections on the bonuses and rewards available. Check these out and make sure you’re maximising your value when you play.
Remember, there are a huge array of Bonuses out there and by selecting carefully you can help give yourself the best possible chance of winning big. With so many casinos on the web these days we understand that it can be difficult to wade through every single casino’s offering and determine the value of each and every promo. That’s why at Online Casino Rangers we do all the hard work for you, keeping tabs on the latest new casinos, the best mobile casinos and the best new casino games to give you all the info you need to take advantage of the offers right for you.
Our experience and expertise can go a long way in helping to ensure that you spend your money wisely at whichever online casino you choose. We’re always honest and completely independent so you can trust our reviews more than on some other sites which promote just a single game or casino. Read through our articles for more in-depth info on things like Slot Tournaments, Welcome Bonus packages and the latest new promos. We open real accounts at all of the casinos we review to give you the b