Casino Bonuses

The online casino world is highly competitive — new operators enter the market constantly while existing sites try to consolidate their positions. What this means for you is that casinos are fighting to get you to sign up and play at their site. And this is where casino bonuses come in.

Casino bonuses are incentives that gaming sites offer, either to entice new players or to hang on to the ones they’ve got. And for us, this usually means free money in one form or another.

What I do here at is find the best casino bonuses on offer and give you tips on how to claim them. Whether you’re looking for a good value Welcome Bonus, a no deposit bonus or a free spins offer, I look for the best, most up-to-date casino bonuses and show you where to find them.

Best Online Casinos for May 2018

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Welcome / Sign Up Bonuses

Most of you will be familiar with the concept of the Welcome Bonus i.e., when you sign up and start playing at a new site, you get some of the casino’s money to play with for free. As a Welcome Bonus, you might get a match on your first deposit (e.g., deposit £200, play with £400), or you might be offered a no deposit bonus simply for signing up for an account but without having to part with any of your own money (at least, not at first…)

However, when you look at the fine print of any sign up bonus, make sure you check out the wagering requirements, as these can be the difference between a good value bonus and one that’s not so hot.

Wagering and playthrough requirements

A signup bonus always comes with a wagering requirement (sometimes called playthrough). This is how much of your own money you have to wager before you can cash out any of the winnings you make from the bonus you were awarded, or how much you have to bet before you can withdraw any of the free bonus cash.

Most sites talk about the playthrough as a multiple (e.g., 30x, 40x, etc.); however, make sure you check whether the wagering requirement applies only to the amount you deposit, or whether its applicable to both your deposit + the bonus amount.

For example, at Mr Green there is a 35x playthrough which is applied your deposit amount only. Therefore, if you deposit £200 and get a £200 free bonus on top, you would have to wager £7,000 of your own money (35x £200) before you could cash out any winnings you made from the £200 bonus. At Winner, where you get a 200% match on your first deposit up to £450, the 35x wagering requirement applies to both the deposit + bonus. Therefore, if you deposit £225, you bankroll grows to £675, and so this is the amount you have to wager 35x (a total of £23,625) before you can cash out your bonus winnings.

Remember — the playthrough is the amount you have to wager, not the amount you have to deposit!

100% Slots playthrough

Not all casino games are created equal when it comes to the playthrough, and the contribution each different game makes varies; however, the good news for slots players is that at my recommended casinos, slots always contribute 100% towards helping you clear the bonus i.e., every £1 you bet on slots counts as £1 to the wagering requirements.

However, this isn’t the case with every type of casino game. For instance, at Mr Green it’s only slots that count towards meeting the wagering requirement; at Winner, roulette and blackjack contribute to the playthrough at 25% and 20% respectively, while at Betway they only contribute 8%.

If you’re a slots player, you don’t have to worry too much as I only list sites where they help you clear the bonus at a rate of 1:1; however, if you like to play other games too, make sure you check out the playthrough contribution rate, as this can have a big bearing on the overall value of any Welcome Bonus.

How to clear a casino bonus

The best way to clear a casino bonus as quickly as possible is to make sure you know what you’re signing up for in terms of how much you have to deposit to claim the full bonus and which games contribute to the playthrough.

For instance, with some Welcome Bonuses the total amount you have to deposit to unlock the full bonus could be in the region of £3,000; at others, it might be as little as £200. Therefore, make sure you choose a signup offer where you have a realistic chance of being able to deposit the amount required to get the whole bonus.

Check out too the contributions different games make to the playthrough. If you like to play a lot of online blackjack, for instance, but at a particular site this game only helps you meet the wagering requirement in a limited way, it’s going to take you longer to clear the bonus.

Cashable v non-cashable bonuses

A Welcome Bonus or any type of sign up offer will either be cashable or non-cashable, which refers to what you’re entitled to cash out.

If a bonus is cashable, when you have met the playthrough requirements you can cash out both the bonus sum you were given as well as the amount you deposited when you signed up. With a non-cashable bonus, once you’ve met the playthrough you can continue playing with the bonus amount you were given but you can’t cash it out. With most non-cashable bonuses, you can withdraw any winnings won with your bonus, although most of the time this amount will be limited.

Which bonus is right for you?

When you’re deciding on whether or not to go for a bonus, make sure it suits you in terms of the games you play and how much you like to wager. If you’re a regular player, who likes to have a substantial bankroll, then go for a multi-deposit match bonus, as the sums you can pick up are far larger if you’re prepared to invest more. On the other hand, if you’re only an occasional punter and aren’t looking to plough huge amounts into your casino account, then just take a straightforward sign up bonus where you get a match on your initial deposit, as you can probably clear this without too much hassle.

Mobile bonuses

At most of the mobile casinos I recommend, you can pick up the same Welcome Bonus if you sign up via the mobile site as you can at the desktop site. Occasionally, a mobile casino may have a sign up offer that is exclusive to mobile players, but generally bonuses are the same regardless of how you register.

Most mobile casinos have expanding ranges of games available, but if you want the best selection if can be a better option to download a free app rather than play directly in your device browser, as the range of games tends to be larger in app versions of mobile gaming sites.

Keep an eye out for special promotions that are aimed at mobile players during big sporting events, like the World Cup or Cheltenham Festival, particularly if your mobile casino has an associated sports book site, as there are always plenty of bonuses to take advantage of at these times.

No deposit bonuses

A no deposit bonus is often included as part of a larger Welcome Bonus and will usually give you free spins or a set amount of cash to play with for a limited time before you need to add any funds to your new account. Although the amount you can win from a no deposit bonus will be capped, the winnings go into your bonus account so that you can keep playing with them once you make your first deposit. Winnings can sometimes be cashable once you meet the wagering requirements.

Monthly re-load bonuses

If you’re a regular player, you can pick up monthly re-load bonuses at some of the sites I recommend. Most of these bonuses work along the lines of once you make your first deposit each month (there will usually be a minimum amount stipulated), on later deposits, or deposits made on specific days, you get a match bonus. This is usually around 10%, but can be as much as 25%.

Refer-a-Friend bonus

This is a fairly straightforward way to pick up a bonus — if you recommend a friend who then signs up for a new account, once they make their first deposit you both get a reward, which might be in the form of free spins or a free bonus. The value of the bonus will vary, but usually ranges from £20 – £50.

Preferred payment bonus

E-wallets are the preferred payment method of most of the sites I list here, as they are more convenient for both casino and player alike. In order to encourage you to use e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller, some sites will give you an additional match bonus—usually around 10%—if you use one of these to make your first deposit. However, note that at some sites using an e-wallet to make your first deposit can make ineligible to claim a Welcome Bonus.

Free play bonuses

This is a form of no deposit bonus where instead of being given a cash amount, you’re instead given a set number of free spins to use in a limited period of time. To claim these, you need to set up a new account, but your spins will be available to use before you’re asked to make a deposit. With free play bonuses, there will be a cap on the amount you can win, but winnings will usually be transferred to your bonus account to keep playing with once you make your initial deposit.

Free spin bonuses

More and more sites offer free spins as part of a Welcome Bonus in addition to other features, such as a deposit match bonus. Free spins might be on a specific game, and they can also be awarded in groups e.g., you get a set number of spins with each of your first three deposits. Winnings from free spins are capped, although they are usually credited to your bonus account so you can use them once you make your first deposit.

High roller / VIP bonuses

Online casinos love high rollers and VIPs, so these bonuses tend to be even better than those us regular guys get offered. These bonuses might be in the form of loyalty points which can then be exchanged for credits at a better rate than other players get, as well as free spins and deposit match bonuses too. Most VIPs get lots of other little perks as well, like quicker withdrawal times and higher daily limits.

Bottom line

With the number of online casinos growing all the time, so do the range and quality of the bonuses on offer. Check back here regularly, as I will update the offers that I find and pass on the information to you to take advantage of!