How Do Online Casino Bonuses Work?

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Many online casinos offer tempting bonuses to draw players. They also provide promotions after the fact to keep players around.

If you’re going to play online casino games, then you should definitely consider these deals. After all, you can pick up extra money on the side of your play.

Assuming you’re new to bonuses, though, you certainly want a better understanding on how they work. The more you understand about these offers, the better chance you’ll have to cash in on them.

The following guide covers the main types of online casino bonuses. It also discusses the intricacies behind these deals that you should understand when pursuing them.

What Types of Online Casino Bonuses Are Available?

The first step to understanding how mobile casino bonuses work is knowing the different types. Here’s a look at the most common deals found throughout gaming.

Match Deposit Bonus

This bonus requires you to place a minimum deposit. Afterward, the online casino will match your deposit up to a certain amount.

Here’s example of a match deposit bonus:

  • A mobile casino offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $200.
  • You deposit $150.
  • You’re now qualified for a $150 bonus.

The match percentage can vary based on the casino. Generally speaking, though, online casinos usually match your deposit by 100%.

Free Spins

You must risk your own funds when playing real-money slots. Free spins, however, give you a chance to play without betting anything. You get to keep the winnings and cash them out if you’re able to meet terms and conditions (T&C’s).

Free spins can either be part of a standalone bonus or a match bonus. In the latter case, you qualify for both a match bonus plus spins.

Here’s how such deals work:

  • An online casino offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $500 + 100 free spins.
  • You deposit $200.
  • You’re now qualified for a $200 bonus + 100 free spins.

No Deposit Bonus

A no deposit bonus merely requires you to sign up to qualify. Afterward, you will receive either a cash amount or free spins.

Much like the latter, you use the given bonus to rack up winnings. You’ll be able to withdraw whatever is left over after satisfying T&C’s.

Here’s an example of a no deposit bonus:

  • A gaming site offers a $20 no deposit deal.
  • You complete registration and receive the $20 in bonus funds.
  • You have $15 left after meeting T&C’s.
  • You can either withdraw the $15 or keep playing with it.

Given that they provide the chance to win free money, no deposit bonuses are less common than deposit deals. Nevertheless, you can find these offers with a little research.


Cashback awards a percentage of your losses back. In most cases, the cashback is issued as a bonus that must be earned afterward.

Here’s how these deals work:

  • A mobile casino offers 20% cashback worth up to $200.
  • The cashback covers your first week after depositing.
  • You lose $300 within the first week.
  • 300 x 0.2 = 60
  • You receive a $60 bonus/refund.

Cashback may not seem as lucrative as a deposit bonus. However, it can pay off more than a deposit deal under the right circumstances.

This is especially the case if you have a bad early run and lose lots of money. In this situation, you’ll at least recoup something through the cashback.

You Often Need a Bonus Code

Most online casinos require you to use a bonus code to qualify for a deal. You’ll need to enter the code either when registering or placing a deposit.

Here’s how these codes work:

  • A gaming site offers a 150% match bonus worth up to $600.
  • This deal requires code “150MATCH.”
  • You enter 150MATCH in the relevant field to qualify.

Many online casinos place relevant bonus codes on their websites. In this case, you just navigate to the relevant page and grab whatever code is needed.

Casino affiliates sometimes offer exclusive bonus codes. They especially have exclusive deals/codes when it comes to no deposit bonuses.

Cashable vs. Non-Cashable Bonus

Not every bonus is available for withdrawal. In order to understand why, you need to know the difference between cashable and non-cashable bonuses.

How Does a Cashable Bonus Work?

This deal refers to when you can cash out the actual bonus value. When qualifying for a $100 bonus, for example, you’ll be able to withdraw the entire $100 upon meeting terms.

Cashable bonuses are exciting because they can offer a large lump sum of money. Furthermore, many players find these offers easier to understand.

How Does a Non-Cashable Bonus Work?

A non-cashable bonus doesn’t let you withdraw the bonus itself. Instead, you can only cash out winnings earned through the deal.

You might, for example, receive a $200 bonus. You’ll use the $200 in conjunction with your deposit amount to accrue winnings.

You can withdraw the winnings after satisfying terms and conditions. Meanwhile, the $200 bonus, or what’s left of it, disappears when you cash out.

Terms and Conditions Apply to Every Bonus

Online casinos don’t want you depositing and quickly waltzing away with bonus money. Instead, they instate multiple T&C’s to ensure that you earn every penny. Here are the main terms that you’ll come across when pursuing bonuses.


Casinos want you to wager your bonus so many times over before cashing it out. This concept is referred to as rollover (a.k.a. playthrough).

Rollover is expressed as either a multiple of the bonus or bonus plus deposit. Here’s an example of each case:

Bonus Only

  • You qualify for a $100 bonus.
  • Rollover is 40x.
  • 100 x 40 = $4,000 must be wagered

Bonus + Deposit

  • You qualify for a $100 bonus.
  • Rollover is 30x (i.e. bonus + deposit = 60x ).
  • 100 x 60 = $6,000 must be wagered

Higher playthrough forces you to wager more and, thus, lowers your chances of making money from a bonus. Low playthrough, on the other hand, doesn’t require you to bet as much and improves your odds of earning bonus cash.

Time Frames

Online casinos limit how much time you have to meet rollover. For instance, you might have 90 days from the time of depositing to satisfy this requirement.

Likewise, you must visit your account and claim a bonus before starting on the playthrough. You typically have around 7 days to complete this task.

Maximum Bet

Gaming sites require you to bet under a certain limit with an active bonus. You might, for example, be limited to $100 in wagers or less.

This stipulation prevents you from trying to meet playthrough in one giant bet. As a result, you’ll have to actually play the games for a while before cashing anything out.

Restricted Games & Increased Rollover

The highest-paying games in an online casino usually come with some type of restriction. For example, they may require higher playthroughs than slots and certain other games.

The following examples explain this point:

Slots Rollover

  • You qualify for a $200 bonus.
  • Slots rollover is 40x the bonus.
  • 200 x 40 = $8,000 must be wagered

Blackjack Rollover

  • You qualify for a $200 bonus.
  • Blackjack rollover is 100x the bonus.
  • 200 x 100 = $20,000 must be wagered

Some games are outright restricted from meeting playthroughs at all. Therefore, you should avoid these games until bonus T&C’s have been met.

Deposit Method Restrictions

Multiple Deposit Options

Some deposit options may not qualify for bonuses. Neteller and Skrill are the two biggest culprits. Although reputable services, these two e-wallets are popular among bonus abusers.

Therefore, many gaming sites eliminate this problem before it gets started by not including Neteller and Skrill in bonus opportunities.

Minimum Cashout

Every online casino requires you to have a certain amount of money before placing a withdrawal. The same requirement applies to bonuses.

For example, you might make $5 from free spins. If the minimum cashout is $10, though, you’ll need to keep playing with the winnings until reaching at least $10.

The Best Way to Start Out with Online Casino Bonuses

Even after reading this guide, you should start out slow with mobile casino bonuses. You’ll feel more comfortable with these deals after gaining some experience with them.

I recommend that you place a small deposit when pursuing your first bonus. You should also carefully read the terms and conditions before getting started.

By placing a small deposit, you’ll get a feel for what a slots bonus is like without risking much. Assuming you make a mistake in the process and somehow lose your bonus, then you won’t miss out on much.

Hopefully, you feel comfortable with going for bonuses after a few trials runs. You can then think about placing a larger deposit, if able to, and go for more bonus money.


Online casinos may seem like a complex subject. However, they’re not too complicated to figure out once you get the basics down.

The first thing to understand is the different types of available deals. Once you know what’s out there, you can pick a bonus that’s right for you.

Next, you want to differentiate between cashable and non-cashable bonuses. Both types of offers are worthwhile. However, you don’t want to pursue a non-cashable bonus and think that you’ll be able to withdraw the actual bonus the entire time.

Finally, you should thoroughly examine the terms and conditions. The goal is to figure out exactly what’s required to cash out bonus funds.

Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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