Why Do Online Casinos Give Out So Much Free Money?

Online Casino Phone Money

The average online casino offers many bonus opportunities. They give you a chance to start earning free money right away through the form of a welcome bonus.

They keep this trend going with other offers and VIP rewards as you keep playing.

But why is it that gaming sites are so quick to give you free money?

As you’ve likely guessed, it’s not because they’re generous and just like handing out cash. Instead, they have definite agendas when offering these deals.

I’m going to cover what types of bonuses are available at online casinos. Then, I’ll conclude with reasons why casinos provide so many of these offers.

What Bonuses Do Online Casinos Offer?

Gaming sites do a good job at keeping the bonuses fresh with a variety of deals. Below, you can check out the main types of offers available across the industry.

Deposit Bonus

A deposit bonus matches a percentage of your deposit amount. For example, you might receive a 100% match on your deposit.

Such deals put you in line to cash out the full value of the bonus. Of course, casinos don’t just let you withdraw all of the money immediately.

Instead, you need to earn the funds by satisfying terms and conditions. For example, you must claim a bonus from your account and meet playthrough requirements within a given timeframe.

Welcome Bonus

A welcome bonus covers your first deposit or series of deposits. It usually offers at least one deposit bonus and may give out free spins (covered later).

Here’s an example of a welcome offer that stretches out over your first three deposits:

  • 100% match bonus worth up to $500.
  • 75% match bonus worth up to $300
  • 50% match bonus worth up to $200

The same terms and conditions that apply to any deposit bonus usually cover welcome deals, too.

Reload Bonus

A reload bonus is an offer that covers subsequent deposits after you’ve either earned the welcome bonus or have made an attempt at doing so.

They’re generally smaller and/or offer a lower match percentage than welcome deals. For example, SuperSlots.ag offers up to $6,000 in welcome bonuses but their reload bonus offer is for 50% up to $500.

Reload bonuses are designed to keep you around long after your welcome deal is gone. They may not be as lucrative as some deposits offers, but they at least give you a chance to keep going for bonus money.

No Deposit Bonus

These deals don’t even require you to make a deposit. Instead, you merely register for an account and claim your bonus.

Here’s an example:

  • A casino offers a $20 no deposit bonus.
  • You successfully complete registration.
  • You claim the $20 bonus from your account.

Unlike with a deposit bonus, you don’t claim the full value of the offer ($20 in this instance). Instead, you use the funds to try and build up winnings that you can later withdraw.

Here’s an example on how no deposit bonuses work:

  • You start with a $20 bonus
  • Playthrough is 40x
  • 40 x 20 = $800 must be wagered
  • You have $17.50 left after satisfying playthrough
  • You can withdraw $17.50 as long as this amount meets the casino’s minimum cashout

Gaming sites place maximum winning requirements on these offers. For instance, you might only be able to win up to $100 with a no deposit bonus. Nevertheless, you’ll still be earning free money in this case.

Free Spins

Free spins allow you to play real money slots without having to risk your own funds. You can cash out the winnings after meeting terms and conditions.

Here’s an example on how free spins work:

  • A casino offers you 30 free spins as part of a welcome bonus.
  • You use the spins to accumulate $15 in winnings.
  • You can now withdraw $15 after satisfying playthrough and other terms and conditions.

Just like with no deposit bonuses, casinos place win limits on free spins. This stipulation prevents them from having to pay out huge jackpots that are hit through a free spin.

VIP Rewards

Just like land-based casinos, online casinos also offer comps on your play. They want to reward you, so that you’re more likely to keep playing with them.

Cashback, free spins, deposit bonuses, and free chips are all commonly available through VIP programs. Most casinos automatically enroll you in their program as soon as you register.

From here, you need to play casino games and rack up loyalty points. You exchange these points for cashback or any other rewards when permitted.

Why Are Online Casinos Generous With Their Bonuses?

Internet casinos don’t offer you all of these rewards because they’re patron saints. Instead, they want to accomplish one or more of the following goals.

Encourage You to Play More

You may be highly motivated to play at a certain casino after qualifying for their welcome bonus. But what happens when this offer is no longer on the table?

You’ll be less likely to continue gambling at the same casino without some sort of incentive. After all, you could just sign up at another site and take advantage of their welcome offers.

That said, casinos continue offering bonuses to keep you around. Of course, you’ll benefit from this relationship by having more chances to rack up free money.

Get You to Deposit More

Sometimes, you’ll deposit at a casino and run into rough luck. You may quickly lose your funds and not feel like depositing at that casino again.

Reload bonuses make you reconsider, though. They provide an opportunity to get more bonuses, extra free cash, and potentially turn your losing situation around.

Welcome bonuses have a similar effect. Some of these deals reward you over a series of deposits and encourage you to keep funding your account multiple times.

Capture Your Email Address

Real money online casinos are masters at marketing. Once they get your email address, they’ll send you offers on a frequent basis.

Chances are, though, you won’t just register at a bunch of casinos for no reason. Instead, you likely want some incentive before doing so.

No deposit bonuses are perfect at getting you to register for an account. You’ll notice that the signup form always asks for your email so that casinos can keep sending you offers.

Get You to Recruit Friends

Many gaming sites offer refer-a-friend bonuses. As the name implies, you get extra money for each friend that you refer to a casino.

But the catch is that your buddy must actually deposit after they’ve been referred. In some cases, you may even need to wager a certain amount of money.

But if you have friends that like gambling, then you can earn extra money through these deals. The best part is that you don’t even have to risk any of your own cash to benefit.

Things to Consider Before Chasing Bonuses

I’ve mentioned terms and conditions multiple times throughout this post. Now, I’ll cover common terms that you must satisfy before officially withdrawing bonus cash.


Playthrough (a.k.a. rollover) is the amount of money that you must wager before cashing out bonus funds. It’s either expressed as a multiple of the bonus, or a multiple of the bonus plus deposit amount.

The amount of rollover depends upon how much you deposit. Simply put it also varies from casino to casino.

For Example:
One gaming site may require that you meet 30x playthrough on the deposit bonus. Meanwhile, another casino will require that you satisfy 40x rollover.

The first deal is definitely more beneficial in this situation. Therefore, you should strongly consider it to have an easier chance at withdrawing the funds.

Maximum Winnings

Online casinos like to walk a fine line between giving you opportunities to earn free money without being taken advantage of. Therefore, they institute maximum winnings on certain bonuses.

You usually see this stipulation when it comes to no deposit bonuses and free spins. Both of these deals are based on how much you can win from a bonus.

You’ll typically win up to $100 or $200 from both types of offers. Therefore, you still have an opportunity to collect a nice amount before hitting the win limit.

Casino’s Reputation

Not everything regarding bonuses is about the terms and conditions. You also have to consider an internet casino’s reputation before funding your account.

After all, the last thing you want to do is withdraw a bunch of money and get burned by a casino that doesn’t honor your withdrawal. Some nefarious sites also feature ambiguous terms and conditions that make it difficult to cashout funds.

The easiest way to avoid these messes is to simply look over the terms and conditions before going after a bonus. Reviews are also helpful resources when concerning a site’s reputation. You only want to play for real money at reputable casinos that are known for making timely payouts.

Maximum Bet

In the past, some gamblers abused bonus offers by meeting rollover in a single bet, or a series of large wagers. This situation becomes especially problematic when a gambler quickly satisfies playthrough on a no deposit bonus and collects free money.

Casinos don’t want players engaging in such extreme practices to earn bonus funds. Instead, they want gamblers using bonuses to the fullest while deciding if they like the casino enough to keep playing.

Therefore, many gaming sites institute a maximum bet. Players must refrain from betting over a certain amount while a bonus is active, or they risk nullifying the offer.

Game Restrictions

A simple strategy for meeting playthrough while assuming fewer losses involves playing games with high RTP. For example, you might play a blackjack game with 99.5% RTP to unlock your funds.

Here’s an example on how this could work in your favor:

  • You qualify for a $200 bonus
  • Playthrough is 50x
  • 200 x 50 = $10,000
  • You play the aforementioned game with 99.5% RTP (0.5% house edge)
  • 10,000 x 0.005 = $50 loss
  • 200 – 50 = $150 gain
  • You’ll theoretically earn a $150 profit

You’ve actually managed to swing a profit in this case by playing a game with extremely high payback. To prevent these instances from happening, casinos disqualify certain games from qualifying for bonuses.

Or, they might simply feature different rollover for specific games. The blackjack game described above, for instance, may have 200x playthrough.

Are These Offers Truly Worthwhile?

Online casino bonuses are always worthwhile if you’re going to be gambling anyways. You might as well take advantage of money on the side.

The one thing you need to avoid, though, is playing more just to earn bonuses.

Unless a casino messes up on the math, they usually still profit even after you’ve collected a bonus.

Here’s an example to illustrate this point:

  • You qualify for a $150 bonus
  • Playthrough is 40x
  • 150 x 40 = $6,000
  • No games with above 96% RTP qualify for rollover
  • You play a game with 96% payback (4% house edge)
  • 6,000 x 0.04 = $240 loss
  • 240 – 150 = $90 net loss

The good news is that that you’ve earned a $200 bonus. The bad news, though, is that you’ve lost $90 overall.

That said, you want to find a balance between going for bonuses and having discipline. The hope is that you get lucky and collect a bonus on top of the matter.

But the reality is that you’ll often end up losing some money when everything is said and done. So, you should treat bonuses for exactly what they are—bonuses.


Online casinos have multiple reasons for offering so many deals. They want to accomplish the following goals:

  • Encourage you to play more
  • Encourage you to deposit more often
  • Get you to recruit friends
  • Grab your email for marketing purposes

You can see that none of these goals have your best interests in mind. They’re all about ensuring that the casino gets what they need.

However, you can still make bonuses work for you. These offers provide an opportunity to earn extra money on the side of your play.

As mentioned before, you might as well go for bonuses if you’ll be gambling online anyway. You might even end up with profits in some cases.

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.