Are Online Casino Bonuses Worth it? Here’s the Real Story!

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There are many, many  ‘get rich’ quick schemes relating to online gambling.  Unfortunately the vast majority of them are completely useless and usually designed to get other people rich.   For newcomers to the online casino scene, one very alluring option is the huge sums that online casinos as a welcome bonus seem to offer in return for a modest deposit.

are online casino bonuses worth it

You’ve probably seen them things like 500% bonus when you deposit $100 or 3 times deposit bonuses for all new players.  Sometimes they’re even more ridiculous than that, promises of free money to anyone who simply starts playing.   It sounds too good to be true and of course if you’re over 12 years old you’ll realise that it probably is.   However please remember when you see websites promoting casino bonus bagging, what they’re normally trying to do is steer you towards a certain casino for the commission payments they will earn.

So Are Those Online Casino Welcome Bonuses Worth Having ?

Well of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting a bonus when you start playing at a new online casino.  In fact virtually every casino offers something, in the form of a deposit bonus or free spins when you start. However what you need to remember that it isn’t real money they’re offering.   You can’t deposit $100 and then cash it all in with the huge bonus straight after, there’s a catch and it’s a big one.

deposit bonus free cash

It’s called wagering requirements and you’ll should find them detailed on the casinos website, close to the bonus offer.  However it’s not uncommon for them to be very well hidden especially I’ve found on live table games and those with real dealers.  Somewhere though you should see this specified usually in the form of a number and an ‘x’ . For example one of my favourite online casinos is called Casino.com and if you click on their bonus page, you’ll see that their wagering requirement is pretty reasonable.  At time of writing this is 45 but it can change so double check.

Basically this means that any bonus payment must be played 45 times before it can be cashed in.  So if you’ve deposited £100 and received a matching bonus of £100 you must effectively stake 45x£100 = £4500 before that cash becomes yours to withdraw.   As you can imagine this makes getting your hands on that bonus money you get with your first deposit quite difficult!  It’s also means that choosing the best bonus is actually quite difficult to assess, people tend to look at the value and not the bonus terms behind it.

Game Restrictions

Now if that doesn’t sound bad enough, you’ll also find a series of game restrictions which will probably also apply to these bonuses.  You might find perhaps that roulette doesn’t apply, or specific games where it’s easier to place these bets at low odds.  Sometimes only a percentage of the stake applies in specific games making the wagering requirement multiple much higher.  The reason is that the casinos know that the simplest way to maximize cash out and meet the wagering requirements is to simply keep betting on even money chances to restrict the effect of the house edge.

One of the most popular games to be excluded in these wagering requirement is actually blackjack, which of course has one of the lowest house advantages.   The beauty of Blackjack is that if you follow a some basic rules and strategies you actually have a very decent chance of winning or at least coming out close to even.  In fact a professional blackjack player, has a very good chance of a risk free casino bonus if they’re allowed to wager on the blackjack table.  Which is why of course, that most don’t count Blackjack when considering casino bonuses.

 

If you do find a reputable casino that does allow blackjack you’ve found one of the few chances of how to make money from online casino bonuses.  But again be very careful about which casino offers it, there’s likely to be a catch as the fair casinos won’t let you do this normally.

The reality is that most casino bonuses are actually worth very little, they’re definitely not free cash ! You have to gamble them so often that it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to withdraw them directly. It would take a very luck streaky to be able to cash out the bonus and your deposit without having to spend much more money.   People keep talking about using a casino bonus strategy but there’s never much sense behind them.   They’re a bonus, an added extra don’t let them be the sole reason you choose a place to gamble – secure site, reputable company and decent support are much more important.

Also remember these terms and conditions can be virtually anything, and you’ll find the more generous the bonus the more complicated and difficult the wagering requirements rendering them virtually worthless. It’s good advice to never select an online casino based on these bonuses, the legitimate casinos will keep them realistic and fairly low. Whereas the sky-high ones have no intention of ever letting you cash out anyway so it doesn’t matter how high they are.

You will notice that all the large reputable online casino companies will all offer relatively modest bonuses. However that’s because they do actually pay out and have to ensure that the offer isn’t too generous. If you’re looking between a couple of big names then it’s probably worth thinking about the bonus as a deciding but it should never be an important factor.

Extra Restrictions on Those Bonus Amount/Deposit Bonus Payments

  • Maximum Bet Size
    This one’s easy to miss in the terms and conditions but you should make sure you’re aware of it. It is often the source of many disgruntled players arguing about bonus payments. It’s often very low in order to stop players just placing large bets on even money bets in order to cash out more easily. Check what the maximum bet is with regards to these bonuses – it’s often only $5!
  • Time Limits
    This one can catch people out if they’re not regular players and it’s happened to me! Basically you only have so long to place bet/wager those deposit bonuses before you lose them. It might be a week or a month, but some only give you a few days before the bonus offer disappears from your account !
  • Game/Playing Restrictions
    Lots of games and activities are excluded from bonuses in the wagering requirements. For example many casinos will exclude table games from the offers because of potential abuse. Some of the better operators will simply limit the amount that counts to the requirements from certain games.
  • Maximum Cashout Cap
    This is not a nice one especially if you’ve done well with your deposit bonuses or free spins. Many casinos will limit the amount you can actually cashout from your bonus. So this means you might only be able to withdraw a small percentage of your bonus. Another favourite ploy by online casinos to offer a huge match or deposit bonus and then stop you ever being able to withdraw any of it in the terms and conditions.

Here’s a couple of my favourite casinos and their respective bonus pages, all huge international companies as to be honest it’s not worth the risk playing with any other sort of online casino.  Whatever the bonus, it’s only worth anything if you can trust the company supplying it.    These are the two biggest names in the North American market although obviously you have to be careful in many US states with online gambling.  You can certainly switch between casinos to grab the different bonuses, a concept called casino whoring but often the wagering requirements make this more trouble that it’s worth.

Bodog – one of the world’s largest gaming companies, operating largely across Canada and EU, known for their poker especially – click here for bonus details.

Bovada – the oldest and most reputable gambling company which accepts US customers. This is largely due to various National and State laws. Bovada is a well respected US Sports site too.

Latest updates to this page, added a redirector to the links because for many people the casinos aren’t valid.  Now if a UK person accesses this page then they will be redirected to a proper casino which is valid for their location.  I only link to trusted online casinos which I have actually played at, so the links are restricted on that basis.   This means you can have fun and no you won’t be ripped off.   Remember usually the best ways to make money at casino games, is to just play them in practice mode!

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  1. Sauber July 21, 2017

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