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One of the first things you will notice as you dive into the world of online casinos, sportsbooks, and bingo halls are the avalanche of free money that seems to be on offer in the form of betting bonuses, casino offers, and bingo rewards.

Indeed, online gambling organisations seem desperate to give away free money, free bets, free plays, and various other benefits with cash-money value. They do this to attract new players and keep the players coming back and playing.

What’s going on? How can these online betting sites stay in business when they give away this much free product? This much free action?

All is not as it seems. As generous as these bonuses may seem, there is no free lunch. These online casinos and sportsbooks are in business to make money, not give their players charity.

These generous bonuses and offers come with strings attached. As a result, it’s often impossible to take the money and run. Read the fine print, and you will discover stipulations like wagering requirements and incremental distribution, which keep your “free” cash in the casino’s coffers long enough that, according to the odds, you are more than likely to lose that cash.

But if you love placing bets, especially online, following the bonus cash can be fun and even profitable. So don’t look at them as windfall cash, so much as an incentive to sign on with and be loyal to a particular company and to place more of the bets you love—both out the gate and over time.

What kinds of betting bonuses and promotions are offered by online gambling sites?

Online gambling sportsbooks, casinos, poker rooms, and bingo houses offer a variety of bonus and promotion flavors to keep players betting. However, different bonuses have additional terms, conditions, and fine print you need to be aware of.

Welcome Bonuses and Welcome Casino Offers

A welcome bonus may include various bonuses mentioned below, often a collection of such rewards. For example, it might consist of deposit matches, bet credits, free spins, and no-deposit bonuses.

The defining feature of sportsbook and casino welcome offers is that it is only available to brand-new players. Therefore, if you have created an account with a particular online casino or sportsbook in the past, you are typically no longer eligible for the welcome bonus.

Online casinos have various ways of confirming whether or not a player has had an account in the past. For example, there may be a background check or identity verification in other cases, the casino may attempt to track the server or machine that the player uses.

Either way, if the online betting site suspects that a particular player is a returning player trying to make a new account to claim the casino sign-up bonus twice, the online betting site may seize bonus funds or even suspend the account.

Casino sign-up offers can often be claimed at the time of account creation. But if you don’t claim it, you usually have a specific time frame within which to claim it.

Reload Betting Bonuses

A reload bonus is usually a form of deposit or deposit-match bonus. As with the welcome bonus, the defining feature is when the bonus gets triggered. In the case of a reload bonus, the prize gets activated when you deposit at some point after making the first deposit. A welcome bonus usually applies to the first deposit. But a reload bonus may apply to the second, third, and fourth.

Reload deposit-matching bonuses are often smaller than welcome deposit-matching bonuses—25% or 50% for a reload, compared to 100% for a welcome bonus. Again, the idea is to offer a big carrot to tempt people to sign up. However, some online casinos stair-step their reload bonuses to encourage users to commit more and more to their bankroll and become regular players.

For example, an online betting site may offer a 100% deposit match for the welcome bonus. The first reload bonus might be 25%, the second reload bonus 50%, the third reload bonus 100%, and so on.

Deposit Bonuses

Deposit bonuses can be offered at sign-up as part of a welcome bonus. A reload bonus or part of a promotional bonus. Either way, the mechanism is the same—the online casino or sportsbook matches some percentage of a deposit you make into your account or bankroll.

If the casino offers a 100% deposit-match bonus, that means that it adds another dollar for every dollar you deposit. If it provides a 50% deposit-match bonus, it adds a dollar for every $2 you put in. There is usually a minimum and a maximum deposit that will be matched—for example, as little as $20 and as much as $1,000.

No-Deposit Bonuses

Whereas a deposit bonus offers a user matching funds against cash, they deposit into their bankroll, “no-deposit” bonuses do not require a deposit at all. Instead, it is free money that the online casino gives you just for showing up.

As you can imagine, this is a riskier form of bonus for a casino to offer, even with the fine print to keep it inside the casino’s pockets at the end of the day. For this reason, no-deposit offers tend to be much smaller than deposit bonuses.

For example, an online casino that offers $1,000 as a maximum deposit bonus might offer $10, $50, maybe as much as $100 as a no-deposit promotion.

Free Plays

A “free play” is not the same as free money as part of a deposit match or no-deposit bonus. Instead, it’s more like a “gift certificate” or a credit on your account that you can use for a discrete action, like a free bet at a table game or a free spin on a slot game (also known as a “free spin” bonus).

Free plays may form part of a welcome bonus. For example, a reload bonus or a promotional bonus. Their use may be limited to a particular game, selection of games, or game category. They may also expire, meaning you have to use them within a certain period after claiming the bonus.

Free Bets

A “free bet” bonus is similar to sports betting deposit bonus. But it takes the form of free betting credits rather than cash, usually to place bets on sporting events. Rather than being co-mingled with the money you deposit in your bankroll, it exists as a separate currency in a separate bucket. Consider the sportsbook version of “free plays” or “free spins.” You may have to choose “use free bets” on the bet slip when you place your bet.

Other Betting Bonuses

The above categories represent the broad strokes of the best bonuses, casino offers, and bingo rewards offered by online betting and gambling sites. In addition, online casinos often provide a variety of other bonuses as promotions. It will encourage the player to repeat betting and/or to encourage users to take specific actions that the online casino wants to incentivize. Here are some examples:

Parlay Bonus

Online sportsbooks love parlay bets because they are much more challenging for players to win. This is because a parlay depends on the bettor being right about one outcome and two. A parlay bet is contingent on two or more developments taking place, as the bettor calls it. To incentivize parlays, an online casino may offer an extra percentage of winnings on top of your parlay winnings … if you win the bet, of course.

Payment Method Bonus

An online casino may want to incentivize players to use a certain kind of currency to load or reload their account—bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, for example, or a particular favored mobile wallet. The bonus might take the form of an extra percentage or deposit match that you can claim for using that currency.

Early Payout Bonus.

An early payout bonus may be offered by particular sportsbooks to let bettors cash out of a bet before the contest is even decided. For example, if your team is far enough in the lead, you may be eligible to claim an early payout.

Referral Betting Bonus

A referral bonus is offered to users to refer friends, family, or colleagues to the online betting site. In addition, the site may give the player extra cash or free spins when a new player signs up and makes a deposit off their referral, possibly even a percentage of their first deposit.

High Roller Casino Offers

Extra bonuses may be set aside for players who bet large sums on particular contests or games. These bonuses encourage users with deep pockets to bet big. Sort of like offering them fancy rooms or free meals at a physical hotel/casino.

VIP Bonus

Many online casinos have VIP or loyalty rewards programs. Repeat players who accrue loyalty points or VIP status may be eligible for special bonuses and promotions.

What are “rollover requirements,” “wagering requirements,” and “playthrough requirements” on online casino promotions?

There’s always a catch. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. In the case of online betting bonuses, online casino bonuses, poker bonuses, and bingo rewards, this is the catch—the “wagering requirement”. Sometimes known as the “playthrough requirement” or “rollover requirement.”

The fine print might identify this catch as any one of the three, but it all amounts to the same thing—a hurdle to getting the bonus cash out of the casino’s coffers and into your private bank account.

This requirement answers the question, “Why can’t I just withdraw the bonus cash once it hits my account.” The wagering requirement requires you to beat the bonus cash that the casino or sportsbook gives you … and to bet it a certain number of times. Hence the name “playthrough requirement”—you must pay the cash a certain number of times before it becomes eligible for withdrawal.

An online betting site may make the bonus cash eligible for withdrawal on a 1x wagering requirement—if you’re lucky. That means that if you get $1,000 in bonus cash, you must wager at least $1,000 on eligible games before you can withdraw a dime’s worth of that cash.

Most online casinos have higher wagering requirements—5x, 10x, or more. For example, with a 5x rollover requirement, to withdraw $1,000 in bonus cash, you must first wager $5,000 in total.

Remember, online betting sites maintain a house edge. That means that the more bets you place, the more likely you will eventually lose. The rollover requirement is why casinos are confident that they will make most of the bonus cashback in the form of lost bets.

But if you hit a lucky streak and win throughout the entire playthrough requirement, congratulations! Your bonus cash is yours to withdraw.

What fine print should you look for in online casino promotions?

As we mentioned above, there is no such thing as free money. If a business seems to be giving you free money, there’s always a catch. The catch is usually found in the fine print.

So what fine print do you need to look out for when claiming betting offers, casino offers, and bingo rewards at online betting sites? Here are some things to look for:

Eligibility

You may need to prove eligibility to claim a betting bonus. This is especially true for welcome bonuses, available only to new players. If a user tries to claim a second welcome bonus using a separate account, the bonus and even deposit cash may be forfeited if the user gets caught.

Promo Codes of the Betting Bonuses

Not every offer, bonus, or promotion requires a promotional code entered at the time of sign-up or deposit. But some do. You don’t want to miss out on a bonus because you forgot a simple step like entering a free promo code.

Wagering/Playthrough/Rollover Requirements.

One of the most extensive tools in the online casino playbook to keep your “free” money in their pockets and not yours is the wagering requirement, also known as the playthrough or rollover requirement. Make sure you know how many times you have to bet the bonus value before withdrawing the bonus as cash.

Time Frames

You may have a specific time frame to claim your bonus and possibly within which to use the bonus. For example, you may have thirty days after account creation to claim a first-deposit welcome bonus, so make sure to make your first deposit by then. Free plays, free bets, and free spins might expire as well.

Withdrawal Limits

An online casino may try to keep your money in their pockets and not yours by limiting the amount of money you can withdraw at a time, in a day, in a week, etc. Different withdrawal methods may come with other limits too. Make sure you aren’t planning on withdrawing more than the maximum.

Withdrawal Time Frames

In addition to a playthrough or wagering requirement, you may have to leave the bonus cash in your bankroll for a certain amount of time before it is eligible for withdrawal.

Restrictions

An online betting site can restrict accounts or impose any conditions it wants. For example, a joint regulation on betting promotions and casino bonuses may limit the compensation to only apply to certain forms of payment—or not apply to certain forms of payment.

What are all the bonuses offered by the online casino Bet365?

Bet365 offers an instructive example of how an online casino and sportsbook organizes an ecosystem of betting bonuses, casino offers, poker offers. Bingo rewards to attract bettors and keep them engaged …

$500 Open Account Offer

New customers at Bet365 are eligible for $500 in dollar-for-dollar 100% deposit-matching bet credits at the time of sign-up. The minimum deposit to claim the bonus is $10, and the deposit must be made within thirty days of account creation. You must select “Use Betting Credits” on the bet slip to use these credits to place your bets. If you don’t make your first deposit at the time of sign-up, you can claim this bonus within 30 days using the “my offers” tab.

Early Payout Offers

If you bet on the Moneyline for a qualifying sport and your bet is at a certain level of advantage to win, you may be eligible to claim the payout of your stake in full before the contest is even satisfied. For example, the NFL early payout offer stipulates that you can claim an early payout if your bet is at a 17-point advantage to win.

Parlay Bonuses

A parlay is a bet that conditions winning on more than one outcome come true. For example, you bet on two teams to win in two different games, and you only win if both teams win. Bet365 offers you the chance to win 5%-70% more on qualifying parlay bets. In addition, the sportsbook currently offers a parlay bonus on specific US and Canadian sports and a separate parlay bonus on tennis.

Other Bonuses

Bet365 offers a “no-score tie offer” on qualifying bets, allowing your bet to be refunded with no losses if the game ends in a 0-0 tie. They also offer a substitute guarantee on soccer if you place a bet dependent on a player who gets substituted.

What are all the bonuses offered by the online casino BetOnline.ag?

betting bonuses
betting bonuses

BetOnline.ag offers another example of how a top online casino or sportsbook might use betting bonuses, casino promotions, and bingo rewards to tempt new players into the fold and then keep them coming back for more …

50% Sports Welcome Bonus

New players get a 50% deposit-matching bonus, up to $1,000 on a $2,000 deposit, on their first deposit for sports betting when they enter promo code BOL1000. The minimum deposit to claim the bonus is $55, and the reward comes with a 10x playthrough requirement. Skrill and Neteller deposits do not qualify for the bonus.

25% Sports Reload Bonus

Every reloads deposit into your sports betting account is eligible for a 25% reload bonus when you enter the promo code LIFEBONUS. The bonus is eligible for reloads ranging from $50 to $1,000.

100% Casino Welcome Bonus

Your first three casino bankroll deposits ranging from $25 to $1,000 are all eligible for a deposit-match bonus of 100%. That’s up to $3,000 in bonus cash. Use promo code BOLCASINO when making the deposit.

100% Poker Welcome Bonus

Your first deposit into your online poker bankroll is eligible for a 100% deposit match bonus. After that, deposits from $50 to $1,000 are eligible. And you can release the bonus in increments of $5 every for every $50 in rake you receive.

100% First-Time Crypto Bonus

Your first deposit of up to $1,000 worth of cryptocurrency is eligible for a 100% deposit match bonus. The minimum deposit to claim the bonus is $20. A 14x playthrough requirement applies. Use promo code CRYPTO100 to claim.

35% Crypto Reload Bonus

Every qualifying cryptocurrency requirement of $20 to $1,000 is eligible for a 35% reload bonus when the user enters promo code CRYPTO35.

10% bitcoin Boost

BetOnline.ag offers a limited-time bonus of a 10% deposit match on all bitcoin deposits. This is in addition to, and on top of, the crypto first deposit and reloads bonuses available to players. A 10x wagering requirement does apply.

What are the pros of betting bonuses and online casino promotions?

  • More Bets. You get to place more bets and use the house’s money;
  • Scalable. You can often choose how much bonus you get based on how much money you deposit;
  • Recurring. The more you bet at a particular online casino, the more promos and offers you become eligible for.

What are the cons of betting bonuses and online casino promotions?

  • Wagering Requirements. The fine print of the bonus often requires you to bet the bonus amount a certain number of times, meaning you don’t get immediate access to the funds for withdrawal;
  • House Edge. Wagering requirements make it more likely that you will lose the bonus money. This is because the house edge makes players more likely to fail than win. This is how online betting sites can offer all that free money and still come out ahead;
  • Possibility for Problem Gambling. The point of online bonuses is to get you playing more—to use the bonus cash and in pursuit of being able to withdraw the money after the playthrough requirement is met. This carries the risk that repeats betting can lead to a gambling habit.
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