What to look out for before choosing your online casino bonus

Bonuses, bonuses everywhere, but which to choose?

You can, of course, opt to take no bonus at all, but you would most likely be selling yourself short.

One of the best things about signing up for a new casino is picking a top bonus, but not all are created equal.

Here’s a few things to look out for before signing up.

All that glitters is not gold

So the bonus being advertised at Casino A will give you £/€1,500 in bonus cash and 200 free spins. Casino B, on the other hand, offers just €/£200 for signing up and no free spins.

Make the most of your casino bonus
Careful – not all bonuses are the same

Casino A is therefore the winner.

As is probably already apparent, things are not quite as simple as that, thanks to a little something called terms and conditions, or ‘smallprint’ if you prefer.

Bonus money may be subject to hefty deposits in the first place to unlock that bonus. So a £/€200 deposit may only unlock £/€100 in bonus money.

There may be hefty wagering requirements in place (more on that soon) and the bonus may also tie your deposit into the wagering.

Also the free spins may be tied to a slot you don’t actually want to play – and may also come with wagering requirements attached.

Also terms and conditions could contain other restrictions or potential for the online casino in question to quibble or potentially void any winnings.

The wagering requirements

Wagering requirements are usually the main ‘catch’ in any online casino offer.

The first thing to say, however, is that they are not in of themselves a bad thing, and are entirely sensible mechanisms for casinos that are letting players gamble with their money.

Slotsmillion Bonus
SlotsMilliosn new Bonus feature makes sure your bonuses are prtected

Wagering requirements are usually expressed as a multiplier, such as 20x or 30x, or 50x etc.

The rule of thumb is the lower the wagering requirement, the better the deal.

They force the player to ‘play through’ a multiple of their bonus money before they are allowed to withdraw winnings.

So if a player claimed 100.00 of any currency in bonus money, and there was a 20x wagering requirement attached, then they would have to make 2000.00 in bets before being able to withdraw any of the remaining bonus money plus winnings.

Some wagering requirements can be north of 50x, so think carefully before accepting any offer with this condition.

Wagering requirements including YOUR money

Wagering requirements can get a bit more complicated when they involve your own money.

That means that if you deposit €/£100 and get €/£100 in bonus money – the whole €/£ could be subject to the wagering requirement – NOT JUST THE BONUS MONEY.

This looks set to be outlawed by the UK Gambling Commission in the coming months, following a high profile investigation.

Now, if you were going to wager that amount of money anyway, it could be argued that, as long as it is made clear to you, you are simply extending your gameplay.

But it is important to know when your own money is being tied up, and ask yourself if you are comfortable with that.

Game restrictions

Often with wagering requirements, players will be seeking to play through the requirement as quickly as possible, and so it makes sense to play a game that is going to pay out.

So choosing a high RTP game would make sense – these are games which pay out, on average, nearly as much as the player puts in.

So table games like baccarat and blackjack have a house edge of just 1% typically. Similarly, some slots have RTPs of around 99%.

But casinos know this and can restrict those games. So some table games will only contribute 25% to the wagering requirement, for example – so a 1.00 bet might only actually yield 0.25 towards your play through target.

Some slots may also be ineligible. But all of this will be made clear in the terms and conditions, so have a good look first.


If all these terms and conditions seem rather fussy and complicated, then that’s because they often are.

So why not pick a casino, not necessarily based on the topline figure of how much free cash you might get, but on a simple, clear offer, where the terms and conditions are presented in a straightforward way.

So if you’re not comfortable with the smallprint, choose somewhere else.

Dispense with wagering completely

Probably the simplest option in terms of casino bonuses today is to opt for the wagerless casino.

These dispense with wagering requirements completely – just giving players what often amounts to a few simple free spins.

That means what you see is really what you get.

PlayOJO logo
PlayOJO pioneered the ‘wagerless’ bonus structure.

So while it might not boost your bankroll particularly, it is a straightforward introduction to the world of online casinos, and none of your own money is tied up.

These casinos sprung up this year, and PlayOJO was launched based entirely on this concept. Since them bgo Casino and its sister site Power Spins have offered a similar bonus structure.

The bottom line

When you are choosing an online casino, the bonus should not be the key factor in your decision. It should be just what it is, a nice little bonus.

What players really need to pay attention to is whether the casino is reputable, what games it has to offer, and whether the customer support is at a level you need it to be at.

The best place to start would be our guide to online casinos.

We have also written a comprehensive guide to bonuses.

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