Deposit bonuses are one of the most common incentives given to online casino players and one of the main differences between land-based and online casinos. Unlike a traditional casino, where players get treated for spending more or regularly at the casino, in the online world, they can be treated both for coming back as well as deciding to spend any money at the casino.
However, for most people who are new to the online scene casino deposit bonuses are also a confusing affair, as they are given attached to a certain set of conditions. If you are such a person, or just need some of the fine print cleared up, check out the following guide on the WHATs and HOWs of casino deposit bonus offers.
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What exactly are Casino Deposit Bonuses?
Like you can guess from their name, casino deposit bonuses are bonuses given by an online casino to players who make a deposit. It’s a standard practice among online operators to offer deposit bonus/es as your welcome gift for your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd deposits.
Casino deposit bonuses are usually “matching” bonuses, i.e. they match your bonus money to some extent. The usual matching percentage is between 100-200%, which means you can get a $100-200 bonus when you make a $100 deposit under this offer.
However, while deposit bonuses can be very stimulating, they are not “free money” rewards, despite technically being such. So, whenever you deposit money to claim a deposit bonus, you are adding a number of terms to your own money you’ve sent into the casino. These terms include the so-called wagering requirements, as well as other bonus terms and conditions. For more about each of these requirements, check out the sections below.
What you Need to Understand About the Wagering Requirements?
The wagering requirements (also called playthrough) are basically a term that you have to meet if you want to withdraw any winnings made with your bonus money, or forfeit them entirely.
For example, let’s say you’ve accepted a 100% welcome bonus on your first deposit that comes with wagering requirements of 35x. What this means is that you have to wager, or bet, 35x times your bonus + deposit money before you are allowed to withdraw your winnings. So, if you deposited $100 and got a $100 bonus, you will have to make $7,000 worth of bets at the casino to meet your bonus terms, and it doesn’t stop here.
Once you accept a bonus, your playing will also be subject to other terms and conditions, like the game contribution rate, time limits, and bonus abuser policy, all of which have to be respected before you are able to withdraw cash from your bonus account.
Knowing How and What to Wager On
All casinos will have a chart describing the contribution of different casino games towards meeting your bonus terms. The contribution rate is, simply put, how much of your individual wagers will be counted towards your wagering requirements.
Slot games, for example, usually have a 100% contribution rate. What this means is that for every $1 you spend on slots, you will be $1 closer to meeting your wagering terms. On the other hand, games that offer more advantage to the player, like Poker, will have a lower contribution rate of approximately 20-30%, while Blackjack, being the most advantageous game, will have an even lower rate. There might be also some games that have a 0% contribution.
Understanding the contribution is essential because it will help you avoid spending all your money without even completing half of your bonus terms.
Understanding Other Restrictions
Apart from the contribution rate and wagering terms, you also have know whether there are any other conditions that the operator imposes on its casino deposit bonus. In short, the ones you should look out for are: time limits, maximum cashout, history, and how your money is applied.
Every casino will state a certain time frame by which you will have to meet your bonus terms or forfeit your money. With some operators, this will be approximately a month, while others will impose less fair conditions. And to avoid losses incurred by sheer luck, there will often be a cap on your maximum winnings. So don’t expect to hit a $100,000 slot jackpot with your bonus money and be allowed to withdraw it.
You should also make sure that the offered casino deposit bonus has only been accepted once per your physical or IP address, either in that casino or any other casinos from the operator’s network that offers the same bonus. If there are duplicate claims, you risk losing your bonus balance.
Other than that, the final thing to check is what portions of your deposit/bonus money are counted towards your wagers. Some casinos take a 50/50 approach, i.e. every $1 you spend will be taken 50% from your bonus balance and 50% from your deposit, while others may not impose such rules.
How to Cash out Your Winnings
To cash out your bonus winnings, the only thing you have to make sure about is whether you’ve met the exact bonus terms. Luckily, most casinos offer trackers in your account dashboard to know how close you are to meeting that goal. Once the terms are met, the only thing left to do is to pick a convenient withdrawal method and send the money back to your bank account, credit card, or whatever other option you want to use.
If you don’t know how to do this, you just have to find the cashier/banking/withdrawal menu when you’re logged in, pick your preferred option, fill in all the required information and wait for the withdrawal to be processed. The processing time may take anything between 24 hours to several business days, depending on what payment method you’ve chosen.
You should also keep in mind that you’ll likely to be asked to provide your ID to confirm with the casino that you’re the owner of the card/bank account you want to withdraw to. That is, unless you play in a Bitcoin casino.
Meeting Your Bonus Terms without Abuse
The term bonus abuse is frequently thrown around in online casinos as it’s a common way operators protect themselves from advantage players who use different systems to trick them. The term usually means different things to different casinos, as it’s a bit of a gray area, but there are some uniform principles that apply to most online operators.
The main tactic which casinos use to track bonus abuse is to analyze your playing pattern. One example of an abusive pattern would be to use a progressive betting system on 50/50 bets like the Red/Black bets in Roulette. This system relies on doubling your bets with every next wager until you win, with the logic being that you can cover all previous losses once you do so. Needless to say, this could result in serious damage to the casino if you succeed.
Another example would be to play with minimal bets until you win big and then try to meet your wagering requirements with a few large bets. Some casinos also state the maximum percentage of your bonus money you can wager on a single bet, with the standard being around 20-30% of your entire bonus. So if you received a $10 bonus and wager $5 of it on a single spin, you technically risk being labeled an abuser.
Of course, this is a very simple example, but it is enough to give you the gist. Thus, you should always check what wagering limits the casino states in their bonus/general terms and never assume you can outsmart the casino. After all, they have every right to withhold your winnings if your playing patterns show that you’ve tried tricking the casino out of their money.