How Do Online Casino Bonuses Work?

We can hardly talk about any online casino without devoting a significant portion of the conversation to the bonuses and promotions it offers. These special deals have become very important for online casinos as they attract new customers and keep the regular ones coming back.

If you are new to the online gambling scene, casino bonuses are something you should learn about before committing to your newfound pastime, along with tips on how to keep safe at an online casino which I cover in this blog post.

Therefore, in this article, I will break down the essential features of online casino bonuses, including:

Read on!

What Are Casino Bonuses?

Online Casino Bonuses By Type

Online casino bonuses are special promotions offered to new or existing players. These can come in the form of “free” bonus money, free spins, cashback, and more. Online casino bonuses are usually expressed in percentages.

For instance, a 250% welcome bonus of up to $250 means that the amount of the bonus money you’ll receive will be equal to 250% of your qualifying deposit, but not over $250. Therefore, if you deposit $10, you will receive $25 in bonus money, which leaves you with a total of $35 to play with.

The bonus funds can be used on all of the games a casino offers or just a select few — it depends on the casino and the promotion. Likewise, every casino bonus comes with a set of specific terms and conditions players should get familiar with before claiming the prize.

Types of Casino Bonuses

Most casinos offer different types of bonuses — the no deposit bonus free of deposit requirements, deposit-based bonuses, free spins to be used on selected games, cashback offers to compensate for some of your losses, and many more.

Let’s see what the most prominent types of casino bonuses are!

No Deposit Bonus

No deposit bonuses are given to players for free, usually when they sign up to the casino. To receive a bonus like this, you don’t need to make a deposit or spend any real money on games.

They’re usually issued as sign-up bonuses to give players a chance to see if they like the casino or not.

No deposit bonuses are usually much smaller than deposit ones. In most cases, you’ll receive between $5 and $30. However, some no deposit promos offer free spins instead of bonus money, and they are the favorites among players who prefer online real money slots.

You’re probably wondering, is it possible to get something for free?

In this case, we have to refer to the old marketing saying that nothing is free — you just didn’t pay for this bonus in money.

There will always be terms, conditions and wagering requirements attached to no deposit bonuses, just like with all other types of bonuses. Therefore, it’s essential to double-check what they are before commenting on a casino.

Welcome Bonus

Welcome bonuses are the most exciting type as they are given to players for signing up and depositing for the first time. These bonuses differ wildly from one casino to another and include different rewards and requirements.

Commonly, welcome bonuses consist of free spins, no deposit bonuses, or deposit bonuses, but there are other variations as well.

This type of bonus is ideal chance for players to get to know a casino better.

Deposit Bonus

As the name itself tells you, deposit bonuses will reward you for making a deposit in the casino. They are usually part of the sign-up bonus but are often available to regular players as well.

These bonuses typically require players to deposit a certain amount of money and then reward them with a percentage of that sum.

For example, a standard deposit welcome bonus would look like this — get a 100% bonus up to $1,000. In this case, it means that the amount you deposit will be matched in bonus funds. If you deposit $250, you’ll get another $250 on top of it.

As you can see, there’s an upper cap on how much you can earn, which is $1,000 in this case. Therefore, even if you deposit more than $1,000, you’ll still receive $1,000.

These bonuses can vary in terms of how much money you can get and what their upper limits are. For example, you can get a 200% or even a 300% deposit bonus. Also, some casinos are more generous than others, meaning they will set their award limits higher.

Sometimes, deposit bonuses can be tied to a specific payment method only, so players would have to use that method to become eligible.

Finally, deposit welcome bonuses sometimes apply on more than one deposit. Some casinos offer bonuses on your first two, three, or even more deposits.

Free Spins

Free spins are the favorite type of bonus for players who love slot games. They let you play slot games without biting into your own funds. Casinos award them pretty frequently, in batches of 20, 30, 40, etc. They’re also usually part of welcome bonuses as well.

Free spins are often limited to a particular game or a specific provider, but they can be given for a considerable number of games as well.

Free spins can also be part of the welcome bonus.

You’ll often see bonuses that offer both a deposit bonus and free spins. Here’s an example — 100% Bonus up to $1000 + 100 Free Spins on Starburst.

All wins from free spins need to be wagered before withdrawn.



Unfortunately, life is not always fair, and we can’t always win. However, when you do lose money in a casino, you can recover a part of your losses with a cashback bonus.

Casinos usually issue these bonuses daily, weekly, or monthly, so you can get back 10%, 20%, 30%, or more of what you lost.

Let’s say that the bonus promises to give you 10% back. After you spend $1,000 over some time (specified in the T&Cs section), you’ll receive $100 back. Casinos often indicate the amount of money you’re required to spend in order to trigger the cashback bonus.

As always, you will likely need to wager the bonus funds before you can withdraw them.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus

If you love going on rants about things you find exciting, then refer-a-friend bonuses are for you.

Casinos will reward players whenever someone signs up using their referral code. Most often, you’ll have to refer a certain number of people to the casino to receive the bonus.

For example, if a bonus offers a 25% bonus on every referral deposit and your friend deposits $100, you’ll receive $25 as a gift.

These bonuses typically consist of free money or free spins that you can use to play games and that you’d need to wager before withdrawing.

Loyalty Bonus

Casinos have tempting bonuses for new players, but they often reward their most loyal customers as well.

When you become a regular in a casino, you’ll usually get a chance to enter a VIP club. This gives you a chance to get higher bonuses with better conditions, such as lower wagering requirements.

Regular players typically collect loyalty points by playing, which determines their VIP level and the rewards they can receive.

These programs usually have a tiered structure, and you need to collect comp points to progress through tiers. Entry tiers usually award players with small bonuses, while top-tiers give exclusive offers, such as:

  • Personal account managers
  • Birthday gifts
  • Even invitations to special events.

Some casinos tend to offer vacations in exotic destinations to top-tier players.

High-Roller Bonus

High-roller bonuses are reserved for the big fish. They are issued to players who deposit more significant amounts of money compared to regular players.

These bonuses are known to exceed $1,000 and often come in the form of deposit bonuses.

Casino Bonuses Terms and Conditions

While these offers can sound sensational and very rewarding, it is essential to note that they come with a set of specific terms and conditions players have to fulfill to withdraw their winnings.

Let’s take a look at the key terms and what they entail.

Minimum Deposit Requirements

A minimum deposit requirement is a condition applied to deposit-based bonuses. It essentially tells you the minimum amount of money you need to deposit to become eligible for a casino bonus.

These requirements are usually not very high, starting with $10 or $20, but they can go up to $100 or higher for high-roller bonuses.

Wagering Requirements

The wagering requirements tell you how many times you need to play through or rollover the amount of the bonus money you received to be able to cash in on the winnings you obtained while playing with an active bonus.

For example, if you received a $10 bonus and the wagering requirements for that bonus are 30x, this means that you will have to play through $300 ($10 x 30) before your winnings can become withdrawable.

What’s more, wagering requirements for deposit bonuses often apply to both the bonus amount and the amount of the deposit you claimed a bonus on. Therefore, if you claimed a $10 bonus on a $10 deposit with the wagering requirements of 30x, you’ll need to wager $600 ($20 x 30) to be allowed to withdraw your winnings.

I should also mention that most casinos also impose certain time limitations related to bonus wagering requirements. In other words, casinos give players a set amount of time to complete the wagering requirements after they claim a bonus. Time limitations differ depending on the casino and bonus in question, and they usually range from 24h to 90 days.

Game Weighing

Game weighting is the term that signifies how much wagering on specific casino games contributes towards the completion of the bonus wagering requirements.

In most online casinos, wagering on slot games contributes 100%, which is good news for slot lovers.

However, wagering on table games, another extremely popular casino game category, usually carries less weight, around 50% in most cases. This means you must wager double the amount on table games to complete the wagering requirements.

Restricted Games

Another important condition to consider is the restricted games. As I mentioned earlier, players can use online casino bonuses on all or select casino games. Therefore, you will be able to use some bonuses on a specific casino game category or even on one or more pre-selected games. This condition differs from bonus to bonus, and you can find more details in the description of each promotion.

Players should be extra careful about this condition as not only will wagering on restricted games not count towards completing the wagering requirements, but it could lead to the casino voiding both your bonus and your winnings.

Stake Limitations

Another very common bonus term players should be aware of while completing the wagering requirements are the stake limitations.

This condition states the highest single-stake amount you are allowed to wager while playing with an active bonus.

Since stake limitations differ among casinos, make sure you are acquainted with them before you start playing, as the casino may nullify your bonus and your winnings if you exceed the amount stated.

Withdrawal Limits

Since online casino bonus amounts can be pretty high and winnings obtained with them even higher, most online casinos impose certain withdrawal limits on their bonuses.

In other words, most casinos limit the amount of money you can withdraw after completing the wagering requirements.

For instance, If the withdrawal limit associated with the bonus is $2,000, you will only be able to withdraw that much, no matter how much you win.

Expiry Dates

Your bonus can expire.

Instead of giving you an indefinite amount of time to meet the wagering requirements, you’ll have to do it within a specified period.

For example, if the expiry date is 30 days, it means you must meet the wagering requirements during that time. Failing to do so will make your bonus funds void, and you’ll not be able to use them anymore.

Therefore, it’s extremely important to learn about the expiration period of your bonus and conclude whether you’ll be able to meet the wagering requirements during that period.

Maximum Cashout

Sometimes, there’s a maximum limit set on the amount of money you can cash out using your bonus. This usually applies to free spins.

Imagine receiving 20 free spins and getting really lucky with them. Let’s say that you managed to win $2,000 with your bonus. In that case, casinos can lose money, so they often limit how much you can win.

Therefore, if the max cashout is set to $100, you’ll not be able to win more than that.

Technically speaking, you’ll be able to win $2,000, but the casino will confiscate the remaining $1,900.

Some online casinos don’t have maximum cashout limits, but they often compensate for that in high wagering requirements and short expiry dates.


Online casino bonuses can be an excellent boost to your online gambling session. However, it is important to remember that there is more to them than what you can see on a colorful casino banner. Therefore, make sure to get familiar with how each specific bonus works so that it can work for you.

If you want a head start in finding US-friendly casino bonuses then check out this page, where we list the top 10 online casinos.

About the Author

Author Hi all! My name is Jayson Peter, and I am the Chief Editor here at Casino USA. I have always been a huge fan of casinos, but I noticed that there are not a lot of websites out there that discuss the gambling industry in enough detail, so that’s how the idea for was born. With my extensive knowledge of the industry and the help of my team, I am ready to give you an insight into the exciting world of casino gambling in the United States.