UK online casino bonuses come in a variety of different forms and it is advisable to first learn how the different types affect an account, what triggers a bonus, and of course how to get the most out of each reward.
Players already familiar with bonuses can dive straight in - pick from the list below and start playing with the best casino welcome bonuses of 2022! Players not yet ready to take the plunge can click 'read more' to learn everything worth knowing about casino bonuses.
Navigate to the desired topic to learn more by clicking the links above:
- The Welcome Bonus is the first reward a player will encounter, and a great starting point to understand the basics of the most common casino rewards out there.
- How to tell if a bonus is any good and how to compare bonuses hinges on a couple of important concepts and how they interact. Knowing this will make any promotion easy to value and make the most out of.
- A Deposit Bonus can be an invaluable tool to get more out of every penny spent in the casino, but there is a lot to take into account to make them work for players rather than against.
- Free Spins are great but there is more to it than just spinning for free.
- Trigger mechanisms that to not require you to part with any money are prone to a misconceptions.
- Understanding the Terms and Conditions for a bonus is no easy task, but knowing what to look for among the convuluted legalese will make it easier, by a lot!
- There are no simple tricks to clear casino bonuses faster, but knowing how to make them tick can go a long way.
- Still have question marks that needs straightening? Check out the Bonus FAQ at the end of this page.
Opt in required. New customers to Casino page only. 1x per customer. Min. Buy in £10. Bonus value 100% of Buy in. Max. Bonus £300. 40x Wagering, Max Redeemable £4,000. 50 Free Spins with x35 wagering will be awarded after the Buy in Bonus is completed, Max Redeemable £1,000. Bonus expires after 7 days. Stake contributions, player, country, currency, game restrictions and terms apply.
New players only. Min deposit: £10. Wager req: 20x. Bonus balance is paid with 10% instalments to account balance. Bonus balance is not playable. Max bet is £20. Account balance is withdrawable at any time. Upon withdrawal, any remaining bonus balance is forfeited. Play responsibly.
New customers only. Opt-in required. 100% Match Bonus up to £50 on 1st deposit of £10+. 50x bonus wagering applies as do weighting requirements. Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Full T&Cs apply.
18+ Minimum deposit £20. Bonus spins must be used within 72 hours. Bonus funds are 100% match up to £300 with 25 spins on your 1st deposit, 25% match up to £800 with 50 spins on your 2nd deposit, and 50% match up to £400 with 25 spins on your 3rd deposit. Bonus funds are separate to Cash funds, and are subject to 35x wagering the total bonus & cash, within 30 days otherwise the bonus will be removed. Terms apply
18+ New players only. Min. deposit £20. Bonus spins must be used within 72 hours. Winnings from Bonus spins credited as bonus (capped at £100). Bonus funds are 100% match up to £300 and 50 bonus spins 1st deposit, 40% match up to £1000 and 20 bonus spins on 2nd deposit, and 80% match up to £500 and 40 bonus spins 3rd deposit. Bonus funds are separate to Cash funds, and are subject to 35x wagering the total bonus & cash within 30 days, unused bonus funds will be removed. Terms apply
18+. New players only. 1 bonus offer per player. Min. deposit £20. Max bonus bet £5. Extra spins on selected games only- must be used within 72 hours. Winnings from Bonus spins credited as bonus funds and capped at £20. Bonus funds expire in 30 days, unused bonus shall be removed. Bonus funds are 100% match up to £500 + 30 extra spins on 1st deposit, 25% match up to £800 + 25 extra spins on 2nd deposit, and 50% match up to £200 + 50 extra spins on 3rd deposit. Bonus funds are separate to Cash funds, and are subject to 35x wagering the total bonus & cash. Only bonus funds count towards wagering contribution. Terms apply. BeGambleAware.org.
New players only. Min deposit £20. Bonus spins winnings are credited in form of bonus funds and are capped at £50. Bonus funds are subject to 35x wagering the total of deposit + bonus funds. Once claimed, funds must be used within 30 days, spins within 10 days. Terms apply. BeGambleAware.org
New Customers only. Deposit and stake £10 on eligible Casino games to get 50 Free Spins. Time limits, game restrictions and T&Cs apply.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10, max. Bonus £50. Maximum amount of Free Spins is 50. 50 Free Spins can be claimed through the Daily Picks section, 10 each day for the relevant game. Unclaimed spins will be lost. WR of 30x Deposit + Bonus amount and 60x Free Spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Spins must be used and/or Bonus must be claimed before using deposited funds. Bonus Policy Applies.
18+. New players only. 1 bonus offer per player. Min. deposit £20. Max. bonus bet is £5. Bonus spins on selected games only and must be used within 72 hours. Winnings from Bonus spins credited as bonus funds and capped at £100. Bonus funds expire in 30 days, unused bonus funds will be removed. Bonus funds are 100% match up to £500 on your 1st deposit, 25% match up to £1000 on your 2nd deposit, and 50% match up to £500 on your 3rd deposit. Bonus funds are separate to Cash funds, and are subject to 35x wagering the total bonus & cash. Only bonus funds count towards wagering contribution. Terms apply. BeGambleAware.org
Terms & Conditions apply. New players only. 18+ Min Deposit £20. Wagering requirement apply 35x. Offer valid for 72h.
New players only * £20 min deposit * 100% up to £100 Bonus * Bonus wins are capped at £500 * To withdraw bonus & related wins, wager 30 x (bonus amount) within 90 days * Wagering req. vary by game * This offer may not be combined with any other offer * Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time * General withdrawal restrictions & full T&Cs apply
Available through Nov 12, 2020 or until 10,000 offers claimed. Verified new casino accounts only. Bonus issued after verification; 7-day expiry; 50 redemption points required. Slots only, game contributions vary. £100 max win. Terms apply.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10, max. Bonus £50. Game: Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead, Spin Value: £0.10, Max Extra Spins:50. WR of 30x Deposit + Bonus amount and 60x Extra Spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the extra spin winnings and bonus amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Extra Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy Applies.
18+ | First time depositors only. Min. deposit £10. Maximum amount of Free Spins is 50. Free Spins valued at £0.10 per spin, in Book of Dead. Excluding new players in Northern Ireland. OJO's Reward and Game Play Policy Applies.
Receive a FREE spin of the ‘Mega Reel’ when you make your first deposit. Prizes vary, ranging from Free Spins to Amazon Vouchers. New players only, min dep £10, £8 max win per 10 spins, max bonus conversion £250. Wagering requirements apply.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10, max. Bonus £50. Game: Shangri La, Spin Value: £0.20, Max Extra Spins:15. WR of 30x Deposit + Bonus amount and 60x Spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the spin winnings and bonus amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Extra Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy applies.
Terms and Conditions apply. New players only. 18+. Minimum deposit 20£. Wagering requirement 35x. Offer valid for 72h,
18+ New customers only. BeGambleAware.org. Minimum deposit £10. Maximum bonus amount given is £20. 40X wagering requirement apply. Bonus will expire 7 days after opt-in. T+C apply.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10. Game: The Reel Deal, Spin Value: £0.10, Max Free Spins: 100 WR 60x free spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the free spin winnings amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Free Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy applies.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10. Game: Book of Dead, Spin Value: £0.50, Max Spins: 50. WR 60x spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the spin winnings amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy applies.
First Deposit Only. Min eposit: £10. Game: Spina Colada, Spin Value: £1. WR 60x spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the spin winnings amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Extra Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy applies.
18+. New depositors only. UK residents only. Minimum deposit £10. Free Spins are valid only on Starburst and expire in 7 days. Excludes deposits made via Skrill, Entropay and Neteller.
First Deposit Only. Min. deposit: £10. Game: Ninja Master, Spin Value: £0.2, Max Free Spins:25. WR 60x Free spin winnings amount (only Slots count) within 30 days. Max bet is 10% (min £0.10) of the Free spin winnings amount or £5 (lowest amount applies). Free Spins must be used before deposited funds. First Deposit/Welcome Bonus can only be claimed once every 72 hours across all Casinos. Bonus Policy applies.
Casino Bonus FAQ - Test your bonus knowledge!
Expand to see the answer and learn more about different bonus concepts and how they interact with eachother. Note that there might be local variations to the definitions below.
What is a Wagering Requirement?
A wagering requirement, also known as a turnover requirement, is a restriction found in the terms and conditions of casino bonuses. It is used to make sure players do not just grab the money and run - once the requirement has been fulfilled ‘bonus money’ will be converted into real cash.
- The requirement is usually expressed as a multiple of the received bonus amount. 30x, give or take +-10 is to be considered acceptable.
- A time limit is also imposed on the player. If the requirement is not fulfilled before the stated time the bonus will expire and be discarded, and in most cases even the wins made from the bonus.
- Making a withdrawal with an active bonus - i.e. with a wagering requirement that has not yet been met - will in most cases result in the bonus and all wins made from it being discarded.
Note that different game types typically counts differently towards a wagering requirement, with some games not counting at all. Always read and understand the T&C of a bonus, especially the parts concerning the wagering requirement.
What is a Sticky Bonus?
A Sticky Bonus pertains to how bonus credits are treated. The bonus is 'stuck at the bottom' of the player's account and can only be used to make wagers, it can NEVER be withdrawn.
Real money always sits on top of Sticky Bonus money. Wins made with Sticky Bonus money will be credited as real money and go back up on top of the sticky money. Example:
- Sticky Bonus: £50 | Real Money: £10
- A wager of £20 is made.
- Sticky Bonus: £40 | Real Money: £0
- Player wins £100
- Sticky Bonus: £40 | Real Money: £100
- Requesting a withdrawal will forfeit the Sticky Bonus.
What is a Cashable Bonus?
A cashable casino bonus is one that can be turned into real money by fulfilling a wagering requirement. Up until that has happened it can only be used for wagers.
One important detail in the T&C of Cashable Bonuses is if only wagers made with bonus money counts toward the wagering requirement, or if wagers made with ‘real money’ counts as well. The latter being more advantageous for players.
A withdrawal request before the wagering requirement has been met will in most cases forfeit any bonus amount on the player’s account.
What is a Match Bonus?
A Match(ing) Bonus is a deposit dependent bonus where the casino matches a deposit up to a certain amount. Depending on the T&C of the bonus it is credited as either a Cashable- or Sticky Bonus.
A Match Bonus typically have two components; a percentage rate matched and an upper limit.
Examples, a player depositing £50:
- ‘50% up to £100’ will give an extra £25
- ‘100% up to £100’ will give an extra £50
- ‘200% up to £100’ will give an extra £100
- ‘300% up to £100’ will give £100 (not £150 , as the upper limit is hit, this is an example of a sub-optimal deposit)
Note that if the last example’s wagering requirement count wagers made with the player’s own deposited funds, a bigger than optimal deposit can make it easier to reach the wagering requirement.
What is a Free Spins Bonus?
A Free Spin is a free round in a slot game, a Free Spins Bonus is a reward package containing several free rounds. At topcasinosites.co.uk we make the distinction between Free Spins (no wagering requirement) and Bonus Spins (winnings are payed as bonus money).
A Free Spins Bonus should not be confused with Free Spins Bonus Features which are common in video slots. The principle is the same though: free game rounds on the house, or in this case the game.
What are Bonus Spins?
Bonus Spins are Free Spins, but in contrast to the latter, winnings are credited as a Cashable Bonus which is subject to a wagering requirement.
Bonus Spins, just like Free Spins, are played with a predetermined wager level, and in a specific slot or collection of slots.
What is a Free Money Bonus?
Free cash, no strings attached! A not so common reward without first fulfilling some kind of requirement; be it completing a mission, reaching a new level in a loyalty program, etc.
A rare type of casino bonus, but not unheard of; Rizk, Casumo and PlayOJO are all good places to start for players looking for loyalty systems that regularly reward this superior kind of casino bonus.
Always make sure to read and understand a bonus’ complete Terms & Conditions (T&C).
Casino Bonus Triggers
The Casino Welcome Bonus
Bonus Spins or Free Spins will probably be the first kind of bonus you encounter as they are a staple of almost every casino welcome bonus, or sign-up bonus – the natural first step of a welcome bonus package. This is a ‘No Deposit’ type of bonus, the sign-up bonus that is, not necessarily any of the two spins-bonuses, although they very well could be.
Confused yet? Relax, you will soon be speaking bonuses like a pro, so bear with us.
Both spin bonuses above allow players to have a few spins (rounds) on slot games for free. The prefix - ‘bonus’ or ‘free’ - decides how any winnings encountered during the rounds will be credited. For Bonus Spins they are typically credited to a separate sub-account and subject to a wagering requirement before you can withdraw your newly acquired funds. Free Spins are typically credited as cash, wager free, - but beware, some kind of restriction can still come with the ‘Terms and Conditions’ (T&C) agreed upon when the bonus is accepted.
The wagering requirement is the most important part of any casino bonus' T&C
A wagering - or turnover - requirement is a way for the casino to make sure players do not just take the money and run. It states how much you will need to wager before the bonus money received can be withdrawn. One can typically withdraw deposited funds before a wagering requirement is fulfilled but this will forfeit the bonus amount.
The next step in a welcome bonus package will most definitely be an incentive for the player to make a deposit, a ‘Deposit Bonus’. Note that a Deposit Bonus does not necessarily tell us anything of what our reward will be - it can come in the form of game rounds like the ones described above - but a matching bonus is the most common Deposit Bonus when we are talking welcome bonuses.
A Match (or Matching) Bonus will give the player's bankroll a boost based on deposit size. The casino will match the deposit to a certain degree, 100%-200% being industry standard. The extra funds will in most cases be subject to a wagering requirement.
Life after the new player welcome bonus…
A Free Spins bonus on sign-up, followed by a Match Bonus accompanying your first deposit is a classic structure when it comes to welcome bonus packages on UK online casinos. Often Free Spins are thrown in in addition to the Match Bonus when the first deposit is made.
Some years back it was not unusual for UK casino sites to offer Welcome Bonuses that included bonuses on the second, third, and even subsequent deposits. This structure is less prevalent today as advertising rules have become stricter.
No matter the structure of the welcome bonus package offered to new players, one thing is certain: bonuses do not stop after the welcome bonus has been used up; promotions run regularly on most casino sites, and loyalty systems awarding bonuses are more of a rule than an exception. But it never hurts to be on the lookout for new online casinos as the industry is improving rapidly and full of innovative new concepts.
But before we delve deeper into the determining details of each bonus type mentioned above it is beneficial from an educational standpoint to pick the general concept of the casino bonus apart into its smaller constituents. This way it will be much easier to understand all types of bonuses that a player can encounter at UK casino sites.
Casino Welcome Bonuses
How to Compare Casino Bonuses
All casino rewards share three fundamental components that interact with each other. If understood individually we can valuate any bonus in an accurate way. These components are:
- What type of act from the player triggers the bonus. Making a deposit, wagering a certain amount (playthrough bonuses), logging on to the site, opening a certain game, completing some type of game related objective, referring a friend, etc. On modern gambling environments almost anything is possible and can activate a bonus.
- The contents of the bonus. A casino bonus always consists of one, or a combination of the following: game rounds or money in some form. A subcategory can also be encountered in the form of loyalty points or casino credits, but these can typically be exchanged for game rounds or money.
- How the contents of the bonus relates to real cash. For free game rounds this implies money won from said rounds. The wagering requirement will be the most important term here, but there is more to this. How big bets are you allowed to make? What happens if you request a withdrawal? And such.
The biggest casino bonus is not always the best
In terms of evaluating a casino bonus, the last of the above points is the most important. How many Free Spins or how much money gets matched matters little if it cannot at some point make its way to the player’s bank account.
Money that can be easily transferred to a player’s bank account are hereby referred to as ‘real money’, and most online casinos make a distinction between this type of withdrawable funds and ‘bonus money’. The best casino sites always present this separation of credits in a clear cut manner.
But to make matters a bit more tricky 'bonus money' is also typically treated in two distinctly separate ways, either as; Sticky Bonus funds or Cashable Bonus funds, so let us start in this end and work from there. Each type have their own advantage and one is not necessarily better than the other.
Cashable Casino Bonus Explained
Cashable Bonuses are, as the name suggests, convertible into real money - but not before a wagering requirement is fulfilled. A Cashable Bonus, which is the most common type, can be used to make wagers but the main goal with this bonus is to convert it into real money. This leads us to one of the most important concepts when it comes to any Cashable Bonus: the wagering requirement.
Wagering Requirements Explained
A wagering requirement is the mechanism by which a Cashable Bonus is converted into real money. This is the most important concept when it comes to bonuses and understanding this is a must for every online gambler.
A wagering requirement is a safety valve ensuring that the online casino won’t go broke. If a player could just claim free money and withdraw it immediately an online casino would be bankrupted in no time. A turnover requirement, which is another term for the same thing, gives the casino a fair chance to recuperate some, or all of the amount handed out - while players get a chance to gamble with the casino’s money.
Wagering requirement in practice
A typical Match Bonus promotion can look something like: '100% up to £100 with a wagering requirement of “20x” on the bonus amount'. This Cashable Bonus would have a player aiming for the full amount deposit £100. The player would then have to wager £2,000 (100 x 20) before the received bonus would be converted to real money. A player's progress towards fulfilling the requirement is of course tracked by the casino, but the player will also be able to check the status. How much has been wagered so far is usually found under a bonus tab or from the cashier.
There are always several ways in which online casinos restrict player behaviour when there is an active bonus in play, but we will go through those further down among our tips to clear bonuses, and in the part where we mention the most important points of any bonus’ T&C.
Sticky Casino Bonus Explained
The name refers to how the bonus is ‘stuck’ to a player’s account, and that it can only be used to make wagers. The bonus amount in itself can in other words never be turned into real money, but there is an indirect way to make it work for players in terms of real money.
Wins from wagers made with a Sticky Bonus is credited as real money - wager free.
The problem is that the real money in most cases will be put on top of the stuck funds, and thus the subsequent wager will have the player using real money again. This makes a Sticky Bonus hard to ever utilise in its full extent, but as any win with it will be credited as real money it is still a very nice kind of bonus.
A withdrawal request will forfeit any Sticky Bonus funds, but as the saying goes: a bird in hand is always better than two in the bush.
Casino Bonuses triggered by Deposits
To entice players to make a deposit online casinos offer Deposit Bonuses, and the magnitude of rewards utilising this type of triggering-mechanism is usually hundreds of times bigger compared to bonuses that does not require a deposit.
A ‘Deposit Bonus’ doesn't imply anything about the reward, it merely states what triggers the bonus – a deposit of funds.
The reason a casino is willing to offer such big bonuses in exchange for a deposit is simple: once funds have been transferred into the gaming system they are only a click away from being wagered, and the casino to start making money. Re-Load Bonus is another term referring to a Deposit Bonus, but for someone whom has already made at least one previous deposit. In other words, someone reloading their account with funds.
Keep in mind that a Deposit Bonus refers to how a reward is triggered, it doesn’t imply anything about its content. Deposit Bonuses can award Free Spins, VIP points, Cashable Bonus funds, Sticky Bonus funds, and combinations are common.
Even though a Deposit Bonus does not imply what type of bonus is awarded, there is one bonus type that by its very nature never can be triggered by anything else than a deposit: the type of bonus where the casino matches a player’s deposit to some degree.
Match Bonus Percentages Explained
UK Casino Bonuses for Specific Games
In video slots a game round is typically called a ‘spin’, and that is why bonuses which can only be used in slot games are typically called Free Spins or Bonus Spins. Local naming conventions can be used so always refer to the T&C before accepting any UK slots bonus.
As advertisement rules have tightened the term Free Spins, is nowadays - or at least should be - reserved for game rounds that have no strings attached, and are ‘Free’ in every sense. Wins made from this type of bonus should be credited as Free Money – free from all types of wagering requirements or other hidden costs for the player. Cash Free Spins and Wager Free Spins are other terms used to make things crystal clear. We, of course, have a list exclusively for Free Spins without wagering requrements.
Other ‘less free’ game rounds are called Bonus Spins, Extra Spins, or simply just referred to as Spins. These rounds are still free to play but the winnings are awarded as a Cashable Bonus and is subject to a wagering requirement.
Free to play game rounds in slots are amongst the most common of bonuses and will frequently be encountered at most online casinos. The difference between Free Spins and Bonus Spins is how winnings are treated, but any Slots Bonus will have the following components in common:
- How many spins that are given.
- In which specific slot, or collection of slots, the spins can be used.
- A bet size (value) per individual spin - typically the lowest available in the game the spins are given.
- An expiry date stating how long they will be available for use.
Casino Bonuses for Live Dealer Table Games
Most casino bonuses are created with video slots in mind, and playing table games are only fractionally contributing to wagering requirements. The mathematics behind any casino bonus will be such as to give the operator a slight advantage, and players that fail to convert their bonus into cash will pay for those that do. With optimal strategy on Blackjack for example, players could consistently make money on casino bonuses, and operators saw themselves taking big losses whenever they offered bonuses. They tightened the rules and restricted certain games, but with the resurgent popularity of table games due to live dealer play, they slowly have to change their attitude.
Live casino is becoming a very important segment and in the battle for new customers, operators are now offering UK live casino bonuses. These usually come with slightly higher wagering requirements (70x is not uncommon) but at least they are allowing for live play, which is great news for those of us that prefer this type of casino gambling!
Casino Bonus Codes and other Triggers
UK no deposit bonuses is an almost all-encompassing term referring to a bonus triggered by anything but a deposit. Modern casino platforms offer endless possibilities on what can trigger a No Deposit Bonus; logging onto the system, opening a game during certain hours, playing a number of game rounds in a slot game, or drawing a specific card at a live blackjack table.
Just like the Deposit Bonus it refers to a trigger mechanism rather than a specific reward,and as the examples above show the limitations are few when it comes to what can tactivate a No Deposit Bonus. Typically though, the rewards are less valuable than those requiring a player to part with funds - but harder to achieve activation requirements will of course normally offer bigger rewards.
VIP and Cashback Bonuses Explained
The Cashback Bonus is a kind of No Deposit Bonus. If a player loses money during a Cashback promotion they will get parts of it recuperated at a later point. A Cashback Bonus typically consist of three components; a stated time period, a rate at which losses will be covered, and a pay-out date.
Example with a casino offering 10% Cashback starting Friday at 8pm, ending midnight the following Sunday, and with pay-out the Monday after at 3pm:
- The casino will note the participating player’s account balance at Friday 8pm.
- It reads £100
- The player is unlucky and loses it all
- Saturday the player makes a £50 deposit
- Sunday evening the player loses another £25
- At midnight the casino tallies up the player’s losses, in this case £125.
- The following Monday £12.50 is credited the player’s account
Some casinos have a built in Cashback mechanisms that runs week after week, year round, usually as part of their loyalty program for VIPs and often tiered with higher Cashback rates for the most loyal players. See our listing of online casino vip programs for the best options available.
Casino Bonus Codes
Important Points in the T&C of Casino Bonuses
Terms and Conditions (T&C) are as important as it gets when it comes to casino bonuses, all players need to make sure that they thoroughly read through everything, and completely understand the requirements of each promotion they take part in. Below we will go through some of the most important points to keep an extra eye out for when claiming a casino gift of any kind. We also do our best to include such info in reviews and editorial pieces.
Minimum Deposit Rule Explained:
The player must deposit a minimum sum stipulated by the online casino to be eligible for the bonus. We always state the minimum deposit when it comes to the welcome bonuses listed, and do our best to do so when writing about promotions where it will apply.
Maximum Winnings Explained
The maximum winnings rule usually pertains to No Deposit Bonuses. It will typically state that there is a maximum you can win with gifted money or free spins. It usually does not cap winnings per se, but rather what can be withdraw.
Say, for instance, that the maximum win with a particular promotion claimed is £2000 and the player hits a big win, netting £10,000 in a single spin credited as a Cashable Bonus. The casino would allow play with the full amount until the wagering requirement is fulfilled, but once that would happen only £2000 would be converted into real money and the rest would get reclaimed by the house. This rule is thankfully not that common.
One Deposit Rule Explained
In the case of bonuses received on sign up there is usually a disclaimer in the T&C limiting players from withdrawing any money - either won from free game rounds or received as a cash bonus in some form - before making a deposit. This rule might be in play even if a players have fulfilled the wagering requirement. A small deposit – turned over once in the casino - will usually suffice to release all funds.
This is a safety measure restricting the temptation from gamblers to simply go from casino to casino, remember there are thousands out there, and taking their chances with the sign up bonus only to leave no matter the outcome.
Wagering Requirements Revisited
Over the years gamblers have found loopholes and clever ways allowing them to clear bonuses (meet the wagering requirement) to a much higher degree than the mathematics of the casino’s marketing department can stomach. In the eyes of gamblers it has simply been a way to outsmart the system, but in the eyes of an online casino it is costly and considered abuse.
We will avoid getting into any moral discussion and simply go through some of the more common rules that are employed by almost every operator in some way or another.
Most online casinos considered an ‘Active Bonus’ as one of which the Wagering Requirement has not yet been met. And with an active bonus there are restrictions found in the T&C which dictates what is allowed and what is not. This is mainly done in two ways; restricting bet size and which games one is allowed to play.
Maximum Allowed Bet
A big bet can result in a huge win, and a huge win will make clearing a bonus easy – on top of that the casino would have to pay out the huge win in question. To prevent this, a wager size cap is placed on individual bets. £5 is common. Some casinos still allow bigger bets to be made but does not count them toward the wagering requirement.
Restricted Betting Patterns
Heading to a roulette table and placing a £5 bet on both red and black will give a 35/36 chance of breaking even, while still counting £10 towards the wagering requirement. This is for obvious reasons not allowed. Similar restrictions, like covering more than 70% of outcomes at a roulette, table exists.
There will also be a list of games in the T&C which if played either does not count at all towards clearing a wagering requirement, or where only fractions of bets are counted.
The list of completely excluded games is usually populated by slot games where players can work towards a guaranteed bonus round or games with an exceptionally high return to player (RTP). For instance, Rabcat's Castle Builder II (by accumulating building materials it is only a matter of time before a generous reward is triggered) and Blood Suckers (RTP of 98.0%) are almost always on these lists.
Table games like blackjack usually only count 10% of a wager made, while roulette typically counts 20%.
If table games are preferred it is recommended to seek out a casino offering a separate live bonus which is structured as to take into account the high payback percentages of table games - the wagering requirement of dedicated live bonuses will be a bit higher but not nearly as high as it would be compared to a regular bonus where bets are only counted fractionally.
Tips to Clear Casino Bonuses
Clearing Cashable Bonuses is easier said than done and as all things casino it will come down to luck. Our first tip can hardly be called a tip, it is more of a statement: smaller bonuses are not always easier to clear than big ones. Turning over money requires funds and the more a player have available in relation to what is required to turn over will be the main determinant of how hard it will be to meet a wagering requirement.
Available funds and the importance of how a wagering requirement is expressed
One detail in the terms and conditions of cashable casino bonuses can give players an opportunity to get ahead. There are typically two ways online casinos formulate their wagering requirements, and it will make all the difference in the world:
- Wager the received bonus amount X times, or
- Wager the received bonus amount AND the deposited amount X times
Let's say a player is about to claim 100% up to £100 which come with a wagering requirement of 40x tied to only the received bonus amount, example #1 above.
- In this case most players will try to optimise their deposit and part with £100 in order to get the full amount of £100. This will leave them with £200 to wager a total of £8,000. No easy task unless a big win is hit early on - even with most slots giving back 96% on average.
- If instead a deposit of £300 is made, £400 would be available to play with (the bonus amount will get capped at £100). A fairly big win at some will still be needed in order to wager the £8,000, but with twice as much available to put up it has become much easier.
Note that some casinos which formulate their T&C’s as #1 will add something along the lines of: ‘If a deposit of disproportionate size is made, with the sole purpose of making the wagering requirement easier to fulfil, the casino can at any time void the bonus’. Fortunately most casinos are happy to get money into their system, especially large sums, but it is something to be on the lookout for if the method above is used to gain an edge.
Two Slots Strategies - High Variance or High RTP
For a slot game with an RTP of 97% a player should theoretically be able to turn over 30 times what their starting amount is - hence why most wagering requirements tend to fluctuate around this number. But there is a slight problem to this; the RTP measurement is volatile and at least a thousand spins are needed to make it somewhat accurate.
There are mainly two strategies to employ when playing slots with the goal of clearing a bonus, and there is a trade-off to each method. Note that to clear a bonus a player need to be lucky and hit some kind of win, beating the odds in a sense. The two strategies below are simply two different approaches to achieve this. Most people will not clear their bonuses, but a few will – and being one of the few is not by any means impossible.
Playing High Variance Slots
For thrill seekers playing more volatile slots (offering bigger wins less frequently) will be a suitable strategy. See this section of our slots page for more information on the concept, and examples high variance slots. The aim here will be to rely on one huge win. As the player will either make it or break it before enough spins are made which sees the wins and losses adding up to the stated RTP, the RTP measurement can be disregarded.
Following the link above to our slots section, make sure you have a look at our text on variance as utilising that concept also can help you reach wagering requirements more efficiently.
Playing Low Variance High RTP Slots
Not so volatile slots (frequent but smaller wins) will more closely follow a game’s RTP, than a high variance slot. The swings will be less hard to bear and small wagers can go a long way in terms of turning over money in the casino. Pick the highest RTP slots as the aim with this method is to grind out as many game rounds as possible a 1% difference in RTP will add up. This method will be time consuming and not as exciting as playing high variance slots, but even low variance slots can pay out decent sums, and with more game rounds the chances of hitting one of those increase – which is the aim here.
A bird in hand is better than two in the bush!
At most online casinos real money sits on top of bonus funds - this is true both for Sticky and Cashable Bonuses - and bonus funds are used only when the real money balance hit zero. If a decent win is made, do not be afraid to withdraw the real money and forfeit the bonus amount - if the T&C allows it that is. Money in the bank is always better than in the casino account!
Some bonuses will be cleared, but most will not. It is part of the game. Gambling is mainly entertainment and not a way to make money, do not expect bonuses as a source of reliable income, as with most things at online casinos the decks are stacked against us, but that makes coming out on top so much more fun. Play responsibly, even with bonus money.
And remember, there will always be another promotion or freebie up for grabs in the future. Play responsibly and all will be well in the end.