Let’s talk slot bonuses for a sec.
First, what is a slot bonus?
It’s an offer from the casino to incentivize you to make a deposit. There are all types of bonuses. I’ll tell you what the most common ones are in just a second.
Second, why does the casino offer bonuses?
Like I said, they want you to make a deposit and play at their casino. And because all games are in the casino’s favor, and many players play until broke, they’re able to make these offers to you knowing you’ll most likely give it back.
Third, should you accept the bonus?
I can see you now, giving me a puzzled look, wondering why I’d ask such a stupid question.
Of course you take the bonus.
Not exactly. What you don’t yet know about bonuses is they come with terms. You have to fulfill these terms before you cash out or else the casino will void your bonus money and any money you won with it.
That doesn’t sound fun, does it?
Now, I don’t point these things out to scare you from taking a bonus. I just want you to be educated so no casino will ever get the drop on you. Knowing more about bonuses and how they work will help you find the best and easiest to clear deals.
If, in fact, a bonus is right for you.
How will you know? Keep reading – I’ll show you.
First Things First – What Types of Slot Bonuses Are There?
Let’s first look at all the different bonuses casinos will offer you (not usually at the same time).
- Deposit Bonus – This is reserved for first time depositors. The most common are match bonuses. The casino offers to match a percentage of your deposit. Examples of casino offers include: 100% match up to $1,000, 50% match up to $5,000 or 200% match up to $500.
- Reload Bonus – These are just like deposit bonuses except they’re often reserved for existing customers. These are offered to get players to come back and make another deposit.
- Refer-a-Friend – This is an offer paid to you every time you refer a player who makes a deposit and (usually) plays so many dollars worth of games. The best deals will pay both you and your friend a bonus, and will not have a limit for how many friends you can refer.
- Cash Back – This isn’t a bonus per se, but many casinos give you points for playing slots which you can later exchange for cash or credits. Another common offer is to give you a percentage of your losses.
- Free Spins – This isn’t a bonus either, but you can use free spins to win money you can keep. Some free spin offers can be used for any machine while others are for a specific title.
- No Deposit – A no deposit offer is a small cash offer paid to you once you create an account. No deposit is necessary. Most times you can only use this money to play with (but you can withdraw the money you win with it).
- Banking Bonus – Some banking methods – usually e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller – will come with a small bonus offer. If you use one of these methods the casino will give you an additional 10 or 15 percent – on top of the standard deposit bonus.
That’s it. Those are the most common bonus offers. They come in all shapes and sizes and will have different rules for how you can use the money. It’s important to pay attention to those rules so that if you happen to hit it big, you will actually be able to cash that money out.
I’m going to talk more about that in the next section.
How Bonuses REALLY Work
Let’s get one thing straight:
Bonuses aren’t free money. Not really. Let me explain.
Back in the day casinos used to offer casino bonuses without any rules. Many people took advantage of this – they would sign up, make a deposit and then immediately cash out.
The casino would then be out all that money.
So they got smart. They tweaked their offer so that slot players would have to wager so many dollars before they could request a cash out.
You have to play work for it.
If you don’t ever plan to cash out then I guess you can look at bonuses as free money. But if you’re like most people – especially if you win a large jackpot – you’ll eventually want to withdraw your money.
So you need to understand the casino’s terms or else you run the risk of voiding all the money you worked so hard to win.
Here’s how bonus terms work:
Most casinos will ask that you wager a multiplier of your deposit, bonus or both deposit and bonus.
For example, a casino might say you need to wager 40x the deposit and bonus. If you accept an offer of a 100% match up to $1,000 – and you deposit $1,000 – you’ll have $2,000.
At a 40x play through you’ll need to wager $80,000. BEFORE you can cash out.
If that sounds like a lot (and it is), keep in mind that slots players get the easiest play through requirements because of the edge casinos have on their slot machines. Other games/players get it much worse.
Which brings us to the big question – should you take the bonus?
You have to decide if you see yourself playing 80 grand worth of slots (without being able to cash out). It’s going to be hard to do on a $2,000 bankroll. You’ll likely have to make another deposit or two to clear it.
If that doesn’t faze you, then by all means grab the bonus and get to work.
But if you don’t like the sound of playing $80,000 before you cash out, most casinos will let you waive the bonus. You’ll usually have this option when you make your deposit. Other times you’ll need to send the casino an email BEFORE you make your deposit.
That’s all there is to it. Keep in mind each bonus offer will have different requirements. For example, no deposit or free spin offers will have a smaller play through requirement than a deposit or reload bonus. The rollover will also vary from casino to casino.
My suggestion is to read our reviews and find a casino with a good balance between the type of offer you want (lots of money, larger match, free money, etc) and the rollover you have to pay to keep it.