You’ve probably seen a number of online casino promotions before: “150% Match Bonus on your first deposit, up to $2000!” “100% Bitcoin Bonus!” “$25 No-Deposit Sign-up Bonus!”. What do they all mean, and are they too good to be true?
Well, they usually mean what they say, but there are almost always some sort of conditions attached. No online casino, or any other business for that matter, could survive if they gave away free money with no strings attached. Imagine a bank that gave you a dollar for every dollar you deposited into your account, and then let you withdraw all of it and walk away, never to be seen again. I wouldn’t count on that bank being around for long!
When an online casino gives you a bonus, there are usually some sorts of conditions or restrictions attached to it. Unlike a land-based casino that can give you free chips with the confidence that you will play with them in their casino (you can read more about how land-based casinos influence you here), online casinos have to ensure that you don’t just “take the money and run.” There are many different kinds of conditions that they use. We won’t be able to list every single one of them, but by explaining the most common ones, we can get you well-versed in casino promotions in no time!
Deposit/Match Bonus vs. Free Chips
Deposit or Match bonuses are the most commonly-offered bonuses. Basically, when you make a deposit, the casino will match a portion of your deposit amount (usually between 50% and 150%) in bonus funds. So if you deposit $500 with a 150% match bonus, you will have $500 cash + $750 bonus funds for a total of $1,250 playable funds. Instead of a percentage, they may offer a fixed amount, for example, $50 bonus on any deposit of $100 or more. In this case, they simply give you a certain amount of bonus funds when you make an eligible deposit for at least the minimum specified amount.
Free chip bonuses or no-deposit bonuses, on the other hand, don’t require you to make a deposit at all! You simply have to meet the specified condition (if any), and you will receive a certain amount of bonus funds for you to play with. These are often the most attractive bonuses since you don’t have to risk any of your own money to use them.
One of the most basic conditions attached to a bonus is the product in which you can use it. By this, we mean Casino, Sportsbook, Poker, and Horse Racing. Some bonuses can be used across some or all products offered by an online casino, while other bonuses may only be used in a single product. In other words, you may not be able to take your Casino bonus over to the Poker tables and use it there.
Playthrough or Rollover
Playthrough (also sometimes referred to as Rollover) is the amount of money that you have to bet before your bonus funds become withdrawable. In some cases, you might not be able to withdraw your initial deposit funds either until you’ve met the playthrough requirements for the associated bonus (though not to worry; you can usually forfeit the bonus if you need to withdraw your initial deposit amount).
Playthrough is usually calculated with a multiplier, such as 5x or 10x. Going back to our previous example, let’s say you deposit $500 and get a $750 bonus for a total of $1,250 in playable funds. If the playthrough multiplier is 5x, you would have to wager a total of $6,250 ($1,250 x 5) to meet your playthrough requirements. The playthrough amount is usually calculated based on the total playable funds, rather than just the bonus amount. In the case of a no-match bonus, playthrough would of course just be calculated on the bonus amount.
Different games may contribute to playthrough at different rates. For example, wagers placed in Baccarat may only contribute to playthrough at a rate of 50%. So if you wanted to use the above bonus exclusively to play Baccarat, you would have to wager a total of $12,500 to complete playthrough requirements.
Maximum Withdrawal Amount
Some bonuses, particularly no-deposit bonuses, may specify a maximum amount that can be cashed out. For example a $25 Free Chip bonus may only allow you to cash out 10x ($250) the amount of the bonus. If you manage to turn your $25 Free Chip into $300, unfortunately, you will only be able to cash out $250 of it. But hey! I’ve never heard anyone complain about getting $250 just for playing games!
In some cases, bonuses may have an expiry date. This could be due to the length of the promotion (e.g. the bonus is only offered during the summer), or it may be a time-limited event. For example, you may have to complete playthrough on your bonus by 180 days after you claim the bonus, or else the bonus may be forfeit.
For Casino, many sites offer a certain number of Free Spins on slot machines. Just like it sounds, you are given a number of free spins on a slot machine (it could be a selected machine, or any one you choose).
For Poker, you may be offered Tournament Tickets that covers your buy-in to a scheduled poker tournament. This could be for a specific tournament, or it could be for any tournament with a buy-in of a specific amount.
For Sports, you can find Free Bet promotions that allow you to make a bet of a given amount without having to put up the risk yourself. Watch out for sport, bet type, and odds conditions. Usually, you only get the Win amount if your wager is correct, and not the Risk amount.
While this may seem like a lot to take in, all these terms and systems will become second-nature after you’ve been playing for a while. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you are choosing a bonus that will be beneficial to you and works with the games you play as well as your playstyle. Make sure that you understand any conditions attached to a bonus that you are about to take so that you can avoid headaches and misunderstandings down the road.