Stardew Valley’s Guide to Online Casino Bonuses
Hey there! Welcome to this guide to online casino bonuses. Ok, it might not have much to do with Stardew Valley, but hey, we don’t have to constantly play the same game (no matter how great it is!)
In this guide, we’ll fully explain everything there is to know about online casino bonuses. By the end of it, you should know:
- Exactly what an online casino bonus is.
- Why players and casinos love online casino bonuses.
- The different types of online casino bonuses.
- How to spot a great online casino bonus.
- How to play an online casino bonus in the most optimum way possible – this will give you the best odds of actually taking winnings from a promotion!
There’s quite a bit to get through to make sure you’re fully up-to-speed with everything there is to know about online casino bonuses. So, shall we begin?
What is an Online Casino Bonus?
An online casino bonus is a promotion awarded to players at an online casino. They allow players to enjoy more casino games than they would be able to using their own money alone. Sometimes, they don’t require any of a player’s own money whatsoever too!
Online casino bonuses can take many different forms but have a few things in common. Chief of all is that they almost always make use of something called “bonus cash”. Bonus cash behaves a lot like real money at the casino, with one big exception – players cannot withdraw it. Instead, they must turn it into real money via a process called wagering.
All bonus cash at an online casino has something known as a wagering requirement attached to it. This refers to the number of times a player must bet their bonus cash before it converts to real money that can be withdrawn.
Typically, casinos will limit the games that a player can use to complete wagering requirements as well. You’ll find that an iGaming venue will usually state that the games with the lowest house edge do not contribute to wagering whatsoever. If they do, they might only contribute 10% or even less.
There are other terms and conditions that will influence how a player uses the bonus cash too. These might be time limitations, cash out restrictions, or other rules. It’s very important to be aware of all the rules governing bonus use before you sign up to an online casino bonus!
Why are Online Casino Bonuses Great?
Both players and the casinos themselves love online casino bonuses. For the players, they represent a way to get more gambling done without spending as much of their own money. This gives them additional chances to spike a big jackpot. Sometimes, players can also win real money without risking any of their own too (more on this shortly!).
Meanwhile, for casinos, promotions are all about standing out in a very competitive industry. With online casinos, the venue with the best bonuses is usually going to attract the most custom.
However, casinos play a balancing act between making their promotions look appealing and reducing the likelihood of players actually profiting from them. They do this by tweaking the wagering requirements discussed above. After all, if everyone that claimed an online casino bonus took profits from iGaming companies, the industry would collapse pretty quickly!
What are the Different Types of Online Casinos Bonuses?
There are loads of different types of online casino bonuses. We explain the most popular categories below:
Welcome or signup bonuses
The online gambling industry is much more competitive than the brick-and-mortar casino industry. Online, there is no need to travel to visit a different casino. This means a player gets to choose from hundreds, if not thousands, of different online casinos. In the real-world (outside of Las Vegas or Macao), gamblers will have a handful of casinos near to them at the very most.
With so much competition, it’s much more important online for casinos to entice players through their virtual doors. They do this by offering welcome or signup bonuses. These can take many different forms (deposit, no deposit, free spins, etc.) but the thing that unites them is that they’re exclusive for new players at a particular iGaming venue. Almost every online casino these days offers some form of welcome bonus and they’re often amongst the most generous available.
Almost all casinos will offer additional bonuses for existing players too. These are popularly referred to as reload bonuses. Again, they can take just about any of the forms below but are typically smaller in bonus amount than a welcome bonus.
You’ll often see reload bonuses awarded around the time of large sporting efforts, to celebrate new games at the casino, or for personal reasons like the player’s birthday. Some casinos will offer bonuses to players that haven’t signed into their account for a while as a way of getting them interested in gambling again.
Matched deposit bonuses
The most common form of bonus is a matched deposit bonus. These will be awarded as both welcome bonuses and reload promotions. A matched deposit bonus will see the casino awarding players with a percentage of their deposit in bonus cash. A player using a 100% matched deposit bonus on a deposit of £100 would be given £200 to play with. Whether just £100 bonus becomes bonus cash or the entire £200 bankroll does depends on the terms and conditions at the casino.
No deposit bonus cash
Another bonus common at online casinos is the no deposit bonus. Some casinos will award players with a set amount of bonus cash just for registering an account. Since it involves none of the player’s own money, the terms and conditions on no deposit bonuses are usually less lenient than they will be on a matched deposit bonus. However, no deposit bonuses are entirely risk free. Although they’re most commonly awarded as a welcome bonus, sometimes a casino will award no deposit bonus cash to existing players too.
Free spins on specific slot machines are another popular form of casino bonus. They can be awarded as a no deposit bonus (sign up to the casino and receive a small number of free spins) or as an incentive to deposit.
Most of the time, any winnings from free spins will be awarded as bonus cash. This will have wagering requirements associated with it. However, on occasion casinos will award free spins with absolutely no wagering. These are great because you can withdraw any winnings immediately. They’re very rare though and will be awarded in small numbers (ones and twos, rather than 10s and 20s).
How to Spot a Great Online Casino Bonus
Since online casino bonuses feature different terms and conditions, some are mathematically more likely to result in the player profiting that other. The market is very competitive, so you need to prepare yourself for the onslaught of offers. There are so many and you need the tools to choose the best ones.
If you properly understand the terms and conditions, spotting the more lucrative bonuses is easy. Here’s what to look out for:
- Low wagering requirement. The fewer times you need to bet your cash before you can withdraw it, the less likely you are to bust out in the process.
- Eligibility of high return-to-player rated games. Different games give the player a different probability of walking away a winner. If a bonus lets you wager on a slot with a very high (96-97%) RTP rating, you’re more likely to end up a winner than if you were forced to play on lower RTP rated games.
- High maximum cash out. Online casinos sometimes limit the amount you can win from a casino bonus. A casino bonus that allows players to win £100 rather than £10 is obviously preferable.
- Long bonus period. Casino bonus funds will expire eventually. When players are forced to complete wagering in a short period of time, they often need to up their stakes and the likelihood of busting out increases. Favour bonuses that will remain valid for longer.
How to Maximise Your Expected Value from an Online Casino Bonus
How you actually play with a casino bonus can influence how much you can expect to win (or lose) from it. Unless you’re playing with a very generous bonus or on one in which there was a typo in the wagering requirements (yes, this does happen!), you won’t be able to increase your expected value into positive territory. However, you can make sure you’re not offering additional edge up to the casino. This will give you the best possible chance of winning.
You’ll find some tips below to help you make the most of your casino bonuses:
- Never use bonus funds on a game that doesn’t contribute 100% to wagering requirements. You might actually increase the amount you need to play through before withdrawing if you win on games that contribute less than 100%.
- If there is a maximum cap on winnings, avoid playing progressive jackpot games. Each bet you make contributes to the total prize pool but you have no chance of withdrawing the top prize. Progressives are a bad idea for wagering bonuses.
- Stick to high RTP and low volatility games. You want to be winning a little bit quite often rather than a lot rarely. You’re more likely to bust out when waiting for that big win on high volatility games. Choose the highest RTP rated slot that’s considered low volatility for wagering.
- With free spins as a casino bonus, you should consider switching games to a higher RTP one after you finish the free spins themselves. Wagering does not need to be completed on the game for which the free spins were awarded.
- Always play slots in the optimum way. This means setting the potential win lines to the maximum and the size of the bet per line to the minimum. This will mean you’re playing the game with the highest RTP rating and with as little volatility as possible. Also, avoid making side bets or gambles if these are an option. They almost always reduce the return-to-player rating of virtual slots.
Get Out There and Hit Up Some Bonuses!
After all that, you should have a much better idea about online casino bonuses, how to spot good ones, and how best to use them. Given that loads of casino bonuses are entirely free and only require signing up, why not test your luck on one today. Wagering requirements might mean that it’s difficult to profit from them, but with our tips, you’ll be in the best position to try!