This short guide intends to be a quick read on all need-to-know information on how to pick the best casino bonus like a pro. For new casino customers, the most important type of bonus is the welcome bonus. A welcome bonus can be sign-up bonus, no-deposit bonus, first-deposit bonus or free spins.
Important: The two kinds of welcome bonus
1. Bonus with wagering requirement
2. Bonus with no-wagering requirement also called wager free
In other words, a welcome bonus can either be with wagering requirements or with no-wagering requirement (wager-free) .
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1. The bonus amount is usually generous. It can range from 50% to 500% on the first-deposit until a maximum is reached; 100% is the most common.
2. The bonus amount must be wagered a number of times (wagering requirement) before eligible for withdrawal. On average the bonus need to be wagered 35-40 times, some even higher. This requirement can apply to both no-deposit bonuses as well as first-deposit bonuses.
3. Game restrictions – games with high Return-to-Player rate tend to have low contribution towards wagering requirement. In other words, games with high Return-to-Player rates are not bonus friendly.
4. Time limit – a deadline that the wagering requirements must be met . Of course, the longer the time limit the better, however usually, the time limit is 7 days.
5. Bet limits – the maximum bet must not be exceeded in order to maintain keep the wagering requirement progress. The lower the maximum bet, the better is for the house, as this will increase the number of plays, thus increase the chance for the house to “take back” that bonus. The higher the bet limits, the better is for gamblers.
6. Winning cap – some first-deposit bonus restrict customers to win up to a maximum amount, thus the higher the winning cap, the better is for gamblers.
7. Great for high rollers and experienced players.
Characteristics of Bonus with no-wagering requirement
1. Mostly as free spins. The number of free spins usually range from 10 – 50.
2. The bonus amount is usually small.
3. Typically, a minimum deposit of £10 is required.
4. Great for trying out different casinos.
Remember to always check terms and conditions. You are ready to go. Inside this Ultimate Casino Bonus UK Guide, we listed the top no wagering bonus offers, make sure you check it out.
These days, most online casinos have a great website, extensive selections of games, and secure payment methods. What is more? They also offer various types of bonus promotions to stand out from the rest. The end goal behind welcome bonuses is to get new customers. Welcome bonus became so common that it is the industry’s standard of how online casinos promote themselves. Naturally, the more generous the bonus, the better off customers are. Therefore, for new customers, it is important to know what each type of bonus means. Be able to get the most out of them is what every smart gambler should do.
What is a Welcome Bonus?
Casino welcome bonus is a credit or free spins given to a new customer when joining a new casino. It is also called sign-up bonus. No-deposit bonus, first-deposit bonus all belong to welcome bonus.
There are two kinds of welcome no-deposit bonuses where customers can enjoy more chances to play at no extra cost. Those are bonus spins and free spins.
Bonus Spins / Extra Spins
For online slots, bonus spins or extra spins can be used to win real cash without making a deposit. However, if the winnings are results from using the bonus spins, the winnings are also required to be wagered to become eligible for withdrawal.
Compare to bonus spins, customers can keep any winnings resulted from using the free spins without wagering the winnings before eligible for withdrawal. Therefore, as a type of no-wagering bonus, free spins are the preferred type of the two.
Although no-wagering sign-up bonuses are very common, the amount of these bonuses are typically small, because such bonus is intended as cashable test-play chips new casinos. If customers enjoy the experience, they are more likely to be a committed customer in the future.
Claiming your no-wagering sign-up bonus is easy – just register then you’ll be credited with free spins. One thing to note is that some games may not accept the these bonuses.
First-deposit bonus is a bonus credit given to new customers after the first deposit. Usually, the bonus amount can equal to or greater than the initial deposit, i.e. 100%, 200%, sometimes even more. One common requirement for qualifying the first deposit bonus is that a minimum amount of the initial deposit must be met.
The amount you will receive as your first deposit bonus depends on the online casino; usually, it’s a match bonus i.e. 100% of the deposit. Receiving a 100% deposit bonus means that you will have twice of your deposit amount to play. Also, the maximum amount of first deposit bonus can vary greatly depending on the casino. It can be as high as £500 or as little as £50. At Casino Awards UK, we listed some of the most generous first-deposit bonus offers inside this Casino Bonus UK Guide.
You’ll be able to use your funds on some of the best online slots. However, some online slots or games will not accept the use of the bonus funds.
Some welcome bonus is automatically credited to your account while some others are claimed by redeeming a bonus code. Casinos’ support team are always there if you require help. Alternatively, you can read the terms and conditions.
100% Welcome Bonus
A 100% welcome bonus is the most common type of deposit bonus. It’s given out as the welcome promotion after your first deposit. Sometime, it is also given out as a reload bonus once you’ve claimed the sign-up bonus. 100% deposit bonus doubles your deposit.
For example, with a 100% bonus of up to £100, deposit £100 will qualify for a £100 bonus, a total of £200 to play. You don’t always need to deposit the full amount to receive the bonus, however casinos usually requires a minimum deposit to qualify.
There is a maximum amount of deposit one can receive. For example, if the maximum bonus amount is £100, by depositing £200 would still only lead to £100 in bonus.
200% Welcome Bonus
A 200% welcome bonus is sure more generous but less common. You’re more likely to find 200% as a welcome bonus offer if the online casino decides to stand out from competition. However, the actual bonus amount are usually less than that of a 100% welcome bonus. So, always pay attention to the terms, be sure of exact what the maximum bonus amount is.
300% Welcome Bonus
Rarer still, but it does happen if online casinos very aggressively market themselves. Some casinos may offer a 300% deposit bonus as a reload bonus to inactive players. 500% welcome bonus can also be spotted from time to time. Again, the bonus percentage is not the same as the actual bonus amount. Do not confuse the two. Always check the maximum bonus amount.
Welcome bonus can be given out as a one-off offer as well as a package over successive deposits. Often, casinos reward their frequent customers with loyalty or reload bonus or bonus spins. The aim is to re-engage players to play more. A reload bonus is an offer given to players who have already claimed their welcome offer to incentivise them to make a further deposit. The amount of reload bonuses you can get depends on the casino. It is similar to the initial deposit bonus, though it may sometimes be a smaller amount and not always a match bonus. A reload bonuses is the deposit bonuses for anyone. Most online casinos specify how much one needs to play to qualify for different levels of loyalty bonus.
Typically, the more you play at a casino, the better the bonuses will become. Some bonuses will come with low or even no-wagering requirement. You don’t necessarily need to be a high roller to enjoy those progressive bonus. Playing regularly will open up these opportunities.
A reload bonus will often be offered for a limited time only, so make sure you claim the bonus before the offer expires.
Offers for High Rollers
A high roller or VIP bonus is a special deposit bonus given to players who make large deposits. And these bonus often has a smaller bonus percentage but with a much larger bonus amount. For example, a typical high roller bonus can be a 20% on deposit, up to £3000. The more you play at a casino, the higher the VIP status you will gain, the better the offers will become.
Cashback offers refund a part of customer’s losses back to the customer. If you have a zero balance, sometime you will receive cashback offers weekly that include a 5% cashback on losses made on a particular day. For example, if you lost £100 on that day, you will receive £5 cashback.
A large bonus percentage doesn’t always mean it’s the best bonus. Often the higher the bonus percentage, the smaller the maximum bonus amount will be. Usually, a higher percentage bonus has specific wagering requirements as well as other conditions.
The most common bonus percentages are 100% for first deposit bonuses, 50% to 100% for reload bonuses. On rare occasions, you may also see 200% or higher percentage reload bonuses. At Casino Awards UK we’ve seen bonus percentages as high as 300% or 500%.
A great way to determine which bonus is the right bonus for you – first you need to decide how much you are willing to risk. High rollers make large deposits, thus prefer bonuses with high actual bonus amount regardless of the bonus percentage. These bonuses usually have larger maximum bonus and small bonus percentages. New players with limited budget may prefer a bonus with higher bonus percentage as these bonus will give them the more actual bonus for much smaller deposits.
When you see a bonus written something like, “100% up to £200”, this indicates that £200 is the maximum bonus money you can receive from this bonus. Even if you deposit more than £200 in this instance, you won’t receive more bonus funds.
For example, if you deposited £200, you would receive £200 in bonus funds and £400 in total to play. But if you deposited £300, you would still only receive £200 in bonus funds.
You will be most likely to come across offers that states “X amount free”. It is important to note that the term ‘free’ does not actually mean that the bonus is free. It means that you will get a certain percentage, most commonly 100% up to a specified amount.
Additionally, you will often run into a bonus offer that pairs match deposit bonuses with a specific number of spins. Depend on the casino, these spins can be valid for specific online slot games only. Even though the most common bonus percentage that you will run into is 100%, the percentages can range from 50% to 200% or even 500% if the bonuses are a part of a welcome package.
Welcome packages are several welcome bonus offers bundled together, and is given out after succession of deposits. Often, those packages are made of three bonuses for the initial three deposits, but they can go up to five bonuses.
An alternative would be a free play welcome bonus. In this case, upon registering, you will receive a specific amount of free credits that you need to spend before a specific date.
You may be given an extra bonus in addition to the welcome bonus because you decided to deposit by using specific payment methods. The service provider and the merchants are promoting these payment methods. Usually, depositing with less popular payment methods like various e-wallets are rewarded with these banking bonuses.
Non-cashable bonus is often referred to as a sticky bonus. With this non-cashable bonus, you can spend it on various games but not be able to keep the winnings.
Cashable bonus – the winnings resulted from cashable bonuses can be cashed and taken away. However, any wagering requirements must be met.
All most casino offers are tied to wagering requirements so that the casinos are not handing out free money. You might sometimes see a casino promote a no wagering or low wagering bonus, as this is an added incentive to claim their offer. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to casino bonuses, but Casino Awards UK has all wagering requirements explained, right here.
Unless you’ve claimed a no-wagering deposit bonus, your bonus funds are typically tied to wagering requirements of 35-times the amount claimed. The 35-times wagering requirement is roughly the average among major online casinos. Anything lower than 35-times can be considered low wagering. Anything higher can be regarded as high wagering. Similarly to bonus funds, any winnings from bonus spins will also be tied to similar requirements before you can keep what you win.
Some casinos will tie the wagering requirements to only the bonus funds, while others will place it on both bonus funds and your deposited funds. For example, if you claimed a full 100% up to £100 bonus, you will have a £100 deposit and receive a £100 bonus, £200 in total. Under the 35-times wagering requirement, you would need to wager the entire £200 at least 35 times before you could make a withdrawal. The higher the requirements, the more you need to wager – so 50-times would require your funds to be wagered at least 50-times.
If you do happen to receive free spins or a deposit bonus with no wagering requirements, that means you can keep your winnings from the beginning. These kinds of offers are quite common upon sign up since it’s an excellent way for new players to test out the casino with a small number of free spins.
The wagering requirements are based on the amount you have wagered and not the number of times you’ve placed a bet. So, bets placed in table games can also count towards completing your requirement and help make you eligible for withdrawal sooner.
Bonus with Wagering Requirements
Whether it is a welcome bonus or other types of bonus, they will usually come with specific wagering requirements. These type of bonus can only be withdrawn after the wagering requirements are met.
Different operators have different wagering requirements for the bonuses, but a typical wagering requirement can range from 10 to 40-times. Some has a wagering requirement of 70-times.
Lastly, there is indeed a handful of casinos that offer bonuses with no wagering requirements. However, the amounts are usually smaller than those with wagering requirements. Here is a list of Casinos with no-wagering requirement / wager free bonus offers.
The many types of online casino bonus offers reflect different players’ preferences.
Before accept any offers, first. find out what the bonus percentage and the maximum bonus amount are. As a general rule – the higher the bonus percentage the better, the higher the maximum bonus amount the better.
If you have a deposit budget in mind, make sure that you calculate what is the maximum amount of bonus you can receive. Higher bonus percentage does not alway give you a higher bonus.
Higher Deposit Bonus Percentage is Not Always Better
The actual bonus amount is what matters the most. A high bonus percentage typically has a lower maximum bonus limit, i.e. a small bonus amount. A lower bonus percentage usually has a higher maximum bonus limit, thus a higher bonus amount. In addition, bonuses with higher bonus percentage often have higher wagering requirement.
Bet limt is the maximum amount you can bet per play. The higher the bet limit, the better is for the customers, since low bet limits benefit casinos by increasing the number of plays, thus increases the likelihood to incur loss.
Minimum deposit amount is the mimium amount one must deposit before qualifying for a given deposit bonus. The lower the minimum deposit the better, usually this is around £10.
Bonus Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions is the most important piece of document – it is the contract. The terms and conditions will outline everything from wagering requirements, qualifying games, time-limit, location restriction and more.
If any terms and conditions is broken, the casino has the right to cancel any bonuses or close the account. Play the rules, particularly when real cash is involved. Real casino winners knows the rules.
Time limits are often placed on bonuses to make sure you use it as soon as possible. The time limit range varies, depends on the casino, it is usually within a week after claiming the offer. If wagering requirements apply to the bonus, these will often also need to be completed within the time limit. If you don’t use your bonus or complete the wagering requirements in time, your bonus funds or spins will be forfeited.
If you receive a bonus with a winning cap, this means there’s a limit on how much money you can win using that bonus. Once the cap is reached, you will not be able to collect the winnings exceed the capped amount. A winning cap is often placed on no deposit bonus, free spins or bonus spin offers. For example, if you’ve received 10 wager-free spins with a £100 winning cap, that means the maximum winning you can keep is £100. Winning caps are becoming more and more common as more casinos began to offer more no deposit bonuses.
Where can I use my casino bonus?
You are likely to be limited to play a number of specific slots and welcome bonus slots. This limitation is due to the wagering requirements of these bonuses. These requirements mean that you need to bet a certain amount of money over a specific number of spins before you can to make a withdrawal.
Some online slots, particularly low volatility slots, make it easier to complete your wagering requirements. You’ll see more frequent wins come in, allowing you to retain most of your winnings. For this reason, a casino might limit these games to playing with only real money funds. Similarly, some higher volatility slots may pay out quite hefty prizes. Consequently, casinos might restrict these too, so that you can only win those higher prizes using real money.
Sometimes, a casino will make it easier to see which slots are available by adding a banner. They also make your bonus funds appear unavailable when you have entered a restricted game. There can be a difference in the available games depending on which type of bonus you have claimed, i.e. whether you’re playing with a welcome bonus or reload bonus.
Banking/payment method bonus
It is essentially a payment/deposit method bonus. Customers will be given these bonuses if the deposit is made using specific payment methods.
Some casinos give out bonus codes to enter to claim the bonus.
Casino bonus often country specific. Customers outside of the intended country of promotion are not eligible.
Most casino bonuses can usually be used to play online slots. It all depends on the casino and the offer. Online slots are usually the best game to wager your bonus and bonus spins. since every spin will count towards the wagering requirements. Slots has the highest wagering contribution weight, at 100%.
Table games: Blackjack, Roulette, Poker, and Baccarat
Some online casinos will also let you play with your bonus funds across a variety of table games too. Those games can include blackjack, roulette, poker, and baccarat.
Live Casino Bonus
Live casino bonuses are sometimes offered separately to a casino welcome bonus. The terms and conditions should specify in detail. Some casinos only allow live casino welcome bonus if other welcome bonus is not claimed.
These bonuses usually come in the form of a deposit bonus that are for live casino games only. Some casinos will allow you to use your bonus one both regular games and live casino games, whereas others will not.
Bingo bonuses may be offered separately to casino bonuses. Those bonuses may be in the form of extra tickets.
Again, it’s a matter of checking the bonus terms at each casino to see if you can use your deposit bonus across both bingo and casino games. Not all casinos will allow it, but some may as long as you complete the wagering requirements.
Using Welcome Bonus to win Real Cash
You can welcome bonus to win real cash as long as all wagering requirements are met. Note: The bonus may be cancelled if there are withdrawals before completing the wagering requirements.
Please be sure to check out our list of UK’s top online Casino Bonus 2022
Worried about unfair games and unscrupulous operators? Make sure you have a read of this article Are Online Casino Rigged?
Don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Casino Bonus Guide 2023