Understanding bonuses

Getting the most out of online casino bonuses means understanding how they work.

Bonuses are awarded by online casinos to incentivise and retain players. In almost all cases, bonuses have a positive expected value for the house. However, some bonuses come with more favourable conditions to the player than others. Generally, every casino will offer a number of bonuses as standard that change infrequently – these are called ‘fixed’ bonuses. However, casinos will also run temporary promotions (particularly around holiday seasons) that must be claimed within a set time period.

There are four main bonus types:

Match deposit

Also known as a ‘deposit bonus’ – this is a large incentive that is often used to hook in new players. Casinos offering this bonus will ‘match’ a percentage of a players’ deposit. For instance, a 100% match bonus on a £100 deposit would net you an extra £100, totalling a £200 starting bankroll. When offered as an incentive to new players, this bonus type is known as a ‘welcome’ or ‘first deposit’ bonus.

For more information about match deposit bonuses click here.


As the name implies, this bonus type can be claimed without the player having to deposit any cash. The terms for collecting a no-deposit bonus vary greatly – you might have to enter a code, sign-up to a newsletter or possibly just register an account. Despite the name, a no-deposit is not actually free money you can withdraw (see ‘bonus terms and conditions’).

For more information about no-deposit bonuses click here.


Reload bonuses are used to top up your account after registering. They are always smaller than the casino’s first deposit bonus but are otherwise very similar (being a type of match bonus). For example, a 50% reload bonus on a £100 transfer would yield £50 extra, resulting in a £150 bankroll.


While not technically a bonus type, VIP schemes are usually categorised as such on casino websites. Many casinos will reward loyal customers with entry to a VIP programme, meaning the player will enjoy better bonuses, faster withdrawals and other perks. Casinos don’t tend to specify the exact requirements for attaining VIP status. However, if you play for long enough at the same website or wager a certain amount of money, you will eventually be invited to their VIP programme.

For more information about VIP programs click here.

Read the terms and conditions

A casino’s terms and conditions page may contain general rules that apply to all standard bonuses. However, some casinos have a unique terms and conditions page for every active promotion. You should always check these closely before attempting to claim a bonus.

For more information about bonus terms and conditions click here.

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