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Online casino bonuses explained

Published by Kally | April 24, 2018 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

Introduction to casino bonuses

We, at CasinoWow, welcome you to our guide of casino bonuses. It is our aim to make an expert gambler out of you. In order to do this, you will need to be educated on the ins and outs of online casinos. Knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success.

Firstly, we are sure that no one has to tell you that the internet is a gateway to never-ending sources of information, entertainment and enlightenment. Advanced technology and IT breakthroughs have led to huge business opportunities online. The gambling industry is no exception.

There are hundreds of online casinos on the web that can now offer you a plethora of games entertainment. The flooding of the market in this way comes with many challenges, amongst which competition from rivals is the leader. This has meant that online casinos have had to dig deep to promote their sites and win over customers via promotional drawcards.

The primary way in which online casinos draw patrons to their casinos is by way of special offers and bonus offerings. These bonuses are not only designed to draw first-time players onto the site but many are designed to keep them coming back time and time again.

This guide is an introduction to casino bonuses. We will endeavour to educate you on what casino bonuses are, in what form they come, as well as provide some intensive background information on their terms and conditions.

What are casino bonuses?

What are casino bonuses
Discover all about the online casino bonuses.
  • They are a form of promotion to attract patrons to a casino.
  • They are offers that will usually advance your bankroll so that you can gain exposure to games on the platform with minimal risk.
  • They come in various forms, but all come with the incentive of discounting the cost of online gaming.

3 primary categories of bonuses

Before we go on to summarise the most popular forms of top casino bonuses available online, it is important to understand that bonuses will come to you in 3 primary ways. These categories will not be found named at a casino, but by briefly reading the terms and conditions of the bonus, you will know what the character of the bonus is.

  • Cashable Bonuses / Non-Sticky Bonuses

When a bonus is offered to you, there are times that you will be able to withdraw the bonus funds and all winnings made with it. These are cashable bonuses. There will be Wagering Requirements (please see “Wagering Requirements” further down in this guide) that will have to be satisfied first, but once this requirement is met, the money is all yours. Generally, the Wagering Requirements are quite stringent for this type of bonus.

  • Sticky Bonus: Type 1

This type of bonus can be used to wager on various games, but you will not be able to withdraw the bonus, ever. You will, however, be able to draw on the winnings made with the bonus after the “Wagering Requirements” have been met. If you received a bonus of €200 and won €50 with it, technically, you will only be able to withdraw €50. After you have conducted a pay-out, the bonus will disappear from your profile.

  • Sticky Bonus: Type 2

This is similar to a Type 1 Sticky Bonus, but with a slight change in the conditions. Here, once you withdraw, the bonus will remain in your bankroll until its expiry date, which means that you can continue to benefit from the bonus offered after you have made a withdrawal.

Specific bonus offers at online casinos

Casino bonuses can be further split into 2 categories, which we will look at in detail below. These are Deposit Bonuses and No-Deposit Bonuses.

  • Deposit Bonus: This includes all forms of bonus that require a deposit of some type to qualify for an incentive.
  • No-Deposit Bonus: This includes all forms of bonuses that can be accessed without first making a deposit.

Deposit bonuses:

Here, we will introduce you to 7 popular deposit bonuses:

  • Match Bonus: Match Bonus is probably the most popular form of a deposit bonus. In short, the casino undertakes to offer you a cash match to the value of a certain percentage of your first deposit. These types of bonuses are generally subject to Wagering Requirements.

    They could offer you a 100% match on your first deposit. This means that if you deposit €100, they will match the amount with another €100, thereby affording you a total of €200 to gamble with.

    The second sort of match offer could contain a cap. An offer could state a 50% match on deposits, up to a limit of €200. This means that the casino will pay 50% of your deposit, as long as 50% is €200 or less. This requires a deposit of €400 or less. If it is more, they will only pay the maximum cap amount.
  • Free Spins Bonus: Here, a number of free spins will be up for grabs. Although free spins bonuses don’t often need a deposit to play with them, there are the odd occasions when they are coupled with deposit Match Bonuses.

    These bonuses may be accompanied by Wagering Requirements, but every now and then a casino will offer them without such specifications.
  • Cashback Bonuses: Cash can be given back to online casino players who make frequent deposits at a specific casino. These cashback bonuses are commonplace for patrons who are connected to the casino’s “Loyalty Rewards Program”.

    Sometimes these cashback rewards will be offered based on the number of losses that you have incurred at a casino, as a bonus of good faith.
  • Free Play Bonus: These incentives are designed for you to get familiar with games before staking your hard-earned money. Free Play Bonuses will allow you to win bigger cash bonuses when you make the minimum required deposit.
  • Exclusive Bonus: Exclusive bonuses are offered to special groups of people. The bonus is exclusive to certain patrons during the course of the promotion. This may include:

    Players from a specific country are then eligible for certain promos. Players coming on board via a specific affiliate page may qualify for certain bonuses, exclusively.
  • Package Bonus: These are generally incentive offers that include more than just one kind of bonus. For example, Package bonuses may contain a deposit Match Bonus plus a Free Spins Bonus, with Playthrough Requirements, or Wagering Requirements.
  • VIP Bonus: This is a unique bonus offered strictly to High Rollers and big spenders. These may encompass deposit matches, free spins, and many other rewards, such as free gifts, cashbacks and more. Generally, the Wagering Requirements are not as stringent as other rewards. However, the minimum deposit limits are very high.

No-deposit bonuses:

These types of bonuses almost always have Playthrough Requirements, or Wagering Requirements, combined with a maximum limit withdrawal. The two most popular bonuses in this category are:

  • Free Cash Bonus: Here you are afforded free access to games without having to make a deposit. The pay-outs are capped and there are a number of strict conditions in place before you can reap the rewards of this promotion. But, when anything is free, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • Free Spins Bonus: We have spoken about free spin bonuses under the “Deposit Bonus” section, but they are most commonly given without the need to make a specific deposit. This game will only start paying after you have completed the stringent Wagering Requirements.

Learn more about some of the bonuses mentioned above through the direct links:

Wagering Requirements

You have read the phrase “Wagering Requirements”’ throughout the course of this guide. The term refers to a specific set of conditions whereby you must wager your bonuses a certain number of times before you can collect on the winnings.

For example, if a Match Bonus of €100 is subject to a Wagering Requirement or “Playthrough Requirement” of 25x, then you will need to wager that €100 through various machines 25 times before you can draw on wins. That means that you will need to wager at least €2500 before you qualify for any withdrawals.

Why would you use casino bonuses?

Free money

Casino bonuses are just that – bonuses. Although they may come up with terms and conditions, they are almost always a “leg up” strategy. Free money is free money, and an extra edge you can gain at a casino is vital, as you must realise that you are already on the back foot the moment you start playing at a casino. They are businesses that will most probably beat you, so the odd helping hand to boost your bankroll should never be shunned.

Having said the above, casino bonuses are never as black and white as they may seem at face value. There are pros and cons to each one.

Pros to Casino Bonuses:

  • They are ways of boosting your bankroll to give you more playtime in front of the screen.
  • Free Spins Bonuses can rack you up real wins, by ensuring that a large number of your spins are granted to you compliments of the casino. This means the scales are tipped in your balance, while you lose nothing and gain everything.
  • If you are part of a “Loyalty Program” at the said casino, you will earn points on every free spin offered you via any of the bonuses.

Cons to Casino Bonuses:

  • Casino bonuses are not always as clear-cut as they may seem at face value. When reading the fine print you will notice that they come with Wagering Requirements. This may frustrate you as it can take a while to meet these terms. That is if you meet them at all before going bust.
  • There are very often withdrawal limits set against wins made with casino bonuses. These may be set low so that you can only draw a small percentage of your wins. This could frustrate people who have put multiple hours in.
  • Certain bonuses limit their users to specific games only. Sometimes this may mean that a “table player” signs up for bonuses, only to find that they can only be used on certain slot games from certain providers.


Always remember to only accept casino bonuses from reputable casinos. Our list of vendors is guaranteed to treat you fairly, as each has been tried and tested for fairness and efficiency and has passed with flying colours.

We have made you aware of what is out there, as well as the things to look out for when selecting bonuses, but if you would like to read up in detail specifically on one of the casino bonuses offered, please feel free to look at our other Online Casino Guides.

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