Online casinos offer deposit bonuses to draw new customers and also encourage existing players to deposit more often.

Casinos have their own interests at heart when awarding bonuses. But you can certainly benefit from these offers too by earning free money.

Some bonuses offer hundreds or even thousands of dollars. These large amounts allow you to earn plenty of free cash on the side of your play.

Unfortunately, not everybody knows how to properly take advantage of these deals to maximize the value. That said, I’m going to cover the different aspects to getting the most out of deposit bonuses.

Pick an Online Casino Deposit Bonus That Suits You

The first order of business is to choose an online casino bonus that suits your tastes.

Deposit bonuses come in different types and sizes. Here are various deposit offers that you’ll see in the online gaming industry:

  • Welcome bonus packages — Welcome packages are given to new players and usually include a series of deposit bonuses.
  • First-time deposit bonus — A single deposit offer to new players.
  • Reload bonus — Existing customers can earn a deposit bonus when reloading their account.
  • Deposit bonus and free spins — Players receive both a deposit offer along with free spins.

The fact that a welcome package normally includes multiple bonuses means that you must plan for additional deposits.

Of course, you don’t have to take advantage of all the deposit bonuses. But many players do so in order to earn as much free cash as possible.

Here’s an example:
  • The welcome package is worth up to $1,000 over your first four deposits.
  • First deposit offers a 200% match bonus up to $200.
  • Second deposit offers a 150% match bonus up to $250.
  • Third deposit offers a 100% match up to $250.
  • Fourth deposit offers a 50% match up to $300.

If you don’t have a large enough bankroll to take advantage of the entire $1,000, you should put the bulk of your deposit money into the first one or two offers. After all, these deliver 200% and 150% match bonuses, respectively.

A first-time deposit bonus is a match percentage offer on your first deposit. For example, an online casino may feature a 100% match bonus up to $500 for first-time depositors.

These promotions are good for when you want to join a new casino and only worry about earning a single bonus.

Reload bonuses are great for when you’ve exhausted your welcome bonus package or first-time deposit bonus and want more free cash. Casinos can offer these bonuses either randomly on a weekly basis.

Most deals in the gaming industry center on match deposit bonuses. But you can also get free spins along with a match reward in some cases.

Free spins can be used on real money slots to accrue winnings. You must meet wagering requirements on the earnings before withdrawing them.

Beyond the different structures of online casino bonuses, these offers also vary in terms of qualifying games.

Some bonuses are only for slots while others are restricted to table games.Your favorite games willweigh into determining what kind of promotion you prefer.

Whatever your preferences are, the key is to spend time thinking about the specific bonus that you want before depositing.

The choice is easy in some cases, because you may only be eligible for reload bonuses. But the possibilities are endless with welcome packages, because you can choose from so many different online casinos.

Read the Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions are stipulations that casinos place on bonuses. You must meet these terms before qualifying for a bonus and withdrawing the money.

Here are common T&Cs across the industry:

  • You must meet wagering requirements (a.k.a. playthrough) on your bonus before withdrawing it.
  • You need to claim your bonus within a certain time frame.
  • You must meet playthrough within a certain time frame.
  • Some games offer reduced contributions towards wagering requirements.
  • Certain games are entirely excluded from meeting playthrough.
  • The casino may require that you use a special code to qualify for a bonus.

Internet casinos require that you both claim and earn your bonus within a reasonable time frame. Failing to claim or meet playthrough within the allotted time means that you won’t get any free cash.

For example, you may have to claim your deposit offer within three days. You’ll then have another 60 days to meet wagering requirements.

Speaking of which, playthrough is usually expressed as a multiple of the bonus. But it can also be written in terms of a multiple of the bonus plus deposit amount.

Here’s an example of each:
  • You deposit $100 under a 100% match bonus offer.
  • Playthrough is 40x the bonus.
  • 40 x 100 = $4,000 to unlock your funds.
  • You deposit $50 under a 100% match bonus offer.
  • Playthrough is 20x the bonus plus deposit amount.
  • (50 + 50) x 20 = $2,000 to unlock your funds.

Slots, keno, and online scratch cards typically contribute 100% towards meeting wagering requirements. But table games like baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and sic bo often only contribute between 10% and 20%.

The reason for the differences is that many table games have a lower house edge than slots. Therefore, casinos would lose more money on these bonus deals if they allowed blackjack and other table games to contribute 100%.

As for the bonus code, some casinos require you to enter a unique code to qualify for an offer. The purpose of this is so that casinos can track promotions more easily.

You’ll be asked for a bonus code when registering for an account. After entering the code and completing account registration, you can claim the offer.

Decide if You can Meet the Wagering Requirements

Some casinos are more stringent with terms and conditions than others. Therefore, you want to choose gaming sites that offer you a realistic chance to earn bonuses.

This thought especially applies to playthrough, which can vary greatly from site to site. One casino may only require 40x wagering requirements on a deposit bonus, while the next calls for 50x.

If you’re purely interested in earning bonuses the cheapest way possible, then you need to focus on wagering requirements. For whatever reason, some casinos require that you meet higher playthrough before being able to withdraw the money.

Here’s a comparison between how much you’d need to wager with high vs. regular wagering requirements:

  • You deposit and qualify for a $200 bonus at Casino A.
  • Playthrough is 40x the bonus.
  • 200 x 40 = $8,000 must be wagered
  • You deposit and qualify for a $200 bonus at Casino B.
  • Playthrough is 50x the bonus.
  • 200 x 50 = $10,000 must be wagered

You can see that an extra $2k must be bet to release the bonus. This may not sound like a huge difference when comparing $8k to $10k.

But let’s say that you’re playing a slot with 95% payback (5% house edge) to earn both bonuses. Here’s how this would impact your bankroll:

  • 8,000 x 0.05 = $400 in theoretical losses
  • 10,000 x 0.05 = $500 in theoretical losses
  • 500 – 400 = $100 difference

Chasing the first offer will see you theoretically lose $100 less when unlocking the bonus. This amount may not break you, but it definitely makes the second offer less attractive.

Form a Plan of Attack with High-Paying Games

Choosing bonuses with reasonable playthrough is only part of the path towards maximizing deposit bonus value. You also want to pick games that see you lose the least amount of money when unlocking deposit offers.

Comparing online slots with 100% playthrough contribution is fairly simple. Here’s a comparison between two slots:

  • You’re going for a $100 bonus.
  • Wagering requirements are 45x the bonus.
  • 100 x 45 = $4,500 must be wagered
  • You play Slot A with 95% payback.
  • 4,500 x 0.05 = $225 in theoretical losses
  • You play Slot B with 97% payback.
  • 4,500 x 0.03 = $135 in theoretical losses

This scenario involves a $90 difference in theoretical losses between both slots. Slot B only sees you lose $35 more than the bonus is worth on average.

What’s interesting is that there’s only a 2% difference in payback between these games. But any difference — big or small — has an impact when you’re wagering thousands of dollars to earn a bonus.

One thing to remember is that certain slots and table games offer smaller contributions towards playthrough. These reduced contributions have a large effect on how easy it’ll be to earn your bonus.

Slots that pay between 97% and 99% are always candidates for lower contributions. Baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette, and sic bo also fall into this class.

You need to look at wagering requirements and find out how much each game contributes to playthrough. Doing so is especially crucial when games only satisfy 10% of wagering requirements.

Here’s an example:
  • You’re eligible for a $100 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 40x.
  • 40 x 100 = $4,000 must be wagered
  • You play a slot with 94% payback that offers 100% contribution.
  • 4,000 x 0.06 = $240 in theoretical losses
  • You play a blackjack game with 99% payback and 10% contribution.
  • (4,000 x 0.01) / 0.1 = $400 in theoretical losses

Although the blackjack game only features a 1% house edge, it causes you to theoretically lose $160 more. The key difference here is the 10% contribution, which more than offsets the low blackjack house edge.

Choose the Right Bet Sizes

Maximizing deposit bonus potential can sometimes come down to a personal preference.

Some players want to make the biggest bets possible so that they can unlock their funds quickly. Others want to get the most possible play out of the bonus funds and aren’t as worried about free money.

In either case, gambles need to figure out the right bet size for them. Those who want to earn their bonuses quickly should find the maximum bet allowed under terms and conditions.

A common stipulation is that one can’t wager more than 20% of the bonus value.Here’s an example:

  • You’re going for a $200 bonus.
  • The max bet stipulation is 20% of the bonus.
  • 200 x 0.2 = $40
  • No bets above $40 count towards meeting playthrough.

The main purpose of max bet stipulations is to keep people from placing huge bets just to unlock a bonus faster.

Of course, you won’t have to worry about this if you’re mainly focused on enjoying the games. In these cases, you can place minimum bets on slots and table games to extend your bonus funds further.

Here’s an example:
  • You’re eligible for a $250 bonus.
  • You’re playing a slot with $0.25 minimum bets and a 0.05% house edge.
  • 250 / 0.25 = 1,000 bets in bankroll
  • 1,000 / 0.05 house edge = 20,000 bets

Your bankroll will theoretically last for 20,000 bets in this scenario. Even if you don’t survive to meet wagering requirements, you’ll at least get plenty of entertainment out of the offer.

Again, how one uses a bonus is a personal decision. I personally take an in-between approach that involves wagering more than the minimum, but not so much that I don’t enjoy the process.


Maximizing a deposit bonus begins with figuring out what offer is right for you. Some players want a huge welcome bonus, while low rollers may be perfectly fine with a smaller offer.

Once you choose a bonus, the next step is to thoroughly read terms and conditions.

The thought of reading through a lengthy list of terms isn’t appealing. But doing so is necessary with regard to knowing exactly what must be done to unlock a bonus.

You want to pay special attention to wagering requirements when reading the T&Cs. Playthrough often separates good bonus offers from the bad ones.

Playing for an offer with 40x wagering requirements is far better than a deal with 50x playthrough or higher.

Game contributions also play a heavy role in meeting wagering requirements. Oftentimes, slots with 100% contribution are the best options, despite having bigger house edges than table games.

Finally, you need to choose bet sizes that match your preferences. If you want to maximize your play when chasing a bonus, stick to minimum bets and enjoy yourself.

By choosing good deals and fully understanding terms and conditions, you can boost your chances of earning bonus cash. At the very least, you’ll improve your odds of unlocking the money without losing too much in the process.

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