Online casinos use bonuses to encourage players to deposit. Many gamblers love these offers, because they get an opportunity to play exciting games and also earn extra money. The most-common online casino deal is a cashable (a.k.a. standard) deposit bonus, which sees you deposit and play for a specific cash value. But some internet casinos also offer cashback bonuses, where you earn back a percentage of your losses.

Internet casinos that give you a choice between cashback and standard deposit bonuses often require you to enter a bonus code. Once you deposit and enter the appropriate code, you’ll be able to start earning your cashback or deposit offer. The main question, though, is which offer you should pick when given a choice. You’ll find that there are multiple sides to consider before making this decision.

Keep reading as I discuss what deposit and cashback bonuses are. I’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each and come to a final determination on if it’s worth taking cashback over deposit deals.

What Is Online Casino Cashback?

Cashback is exactly how it sounds in that you receive some of your casino losses back in the form of cash. You also have to satisfy terms and conditions before receiving the money.

Cashback comes in a variety of forms at online casinos. Here are the main types of cashback offers available:

  • Ongoing cashback –The casino automatically awards you a certain percentage of your losses back after aset time period (e.g. one week).
  • VIP cashback –All VIP program members receive a percentage of their losses back based on their loyalty status.
  • Cashback deposit bonus – You make a deposit and receive a certain percent of your losses back. These offers normally require you to meet wagering requirements (a.k.a. playthrough) before the money is officially yours.
  • Cashback welcome bonus – This is the same deal as a regular cashback deposit bonus. The main difference, though, is that it’s only available to new depositors.

I’ll be referring to cashback deposit bonuses for the purpose of this post, because I’m comparing them to use standard deposit bonuses. But note that you can take advantage of cashback through a variety of ways.

How Does a Cashback Deposit Bonus Work?

A cashback deposit bonus is based on both your deposit size and percentage of losses that a casino is willing to return. Here’s an example:

  • Your deposit $50.
  • The casino offers 25% cashback on your losses.
  • You lose $20.
  • You’re now eligible for $5 in cashback (20 x 0.25).

Cashback bonuses are simple in theory, but they include stipulations that complicate the matter. Gaming sites usually place a maximum amount on how much cashback you can earn. In other words, you can’t just deposit $10,000 and expect to earn 25% back on this amount.

Additionally, casinos only pay cashback based on net losses. They exclude both your winnings and other bonuses to determine your net loss.

Here’s an example:

  • You win $300 in one week.
  • You earn $50 in VIP rewards and bonuses.
  • You lose $400.
  • 400 – (300 + 50) = $50 net loss
  • Your cashback amount will be based on the $50 net loss.

Wagering requirements must be met on some cashback deposit deals before the money can be withdrawn. Once you meet playthrough, the funds will officially be yours.

You can see an example below:

  • You deposit $100.
  • Cashback is 20%.
  • You lose $50.
  • 50 x 0.2 = $10 cashback.
  • Playthrough is 35x.
  • 35 x 10 = $350 must be wagered

As mentioned before, some casinos don’t give you cashback until your entire deposit is gone. Here’s an example on how this works:

  • You deposit $200.
  • A casino offers 20% cashback on losses.
  • You lose the entire $200 deposit.
  • You now eligible for $40 in cashback.
  • Playthrough is 30x.
  • 40 x 30 = $1,200 must be wagered

These aren’t the greatest deals, because you still need to meet playthrough before the $40 is yours. Cashback offers that don’t force you to lose the entire deposit before being rewarded are much better.

Pros of Cashback Bonuses

You Get Something Back After a Bad Run

Nobody likes blowing their entire deposit within a short span. This is where cashback comes in, because it at least gives back a percentage of your losses.

Even if you only get 10% cashback, you at least have a second chance to win again. Of course, it’s always better to receive upwards of 25% cashback, meaning you salvage a quarter of your bankroll. Keep in mind, though, that casinos often want you to meet higher playthrough when they offer a larger cashback percentage.

You Can Receive Cashback Deposit Bonuses on a Regular Basis

Online casinos differ in what type of cashback bonuses they offer and in what frequency. One site may only feature a cashback deposit welcome bonus, while another may allow you to take advantage of one or more of these offers every week.

The best way to determine if your casino offers frequent cashback bonuses is to check the promotions section. Here you’ll find what type of deals they have on a regular basis.

Earlier I described other types of cashback deals, including those that are available to VIP members and automatic cashback. The latter refers to when casinos offer ongoing cashback, regardless of if a player has recently deposited or attained a certain loyalty status.

You Might Even Make a Profit Over Time

The sheer idea of cashback doesn’t inspire confidence in winning long-term profits. After all, you have to lose money overall in order to collect cashback.

But you could also make money over time when cashback deals are included. Here’s an example:

  • You deposit $200 and win $50 (bankroll at $250).
  • The casino offers a deposit bonus with 25% cashback.
  • You take advantage by depositing $200.
  • You lose $50 (bankroll down to $200).
  • 50 x 0.25 = $12.50 in cashback
  • 200 + 12.5 = $12.50 net profit.

The $12.50 profit isn’t going to make you rich. But thanks to the cashback, you at least earn a profit instead of merely breaking even.

Cons of Cashback

Cashback Offers Are Normally Limited

Most internet casinos limit the amount of losses that you can earn from cashback deals. Here’s an example:

  • The casino is offering a 20% cashback deal.
  • They limit the amount of cashback that you can receive to $100 per deposit.
  • You deposit $1,000 and lose the entire amount.
  • You’d normally be eligible for $200 cashback in this case.
  • But you’re actually only eligible for $100 due to the restriction.

Carefully read the fine print before taking advantage of cashback deposit bonuses. Otherwise, not all of your losses will be covered by the deal.

You May Have to Lose Your Entire Deposit to Get Cashback

The worst cashback offer is one where you must lose your entire deposit to earn anything back. Here’s an example of this deal:

  • You deposit $200.
  • You lose $100.
  • You withdraw the remaining $100.
  • Your losses are no longer eligible for cashback.

Even if you’re only dealing with a 5% cashback deal, you’ll at least be eligible for $5 in this case. But the fact that you must lose your entire deposit means you don’t earn anything in this scenario.

As long as you’re fine with burning through your entire deposit before getting cashback, then these offers won’t bother you. If you do want the option to withdraw at some point, though, then look for deals that don’t force you to lose the entire amount before you’re rewarded.

Some Casino Games Are Excluded

Not all casino games count towards earning cashback. Casinos can restrict certain games, because they don’t want you being eligible for cashback while still taking advantage of favorable house edges.

Check the terms and conditions to make sure that your favorite games aren’t excluded. You especially need to watch out for slots and table games with high payback. Casinos sometimes exclude slots that offer over 97% payback and favorable table games like baccarat and blackjack.

What Is an Online Casino Deposit Bonus?

A standard deposit bonus is similar to a cashback offer in that you must deposit to be eligible for it. A key difference, though, is that you’re playing for a set bonus amount rather than receiving a reward based on losses.

Deposit bonuses are expressed as a match percentage of your deposit up to a certain amount. Here’s an example:

  • A casino is offering a 100% match bonus up to $200.
  • You deposit $150.
  • This makes you eligible for a $150 bonus.

You know ahead of time in this instance that you’re playing for a $150 bonus. Contrast this to cashback, where you only know what you’re eligible for after taking on a certain amount of losses. Deposit bonuses can come in various forms, including welcome packages, reload bonuses, and VIP deposit offers.

A welcome bonus is open to new depositors. This deal can be spread over a series of deposits, thus giving players a chance to earn multiple bonuses.

Here’s an example:

  • An online casino is offering a welcome bonus worth up to $1,000 over your first five deposits.
  • Each deposit is eligible for a 100% match bonus up to $200.
  • You make a $100 deposit each time, giving you a chance to win $500 in combined bonus money.

Reload bonuses work the same as deposit bonuses in that they’re part of welcome packages. The main difference, though, is that they’re only available to the existing members who’ve earned/exhausted their welcome bonus.

VIP deposit bonuses are eligible to players at a certain loyalty status. Higher tiers normally receive larger match percentages and max amounts on their bonuses.

How Does a Deposit Bonus Work?

A deposit bonus has many similarities to the cashback deposit bonuses that I’ve covered so far. You must make a deposit and meet terms and conditions to earn your money. But the process of earning deposit bonus funds differs. Your goal is to meet playthrough and unlock the money, rather than losing funds first.

Here’s an example on earning a deposit bonus:

  • A casino is offering a 150% match bonus up to $300.
  • You deposit $150 and qualify for the max $300 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 50x the bonus.
  • 300 x 50 = $15,000 must be wagered

You also have to consider other potential terms, including max bets, game restrictions, and minimum deposits. Many online casinos cap the bet sizes you can use to meet wagering requirements. This practice prevents you from placing huge wagers just to unlock your bonus faster.

Casinos also restrict certain games or lower the amount that they contribute to playthrough. Lower playthrough contributions make it harder to release bonus funds by playing games with high payback.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re eligible for a $200 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 40x.
  • 200 x 40 = $8,000 must be wagered (slots)
  • Blackjack only offers a 10% contribution.
  • 8,000 / 0.10 = $80,000 must be wagered (blackjack)

As with any bonus, it’s crucial that you read through the terms and conditions for deposit offers. Doing so helps you figure out whether it’s worth going after a deposit bonus and what games are either restricted or feature lower contribution rates.

Pros of Deposit Bonuses

You Can Earn a Big Lump Sum

Many deposit bonus deals give you a chance to earn a large sum. This is especially true when you’re dealing with offers that deliver up to $500 or $1,000.

The obvious catch is that you need to wager more money in these cases to meet wagering requirements. But high rollers appreciate the opportunity to collect bigger bonuses. Of course, you can control the size of your deposit bonus. If you only believe that you’ll wager around $2,000, then you can deposit the appropriate amount.

Here’s an example:

  • A casino is offering a 100% match deposit bonus up to $500.
  • Playthrough is 40 times.
  • 500 x 40 = $20,000 must be wagered to get the max
  • You don’t think that you’ll reach the highest wagering requirements.
  • You instead deposit $50.
  • 50 x 40 = $2000 must be wagered

It pays to do some math before going for cashable deposit bonuses. Doing so allows you to deposit just enough to take advantage of a bonus deal that suits your bankroll.

Many Online Casinos Offer a Nice Range of Deposit Bonuses

You won’t have trouble finding deposit deals at the average internet casino. Most gaming sites start you off with a deposit welcome bonus, followed by a number of reload deals afterward.

Browse a casino’s promotions section before signing up to see what’s on tap before you deposit. Taking just a few minutes beforehand allows you to see if a site offers enough bonuses.

Many casinos also feature VIP deposit bonuses, which enable loyalty members to pick up special deals. The match percentages and max bonus amounts get better as you move up the loyalty ladder.

Most Deposit Bonuses Are Pretty Good Deals

Few gaming sites offer any type of bonus that allows players to theoretically profit or break even from the deals. Instead, online casino bonuses are skewed in the house’s favor.

But deposit bonuses are still generally good deals when taking this into account. The average player won’t lose a great percentage of their deposit upon meeting playthrough, and they even have a chance to win money.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re eligible for a $150 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 40x.
  • 150 x 40 = $6,000 must be wagered
  • You play a slot with 96% payback (4% house edge).
  • 6,000 x 0.04 = $240 in theoretical losses
  • 240 loss- 150 bonus = $90 net loss

Obviously you want to book a profit after earning your bonus. But losing a combined $90 after wagering $6,000 at an online casino isn’t a bad deal. Make sure to look at wagering requirements in relation to the bonus’ match percentage. 40x playthrough is good for a 100% match bonus, while 35x is outstanding.

Also consider the house advantage of the games you’re playing. A slot with 95% to 97% payback, combined with a 100% contribution rate, gives you a decent chance to win money.

Cons of Deposit Bonuses

You Get Nothing Until Meeting Wagering Requirements

The tough part about deposit bonuses is that you don’t receive any extra money until meeting playthrough. Furthermore, you must often wager thousands of dollars before unlocking your bonus.

Let’s say that you need to bet $4,000 before releasing your bonus funds. If you withdraw your money after wagering $2500, then you get nothing. Compare this to some cashback deposit offers, where you receive a percentage of your losses without having to also meet wagering requirements.

Wagering Requirements Can Be High

Most of the examples that I’ve given in this post are based on favorable wagering requirements, such as 40x on a 100% match deal. But there’s also much worse playthrough in the industry.

Some casinos attach wagering requirements of 50x or 60x. This leaves you facing higher theoretical losses while trying to unlock your bonus. If earning free money at casinos is important to you, then avoid any site that features unreasonable wagering requirements.

Many Games Offer Reduced Playthrough Contributions

Deposit bonuses can feature even more game restrictions and reduced contributions than a cashback deposit offer.

Games with high payback like baccarat, blackjack, French roulette, and video poker almost always have reduce contributions or are entirely excluded.

You’ll also find some slots that pay 97% or higher on the exclusions/reduced contributions list. Be sure to look at the bonus terms and conditions to see if your favorite game(s) offers the full playthrough contribution.

Online Casino Cashback vs. Deposit Bonus

I’ve covered the main pros and cons on cashback deposit offers and standard deposit deals. Now it’s time to discuss which is the better deal.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to choosing the superior offer. Everything depends upon the exact terms and conditions you’re dealing with.

Generally, though, I like standard deposit bonuses when given the choice. Here are my main reasons why:

  • Cashable bonuses are more common and easier to find.
  • I like playing towards something, rather than being rewarded on losses.
  • Standard bonuses generally award a higher match percentage on mydeposit.
  • Most regular deposit bonuses are better deals.
  • I can earn bonus funds regardless of whether I’m winning or losing.

The last part is key, because I’ve seen some bad cashback deposit offers. The worst deals require you to lose an entire deposit and meet playthrough before receiving any money.

Nevertheless, these reasons don’t mean that cashable bonuses are always the best choice. You can still find cashback deposit offers that are comparable or better than standard deposit deals.

Here’s an example of a good cashback deposit offer:

  • 50% cashback up to $300.
  • You can withdraw at any time and still be eligible for cashback.
  • Playthrough is 30x the bonus.
  • You deposit $1,000 and lose $600.
  • 600 x 0.5 = $300 cashback bonus
  • 300 x 30 = $9,000 must be wagered

Considering that cashback bonuses can be can still be good deals, it’s worth looking into them whenever they’re available.


Standard deposit bonuses are often a good choice. But sometimes cashback deposit deals can also offer value.

The main things you need to consider include the cashback match percentage, if you have to lose the entire deposit, game restrictions, and potential wagering requirements.

Terms and conditions go a long ways towards deciding what’s a fair cashback deal. If you’re thinking about choosing a cashback deposit bonus over a regular deposit offer, then I suggest pouring over the T&Cs and doing math.

You should also consider the other cashback opportunities that I discussed earlier in this post. VIP, ongoing, and welcome bonuses can be quality deals under the right circumstances.

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