Whether we like it or not, casinos and sportsbooks often get mixed and matched nowadays. Although most brokers have separate pages for their casinos and sportsbooks, they’re still a part of a bigger gambling site. The result is good in terms of cross-selling for the broker: some sports betting customers play casino games from time to time, and some casino players place a bet every now and then. More profits for them, especially since the second activity of either of those players is usually driven by fun. But the online casino industry has grown a lot in the US in recent times, especially since they’re no longer illegal.
That being said, let’s dive into the casino industry a little bit, with tackling one of the most common myths: playing casino games is a lot easier than sports betting. This is a common misunderstanding, especially since the bulk of players in the two industries are vastly different. Lots of casino players mostly play for fun, but for those which don’t (and we believe most of our readers fall into this category), casino games are a source of income and an investment, and are treated accordingly. In betting, odds and win rate are the main drivers for long term success. In the casino industry, the payout of every game is the driver.
It might sound weird to speak about payouts in slot games, for example, but we’ll try to explain. Some casino games are completely random, while other have some skill involved. Let’s take blackjack as an example, because it’s one of the most well-known games. Blackjack does involve skill, but there is an “ideal” way in which it can be played, statistically. The payout for Blackjack is taken into consideration has a probability of 46%, excluding ties. This doesn’t mean that the game cannot be turned profitable, but you do need some luck, or a money management system that provides profits even with win rates < 50%.
If 46% sounds bad for you, we’ll have you know that most casinos play games ranging from as low as 37%-win rate, especially if we’re talking about slot games which are mostly “play for fun”. On the other end of the spectrum, there are casinos which play with little to no “house edge”, such as those which offer roulette wheels with no “0” on the wheel. In those cases, if you bet on red or black, you have a perfect 50% chance of winning. Usually, these casinos take a small fraction of your winnings as tax, meaning that the win rate is no longer 50%.
Casino Bonus Types
The bonuses and promotion section can help alter these percentages quite a lot. Not the win percentages of the games, of course, but the amount of money you end up with at the end of the day. If a game has a 48% return rate and you invest $100 in it, you’ll have a bit less money at the end of the day – but what if that money isn’t yours? If it comes in the form of a sportsbook bonus, you’re suddenly winning money. Casino bonuses are usually split into a few distinct categories, which are all very easy to understand:
- First deposit bonuses are the most common type of casino bonus which you’ll encounter. They’re often called “welcome bonuses” or “signup bonuses” due to the fact that you receive the money after you create a new account and make your first deposit. Brokers usually give customers between 50% and 150% of their initial deposit, with some sportsbook going all the way to 200%. This isn’t free money, remember – there are some rollover conditions involved, more often than not with a timestamp as well. Rollover conditions for casino first deposit bonuses are usually around 35x-40x the amount of the first deposit, but this isn’t as hard as it sounds to fulfil. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of the bonus carefully before using it.
- Reload bonuses work the same as the first deposit bonuses mentioned above, except the fact that they work for all deposits, not only first ones. They’re usually significantly smaller, but work very well for people who prefer to make more frequent small deposits instead of one large one. At the end of the day, they make re-loading your casino account a lot more profitable.
- Free spins are usually given out loosely by casinos. They’re part of welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, and are also the most frequent bonus given to existing customers. In essence, free spins mean that you can play a specific slot game for which the free spins are for without paying any real money. This is the mechanism used by casinos to get players to try out new casino games, or promote some of the ones which are dropping in popularity. They’re a good way to have some extra fun and try some things out, while even being able to earn some money from the process.
Other bonuses are a lot more specific, and we won’t go into them right now. Remember to carefully read the terms and conditions of the bonuses to fully understand what you’re getting and how to turn the bonus money into real money. Especially if you’re serious about gambling, these bonuses can make the difference between a sub-par experience and actually getting profits at the end of the gambling cycle.
At the end of the day, a casino bonus is just as good as you make it. There is some irony in that statement, since most casino games have a fair bit of luck involved. Most of the bonuses around casino games are extremely straightforward and honestly, it’s quite easy to transform them into some winnings. We’re also aware that some people play casino games for fun, and hats off to them – not everything should be about winning. But if profits are your main objective, bonuses will certainly set you up for victory.
Online Casino Bonus Wagering Requirements
While there are a few online casino bonuses that now have no wagering; the majority still do. It’s essential that you understand this component of the casino bonus because the wagering directly relates to the value of the bonus and your chances of walking away with some winnings.
As mentioned above, for deposit bonuses, you can expect to see wagering requirements stand at around 35x – 40x. However, that doesn’t paint the full picture, as some online casinos apply the wagering to the bonus amount only and other sites use the total of the deposit plus bonus amount. Here’s an example:
- 200% up to $100 – the wagering requirements are 35x the bonus amount only.
- 100% up to $100 – the wagering requirements are 25x the deposit + bonus amount.
Assuming you claimed the full $100 bonus for the top offer, the total wagering requirements are 35 x $100 = $3,500. The second offer is $100 deposit plus $100 bonus = $200 x 25 = $5,000 total wagering. At a glance, the 25x looks the better bonus, but we can clearly see this is not the case, so you must check what the wagering applies to. Please note that ‘wagering requirements’, ‘rollover requirements’ and ‘playthrough requirements’ all mean the same thing.
Another part of casino bonus wagering requirements is game weighting – also referred to as ‘wagering contribution’. The bottom line is that certain games contribute more towards clearing the wagering than others. This is an example of a wagering contribution table:
- Slots 100%
- Blackjack 20%
- Roulette 10%
- Video Poker 5%
- Craps 0%
Based on this, if you play slots, every $10 you wager; that will be $10 cleared from the wagering. However, $10 wagered on the roulette table would only clear $1 from the total wagering. Game weighting rules catch out many new customers until they become aware of it.
Live Casino Bonuses
Online casino bonuses are most certainly not limited to video slots and other virtual games, as there is now an abundance of live casino bonuses and promotions to choose from. For new players, these come in the form of welcome bonuses and reload deposit bonuses, similar to those described above. The primary difference is that these offers are specific for live dealer games. Therefore, the terms and conditions, such as wagering requirements, are adjusted to accommodate this.
As an existing player, you’ll be able to pick up live dealer casino rebate bonuses. These offers give you cashback on your aggregated losses, which helps to soften the blow of a bad session. Commonly, the wagering on the cashback bonus is low, so players have a good chance of pocketing some extra money. Further live dealer bonuses include promotions such as lucky numbers on the roulette table and perfect pairs for blackjack. It should be noted, with the exception of the welcome bonus, that offers in the live casino are not fixed; meaning they come and go.
Mobile Casino Bonuses
Mobile casinos are leading the way forward for the online gambling industry, so it’s no surprise that many players are interested to learn more about the casino bonuses on these platforms. The good news is that mobile players can claim all of the same bonuses that are available to desktop users – and some sites have added exclusive ‘mobile-only’ promotions on top.
That means the welcome bonus, 50 free spins, and deposit bonus offers can easily be claimed on the go. The terms and conditions remain the same regardless of the platform. Where mobile casino bonuses come into their own is if the operator has a standalone iOS or Android app. Often, they will pump extra offers, like free spins no deposit, through their apps to persuade customers to download and use the application. Furthermore, by utilizing push notifications, the casino operator can personalize promotions to suit your style of play, and deliver a wide selection of time-sensitive bonuses directly to players.
Casino Bonus Codes
With many brands providing multiple gambling products on one platform, it makes sense for them to use bonus codes. For instance, the operator may have sports betting, poker and casino gaming; and there is a welcome bonus for each product. Bonus codes are a simple system which allows the casino bosses to know which offer the customer wants.
Although casino bonus codes are primarily associated with welcome bonuses, some sites do use them for reload deposit bonuses, free spins, and other offers. You can check out our online casino review pages or refer to the terms and conditions of a specific promotion to find out if a bonus code is required – and more importantly – what the code is.
Redeeming your bonus codes can vary from site to site, and it also depends on the casino promotion you are claiming. For instance, you may have to enter a code when registering your account to get a sign-up bonus. However, deposit bonus codes are redeemed when you fund your account.
How to Find the Best Casino Bonuses
Bonuses are a great way to boost your bankroll, which then gives you more cash to play your favorite casino games. Still, that doesn’t mean you should blindly accept the first offer that you come across. Here are some top tips for finding the best casino bonuses that are right for you.
- What games will you play? If you prefer to play table games, then a 100 free spins casino bonus is not the right deal for you. Therefore, before you start, ask yourself, ‘What games will I play?’ This will help to cut out the casino bonuses that are unsuitable instantly.
- Compare casino bonuses: Having established the rollover requirements are a key driver in determining the real value of a casino bonus, you must compare different offers to find the ones that are the most player-friendly. As highlighted above, don’t judge a book by its cover. Check out the terms prior to accepting.
- Preferred payment methods: Several US online casinos have different bonuses depending on the payment method you use. For example, you may get up to $1,000 if you deposit by Visa or Mastercard, but up to $3,000 when you use Bitcoin. This makes a big difference, particularly for players that want to make a sizable deposit.
- Instant payouts: If you grab a casino bonus and manage to clear the wagering – it’s time to make a withdrawal. However, there are a few operators that impose a 30-day bonus hold, so you must wait 1 month to get your cash. We don’t appreciate this restriction and neither should you. The best online casinos pay out immediately, and those are the sites you should use.