Just about every online casino these days offers some form of bonus. For the casinos themselves, such promotions serve as marketing opportunities. Players are more likely to signup and deposit at an iGaming venue that’s running a really generous sounding bonus!
Of course, online casinos are businesses, not charities. They’re trying to promote themselves using their promotional offerings whilst remaining profitable. For this reason, they use terms and conditions to make their promotions sound amazingly profitable, when, in fact, players are unlikely to win.
Each online casino uses slightly different terms and conditions. This means some promotions are more profitable than others. The aim of this article is to equip players like yourself with the tools to judge the potential profitability of different types of promotions. By the end, you should be able to spot the juiciest bonuses around.
Types of Online Casino Bonuses
Before we get into teaching you how to spot which online casino bonuses have the best potential ROIs, we first need to introduce the different bonus types. It’s worth remembering that the type of bonus itself is much less important in determining the profitability of a promotion than its actual terms and conditions.
No deposit bonuses are often the first promotion a casino will offer to its newest players. However, existing players might also receive this promotion type too. They’ll award players with either free spins on a certain slot machine or bonus cash to use on games. No deposit bonuses are very popular with players because they offer a way to win real money with zero risk of losing their own funds.
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Since players don’t need to deposit to activate a no deposit bonuses, they’re typically much lower in the amount rewarded than deposit bonuses. They also usually have very harsh wagering requirements and other terms and conditions associated. After all, the casino stands no chance of profiting immediately from a no deposit bonus. They, therefore, want to limit their potential losses from them.
Matched deposit bonuses are another type of common promotion at online casinos. These will credit the accounts of new and existing players with bonus cash or free spins when they make a deposit. You’ll usually find matched deposit bonuses offer a percentage of the amount deposited in bonus cash (often between 50% and 200%).
Since players must deposit to activate a matched deposit bonus, they can lose their own money playing them. That’s why online casinos are often more generous with the amounts they offer. In fact, some online casinos are offering a match bonus up to a couple of thousand dollars!
The Biggest ROIs?
Don’t let the size of the promotion distract you though. Just because a bonus amount is very large, doesn’t mean it’s going to have a positive expected return-on-investment. As is often the case, the important information is in the small print!
The most important factor to consider when looking for a promotion with a large potential return-on-investment is the playthrough or wagering requirement. Almost all online casino promotions have one. If they don’t, you should definitely claim the bonus. You’ll be able to instantly withdraw anything you win.
A wagering requirement refers to the number of times a player must bet their deposit, their bonus amount, and/or their winnings before the bonus cash becomes real money that they can withdraw. The terms and conditions will detail exactly what needs wagering. When you’re looking at the rules of the promotion, look out for a number followed by an X. A wagering requirement will typically range from around 10x to 50x, or more.
Generally speaking, the lower the playthrough requirement is, the more profitable a promotion will be. The more times you have to bet your bonus amount, the greater the likelihood that the casino’s edge (present in all its games) will eat into the bonus so much that you end up busting out of bonus funds or losing some of your own bankroll. All other terms being equal, a 10x playthrough requirement will offer a greater potential ROI than a 50x one.
Related to the concept of playthrough requirements is that of game eligibility. Different games contribute a different percentage towards wagering. This is because some games are considered more profitable than others.
When looking at the terms and conditions of a promotion, you’ll usually find a table detailing different games and their contributions towards the playthrough requirement. Some games (or certain bets on games) will contribute 100% towards wagering. If you bet $1 on a slot that contributes 100% towards wagering, the remaining wagering requirement will reduce by $1.
Games that provide a lower house edge will usually contribute less towards the wagering requirement. Some will contribute 50% ($1 bet reduces remaining wagering by 50c) and others will be limited to 10% or even 1% contributions. Finally, the most lucrative games will be excluded from wagering. You could bet $10,000 on such games and wagering would still reduce by $0.
Whilst it is possible to complete wagering on games that contribute 10% or even 1%, it’s foolish to try. By doing so, you effectively multiply the wagering requirement. You’ll need to wager 10x the stated amount on games that contribute 10% and 100x the amount on those that contribute 1%. Put another way, your $400 wagering becomes $40,000. This dramatically reduces the profitability of a promotion.
When you actually find a promotion that appears to offer a decent chance of winning, there’s one more important consideration – restrictions on winnings. The most profitable online casino bonuses will usually feature such a cash-out restriction. This is to limit the losses a casino might suffer from the promotion.
Since no deposit bonuses don’t require the player use any of their own money, casinos usually impose the harshest cash-out restrictions on them. The last thing they want is to go broke thanks to a promotion that they have literally no chance of realising immediate profits from. Meanwhile, matched deposit bonuses will usually have a higher cash out restriction. However, some still enforce very low ones, which is definitely something to watch out for.
Of course, when you’re comparing bonuses, you should favour those that allow you to win the most money. It’s also worth considering your strategy if there is a cash-out restriction in place. For example, if you can only win $10 from a promotion, there’s no point in trying to complete wagering on a progressive jackpot slot with a top prize of $1,000,000, is there?
Casino Bonuses are a Real Mixed Bag!
With online casinos each setting their own bonus terms and conditions, as well as constantly changing the promotions on offer, it’s difficult to recommend any specific promotions to players. It’s much better to understand common promotional rules for yourself and just get out there and compare what’s on offer. As the old saying goes: Give someone a fish and they’ll eat today. Give them a fishing rod and some knowledge, and they’ll never go hungry again!