How to maximise your casino bonus winnings
Casino bonuses are given to both new players (the so-called welcome bonus) and existing customers.
Generally speaking, there are five different types of casino bonuses:
- No Deposit Bonus: you receive a bonus without making a deposit;
- Match bonus: you get an extra percentage on top of your first deposit(s);
- Reload bonus: the same as a match bonus, but for existing customers. Usually, the percentages are lower than the welcome bonus;
- Loyalty bonus: based on your play you will get some free spins, free play or other goodies;
- Cash back: you get a fixed percentage of your losses or deposits back into your account.
Every UK licensed online casino gives away bonuses. And the good thing is: it is a real win-win situation. The casino gets your patronage and play; you get a lot of extra stuff.
Naturally, in most cases, you can not transfer any bonus money back to your bank account. The casino wants you to play at their casino and is perfectly fine with you winning once in a while. Just not all the time. That is why there are bonus terms and conditions regarding the use of casino bonuses and what you have to do to turn that bonus money into real money.
10 essential rules how to maximise your bonus winnings
Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned online casino player, if you follow these 10 essential rules you are guaranteed to get the biggest chance of maximising your bonus winnings. Furthermore, after reading this article, you will know the difference between a good casino bonus and a bad one.
Rule 1: check the bonus percentage and the maximum amount
It is crucial to check the bonus percentage and the maximum amount of bonus. Most casinos give away a 100% bonus on the first deposit. But some casinos go up to 150% or even 200%. The maximum amount also varies a lot, from £50 or £150 to even an unlimited bonus amount at some casinos.
If you take both these factors into account, you can now decide what the optimal first deposit amount is.
If the bonus percentage is 200% and the maximum bonus is £150, deposit no more than £75. You will then get £75 + £150 = £225 with your first deposit.
Be advised that, just like a first impression, you can only make one first deposit. Make sure you do it right.
Rule 2: review the terms and conditions regarding wagering of bonus money
A critical step that is, sadly, forgotten by a lot of players. You must review the terms and conditions regarding the wagering (or playthrough) requirements of bonus money.
All casinos have a rule that bonus money needs to be wagered a certain number of times before it becomes real money (that can be paid out). Usually, the wagering requirement lies between 30x and 40x the bonus amount. But at some casinos it can get to as high as 100x or even 200x the bonus amount, making it nearly impossible for you to cash out the bonus money.
The lower the wagering requirement, the better it is for the player.
Say you get £100 bonus with a wagering requirement of 35x the bonus. This means you would have to wager 35 x £100 = £3,500 before you can cash out the money. Compare this with a wagering requirement of 60x, where you would have to wager £6,000 to get the same result!
How do know what the wagering requirements are? There are two easy ways to find out:
- Read the bonus terms and conditions. Sometimes you can find these under the promotions tab, at times under the FAQ section. But they should never be hidden and always be 100% transparent. A trustworthy online casino will never lie or misguide you on their bonus terms
- Ask the helpdesk via the chat option. The helpdesk staff should be happy to answer this question for you. If you find the bonus rules unclear or if the helpdesk is unwilling to share this information, find a different casino.
Rule 3: how much do the games contribute to the wagering requirements?
Not every casino game contribute to the wagering requirements. Some do not even contribute at all with some casinos.
Most slots contribute a full 100%, but some contribute a lot less. Games like blackjack, roulette and video poker will contribute with a lower percentage.
That is why it is important to check, as these contribution rates differ with each casino. Did you know that roulette contributes 0% to the bonus wagering requirements at some casinos? You could be wagering your bonus money forever and still not be making any progress without you knowing it.
You should be able to find the game contribution percentages in the bonus terms and conditions. If you can't find them, take your hard earned money elsewhere.
Rule 4: Don't be an “Advantage Player.”
Casinos love new customers. They do not like bonus abusers. They also want a fair chance of taking back your bonus, just like you want a decent chance of cashing out. That is why casinos implement some extra rules to weed out the bonus abusers. One of those rules is that you cannot exceed the maximum stake while playing with bonus money. If you do exceed the maximum stake, the casino could see you as an “Advantage Player” and void all your bonus money and winnings.
Two examples of advantage play:
If you play slots with very high stakes with bonus money, hoping to get a big payout. When that happens, you could then lower your stake considerably and ride out the wagering requirements.
Another way would be to play a low house edge game such as roulette and bet on both black and red simultaneously to speed up the wagering process.
Our advice: don't do it. Play your regular game pattern and do not try to outsmart the casino. Again, in the terms and conditions, it should state how high the maximum stake is (usually between £5 – £8 per spin).
Rule 5: Beware of the small print!
Casinos will sometimes use some tricks that will put you at a disadvantage. Look for them before you make a deposit:
- Is there a maximum payout amount that you can win with bonus money? If there is a maximum payout amount, decide if you think it is reasonable. We have seen one casino with a maximum bonus of £200, 100x wagering and a maximum payout on bonus money of £200. In other words, extremely weak rules. We did not deposit at this casino.
- Are the wagering requirements only on the bonus (good!). Or are they on both the bonus and the deposit (bad). In the second case, the wagering requirements are doubled if the bonus is 100%.
- Are you allowed to cash out any winnings on a free spins bonus? Free spins are great, but they are even more enjoyable if you can cash out any winnings straight away (like at GUTS or Thrills).
Rule 6: Play low to medium variance slots
If you are a slots player and want to make the wagering requirements with the biggest chance of cashing out, always choose low or medium variance slots. You may not win a lot, but you will probably make the playthrough before your balance is zeroed out. Examples of medium variance slots are Starburst and Black Widow.
Rule 7: Know that you can always decline a bonus
You are in no way obligated to use a bonus. We (nearly) always accept all bonuses as we see bonus money as added entertainment money. A bonus gives you extra playing time and a real chance to win more money. But if you do not want the hassle of going through wagering requirements and enjoy the freedom to do with your money as you wish, then you might want to not take any bonuses. Sometimes you get asked if you want to take the bonus or not when making the deposit. You can also ask the helpdesk to remove any bonuses, as long as you do it before you start playing.
Rule 8: Check your progress
If you have made a nice profit and wanted to cash out, check how far you have progressed with your wagering. Usually, you can go to the withdraw page and see how much money you are allowed to withdraw. If the number is zero, you have not yet reached wagering requirements. Most casinos do show how much wagering you have left, so you get a good indication of when to stop and cash out.
Rule 9: do you have a problem or question? Ask the helpdesk (and be nice!)
Casinos, as a rule, love their customers. At least, the good ones do. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you have any queries. Staff will do their best to help. In our experience, it also helps a lot to be friendly. Treat them well, and they will do the same to you.
Rule 10: did you win big? Forfeit the bonus!
We have saved our best tip for last. With most online casinos, you play with your money first, and when that has run out, you start playing with casino bonus money. If you have won a nice amount before touching your bonus money, you can cash out before making the wagering requirements. That does mean that you will have to forfeit the bonus money. If your win is big enough, that could be a very wise decision, though. After all, it is better to have a little bit less money in your bank account than risking it all trying to make the wagering requirements.
You always ask the helpdesk to remove your bonus. Not every casino allows this, but most do, and it can be very worthwhile.
You made it! 10 essential rules that will help you to maximise your bonus winnings. You now know what to look for in a welcome bonus and what the best and fastest ways are to reaching the cash out point of that bonus. Good luck.