Online casinos use bonuses and promotions to attract new players and reward loyalty. These range from signup bonuses when you create an account, to deposit matches when you add funds, to VIP programs for regular players. While enticing, not all offers are equal. You need to compare terms and do the math to find ones that truly benefit you. This guide will break down the most common casino bonuses and how to use them to your advantage to win more.

Signup Bonuses

Signup bonuses, also called welcome bonuses, are what online casinos offer new players simply for registering an account. These usually match a percentage of your first deposit up to a maximum amount in bonus funds. Here is a comparison of some current top signup bonus deals:

Casino Bonus Percentage Maximum Bonus Wagering Requirement
GetSlots 100% $500 20x
Stake 150% $750 30x
Wild Fortune 200% $1,000 45x
Casino Prime 50% $300 10x

As you can see, while Casino Z offers the highest 100% match, when you factor in the wagering requirements, Casino X and Casino Y provide more value.

The key things to compare are not just the bonus percentage and caps, but the fine print rules. Pay attention to:

  • Wagering or playthrough requirements – This is how much you have to play before you can withdraw the bonus funds. Lower is better.
  • Game restrictions – All games do not contribute equally to meeting wagering rules. Slots usually count 100% but other games like blackjack may only count 5% or 10%.
  • Time limits – Most signup offers expire within 30 days if requirements are not met.

By reading the rules carefully, you can determine which bonus gives you the best chance of actually withdrawing your winnings.

Deposit Bonuses

Once you have an account set up and take advantage of the new player specials, online casinos will continue trying to incentivize you to deposit and play more by offering deposit bonuses. These work just like signup offers but reward you based on the amount you add to your account balance.

Here is an example of a matched deposit bonus:

  • Deposit $100, get a $50 bonus.
  • Deposit $300, get the maximum $150 bonus.

The main difference with deposit bonuses is they usually do not come automatically. You often have to opt-in or claim them by entering a promotion code in the cashier when making a payment. Other than needing to activate them first, the playthrough rules work the same. Make sure to calculate if the offer is worth it before claiming any deposit bonus.

Comp Point Programs

Rather than offering an upfront bonus, some online casinos have comp point programs. These reward players with points based on how much they wager. Once you accumulate enough comp points, you can convert them into casino credits or bonus funds.

Every site structures their loyalty program differently, but they work on the same general premise. Here is an overview of a typical comp point system:

  • Earn 1 comp point for every $10 wagered
  • 100 comp points converts to $1 in bonus credits
  • Bonus credits subject to 5x wagering before cashing out

Based on this, you would need to play through $1,000 to get $10 that you could withdraw. Since comp points earned correspond directly to how much you bet, this type of program favors high stakes players. But it can be an added perk on top of other bonuses.

Free Spins

Another popular promotion online casinos run regularly are free spins offers. These give players a set number of spins to use on selected slot machines where you get to keep any winnings. Free spins are usually capped at a maximum amount you can cash out from them.

Some free spin deals come with deposit requirements while others are no deposit needed. The wagering requirements tied directly to the amount won from the spins rather than a deposit. Here is an example:

  • 50 free spins on Starburst
  • Max winnings from free spins = $200
  • Wager free spins winnings 10x before withdrawal

By finding free spins for slot machines with frequent payouts, you have a chance to win real money that you could cash out if you meet the playthrough on amounts over the cap.

Referral Bonuses

Lastly, many online casinos try to incentivize players to refer friends through referral bonuses. These work by giving you a unique promo code or link to invite people. If anyone signs up using your referral, you both get a bonus, usually a matched amount or free spins.

The more friends you have signed up, the more bonuses you can earn. While referral programs should not be the sole reason to choose one casino over another, they can lead to thousands in extra bonuses on top of the regular promotions.

Maximizing Casino Bonuses

To really optimize online casino bonuses for your advantage, you need to combine multiple offers and understand the terms. Here are some final tips:

  1. Claim all suitable signup bonuses across casinos – This gives you options to take advantage of the best promotions.
  2. Pay attention to game contributions – Play bonus funds on best slots online unless an offer specifies other games count more towards wagering.
  3. Limit play on real money – Mix in low stake bonus spins rather than betting more of your real bankroll.
  4. Cash out once hitting thresholds – Do not risk losing winnings from fulfilled bonuses by playing longer. Withdraw regularly.
  5. Avoid shady offers – Extremely high bonuses likely have unrealistic requirements and should be avoided.


While online casinos provide many bonuses, the terms vary greatly. By understanding rules around wagering, caps, game limits, and expiration dates, you can compare real value across offers. Utilize multiple bonuses smartly to maximize how much casino money you get to play with. Then by playing strategically using mostly bonus funds, you optimize your chances to cash out winnings. Use these tips as a blueprint to guide your bonus usage and get the most from online casinos.