How Do Online Gambling Bonuses Really Work?

Bonus Guide

Bonuses are a big deal in the world of online gambling. They’re there to be taken advantage of, and if used wisely can earn players free credit at the top real money gambling sites.

On this page we’re going to break down the different types of bonuses, what you should be looking for in 2020 and how to best take advantage of the offers out there for UK players. Our aim to ensure you extract maximum value from the online gambling casinos you play at, and that means playing at the sites with the biggest bonuses on offer.

Read on as we cover the following key areas:

  • Bonus basics
  • Are they legit?
  • Types of bonuses
  • Poker
  • What to watch for

Why do casino sites offer bonuses?

There are two main reasons why online casinos and poker sites offer bonuses, and neither is motivated by a purely altruistic quest to make you happy. It’s important you understand the business aims involved, as follows:

  • Welcome bonuses are paid out when you first sign up and deposit funds at a site. These are designed to attract your business and get you paying real cash into an account at the site in question. The thought here is that the gift provided at the outset will be worth the investment if you become a long-term player.
  • Other bonuses and promotions, paid out to regular players, are designed to keep you loyal and encourage you to play more often. Bonuses specific to VIP program players, for example, reward frequent play and/or a specific level of spending at the casino site.

Are casino bonuses a con?

Our advice is always to read the terms of a bonus offer very carefully before getting too excited. Some bonuses may sound incredible as advertised, but when you dig into the conditions it may be the case that there are certain caveats involved that dilutes the value of them

That being said, we don’t want you to be a cynic either. Bonuses can be a truly great way to up your bankroll on free funds, and if you to play the top UK sites you’ll be suitably rewarded for a choice you were going to make anyway.

What types of bonuses are there?

Let’s look at some of the most common types of bonuses offered by online real money gambling sites.

  • Match bonuses are when the casino site offers to match a percentage of your deposit amount, to a set limit. These are typically seen as entry offers, or welcome bonuses, where your initial deposit(s) are bolstered with funds from the casino itself. For example, a 100% match bonus on your first deposit of up to £500 would see the casino pay in £500 additional credit if you went with the full amount.
  • Reload bonuses tend to be offered to existing players. They also reward the act of depositing funds into your account, with the casino paying in extra funds either as a match or percentage match.
  • Loyalty bonuses reward players who spend good time and money at an online casino or poker site. They are sometimes evident as VIP programs that provide ever-greater benefits as you climb the ranks. You might get better reload bonuses, for example, or access to special tournaments.
  • Cash-back bonuses give the promise of some money back if you lose. They’re a form of insurance that cuts your losses.
  • No deposit bonuses are how the industry refers to starter offers that don’t require the player to pay in a single penny. You get to gamble for real money without depositing, with the idea that you’ll be suitably impressed you’ll go on and spend.
  • Referral bonuses are very simple. You get paid for referring a friend to play at the casino or poker site, with the reward generally triggered when that person deposits funds and sets up an account.
  • High roller bonuses are set up to reward big real cash deposits at a casino. It might be that for any deposit of £500 or more, for example, you qualify for a percentage match bonus that isn’t offered to players paying in less.

Poker-specific bonuses

There are some bonuses that you’ll only really find when playing online poker, linked to the specific game format and number of tournaments on offer. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Freeroll poker tournaments are bonuses in the sense you can get playing poker for real money prizes without paying a penny for entry.
  • Bad beat bonuses are paid out to great poker hands that lose. They are typically structured so a percentage of the pot pays into fund, and that fund ultimately pays out to the winner of the bad beat bonus.

Things to bear in mind

As outlined earlier, it’s really important to read the terms and conditions attached to bonus offers. We’ve all heard the expression that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. That can certainly apply to bonuses and online gambling.

Here are some key things to be aware of:

  • Don’t be thinking you can just pay in a deposit, accept your welcome bonus and then withdraw the whole lot for a profit. It doesn’t work like that as there will be conditions attached to cashing out. The funds paid in by the casino will generally serve as play credits rather than cash you can take out.
  • Advertised bonuses often require activation by a set level of play at the casino site. It might be that the match bonus offered is paid in gradually as hit certain play requirements.

In conclusion

We’ll sum things up by saying online gambling bonuses are a great thing, providing you understand them fully and know the best sites to play at. The great part is we’ve already highlighted the very top bonus sites for UK players, so all you need do is click the links and getting taking advantage of them.

Good luck taking advantage of all that free credit and reaping the system for all its worth. Here’s hoping it pays off with some big-money victories at the best online gambling websites.

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