Best Online Casino Bonuses 2021
Casino bonuses and promotions are the life-blood of all online casinos. In 2021 an operator that’s able to treat new and existing players to the best offers is going to have a head-start on its competitors. This is huge these days, especially when you consider how competitive the industry has become.
Casino promotions and bonuses are pretty important to players too. Gambling can be a fun but unforgiving business at times. So it follows that any kind of bonuses that helps minimize a player’s losses is going to be received very well.
Best Casino Bonuses
The best online casinos recognize this and do their best to come up with compelling deals that are not only good for them, but for customers too. In fairness, it can be quite a difficult balancing act.
The major operators obviously want to protect their bottom line. At the same time, they also want to make sure that they don’t put off players. Even though gamers are free to ignore the many incentives that come their way, a miserly online casino promotion will often speak volumes about the casino peddling it.
Read on for the low-down on the some of the most common casino promotions and bonuses. Many of them are offered by the operators listed on our pages.
The Deposit Match Bonus
The ubiquitous deposit match graces the promotional sliders on thousands of casino front pages and usually forms part of a welcome offer. This kind of bonus matches a portion of a player’s opening deposit and is expressed in a percentage.
A typical example might be a 100% match of up to $200. In other words, the casino will match your initial deposit, provided it doesn’t exceed $200. Therefore, if you part with $50, you’ll receive an extra $50 on top.
Some operators feature 200% matches as well. So, if the maximum stands at $200 and you deposit $50, your account will be credited with $100.
While these types of promotions look rather generous on the face of it, they’re almost always subject to wagering rules and other caveats. Some of these stipulations take the sheen off, others not so much. We’ll be looking at these later on.
Tiered Welcome Promotions
Many welcome promotions are spread across a series of opening deposits. So an offer that promises a ‘Welcome Offer of up to $2000’ might be structured the following way:
- First Deposit: 100% match up to $400
- Second Deposit – 30% match up to $400
- Third Deposit – 30% match up to $400
- Fourth Deposit – 30% match up to $400
- Fifth Deposit – 30% match up to $400
This actually constitutes quite a decent offer. But be aware that you’re going to have to make multiple deposits to extract the full value. You’ll also have to satisfy time limits that are also applied to each separate deposit stage – the first clue that you should check on terms and conditions before committing any funds.
Free Spins Bonuses
Free spins offers are often attached to welcome packages, although in many cases they serve as stand-alone incentives. Free spin bonuses and the like are especially popular because they allow players to try their hand at online pokies without having to part with too much money. Like welcome bonuses though, they tend to be subject to wagering rules. With that said, play-through rules are often lower for free spin deals because they don’t represent as much of a risk for the operator.
No Deposit Bonus
The no deposit bonus is one of the most highly sought-after casino promotions of all. As its name subtly infers, this type of bonus requires no deposit whatsoever which means you won’t have to risk your own money. They’re offered either as fixed cash sum or as part of a free spins promotion. But don’t expect to find many ‘no deposit’ promotions promising the earth. Instead, try to think of them as small bonuses that allow you sample an online casino before committing your hard-earned.
Yes, these wondrous incentives do exist. Sure, they’ not that prevalent, nor are they that generous. But if you can lay your hands on one, you’ll be completely free of play-through rules. Often available as part of a no deposit bonus or a free spin promotion, they enable gamers to play casino games without the worry of time limits, game weighting and other such dastardly stipulations. Happy days!
Sometimes casinos take mercy on their customers by offering cash-back bonuses. These are usually calculated as a percentage of a player’s net losses and can range from 5% to even 30% in some decidedly rare cases. They can apply to daily, weekly and monthly losses and are often without any kind of wagering rules. Also known as insurance bonuses, these incentives often encourage loyalty among players while also ensuring that they spend their money all over again. Surely you didn’t think that insurance bonuses could be used elsewhere? As with other bonuses, stipulations are often applied and include time limits, wagering and maximum win caps.
Refer a Friend
Casinos are constantly on the look-out for new victims, sorry players. So keen are they to attract fresh-faced depositors that some reward existing customers who refer their friends. More often than not, a casino will either award a referrer with a fixed bonus or an amount that’s calculated according to the sum that the referred player deposits. In a lot of cases, an operator will only credit a referrer’s account with bonus funds after the person they recommended has played through their deposit as many as 40 times. Nice.
High-Roller Online Bonuses
High-roller bonuses are aimed squarely at players that aren’t shy about parting with big money. In most scenarios, these are reserved exclusively for VIP members. Don’t be fooled by casinos that offer VIP bonuses to rank-and-file gamers though. They’re merely standard promotions that have been dressed up to look generous and exclusive. Lurking underneath are often draconian terms and conditions. Genuine VIP promotions require players to deposit large sums in order to qualify. In turn, the rewards are often considerable. They’re usually structured exactly the same way as standard promotions and take the form of deposit matches, free spins and such like. It’s just that the sums involved are much, much larger.
Online Casino Tournaments
Tournaments are another extremely popular casino incentive. The best ones manage to infuse the fun of game-play with the tantalizing prospect of winning big money. As with most online casino bonuses, they come in a variety of forms. Scheduled tournaments are the most widely played and start at a fixed time. They often require an entry fee, of which a percentage is fed into a prize pool. Sit n’ go tournaments are more casual affairs and will only commence once enough players have joined. Then there are re-loader tournaments which enable players to play repeatedly. These formats usually apply to online casino pokies leader-board competitions.
Because so many people join these tournaments the prize money is often pretty substantial. In addition, some feature extra prizes for players who finish in pre-specified positions on the leader-board.
Then you’ve got traditional casino games tournaments for online poker, online blackjack and other iconic bricks and mortar games. Using either single or multiple tables, they follow a similar format to land-based tournaments and require players to compete against one another to acquire the most chips.
Adventures and campaigns are another popular promotional method employed by online casinos. Known also as gamification, they take some of the best aspects of video gaming and apply them to casino gambling. Casumo offers one of the most well-known adventure-based schemes. In most instances, players are rewarded points, trophies and/or credits for performing certain actions on a site such as logging in, reaching a new level and staking money on a casino game. These points can then be exchanged for gifts, prizes and, in some cases, improved promotions.
Mobile Casino Promotions
Mobile-only promotions follow the same format as standardized bonuses and include similar welcome bonuses, bonus spins and other incentives. They’re often put in place by an operator whose sole focus is ‘gaming on the go’. In our book, casinos should be available across all devices. But that’s just us…apparently.
Payment Method Bonuses
Many standard payment services add fees to online casino transactions. To get around this, some operators encourage their players to deposit using alternative methods by offering the proverbial carrot on a stick. This particular vegetable is represented by percentage bonuses that are sometimes added to welcome offers. For example, a player may be offered a special sign-up bonus that can only be unlocked by making a first deposit with Neteller or Trustly.
The Small Print – Caveats and Stipulations
Ok, so now you’re more familiar with the many online casino bonuses out there (hopefully). How, then are operators able to offer such lavish promotions without going bust? The answer can be found in the small print.
The wagering caveat is the bet noir of all casino gamers. But without them, you wouldn’t get the chance to try your hand at all of those juicy deposit match bonuses. Operators just wouldn’t be able to cover their losses, because losses are certainly what they’d make. They’re also put in place so that casinos can comply with anti-money laundering regulations. Without wagering rules, a bad actor could clean his funds by quickly depositing and then withdrawing his ill-gotten gains. Anyway, we digress.
So what is wagering and how does it work? If you don’t know by now, we strongly urge you to read on.
Wagering is a multiplier that signifies the number of times that you’re required to play a bonus before you can withdraw any winnings. Say for instance that you’d like to take advantage of a $50 bonus with x10 wagering requirements.
Before you could get your hands on any winnings, you’d have to part with $500 on an assortment of pre-specified casino games first. Any money that you make gets stored as a ‘pending balance’ and remains locked until you satisfy said wagering rules. In many instances, the play-through rules apply to the bonus and the deposit amounts. Allow us to elaborate.
Let’s take a welcome promotion that offers a 100% match bonus up to $100. We’ll assume that a wagering requirement of x50 is in play. If you make full use of the match bonus and deposit $50, you’re account will be credited with another $50. Then the wagering kicks in. Here’s the maths:
$50 Deposit + $50 Bonus = $100 x 50 wagering = $5000
So you’ve got to spend five grand before you can extract any winnings. Of course, this isn’t to say that you won’t win anything as you make your way through these play-through rules. But the above calculation underlines just how important it is to check the small print.
Wagering Time Limits
You should also discover how long you’ve got to satisfy wagering rules. This is absolutely crucial, especially when it comes to tiered welcome bonuses. All operators impose a specific time within which wagering rules have to be satisfied. Once the time limit is up any bonus funds acquired are removed.
Then there’s weighting, with some casino games not fully counting towards wagering. As a general rule of thumb, most standard online pokies feature 100% weighting. This of course means that your entire stake goes towards satisfying the play-through rules. However, games that offer improved chances of winning such as blackjack will only contribute around 10%. Operators usually include information about game weighting as part of their FAQ or T&Cs section.
Try not to be put off by the terms and conditions that are attached to online promotions. In fairness to operators, all of this information is provided in the terms and conditions. Indeed, all casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission are required to be extremely transparent when it comes to the T&Cs. So it really is down to you to get clued up about these stipulations.