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Online casinos are constantly coming up with new and exciting bonuses to try to encourage new players to sign up and keep playing their games. But knowing which ones are truly valuable – and which ones make the most sense for you personally – takes a little bit of thought.
That’s where we come in.
With this page, we’re here to help you understand your no deposit bonuses from your match bonuses, and your cashback from your free spins.
We’re going to show you what makes a great bonus, the key terms and conditions to look out for, and how to find your perfect bonus at US online casinos right now.
We asked our experts to pick their top three casino bonuses, available now at US casinos. To get in on the action with any of these bonuses, you can click our sign-up links on this page.
Here’s what they came up with.
Many of the best welcome bonuses combine multiple offers together, which is exactly what Borgata has done here. First up, you’ll get $20 in bonus cash as soon as you create your account, so you can start playing real money games right away.
Next, when you decide to make a deposit, Borgata will match it 100% up to $1,000 – which is a really impressive upper limit. Even better, the wagering requirements are very reasonable – just 1x on the no deposit $20 and 15x on your match bonus.
This offer really just ticks all the boxes, providing value for both lower-stakes and higher-stakes players without killing you on the turnover.
Sign up with Borgata here and get your bonus today:
Pala’s offer is similar to Borgata’s, with a few variations. First up, you’ll get $25 right off the bat this time, making this offer arguably more attractive for smaller-stakes players.
The deposit bonus is worth less overall at $500, and this time it’s spread out over the first three deposits. Your initial deposit qualifies for a 100% boost up to $250, while subsequent deposits receive a 50% and 25% boost respectively, with the total available bonus cash maxing out at $500.
Even though it’s technically worth less overall, this offer makes a lot of sense for anyone who doesn’t want to make a sizable deposit upfront. We like that you have two additional reload bonuses guaranteed so that the value keeps unfolding over a longer period of time.
Sign up with Pala Casino here:
You might be noticing a pattern in our selections here. Again, we’re choosing a combination of a no deposit bonus and match bonus, although this time worth less in bonus cash than both Borgata and Pala are offering.
So what makes this offer from Harrah’s stand out? Two words – wagering requirements.
As you’ll read further down this page, wagering requirements have a huge impact on the overall value of a casino bonus. Harrah’s offer is elevated by the turnover rate, which is 1x for the no deposit bonus and just 4x for the match bonus.
Put simply, this makes it a lot more likely that you’ll wind up withdrawing your winnings from this bonus. Say you claim $100 in bonus cash from both Borgata and Harrah’s. At Borgata, you’d need to place bets totaling $1,500 before you can withdraw any winnings. At Harrah’s, it would be just $400
This bonus is the perfect illustration of why you need to read the terms and conditions of any bonus carefully to understand how truly valuable it is, and not go off the headline alone.
Sign up with Harrah’s Casino, here:
Check out the table below, comparing some of the main bonuses you’ll find out there.
|Type of Bonus||Match Bonus||Reload Bonus||No Deposit Bonus||Free Spins/ Free Bets||Risk-Free Bonus|
|Normally for||New players||Existing players||New players||New and existing players||New players|
|Available on mobile||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Promo code required||Depends on casino||Usually not||Depends on casino||Depends on casino||Depends on casino|
|Best for…||High rollers and higher volume players||Everyone||Lower stakes players and first-timers||Everyone||More conservative players|
In case you haven’t noticed yet, casino bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. We’re running through all the most common types of offers in this section.
First, an important point. As a rule of thumb, any time a casino gives you extra money as part of a bonus, it doesn’t actually come in cash and you can’t withdraw it right away.
Instead, it comes in bonus cash or site credits which can only be used to play games. In order to withdraw it, you’ll need to fulfill various terms and conditions associated with the bonus, most notably wagering requirements. We cover the topic in detail in the section further down this page.
There are exceptional bonuses that involve you receiving actual cash, but they are rare.
A deposit match bonus is the most common type of welcome bonus offered by online casinos. It involves the casino matching some or all of your first deposit, up to a certain limit. On average, casinos tend to offer match bonuses worth around $500.
100% deposit bonuses are the most frequent offer, effectively meaning you get to start with double the bankroll. That said, you can also find offers that match a lower percentage, and in rare cases even a higher percentage – like a 200% or 300% deposit bonus.
The limits on deposit bonuses vary a lot depending on the casino and could be anywhere from $50 to $1,000. Since you need to actually deposit your own money to trigger the bonus, no deposit bonuses become more valuable the more you are prepared to spend upfront, and as such are often more attractive for high rollers.
Borgata Casino has a great match bonus for new players, worth 100% of your first deposit up to $1,000.
A reload bonus is the same as a deposit match bonus, only applied to later deposits after you’ve already signed up. They are designed to encourage existing players to stay engaged with the casino, keep depositing money, and playing games.
Reload bonuses are generally less valuable than a deposit bonus as part of a welcome offer. They might have lower limits on the amount of bonus cash you can claim, or match a smaller amount of your deposit – like 50% or 20%.
Some welcome bonuses are multipart packages, meaning you’ll receive boosts on your first two or three deposits. Sometimes you’ll qualify for a reload bonus once a week or once a month.
With a no deposit bonus, you’ll receive a bonus totally free when you sign up, with no need to deposit any of your own money first. Effectively, the casino is inviting you to try out the games for free, in the hope you enjoy yourself and deposit some of your own money down the line.
Imagine walking into a casino in Las Vegas, and a staff member hands you $5 in chips to play the slots. That’s a no deposit bonus.
Compared with a match bonus, you’ll receive considerably less bonus cash with a no deposit bonus. Normally, you’ll get something like $10 or $20 in site credits.
This means no deposit bonuses are arguably a more attractive offer for lower-stakes players, since $20 would represent a decent bankroll, and they may not want to deposit a lot of their own cash upfront anyway.
BetMGM has a great no deposit bonus for new players, offering $25 free when you sign up with just 1x wagering requirements.
Sign up with BetMGM here:
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A cashback bonus lets you claim back a percentage of your net losses over a certain period of time. An example would be a casino letting you claim 20% of your losses on a specific day, or even over the course of a week or month. Sometimes they are eligible for exclusive games only, like a blackjack cashback bonus or a craps cashback bonus.
A risk-free bonus is a similar concept. It normally appears as a welcome offer and means the casino will refund all of your net losses over a certain period of time – often the first 24 hours after you sign up.
Stardust Casino’s welcome bonus is an example of this. Once you sign up and place your first bet you have 24 hours, after which you can reclaim any net losses up to a value of $1,000.
Cashback offers are one of the few occasions where you can sometimes receive a bonus in real cash, rather than bonus cash.
This welcome offer from Virgin, where you can claim back $100 in cash when you lose 90% of your first deposit, is an example:
Sign up at Virgin Casino here or by clicking on the image below.
A free spin is effectively a token to play a slot machine for free. Slots are the most popular game at online casinos, and casinos love to offer free spins as part of a variety of bonuses.
Often you’ll see free spins handed out along with a deposit bonus, as part of a welcome bonus package. Party Casino is an example of this, where you’ll get a $1,000 deposit bonus + 25 free spins.
Sometimes a casino will give you a number of free spins instead of bonus cash, as a no-deposit bonus.
Party Casino free spins bonus – Click here to sign up or click on the image below.
By on-running bonuses we mean any offers that casinos come up with for existing players, as distinct from welcome bonuses. Gambling sites often focus their efforts on welcome bonus packages especially, as attracting new players is a priority for them.
But on running offers can be just as important, keeping members engaged and invested in the casino and keeping overall interest in the site high.
You’ll find variations on all the offers we’ve already covered, like reload bonuses when you make additional deposits or regular free spins, often released once a week or once a month.
Reward programs are another way that casinos reward anyone who plays regularly. Normally, you’ll receive reward points every time you gamble real money on the site, which can then be cashed in for bonuses or other rewards.
Tiered reward programs let you rise through different levels as you accumulate points, unlocking new benefits along the way.
Some casinos – like BetMGM for instance – even let you get real-life benefits in the physical resort, like restaurant vouchers or free parking.
Apart from heading to the sites themselves, your best bet for finding the best online casino bonuses available right now is to check out reviews from professionals.
Our experts delve into every aspect of each casino they review, and always pay special attention to the bonuses on offer. We sift through the small print so you don’t have to, and explain exactly why we like a bonus or where we think it could be improved.
It’s also important to think about your own tendencies as a gambler and match them to the bonus.
Love slots above all else? It makes sense to look for a casino that hands out regular free spins.
Smaller stakes player and don’t want to spend too much? Get a no deposit bonus to play for free.
Happy to deposit a good chunk of your own cash up front? Maximize your bankroll with a high limit deposit matching bonus.
There are loads of benefits to casino bonuses. Here are our expert’s top reasons to get one:
Our experts also have a couple of words of warning about casino bonuses. Here are our top disadvantages:
We’ve mentioned the importance of wagering requirements a few times already, and in this section we’re going to break down exactly why that is the case.
So what are wagering requirements? Basically, they are the set of conditions that need to be met before some bonus cash becomes regular cash that you can withdraw. You always need to gamble with bonus cash a certain number of times before you can cash out any winnings.
Wagering requirements (also referred to as turnover or playthrough) prevent people from signing up, claiming a bonus, and immediately withdrawing it for a profit – which is obviously not feasible from a casino’s perspective.
Let’s use the Borgata welcome bonus we talked about above as an example: a 100% match bonus, maxing out at $1,000 with wagering requirements of 15x.
If you claim the full $1,000, you’ll need to place bets totaling $15,000 ($1,000 x 15) before you can withdraw any winnings from the bonus. There is always a time limit built into wagering requirements too, which in this case is 14 days. If you haven’t cleared the requirements within that time, you’ll lose your bonus cash.
Let’s say you decide to deposit $200, which means you’ll receive an extra $200. In this case you’ll have to bet $3,000 in total before you can withdraw your winnings.
The average wagering requirements with welcome bonuses at online casinos is around 30x. You should probably avoid offers any larger than this.
Generally speaking, the two most important factors when choosing an online bonus are the size and the wagering requirements. You need to think about both of these in relation to how much or little you are likely to bet at the casino.
High rollers might be happy with trading off a fairly high turnover rate in exchange for a huge deposit boost, while micro-stakes players are more likely to prefer smaller sums with achievable turnover.
There are a couple of other aspects of wagering requirements to consider too.
The first is that, sometimes, the turnover applies to the bonus cash only, and other times it applies to the bonus cash + the value of your deposit. This is something you always need to check.
And finally, we need to mention something called weighted contributions. This refers to the idea that different games count differently to clearing your wagering requirements, more or less in line with their RTP.
The base rate of turnover (like 15x at Borgata) normally refers to when you play slots. If you decide to clear your bonus by playing games with a lower house edge – like blackjack for instance – it will count at a lower rate towards clearing the requirements, often 20%. Again, this is covered in the small print.
To finish off this section, we want to leave you with one thought: always read the terms and conditions of a bonus carefully before claiming it, and don’t be fooled by the headline alone.
Unless otherwise specified, casino bonuses can normally be used for any games at the casino. Some bonuses are specifically designed for a certain type of game, like free spins with slots for instance.
The exception is often with live dealer games, which can be exempt from using your bonus cash or site credits. But you can also find separate bonuses designed especially for live games.
If any games are not eligible for your bonus, they will be clearly stated in the terms and conditions. And remember, different games can count towards clearing your bonus at different rates.
Below are some of the games you can expect to play using your bonus cash:
Casino bonuses are not generally restricted by providers, and bonus offers don’t actually come from providers themselves. Instead, the casino (rather than the software provider) offers a bonus that can be used on the games hosted on the site.
Below is a list of some of the top software providers at online casinos in the US.
For the most part, casino bonuses will be available wherever online gambling is legal, meaning if your state has legalized online casinos you’ll be able to claim a bonus.
It’s worth noting that even though lots of casinos are available in multiple states, sometimes the bonus offers vary state by state. Make sure you’re playing on the correct platform for whatever state you’re in, and check out the Promotions page to see what bonuses you qualify for.
You can play casino games in:
If you’re also interested in sports betting, then check out where sports betting is legal in the US.
Just like all other aspects of online casinos, casino bonuses have evolved over the last 20 years or more in response to factors like technology, the law, and the general increase in both players and casinos.
As a rule of thumb, the trend has been towards a wider variety of bonuses with more clearly defined terms and conditions attached.
In the US, the removal of PASPA by the Supreme Court in 2018 – effectively removing the federal ban on sports betting and online gambling and allowing each state to determine its own laws – was a game changer. Before that, the only option to gamble online in most of the US was at offshore casinos, which weren’t subject to US laws or regulations.
For bonuses, this meant a lot more uncertainty. These sites did offer casino bonuses, but since they are effectively unregulated there was nothing stopping them from offering unfair or unrealistic terms – or simply reneging on them after you win.
With legal and regulated sports betting, part of the remit of the various state Gaming Control Boards is to protect players from unfair or misleading bonuses and to ensure that any promotions offered by an online casino comply with the laws in the state.
If we were betting fans (and, let’s face it, we are) our prediction would be that the future of casino bonuses in the US will keep trending towards more valuable offers, along with more transparency. This is for two important reasons:
As you can probably tell, we’re excited to see where casino bonuses go from here. The world of online gambling is truly dynamic and has proved uniquely capable of evolving to meet the desires of gambling fans around the world.
In the meantime, there are already plenty of excellent casino bonuses up for grabs right now in the US. Click the links above on your favorite one to get started today.
It all depends on the player. Some players prefer to receive a big boost when they make their first deposit, while others would rather receive a smaller amount of bonus cash without having to deposit anything themselves. You need to match up your playing style with the right bonus to find the best one for you.
Wagering requirements are the number of times you need to gamble with some bonus money before you can withdraw your winnings. For example, if you receive a $100 bonus with wagering requirements of 20x, you would need to place bets worth $2,000 before you could withdraw any winnings.
It depends on the casino. Check your bonus terms and conditions to see if there is a maximum cashout attached to the offer.
It varies depending on the casino, but deposit bonuses often start with just a $10 or $20 minimum to claim your bonus. There are also no deposit bonuses, which you can claim without depositing any money up front.
You can usually play most games at the casino using your bonus, with the occasional exception of live dealer games. The bonus terms and conditions will clearly state if any games are exempt.
It depends on the casino and the type of bonus. You may have 24 hours, a week or even up to 30 days to use your bonus or clear the wagering requirements.
Yes, providing you fulfill the wagering requirements and any other terms and conditions.
There’s no definitive answer to this, but high rollers are generally more likely to prefer bonuses with large limits that let them claim a lot of bonus cash - like a $1,000 match bonus for example.
Again, there’s no definitive answer to this, but normally low rollers are more satisfied with smaller bankrolls and not spending a lot of their own money - which makes no deposit bonuses a good fit for them.
You should read the terms and conditions very carefully, especially the wagering requirements, and also think about whether the specific bonus makes sense with your playing habits.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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