Moving beyond expected value, there are several other factors we can take into consideration when ranking the best online casino bonuses.
Among those are other terms and conditions such as whether the bonus is withdrawable or is only issued as site credit, the types of games that can be played to clear the bonus, the match rate percentage and how long players have to clear the bonus.
Online casinos are required by law to advertise truthfully, but marketing never tells the whole story. Understanding expected value and being aware of the terms and conditions attached to every offer goes a long way in ranking the best bonuses.
Types of Casino Bonuses
The legal US online gambling industry is always innovating, but there are a few standby types of casino bonuses that show up time and again.
Deposit Welcome Bonuses
The new customer deposit bonus is the first offer most gamblers are greeted with upon visiting the website of any licensed online casino in the United States.
Welcome bonuses are a simple proposal: the casino promises to boost the new customer’s bankroll in return for that customer signing up for an account and making a real money deposit.
Deposit bonuses are meant to encourage customers to sign up and are often issued as a percentage match rate to incentivize making a larger first deposit.
For example, a 100% deposit bonus matches the player’s first deposit dollar for dollar. If the new player deposits $100, the casino adds $100 in bonus funds. Similarly, a 200% bonus would give that player an extra $200 on top of a $100 deposit.
No-Deposit Casino Bonuses
The no-deposit casino bonus is exactly what the name implies. New customers need only sign up for an account and the casino in turn gives the player a bonus that can be used to play real money games with no deposit necessary.
No-deposit bonuses are generally a good deal, but they are not free money. Nearly all no-deposit bonuses come with one or more of the following caveats:
- The bonus funds are usually issued as site credit and cannot be withdrawn. Any winnings may be withdrawn, but the bonus itself is rarely withdrawable.
- A deposit is usually required in order to withdraw any winnings.
- The bonus and any winnings obtained by wagering the bonus may be subject to a rollover. Usually, the rollover on no-deposit bonuses is nominal – in the range of 1x to 5x.
Reload bonuses are nearly identical to welcome bonuses but are offered to existing players as an incentive to make a deposit. Casinos sometimes offer blanket reload bonuses to everyone and sometimes send e-mails to players who haven’t been active for some time with custom offers.
Like new customer offers, reload bonuses usually come with wagering requirements before a withdrawal is permitted. Reload bonuses tend to be a bit smaller and come with a lower match rate, but that is not a hard and fast rule.
Free Spins Bonuses
Free spins on certain slots are offered fairly frequently by many licensed US casino sites. These are usually short-term promos offered to new and existing customers alike given as an incentive to make a deposit or play a certain game.
For example, one casino might offer 10 free spins on a certain slot to all customers who make a deposit of at least $10 within the next five days. Another casino might offer all players one free spin of the $1,000,000 slot machine every day upon logging in for a small but risk-free chance at a massive payout.