How do ‘Sign Up Bonus’ Promotions work?

One of the most common marketing hooks of any online casino is the ‘sign up bonus,’ a promise of free cash to any players who register an account and make a deposit. In most cases, these casinos will promise to ‘match’ your initial deposit with a bonus, so if your initial deposit is $50, the casino will supply another $50 to your casino bankroll. You can then use this money to actually bet in different games throughout the casino.

The appeal of these start-up bonuses isn’t hard to understand. After all, who would say no to what is essentially free money? And indeed, bonuses can be hugely helpful in financing your early play with a new online casino and giving you a chance to learn the ropes.

What many players fail to realise about bonus promotions is that they aren’t really ‘free money.’ On the contrary, they come with a lot of guidelines, restrictions and other strings attached that dictate how players can use the bonus money or when that money can be cashed out. For instance, some casinos will limit the games where your bonus money is valid.

Others put restrictions on bonuses that require players to ‘play through’ them a certain number of times, or wager a certain amount before the money can be withdrawn. A ‘play through’ restriction might require you to win 10 times the bonus amount before it becomes actual money that can be cashed in. In other words, if your bonus was $50, you will have to win $500 in bets with that money before you can withdraw it. Wager requirements are similar, forcing you to bet a certain amount of cash before your bonus truly becomes your money.

If you are an accomplished gambler, bonuses can be a wonderful thing, giving you seed cash that you can then take and turn into much more money. For beginners though, bonuses should be recognised as what they are: marketing hooks. You might win or wager enough to get your hands on a bonus, but then again, you might not. Quite simply, there are no guarantees.