A Complete Guide To The Best Casino Bonuses

16 min read

3 Jul 2024


Everyone loves a bonus, right? Just the word ‘bonus’ suggests something extra, something better, and ultimately something beneficial.

Casinos offer bonuses in order to entice customers to play. They can be given out to attract new customers, to reignite and engage existing customers, and to reward loyal players.

While all casino bonuses offer something extra, some of them are more valuable and beneficial than others. So, it pays to know which is which.

In this complete guide to the best casino bonuses, we’ll take you through all of the bonuses that are offered and show you not only how to find the best ones, but how to get the most value out of them too.

Types Of Casino Bonuses

Bonuses come in all shapes and forms, and casinos are always coming up with new and creative ways to entice players in. We’ll go through some of the most common casino bonuses below.

Free Spins Bonus

Casino bonuses don’t come much simpler than free spins. Usually whenever you play slots in a casino, you need to place a stake before you play. Then every time you press spin it costs you the value of the stake. For example, 20p per spin or £1 per spin.

With free spins, the casino sets the stake, which is often at a minimal 10p, and they will gift you a set number of spins at that stake. This, in my experience, can be anything from 1 free spin to 200 free spins.

Often the game that you play the free spins on is also set by the casino. Sometimes they will give you a small selection of games to choose from and other times it’s any game in the library.

From a player's perspective, the more spins the better as this gives you a bigger chance of triggering a feature and therefore making money.

The great news about free spins is that in a lot of cases, what you win off the free spins, you get to keep. So it is a risk-free casino bonus that costs you nothing but has the potential to bag you some good profit.

There are other factors to look out for with free spins, though. Often they have wagering requirements, and frequently they come as part of a bet and get promotion, which we’ll go into later.

Golden Chips Bonus

Golden Chips are basically the equivalent of free spins, but for table games instead of slots.

Rather than staking your own money on say, blackjack or roulette, casinos award golden chips that you play with instead.

The value of the golden chips can vary, usually between 10p and £1, and the number of chips you get can differ depending on the specific bonus. You might get offered 5 x 10p chips (50p value) or 5 x 50p chips (£2.50 in value) or 5 x £1 chips (£5 value) as an example.

The difference between playing with your money and playing with golden chips is that you don’t get the value of the chip back with your winnings. If you placed a £1 real money bet on ‘red’ in roulette and it won, you would receive £2 back which is made up of your £1 stake and £1 win.

If you placed the same bet with a £1 golden chip, you would only receive the £1 win back, not the £1 stake.

Usually what you win from Golden Chips you get to keep, but sometimes wagering requirements are in place. There are strategies to help improve your chances of making a profit with golden chips. I’ll dig a little deeper into that shortly.

Cash Bonus

Casinos sometimes give away ‘cash’ in the form of a casino bonus, but with specific requirements.

Casino cash is often offered as part of a matched deposit bonus or a ‘bet and get’ promotion.

An example of this would be ‘Wager £10 and get £20 bonus’ or ‘Deposit and Wager £100 and get £100 bonus’.

Now, let’s be honest, no casino is going to offer free ‘no strings’ cash. Life just isn’t that kind!

The plus side of casino cash over free spins or golden chips is that usually you can use that bonus cash as you choose. You aren’t restricted to particular games or specific stakes. You have free reign to play whatever games you want at whatever bet level you choose.

The downside is that the casino is not going to let you withdraw that cash until you have played it through a significant amount of times in the casino - i.e. wagering. Nevertheless, it is possible to make some nice profits from casino bonus cash if you play it strategically.

Refund Bonus

Casinos can sometimes offer to refund all or part of your losses with specific refund bonuses. This can come as part of a sign-up offer or a reload bonus and acts as a kind of safety net for casino players, so that some of your losses can be recouped.

In many cases a refund bonus comes with a high-risk offer which requires a high value casino spend. For example, ‘wager £100 in the casino when you sign up and receive a 50% refund on losses.’

Free Games

Not to be confused with free spins, casino free games are the daily bonuses that are offered in order to bring customers into the casino. They are usually available once a day and involve some kind of wheel spin, mystery box, prize grabber or reveal feature.

Some casinos offer this as part of a bet and get, ‘spend £10 in the casino and choose a box to win a mystery prize’ type bonus. But for many, it is completely free every day and you can win anything from free spins, golden chips, a free bet, free scratch card or a cash prize.

The aim of these daily casino bonuses is to get you through the door, so to speak, in the hope that once you have played the daily game you’ll stick around and play more. However, you can make some good profits from just completing the daily free game without spending any money.

Cross-Link Bonuses

While there are casinos that deal uniquely with casino games and nothing else, there are a huge variety of casinos that also offer sports betting, poker, bingo etc too.

For those casinos, you may see offers to entice you to try out other areas of the casino with cross-link bonuses.

An example can be ‘wager £10 in the casino and receive 30 bingo tickets’ or ‘wager £5 and receive a £2 free sports bet’ bonus.

Many modern casinos offer a live game-show type experience, where you can interact with the host and place bets on a game. Those that do, frequently offer free golden chips to encourage you to join the game.

Slot Tournaments

Our last main casino bonus is slot tournaments. This involves having a set amount of spins to make as much money as possible from slot games and they can be both free and paid for.

In a free slot tournament, you will simply open up the specific game, receive your free spins and you will play them, hoping to trigger some nice wins along the way.

It’s important to know that in a free slots tournament, you don’t win any money from the spins. The aim of the game is to get the highest return, so whatever you win is actually your score in the tournament, not cash winnings.

However, if you top the leaderboard then you will receive a prize (usually free spins or cash prize). Free slot casino tournaments are risk-free as you are not staking any of your own money but can win a prize.

Paid-for casino slot tournaments require you to stake your own money on a slot over a set amount of spins. The good news is if you win money while playing you get to keep it, the bad news is, if you lose money then it’s from your own bankroll. Again, if you top the leaderboard, you will receive a prize.

When Are Casino Bonuses Offered?

So, now we’ve looked at what casino bonuses you can be offered, let’s have a look at when you get offered them.

Welcome Casino Bonuses

Let’s start at the beginning. Almost every casino will have some kind of welcome or sign-up offer for new customers.

There is so much choice on the market, that casinos have to find a way to stand out so that you’ll choose them over the competition.

Think of it like a row of shops all selling the same trainers. You’d give your business to the shop offering you two pairs for the price of one, with some free socks thrown in, over the one offering you a 10% discount. Or at least you should do anyway!

Casinos offer sign up bonuses to bring you through their doors. They are meant to be big and flashy to get your attention. And, usually. sign-up bonuses offer excellent value.

To obtain the free welcome offer, players usually have to perform some form of action. This can be just signing up to the casino, making a first deposit or wagering a specific amount on casino games.

The idea is that the player will join to receive the initial welcome offer and then continue to play at that casino, making further deposits and playing more frequently.

Welcome offers are usually at least one or a combination of the above-mentioned casino bonus types. Examples include:

Betfred Live Casino - Wager £20 and get £5 Golden Chips

Bally Casino - Wager £10 get 30 free spins

Coral - Wager £10 get £30 bonus

Reload Casino Bonuses

These are casino bonuses offered to existing customers to reignite and reinforce engagement with the casino.

These can be daily offers, weekly offers or just randomly awarded bonuses whenever the casino fancies it.

Most reload casino bonuses follow the ‘bet and get’ model where you make a deposit or spend a specific amount in the casino to receive a bonus in return.

Examples include:

William Hill - Wager £50 and get 100 free spins

Paddy Power - Wager £10 on Live Game Shows to get a £5 live casino bonus

LiveScore Bet - Play 5 spins on live roulette and get a £1 casino bonus

Casinos Rewards Clubs

Once casinos have your custom, not only do they want to keep it, but they want to encourage you to play as much as possible too. That’s where rewards or loyalty clubs come into play.

Some casinos offer a tier programme where you can climb the different levels depending on how frequently you play in the casino and how much you spend.

Whereas many casinos offer rewards type casino bonuses on a weekly basis. This can be along the lines of ‘wager £20 in the casino this week to receive 10 free spins next week’. Sometimes, players are offered a choice of rewards between free bets, golden chips or free spins once they meet the required spend.

Ongoing Casino Bonuses

Casinos love to encourage frequent play, so ongoing bonuses are offered to keep players coming back for more.

Daily or weekly bonuses are a great tool that casinos use to bring customers back regularly, and they can also be great value for players too.

Examples include:

Betfred - Spend £10 daily in the casino and receive between 10 - 100 free spins the following day

Foxy Bingo - Get 20 free spins every day when you wager £10 with Foxy Perks

DAZN - Wager £10 by Wednesday each week to get 10 free spins the following Thursday.

Seasonal Or Game Promotions

Sometimes casinos like to offer bonuses that are linked to world events, major sporting tournaments or seasons.

At the time of writing, the UEFA European Championships are taking place so there are a lot of football-related casino bonuses available. The same happens with horse-racing themed slots around the Grand National or festive-themed slots around Christmas.

Examples include:

Boylesports - Daily Penalty Shoot Out Game to win free spins or free bets

Unibet - Weekly free Goal! Scratchcard available

What Is Casino Bonus Wagering?

Wagering is something that every casino player should be aware of as it features in a lot of casino bonuses. Wagering basically means playing through a specific amount of money within the casino before you can withdraw it.

Let’s use an example of a recent casino sign up offer from Ladbrokes which is ‘Wager £10 and get a £30 Bonus’. This comes with a 40x wagering requirement.

Ladbrokes aren’t going to give you £30 for free, without giving themselves a little bit of insurance. Otherwise, you could wager your £10, then immediately withdraw the £30, making yourself a £20 profit and leaving Ladbrokes at a loss. If everyone did that, they’d be out of business pretty fast!

So, casinos often put a wagering requirement on bonuses, and this is standard practice in the industry.

The 40x wagering requirement means that any winnings you receive from your £30 bonus funds must be played through in the casino 40 times.

Let’s say you win £20 from your £30 bonus cash. This would mean that you would have to play through £800 (£20 x 40) in the casino before you can withdraw any money. That might sound a bit daunting especially if you’re a newcomer to casinos, but it’s actually more doable than you might think.

Plus, you always have to remember that a) the bonus funds were free anyway and b) there are strategic ways to play the bonus to maximise any profits. You just have to know how.

Can You Make Profit From Casino Bonuses?

The short answer is yes, absolutely. Although many casino bonuses are ultimately offered to get you to spend money in the casino, it is 100% possible for you to make a profit from them and take more money out than you put in.

The whole appeal of casinos is that they can be unpredictable. You never know what could happen on the next spin or the next deal, so anyone can turn a casino bonus into profit with some luck.

However, there are ways to improve your chances, and in some ways guarantee, making casino bonuses profitable.

Matched Betting companies such as Outplayed.com can specifically show you how to get the best possible return on casino bonuses.

By using simple mathematics and some strategy, many casino bonuses can be turned into what is called Positive EV, which is positive expected value.

This means that casino bonuses can be weighted in favour of the player to make a profit. And in some cases, guarantee one.

Outplayed can show you not only where to find casino bonuses, but they also give step-by-step guides on how to play casino bonuses to get the best outcome.

This can include guiding you on how much to deposit, what games to wager on, when to withdraw funds and what minimum potential value each bonus has.

What Are The Best Casino Bonuses?

Casino bonuses can be divided into four categories:

  • Risk-Free
  • Low-Risk
  • Medium-Risk
  • High-Risk

Risk-Free Bonuses

For many, risk-free casino bonuses are the best casino bonuses as they entail no risk to your own money, but can give potential profits. I’ve been there myself, winning £80 plus on five free spins I received from a casino. And it felt amazing, like completely free money.

It is perfectly reasonable to only stick to risk-free casino bonuses and make some small and steady profits. These are usually free spins, free golden chips, free daily games and free slot tournaments.

However, risk-free casino bonuses are limited both in number and profitable returns. Although it is possible to hit some high value wins, the majority will return minimal wins and aren’t always as time-efficient as you’d like.

Low-Risk and Medium-Risk Casino Bonuses

If you are willing to take some more calculated risks, then the returns can be much higher. As in life!

Many casino players prefer low and medium risk offers as they provide a good balance between minimising losses and maximising profits.

These usually include the bet-and-get type bonuses, where you may have to stake £10 of your own money in order to get 20 free spins or even wager £100 to get 200 free spins.

In that scenario, the most you can lose is £10 or £100, but often you can make that back and more over the 20 or 200 free spins. Plus, if you use the Outplayed guide, you will know exactly what games to play to turn the bonus into a Positive EV bonus.

High-Risk Casino Bonuses

High-risk casino bonuses are considered the best casino bonuses by more experienced casino players who trust in the Positive EV process. An example of a high-risk casino bonus is a 100% matched deposit with 50x wagering where your own deposit must be spent before the bonus money is applied.

The returns can be exceptionally good on high-risk casino offers, but it can also result in some considerable losses along the way too. Players who take on these high-risk offers have the budget to cope with these fluctuations.

Trusting the Positive EV system means that although you might experience losses along the way, ultimately, if you keep following the process, the overall outcome will result in a profit. You just have to have the nerve, and budget, to do them.

Why You Should Do Casino Bonuses

Casino bonuses come in so many different variations and most importantly, there are hundreds of them.

It is possible to make some really good profits from casino bonuses, plus you can choose what level of risk you’d like to take, to suit your individual circumstances.

For anyone wary of starting casino bonuses, you can stick to completely risk-free offers. Playing daily free games, free slot tournaments and taking any other free casino bonus when offered can make you a steady profit, even if it's just a few pennies or pounds here and there.

If and when you feel like you want to branch out into offers that carry a little risk, then you can do so at your own pace. Plus, if you use Outplayed, you will get all the guidance you need to get the most value out of each one.

Keeping Casino Play Fun

Casino play can be exhilarating, especially if you’ve been given a casino bonus that offers you lots of extra value. It can be easy to get carried away spending more money than you’d like chasing wins, or losing hours of time while playing.

It is essential that you play responsibly and keep the focus on fun when playing in a casino. Be conscious of how much time you’ve spent playing, set a budget and stick to it so you don’t overspend.

If you feel, at any point, that casino play is having a negative impact on your life or that it is out of control in any way, then there are lots of ways to get help. Every casino website features a responsible gambling section where you can get guidance and support. Alternatively, you can contact GamStop for assistance.

Updated: 4 Jul 2024

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The Author

Lynsey has been writing in the iGaming and sports betting industry for almost a decade. She has three years of experience in Matched Betting and enjoys sharing her expertise and knowledge to help others.

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