All major casinos offer bonuses, free money you can gamble with and even withdraw to your bank account or e-currency processor after you meet certain conditions. For decades, brick and mortar casinos have been throwing in free drinks and meals to keep gamblers playing and returning to their facilities, and online casinos had to come up with some offers to match this.
So what are casino online bonuses? This article will explain the main types of rewards in the gambling industry and outline a few tips to help you choose the best online casino bonuses.
Each casino chooses their own bonus structure, but all of them fall under three main categories. Let’s go through them and explain what they are about.
1. The traditional bonus
The traditional bonus is an amount you get upon signing up and you are allowed to cash it out after performing certain actions. For example, you could be offered a free $100, but you have to play at least ten $10/$20 Hold’em hands. Now let’s do some simple math: to see the flop, you have to pay $200 in ten hands, assuming there are no pre-flop raises. You have to win some of those hands to keep your balance above zero. So don’t treat is as free money you can immediately cash out and spend on your Saturday night clubbing spree, you need to put in some skills to keep it.
2. The “sticky” bonus
To put it simple, the sticky bonus is virtual money credited to your account that you can never cash out, but you can use it for wagering on real money tables. Should you decide to withdraw all your winnings and your initial deposit from the account, the bonus goes away.
3. The “semi-sticky” bonus
This one is a combination of the traditional and the sticky bonus types. You can withdraw all your earnings and initial deposit from your account, and the bonus stays there until you lose it. This is one of the most widely used reward structures nowadays, as the casino wants their players to stay with them and rely on the psychological fact that people will deposit again after this bonus is wagered away.
A widely common scam in the past was people registering for a casino offering traditional bonus scheme, playing a few games where the house had a low win/loss ratio, then close out the account and cash in whatever was left from the bonus. For example, the casino’s WLR (win/loss ratio) for Blackjack is around 1.005, which means that the house earns roughly 0.5% of the whole amount wagered. So, if the traditional bonus offered was $100 and the house asked for $1,000 in wagers before cashing it out, a professional player could simply sign up, make a minimum deposit, play as many hands necessary to get to the $1,000, lose the 0.5% (which is only $7.5) and cash out the remaining $92.5. Easy money for a few hands of blackjack, isn’t it?
Nowadays, casinos have changed their requirements, mainly by disregarding wagers at the games where the house had a WLR close to 1 (such as betting on red or black in Roulette). Some go to even longer extents, by only counting chips spent on video poker or slots.