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Casino Sign Up Bonuses

If you are new to the concept of Internet casinos, you probably are baffled by the bonus offers plastered all over each casino's homepage. Live casinos do not offer anything like this - how can an online casino possibly afford to give out thousands of dollars in free cash?

Well, the answer is that the money really is not free, and we're going to explain how everything works on this page. Read on for the full explanation...

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How Casino Bonuses Work

The majority of online casinos offer a bonus for first time depositors. This bonus is designed to entice players to deposit for the first time, in the hope that they will continue playing and generating business for the casino. First time bonuses are usually a percentage match, with a cap on the total size of the bonus.

For example, the first deposit bonus at Win Palace Casino is a 300% match up to $3000. For every dollar you deposit (up to $1000), you will receive another dollar in bonus money. Almost every bonus is set up with a percentage and a maximum, but they work in different ways...

Casino CashTypes of Casino Bonuses

There are a few different ways that the casinos actually award the bonuses to players:

Play Only Bonus

The most common type of bonus is the play only bonus. In this case, your bonus money is kept in a separate account and can only be used to wager - you can never withdraw any bonus money. Every time you make a bet, the money comes out of your bonus balance.

If you win, the original bet returns to your bonus balance, and the winnings go to your real balance. These winnings are yours to withdraw once you have satisfied the requirements, but you can never withdraw money from your bonus balance.

The requirements are always the same - you have to wager a certain amount of money before withdrawing. Typical clearing requirements force you to wager between 15-50x the sum of your deposit and bonus amounts before withdrawing. If you choose to withdraw before that, you will forfeit the bonus as well as winnings resulting from wagering the bonus.

Bovada Casino offers an excellent play only bonus. The bonus is an unlimited 10% match, and the requirements are that you have to wager 15x your deposit and bonus.

Withdrawable Bonus

The second (and much rarer) type of bonus is the withdrawable bonus. In this case, as soon as you deposit, the bonus money shows up in your account. So, if you deposited $500 and the casino offered a 100% up to $500 bonus, you would instantly have $1,000 in your account. The catch is that you have to "clear" the bonus before you can withdraw the bonus money. You can always withdraw your deposit - just the bonus has to clear.

Most casinos require you to wager twenty to fifty times the deposit and bonus total before you can withdraw the bonus money. So, if you deposited $500 and received $500 in bonus money, you would have to make between $20,000 and $50,000 in wagers before withdrawing the bonus money.

That sounds like a lot, and it usually is. Even though winning and losing wagers count, it still takes a lot of play to add up to that much money.

Free Play Bonus

Another common type of bonus is the free play bonus. This bonus is where casinos give you free money in your account immediately at sign up, even if you don't make a deposit. The trick here is that you have to wager the money fifty or more times before you can withdraw, and some casinos won't let you withdraw at all unless you deposit later.

These bonuses are usually between $5 and $25, and casinos can afford to offer them because 99% of players lose the money while trying to reach the wagering requirement.

Reload Bonus

Reload bonuses are a type of play only bonus. They are exactly the same, except that you can redeem these bonuses on any deposit, not just your first deposit at the casino. Once you make an initial deposit you will receive monthly if not weekly reload bonus offers, as the casino wants you to continue depositing and playing.

Other Factors

A few other things to keep in mind regarding casino bonuses:

  • Most bonuses have a time requirement. If you do not clear them within two to four months, they will expire and you will lose the bonus money. Make sure to check out the time requirements before getting started.
  • Some casinos only allow certain games to qualify for the clearing requirements. For example, most casinos do not allow video poker play to count towards the clearing requirements, because video poker has such a low house edge.
  • Most casinos offer VIP programs to further reward their loyal players.

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