Competition for customers amongst the best casinos online is fierce to say the least. The Internet has given the consumer a powerful advantage of convenience and choice in many areas, with casino gaming being an excellent example. Before the rise of online casinos, getting some proper slot entertainment meant a trip to a local casino (if you even had one) or an expensive trip to Vegas. Now, a quick boot of your PC, tablet or phone and you can near-instantly access more quality slots than you can shake a very large stick at.

That competition for players has also driven fierce competition to offer enticing bonuses that not only seduce them into signing up as new customers, but also to keep them coming back to play. We think this is what is called a ‘win-win’ situation if you love online casino games!

Online casino bonuses can take several different shapes but on this page we aim to outline the main categories you are likely to encounter at the best casinos, and which we monitor to report the best available deals elsewhere on

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Welcome Bonuses

These are undoubtedly the most prominently advertised casino bonus you’ll see online, and are deployed to give new players a bundle of bonus money and, now more commonly, a stash of bonus free spins too. The free spins element is relatively self-explanatory but the mechanism of the free bonus money – often described as a ‘match bonus’ – needs a little more exploration.

All match bonuses operate by ‘matching’ a player’s deposit with free bonus money up to a certain limit. The match is usually described in percentage terms so – for example – a Welcome Bonus might offer a ‘100% Match of first deposits, up to £500’. That means a deposit of £20 would attract £20, £100 a bonus of £100 but a deposit of more than £500 would max out at £500 in bonus money. Naturally there are some terms and conditions applied to using bonus money, but these are generally reasonable and tend to include the following:

  • Wagering Requirements – Also called ‘playthough’ at some casinos, this is simply a requirement that all bonus money has to be wagered through the issuing casino’s games a prescribed number of times before the player is free to cash it out. A common term is between thirty and fifty times the bonus paid.
  • Game Contribution – Not all a casino’s games will contribute the same percentage of each wager played through them towards the wagering requirement. For instance table games usually contribute somewhere between 10% and 20%, but slots players usually get the better deal since, bar the odd exemption, they contribute 100% of their wagers.

Other useful things to be aware of with any free money bonus are:

  • Bonus Clearing Techniques – If you’re intent on ‘clearing’ as much bonus money as possible (i.e. converting it into cash you can withdraw) then take time to read your chosen casino’s terms and conditions carefully. Make sure you understand the wagering requirement, and what it means in real terms. Also take care to spend your bonus money only on the slots you know contribute 100% to the wagering requirement. We can’t guarantee every casino’s slot will have that game contribution, and you’ll be gutted if you pick the one game that contributes a big fat zero.
  • Cashable vs. Non Cashable Bonuses – It might sound a little harsh but some free casino bonus money will never be free to cash out! Before you shout ‘swizz’ and denounce any such bonus as the work of Satan, this does need a little more explanation. A ‘non-cashable’ bonus is still free money to play more games with, but it cannot be converted into cashable funds even if it is played through to meet the casino’s advertised wagering requirement. However, any winnings it generates are treated as cashable bonus money that can be liberated as your own money if it successfully meets the wagering requirement after future play.

Other Common Casino Bonus Promotions

  • Mobile Bonuses – The huge popularity of accessing online casinos with mobile devices has encouraged a number of the best online casinos to directly target those players with bespoke mobile bonuses. These are often match bonuses much like the Welcome Bonus described above, but some offers include a free spins bonus to promote a specific mobile slot too.
  • No Deposit Bonuses – For good reason these are very popular with new players. As their name implies, these are bundles of cash dropped into your account without needing to deposit a penny. The free money bonus paid is not a sum that will blow your mind – we’re talking a tenner or so here – but it’s still a little extra that could translate into more bonus money through triggering lucky wins as with the free spins bonus.
  • Mobile Free Spins – Mentioned in passing above, the growth in mobile slot gaming has spawned the appearance of specific ‘mobile free spins bonus’ offers to watch out for. These are rarer beasts at the time of writing, but we have little doubt that these incentives will become more regularly seen as more and more online slots are migrated to mobile casino platforms.
  • Exclusive Bonuses – The exclusive bonus is a VIP treat we can offer our very own readers. Through the affiliate marketing links we have forged with the casinos we rate highly enough to recommend, we have been able to score exclusive free spin bonuses that aren’t available if you were to simply surf direct to that casino.
  • Software Bonuses – Several prominent online slot developers now offer players free slot bonuses connected to new releases or groups of popular slots. These are integrated into a host online casino’s promotions so do not necessarily appear as distinct ‘software bonuses’ in a casino’s marketing blurb, however we mention them here for the sake of completeness.
  • Payment Method Bonuses – These promotions can sometimes be harder to spot when investigating the promotions washing around at the best online casinos, but they are well worth taking note of. Basically, certain digital payment services (for example NETeller and Skrill) have struck deals with operators to promote their use as a preferred payment to manage players’ accounts. The benefit of this is that you may find that all deposits using a specified service attract a match bonus in the region of 10%. Whilst the match percentage isn’t as generous as those you’ll find on your deposits for a Welcome Bonus, it’s still a welcome little extra to fund your fun, which can also generate further free bonus money if it turns spins into wins.


The universe of the casino bonus seems to continue expanding as online casinos find ever more enticing ways to win us over, which does make this a great time to enjoy online gaming. The wide array of free money and free spins bonus offers we encounter gives players a great opportunity to stretch their budgets so much further at the best online casinos, and if luck plays your way can even translate into a nice little earner you can spend outside the realm of spinning reels.

We hope you’ve found our bonus primer a handy overview of these popular promotions and be assured that will keep its ear to the ground to make sure we can keep you updated of the best bonus deals our recommended casinos can offer.