Very few of us take the time to read the “terms and conditions” when we register for Internet sites or sign up for offers we received in our e-mail. But in the case of online casinos, it pays to be diligent about wading through the fine print. This is where you’ll find out how the casino’s bonuses are delivered, what you have to do to claim your online casino bonuses, which games do and do not qualify in the bonus structure, and how and when winnings are paid.
Most online casinos offer bonuses for signing up, and many have frequent player bonuses or refer-a-friend bonuses. Usually, the bonus will be a certain percentage of your initial deposit, up to a dollar limit; for example, an online casino might offer a 25-percent bonus up to $100, which means you’ll get $25 if you deposit $100, and $100 if you deposit $400, but you’ll never get more than $100 in bonus money.
Always check out the terms for qualifying for a bonus. Many casinos make the bonus automatic as soon as you sign up, but some require you to claim your bonus within a certain period. If you don’t claim your bonus within the prescribed time, you lose it. The terms and conditions will tell you what you have to do to claim your bonus.
Virtually all bonuses require a play-through, which varies from site to site. This is the casino’s way of making sure that players don’t sign up,
claim the casino bonus, and leave without wagering. The play-through is usually expressed as a multiple of your deposit and online casino bonus, like this: 10 * (deposit + bonus). If you deposit $100 and receive a $25 bonus,
you can’t withdraw any winnings until you’ve played 10 x ($100 + $25), or $1,250. That sounds like a lot, but it’s the equivalent of 250 hands of blackjack at $5 a hand, and it doesn’t take long for most players to meet the play-through requirements.
Remember that not all casino games are created equal when it comes to bonuses. Most online casinos exempt certain games from the bonus structure; the most common exemptions are roulette, craps, and baccarat. Some online casinos give only partial credit for certain games. One site, for example, gives you only one-third bonus credit for video poker, blackjack, and craps, which means you have to play $15 at one of these games to get a $5 credit on your play-through requirement. A few online casinos have no restrictions on games that count toward your play-through, but those are rare.
Some companies that operate several online casinos limit your eligibility to one bonus for that company’s entire group of gambling sites.
This should be explained in the terms and conditions section. Also, some sites that exempt games from the bonus structure may not even let you play those exempted games until you’ve met the play-through requirements. Again, the terms and conditions section on the site should spell out these restrictions.