Bonuses are a great form of marketing for online casinos, and most offer sign-up bonuses for new players making their first deposit. So many respected online casinos offer sign-up bonuses, there’s really no reason to choose a casino online that doesn’t offer one. Gambling sites justify offering these bonuses in hopes that you’ll return to their site again and again.
With new player bonuses, the casinos are essentially giving away money in return for your agreeing to wager a specified minimum amount. You may be required to wager some multiple of your initial deposit or of the bonus credited to your account before you can collect on it. The house edge of the games you’re allowed to play to satisfy your bonus wagering requirements will help determine how likely you are to be able to walk away with any of your bonus money.
With some web casinos, you may be restricted from choosing low-edge games or from hedging bets (like by betting on both black and red on roulette) in order to fulfill your bonus betting requirement. It’s very important that you read up on the particular casino’s requirements for claiming your bonus, because they may differ quite a bit from one casino to another.
Some internet casinos offer what are called “sticky” bonuses. These bonuses become part of your balance, but they can’t be cashed out separately. The sticky bonuses “stick” to your account until it’s lost. Clearly, these are not as lucrative to you as plain and simple bonuses.
Comp points, common at bricks-and-mortar casinos are also available at some online gambling sites. These comp points can be exchanged for prizes, cash, or other types of comps. The amount given per bet depends on which game you have selected. For example, the casino may offer you three comp points for every $10 you wager on slots, and one comp point for every $10 you bet on blackjack (because the house edge is far lower on blackjack than it is on slots). Every 100 comp points may be worth a dollar. In this case, it really means that the casino is returning 0.3% of your slot wagers but only 0.1% of your blackjack wagers.
Theoretically, it may be possible to turn a profit with some bonus structures. Consider that with blackjack, the house edge is about 0.5%. If you were to bet $1,000 with a house edge of 0.5%, you would expect to lose $5. If you received a sign-up bonus of $100, and subtract your expected loss of $5, you could expect to gain $100-$5 = $95. But you have to check through the site’s bonus terms and conditions to see if this is even allowed.
Casinos have robust IP tracking software that they use to prevent the same player from signing up multiple times under multiple names to claim more than one bonus, so this is something you definitely don’t want to try, as it will get you kicked out of most online casinos. On the other side of the equation, there are casinos that will delay paying withdrawals in the hopes that a player will continue gambling with the money in the account and lose it so that they don’t have to pay. But you can do a lot to avoid signing up with a rogue casino by choosing one with a good reputation and that submits regularly to auditing of payout percentages.