The Pros and Cons of Claiming a Casino Bonus

It's no secret that chasing an attractive bonus offer is one of the main motivations for players to open an account at a new online casino. These days, whether it's free spins, deposit matches, or the highly-coveted no deposit bonus offers, online casinos are doing their best to make grander offers to stand out from the competition. For many players, taking advantage and claiming a promo offers seems like a no brainer. Starting off at a new sites with bonus funds can never be a bad thing right? In reality, choosing to claim an online casino bonus comes with pros and cons. In this article, we'll take a look at why that is, and how you can make better decisions on which bonuses are worth claiming.

Casino Bonus Pros

Pros of Claiming a Casino Bonus

Let's start off with the positives--here are five of the main pros when you claim a casino bonus.

More Funds To Play With

The first pro of claiming a promo is also the most obvious one. All promotions ultimately have the same end result, whether it's a deposit match, no deposit, or free spins bonus: you end up with free extra playable funds. Depending on the size of the bonus, it's easy to see how alluring this can be for new players! Now, while the funds are yours to play around with, there is always a catch--but we'll talk about that more later.

Fast Track to VIP Rewards

One indirect effect of claiming a promo is that it often helps speed up your progression towards online casino VIP rewards. Different sites have different methods of determining VIP eligibility, but you usually rack up rewards proportionally with how much you wager on their platform. With more bonus funds and free spins, you're also more likely to hit those high-tier VIP rewards much sooner than you would otherwise.

Free Spins and Chances to Try New Games

We've already discussed free spins as one of the possible rewards that online sites offer. Free spin promotions are highly-coveted because the only restrictions on them are usually time-based only ("use within a certain time"). Apart from allowing players to reap the direct rewards from these free spins, they also offer the opportunity to try out a new slots game that you otherwise might not have picked. This is a completely risk-free way to expand your casino game repertoire!

No Deposit Bonuses and Risk-Free Entry To Online Casinos

No deposit bonuses are usually the rarest among the types of casino promotions, but they are out there! Essentially, a free casino offer allows you to earn extra funds without having to put any of your own money into your account. This is the closest you can get to having a risk-free entry into a casino. If you're eyeing a shiny new online sites that just opened up, check to see if they offer a no deposit bonus. Unfortunately, many no deposit rewards also come with a long list of terms and conditions, but we'll cover this in a later section.

Psychological Boost

Last but not least, don't discount the psychological boost you get from seeing bonus funds pop up in your account. Our brains react positively to claiming free stuff, and this in conjunction with the novelty of a new sites can give you a great first experience at an online gambling site.

Casino Bonus Cons

Cons of Claiming a Casino Bonus

Before you get caught up in your adrenaline rush after claiming your promotion, make sure you're aware of these five cons as well.

Beware of Wagering Requirements

Nearly every online promotion has a set of terms and conditions attached. The most common of these is a wagering requirement, which states that you must wager a certain multiple of the promo amount in order for your reward and its associated winnings to be eligible for withdrawal - allowing you to claim and keep your winnings. This is often how online sites can create the illusion that they are offering you free funds, but force you to wager in order to actually realize those gains. If a promotion has an outrageous spending requirement (i.e. upwards of 25x to 50x the reward amount), it may not be worth claiming.

Beware of Time Limits

One other very common restriction is a time limit placed on bonus funds. These normally stipulate that you have a set amount of time after claiming the promotion to meet a certain wagering requirement, otherwise you forfeit the bonus and all related winnings. Some casino bonuses are lenient with this requirement: for example, they may require you to use 100 free spins within 14 days. However, other time limits are a lot more restrictive, and it might be best to just pass on those promotions.

Pay Attention To Withdrawal Limits

One indirect limit you'll want to pay attention to is the withdrawal limit at your online gambling site. This is often a tricky way some scammy online sites will get you - even if a bonus results in a huge $5,000 jackpot, the withdrawal limits at the casino may be $1,000/week. The hope is that with all those bonus funds in your account (which may also have time limits), you'll wager them back into the casino, before having a chance to claim your earnings. Withdrawals themselves can be tedious and some scammy gambling sites may make that process as difficult as possible, so be careful about that too.

Other Terms & Conditions

We covered three of the most common limits in the three points above, but there may be a long list of other terms & conditions for the specific promotions that you're eyeing. We discussed being able to try out a new game as a pro for online bonuses, but it could also be interpreted as a con. Some promotions have restrictions on the games you can use them on, which may be titles with lower RTPs where the house has a larger advantage. If you're not interested in these games, consider opting out of the promo.

More Funds = More Potential Losses

The hope that all gambling sites have when you have more funds is that you place more wagers. While having more funds can give you a psychological boost like we talked about in the pros section, the casino also has more chances to earn money off of you. We all know that all casino games in theory benefit the house more than the player. Therefore, it's reasonable that the more a casino gets you to buy in, the better their odds of making money, leading to more potential losses for you.

Case Study: Real Life Example of a Casino Bonus

To help you consider the pros and cons for your promotion, let's walk through a real life example of a currently active bonus at 888 Casino. This is a welcome package, advertised as a '120% up to $500 Welcome Bonus.' All you need to do is make an initial minimum deposit of at least $20, and 888 Casino will match this first deposit 120% up to $500 maximum.

Let's say that you take full advantage of this welcome package, and make your first deposit of $416.67. 888 Casino will then match your deposit with $500 extra funds, 120% of your deposit, putting your total funds at $916.67. That's a pretty good start to any online gambling site!

However, this $500 is far from 'free'--meaning you can't just submit a withdrawal and cash this bonus out. As we mentioned in our list of cons, there are a number of restrictions 888 casino places on this bonus that you have to pay attention to. The first thing that stands out is the wagering and time requirements on this bonus $500: you must wager them 30 times within 60 days of having the bonus credited to your account. For our example, in ourder to withdraw your $500 welcome bonus, you must wager a whopping $15,000! And you must do so within 60 days, otherwise your $500 and any winnings associated with them will be lost - meaning you can't claim them.

In addition, 888 Casino also lists different wagering contributions in their terms and conditions. They specifically state that video slots and slots games have a contribution of 100%, poker games 20%, and blackjack 10%. This means that any wagers you make at poker table games only contribute 20% to this wagering requirement! In other words, if you only played poker games, you'd need to wager $75,000 to withdraw your $500 reward! This also means that you'd need to wager $15,000 if you only played slots, and $150,000 if you only played blackjack.

In light of all this, it seems pretty hard to be able to profit out of this bonus. Most players probably aren't reaching $15,000 or more in wagers in 60 days. But many promotions are in fact like this--so always be sure to read the fine print and see if a particular bonus really makes sense for you.

So now, hopefully it's clear that beneath the lofty rewards are many other hidden terms and conditions. While many casinos do offer big bonuses, especially for new patrons, you need to always read the fine print. It also helps to do the math and go through a similar process we outlined in our case study of an active bonus at 888 Casino here at This will give you greater clarity on which bonuses make the most sense for you. If you'd like to try your hand at a couple lucrative promo offers, we'd recommend starting out with Woo Casino, which we found often has great value bonuses.