The Rise of Bonuses in the Online Casino Industry

The iGaming industry is booming and is showing no signs of slowing down. According to research, the global online gambling industry was worth $57.54 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7% in 2022 and will continue at this pace until 2030. 

With so much money involved, it should come as no surprise that the industry is fiercely competitive and no sector of the industry is more competitive than the online casino niche. With countless online casinos launching on a daily basis, both newly established gambling companies and the old guard need to work extremely hard to stand out from the crowd and attract new customers while also keeping hold of their existing ones. Enter the online casino bonus. 

Bonuses are one of the most important marketing tools in an online casino’s arsenal, but they’re not always what they’re cracked up to be. With this in mind, we’re going to take a closer look at the concept of online casino bonuses and the various nuances you need to look out for when taking advantage of them. 

Why do online casinos hand out bonuses?

As mentioned earlier, the industry is hugely competitive with hundreds of options for a gambler to choose from. And while the seasoned player will know what kind of features to look out for in an online casino, casual players and those who are new to the scene will have no idea. This is why bonuses can be such a powerful marketing tool. 

Most casual players will look first to the bonuses offered by an online casino before they will even consider other aspects of the platform such as the games on offer or the return to player (RTP) percentage which gives an indication of how often a slot will pay out. These bonuses will attract a new player to the casino and in most cases, once they’re in, they’ll stay and eventually spend their own money on the games. 

But it’s not just about new customers. Bonuses are also used quite regularly to keep existing customers happy and loyal to the casino. And as any business owner can testify, customer retention is just as important as pulling in those new sign ups. 

The different types of online casino bonuses

Online casino bonuses can appear to be very different from casino to casino, but generally speaking, they all fall into these categories. 

Matched deposit bonus

A matched deposit bonus is when the casino agrees to match your deposit by a certain percentage. This could be anywhere from 20% up to 100% or even higher. For example, if you deposit $50 using a 100% match bonus, you will receive an additional $50 in site credit. 

No-deposit bonus

The no-deposit bonus simply requires that you sign up for an account. It’s available as a one-time only bonus for new customers. This is a great way for customers to ‘test drive’ an online casino before spending their own money.  

Free spins bonus

This is exactly what it sounds like. Customers are given a set number of free spins on slots. This is usually limited to one particular slots title and is another great way to test the waters before making a deposit. 

Referral bonus

Referral bonuses are offered to existing customers that refer a friend who then joins the casino. This type of bonus is usually dependent on the new customer making a minimum deposit of placing wagers to a certain value. 

The first three bonuses listed here are the most common ones offered to new customers, but we’re seeing a growing trend of online casinos combining two or more of these bonuses into one lucrative welcome offer to entice those new customers to sign up. According to online casino review site, the most popular option right now is the free spins no deposit combination. A look at the site’s latest list of these types of welcome bonuses available in 2022 shows scores of online casinos taking this approach. 

Is it really free money? 

Not really. If you take a look at the bonuses we mentioned above, they offer either free spins on slots or site credit. No online casino will offer you free money, but they are all more than happy to allow you to place wagers using site credit. The reasoning behind this is that once you have tried one of the casino’s gaming options and enjoy it, you’ll make your own deposits when you have used up the site credit or free spins.

Wagering requirements

Now, this is where online casino bonuses can confuse. All casino bonuses will have specific wagering requirements or playthrough requirements as they are also known. These are conditions that must be met if you are to take advantage of the bonus. 

The most common wagering requirement is a playthrough threshold. This requires you to continue making wagers to a certain multiple of the bonus before you can make a withdrawal. For example, a casino might place a 20x playthrough requirement on its bonus. If the bonus is worth $10, then you must wager at least $200 before you can withdraw any money won using the bonus. This is why most seasoned online casino players will look for the lowest playthrough requirements on bonuses. 

Other requirements usually involve how the bonus is released to you. For example, a 100% match bonus might be released in increments of $10. So if that bonus was valued at $100, you would receive 10 separate bonuses of $10. Each of those would only be released as you hit certain thresholds so once you wager $20 you might receive your first $10 and so on. 

Wagering requirements for online casino bonuses can vary wildly from one casino to the next so it is really important to check them first before being drawn in by a huge number of free spins or a massive deposit match. For the regular gambler these requirements are often easy enough to reach but for the casual gambler, they may be a little more difficult. 

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I have always been a shopaholic. A lot of times my questions went unanswered when it came to retail questions, so I started Talk Radio News. - Caitlyn Johnson

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