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How to Get a Casino Bonus

Getting a casino bonus is never a problem. There are hundreds of offers available, both to new and already registered players. All you’ll have to do is decide which online casinos you want to play at and then claim the bonus. 

Different bonuses then require you to do different things in order to claim them. Below, we’ve explained all the different ways to get a bonus. That way, you know what to do when you’ve decided on a casino bonus offer you want to partake in. 

Sign-up & Registration Bonuses

A sign-up bonus, or a registration bonus as it’s also called, is a bonus you get for simply signing up at a casino. You’ll need to fill in the registration form and verify your email address or phone number. Once that’s done, your casino account will be activated, and then you’ll get your bonus added to your account. 

A registration bonus is a free bonus, typically called a no deposit bonus. The exact offer will differ, but the most common bonus is free spins on a slot machine. You might also get some free bonus money, a free bet, or free scratch cards or bingo tickets. Basically, a sign-up bonus is a no deposit bonus that gives you a chance to play something in the casino without you having to make a deposit. Signing up as a member at the casino is all that’s required from you.

Deposit & Reload Bonuses

If the casino bonus offer you want to claim is a deposit bonus, you’ll have to make a deposit to claim it. This is also why it’s called a casino reload bonus, as you get it by loading your account with money. Usually, most deposit bonuses only require a minimum deposit of £10 or £20 to be activated, but the minimum deposit terms might vary from offer to offer, so make sure you check this in the fine print before you fund your account. 

The first deposit bonus you get at an online casino is typically called a welcome bonus. But reload bonuses are the most common bonus offer you’ll find as an already registered player. 

There is no answer to what a deposit bonus will give you. It can be anything the casino has to offer. The crux of the matter is that you make a deposit, and the casino gives you something. Most often, though, it will be a match-up bonus or free spins, as these are the two most common bonus types you’ll find at British online casinos. 

No Deposit Bonuses

A no deposit casino bonus is a free casino bonus that you’ll be given completely for free. It won’t require a deposit, so all you’ll have to do is log in to your casino account and claim it. We touched upon this when explaining sign-up bonuses as well, as those bonuses are a no deposit bonus. But registering as a new player is not the only time you might get a no deposit bonus. 

Sometimes an online casino will offer a no deposit bonus to already registered players. It can be when they have a special promotion to reactivate players or simply as a reward for being a loyal player. Once in a while, they’ll also give free bonuses without a deposit simply because they have something to celebrate, like the launch of a new game. 

No matter the reason, a no deposit bonus is one you’ll get for free, and no deposit will be required. In other words, you won’t have anything to lose when partaking in a bonus like this.  

Cashback Bonuses

A cashback bonus is offered to already registered players at a casino. This bonus type is a bit like insurance or a second chance. In order to claim a cashback, you’ll first need to make deposits and then lose your money. When that happens, you’ll get a part of it back as cashback. That way, you get to try again, and hopefully, you’ll be luckier the second time around. 

Since a cashback bonus is a money back from a lost deposit, the cashback will be given as money. Whether it’s real cash or bonus money will depend on what the casino chooses. As for how much you’ll get, that is also up to the offer the casino has. Anything from a 10% cashback to a 25% cashback is considered normal, but getting as much as 50% cashback is not unheard of either. 

To conclude, cashback is what you get when you have deposited and lost money at the casino. Some casinos give you cashback based on one deposit, while others give it per day, week, or month. Just read the bonus terms for your cashback bonus, and you’ll see which time interval the casino has chosen. 

Top-up Bonuses

A top-up bonus is a form of casino bonus that’s not very common. It’s a bit like the reverse of a cashback. A bonus like this will require you to make a deposit in order to claim it, but you won’t get the bonus right away. You’ll have to play with the deposit you made and hope to win. If you win, you’ll be given a certain percentage extra on top of your winnings, making the win even greater. 

From a casino’s perspective, a top-up bonus is a loss on top of a loss, which explains why these bonuses are not all too common. If you deposit and win, the casino has lost, and by giving you this bonus, they’ll lose even more. For you as a winning player, though, this bonus is great. But, since the requirement for claiming it in the first place is that you actually win, you can’t be sure that you’ll get it until you’ve risked your own money. 

Just like with a cashback bonus, a top-up bonus can be given for just one deposit or based on daily, weekly, or monthly winnings. Likewise, the percentage you’ll get as a top-up can be anything from 10% upwards. Check the bonus terms to find out the specific details about your top-up bonus. 

Rewards Programme Bonuses

Plenty of UK online casinos have a rewards programme. This is a bonus scheme to reward loyal and active players. Often, there are levels involved, and you progress through the levels by playing in the casino. You can collect points or some other token that the casinos choose. 

Although there is no real standard for how a rewards programme works, one common way is that simply playing is what will reward you. Whether you win or lose won’t matter, as it’s the wagering, basically your bets, that propels you forward in the programme. Another way is that you’re supposed to complete tasks of some sort, like playing different games, making deposits and withdrawals, or in other ways, using the casino’s services. 

As you progress through the rewards programme, you’ll get online casino bonuses. It can be anything from free spins to free cash, and some even have jackpots up for grabs. To find out the specifics of the rewards programme you’re enrolled in, you’ll simply have to check out the rules on the casino’s website. 

Refer a Friend

Most casinos want to have more players join them as members, so some of them will reward you for bringing your friends in as players. You’ll be given a link or a code that your friend will have to use to register at the casino, or alternatively, they’ll have to contact customer support and tell them that they’ve been referred by you. Either way, your friend will be added to the system as referred by you, and that’s how you can get rewarded.

Some casinos will offer a one-time bonus for referring a friend, while others can give you a percentage of your friend’s losses at the casino. If it’s the latter, then you’re basically rewarded as an affiliate. 

Keep in mind, though, that some casinos will limit how many friends you can refer and that a friend signing up won’t be enough to get you your refer-a-friend bonus. They’ll also have to be active players, so your friends will have to deposit in order for you to get to claim your referral bonus. 

Casino Bonus Types

Above we’ve explained what you as a player need to do in order to claim different types of online casino bonuses. Now, we’ll explain what each type of bonus is and how they work. You’ll need to know exactly what you’re getting to decide whether it’s an offer you actually want. 

In reality, an online casino can offer whatever it wants as a bonus to its players. There are no specific rules telling it that it needs to offer this or that, so it can basically make up the offers. But some bonus types are more common than others, and the ones we’ll explain below are the ones you will come across the most at the best online casinos for UK players. 

Match-up Bonuses

A match-up bonus is one of the most common bonuses you’ll be offered at British online casinos. You make a deposit, and then the casino will match the amount you deposited with a certain percentage. 

If the match-up bonus is a part of your welcome bonus, then you’ll rarely get less than 100% as a match-up. You can also get even more, as some casinos offer 200% extra, and 500% extra, and some even go as high as giving you a 1,000% match-up bonus. However, if you’re already registered as a player and this is not a part of your welcome offer, then anything from 25% to 100% as a match-up is common. The casino will rarely more than double your deposits. 

With a match-up bonus, there will be bonus terms stating both the minimum deposit you have to make and the maximum amount the casino will match. Unless it’s a high-roller bonus, £10 or £20 is typically the minimum deposit you have to make. The maximum the casino will give you as a match-up can be anything. It can be as low as £25, and it can also be as high as £1,000. You’ll have to check the specific terms to find out what’s applicable to your bonus offer.

Free Spins

Together with the match-up bonus, free spins are the most common bonus type at online casinos. This bonus lets you play on a slot for free. Sometimes you’ll get to pick from a selection of slots to play your free spins on, and other times one has been pre-selected by the casino. 

Free spins can be a deposit bonus, meaning you’ll have to make a deposit to get them, or they can be a no deposit bonus so that you get them for free. No matter the requirements for claiming them, the point of this bonus is that no money is deducted from your player account while you play the slot. What you win from the free spins that’s your bonus. 

There are no set standards for how many free spins you can get. Some casinos will give you 10 free spins, while others can give you hundreds. But if you get hundreds of them, be aware that they might not all be activated in one go. They can be given in batches over the course of several days or just be stacked on top of each other. The reason for batching the free spins out is due to the wagering requirement they tend to come with, which we’ll get back to later…

Free Money Bonus

Perhaps the most popular casino bonus type among players is the one that gives you free money. An offer for free money will be a no deposit bonus, as you won’t have to deposit in order to claim the bonus. The benefit of a free money bonus, instead of a free spins bonus, is that you know how much you’re getting as a bonus and that you can use the money to play whichever game you want. At least, at most casinos, you get to play what you want with the bonus funds, but it can also be limited to a certain game category, like slots or a specific section of games. 

How much free money you can expect to get will depend on two things. Firstly, how much the casino is willing to give you, and secondly, whether your free money is given as real cash or as bonus money. 

If you get real money as a no-wagering bonus, then you’ll be given a small amount. Between £5 and £10 is normal. Basically, the free real money given will not exceed the minimum withdrawal amount at the casino. If you get free bonus money with a wagering requirement, you can get more. But, as with all no deposit bonuses, you’ll rarely get a huge amount with your free money bonus.

Free Bets, Tickets, & More 

The different versions of casino bonuses mentioned above are the ones that are typically given for casino games, like slots and table games. But an online casino can have more game types, and that’s where other bonus types come in. If the casino offers bingo, you might get to claim some free bingo tickets, and if the casino has a poker platform, you might get offers for a Rakeback. Likewise, if the online casino also features a sportsbook, you might get some free bets.

Most often, an online casino will have some bonuses for all the different game types they offer. Sometimes you get to claim all of them, while other offers will let you choose between different bonuses for different game types. That way, you can be sure that you get a bonus that can be used for the games you want to play. Simply check out the casino’s promotions page for a full overview of all the offers available to you. 

Why Do Casinos Offer Bonuses?

Online casinos offer bonuses for several reasons. Firstly, they want to attract new players. Secondly, they want to retain the players they already have. Bonuses are a great way for them to do both. 

By having a welcome offer with a free registration bonus, or a big welcome bonus package that gives match-up bonuses or free spins, or in some cases both, they attract players. We, as players, have gotten so used to being able to claim a welcome offer at a casino that few of us would even entertain the idea of signing up at a new casino without getting a bonus on our first deposit. That again means that casinos more or less have to offer a welcome bonus in order to get new members.

Since casino bonuses have become such a big part of what a player expects at an online casino, ongoing bonus offers are also a must. If a player wants a new bonus, this can easily be found. So to avoid players jumping around from casino to casino to claim bonuses, each casino also has to offer bonuses for their active players. If it doesn't, the players will move on to a casino that gives them more benefits. So retention is a big factor in why an online casino will offer casino bonuses to existing players. 

The fact that casino bonuses are used as a carrot of sorts to get you to play is no secret, and it’s important that you are aware of this. The casino will not give you bonuses just because it wants to give you free money. It will give you bonuses that can turn into free money because it wants to make sure that you stay loyal, in other words, that you keep on playing there. 

Find the Best UK Casino Bonuses

If you want to find all the best casino bonuses for UK players, all you have to do is scroll further up this page, and you’ll see them all listed. But before you just pick a random bonus, you should give some thought to what bonus will suit you the best. Some UK casino bonuses are made primarily for casual players, while others might be made for high rollers. 

The best casino bonus for a casual player might very well be free spins or, alternatively, a match-up bonus with a high percentage. On the other hand, the best casino bonus for a high roller would be a bonus with a high maximum bonus amount or a cashback offer. So before you pick your bonus, you should figure out what kind of bonus will be the perfect one for you.  

How to Claim a Casino Bonus

Once you’ve found the bonus you want, you’ll have to claim it. If it’s a deposit bonus, you’ll have to make a deposit in order to get it. But there might also be something else you need to do. 

Some casinos will add the bonus to your account as soon as you’re qualified for it, while others will require you to opt into it. If you need to activate the bonus by opting in or confirming that you want it added, this can usually be done from your player account. Either from the promotions page or the page showing your available bonuses, or your casino message board, if the casino has this feature. 

No matter how it’s done, you’ll usually have to do it before you make the deposit if a deposit is required. Not opting in before you deposit, if this is required, will not activate the bonus. And you’d then have to make a new deposit to claim the bonus. Exactly how you claim a casino bonus will all be explained on the casino’s website, where the bonus offer is displayed. 

Also, some casinos even list the bonuses you have available on the deposit page, so you can pick them there before you complete the deposit. 

How to Claim Free Spins

Free spins will either simply be added to the slot where they are available, or you’ll need to activate them. If they need activation, you’ll simply opt in where you see the bonus offer within your account. Or, if you’ve been notified that you have free spins waiting in a specific slot, you might just have to open the game to get them.

Once you have free spins on a slot, you’ll get a pop-up on the screen when you enter the game. There you can usually choose to either play the free spins right away or save them for later. Just keep in mind that free spins aren’t valid forever. Most often, you’ll only have 24 hours to use them before they are forfeited. 

If you’re given the choice of multiple slots to play your free spins on, you will be asked to pick one and play all your spins there, or you can swap between the games playing some spins here and some spins there. Your options will always be listed in the bonus terms. 

Promo and Bonus Codes

Sometimes you can get a promo code or a bonus code, as they’re also called. If you have one of these codes, you’ll have to use this in order to claim a bonus. If you don’t enter the code at the time of deposit, if it’s a deposit bonus, the bonus won’t be added for you. 

You might be wondering exactly how you can get a bonus code, and the answer to that is quite simple. If a bonus code is needed for any of the promotion bonuses we here at GoodLuckMate have listed, then we’ve also listed the promo code required. 

If you’re already registered at an online casino, you might also get the bonus codes directly from the casino. They will then list the code you need to use in the promotional material they used to inform you about the bonus in the first place. If you got the offer through email, the code would be in the email. If you found the offer on their promo pages, then the code will be listed there. 

Can You Win From a Casino Bonus?

There are thousands of casino bonuses out there for you to claim. But if you want to find the best casino bonuses, you have some work ahead. A casino is not interested in just giving away money, which a casino bonus essentially is. It will give you a bonus and then require you to jump through some hoops before you can withdraw any winnings from it. The hoops are bonus terms, and how good or bad these are will determine how likely you are to be able to win from the bonus you get.

That being said, it is absolutely possible to win a bonus. The whole point of a bonus is for you to be able to cash out some winnings without having to risk too much of your own money. To increase your chances of winning a bonus, you need to be aware of the casino’s terms, as you’ll need to comply with them in order for the casino to pay out what you win. 

Below, we’ll explain some of the most common bonus terms you’ll come across, so you know what you need to be aware of when playing with an active casino bonus on your account. 

Wagering Requirements

The most common bonus term is the wagering requirement. This is a term that states how many times you have to turnover your bonus before you can request a withdrawal of winnings. Basically, the money you get, either from a match-up bonus, a cashback, free spins winnings, or whatever other kind of bonus you got, will be bonus money until you complete the wagering requirement. Once completed, the bonus money will be converted into real money you can cash out. 

There are several ways a wagering requirement for a casino bonus might work. Most commonly, you first play for your real money, and once that’s lost, you start wagering the bonus. The industry standard for this is 35x, so if you get a £100 bonus, you’ll need to bet £3,500 before you can withdraw winnings. 

The second most common wagering requirement is when you need to wager the deposit and the bonus. If this is the case, the industry-standard requirement is 30x. 

However, some casinos will have a different version, such as when it’s the deposit that’s being wagered, and once you’ve completed the wagering, then your bonus will be added as real cash. 

For any casino licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (as all UK casinos you’ll find here at GoodLuckMate are), the wagering requirement, as well as all other major bonus terms, has to be listed with the bonus. That way, you can easily see how many times you need to wager through the bonus before you can withdraw before you opt-in to the bonus. 

Max Win Cap

Another quite common bonus term is a max win cap. This term will tell you the maximum you can win from a bonus. It should be said that not all casinos have this term, and none of the best online casinos for UK players uses this one. Usually, it’s the second-rate casinos or new online casinos that operate with this term. If you can, you should avoid bonuses that limit how much you can win. 

However, you should also consider what the max win cap is. If you, for example, get a casino bonus that gives you a 100% bonus up to £100, it isn’t so bad if the max win is set at £1,000 or more. After all, you might be able to walk away with more money than what you initially deposited. The ones you should be staying away from are the ones with a lower cap on the winnings. 

As for how a max win cap works, that’s quite simple. You’ll play with your bonus, and what you win with it will stay in your account. Then, either at the point where you complete the wagering requirement and the bonus funds get converted to real money or when you request a withdrawal, everything above the max win cap will be deducted from your account. Leaving you with the maximum win allowed, assuming you’ve exceeded it. 

Other Bonus Terms

In addition to the wagering requirement and the max win cap, there are several other common bonus terms. Below we’ve listed some of the ones we frequently find:

  • Max bet
    This term will determine how much you are allowed to bet per game round while playing with bonus funds. Usually, this limit is set at £5. 
  • Activation timeframe
    Most bonuses are not valid forever, and you need to use them within the allotted time. Deposit bonuses can be valid for days, while free spins are often only possible to activate the same day you get the offer. 
  • Wagering timeframe
    Once you’ve activated a bonus, you’ll need to wager through the wagering requirement, and this has to be done within a set timeframe. Anything between 7 and 21 days is considered normal. Once this time elapses, the bonus will be forfeited.
  • Game restriction
    Most casino bonuses can only be used on certain game types, like slot machines. But even within this category, some games might be excluded. It’s quite common for progressive slots or jackpot slots not to contribute towards your wagering.
  • Wagering contribution
    Even if a lot of game types can be played with a bonus, not all of them will contribute 100% towards your wagering requirement. Typically, table games and live games will contribute less or not at all. 
  • Strategies
    Progressive strategies are not always allowed when playing with a bonus, nor is it allowed to bet on any kind of game that’s close to 50/50 in winning chances. For example, you will most likely not be allowed to bet on all red or black in roulette or on a player or banker in Punto Banco.  
  • Bonus limitations
    Unless you’re taking part in an ongoing daily, weekly, or monthly casino bonus, you will, most likely, only be able to claim a bonus once. You’re never allowed to have several accounts at the casino to claim the same bonuses several times.
  • Postponing game rounds
    Postponing game rounds is typically not allowed. This is to ensure you don’t trigger a bonus round in a game with bonus money and complete it when you have real money in your account. 

Withdraw Your Casino Bonus Winnings

When you’ve found a bonus, claimed it, and played with it, you’ve hopefully also won. Then, it’s time to withdraw your winnings. Assuming you’ve followed all the bonus terms, the withdrawal process should be easy. You’ll withdraw just the same way as you always do, and typically you’ll then get the funds paid out to your chosen payment method within days. 

The only exception might be if you have won from a no deposit bonus, especially if this is winnings from a registration bonus. The casino might want to look into your account a bit closer, just to make sure that you don’t have multiple accounts with them. In addition, they’ll need to confirm to who they are paying out the winnings. So you can expect a KYC request, which is something you’ll need to complete at some stage anyway if you keep on playing at the casino long term. 

As long as you’ve stuck to the casino's terms, and especially the bonus terms, you won’t have any issues. So whenever you’re ready, pick a bonus you’d like to claim, and cross your fingers for a win. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to withdraw some winnings from a casino bonus without having put too much of your own money on the line. 

Good luck, mate!

Eve Luneborg
Eve Luneborg
Last Update: 20 May 2024
Eve started working at an online casino back in 2014, and she’s been involved in the iGaming industry ever since. Here at GoodLuckMate, she’s our go-to writer for in-depth guides, specialising in anything related to payments and account verification, table game guides and even casino and slot reviews. Eve is also religiously following industry news, keeping a close eye on any regulatory changes, new game releases, upcoming trends and much more.

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