Are Online Casino Bonuses Worth It?


With so many online casinos or slot sites available to UK players these days, the initial attraction is the casino welcome bonus. It serves as the entry point for most players and a determining factor whether that player becomes a customer or not. In this article, we look at whether online casino bonuses are worth claiming and if they should be considered when joining or staying at a casino.

What are Online Casino Bonuses?

An online casino bonus is an incentive offered by online casinos to attract players to join their site or deposit. The most common type is a welcome bonus which is offered when a player registers at the site.

Typically, a casino welcome bonus is a 100% match bonus up to £100. This means you can deposit up to £100 on your maiden deposit to receive a bonus of the same amount (up to £100). If you were to deposit £100, you’d get a £100 bonus (100%).

However, casino bonuses come with certain restrictions like wagering requirements, max bet limits, max cashout limits and eligible games amongst others. We will look into this in more detail below.

The Perils of a Casino Bonus

As with the overwhelming majority of casino bonuses, there are restrictions in play to ensure that online casinos don’t just give away free money. Below are the issues and factors you need to consider when claiming a casino bonus of any type:

  • Wagering Requirements: this requires you to play through the deposit amount plus bonus (sometimes) 35 times (on average). If you were to deposit £100 and get a £100 bonus (100% casino bonus), you would have to wager £7,000 in order to withdraw the bonus amount.

On the topic of wagering requirements, below is what an online casino loses if you have 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 x play-through requirements based on an average 4% house edge/margin (100% minus average 96% RTP rate in slots). This is a simplistic view with other costs not factored in for demonstrative purposes.

WR Bonus Wagering House Edge Casino Profit
10x £100 £1,000 £40 -£60
20x £100 £2,000 £80 -£20
30x £100 £3,000 £120 £20
40x £100 £4,000 £160 £60
50x £100 £5,000 £200 £100
  • Max Bet Limits: with each bonus, you are allowed to bet up to a certain amount on each spin or game you play. With slots in general, the max bet per spin ranges between £2 and £5 on average.
  • Max Cashout Limits: with some bonuses, there is a maximum you can win from the bonus. Limiting a casino’s liability, this restriction has become increasingly common in recent times.
  • Eligible Games: luckily, online slot games are valid for most casino bonuses. However, high RTP slots, progressive jackpot games and highly volatile titles are often excluded from wagering requirements. Table games like blackjack and roulette are either excluded from wagering requirements or severely restricted (i.e. 10% contribution).
  • Payment Methods: debit cards tend to be valid for all online casino bonuses but popular e-wallet solutions such as Apple Pay and PayPal are not universally valid for bonuses.
  • Expiry Dates: increasingly common, bonuses are valid for a limited timeframe. This includes completing wagering requirements within 30 days or using free spins within 48-72 hours.

Determining Factors for Slots Players

A slot site’s welcome bonus is the entry point when you register an account. If the offer is good or bad, will it determine your experience at that particular casino? As an avid slots player, I will look at other factors which are far more important than any bonus a site can offer.

Obviously being licensed by the UK Gambling Commission is a must for UK players as well as an easy-to-use website/mobile site, good customer support and a good selection of popular payment methods. There is more information on all the important elements in our how we rate slot sites section.

Slot Providers & Games

For starters, a slot player should see if a casino site offers your favourite slot providers and games. If you love taking a trip to the Emerald Isle (i.e. Rainbow Riches) or the pyramids of ancient Egypt (i.e. Book of Dead), should you forgo your preferred slots for a casino bonus?

Slot players are loyal to certain games and/or providers more so than casinos in my opinion. If you love Nolimit City slots for example, would you play at a slots site that doesn’t have their games? I think not.

Another reason players choose a particular casino is due to the rise of exclusively-produced slot games. This gives sites casinos an edge over others. For example, Party Casino has over 165 exclusive titles not found anywhere else. If you love a certain provider and a casino has exclusive games by them, you’re more likely to play there regularly.

RTP Rates

If you’re a regular reader here at, our previous blog post looks at the various RTP rates offered by slot sites. Bonuses aside, would you play at Book of Dead with an RTP rate of 87.25% or 96.21%?

The answer is quite obvious. If an online casino consistently offers the best RTP rates for their games, you’ll be more likely to play there long term.  This is because higher RTP rates will make a huge difference to your winning potential, more so than any bonus.

Fast Withdrawals

Offering a selection of popular payment methods is standard for online casinos. You’ll find debit cards, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Apple Pay, Google Pay and many others quite easily. The crucial element is how quickly a site pays out your winnings. In my opinion, casinos with instant withdrawals are the ones that players will keep coming back to.

There are many casinos that process cashouts in under 1 hour with one averaging 6-minute withdrawals (i.e. Duelz Casino). This shows me that the operation behind the flashy site is serious and has their house in order. The last thing you want is to wait days for a withdrawal and/or contacting their customer support team. Weekend cashouts are also a big plus, especially as many of us enjoy spinning the reels during our downtime.

Being realistic, the number of casino bonuses you’ll receive whilst playing will be minimal. Yes, there will be a welcome bonus as well as monthly or even weekly casino bonuses. To get regular bonuses, you will have to play and lose quite a bit. That said, they will come with restrictions outlined above ensuring that you don’t walk away with free money most of the time.

User Experience

I personally believe this is overlooked by most online casinos. Having a standard site displaying thousands of slot games is so 2010. Offering filtering options, dedicated slot provider pages and a solid search function is what sets some casinos apart.

I recently came across an online casino that didn’t have a dedicated section for new game releases. Unless you’re a slots geek like I am, how would you know what are the latest games to play? A new game may be your favourite long-term (yes, I’m thinking of Relax Gaming’s Money Train 4). Having the ability to create your own ‘favourites’ lobby also goes a long way if you like to play the same slot games over and over again.

This also extends to dedicated casino mobile apps. Whilst anyone who knows how to use a smartphone can easily create a shortcut on their iPhone or Android device, having a dedicated app restricts friction from playing. Being able to go straight into your favourite casino from your smartphone screen in 1 tap is very underrated. With 52.92% using mobile devices compared to 45.24% for desktop devices, this will become increasingly important going forward.

Differentiation & Innovation

Lastly, most online casino sites look relatively similar. Offering thousands of slot games, lots of payment methods and regular promotions and offers is pretty standard these days. Casinos that break the mould and innovate will be the ones to reap the rewards, and customers, in the future.

MrQ Casino is a case in point as they are the only UK casino (at the time of writing) to offer the highest possible RTP rate on all their slot games. PlayOJO Casino is a no wagering site meaning any promotion or offer will come with no wagering requirements whatsoever.

That said, the rise of no wager free spins bonuses has been meteoric. Whilst some of these offers do have max cashout limits, they are becoming increasingly popular as players search for simpler promotions with complete transparency.


Standing out amongst thousands of online casinos is easier said than done. Many players will still look at a bonus and see the headline figure. Bonus terms and conditions can feel somewhat confusing so education is needed to understand the various restrictions in place. I heard that 1 in 8 players clear wagering requirements successfully.

An online casino bonus can be a great way to increase your chances of winning. If you’re willing to shop around to find the best deals, bonuses can be a great way to hopefully turn a profit whilst trying out new games.

However, I believe long-term that they don’t matter as much as some of the factors outlined above. People are loyal to brands and services that resonate with their requirements. Online casinos are no different so they have to excel on many fronts to keep customers coming back time and time again.

Having a solid slots offering, a website/mobile site that allows you to find what you want easily and lightning-fast cashouts are the key factors for me personally. Offering simple and transparent casino bonuses and offers is a big plus but it’s definitely not the reason why I play at certain casino sites.

Martin Backhouse
Review by
Last updated: April 02, 2024

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