Casino players have plenty to choose from when it comes to online casino bonuses. Some casinos give you free bonus money simply for signing up. The best casinos will offer both a no deposit bonus and a welcome bonus. These can be worth $1,000 or more at some major casinos.
This page covers everything you need to know on casino bonuses in the US. You will also find out how no deposit bonuses and sweepstakes casinos work. After we explain the types of casino bonuses available for you as a new player.
You should be aware of playthrough requirements before claiming a bonus. This term refers to the number of times you will need to wager the bonus money by playing either slots, table games or playing at a live dealer casino.
Regulation for online casinos is rolling out on a state-by-state basis. As well as casino gambling, sports betting and online poker rooms that work within state lines, are also available. At the time of writing, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have online casino websites and apps. Michigan and West Virginia will follow as we go through 2020.
Elsewhere, bills are at various stages. If your state does not yet allow legal online gambling, you can still enjoy casino bonuses at sweepstakes casinos. We share more information on these sites toward the bottom of this page.
The Garden State was the first to go live with online casinos in 2013. Currently, there are a lot of big brands from which to choose. The big casinos will license brands in Atlantic City and other NJ casino-racetracks. These include Virgin, Golden Nugget and Tropicana online casinos.
Several New Jersey online casinos offer no-deposit bonuses, including Golden Nugget, which offers $10, and Tropicana Casino, where you will get $25.
If you are looking for big welcome bonuses at NJ online casinos, then matched deposit bonuses are the way to go. New Jersey casinos offer 100% matches, with the biggest of them at $1,500.
To legally gamble online in New Jersey, you must be 21 years or older. While there isn’t a requirement to be a resident in order to gamble, geolocation technology will stop you from gambling if you step outside of state lines.
The Keystone State went live with its online casinos in the spring of 2017. With so many PA casinos opening at the same time, players got to choose from several casino bonuses.
Brands are licensed by the big casinos found around the state, with Hollywood Casino (owned by Penn National Gaming) and SugarHouse Casino (Rush Street Interactive) being the primary local players. Other sites are owned by international brands, along with DraftKings Casino, Unibet and FanDuel Casino, are also active in Pennsylvania.
When casinos launch, they have budgets to compete for market share. You can take advantage of several no-deposit offers in Pennsylvania, as well as matched bonuses, loss rebate offers and plenty of promotions.
Again, geolocation technology means that PA online casinos will only allow you to wager from inside state lines.
Michigan passed legislation and launched online gambling in 2021 after the licensing and regulatory details were organized. The Michigan online casinos included some of the best-known names, such as, BetMGM, DraftKings and Golden Nugget.
As with all states with new online casinos, the launch was an opportunity to get no-deposit bonuses and enjoy special casino promotions.
West Virginia launched online casinos in 2020, with DraftKings and BetMGM. You find substantial marketing budgets when the national brands launch in the Mountain State.
Behind the different names and marketing slogans, casino bonuses fall into distinctive types. These can be split into welcome offers for new players and ongoing offers for regular/loyal players.
Every online casino will offer both, though you will find that there are significant differences between the amount of money, the terms and conditions (for example, wagering requirements) and the time available to complete your bonus play.
Here are the broad types of bonuses available, and we cover these in detail in the section below:
When it comes to playthrough requirements, you need to check to see how your online casino “weights” certain games. Slots and scratch cards will almost always count at 100% for bonus clearance. When it comes to table games, the numbers can vary from 10% to 50%. Some games (for example, live dealer casinos) are often excluded from bonus clearing playthrough completely.
No-deposit bonuses are common at legal online casinos in regulated states. They create a win-win for the brands and players. Casinos get a chance to showcase their apps; you get a shot at winning real money with zero risk.
Free-play bonuses are in the $10-$30 range. You sign up and receive this money as bonus funds. The playthrough requirements will vary. Some casinos have a low one-time playthrough, while others require 5x or even more. Checking the small print will reveal whether there is a cap on the amount you can win, whether progressive jackpots can be won with free play and how long you have to complete your playthroughs before the bonus expires.
An alternative to straight-up free play is to offer free spins on slots. It is less common at state casinos than at the more prominent international brands. Again, the small print will specify the wagering requirements and any cap.
A matched deposit bonus is the single most common type of casino bonus. The brands match the amount of your first deposit with bonus funds. Furthermore, some casinos will match multiple deposits within your first 30 days, for example.
You need to clear your funds by playing between 1x and 25x the combined total of your deposit and bonus. Look out for excluded and “weighted” games. Time limits become important for matched welcome bonuses, especially greater amounts. If you bet small, then meeting the playthrough requirements before your bonus expires may be difficult for short-duration offers.
Speeding up clearing your bonus by covering both red and black on roulette will not work and the casino will flag it as bonus abuse.
As an alternative to straight-up matched welcome bonuses, some casinos will return any money you lose as bonus funds. You need to check the terms and conditions to make sure your play qualifies. A no-lose casino bonus will cover your first day or two, depending on the casino. Operators will cap the rebates at around $100.
Once you get your rebate, this will be in the form of bonus money that has a wagering requirement. This type of bonus is a popular way of reducing your risk during your early sessions. Weightings and time limits for bonus clearing will apply.
The bonuses aim to attract new players. Loyalty or comp schemes are to keep players rewarded after those initial bonuses clear. Loyalty schemes reward you based on the amount you play. Some are simple, with a fixed percentage rebate as either cash or bonus chips, and others are more complex. Casino loyalty schemes often have tiers, with bigger and better rewards as you move through the levels.
If you join casinos associated with live casino resorts, the loyalty scheme might be connected to their live casino venues. You could earn resort credit or hotel stays for your online play. At the top level, there are VIP rewards and some of these come with a dedicated host.
Racing other players for wins on slots or loyalty scheme points in a set time frame is often used for leaderboard contests. It makes for an entertaining way to earn some more bonus funds.
There is a significant number of one-off promotions and special offers at online casinos. Furthermore, these are sometimes tied to specific games, live dealer rooms, holidays or game releases.
Common offers are connected to loyalty schemes in the form of extra points. For example, a casino could offer double points for deposits plus blackjack play every Tuesday or a percentage rebate on roulette losses over a weekend.
Some casinos (for example, SugarHouse) offers wheel spin bonuses and promotions tied to its social media. You may discover crossover promotions at casino brands that also have sports betting options.
If you run low on funds, you can claim reload bonuses from state-regulated casinos. These work in the same way as your initial matched bonus.
Reloads will vary in the percentage matched to your deposit. While the new player bonuses are 100%, reloads can be anywhere from 25% to 100%. Some casinos space reloads out through the week, assigning different games to each day.
If you have not played in a while, some casinos will email you reload bonus offers, so make sure you opt-in to their mailing lists.
Regulation is rolling out piecemeal as states regulate their online casinos. If you live outside of the currently regulated states, you can play slots and limited table games at sweepstakes casinos. They use laws designed for free-to-play sweepstakes draws or games and use them to offer casino gaming where you can win real money.
There are casino bonuses available at sites, including FunzPoints, LuckyLand Slots and Chumba Casino. You can get free play (and you can win real money with it), match bonuses and enjoy promotions tied to social media.
Sweepstakes casinos stay legal by not directly selling you chips that you can use for gambling. You buy play-money-only chips and receive redeemable chips as a “free” gift. Many slots have jackpots, and if you win, you can legally exchange your chips for cash and withdraw to your bank.
You can find out more about the sweepstakes casino model and types of casino bonuses on offer at these sites on our sweepstakes casinos’ page.
To take advantage of the biggest casino bonus deals, you will need to make a deposit. Minimum deposits start at around $10, though some payment options are perfect for taking advantage of the biggest $1,000+ match bonus offers.
Making a payment to any state-regulated casino is safe. The process follows the same steps you would use to make an online purchase. Casinos are aware that not everyone is comfortable using their credit cards online. They provide a list of alternatives, covering many different high-tech and low-tech solutions.
Here is a list of some payment methods accepted by state casinos. Note that not every casino offers these options:
If you stick to reputable casinos in your state, including sweepstakes casinos, then you will have a generous choice of bonus offers. Welcome offers include matched first deposit bonuses, no-deposit/free-play type bonuses and no-lose or loss rebate offers. If you are organized enough, you can take advantage of these deals for every casino in your jurisdiction.
Keep in mind that not all casino bonuses are created equal. While two bonuses may look similar, there are often huge differences when you compare the fine print. Things to look for include limits on what you can win, or super-high playthrough requirements.
Welcome bonuses at online casinos are a great way to build your casino bankroll. Ongoing offers are important for the longer term. If your casino does not have a loyalty scheme, plenty of promotions and regular reload bonuses, then it may well be worth finding a better place to play.
Yes, if you stick with legal or sweepstakes casinos, your money will be safe. Gambling control boards oversee state casinos, which need to pass strict audits of their game fairness and security. They also need to honor bonus deals and treat their players fairly.
Outside of regulated options, casinos operate in gray markets. Offshore casinos have little or no oversight. There is nobody to turn to if you get into a dispute or an offshore casino refuses to pay. Sticking with legal, regulated casinos will ensure you and your money are safe.
Yes, this is a great way to check out the various casinos in your state, and compare their software and game selection. Taking advantage of no-deposit bonuses at all the casinos in your state gives you multiple shots at winning. If you get lucky, you might win enough to avoid using your own money at all.
The need for an ID depends on the individual casinos, though, as a rule, backup documents are not requested.
Most casinos will ask for the last four digits of your Social Security number when you register. This info gets compared with your date of birth. Some casinos will ask for information on your credit card or even a picture of it.
These measures are designed to protect players from fraud, as well as protecting the casinos. Unless you are randomly flagged for a security audit, personal documents are not required.
Yes, each game has a built-in house edge, which is usually expressed as a return-to-player percentage or RTP. Slots vary from 92% to 97% RTP, while table games can be as low as 99%. The lower the house edge, the more likely a casino will exclude or “weight” a game for bonus clearing.
Audits of games and slots over millions of hands have shown that the deal at reputable online casinos is completely fair.
Casino bonuses sit in a separate account from the money you deposited. To move your bonus funds to your cash funds, you need to wager it a set number of times. This rule protects the casinos from people receiving a bonus and instantly withdrawing it.
The playthrough is based on the bonus plus the deposit amount. If you deposit $100, get a 100% match and have a 5x playthrough, then you need to make $1,000 worth of bets before your bonus money can be withdrawn. The bonus money is then considered “cleared.”
Casinos “weight” the games for bonus clearing. Games with a super-low house edge, for example, baccarat or blackjack games, are often excluded or have a low (think 10%) weighting. So, this means only $1 counts toward your playthrough for every $10 you wager.
At the opposite end are slots. Coin-in is counted at 100%, making slots the fastest game to clear bonuses. Live dealer casinos are frequently excluded from regular bonuses and video poker is weighted low to discourage players from choosing this for bonus use.
Casinos have wording in their terms, saying that they can void your bonus for “abuse.” This is a broad term that is designed as a catch-all.
Some of the actions that will get your bonus funds removed include having multiple bonuses per household (For example, signing up relatives to claim multiple bonuses will be detected quickly.). Other abuses include covering both red and black on roulette to hit your playthrough target quickly.
Again, this will depend on the individual casino. Most casinos will allow this, though some have caps on the total you can win, which means progressive jackpots are out.