How to Make the Most of Online Casino Bonuses

By Robbie Evans on is dedicated to helping customers find the best place to play online. Your safety and well-being is a priority, which is why all of our expert casino reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, and we highlight the key terms and conditions of every casino bonus we advertise. Whilst we accept commission from the casinos on our list of recommendations, and this may affect where they’re positioned on our lists, we only recommend casinos that we truly believe are safe and fair. is dedicated to helping customers find the best place to play online. Your safety and well-being is a priority, which is why all of our expert casino reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, and we highlight the key terms and conditions of every casino bonus we advertise. Whilst we accept commission from the casinos on our list of recommendations, and this may affect where they’re positioned on our lists, we only recommend casinos that we truly believe are safe and fair.

Casino bonuses are an integral part of online gambling, and for many players, are the most important consideration when choosing a new site. Welcome bonuses can provide a handy boost to your bankroll when starting out, but different bonuses will suit different sorts of players, and you’ll need to navigate various terms and conditions in order to make the most of them. 

On this page, we’ll run you through the most appropriate welcome bonuses based on your particular gaming preferences, as well as some of the most troublesome T&Cs. 

How Online Casino Bonuses Work

Online casino bonuses — which usually come in the form of bonus funds or free spins — are rewards offered to both new and existing customers at UK online casinos. Most bonuses place certain qualifying requirements on players, which usually constitutes making a deposit of at least £10. 

In most cases, as with matched deposit bonuses — where casinos match the value of your first deposit and return that same amount to you in the form of non-withdrawable bonus funds — the amount you’ll receive depends on the size of your qualifying deposit. When it comes to free spins, the minimum qualifying amount is usually enough to claim the full whack. 

However, this is where things get tricky. The more you deposit in the process of claiming a matched deposit bonus, the more you’ll be required to spend to clear the wagering requirements — without doubt the most irksome of all bonus terms and conditions. We explain what each T&C involves below. 

Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements refer to the amount of money you’ll be required to wager before you can withdraw any of your bonus winnings. Let’s look at an example. 

Say you have a matched deposit bonus worth 100% up to £50, with wagering requirements of 30x. If you make the minimum qualifying deposit of £10, this means you’ll have to wager £300 (£10 x 30) of your own money before converting any potential winnings into withdrawable cash. If you deposited the full £50, the sum of those wagering requirements would increase to £1500 (£50 x 30). Another thing to be aware of is that wagering requirements can sometimes be applied to the sum of both your deposit and the consequent bonus, resulting in a much higher figure. In the case of free spins, wagering requirements are applied to your free spins winnings. 

As you can see, wagering requirements can make it extremely difficult to profit from online casino bonuses, particularly when it comes to matched deposits. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that bonus funds are always a useful way of exploring a new site’s games library without spending too much of your own cash. 

Time Limits

Another important factor to consider is the amount of time you’ll have to make use of your bonuses. If you’re only given seven days to use your free spins or satisfy wagering requirements, then you have no chance of really benefiting from your bonus and should probably look elsewhere. 30 days, on the other hand, is far more reasonable. Having said that, you should never feel pressured into overspending because of time restrictions — this is precisely what these sorts of terms and conditions are designed to encourage, and it’s rarely worth it. 

Game Weighting

Game weighting — also referred to as ‘game contributions’ — ties in closely with wagering requirements, and refers to the amount that different games will contribute to clearing the requirements. These will vary somewhat from one online casino to the next, but you can generally expect slots to contribute 100%, while table and live dealer games will seldom contribute more than 20%, if anything at all.  

Game Restrictions

Some online casino bonuses restrict certain games altogether. This usually applies to free spins bonuses, which are often restricted to one or two specific titles. If this is the case, it should be made pretty obvious, but you’ll be able to find a list of all the ineligible games in the terms and conditions.

Payment Restrictions

Similarly, you’ll often find that certain payment options — usually e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill and Neteller — aren’t accepted as qualifying deposit methods. This too should be clearly stated in the T&Cs, but it’s generally best to make your first qualifying deposit with a debit card, and then switch back to your preferred e-wallet for subsequent deposits. 

Winnings Caps

Winnings caps are restrictions on the amount of real cash you can win from your bonuses. This figure will either be explicitly stated, or be presented as a multiplier on the value of your bonus; for example, if your winnings are capped at 4x the value of your bonus, and your bonus was worth £10, you can only win a maximum of £40. It’s important to be aware of, as you don’t want to be stretching your budget in an attempt to clear wagering requirements only to find that your potential winnings are severely limited.

How to Select a Casino Bonus

To make the most of your online casino bonus, it’s important that you choose an offer that will suit your gaming preferences. Some players will be looking to earn real money from their bonuses, while others might be more concerned with the amount of games they can play with bonus funds. Below we’ll run through some of the different player types, and discuss which bonuses suit them best. 

Slots Players

Almost every bonus you’ll come across at UK online casinos will be tailored towards the slots. Slot titles usually contribute 100% to clearing wagering requirements, making them the best choice for those looking to earn real cash from their bonuses. That said, if slots are all you’re interested in playing at online casinos, we highly recommend you opt for a welcome package that includes a bundle of free spins — these tend to come with more reasonable wagering requirements.  

Table Games Players

Table game fans will need to be on the lookout for a bonus that attributes decent weightings to games like blackjack, roulette and baccarat. Unfortunately, these games rarely contribute more than 20%, but it’s definitely worth comparing the weighting on different bonuses as some won’t contribute anything at all. If, however, you simply want to be able to use your bonus funds to play some of these games for free, then any matched deposit bonus offer will do. 

Players Looking to Win Real Money

Those looking to win real money from their bonuses will need to make sure they’ve thoroughly reviewed all the bonus terms and conditions. The most important of these is of course the wagering requirements. Anything above 30x will be difficult to clear, but you’ll also have to watch out for time limits, game weightings, winnings caps, and other stipulations. Some free spins offers, for example, will come without any wagering requirements at all, but winnings caps will likely impact your potential earnings. 

To give yourself the best chance at winning real money, find a free spins or matched deposit bonus that has realistic wagering requirements and gives you enough time to clear them without exceeding your budget. Once you’ve found your bonus, stick to the slots, as these always contribute 100%. 

High Rollers

Quite simply, high rollers should be on the lookout for the most lucrative offer they can find. That said, even those who have a slightly bigger budget to play with will find it difficult to satisfy the larger wagering requirements. However, with some matched deposit bonuses offering upwards of £300, high rolling players will find that they have plenty of bonus funds to play with if they make a substantial first deposit. We still recommend you keep your deposits small, though, as the juice is seldom worth the squeeze. 

Players Looking for Free Play

While the overwhelming majority of online casino bonuses will require you to make a qualifying deposit, you may come across no deposit bonuses in the form of free spins. These will allow you to spin some reels — often for real cash — without spending a penny. Even matched deposit bonuses, which naturally require players to deposit some money, will provide you with bonus funds that can be used to play games without spending any more of your own cash. 

Players Who Want to Test a Casino Out

This is without doubt the best way to use your online casino bonuses, as playing for real cash is usually a waste of time and money. Bonus funds will provide you with ample ammunition with which to explore and test out the varied games libraries of the UK’s best online casinos, without having to worry about tedious T&Cs like wagering requirements. Matched deposits are definitely the best call here, as they allow players to test out the whole spectrum of online casino games.

How to Use Bonuses with Strict Terms and Conditions

Even bonuses that come with outrageous terms and conditions can be valuable. Although you can forget about converting a matched deposit with wagering requirements of 65x into withdrawable cash, these sorts of bonuses can still be used in a number of different ways. Let’s break these down:

  • Exploring the site — The best course of action is to accept that you won’t be able to earn any real cash from these sorts of bonuses, and simply regard them as a useful way of exploring a new site and testing out its games. 
  • Try something new — Having some bonus funds in your account is a nice opportunity to try out games you wouldn’t usually play. If you’re yet to check out live dealers, for example, why not spend some bonus funds on their tables?
  • Keep your deposit small — Strict terms and conditions mean that your bonus funds essentially have no monetary value, so don’t be lured into making a huge deposit to gain access to the bigger bonus.  
  • Only play the slots — If you’re a high roller, and think you may have a shot at clearing steep wagering requirements, then it’s best to play nothing but the slots. With a few exceptions noted in the T&Cs, these will always contribute 100%. Watch out for game

Compare the Best Casino Bonuses with TopRatedCasinos

Now that you know how to make the most of your online casino bonus, all that’s left to do is compare the best online casino bonuses and choose the offer that is best suited to your preferences. Please remember to gamble responsibly, and to use your bonuses wisely! 


Robbie Evans headshot

Robbie is an Editor at TopRatedCasinos who joined us in 2022 and has a year’s experience in the gambling affiliate space. Having quickly built up his expertise in all things casino — particularly in the arena of online payment solutions — he’s tasked with writing up guides and reviews across TopRatedCasinos, along with having a big hand in developing the way we format the site to best suit our users. In his spare time, Robbie is a keen sports fan, film buff, travel enthusiast, and all-round thing-liker.

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