Online casino – what is a match bonus and do I really get money for free?

If you have been searching for an online casino to use as your primary source of gambling entertainment, you have no doubt noticed that most, if not all, online casinos are offering some type of bonus promotion as a way of securing your business. While bonus promotions can be made in a variety of ways, the casino match bonus is by far and away the most popular promotion in the industry.

With so many operators on the Internet, it’s necessary for online casinos to compete with one another as a means of survival. That puts you, the customer, in the position of power. If they want your business, they have to offer you something worthwhile or risk you moving on to the next available site. For your part, you would be well advised to understand the casino match bonus process and how it could eventually benefit you.

What is a Casino Match Bonus?

Once you join an online casino site, there will come a time when you will need to make that initial deposit in order to get started playing casino games for real cash. The online casino will typically target that first deposit as an opportunity to give you a bonus amount with which you can wager. The amount of the bonus is usually determined as a matching percentage of the amount you have deposited, up to some preset maximum.

Example: Let’s say casino X is offering a 300% match on the first deposit, up to a maximum bonus of $300. You would them have the option of depositing whatever amount you wish with the first $100 earning the 300% bonus or $300, which would be placed in a special bonus account for the purpose of tracking. In most cases, you would need to contact the casino or provide a bonus code to claim the bonus.

Note: Some matching deposit bonuses will be rendered over the player’s first 1-5 deposits as opposed to just the first one. This will typically allow the player to accumulate larger bonus amounts over a longer period of time.

Those Pesky Wagering Requirements

If you are expecting to get your bonus monies and running off to the bank, not so fast. Every bonus offer from an online casino comes with strings attached called “terms and conditions.” Do you really get the money? Well, yes and no. You can get the money or a portion thereof if you can clear the promotion’s terms and conditions. For the most part, there are two significant wagering requirements you’ll need to address: how the money is wagered and the ominous rollover or play through requirement.

The wagering requirements usually address which games can be played, how much can be wagered at the same time and some sort of cap on the amount of winnings you can earn from the free play. The most common restriction is only permitting players to play designated slots. This provides the online casino with a great opportunity to promote certain games while also forcing its players to use their bonus monies on something that heavily favors the casino. It’s important to remember that should you actually hit a major jackpot, the amount you are allowed to claim might be restricted to a cap amount.

As you are making the necessary wagers, you will also be moving forward towards fulfilling the offer’s rollover requirement. As stated, the rollover requirement in the number of times you have to bet the bonus amount and/or deposit amount before any amount associated with the bonus can be claimed as real cash. For an online casino operation, the typical rollover requirement is stated as 40x the bonus amount or 20x the bonus/deposit amount combined. Example: You deposit $100, get the $300 bonus with a 40x rollover requirement. That means you will have to wager $12,000 ($300 x 40) within the casino before you can actually make that $300 available for withdrawal. To make things a little more difficult, not all games award you a dollar rollover credit for each dollar spent. Some table games offer significantly less credit because of the house’s diminished advantage.

Here’s the bottom line. Free is free. While it might be difficult to turn a matching bonus into real cash, there’s always a chance it can happen as long as an online casino is willing to give you that chance. Your job is to be patient and try to focus on the online casino(s) that is offering the most lucrative monetary bonus with the most player friendly wagering requirements.