Latest Post

Online casinos bonuses – not what they used to be

I have a confession to make. The bonuses given by online casinos, especially the ‘first deposit bonuses’ used to be a great deal. So good that I could not resist taking up quite a few of them and making a bit of money from them. This may have led, at least in a small way, to the casinos adding more stringent requirements which has made them less attractive to the player.Online casino bonuses

For those who are unfamiliar with the online casino bonus structure, the ‘first deposit bonus’ or ‘first deposit match bonus’ is bonus money that the online casino will give to the player when they first sign up and make their first deposit into their account. The casino will then match this to a certain percentage, often to 100% but sometimes more. A common offer is the 100% bonus up to $100 (or Pounds or Euro). Simply put, this means that if you deposit $100 on your first deposit the casino will give you another $100 free.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well like most offers there are terms and conditions. When I was taking up these offers the terms were quite favourable to the player. For example, one of the common conditions was that the player would need to play through the original depost and bonus money 5 times before the player could withdraw the money. This menas that in the example above, where the player would receive a $100 bonus on a $100 deposit, the player would need to gamble $1,000 before withdrawing. There were also limitations on which games could be played, with blackjack typically not being one of them.

If you consider that the house edge for a typical blackjack game is about 0.5%, then you can calculate that after playing $1,000 you could expect to lose $50. Of course, there could be wide fluctuations from this expected loss (both positive and negative), but on average the player could expect to cash out $950, giving a profit of $450.

Over the years the online casinos gradually made the casinos less and less attractive to the player. The next move was to make the ‘play-through’ requirements higher, and then to remove blackjack from the list of games that would contribute to the play-through requirements, or at least make it so that playing blackjack would only contribute a certain percentage to your play-through requirement.

I can’t blame the online casinos for making these deals less attractive. They are businesses after all, and could not stay in business if these bonuses are too attractive. Having said all of this, bonus money is still free money, and better than nothing at all. So for those of you still looking for some bonus money, especially for playing blackjack, I provide a list of the current bonuses on offer from some of the best online casinos. Please note that these offers change regularly and although I will endevour to keep them up to date you will need to check the casino websites for the most current offer and complete terms and conditions.

Casino Bonus Core Terms and Conditions
7 Sultans Casino Make your first deposit at 7Sultans and we will match it 100% up to €/$500 FREE Must play your bonus money 30x before being credited to your balance and withdrawn. Wagering on all Blackjacks except Classic Blackjack contributes 10% to this requirement.
Royal Vegas Casino Make a first deposit of up to €/£/$250 and we’ll match it by 100%, to give you up to €/£/$250 extra. Bonus amounts credited to a Player’s Bonus Balance are subject to 30 times play-through/wagering requirements before they can be withdrawn. All Blackjacks except Classic Blackjack contribute 10% towards this requirement.
Jackpot City Casino We’ll give you 100% back on your first deposit up to £/$ 200 – that’s up to £/$ 200 free!  The Sign-Up Bonus granted to you must be played through 50 times (50x) before you will be able to withdraw any winnings made using the bonus money portion of your balance. Blackjacks (excluding classic) contribute 10% to this requirement.
Blackjack Ballroom Casino We are giving away $500 and 1 Hour of Real Casino Play FREE. You will need to place 20 or more bets and win $20 over the original $500, in order to collect any winnings. To claim your winnings – you will need to deposit a minimum of $20 into your casino account. Maximum win on the Free Play is $100.
Wild Jack Casino Get a 100% match bonus, up to 100 credits, on your first deposit. The value of bonuses awarded must be played 30 times, or until the bonus is lost – whichever happens first – before the player may make a withdrawal. All Blackjack games except Classic Blackjack contribute 10% towards this requirement.

Note: Classic blackjack is the traditional version of the game. Many other newer versions have since been created including BJ Surrender, Spanish 21, Pontoon and others. The main difference is that in classic blackjack a blackjack will be paid 3:2, whereas as other versions of the game are often paid at 1:1. Other rule variations compensate to some extent the loss from the reduced blackjack payout, but almost always result in a house edge that is worse for the player. Check the specific rules at each casino.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /