No Deposit Bonus Casinos
The term “no deposit bonus” pops up a lot when browsing online casinos for the first time. If you're completely new to online gambling, the reason casinos emphasize “no deposit” is that they generally tie the best bonus offers to a new player's initial deposit. So as a marketing tactic, some casinos alter the original bonus for new players so that no deposit is required.
Does this mean you can simply sign up for any number of “no deposit bonus” casinos and get free play for nothing? Or even withdraw free money? Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. While the casino may give you a no deposit bonus before you've loaded your account with any funds, there is a wagering requirement you have to meet before withdrawing any winnings from that bonus.
“No deposit bonus” is also used as a catch-all phrase to describe any bonus, tied to a deposit or not. Online casinos often reward loyal players with free spins or free play when they reload their accounts.
The Player's Guide to No Deposit Bonus Casinos
This guide will explain in detail how the various no deposit bonuses work and provide you with some advice on how to best make use of them.
How Initial No Deposit Bonuses Work at Online Casinos
Let's start with no deposit bonuses which are tied to the creation of a new account. The casino will usually give you these once you have verified your identity and place of residence. This process requires that you send a scan, or picture, of your government-issued photo ID along with a utility bill or something similar that proves residency.
You may get some free play or free spins as a no deposit bonus with your new account. It's important to remember that there is almost always a wagering requirement. You may use the free play or free spins with no penalty. However, if you haven't wagered enough real money to meet this requirement, the wins from your no deposit bonus will be voided when you make your first withdrawal. There may also be a time limit imposed to meet this wagering requirement (generally anywhere from 48 hours to a week), after which any winnings are automatically forfeited.
One variation of an initial no deposit bonus casino offer is a “cashback” or “insurance” offer, where the casino offers to cover your losses up to a certain amount. For example, they'll offer to reimburse your first $100 in losses in the form of free play. These offers usually don't have further wagering requirements attached to them, but it's important to note that you can't withdraw the free play as if it were cash. You can only use it to play games, in an attempt to recoup your losses using house money. It is also only good for a limited time, sometimes as little as 24 hours after creating your account.
How Ongoing No Deposit Bonuses Casinos Operate
If you spend time regularly playing at a particular online casino and become an established customer, they may send additional bonuses that are not tied to deposits or replenishments. It's not uncommon for casinos to send players a few free spins or a little free play, especially if you consistently wager significant amounts of money or occupy a high tier in their player's club. Offers of this nature usually don't have wagering requirements, but it is a good idea to check the terms and conditions to make sure.
How To Best Make Use of No Deposit Bonuses With Wagering Requirements
The wagering requirements for initial no deposit bonuses are usually pretty high. Thirty times the free play amount or your winnings from the free spins is an approximate industry standard.
Whether or not this is achievable depends on how you play. If you are a high roller and plan to wager regularly, this is attainable. It will act as a bonus which can temporarily increase your expected return.
If your regular play sets you beneath the wagering requirement threshold or you are uncertain about becoming a regular patron at the casino, you should have a different strategy. There is no harm in using the free play or free spins, but you must be prepared to write off the winnings if they aren't high enough to satisfy the requirement. If they do result in a big jackpot, consider it as a larger free play amount that you can use to cover the wagering requirement. All of the subsequent play from jackpot funds will generate winnings that can be withdrawn.
The Cashback Advantage
Many players regard “insurance” or “cashback” offers as the best type of no deposit bonus because this free play coverage significantly ups your expected return. Of course, these offers aren't as advantageous to casinos, so they are harder to find. Check the terms and conditions carefully to see if there's a daily or weekly limit on how much of your losses are covered; don't assume that the total amount can be used all at once.
The Best No Deposit Bonuses
The best no deposit bonus situation is a cashback offer, free play or free spins with no wagering requirements attached to them. Those are hard to find, however—especially among initial signup offers. An offer with a wagering requirement can still be useful to you, however, if you happen to hit a jackpot while using it!