Best Casino Bonuses

Local Online casinos operate in a highly competitive market which means they provide plenty of incentives to attract new players. In order to help you take advantage of these, we explain and analyse the different types of bonuses on offer so that you can make an informed choice and get the best value.

We compare the different types bonuses including  but not only  welcome and sign-up bonuses available to new players, show you where you can find no deposit and free spin bonuses, and tell you who has the best bonuses for our New Zealand based players.

Welcome bonus

Our recommended online casinos all offer new players an introductory bonus when they set up a real money account. This can take different forms and varies from casino to casino, but new players are generally offered free money or free credits to play with as means of encouraging them to play at one particular site over another. There are, naturally conditions applied to these new player bonuses, but nevertheless they provide good incentives to players looking to play at a new site.

The most frequently offered sign up bonus is what is known as a match bonus, where your first 3 or 4 deposits are matched at various levels e.g., 100% on a first deposit, 25% on your second deposit, 50% on a third deposit, etc., which can give players up to $1200 in bonuses overall. Time limits generally apply as to how long you have to claim the full range of bonuses, while wagering requirements (see below) determine when you can begin to withdraw money from your account. You’ll receive a staged match bonus when you open a real money account at all of our casinos.

Wagering/playthrough requirements

While online casino welcome bonuses are great and can offer new players some outstanding value, it’s important to understand the concept of wagering requirements (a.k.a. playthrough requirements) if you’re to get a complete handle on how good the offer is. The three elements that you should look at most closely are:

  • the size of the playthrough requirement (usually expressed as a multiple, such as 25x or 40x, for example);
  • whether the playthrough requirement applies only to your deposit amount or to the deposit + bonus;
  • the contributions different games make towards enabling you to meet these requirements.

If a casino offers a Welcome Bonus with a wagering requirement of 30x, this can mean either a) before you can cash out any of the bonus amount you have to wager 30x the sum you deposited to receive the bonus, or b) you have to wager 30x your deposit + the bonus amount before you are able to cash out any of the bonus money you received or any winnings made when playing with the bonus.

Take as an example a casino that offers new players a 100% match on a first deposit with a 30x playthrough requirement. You decide to open your account with a $300 initial deposit (creating a $600 bankroll). In scenario a) you will therefore need to wager $9000 before you can withdraw any of the welcome bonus funds, or in scenario b) you would have to wager $18000 before bonus funds are available for you to cash out.

However, it is important to remember that these are wagering requirements; that is, you have to bet this amount, not lose this amount. When you consider that most online pokies have a payout percentage upwards of 95%, even if your luck was entirely against you the entire time you played and you hit no sizeable jackpot or bonus wins, the losses associated with wagers of $9000 would be in the region of $450, which most welcome bonuses more than match.

When looking at a casino’s wagering requirement, you should also take note of the contributions that different games make towards it (usually expressed as a %). At all of the online casinos that we recommend, online pokies contribute to the playthrough requirement 100% i.e., every dollar you wager counts as $1 towards meeting the requirements. While this is good news for pokies players, for players of table games the story often isn’t as positive and these games will generally make a much lower contribution, anywhere between 20% down to zero. Therefore, if you like to play games other than pokies, the contributions of other games to the wagering requirement should be a determining factor as to how the good the value of any Welcome Bonus is.

The industry average playthrough requirement is now 30x, although it is still possible to find them as low as 20x, while the highest to be found are now 50x. However, take into account all of the factors described above when analysing a playthrough requirement and how any given Welcome Bonus suits your particular needs and playing style.

No deposit casino bonus

These bonuses give you a set number of free bets (usually around 1500) to play with when you open an account, without the need to make a deposit. There is a set time in which you have to use these free bets, and any winnings (up to a predetermined amount) are yours to play with once you add funds to your account. You’ll find No Deposit bonuses at Casino Mate. A similar offer to no deposit bonuses is a  free spins bonus, which offers free pokie spins to new or existing players.

Free play bonus

There are two main ways in which new players can pick up free play bonuses at online casinos.

The first is through a no deposit bonus, which is sometimes awarded to new players simply for signing up for a real money account, and may come in the form of a set amount of free money to play with or a set number of free spins on a particular pokie or game. There will be limits on how much you can win with such a bonus, and winnings will be subject to wagering requirements, but nevertheless you are getting the opportunity to play for free with casino money and so these sorts of bonuses can offer excellent value.

One of the most attractive free play bonuses currently on offer is that at Platinum Play. When you sign up for a new player account, you are instantly awarded $1500 in free bets to play with for the next 24 hours. You can use this amount on any online pokie of your choice and at the end of the allotted time, any winnings up to $100 are yours to continue playing with, once you make a first deposit into your account (minimum $20). This innovative bonus is an excellent way to discover new games and to find your way around the casino site, and is particularly good value for pokies players.

Free spin bonuses

A growing number of online casinos, in order to make their Welcome Bonuses more competitive, are offering free spins as part of their introductory offer, usually alongside a % match on your first deposit(s). Most casinos offering free spins as part of their sign up bonus allow you to use some or all of the spins before you are required to make a deposit into your account.

These free spins will usually be on a selected pokie (very often a new release or an especially popular game) and you will have a set period of time during which they can be used. Winnings from free spins are, in most cases, yours to continue playing with. If the free spins were awarded on a no deposit bonus basis, you may be required to make an initial deposit before you can continue to play with your winnings.

Our Free Spins page has details of the best free spin bonuses currently on offer for New Zealand pokies players.

Preferred payment bonus

E-wallets are increasingly popular with players because they add extra levels of security and convenience to running an online casino account. You don’t need to share your details with the casino, and there are no withdrawal restrictions as with some other payment methods. Online casinos likewise prefer players to use e-wallets over credit cards and other methods because it means they’re able to accept players from more countries.

As a result, there are a number of preferred payment method bonuses available to players who use selected e-wallets at online casinos. At Royal Vegas casino, players receive a 10% match bonus when they make an initial deposit using the following e-wallets: Skrill, Neteller, uKash, Clickandbuy, Entropym, Ecocard.

Preferred payment method bonuses can also be picked up at Royal Vegas, All Slots and Spin Palace.

Re-load bonus

For instance, you can receive monthly loyalty bonuses or reload bonuses of between 10% – 20% each month on new deposits into your account at Casino.com and All Slots. You can also receive Free Play Bonuses where you get free credits on specific games, or at particular times of the month, at Spin Palace, All Slots, Royal Vegas and Platinum Play. Spin Palace also offers an Anniversary Bonuses, when a year after your opening your account, deposits attract a 100% match bonus plus $5, meaning that a $100 deposit gives you $205 to play with.

Refer a friend bonus

A further popular bonus is the refer a friend bonus, where you are rewarded when someone you recommend opens a real money account. You will receive a set cash amount in your account, and in some cases you receive a bonus each time that friend makes a deposit. Refer a Friend Bonuses are available at William Hill, Royal Vegas and Platinum Play.

High roller and VIP bonus

Loyalty clubs are the means through which online casinos retain their regular players and so they very often provide excellent prizes and rewards. Although there are variations from site to site, most online casino loyalty schemes operate along similar lines, namely that you receive bonus or reward points for every $1 you wager, and after accruing a set number they can then be exchanged for casino credits.

Most online casino loyalty programs have different tiers or levels, with your progress up through the program being dependent on how regularly you play (with assessments usually being made monthly). The rewards are greater and arrive more frequently the higher the level you attain. As well as rewards such as casino credits and other more elaborate prizes, such as holidays, luxury goods and invitations to special events, when you attain higher levels in a loyalty scheme you also benefit from greater withdrawal limits and faster withdrawal times. In most cases, simply opening a new player account is enough to get you started in the loyalty program and most online casinos will give you free bonus points when you join to get you started.

The casinos that we recommend also operate special VIP schemes for those who play very regularly and who make consistently high wagers. These are usually invitation only and offer players enhanced levels of customer support (very often with your own dedicated account manager), invitations to very exclusive events, free entry into prestigious tournaments and a host of other rewards that will enable you to completely immense yourself in the online casino experience.

Table game bonus

For regular table game players, it has to be said that the outlook in terms of bonuses is not as rosy as it is for pokies players. As outlined above, at the casinos that we recommend table games do not always make a very significant contribution to wagering requirements and so if you are a blackjack or roulette player, for instance, it might not always be possible to unlock the full value of some introductory offers. This is why it’s important to have a good understanding of how playthrough requirements work and what to look for when deciding where to play.

Nevertheless, there are some good bonuses designed for the table games players, and the best of the current crop is on offer at 888. After you download the free 888 casino software and register for an account, when you make a first deposit of at least $20 using the promo code “roulette 50” you receive $50 worth of free spins on European roulette, which effectively more than doubles your deposit.

Bottom line

Once you understand how the different types of online casino bonuses work, you will be in a better position to be able to decide which variety of bonus best suits you. Whether it’s a straight deposit match bonus, a free spins bonus, or a Welcome Bonus that comes with a favourable wagering requirement, you should be able to find a bonus that is right for your preferred games, playing style and bankroll. There is good value on offer if you know what to look for and where to find it and so you should take the time to look around and find the appropriate bonus that meets all your playing needs.