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As a new player it is easy to get overwhelmed by the vast amount of online casinos and all their promotions. At HQgambling we list and review the best online casinos to help you find reliable and licensed websites you can play at. We provide information on reliability, licenses, customer service, deposit and withdrawal methods, available languages and many other things.
Last but not least, we also list the best online casino bonus offers, including ones that are exclusively available at HQgambling. Keep reading this page to learn more about these offers!
Looking for more? Check our online casino bonus list!
Online casino bonus terminology
Online casino bonus terminology can be confusing and the lack of knowledge and understanding can cause serious issues. This is why we compiled this useful short glossary to help you understand all the terminology used.
- Bonus code: A code you need to enter in order to claim a specific bonus.
- Cashback bonus: A bonus in which you receive a small percentage of your losses back in the form of bonus money.
- Deposit bonus: A bonus which is only obtainable after a deposit.
- Eligibility requirements: Conditions that must be met before a specific online casino bonus is available to you.
- Free money bonus: A bonus which gives you the ability to play online casino games without having to wager real money.
- Free spins: A bonus which gives you the ability to spin the reels of an online casino slot machine without having to wager real money.
- No deposit bonus: A bonus which does not require a deposit to obtain it.
- Non-sticky bonus: A bonus which is not tied to your deposit. The initial deposit and the bonus money are considered two separate funds.
- Phantom sticky bonus: A sticky bonus in which you are not allowed to withdraw your bonus money, but only your winnings.
- Reload bonus: A deposit bonus exclusively available for existing players.
- Sticky bonus: A bonus which is tied to your deposit. The initial deposit and the bonus money are considered one fund.
- Wagering requirements: Conditions that must be met before you are allowed to request a withdrawal of your funds or winnings.
- Welcome bonus: A bonus exclusively available for new customers registering for the first time.
What is an online casino bonus?
An online casino bonus is a form of promotion to attract (new) customers. It is one of the most distinguishing factors between online casinos. These promotions can enhance your gambling experience by boosting the value of each deposit or by giving you the opportunity to explore certain online casino games without risking your own money.
An online casino bonus can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and there are many different ways to categorize them. In the following sections we will focus on the most common online casino bonus terminology.
Sticky and non-sticky bonuses
What is a sticky bonus?
A sticky bonus is a bonus that “sticks” to your deposit. The initial deposit and the bonus money are considered one fund. This also means that both your initial deposit and the bonus money become subject to wagering requirements. You are not allowed to request a withdrawal of your funds until you meet the conditions.
Usually sticky bonuses offer much bigger bonuses than non-sticky ones, but there are several disadvantages. For example, if you hit a jackpot, while a sticky bonus is active, your winnings will be subject to wagering requirements. This can result in losing all or at least a significant part of your jackpot. Another disadvantage is that, while you are subject to the wagering requirements, you are only allowed to withdraw your initial deposit. By withdrawing your initial deposit you will also forfeit your bonus money and all your winnings.
Some online casinos offer a sticky bonus in which you are not allowed to withdraw your bonus money, but only your winnings. This is called a phantom sticky bonus and is often considered a less favorable online casino bonus.
What is a non-sticky bonus?
A non-sticky bonus is a bonus that doesn’t “stick” to your deposit. The initial deposit and the bonus money are considered two separate funds. This type of bonus allows you to play with the cash balance of your initial deposit first, free of any wagering requirements. You are also free to withdraw your cash balance and winnings at any time. However, by withdrawing your cash balance you will forfeit your bonus money. A non-sticky bonus is often called a lifeline bonus, because it only comes into effect once the initial deposit has been lost, and acts as a lifeline allowing you to continue to play.
Non-sticky bonuses are relatively new, but are gaining in popularity. Most players consider a non-sticky bonus as the best kind of online casino bonus. In certain areas, like the United Kingdom, all bonuses are required to be non-sticky by law.
Deposit and no deposit bonuses
What is a deposit bonus?
A deposit bonus is a bonus which is only obtainable after an initial deposit. This is the most common type of an online casino bonus and can be offered to both new and registered players. Deposit bonuses often offer bigger bonuses than no deposit bonuses.
What is a no deposit bonus?
A no deposit bonus is a bonus which is obtainable without an initial deposit. This is a very appealing kind of an online casino bonus, because it does not require you to deposit any of your own cash. Like deposit bonuses, no deposit bonuses can be offered to both new and registered players. No deposit bonuses are less common and offer smaller bonuses than deposit bonuses.
18+. New Players Only.
Looking for more? Check our online casino bonus list!
Welcome and reload bonuses
What is a welcome bonus?
A welcome bonus is a bonus only available for new customers registering for the first time. The welcome bonus, which is also known as a sign up or first deposit bonus, is a way of attracting new players to an online casino. It usually is the most generous bonus an online casino has to offer. A welcome bonus is usually a deposit bonus, and the bonus amount is often specified as a percentage of the initial deposit and always includes a maximum bonus amount.
For example, Pelaa has a 100% welcome bonus, up to €100, on your first deposit. This offer will match your initial deposit of €100 with €100 bonus money. This will give you a total of €200 to play your favorite online casino games with. Certain promotions, like the one at Pelaa, will combine several offers into a welcome bonus package. In this example the 100% welcome bonus is also combined with 150 free spins, which gives the new player even more incentive to sign up and start playing right away.
Welcome bonuses are always exclusive to new players and can only be claimed once. If you are already registered at your favorite online casino you can check if you qualify for another type of bonus, like the reload bonus.
What is a reload bonus?
A reload bonus is a bonus exclusively available for existing players. Much like a welcome bonus, a reload bonus is usually a form of a deposit bonus, and the bonus amount is often specified as a percentage of the initial deposit and always includes a maximum bonus amount. A reload bonus is a way of keeping registered players interested in that specific online casino. In most cases, the specified bonus percentages will be lower than the ones at a welcome bonus. Unlike welcome bonuses, reload bonuses can be claimed more than once if you meet the criteria. At some online casinos you can claim a reload bonus up to twice a month!
Cashback bonus, free money bonus and free spins
What is a cashback bonus?
A cashback bonus is a bonus in which you receive a small percentage of your losses back in the form of bonus money. The percentage you receive often ranges between 10-20% and is usually calculated over a specific period of time, like a week or a month. Like most other offers there is often an maximum amount of bonus money you can obtain.
The cashback bonus is relatively new in the world of online gambling, but seems to be on the rise in terms of popularity. A cashback bonus can be offered with or without a necessary initial deposit. It is one of the more profitable offers in the long run, especially for high rollers.
No one likes losing money, but a cashback bonus can soften the blow when you are on an unlucky run.
What is a free money bonus?
Free money bonuses give you the ability to play the promoted online casino games without having to wager real money. They can be offered with or without a necessary initial deposit. When you claim a free money bonus you will obtain a relatively small amount of bonus money from the online casino. You can use this to play select casino games without having to wager your own cash. A free money bonus is basically a risk free wager. If you win while using the bonus money you will obtain the winnings, after which the bonus money will be removed from your account. If you lose, you lose nothing but the bonus amount.
What are free spins?
Free spins give you the ability to play the promoted online slot machines without having to wager real money. They can be offered with or without a necessary initial deposit. Usually they are part of a bigger promotion, like a welcome or a loyalty package, but sometimes they are also offered as an in-game reward or as an incentive at your birthday.
What is a loyalty program?
Loyalty programs are designed to retain existing customers by offering all kinds of incentives. A good loyalty program can be really rewarding, especially for loyal high rollers. All the best online casinos offer a loyalty program of some kind.
If you take part in a loyalty program you will be awarded points based on how much money you are spending. The points you accumulate will help you to gain ranks and higher ranks will give access to better rewards and incentives. Certain casino loyalty programs offer weekly or monthly free spins, while others allow members to exchange gained points for specific bonuses.
Each loyalty program will be different, but the one common thread is that spending more money will result in more points, and more points will result in bigger rewards!
Claiming an online casino bonus
How to claim your online casino bonus?
At most online casinos you will receive your bonus automatically, but sometimes you have to manually select or activate your online casino bonus during or right after your registration process.
At HQgambling we make finding and claiming an online casino bonus easy! All you have to do is to check our extensive list of online casino bonuses, find the ones you like and press the “claim your bonus” button. This will open a new tab in your browser with the website of the online casino. Here you can register by entering your personal information.
What is a bonus code?
A bonus code is an specific code you can use to obtain an online casino bonus or activate exclusive incentives. Every bonus code relates to a specific promotion. For instance, if you use the bonus code “PELAA2” on your 2nd deposit at Pelaa you will activate a 50% reload bonus, up to €300! The bonus codes “PELAA3” and “PELAA4” will activate a 25% reload bonus, up to €300, on your third and fourth deposit respectively.
Looking for more? Check our online casino bonus list!
Can you win real money with your online casino bonus?
Yes, you can! By claiming an online casino bonus you will get extra funds to play with, which increases your chances of winning real money. However, and we can’t stress this enough, it is really important to read the fine print on the website of the online casino. These offers will always come with eligibility requirements, wagering requirements and additional terms and conditions.
Eligibility requirements deal with the question whether a specific online casino bonus is available to you or not. We already mentioned the fact that welcome bonuses are only offered to new players. Other eligibility requirements can include your age, your payment method and your country.
Wagering requirements are the hoops you have to jump through before you are allowed to request a withdrawal of your funds or winnings. Usually this means that you must wager the bonus money a specific number of times. It is common to have wagering requirements between 20x to 40x, which means that you have to wager between €2000 and €4000 if you obtained €100 in bonus money.
If your bonus is a sticky bonus you are also required to wager your initial deposit, because the initial deposit and the bonus money “stick” together and are considered one fund. Wagering requirements for sticky bonuses are usually a bit softer than non-sticky bonuses and go as low as 10x to 20x.
Additional terms and conditions
On top of these eligibility and wagering requirements, you will find that additional terms and conditions apply, including:
- a bonus expiration date, which is the deadline for meeting the wagering requirements
- a maximum amount of money you can win with your bonus
- a list of which casino games contribute to your wagering requirements
Again, we would like to emphasize that it is really important that you read all terms and conditions on the website of the online casino before claiming a bonus. Please note that failing to meet any of the requirements might result in your funds being forfeited. We recommend contacting the customer service of the online casino if you have any questions about their terms and conditions.
What is the best online casino bonus?
It is important to look at all aspects of an online casino bonus before claiming it. A promotion offering 500% bonus up to €2000 might sound great, but there might be ridiculous wagering requirements attached to it. The biggest bonus isn’t always the best one. At HQgambling we are always on the lookout for the very best online casino bonuses. Keep checking back with us to find our latest and most exclusive offers.
An online casino bonus is a great way to boost your initial deposit and start playing with more funds. A welcome bonus is meant to attract new players, while a reload bonus is meant to keep existing players attached the the online casino. You can claim a bonus if you fulfill the eligibility requirements. Withdrawing your funds or winnings becomes possible after fulfilling the wagering requirements and additional terms and conditions.
We want to emphasize, one last time, that it is really important that you read the fine print on the website of the online casino before claiming a bonus. Remember that the biggest bonus is not necessarily the best bonus!
Now you know (almost) everything there is to know about these promotions. Go through our lists, read our reviews, pick your favorite and claim the best online casino bonus available!
At HQgambling we see gambling as a form of entertainment, but we are aware that for some people it can become a destructive hobby when things go out of control. Read our Responsible Gaming guide to make sure you are playing in a safe and responsible way.