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Online casino bonuses – the best in the US 2021

Online casino bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. Some include free cash, others free spins, and some just add credit to your deposit. What never changes is that all of them give you a boost so you can play for longer. 

But how do you decide which bonus to pick? We created this guide to the best casino bonuses in the US so you can better understand how they work, how to use them to your advantage, and if casino bonuses can help you win real money.

How we pick the best bonuses for you

We use strict criteria to make sure we only select the best bonuses. After looking at all the US casinos available right now, we look at what the best of the best have in common and set this as our gold standard.

If a bonus doesn't match up to the standard we've defined as a team, we make this crystal clear in our casino reviews. We've listed exactly how we evaluate bonuses below.

  1. Guide For Online Gambling 01

    1.

    Safety

    Our #1 priority is to ensure that both the bonus and the online casino are 100% safe for our patrons. If an operator doesn’t have a license to operate or the bonus rules aren’t clear, we won’t recommend them.

  2. Bonus presents

    2.

    Type of bonus

    The type of bonus is an important factor — generally, a casino deposit bonus of $400-$1,000 is good and even more so if it comes with a no deposit bonus for some free spins or free cash. We rate bonuses based on their size, the deposit amount needed, and whether they are available to new players, existing players, or both.

  3. Legal Online Casino Illustration

    3.

    The fine print

    Our experts dive into the terms and conditions to review even the smallest of details. It’s our way of making sure that you don’t receive the short end of the stick. We like to see wagering requirements of 10x-30x for match bonuses and 1x-5x for no deposit bonuses. We also look at the game and time restrictions, cash-out limits, and the overall fairness of the bonus rules.

  4. Finger hovering over game options

    4.

    The casino’s overall offering

    It’s not all about the bonus. Sometimes, it’s about the rest— we like to see 1-3 existing-player promotions, VIP bonuses, tournaments, and loyalty club rewards — all of which we consider when rating a gambling site.

A closer look at the different casino bonus types

If there’s one thing you need to understand before you dip your toes in online gambling, it’s the different types of casino bonuses. Figuring out how the best casino bonuses work, who can claim them, and when you can do so is perhaps the most important part of your experience. But to do that, you first need to know the types of bonuses.

Casino Welcome Bonuses
Welcome bonus
The name of this bonus speaks for itself and is available to all new players as a way of enticing you to try an online casino. The casino welcome bonus comes in many forms, but the most common is a match bonus. That means the casino will match the amount you deposit. For example, if you deposit $10 for a 100% match bonus, you will receive another $10 to play with. The welcome bonus is usually subject to wagering requirements and anything between 10 and 30x the bonus amount is standard in the US.
Casino Free Spins Bonus
Free spins
Free spins are online casino promos that you can only use on slots. Thankfully, casino operators hand them out regularly in batches of 10, 20, 40, 50, 100, or more. Many welcome bonuses nowadays come with free spins. For example, Golden Nugget gives new players 200 free spins on 88 Fortunes Megaways on top of the match bonus. Existing players can partake in free spins promos too, and these come with wagering requirements — 10x-30x are standard for deposit and no deposit spins.
Casino No Deposit Bonus
One of the best online casino bonuses is where you get something without using your own money. In most instances, you only need to register an account to receive a no deposit bonus for some free bonus money — usually around $10 to $20. Some online casinos will require you to use a bonus code to claim, while others will credit the bonus money automatically. Naturally, no deposit promos come with wagering requirements, which are usually set at 1x-5x depending on the type of game you wish to play.
Online Casino Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs
In essence, loyalty programs reward you for being an active player. The most popular is a point-based loyalty program where you earn points each time you wager. Earning points allow you to progress through the loyalty tiers — typically, the higher tiers in the program come with better rewards and VIP status. USA casino bonuses will often comprise double or triple loyalty points when playing selected games, which you can keep or exchange for cash or other perks once you have earned points. Online casinos part of a land-based venue will often let you use your points to purchase discounts for hotel stays and more.

Together, these make up some of the best online casino bonuses you’ll come across online. As always, there are other types of bonuses, too. Some of these are specific to a game or device and deserve mention here.

Game-specific bonuses

One option available at online casinos is game-specific bonuses. Simply put, these are bonuses you can claim to try out specific games. 

The most popular of these is a free spins bonus on online slots. These may form part of the welcome bonus, while some online casinos run regular free spins bonuses on new or popular slots each month. Keep in mind you’d need to claim the bonus before playing the specific game.

Top casino bonuses are also available on live casino games, blackjack, roulette, and video poker. As always, the game contributions for each game vary when you need to fulfill the wagering requirements, which is usually around 30x-150x depending on the gambling site.

You can check out the below games pages to discover the top game-specific casino bonuses.

Slots
Slots
Live Casino
Live casino
Woman playing at mobile casino

Mobile bonuses

You’ll find that many gambling sites will encourage you to use your mobile device. Some do so by providing you a bonus when you download the iOS or Android app, others run the same online casino bonuses on desktop and mobile. That way, you can jump between devices without a hitch. That's especially true at the best US mobile casinos.

We like to see match bonuses of nothing less than 100% up to $500, while no deposit bonuses on mobile are not uncommon. The mobile casino bonuses page is where you'll find some of our recommended promos.

The best casino bonuses by type

While the online casinos listed above all hold a general solid rating, here we specifically chose them for their bonus offerings. 

With the help of the Time2play rating system, we’re able to look closely at every little detail, from the bonus rules to the wagering requirements. Simply put, it’s our way of making sure that each one is up to scratch. 

Based on our research of the US casino market, a 100% deposit match offer exceeding $750 is what you can expect at most of the top operators. Matches of over 100% aren’t common, but we rate them highly when they do show up. For the best of the best, we expect to see any deposit match be double or even triple-tiered, by adding in a no-deposit bonus or some free spins. Wagering requirements of 16x-30x are widespread for deposit matches, so anything under 15x rates well in our book, the lower the better. 

With no-deposit bonuses, US casinos usually set the wagering requirements at 1x, so you may want to shop around if you see anything above. As for free spins and no-deposit bonuses, here’s the lowdown; most no-deposit bonuses are in the $10-$20 range, but they can go higher. We save our top scores for $50+ bonuses, but those are super-rare in the current market. For free spins, it depends on whether they need a deposit or not. A top-scoring no-deposit offer will need to serve up 50 free spins, while if it needs a deposit, we’d expect 200+ from the best.

With that in mind, here are some of the most common types of casino bonuses and where to find them.

Can casino bonuses help you win real money?

In short, absolutely! However, there are some factors to consider, such as the wagering requirements you need to fulfill before you can cash out your winnings. All of the best online casino deals, whether free spins or a deposit match, are there to give you a boost so you can win real money as long as you stick to the terms and conditions. The only time you can’t win real money is when you play demo games.

Do bonuses benefit the casinos themselves?

It’s completely natural to wonder if online casinos benefit from giving customers bonuses. The short answer is that they do, but there’s a simple reason why casinos have them: to attract new players. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you are getting something out of it, too. In theory, it’s a win-win situation.

It’s not just about attracting new players, though. Once you’ve registered an account and claimed the sign-up bonus, online casinos want you to stick around— this is where reload bonuses and other incentives come in.

In fact, online casinos spend most of their marketing budget on retaining players through online casino promotions. And that’s why each type of bonus carries a different benefit for online casinos.

Bonus typeBenefit to casino
Welcome bonuses

To attract new players

Reload bonuses

To keep you coming back

Loyalty & VIP programs

To award those that stick around

How to make casino bonuses work for you

Top online casino bonuses are also there to benefit you. How? By boosting your balance so you can go and win money. But you need to understand how casino bonuses work and which ones to pick to get the most out of your experience. Below are a few tips on how to make bonuses work for you.

  1. Different bonus types

    1.

    Bonus type makes a difference

    Don’t instantly be impressed by a big number bonus flashing in the banner of a casino’s homepage. Read more into the type of bonus and learn how it works. A deposit match will give you a certain amount of bonus cash based on your first deposit, while a cashback will refund your losses up to a certain amount. The biggest difference? Cashback bonuses only benefit you if you lose your first few.

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    2.

    2 (or 3!) bonuses are better than 1

    The deposit match is the iconic casino bonus. Put in $100, and we’ll give you another $100 in bonus cash. Now that’s great, but there are plenty of places that offer more. Why not opt for a deposit match and a no-deposit bonus? Or a deposit match + free spins? Or, in the best cases, a deposit match + a no deposit + free spins!

  3. Man betting small number of chips on bonus with low wagering requirement

    3.

    Lowest wagering requirements = Best wagering requirements

    The best casino deposit bonus is the one with the lowest wagering requirements. Don’t get so lost in the size of the bonus that you forget to read the rules. The number of times you need to play through a bonus will determine how quickly you can cash out your winnings. These can start as low as 1x and go up to 150x.

  4. Bonuses on different game types

    4.

    Game types contribute differently to wagering requirements

    It’s important to understand that not all games have the same contribution towards fulfilling the bonus wager requirements. Some of them don’t contribute at all — usually jackpots and live casino games. Slots generally contribute the most (50%-100%), followed by table games like online baccarat (10%-20%). But this will vary from casino to casino, so be careful where you choose to play.

  5. Casino Bonus Terms And Conditions

    5.

    Check for further T&Cs

    There are a couple of areas that can really trip up new players when it comes to bonus terms, so here’s what we recommend you watch out for: 1) Minimum deposit limits. If a bonus has a minimum deposit limit of $30, and you deposit $20, you won’t get the bonus. If that’s a welcome bonus which is exclusively claimable on your first deposit… that would suck. The other thing to watch out for is time limits and expiry on bonus cash. Most places give you 30 days to gamble through the wagering requirements, but if that clause is hiding in the T&C’s, losing $500 in bonus cash because of that would also suck.

Newbies corner - how do casino bonuses work?

It’s not at all that difficult to find the best casino bonuses online — but first, you need to know what you’re signing up for. Generally speaking, the biggest online casino bonus isn’t always the best and it all comes down to which one has the most favorable terms and conditions. We created this section to give you the ins and outs of what to look out for when sizing up the bonus rules.

Understanding the terms

You’ll want to check the T&Cs before you accept an online casino bonus. We will never recommend a bonus that doesn’t come with trustworthy terms, but that doesn’t mean you should skip reading through them. On the contrary, reading the bonus rules will help you better understand how they work and highlight everything you need to know.

  • Deposit limits

    Deposit limits are the amount of money you need to deposit to be eligible for a casino bonus. The minimum is not set very high and usually starts at $10 or $20, while some gambling sites may require $100 or more to claim a high-roller deposit casino bonus. The minimum deposit amount is an important factor to consider so that you don’t exceed your bankroll.

  • Game eligibility & contributions

    The bets you place on casino games will count towards clearing the wagering requirements. However, which games contribute to the wager rules will vary from one online casino to the next. Some may even remove specific game types altogether, such as progressive jackpots and live casino games. Slots have a weighting of 50%-100% at most operators, followed by table games and video poker at around 10%-20%. You need to check the game contributions to avoid betting more than you need to.

  • Bonus codes

    Most online casino bonus promos are credited automatically, while some will require you to enter a code. Using casino bonus codes is similar to using a coupon code at online retail stores and is redeemed by navigating to the cashier section. You will need to enter the bonus code before making a deposit and play. If you don’t, you may risk not receiving your internet casino bonus. The same goes for no deposit bonus codes.

  • Wagering requirements

    Wagering requirements, also called playthrough, is the amount of money you need to wager before you can convert your bonus into real money. These range between 10x and 30x when playing slots at top bonus casinos, but some go up to 150x on video slots and table games. For example, a $100 bonus with wagering requirements of 10x means you’ll need to bet $1,000 to release your winnings.

  • Cash-out limits

    The withdrawal limits vary in the US, which is why it’s so important to pick only the best online casinos and bonuses. While you cannot cash out your bonus directly, you will be able to withdraw any winnings once the wager rules are completed. Online casinos usually allow players to cash out as little as $1, with maximum cash-out limits set at around $1,000-$5,000 per week — the best ones have no limits at all. Checking the cash-out limits will help you decide which bonus works for you.

  • Other restrictions

    There may be time limits to clear the bonus wager rules, usually around 30-60 days. Checking the ts & cs will ensure you don’t miss the expiration date. Reload bonuses, particularly those available over weekends, typically end at midnight on Sunday. Certain countries and payment methods may also be excluded, so checking the terms will confirm if you are eligible to claim a bonus and if your preferred deposit method is supported.

  • Only use bonuses from legal & licensed casinos

  • Check that the terms are transparent

  • Avoid casinos with hidden fine print

  • Look for casinos with positive reviews

  • Beware of high wagering requirements

  • Read the bonus rules before claiming

  • Avoid blacklisted online casinos

Are bonuses safe?

The easiest way to stay safe is to check all the fine-print. The purpose of our casino bonus guide is to help you identify what to look out for, but keeping the below checklist in mind when looking for the best online casino bonuses will help you determine which are safe and which are not.

The safest online casino promotions are at legal gambling sites, where the terms and conditions are explained in detail without any hidden legal terms and clear instructions on how to claim.

How to claim online casino bonuses

Staking your claim on your casino bonus isn't rocket-science, by any stretch of the imagination. That said, as a new player or someone just starting out in the online gambling world — it's always best practice to research before-hand and know what you're getting into. 

To show you just how easy it actually is, we're going to walk you through the entire process. It's short, don't worry.

Slide through the below cards for a step-by-step breakdown.

 

Man navigating online casino interface
  1. 1

    Pick a casino bonus

    First, you need to look at the latest casino bonuses and then select the one you want. Make sure that you only pick casino bonuses from legal operators. You’ll want to read through the bonus rules and make sure that everything is above board.

  2. 2

    Create an account

    Next, you need to register an account at your preferred site — which shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes. You’ll need to provide your personal information and complete the registration form to activate your account. If you run into any trouble, reach out to customer support.

  3. 3

    Make a deposit

    Now navigate to the cashier section where you need to claim your bonus, select your preferred payment method, and make a deposit. Need a bonus code? Remember to enter yours before funding your account. The same goes for when you are using a no deposit bonus.

  4. 4

    Play casino games

    Once you’ve claimed your casino bonus, you can start playing immediately. You will need to satisfy the wagering requirements before you can convert your bonus to real money. Remember to check if there are any time limits and restricted games.

FAQs