The same way as their real life counterparts, online casinos try to attract new players and maintain their existing player base by offering fair games, good conditions and solid bonuses and promotions. While offline establishments have the advantage of being able to offer a free meal or drink, vouchers and other gifts to their players, online casinos have only two ways or rewarding their customers: money and free playtime.
Online casino bonuses are of several basic types - no-deposit bonuses, welcome packages, matches on deposits, periodical promotions or loyalty bonuses. Let's see what these mean, and what you have to keep in mind when choosing one of them.
Not all online casinos offer this type of bonus to its new users. A no-deposit bonus is basically an amount of free money, offered as a bonus when registering to an online gambling establishment. Keep in mind that this bonus is clearly only for playing - usually none or only a small portion of the winnings generated using this bonus can be cashed out, and usually only after a real money deposit is made.
Deposit matches - usually on the first deposit made by a new player, but sometimes on others as well - are a certain percentage of the amount of the deposit, up to a preset value. Some casinos only offer this type of bonus for the first ever deposit made in the player account, others reward the first deposit of each week or month, or deposits made on Sundays, for example.
These bonuses always have wagering requirements associated with them, so read the terms carefully before opting in.
Again, not all casinos organize such promotions. When they do, the promotions are weekly or monthly, or associated with certain special occasions (like Christmas or Thanksgiving, for example). These might consist of deposit matches, special tournaments and freerolls, as well as free cash - depending on the casino.
Every casino I have met so far has rewarded loyal players in one way or another. Loyalty is usually measured in points - complementary points, loyalty points, whatever their name is - and the points accumulated by the player can be exchanged for objects or cash bonuses later on. Usually, the higher amount of comp points a player accumulates in a given period of time, the higher the rank he can get, and the more benefits he can access.
These bonuses are usually a combination of several bonus types described above. A welcome package at online casinos can consist of free cash, matches on several deposits, access to special bonus competitions, freerolls and tournaments, and sometimes even a given amount of loyalty points. For example, the slots player welcome package of a certain online casino consists of deposit matches up to $10.000, 100 free spins on slots and an entry to a specific tournament with a great prize pool.
Remember - there's no such thing as free money, so always be aware of the terms and conditions associated with bonuses. The different casino games available can count in different proportions towards the wagering requirements associated with bonuses - for example, the requirements of some can be fulfilled only by playing slots, but not blackjack and roulette. If the terms associated with the bonus are not favorable to you, it's wiser not to opt in.