Casino bonuses are the most favourite part of gaming for many players. They give you more value for money and give you extra funds so you can play longer. But, do casinos give them out just for fun? This article will dive into the psychology of bonuses and help you discover what effects they can actually have on you.

What Different Types of Bonuses Are For

Nowadays, there are many types of bonuses that casinos use to entice players. Whether you’re into slots, live dealer games, or table games, chances are you’ll find the perfect promo to use. We’ll list the most popular ones below, but you can also find out more about them if you’re new to the casino scene.

Sign Up Bonuses

Welcome offers most often come in the form of match bonuses that you can use on various casino games (depending on the offer). For example, a casino might offer a 100% up to €100 for your first deposit. That means that if you deposit €50, you’ll get another €50 in bonus money.

You’ll also see welcome promotions that include things like free spins or bets. Regardless of the type of offer, the goal is to attract new players and give them an incentive to register. This has become standard practice in the industry, so you’ll see that most online casinos have welcome packages.

Reload Bonuses

It’s one thing to get new players, but to keep them takes the effort to a whole new level. That’s where reload bonuses come in. They’re a type of bonus that’s designed to entertain existing players. These offers aren’t as generous as the welcome ones, but they may be available more often.

For example, a casino might give a 50% reload bonus each Wednesday. This way, players always know they have something to count on to boost their bankroll. It’s also an excellent tactic to increase traffic on those days when the site isn’t so busy. It’s kind of like a happy hour but for casinos.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a step further in customer retention. They’re designed to keep players active on a regular basis and reward them for each new milestone. Casinos have full freedom to design them however they want, based on what they hope to achieve and how much they want to stand out from the competition.

For instance, a common problem online casinos encounter is that players don’t get around to completing their accounts. So they create a loyalty program that you join automatically by registering, and you get your first reward when you submit and verify your details.

The type of loyalty scheme you see most often is based on collecting points and earning new statuses. Each level comes with its own benefits, so you always have something to work towards. The more you play and wager, the better the rewards you claim.

This makes gambling feel like a video game, providing a more well-rounded and immersive experience. As well as that, it contributes to higher customer satisfaction, as players get a sense of accomplishment when they reach the next milestone.


Referral bonuses kill two birds with one stone— they attract new players and keep existing ones happy. A lot of online casinos also like to cultivate active communities, making this type of offer even more beneficial for their business.

After all, if you like playing at online casinos, and you can do so with friends, you’re much more likely to recommend a casino to them when both of you can get something out of it. Gambling is a social activity, so it’s no wonder operators use this aspect to their advantage.


Losing is a normal part of online gaming, but it can definitely leave a damper on the player’s experience and even make them feel like it’s the casino’s fault. To counter this, a lot of operators introduce cashback bonuses. These can be part of a loyalty program, a regular treat, or they can also count as special promotions.

Regardless of the form they come in, they’re an excellent morale and bankroll boost that a lot of people want to take advantage of. For casinos themselves, they’re a small price to pay for keeping their customer satisfaction up.

How Our Brains Respond to Rewards

The reason bonuses are so popular isn’t just because they give you more value for your money. It’s well known that people are motivated by dopamine, and when you get rewarded, your brain floods with this happy hormone.

You can get instant gratification with no deposit bonuses or free spins, giving you a reason to keep playing and a more positive opinion of the casino. The effect is even stronger when you feel like you’ve earned the bonus (as we mentioned before with loyalty programs).

Couple this with the stimuli of casino games and the adrenaline they provide, and you’ve got a recipe for satisfied players who log in regularly.

The Terms

Of course, casinos don’t give out bonuses simply out of the goodness of their heart. Yes, it’s a great strategy for improving the customer’s experience, but it can also be a guarantee that players will stick around for longer than they might have anticipated.

Why? Because if they want to get their winnings, they need to meet the terms and conditions of the bonus. The most important ones include:

  • Wagering requirements
  • Time limits
  • Max bet/withdrawal limits
  • Verification requirements
  • Game restrictions

Wagering Requirements

Usually, you can claim your bonus when you make a qualifying deposit. It will then be credited to your account as bonus money, meaning that you won’t be able to withdraw it before you meet the wagering requirements.

For example, if the terms say that a 30x rollover is applied, it means that you have to wager 30x the amount of your deposit/bonus before you can cash out. Let’s say you started playing with €10. 30 x €10 is €300— so that’s the amount you need to wager.

Time Limits

Your bonus won’t be in your account forever. You can have anywhere between 24 hours and 30 days to use it and cash it out before the casino cancels it. The exact time limits vary from offer to offer, but the gist is that this is how casinos make sure you actually play. This also creates a sense of urgency, as you can feel like you’re going to miss out.

Max Bet/Withdrawal Limits

Winnings and withdrawals are often capped because bonuses are meant to entice you to play regularly, not give you massive wins. The goal is to make you see the potential in a game and give you a taste of what the casino has to offer.

Game Restrictions

Bonuses can often be used only on certain games. For example, you can use your reload bonus only on specific slots or you’ll get that cashback only for bets placed in the live casino section. This is a way for the casino to promote parts of their website or it can even be a partnership deal with a game provider. The player’s benefit is that they get to discover something new, but it also means they probably can’t use the bonus on what they truly want to.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes When Choosing a Bonus

Don’t Go For the Highest Bonus

When you see a welcome offer like “200% up to €100,000”, you can be tempted to register and deposit right away. But, this doesn’t mean you’ll get €100,000, just that the casino will double your deposit amount. You can end up disappointed and agree to very strict terms that don’t actually let you play with high amounts.

Read the Terms and Conditions

Pay attention to all the key points we outlined above. This will help you determine whether an offer is really good, and not just designed to get you to spend more money. For example, if the rollover is above the industry standard (30x to 40x) or if you only have a day to use it, it may not be worth your while.

Use Responsible Gambling Tools

Responsible gambling tools like deposit, time, and wager limits are a great way to stay in control. They can help you stay accountable and enjoy bonuses without getting carried away.

Have a Set Budget

Playing within your means is key to keeping gambling fun. Chasing the dopamine that comes from bonuses can even lead you to overspend and not even realise it. So, when you have a set budget, you can enjoy your time at the casino guilt-free and know when you need to skip the next offer.


The psychology behind bonuses is clear: create an incentive for players to keep using your services. The concept is the same for every type of offer, regardless of whether it’s for new or seasoned players. To stay on top of your game, avoid common mistakes like not having a set budget or reading the T&Cs. On top of that, you should always be aware of the effect bonuses can have on you.