How to Spot a Bad Casino Bonus

All casinos offer some sort of welcome bonus. But not all welcome bonuses are worth claiming. Learning how to avoid a bad casino bonus is a skill best learned early on. 

This article will tell you how to:

  • Compare all welcome bonuses in detail. 
  • Find out exactly how to appraise a casino bonus. 
  • Avoid casino bonuses that have bad terms and conditions.
Top Tip

Expert Tip – Learn More About Casino Bonuses!

Before we get into how to avoid bonus abuse, it may be worth learning about casino bonuses and what types are available.

If you would like to know more about casino bonuses, please read our article on How To Evaluate Casino Bonuses | Beginner’s Guide.

5 Ways to Tell If a Casino Bonus Is Bad

#1: Don’t Play At Unlicensed Casinos

Don’t not play at any casino that doesn’t have a license.

Unlicensed casinos do not have to follow regulations designed to make online gambling safe and fair for consumers.

It is possible that you happen to come across an unlicensed casino that offers a decent bonus, but this same casino may also be fraudulent.

We think you should stay away from them at all costs.

We only list online casinos that have licenses verified by our in-house industry experts.

#2: Check Out Its Online Reputation

Even licensed casinos can have a poor reputation.

The best way to stay away from casinos with abysmal reputations is to read online casino forums.

Since these forums are run by third-parties, players can use them to make complaints. Moreover, you can check to see if anyone has ever encountered poor service at the casino.

Please keep in mind, though, that not all complaints posted online are true. If players omit to read the terms and conditions or carry out the necessary research, they are to blame.

Before NoDepositGuide decides to feature an online casino, we check to see what players are saying online.

#3. Unreasonable Wagering Requirements

In general, you can tell if a casino bonus is second-rate by taking a swift glance at the wagering requirements.

It’s difficult to fulfill the requirements of any bonus. Casinos, after all, do not want you to win.

But not wanting players to win with a bonus does not mean a casino should make it impossible to win.

The likelihood you win is, as you might expect, better if you have to bet less to meet the wagering requirements.

Therefore, it’s vital you avoid casino bonuses that have excessive wagering requirements.

We believe that bonuses with wagering requirements set between 10x and 40x give you a reasonable chance of winning.

#4. Obscure Terms & Conditions

Only claim bonuses that directly and plainly communicate what the terms and conditions are.

You should have no trouble finding the following terms and conditions:

  • Wagering Requirements – How many times you must wager your bonus’ value before it can be converted into real money.
  • Eligible Games – This is a list that tells you which games you are able to play with the bonus.
  • Max Cashout – The maximum you can withdraw in real money using the bonus.
  • Maximum Bet Size – The maximum you can bet per spin or bet.
  • Expiration Date – This is the date that your bonus will be confiscated.
  • Game Weighting Contribution – This is a percentage that determines how much of your stake goes toward the wagering requirements. It varies from game to game.

If the rules are unclear, it’s likely you’ll breach the terms and have your bonus invalidated by accident.

#5. Scrutinize The Game Restrictions

There are two rules that impact the games you can (or should) play with a casino bonus:

  • Eligible Games – Games that are valid to play with the bonus are found under the “eligible games” list.
  • Game Contribution – This determines the percentage of your stake that counts toward the wagering requirements.

Both of these rules combined make it harder to win real money with your casino bonus.

First, let’s go over the eligible games.

By offering bonuses, casinos are risking their short term profits. Subsequently, casinos prefer not to make their bonuses valid on slot machines, table games, or any other game. with high volatility and high odds.

As a result, you are often limited to playing one or a small handful of slots. And, most likely, these eligible slots will have odds and volatility that are pretty ordinary.

You cannot play any game that does not appear on the eligible games list unless you fulfill the wagering requirements or your bonus expires.

All of this should be fairly easy to understand.

But it gets a tad more complex when you can play games with high odds.

This is where Game Contribution comes in.

Games with high odds, such as blackjack or roulette, are likely to contribute only a small portion of your bet to the wagering requirements.

This can have a massive effect on your chances of winning real money.

Say, for example, you claim a bonus that changes the contribution of blackjack to 5%.

Say, too, that with your bonus you make a bet worth $100 on blackjack. If you were to do this, only $5 of that $100 will count toward the requirements.

Most slots, on the other hand, will have a game contribution of 100%, and therefore the entirety of your bet will contribute.

Unfortunately, it is not worth playing high odds games with a casino bonus. Even in conventional circumstances, you may have to bet 20-25x more on a high odds game to fulfill the wagering requirements.

It’s probably best to stick to slot machines.

Top Tip

Our Exclusive Bonuses Are Bigger And Better Than Ever!

You might find a bonus on our site with the tag: “Exclusive.”
This simply means that we’ve negotiated for incentives that are only available to people who come to our site.

These bonuses come with special perks like:

  • Exceptional Wagering Requirements – Low wagering requirements that make it more likely you’ll win.
  • Phenomenal Value – You’ll be offered more credits or free spins than any equivalent bonus.
  • Play Incredible Games – Enjoy the top slots and table games designed by leading software providers.

Go to our Exclusive Casino Bonuses page to discover the latest and greatest bonuses in your jurisdiction.

Final Verdict

Even though we detail 5 steps on how to avoid claiming a bad casino bonus, each step reiterates the following: 

  • Only play at licensed casinos
  • Pay close attention to the bonus rules. 

Almost all bad bonuses can be avoided if you follow these rules diligently. 

At NoDeposit.Guide we do all the hard work for you. All of the bonuses we feature have been carefully reviewed at. By using our list, you won’t have to worry about getting a bad casino bonus.


Yes, of course, as long as you play at a legal casino that has been checked out by an expert in the field. This is the promise you get at NoDeposit.Guide.

The truth is there are benefits and drawbacks. Yet in this case we think the benefits hold the greater weight.

While you might prefer to play for real money immediately, making a real money deposit without claiming a bonus means you can’t enjoy the following benefits:

  • More Cash – Getting a bonus can often double or triple the value of your initial deposit.
  • Win Real Money – Most bonuses will give you real money if you meet the terms and conditions.
  • Play For Longer – Casino bonuses give you more time to play than you would have otherwise.
  • No Deposit Needed – If you’re new to the casino, you can claim a no deposit bonus and play for free.

Yes, if you follow the rules for the bonus, you can usually win real money.

But before you claim your bonus, you should read the terms and conditions to see if you can cash it out.

Published on: 2023/01/13

About the Author

Hi, I'm Ian, the Chief Editor at NoDeposit.Guide - With hundreds of reviews and thousands of no deposit bonuses, NoDeposit.Guide is certainly your one-stop destination for free online gambling. Our bonuses are updated daily and we pride ourselves on providing the highest percentage of working bonus, worldwide.