No Deposit Bonuses Vs No Deposit Free Spins – Which to Choose and Why?

Ever since online casinos started offering no deposit bonuses, this question has been in the minds of players. It is an especially confusing conundrum for folks who are new to the online casino scene. After all, a beginner is more likely to claim a no deposit bonus, simply because it allows you to enjoy real money gambling without spending a dime – absolutely risk-free! 

To provide a definitive answer to the question of which no deposit bonus type is better, we need to explore each type in detail, looking at the pros and cons. Before we get into all that, here is a quick introduction to no deposit bonuses for newcomers who are not 100% on board with the idea of what they are and why they matter. 

If you know what no deposit bonuses are all about, you can skip this section and head to the next one about the ‘different types of no deposit bonuses.’

Why No Deposit Bonuses Matter

No deposit bonuses are a type of online casino promotional offer aimed exclusively at new visitors to the casino. If you already are/were a registered player of the casino, this bonus is not for you. Only new players who are creating an account for the first time in their lives are eligible for a no deposit bonus, no exceptions. 

So, why all the exclusivity? The answer to that lies in how casino bonuses work. Regular bonuses have one main objective – encourage players to deposit by offer freebies as a form of reward. But a newcomer to the scene may not be comfortable with the idea of spending money at a strange website filled with unfamiliar games. 

This is where a no deposit bonus comes in handy. Unlike regular bonuses, you don’t need to deposit cash at the casino to claim this offer – hence the name ‘no deposit’ bonus. At most online casinos, the sole eligibility requirement is the creation of a new player account. Just register an account for free to claim the bonus. 

There are other ways to try out online casino slots and games – casinos usually have a ‘free play’ or ‘fun play’ option. But in this mode, you are using fake coins, not real money. A no deposit bonus does the opposite, giving you real cash or free spins with a cash value – giving you a realistic chance to win some cash out of the whole experience! And remember, all this is without spending any money from your wallet!

All this may sound too good to be true, but that is only because we haven’t mentioned bonus terms. Like most promotional offers in business, no deposit bonuses come with fine print – rules and restrictions that prevent players from taking undue advantage of the casino. Terms like wagering requirements and cashout limits ensure that you stand a chance to withdraw only a small amount at best when using a no deposit bonus – not vast fortunes!

Types of No Deposit Bonuses

No deposit bonuses at online casinos come in two main forms – no deposit free spins and no deposit cash bonuses. A cash bonus is also called a “bonus chip” or just plainly as a “no deposit bonus” with cash amount specified in $/€/£ or other currencies.

Usually, a casino will offer only one type of no deposit bonus – either free spins or bonus cash. But the top online casinos we feature on our pages often offer both, giving players the freedom to choose!   

Let’s look at both these bonus types in detail:

No Deposit Free Spins

This bonus is the equivalent of a one-trick pony – there is only one game genre that accommodates free spins at online casinos – video slots. You cannot use free spins on table games, keno, bingo, roulette, or video poker.
Though they do not mention cash anywhere, free spins are worth real money. Each spin lets you wager a set amount of cash on the slot. The number of spins can vary wildly, ranging from just 5-10 spins to a whopping 100 free spins or more.
And talking about slots, no deposit free spins are usually restricted to a single video slot title by the casino. The good news is that the slot in focus is usually a wildly popular slot like Starburst or Book of Dead.
Once you create an account claim your spins, open the linked slot to play for free. If you win any cash, that money is treated as part of your bonus balance, separate from your main balance. Money won using your deposit goes straight to your main balance and can be withdrawn at your convenience.
But bonus balance does not get this preferential treatment. Before you can make a withdrawal, you have to fulfill the casino bonus terms and conditions, which include a wagering requirement clause and other restrictions on bonus play. You can read more about them in our in-depth guide to no deposit wagering requirements here.

Jackpot Jill Casino has a fine example of a no deposit free spin bonus. Aimed primarily at Australian players, the bonus gives you 20 free spins on Buffalo Power Slot. First-time visitors to the casino website can claim this offer within minutes, no deposit required.

To get started, visit the casino using either a PC or mobile web browser – use the link provided here for quick access. Register a new account, follow all on-screen instructions, and get the bonus credited automatically as soon as your account is created.

The free spin no deposit offer comes with the added attraction of no wagering requirement – a new trend that is exceedingly popular among players due to its obvious benefits. You can withdraw up to $100 of your winnings without worrying about the wagering requirement.

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No Deposit Bonuses

Compared to free spins, a cash bonus is a bit more versatile. Most casinos allow players to use no deposit bonus cash on video slots, keno, bingo, lotto/scratch cards, and other miscellaneous arcade games.

The main attraction here is that you are no longer restricted to a single video slot. There is more freedom to browse the game catalog and try out different games. Just remember to avoid games that are on the casino’s restricted list (for bonus play).

You also have the freedom to set and tweak your betting limits for each round, subject to an upper limit enforced by the casino. Expect to get anywhere from $10 to $100 as a no deposit bonus, with $30 as a common middle ground.

And just like free spins, you also have to deal with mandatory deposit requirements before cashout. The wagering requirement feature is also there, applied to the bonus amount (not winnings). Other bonus terms may also apply, including restricted games and cashout limits.

Planet 7 Casino has a generous no deposit bonus for US players right now, with a $25 bonus playable on slots. The bonus has a low wagering requirement of 30x. Use the bonus code to claim your $25 after registration.

A 30x wagering requirement on a $25 bonus translates into a wagering target of $750.

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No Deposit Bonus Vs No Deposit Free Spins Comparison

Feature No Deposit Bonus No Deposit Free Spins
Free to play Yes Yes
Games playable Many slots One slot
Freedom to set the bet size Yes No
Wagering Requirement On bonus amount On winnings
Cashout limits Yes Yes

From that table, the main features that stand out are the freedom to play multiple slots and set desired bet sizes. On these two fronts, a no deposit bonus holds an edge over a free spin offer. With bonus terms remaining largely identical for both, the sole remaining consideration is the cash value. 

And making a direct comparison here is not easy, as only a no deposit bonus has an explicit cash value. With free spins, all you get is the number of spins.

But if you want to compare a no deposit bonus versus free spins based on actual cash value, there is a way:

How to Calculate Cash Value of Free Spins

You can find the cash value of a free spin offer if you know the following details:

  • Number of free spins
  • Bet size of the offer

Each slot game has a minimum bet size that can start as low as 0.01 coins and go to 100 coins or more. Casinos usually set the no deposit free spin value at the lower end of the spectrum, usually between 0.01 and 0.25 coins. Sometimes, they set it at the lowest amount permitted by the slot. 


888 Casino offers its UK players 88 free spins with no deposit on the legendary Starburst slot.

Now, assuming that the casino set the bet size at a standard 0.10 coins, we can calculate the cash value of the offer using the formula:

88 free spins multiplied by bet size $0.10 = $8.8

The 888 Casino no deposit free spin offer gives you an actual cash value of $8.8.
While that may sound very low when compared to a $50 or $100 no deposit bonus, you also have to consider other factors.

For instance, no deposit bonuses with a large cash benefit tend to have much higher wagering requirements, staying around the 60x mark.
At those levels, you have a very, very slim chance of getting any bonus winnings out of the casino through withdrawals after wagering.

In contrast, casinos are more likely to offer lower wagering requirements of 20x or 30x on no deposit free spins.
If you hit a lucky combo with a multiplier, the free spin offer will give you much better odds of getting a cash withdrawal after wagering.

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Final Thoughts on No Deposit Bonuses Vs No Deposit Free Spins

The definitive answer to the question (no deposit free spins vs. no deposit bonuses – which is best?) is this – both are great in their unique ways. Besides, there is no risk of loss in picking one over the other, as they are both free!

But if you feel really picky and want to choose one type, you can base it on your preferences and requirements. If you don’t like the video slot linked to a free spin bonus, pick a no deposit cash chip – it will give you more freedom to pick preferred slots. 

If you want to optimize your chances of making a cash withdrawal – pick the offer with the lowest wagering requirement. Don’t claim a bonus based purely on its size. Look at the size of the wagering requirement as well. Free spins tend to fare better in this regard. 

Ultimately, there are no drastic differences between no deposit free spins and cash bonuses concerning bonus value or quality. The best option as a player is to remain flexible – pick one that allows you to play slots that you like or one which gives you more chance of cashing out. The choice is yours and there are no wrong answers!

Published on: 2021/06/24

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.