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Expert Team

When You Should Just Say No to Deposit Bonuses

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Did you know that casinos give you money? I know, I was skeptical too. But it’s true. They are competing for your business, and offering deposit bonus promotions is how they get it.

That can be lucrative for the recreational gambler. Lucrative… as in makin’ it rain. As in all about the Benjamins, baby… okay, you get it.

Deposit bonuses can dramatically increase your bankroll, even doubling it. A larger bankroll means more playing time which could translate into more winnings for you. More winnings for you could mean more cash in your pocket. I hope you see where I’m going with this…

Online casinos use deposit bonuses like a department store uses Black Friday deals on Black Friday; the point is to get you in the door, specifically their door. They’re hoping once you’re there, you’ll like what ya see and stay awhile.

Lots of times, casinos that deliver the most enticing deposit bonuses end up being rated top-notch in the category of my favorite sites to gamble in the long-term.

Deposit bonus promotions can, however, get tricky to navigate. You may not fully understand what is required to actually get the free money. Or free spins. Or free bets.

Deposit bonuses can deliver awesome value…. unless they don’t.

Here are some of my suggestions for times that you should avoid deposit bonuses, no matter how tempting they are.

Seems Less Than Legit

Deposit bonuses are not scams. They can build value for the casino and greatly benefit the player. Here’s how to tell if a deal seems shady.

Online Casino Is Not Certified by a Reputable Authority

If the online casino is not regulated by a trusted regulatory authority such as eCOGRA in the UK, BEWARE! Why are you considering playing on that website? Run away from your computer. Now.

Since you are still reading this, and you haven’t run away, I will assume that you only gamble on legit sites.

Smart move.

Only those sites that have been found to be trustworthy with such important things as handling players’ personal information, banking information, and deposits and withdrawals should be on your radar for play consideration.

If a site is playing by its own rules, that is a definite no-go, no matter what deposit bonus promotion they are dangling in front of you.

Do your homework. (That’s just a cliché figure of speech. It’s really not as hard as algebra homework. It’s more like… study hall or gym class.)

The site will usually proudly display the logo of the authority under which they operate

Many of these regulators will also list current sites in compliance with their requirements that they certify. You should try saying “REGULATORS! Mount up” like at the beginning of the song by Warren G.

If a site is under only their own authority, they may not stay true to their word. (Gasp!) You could lose your deposit and never see any sign of a bonus.

You Live in a Country That Is Prohibited from Using Their Site

Please take this seriously.

If you are playing from a prohibited country, the casino WILL NOT honor any of their promotions for you. And don’t count on being able to withdraw your winnings either. Run away from your computer again. Just kidding, you law-abiding citizen, you.


If the casino is legit and their site is regulated properly (which is what you want in a trustworthy online casino), they will list banned countries on their site.

*Side note: they will not budge on this. It would be easier to combine coupons that are expired and use them on clearance items on Black Friday in the wrong store than to benefit from any kind of promotional bonus in a casino where you are blacklisted because of your location.

Limited or Slow Customer Service Department

Usually if I have a hard time getting ahold of someone in the site’s customer service department, or they are only available to call between the hours of 6 am and 10 am, this is a huge red flag for me. I probably will not gamble on the site, let alone trust the deposit offer with my hard-earned bankroll.

This is also true for lackluster service in an overwhelming number of reviews on third-party sites. Most of us read reviews for everything we do online, and this should be true before taking the casino up on their promotions.

Terms and Conditions

The online casino offering the deposit bonus promotion has rules called terms and conditions. These must be followed to receive the bonus match reward. When do these terms and conditions cause concern?

Terms and Conditions of Receiving the Bonus Are Missing

You’ve googled “best online casino deposit bonus.” You’ve clicked on one of the links that pops up. You’ve already checked the site for the two suggestions already listed. You are abiding by the law. You are confident in the reviews you’ve read. You’ve memorized Regulate by Warren G. The casino is legit. Now it’s time to check out that deposit bonus offer.

Cue the screeching brakes sound effect. Hold up! Where are the terms and conditions?

You can’t figure out how to qualify for the bonus. What the casino is advertising is very enticing. You shrug and start signing up anyway.

Stop right there! Drop the mouse and slowly back away from the enter key.

This may seem obvious to some readers, but let me assure you, this happens quite a lot. The casino seems legit. What’s the problem?

Deposit bonuses (and other promotions) rarely come without strings attached, and it is important that you know what requirements need to be met to benefit from the promotion. Without meeting ALL the requirements, players are left disappointed and without their bonuses and/or winnings from these promotions.

Terms and conditions are not meant to make you jump through impossible hoops to redeem the bonus. The casino is practicing good business to prevent bonus abuse or fraud. Deposit minimums and maximum matches are there to ensure value for the casino (like a coupon or advertisement).

Playthrough requirements are there to keep players from withdrawing the bonus and leaving once they receive it, essentially ripping off the casino.

Think of it as a BOGO coupon. You must buy an item to get another one free.

This leads to the next rule of my “Just Say NO to the Deposit Bonus” PSA.

You Don’t Understand the Playthrough Requirements

I am going to take care of this one right now. Read this section, and you can scratch this off your list.

Deposit bonuses come with playthrough requirements which need to be met, usually within a certain timeframe to make them available for withdrawal.

Say, for instance, the promotion is this: $25 minimum- $2500 maximum, 40x playthrough within 30 days.

“What in the world did I just read?” Glad you asked.

While the minimum and maximum matching bonus dollars may seem self-explanatory, the playthrough can seem confusing.

All this means is that for the deposit you made to be matched by the casino, you would be required to bet the amount of your initial deposit that many times. Specifically, 40 times for this example. You may do this a little at a time, as long as you have played your deposit 40 times over within the 30 days.

This does not mean that you will spend 40 times that amount out-of-pocket (you might add to your bankroll by winning).


I like casinos that explain this to me in great detail. That’s how I became an expert.

The time limit of 30 days is meant to keep you playing on the regular, which you won’t have a problem doing if you enjoy the games that count for the promotion. This leads me to my next point.


The deposit bonus should create value for you as the player, whether in the form of matching bonus awards that can be withdrawn at some point as cash, or free spins. Sometimes value is subjective; sometimes it is not there. Saying no is so empowering…

The Value Is Simply Not There

Most of the time, the casino will specify which games/slots/sports bets qualify for the matching bonus. Many times, these have a higher house edge or worse odds than the other ones on their site.

If this seems too high of a risk, you simply do not have to take the deposit bonus.

On the other hand, you may already know that the qualifying game is one you enjoy. You already play it for hours on end. Sometimes you win; the house edge is no match for your luck or skill. You are confident in that sports bet. You’ve done your research.

In that case, take the bonus offer.

Other examples of missing value for the player would be if the playthrough requirement was outrageous compared to the bonus, or the period of time allowable to achieve the playthrough was unreasonable for the amount. (40 times seems a bit much for me, but I might jump on a 20x offer.)

The Only Value Is with the Maximum Deposit

If Janice is about to divorce you because you spent the family’s vacation money on a deposit bonus, well… good luck with that.

It is a good idea to have a specific amount of money set aside for entertainment/gambling that you don’t mind losing to online slots for the fun you reap. A bankroll is that fun-money, and it can be built up over time. It is also easy to deplete it completely at online casinos; slots deplete it faster than table games.

Decide how much of your bankroll you are willing to put up for a time while meeting the bonus-matching requirements. Most experienced players will tell you to take the maximum match possible from a deposit bonus promotion. (It will increase the value of the match, and you get the maximum amount of free money.)

Many times, even depositing the minimum amount will create value for you as a player, and who doesn’t like free money? Don’t count out the offer just because you can only make the minimum deposit, but make an informed decision. That’s always a good idea. (Life hacks are abundant and free here.)

“What if I can wait for the bonus matching, but I might need my deposit back, or I change my mind?”

Another good question. Thanks for asking. At the risk of creating a monster, here is another situation where you should refuse the deposit bonus offer.

Initial Deposit Gets Mixed with the Bonus Amount

Many offers keep your initial deposit separate from any bonus match while playthrough requirements are being worked on. This may mean you can withdraw only those funds that were initially deposited, and anything left will be matched at the end of the term specified. This is more and more common as casinos compete for your business.

But consider that this may mean a smaller match at the end for you if any of the initial deposit is withdrawn. So I say that this is not automatically a deal-breaker for me, but it may be for you.

Speaking of which, here is another player-specific situation where you should just say no.

Can’t Commit

If the thought of tying yourself down for the term specified makes you want to run for the hills… you’re catching on. You should say no to the deposit bonus promotion if any of the following is your current situation.

Make an Immediate Withdrawal of Your Deposit

In other words, don’t spend your rent money on the deposit bonus offer. Unless, of course, you don’t need a place to live. And Janice is already gone.

This goes with the good practice of keeping a bankroll specifically for gambling and entertainment. The goal is to minimize your losses and prolong playing. And get Janice back.

Pay attention to the casino’s rules concerning the timeliness of withdrawals. In most cases, there will be a certain number of days of processing time.

If it’s bill money, it’s not part of your bankroll

Okay, you’ve got your bankroll. Janice is happy (thankfully you read this before she actually left, and she is impressed with your new-found rap skills). You understand and can live with the terms and conditions. You know what you’re doing. You’re a professional gambler.

Wait a minute… I was gonna let you take the offer until you finally told me that. Here is another reason you shouldn’t take the deposit bonus offer.

You Are a Pro Gambler or Frequently Change Accounts

Deposit bonus offers are designed to attract you to a casino and keep you playing for a certain amount of time. If you cannot commit to that sort of relationship… well… it’s better to realize that up front than go through a painful break-up. (I told you I am full of life hacks and advice.)

Free life hack:

That’s why it’s better to walk a dog at your local shelter than to have a child. I mean, if you have doubts or cold feet. But you’ve already married Janice, so… happy wife/happy life!

Anyway, I treat deposit bonuses like mail-in rebates. I know I am getting free money eventually. To get the free money, I must commit up front to spend the money. The more I spend, the more I get back. But I might have to wait a little while.

You will just need to keep the same account and keep the deposit, as well as any bonuses, in that same account to reap the benefits at the end of the term.

All Right, People, Let’s Wrap It Up

While deposit bonuses can often double your money, it pays to remember there are always terms and conditions involved. (See what I did there? I’m winning at life.)

You don’t have to jump through hoops to get the matching bonus, but there will almost always be a playthrough requirement with a time limit.

While there are many situations where you should avoid taking the online casino up on their deposit bonus offer, these kinds of promotions are always worth looking at. After all, you can double your money, which could increase your bankroll by thousands. Just take my advice and be smart about it: best life-hack advice ever.

Even if you don’t like free money.