Last Updated: October 28, 2018
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As part of our continuing goal to provide players with the best gamble, as well as to educate them on how to gamble more intelligently, we are proud to bring to you our Quarterly Online Casino Bonuses for January-March of 2018.
The goal of this page will be to put a spotlight on some of our highly recommended casinos, we will also look into the promotions being offered to help you try to determine what the best choice for your gambling dollar might be.
In order to be featured on this page, which will change every three months, a casino must meet the following criteria:
It must be a Wizard APPROVED casino
Wizard of Odds APPROVED casinos are the highest designation that we confer upon online casinos at this site. These are casinos that we know, trust and have thoroughly vetted ourselves.
In fact, we’re so confident in casinos upon whom we have conferred the Seal of Approval, that we make the following promise:
Any casino with the Wizard seal of approval has been vetted by Wizard management, including the Wizard himself. We will promote such casinos as trustworthy casinos you can feel safe to play at. However, in the interests of giving players choices, we may also market casinos that don’t quite meet our high standards, as identified by not having the Wizard seal.
With any casino we promote, if you click through an ad on this site, which leads to opening an account, as evidenced by an affiliate code in the link to the casino, then we will stand behind you. If you ever have a dispute with a casino and are a confirmed "Wizard" player, then we will try to help. We do ask that you try to work out the problem yourself first, and only request assistance from us as a last resort.
In other words, the casinos to reach this high Seal of Approval are going to give you a fair gamble and treat you like the valuable customer that you are. Of course, you have to abide by the Terms & Conditions of the casino, including Bonus Terms, which we suggest that you digest thoroughly. If you violate any of the Terms and Conditions at the online casino of your choosing, then there is nothing that we can do to help you.
The casino MUST be in the Top 50 in scores on our partner website, ,
in User Reviews.
The fact of the matter is that our APPROVED casinos have been thoroughly vetted, but the best way to know whether or not you are likely to enjoy an online casino is by reading the reviews of other gamblers like you.
Different types of online gamblers like different things. Some players want cool graphics, others want huge bonuses while some still may enjoy rebates or kickbacks. There are many online players who only want the casino that offers the best returns on high-RTP games such as Blackjack and Video Poker.
Whatever it is you’re looking for, odds are you’ll find it if you take the time to read our online casino reviews on this site, but most importantly, hop on over to LatestCasinoBonuses and see what other players think.
We realize that the opinions of the players depositing their hard-earned money are more important than anything else could ever be. Because we know that, the only casinos that will grace this list are those that score highly amongst the Latest Casino Bonuses community.
Making the Cut
When an online casino satisfies those two conditions, it has a chance of making this page, and probably will, sooner or later. In addition to the two factors listed above, we also take into consideration the actual bonuses being offered. For that reason, we’re going to try to mix it up for this special recommendations page and select a wide range of bonuses so we might appeal to all different types of players.
The Casinos of the January - March 2018 Quarter
Average Latest Casino Bonuses User Score:
Uptown Aces is a somewhat young online casino, having launched in 2014. That doesn’t mean that they haven’t proven themselves to be trustworthy, prompt and courteous, though. The casino enjoys an average LCB User Score of a blazing hot 4.4 with 103 Reviews. It also happens to average a 4.4 when accounting for all of the sites in our family.
In the interest of saving you time, read no further if located in any of the following states:
- New York
- Washington State
- New Jersey
As players from those states are not permitted to play at this casino.
Powered by RealTime Gaming, for both slots and tables, this provider focuses on a very sleek and eye-catching design with a smooth player interface.
The aesthetic appeal enhances rather than detracts from the actual games, and this casino offers players a great gamble providing over a dozen Video Poker and Blackjack games with a return-to-player over 99%. Many casinos have a couple, or maybe even a handful of such high returning games, but to find so many in one place is nothing short of impressive and alluring to the well-educated gambler. No matter what your Variance preference in Video Poker, you’re sure to find a game for you here with all of the high-returning paytables.
Winning players will enjoy being paid quickly once they have provided all of the verification documents necessary and the exemplary customer service that they will have at every step along the way. This casino does not use any sort of delayed withdrawal tactics and does not do anything to stall player payouts. The entire customer support staff is very knowledgeable, and very often the first person you speak to will be able to address any questions or issues you may have.
In addition to the excellent LCB average User Score, making them one of the Top 10 in ranking for U.S. players as of the time of this writing, Uptown Aces is also one of the only companies to carry a score of at least 4 out of 5 on every single website in the LCB family.
At one time, the bonuses offered by Uptown Aces were pretty slots-exclusive, but they eventually would devise a way to bring back Video Poker bonuses for players who would rather play the Video Poker games.
Exploring the Uptown Aces Bonuses
The first thing that should be known is that this casino offers bonuses for players of all bankrolls, whether you just want to deposit a few bucks and dapple around or if you want to become one of their high rollers instantly. Either way, this casino is unafraid to roll out generous bonuses that are sure to keep you coming back.
The above table is a look at their first bonus, the Massive $8,888 Welcome Bonus which is one of the biggest out there. Unfortunately, as such, there are a number of games that are restricted from this bonus. In fact, it’s easier to just list which games are allowed:
- Real-Series Video Slots
- Scratch Cards
You will notice that the first series of playthroughs consists of 35x the Deposit + Bonus amount. In other words, if you take the max bonus, by depositing $1,000 for a bonus of $2,500, your total bankroll will be $3,500. The result is that you would need to make $122,500 in total wagers before the wagering requirements would be complete.
In terms of Advantage Play on this bonus, forget about it. The Video Keno returns (even though the other RTG games are fantastic) are abysmal. More importantly, there are three possible slot settings for each game and we don’t even know where the casino has set these slots.
As such, we have no way to determine what the expected loss is and whether or not you would be expected to complete the wagering requirements with a profit.
One general rule that you can easily remember is that, if you assume a return on the slot machines of 96%, (which is pretty good) and your Wagering Requirements are 25x, or more, the mathematical expectation is that you will lose the Bonus + Deposit at precisely the moment you complete the Wagering Requirements.
Of course, a bonus such as this one at least gives you a chance to hit that huge spin, or an amazing set of bonus games and is sure to give the slot enthusiast many more hours of fun playing. For that reason, we recommend this bonus for slot players.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to recommend the Video Keno bonus, because there is much better Video Keno out there than RTG hosts.
100% Low Playthrough Bonus
Another featured bonus is known as the 100% Low Playthrough bonus. The way this one works is that a player may deposit up to $100 and will receive a 100% match for a total bankroll of $200. At that point, the player must only complete a 15x playthrough requirement on the Deposit + Bonus on any of the games we have already listed above.
Taking the full bonus, the total playthrough would be $3,000, of which the player is expected to lose $120 assuming a 4% slot hold.
This is a better percentage bonus than the one above because the reduced playthrough requirements are such that the player has a chance to hit something. Even if the player doesn’t, there’s a reasonably good probability that the player will have some money left from the original deposit to play with. Once the WR's are met, the player can then play on any game that the player wishes.
Tables Games Bonus
The final bonus is the Table Games Bonus, which states that it has a base playthrough on 30x, but that said playthrough can also vary by game. This is a two-part bonus by which the player may deposit as much as $500 to get a bonus of $750 for a total bankroll of $1,250 for the first part. (150%) The second part consists of a 75% bonus by which the player may deposit as much as $1,000 to receive a $750 bonus for a total bankroll of $1,750.
Here are the Terms and Conditions for this Table Games Bonus:
$1,500 Casino Games Welcome Bonus Player must deposit a minimum of $20 or higher to qualify for these promotions. The maximum bonus for each coupon is $750.
The coupon code must be redeemed before a deposit is made or immediately after the deposit is completed, prior to any wager.
In order to withdraw your winnings from these bonuses you must fulfill the following wagering requirements (playthrough):
Players must wager the deposit and bonus thirty (30) times for the 150% TABLEACES1 and 75% TABLEACES2 prior to any cash-outs.
Every $1 wagered on Slots, Real-Series Video Slots and Scratch Cards will count as $1 towards the wagering requirements of the bonus. Every $1 on any other game (except games excluded below) will count as $0.25 towards the wagering of the bonus.
Allowed games: All Games, except Baccarat, Bingo, Craps, Roulette, Pai-Gow Poker, Poker, Sic Bo and War. Non-slot games: $1 wager counts as $0.25 for playthrough.
Bets placed on Baccarat, Bingo, Craps, Roulette, Pai-Gow Poker, Poker, Sic Bo, War and ANY progressive variant of table games or slot games will not count towards the wagering requirements of the bonus and will void all winnings won on this promotion.
Upon redemption of a bonus, the bonus amount and deposit will become part of a player's "Bonus Balance" until the wagering requirements are met. After the wagering requirement or playthrough is met, the "Bonus Balance" will be converted to "Withdrawable Balance".
Uptown Aces reserves the right to change or update the terms and conditions of these offers at any time and it is your responsibility to periodically check here for changes and updates.
The casino reserves the right to deny these promotional offers to any player at its sole discretion.
The casino reserves the right to audit any account at any given time. If, upon such an audit, it becomes clear that a player is using abusive or cheating strategies to win, the casino reserves the right to void the promotion and any winnings thereof. In the event of a dispute, all decisions made by the casino will be final.
In other words, the bonus is good on all of the games, though it is called a Table Games Bonus, but the games from the bonus above are the only ones that count fully towards the Wagering Requirements. The actual Table and Video Poker games (which are allowed) count 1/4th to the bonus, so they are effectively with 120x playthrough requirements rather than 30x.
The initial bankroll is $1250, so when we pair that up with the 120x Playthrough Requirement, we find that we must playthrough a total of $150,000. That’s actually pretty good compared to some bonuses that we have seen recently. It also appears that this is a, “True Bonus,” which is to say that when the WR’s are completed, any remaining monies become regular funds with which you can continue to play, or choose to withdraw.
In terms of advantage play, the first thing that we want to do here is determine what sort of a RTP we are going to need to have an advantageous play. That’s pretty easily accomplished. We will have a total bankroll of $1,250, of which $500 is part of the deposit, so any expected loss of less than $750 is good.
750/150000 = 0.005
In other words, we would need a RTP of 99.5%, or greater, to have an advantage play right off of the top. The way we are going to look at this is pretty simple: We’re just going to go see the list of Video Poker and Blackjack games.
Unfortunately, the expected loss is just a little too high on the Blackjack games, but the good news is that we have a few Video Poker games to choose from at which we may enjoy an advantage!
The game of choice is a no-brainer, we want to play Aces and Eights, with an RTP of 99.78%. Given the House Edge of .0022, we arrive at an expected loss of:
.0022 * 150000 = $330
Therefore, based on the Wagering Requirements, you can play Aces and Eights straight up with an expectation of finishing with a withdrawable bankroll of $920. Thus, you have an expectation of $420 in profits. It should be no surprise that 420/150000 - .0028, right? Remember, that’s how much over 99.5% that Aces & Eights pays.
This is an excellent play, and assuming that you would like to play at $5 per hand ($1 denomination), at 800 hands per hour, you expect to finish this bonus in about 37.5 hours for a profit of over $10 per hour. This is one of the better bonuses on one of the better games out there. We strongly suggest that you avail yourself of this one!
Latest Casino Bonuses Average User Score: out of 5
Slotastic opened back in 2007 and immediately set itself apart from the pretenders with an intense commitment to exemplary customer service and some of the quickest payouts to their winners in the entire industry. In many cases, players will receive their winnings even faster than the terms of the casino guarantee, which means that this provider offers even better service than that which they promise!
Slotastic has several states that are restricted from playing on their website, so for your convenience, we will now list them to save you time:
- New York
- Washington State
- New Jersey
Once again, I believe that one of the aspects that might compel casinos to refuse players from Delaware may have to do with licensing, or other laws pertinent to their operating jurisdiction or physical location. I think that’s also true of New Jersey, because much like Delaware, it already has .
This is an ideal casino for many different types of players, regardless of your casino game of choice. Powered exclusively by the RealTime Gaming Platform, they offer nearly twenty Video Poker or Blackjack games returning over 99% of all monies wagered to their players with optimal play. They also have access to RealTime’s substantial and varied slot library, so if the reels are your thing, you’re virtually guaranteed to run into something you’ll enjoy.
Slotastic is well known for giving its players many bonuses. They give bonuses early and, after that, they give repeat players bonuses often. The only downside for Table and Video Poker players is that most of the bonuses cannot be used on those games. That is compensated for by the fact that these types of players are able to still earn the generous comp points, fully convertible into cash.
Slotastic, unsurprisingly, puts a solid focus on the slot games and wants to diversify them not just by titles and bet levels, but also by having traditional reels, more contemporary video slots and something to satisfy players of every betting level. Also offered are a varied selection of Progressive jackpots, sometimes in the millions of dollars.
With generous bonuses for slot players with reasonable wagering requirements, a commitment to service, an equal commitment to speedy payouts to their winners and the potential to win big. Slotastic is one of the best bets out there, which is why they look to be a repeat casino to appear on this list. Shoot, we might never take them off!
There are a few Bonus Terms that you should keep in mind as a Slotastic player:
22. The maximum bet for all bonuses (including cashback) must not exceed $9.99. Any winnings, plus bonus amounts derived from bets higher than this limit will be voided.
23. Customers cannot redeem multiple free-bonuses/free spins offer consecutively: When a customer uses two or more free-bonuses without making a real money deposit in between, management reserves the right to void any bonuses and winnings.
Everything else is pretty standard stuff, though you should still take the time to read it yourself. We just wanted to point out those two terms above because, while not unusual, some casinos have a variation of those terms and others don’t.
Essentially, Slotastic is attempting to avoid High Variance bet structuring, which is why they have the limit of $9.99 on any bets whilst playing a bonus. We would also suggest that you be mindful of Rule 23, it would be kind of a downer to play a NDB, think you’ve won some money, only to find that you voided yourself for taking too many in a row.
Slotastic has changed its Welcome Bonus fairly recently and is now offering players a 150% deposit match bonus on up to $200 with a Max Bonus of $300 and total bankroll of $500. The Wagering requirements are 30x with other games only accounting for 3% of the requirements, except for Casino War, which is only worth 2% (Why?).
Anyway, 30/.03 = 1,000, which means that the effective playthrough requirement on Video Poker, Blackjack or other such games is 1,000x Deposit + Bonus.
In other words, the playthrough requirement is $500,000. The total bankroll is $500 of which $300 is bonus, so we want to see an expected loss of less than $300:
300/500000 = 0.0006%
Unfortunately, we would need to see an expected loss of under one-tenth of one percent for that to happen, and that doesn’t describe any of the games available. More importantly than that, this bonus would take FOREVER to play on Video Poker. At 800 hands per hour and $5 per hand, it would take about 125 hours of play to complete the wagering requirements.
With respect to the slots, remember the, “Rule of 4%.” Essentially, if you assume that a game has a house edge of 4%, and the Wagering Requirements are 25x, you are expected to lose your entire Bonus + Deposit. In this case, the playthrough is greater than 30x, so you would be expected to lose even more than your Bonus + Deposit.
This is a great casino, but there doesn’t appear to be much by way of playing the bonus profitably right off the top right now. In fact, it’s hard to recommend taking the bonus even for slot players, because you are expected to lose MORE than the Deposit + Bonus.
Until the bonus improves, our recommendation is just to make a deposit and play straight up, unless you want to wait and see if the bonus improves. It might, wasn’t that long ago that there was no Video Poker bonus whatsoever.
Average Latest Casino Bonuses User Score: out of 5:
This is another online casino that has a long history, they actually opened their virtual doors to players prior to the turn of the Millennium. Established in 1999, this casino has established themselves as a fan favorite across our family of sites with an emphasis on integrity, fair games on some of the best software out there, courteous and knowledgeable customer service, generous bonuses with reasonable wagering requirements and prompt payouts to its winners.
Powered by Realtime Gaming and 21GNET, this casino offers a cornucopia of slot titles of all different varieties as well as varied and exciting table games and is sure to have something for everyone on their extremely user-friendly interface. Much like other RealTime powered casinos that rank highly with us, there are a number of Blackjack and Video Poker games upon which players can enjoy returns in of over 99%!!!
iNetBet also offers a wide variety of bonuses that should be sufficient to entice all types of players. In addition to bonuses in which they will match deposits, they occasionally offer No Deposit Bonuses for players who just want to try out the site. While the wagering requirements will be greater than with their slot games, iNetBet has a bonus for everyone as they allow both Blackjack and Video Poker (as well as some other tables) to be played on many of their bonuses.
Another aspect that separates iNetBet from the rest of the pack is the ability for players to win big on the alike. This casino has more potential huge progressive jackpots than most others out there, so for those players who want to take a shot at a life-changing win, iNetBet is an attractive destination.
It’s easy to see why iNetBet is such a popular gambling destination for our users, but don’t take my word for it, go give it a try for yourself!
The first thing we can look at from their website is the 200% slot bonus, which reads:
***New Player 200% Slots Match Bonus: This bonus is only available to players who have never played for Real Money at iNetBet in the past. Deposit and Bonus must be wagered 30x at slots before cashing out. All other games are excluded. Full wagering requirements must be met prior to cash out. If coupon is applied to larger deposits coupon will become void.
30x is more than 25x, so we know that we are expected to lose more than the deposit + bonus amounts if we play that bonus.
The next bonus we can explore is the New Player 100% Match Bonus, which reads:
**New Player 100% Match Bonus: This bonus is only available to players who have never played for Real Money at iNetBet in the past. Deposit and Bonus must be wagered 20x before cashing out. Wagering requirements are increased to 25x deposit and bonus on Video Poker and 30x deposit and bonus for all play on War, Texas Hold'Em, All Caribbean games and Multi-Hand Video Poker and 60x deposit and bonus for Blackjack or 21 related games. Full wagering requirements must be met prior to cash out. If coupon is applied to larger deposits coupon will become void.
Apparently, up to $500 can be deposited, for a bonus of $500, resulting in a bankroll of $1,000 of which only $25,000 (!), which would be 25x, needs to be wagered.
If I were you, I would contact Live Support on Live Chat and verify that last bit for Video Poker.
Okay, we have 99.78% Aces and Eights with an expected loss on playthrough of:
25000 * .0022 = $55
Subtract that from our $500 bonus, and the result is an expected profit of $445.
Or, is it?
These are all Play Bonuses - the bonus credits are for wagering purpose only, and only winnings from the bonus and not the bonus itself may be cashed out. Only allowed games can be played even after wagering is met. At the time of a cashout the amount of the bonus will be deducted from the balance.
Phantom Bonus, how unfortunate. The $55 expected loss is also expected to come out of your deposit regardless, which is why those wagering requirements can be so low. Oh well, fun while it lasted.
Latest Casino Bonuses Average User Score: out of 5
This casino is in the family of the Liberty Slots group and opened in 2013. They wasted no time in attracting players with a wide variety of games powered by WGS Technology. Beyond that, the cool blue backdrop only enhances one of the most visually appealing gambling sites on the Internet. Most importantly, Lincoln provides its customers with the outstanding service and support that most all of the casinos in the Liberty Slots family have become known for. After all, you don’t become ranked in the Top 15 by LCB users by mistake!
Lincoln Casino also places a commitment on stating the Terms and Conditions of their bonuses clearly and concisely and avoids the use of gimmicky terms and ambiguous language. Players are directly told what they may and may not do while playing on one of the many generous bonuses extended to both new and returning players at this casino.
Lincoln has a unique game selection that features a few games that you simply won’t find at many other casinos, Poker Dice and Bingo Bucks are a few such titles.
The only real downside to Lincoln is that many of their bonuses, including the Welcome Bonus, may not be played on table games or video poker. That’s a shame because those games are preferred by a non-insubstantial segment of players, but there are other casinos on this list for you to go to if you would like to play a bonus and those are your preferred games.
In their own words:
Lincoln Casino offers an unparalleled bonus offer for new players. Purchase $25 or more in credits and Lincoln Casino will match your deposit 100% up to a maximum bonus of $1,000 on your first 5 deposits! 5x$1,000!
In order to claim this bonus, check the appropriate box in the cashier when purchasing your credits.
The bonus funds will be automatically added to your account immediately once your payment is authorized.
Purchase $25 or more using any one of our secure deposit methods, including Credit Card, Bitcoin, Neteller and we will match your deposit immediately!
Deposit $25, claim your bonus of $25, play with $50!
Deposit $30, claim your bonus of $30, play with $60!
Deposit $100, claim your bonus of $100, play with $200!
You don't have to call in, the bonus is added automatically and immediately to your account.
You can play with bonus funds on any game (Except Roulette).
Use the bonus to play on the go using Lincoln mobile casino, or using the online Instant Play version, or download the casino onto your computer!
They must have recently changed their bonus system now that it is available on all of their games. The first thing that we want to do is check the Bonus Terms and regular Terms & Conditions for anything unique.
Of course, it says that you can play any game, but then in the Terms and Conditions, we have this:
When you make a wager on any game, your stake will be drawn from your bonus balance if there are sufficient funds. If the bet is won, your stake will be returned to your bonus balance and the winnings will be paid in cash into your real balance.
Bonus offers of 50%, or more, may only be used for wagers on slot games or Keno. Players found to be using bonuses of 50%, or more, for wagers on any game types other than slots, or Keno will, at the casino management's discretion, be denied any winnings and may be denied future bonuses in their accounts.
Please review your account after purchasing your credits and ensure that you are familiar with the terms and conditions of any bonuses that have been added to your account before placing any wagers. If you wish to have promotions removed from your account, please contact customer service.
This would constitute a Bonus offer of 50%, or more, so the Welcome Bonus, in effect, is only good on slots and Keno as it is a 100% bonus. Unfortunately, we can only really recommend it for slot and Keno players at this time.
Latest Casino Bonuses Average User Score: out of 5
Bovada is one of the longest-extant Internet casinos as well as one of the best. They have consistently ranked near or at the top of LCB User reviews for U.S. friendly casinos and currently share the top billing with Slotland. At one time, Bodog/Bovada was the exclusive advertiser on the Wizard family of websites. While times change and we now feature several online casinos in order to offer players a more varied experience, we still enjoy a strong working relationship with Bovada and strongly encourage players, both new and seasoned, to give them a try if they have not done so already.
Love Slots? Bovada features a wide variety of slot games as a result of the fact that they are powered by three software companies, RealTime Gaming, Makitone Gaming and Rival.
Enjoy playing poker? Bovada is not only the biggest, but also one of the only poker sites that cater to players located in the United States. The reason for that is because offshore Internet Poker is expressly illegal in the United States, for providers, as a result of a number of controversies that had nothing to do with Bovada.
Sportsbetting? If you like to place wagers on your favorite teams, Bovada is the place for you! They offer competitive lines on a wide variety of sports and have one of the longest lists of Super Bowl proposition bets of any Internet casino, if that’s your thing.
Table Games and Video Poker: Bovada really shines when it comes to video poker and blackjack, as they offer nearly twenty games featuring a return to player of 99% or greater with optimal play. Not only do these games return extremely well, but they are also quite varied with many different video poker game types and paytables to give every player the balance of risk v. reward that they are looking for.
“Raise Your Game,” at Bovada with any of the forms of gambling that can be conceived of, and most importantly play knowing that you will be promptly paid if you win because this casino, perhaps more than any other, is known for its integrity and customer service. Players are simply fed up with being lucky enough to win and then having to endure delayed withdrawal tactics and slow payouts, and Bovada throws all of that out the window with an emphasis on paying out winners quickly and with no headaches.
Bovada was the first casino in whom we had the faith to create the Wizard of Odds advertising guarantee and our faith in them has not wavered a bit since then. Their singular focus is to make sure that players are getting the best gamble from beginning to end, not just on the games, but with respect to the treatment of customers as well.
Raise Your Game indeed.
You don’t have to listen to me, though:
Bovada in Wizard’s Words: Reasons the Wizard likes Bovada
- Excellent customer support: The thing that separates Bovada from the rest is its customer support. Many other online gaming companies outsource their support. It can be difficult getting a response from them, and if you do it is often slow and handled by somebody with little understanding of gambling or even of English. But Bovada's support is handled by Bovada, and their support staff is actually knowledgeable and helpful.
- No-hassle practice games: >Most online casinos spend more effort trying to separate you from your money than they do trying to give you a good experience. They have all kinds of popup windows, they usually make you download their software, and if they do offer play-in-browser games then you have to register an account before you can play. And if you register they start sending you emails trying to get you to deposit real money.
But Bovada is different. They have no popup windows at all, and their practice games play right in your browser, with no download, and no registration required. You don't even have to give up your email address. It couldn't be simpler: just one click and you're playing the game.
I wish all online casinos showed this much respect for their players. Other casinos practically ask for your first born child to play for free. Meanwhile Bovada is patient and does not twist anybody's arm to play for real money. You can play as long as you like for free with no obligation. The real-money games are available if that's your preference, but if not, you can play the free practice games for as long as you like without hassle.
- Excellent Odds: In my opinion many online casinos are too stingy when setting the odds on their games. They think they will make more money that way but I believe they are misguided, because when players lose too quickly it's not fun, and those players might not come back.
Bovada is one of the few casinos that understands this. They offer generous odds to let you play longer and get you a better chance of winning. Among their generous offerings are Full-Pay Jacks or Better returning 99.54%, five other video poker games paying over 99%, single-zero roulette, and my favorite, Double Jackpot Poker, returning 99.63%!
Kudos to Bovada for not being afraid to give their players a good gamble.
- One-Stop Shopping: Bovada offers the triple crown of gambling: casino, poker, and sports. Many other casinos have tacked on poker as an afterthought, and many poker rooms have tacked on a casino as an afterthought, and the lack of attention shows, sometimes painfully. And very few of these sites let you make sports wagers.
But Bovada doesn't just offer all three, they do each one well, and everything's integrated. It's easy to play all three off one deposit, off just one account.
Another nice thing about Bovada is that you don't need a separate account to play casino games with fake money. In fact you do not even need an account for that at all, you can just click over there and play. Finally, Bovada usernames are only six or seven characters long making them possible to remember. By contrast some competitors' usernames are extremely long and cumbersome.
The current 100% deposit match bonus of up to $1,000 may be redeemed as many as three times and comes with a 25x wagering requirement on slots. Normally this would be a no-go, but according to the Rival review, the game called, “Rock On,” has an RTP of 98%, so that could be a whole different story. Let’s make sure there’s nothing in the Terms or Bonus Terms stopping us here.
It looks like we are good on that, as I see no restrictions on slot games.
Okay, we will have a bankroll of $2,000 against which we will have to make $50,000 in total wagers, but at an expected loss of 2%, the total we are expected to lose is:
.02 * 50000 = $1,000
In other words, by expectation, we finish with the amount of our original deposit. Pretty nicely played, really. It gives the player a chance to play some bonus funds, maybe turn it into something, but that failing, you are expected to just have your deposit back.
The next best bet is Video Poker, which contributes 10% to the WR’s. That’s going to result in $500,000 in total wagers needed with the best game being, 99.78% Aces & Eights.
The player expects to lose: .0022 * 500000 = $1,100.
Unfortunately, we’re worse off doing that than we were with the slots. Now the expected loss is cutting into our actual deposit.
For the record, I also looked at Texas Hold‘Em Bonus Poker, because the Wagering Requirements would be halved. Unfortunately, the Element-of-Risk on that game is more than double the expected loss playing Aces & Eights, so we would stand to lose more money.
Still an interesting bonus for the extension of playtime, and a GREAT one for slot players who want to play Rock On.
Latest Casino Bonuses Average User Score: out of 5
Ignition Casino is a sister site both to Bovada and Slots.lv and initially opened so that the family of casinos would have a gambling destination willing to accept Bitcoin. BTC has since spread to other casinos in the family, but in the meantime, what originally started as a casino to test the market became a player favorite in its own right. Though the others accept Bitcoin now, Ignition was able to generate a strong enough following that it continues to thrive as its own brand and enjoy high user marks from the people who have played there. Eventually, Ignition started accepting deposit methods other than Bitcoin, but they still enjoy the patronage of many players who enjoy using the cryptocurrency, many of whom have played at Ignition since day one.
This casino, as with its sister sites, exhibits a devotion to providing customers with exemplary service and timely payouts as well as Terms and Conditions that are simply worded and clear in both meaning and intent. This casino draws players by offering a good gamble, not by making meaningless promises, using ambiguous terms and pulling punches. It’s not easy to become one of the Top 10 User ranked casinos on LCB, as of the time of this writing, but this is one that truly puts the players first and deserves to be high on the list. The users decided, not us. We would be shocked if they do not remain one of our top ranked casinos by players for years to come.
Ignition Casino features two Blackjack options as well as a small number of Video Poker paytables upon which players eat a house edge of less than 1%. Bovada has more of these types of games, so what seems likely is that Ignition only installed a few of the most popular variants. Fear not slot junkies, with the Makitone Gaming and Real Time Gaming software, there are a number of games that you will also enjoy. Ignition also caters to slot players of every bet level and has contemporary games with monster progressives as well as more classic games in their catalog. Hop on over there and see if there’s anything you like, it’s free to look, as they say.
For players concerned because they have already signed up at Bovada or Slots.lv, you still qualify as a new player at Ignition, so we encourage you to give them a try especially if you have not availed yourself of any of their bonuses.
In their own words:
100% up to $1,000 Casino Welcome Bonus
The deposit plus bonus amount is subject to a 25X playthrough requirement before the deposit, bonus amount and any winnings can be withdrawn.
Forfeiting this bonus will result in the bonus and any subsequent winnings associated with it to be removed from players’ accounts.
In cases where rollover or other criteria as set out in individual bonus Terms and Conditions are not met within six months of the initial bonus redemption, any remaining bonus funds and associated winnings will be forfeited.
The maximum total bonus issued is $1,000 and can only be redeemed once.
Some games contribute to playthrough requirements; however, certain games may have a greater contribution than others. For more information please view our wagering contribution chart.
The Ignition Casino Bonus is really easy to understand, if you are a new player, then you can make a deposit of up to $1,000 and the Ignition Casino will match that deposit 100%.
Unfortunately, many of my games of choice for such a promotion are excluded:
"Specified games contribute to playthrough requirements and certain games may have a greater contribution than others. Any play in Single Deck Blackjack, Double Deck Blackjack, Baccarat, Sic Bo, Craps, Roulette are excluded"
As we can see, the High Variance method of attack is out. That’s okay, most casinos have caught onto my favorite play by now.
This Bonus has a 25x playthrough requirement as relates on the Deposit + Bonus, so your balance would be $2,000 with the maximum deposit and you would need to wager a total of $50,000 to complete the requirements on these games: Video Keno, Specialty Games and Pull Tabs.
I can’t imagine this would apply to most people, but if you do not complete the playthrough in a six-month period, the bonus would be forfeited. The wagering contributions are the same as Bovada, as you can see below:
|Wagering Contributions||Percentage Contribution|
|Slots, Specialty Games - All Types||100%|
|Table Games - Unless Stated Otherwise||20%|
|Video Poker (All types) & Blackjack (unless stated otherwise)||10%|
|Single Deck & Double Deck Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat||5%|
The 20% Wagering contribution on Table Games is effectively five times the amount that the Wagering Contribution would otherwise be, therefore, you would have to make $250,000 in total bets if playing the $1,000 Deposit with the $1,000 Bonus.
In order to lose less than the $1,000 Bonus, you could eat a House Edge of no greater than 1000/250000 = .004, or 0.4% on any Table Games that contribute 20% to playthrough.
Unfortunately, that will not be the case with any of the Table Games, and Video Poker presents a similar ordeal. The WR’s are effectively doubled, $500,000 in bets must be made to complete them, and the player would need a House Edge of under 0.2%. No such game.
When it comes to single-deck Blackjack and those other games, the House Edge is again too high relative to the total amount needing to be bet.
In short, there’s no way to beat this promotion at Ignition Casino, but it remains a good one for slots players looking to get some extra playtime and maybe win something on bonus funds.
There could otherwise be a High Variance Roulette method, followed by a game switch and grind out, but that won’t work due to the following provision against bet structuring:
Bonus programs are intended for recreational players only. Professional players or players considered, in our sole discretion, to be abusing the bonus system by any means may have bonuses revoked and be subject to further sanctions. Bonus abuse may be defined as (but not restricted to) clients cashing out for the purpose of re-depositing, depositing on top of an existing balance, clients making use of promotional offers without ever using their own funds, clients increasing their balance and then changing their gaming pattern significantly (bet, game type, bet structure or other pattern of betting) to complete any wagering requirements of any Bonus, or creating new Accounts that they are using themselves. Sanctions may be in the form of increased rollover requirements, loss of bonus privileges, balance forfeiture and account close for the offending Account as well as any linked Accounts. We reserve the right to restrict eligibility for special offers and bonuses when necessary. This includes but is not limited to placing geographic restrictions on match bonuses due to bonus abuse.
Ultimately, I’m afraid that the Terms and Conditions make it such that this one cannot be beaten. Still, it’s a pretty generous bonus in the sense that it offers a combination of increased playtime as well as a chance to win.
Much like the Bovada bonus, I might recommend this one for recreational players, particularly those who enjoy slots. As a hint, there is a High Variance method with Roulette that could be viable, but you would only want to do it with smallish deposits, lest they think you are, “Playing professionally,” and for that reason, I’m not going to spell it out here.
If you really want to know, feel free to PM me on . Alternatively, you could skim through some of my bonus beating articles and you would eventually run across the method that I have in mind for this one.
Latest Casino Bonuses Average User Score: out of 5
DeckMedia launched another brand with Red Stag Casino in 2015, so it is no surprise that they are ranked well because other DeckMedia casinos can be found in our Top 20 user rankings such as Miami Club and Sloto’Cash. Red Stag offers industry leading customer service that is the envy of lesser online casinos and the sheer number of returning players they draw is proof that people like to play there. Remember that these high scores are based not on our opinions, but on those who have played there and thoroughly enjoyed the product. The casino gives players a wide variety of bonuses, comp points and other loyalty perks to help drive new players to the property and encourage them to return at a later time.
Red Stag is on the Wager Gaming platform, which offers a great many slot titles that are unique to them and not seen on other providers. While the bonuses come with increased wagering requirements for tables and Video Poker players, those games are generally unrestricted, so players looking for the lowest odds against them are sure to look at this casino favorably.
DeckMedia casinos are recognized, universally, as having some of the best customer service and timely payouts in the industry. The well-trained staff can answer any questions a player may have about the terms and conditions, bonus or otherwise, quickly and when a player does win, DeckMedia is always to issue payouts without stooping to delayed withdrawal tactics and at lightning fast speed..
As our promise to our readers, if you click through any ad on this site, which leads to you opening an account, then we will always be here to mediate in the unlikely event you ever have a problem. However, we're very confident you won't ever have the need to ask. Again, this offer of support applies if, and only if, you click through a banner on this site.
The Welcome Bonus at this casino is structured into seven different bonuses along with optional Free Spins available. The Free Spins must be claimed by way of the cashier, or sending an E-Mail. You may also contact them by phone or Live Chat to claim your Free Spins.
I usually like to look at the deposit bonuses rather than muddying the waters with Free Spins, so let’s just take a look at the percentages and then we’ll get into playthrough requirements:
|Deposit||Bonus Percentage||Max Bonus||Total Bankroll|
While that may look a little strange, essentially, it comes out to a maximum deposit of $200 for each individual bonus.
The Wagering Requirements on slots are 30x the Bonus + Deposit, so those are out for the purposes of advantage play.
Blackjack and Video Poker contribute 10% to the Wagering Requirements, which is the same thing as multiplying the Wagering Requirements by 10. On the first bonus, the Wagering Requirements for slots would be $22,500, thereby making Blackjack and Video Poker $225,000.
We would want to lose no more than $550, which means we are looking for a House Edge of:
550/225000 = .002444, or less.
That is not going to apply to any of the games here, and looking at the other Bonus amounts, those would require the House Edge to be even lower as the reduced bonuses would result in us dipping into the deposit amount faster. The first and third bonuses are our best bet for that.
Table Games have a 35% Wagering Contribution, so the 22,500 would become 22500/.35 = $64,285 (Rounded). In that case, on the first bonus, we would be looking for a House Edge or Element of Risk of:
550/64285 = 0.856%.
Unfortunately, this is also a Phantom Bonus, which means it is later removed from the account per the following terms:
Roulette, Craps and Baccarat play with bonus funds is forbidden. Players who use bonus funds for wagers on any of these games will not be eligible for any future bonus considerations, Additionally, any winnings from bonus wagers placed on these games will be confiscated. Further, all losses incurred while playing said games will be non-refundable.
Any bets you place will be taken from your bonus balance, if there are sufficient funds. If you win the bet, your stake will be returned to your bonus balance and winnings over and above the bet amount will be paid into your real chip balance as cash. Bonus funds cannot be withdrawn from the casino.
However, it is only a partial Phantom Bonus to the extent that winnings move over to the cash section. In other words, the funds should all end up in the cash section prior to the Wagering Requirements being completed.
Currently, the only Table Games in the casino are Blackjack (already discussed and not advantageous) and Roulette, which is not allowed. Therefore, there does not appear to be any way to beat this bonus.
Once again, it is a pretty unique bonus that could be fun for slot players seeking some additional play time and maybe even a win while on bonus funds. I would recommend this bonus for recreational slot players.
The Online Casinos:
Those seven casinos are our recommended casinos for this quarter, with one being a highly positive advantage play, so get that before it’s gone!
Remember, we have many other casino affiliates both here and on our LatestCasinoBonuses site, so make sure to check out both of those for other fantastic casino offers!
There are a number of ways to beat bonuses as well as to identify bonuses that can be beaten. You can use some of the relatively simple concepts outlined with the above casinos to determine whether a Bonus is beatable, “Straight up,” which just means that your expected loss of your Deposit + Bonus is sufficient to overcome the House Edge of the best possible game to play.
Remember the 4% Rule, as that is going to be an easy shortcut to determine whether a slot bonus is beatable. If there are no slot machines listed for a site that have an RTP of greater than 96%, then it is often safe to assume that is the best return that you are going to get. Having made this assumption, any Bonus with a playthrough of 25x, or greater, has the expected result of losing you entire Deposit + Bonus Funds.
That doesn’t mean those bonuses are bad or not worth taking, they are great for recreational players. After all, all you need is one spin to win and those bonuses give you more chances!
Beyond that, here are some other tips for finding the best casino bonuses and taking advantage of them when you can:
Always Know the Terms & Conditions
Online casinos have all found themselves on the end of differing forms of advantage play, and they usually take it pretty well in stride. As long as the player has played fairly, if there is an exploitable aspect of a certain promotion, the casino will usually take its lumps and change it later on. The online casinos of old know all about this because they were beaten time and time again due to the easily exploitable promotions they would offer with extremely low playthrough requirements.
Further, casinos offer different bonuses of different types of games that will all have different potential vulnerabilities. The Terms & Conditions are often designed to close those vulnerabilities such that the games cannot be readily beaten.
While it is certainly not fun to do, at least not as fun as gambling, it’s very important to make sure that you have read and understood the Terms & Conditions for any casino that you might play. LIke we said before, even if it is a Wizard of Odds APPROVED site: If you unquestionably violated the T&C’s, then there really isn’t much we can do for you.
Use Our Resources to Your Advantage!
In order to find recent information on Casino bonuses and speak directly to players who have tried them out, the Forums at LatestCasinoBonuses are an invaluable resource! The players there share information about all of t5he bonuses and most of them have an understanding of the underlying Terms & Conditions. Many of them would be just as qualified as I am, if not more, to answer any questions that you may have. In addition to that, the LCB Forums are often frequented by representatives of the better casinos, who will be able to help you out if you have any problems at all.
Again, in addition to Wizard’s reviews of the online casinos, LCB contains User Reviews so that you can get impressions from those players who have put their own cash on the line. These players will be able to tell you what the withdrawal practices are for given casinos and are generally willing to help answer any questions you may have. And, again, the casinos representatives are on there pretty regularly. It is important to know how fast the casino pays if you do win, if they employ delayed withdrawal tactics and whether or not casinos employ their T&C’s in good faith, or use them to hide behind to avoid paying, though the player may not have violated any of them.
Casinos that have done any of these things will be blacklisted, but those who have not quite made the blacklist, or have otherwise escaped our attention (usually because not many people have played there) will have poor reviews amongst our family of sites.
Know the Terms & Conditions, Not Just for Deposit Bonuses!
When playing a No-Deposit Bonus, the first thing that you should remember is that the deposit bonuses have a much better value, so if you can play them instead, you should. NDB’s are generally structured to give you an opportunity to try out the casino, but they are often multi-level promotions that can be difficult to win. Still, if you’re going to take the time to do it, (even if not money) then it is worth making sure that you don’t run afoul of the T&C’s and end up forfeiting any winnings you would have otherwise enjoyed.
The Terms & Conditions vary depending on where you play, sometimes the verbiage is concise and to the point, while other times it looks like it was written by a lawyer specializing in nonsensical pseudo-legalize designed to confuse. If there are any terms that make no sense to you, please shoot me (Mission146) a PM and I’ll try to help. If necessary, I’ll even try to get in touch with the casino to get you some clarification. Although, if you post the question over at LCB, that should usually result in a pretty fast response.
The, ‘Live Chat,’ function offered on a casino’s actual site is often going to be the best means by which you can ask a question about the terms. Most, if not all, of these, ‘Live Chats,’ will have a transcript of the chat E-Mailed to you, if you request one and I suggest that you should avail yourself of that option. The reason why is, if they end up getting something wrong but you rely upon that misinformation which then results in an unintentional violation of the Terms, you have the transcript proving that you were given an answer by the casino representative and acted in accordance with the response that you were given.
An actual chat transcript does a lot more than that. In the event that you have a dispute requiring you to invoke our advertising guarantee, or want to try to get something settled with a casino over on LCB, the transcript goes a long way in proving your case.
Unfortunately, most of the casinos do not offer beatable bonuses anymore. Once upon a time, had I been involved with writing about gambling back then, this page would have been filled with nothing except a list of advantage plays and where to find them. The question wouldn’t have been whether or not there is an advantage, you could take that for granted, it would be a question of how many hundreds, or thousands, was the play worth if done properly!!!
Even when there is a beatable bonus, someone who deposits and takes that bonus still doesn’t play it the right way, and as a result, never had an advantage to begin with. That’s either out of ignorance, which is to say he never looked up how to do it, or negligence, which is to say he did look it up, but refused to follow the mathematically provable advice. While few and far between, if the casinos were going broke on any of these bonuses, then they would quit offering them.
That doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with playing recreationally at a negative expectation. I subscribe to the Wizard’s Philosophy that the education of players is of paramount importance, and that being the case, I want to explain not only how to figure out whether or not a promotion may be at an advantage, but also how much you can expect to lose if it is not. Again, it’s really about knowing your odds and your expectation regardless of what you are playing or whether or not you’re just playing for fun.
Ultimately, even when there is a profitable bonus, most players don’t play it that way and that is why it takes so long for the casinos to notice. Besides that, if there are only a few ways to play it profitably, then they really don’t care too much. At least, not until everybody starts doing it, if that ever happens.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) prohibits banks and other financial companies located within the United States to transact financial affairs with any online casinos that are not based in this country. For whatever reason, people often interpret the Act as pertaining directly to the gamblers themselves, but it actually has nothing to do with individual players. It regulates what the banks can and cannot do and otherwise does not affect any individual people, unless they happen to live in the U.S. and are operating an unlicensed Internet casino. In addition to the prohibition of individuals from operating their own online casinos, the act also prevents a company from directly operating an Internet casino, with only one exception.
The exception is that states with legalized commercial gambling are permitted to authorize online casino activity as long as it is restricted to that state, or other states that also have online casinos. If they cross state lines, then that could technically be felonious, so they have to be really careful. It’s for that reason that the online casinos in New Jersey have to be able to geolocate you, so that they can make sure that you are actually within their state. I don’t think they would go in and place Carl Icahn under arrest if Tropicana’s online casino made a mistake, for example, but they would certainly fine him if found out.
Because of the UIGEA, credit card and Bitcoin are often the two preferred methods of deposit, with Bitcoin being fairly new. The advantage of Bitcoin, as a cryptocurrency, is that it is not traceable and does not involve any U.S. financial institutions in anyway whatsoever. In other words, BTC falls completely outside of the scope of the act.
Third-party payment providers often have to step in to make it look like a requested credit card deposit is not not going to an Internet casino, but again, that has nothing to do with you and you would not run afoul of the UIGEA as a result. The UIGEA pertains to people who run casinos and banks, not players. The wording of the law is also interesting because the bank does not commit any sort of a crime in they deposit your funds into an online casino inadvertently, there is only the potential for trouble if the know that they are doing it.
For those reasons, you can rest assured that no adverse consequences will befall you for the mere act of depositing your own money into an online casino, if you would like to play. If you still feel nervous knowing that, then I would strongly recommend investing in some BTC, if you can, and if you’re confident about the BTC market. I’m afraid it’s too swingy for me.
Reputable online gambling providers have cyber-security and encryption measures protecting you as well as your personal information. In fact, in the jurisdictions where a license is actually difficult to get, there are requirements for acceptable levels of security to protect the players. Trust me, they have nothing to gain by compromising your personal information when you would end up not wanting to play there anymore. The systems are designed to mask and encrypt your personal and/or credit card information, so that nobody with any nefarious intentions would be able to access that sort of information. It’s not only done because it is the right thing to do, it’s just good for repeat continued business to protect your customers at all times.
In fact, there have been many things said about online casinos, but I do not recall any instances of a major security compromise when it came to identifying player information or credit card numbers.
For those of you located outside of the United States, you’re in luck because you can use a third-party financial services provider such as Neteller. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be accepting customers from the United States anymore. Of course, many different means by which a player may deposit into or withdraw from an online casino will have certain fees attached to them, so make sure to look into what it is going to cost you and choose the most economical third-party financial service provider as long as they have good reviews as far as their security is concerned. If you really want to keep the casino itself from having your credit card information, for whatever reason, then that is one way to do it. Of course, they would have your Neteller information, instead.
Unfortunately, bonuses are not as good as they used to be and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Once upon a time, you wouldn’t even have needed any basic math to try to make a determination, the bonuses were just THAT GOOD. Still, there will occasionally be a beatable bonus out there, and while it would not be wise for us to post all of them, we will throw one or two out as we find them. Fortunes were once made just by playing online Blackjack, but unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore because the casinos finally figured out what they were doing wrong.
The best part may have been that the bankroll requirements to take advantage of the bonuses were low enough that a player could hop from one casino to another taking advantage of various bonuses. The idea behind that was to eventually improve his or her bankroll to the point that he or she could attack the online casinos willing to take the biggest deposits for a big score.
Even after all of that, once upon a time, online casinos would follow all of this up by sending players offers that were just as, or even more lucrative, than those that the player enjoyed on the initial playthrough with the Welcome Bonus. Forget about free spins, many of these offers would include free chips that could be played on Table Games and also had very low wagering requirements.
Again, many players played so badly and lost so much money, even in the light of such obvious potential advantages, that the casinos would still perform profitably overall. That’s why it would sometimes take them a while to determine that some of their players were taking advantage of their bonuses.
The difference now is that the players of old understood the bonuses that were being offered better than the casinos did. Mathematically speaking, the casinos have gotten smarter and now structure their bonuses such that players are generally unable to destroy them. As we see above, in the majority of cases they’re not even beatable anymore.
As much as I hate to say it, why should they be? The online casinos are certainly not going after advantage players as a target market, or anything, so it makes total sense that they would try to fashion bonuses such that recreational players still want to play while advantage players are completely uninterested. After all, players who are beating them for untold dollars are not very good for them.
Unfortunately, it could be argued that many T&C’s go to far and that some of the restrictions placed upon bonus funds are such that many players just can’t have fun anymore. In other words, the casinos have occasionally become so paranoid of the handful of people who could actually beat them that they are acting to the detriment of recreational players in the process.
The result is that there are occasionally bonuses in which the player would be better off not taking a bonus. If the player doesn’t take a bonus, then his deposit is not locked in, and he can cash out at any time he wants.
I can’t prove it, but I think the online casinos are even aware when one of the bonuses being offered has an exploitable hole in it. The fact of the matter is that the casinos realized that the only real way to protect themselves would be to understand the underlying math, which really isn’t that hard, and not offer such ridiculously beatable bonuses to begin with. Mistakes will be made from time to time and the result will be opportunities with significant expected value, but generally speaking, the casinos have become adept and protecting themselves.
More players lose money to the online casinos than win, and the amounts lost will generally cover for the amounts that advantage players take out of the casinos, and then some.
Deposit match bonus upon which a player would play Blackjack were once among the greatest advantage play opportunities online. All the player had to do was complete the ridiculously low wagering requirements, and that was that, profit. A person could basically play blindfolded and the playthrough requirements (and expected loss on them) were so low that it was virtually impossible not to come out ahead.
The casinos generally have anywhere from decent to excellent Blackjack rules, especially compared to the 6:5 garbage that can often be found on the Las Vegas Strip these days. All the player had to do was get a bonus amount in excess of the initial deposit and run it through on one of the easiest games that there is to play. In addition to most of the decisions being intuitive online Blackjack strategy guides have been around for a very long time.
Bonus beating will not come so easy for players for a number of different reasons, but there are still opportunities out there. However, we can take a look at a hypothetical online Blackjack offering, the kind that existed when Bonus Whoring was in its infancy, and see how easy they were to beat.
There’s a Blackjack game with a House Edge of one half of one percent (0.5%), just to keep things simple and that would often come with a 200% Deposit Bonus of any amount up to $500, which means the player could deposit $500 (if he has that kind of bankroll and wants to maximize the bonus, some people would deposit less than that because it made it easy to possibly catch on) and will have $1,500 in his bankroll after the bonus is applied. The player would only need to make $15,000 in total bets, in that scenario, to complete the entire bonus and be able to cash out. There weren’t any watchdogs at the time, so more online casinos were willing to refuse cash outs, but the amount of great plays out there was so strong that the casinos who were willing to pay more than covered it. If the bonus was cashable, as opposed to being some sort of phantom bonus, which it probably wasn’t, because those basically didn’t exist back then; the player would have the ability to complete the playthrough and then cash out all of those funds. The expected loss on the playthrough is $75, which means the player is expected to finish with a balance of $1,425! The expected profit in that scenario would be $925 on a $500 deposit! I’m not going to go as far as to say we’ll never see anything like that again, but it’s somewhat doubtful.
Now that we have looked at that example, let’s see what the major differences are between the way that the bonuses are now and the way they were then.
There is NO WAY any casino will ever have such low playthrough requirements.
The casinos got killed because of the low playthrough amounts on games with such a low house edge and almost no Variance whatsoever. Playing Blackjack might have even been too obvious, maybe that’s what got everyone made as far as those types of bonuses are concerned. The players could have played Pull Tabs and probably come through it all right! For instance, even if the player ran it through on a slot machine with a house edge of 5%, there would still be virtually no way to lose because the expected loss would be $750 on the playthrough, and the player would cash out with a total of $750 after completing the wagering requirements, with $250 of that being profit. The slot game would have more Variance than Blackjack which just means that there would be a wider range of results (monetarily speaking) within given Standard Deviations, but over the long run, there was still effectively no way to lose. Either way, had the players been willing to put a little bit of action on slots, I think it is possible that the excellent bonuses with the insanely low playthrough requirements may well have lasted a bit longer.
The nicest thing about Blackjack for those players was the low house edge combined with a significantly low Variance, at least, as compared to most other games. The situation really didn’t matter as the player simply could not lose enough hands to fail to profit under those conditions.
You’re not going to ever see a bonus with a 10x playthrough, and the bottom line is that those sorts of playthroughs are the number one factor in making bonus whores in the early days of online gambling so ridiculously successful.
You Often Can’t Play a Game with that Kind of RTP.
Blackjack is a great game for grinding because it not only is a low Variance game, the HOuse Edge is next to nil. At one time, a few online casinos would actually offer Blackjack games that were either zero edge or slightly positive right off the top. Perhaps they just figured that the players would be bad enough at the game to cover it. In fact, you could essentially pick a Table Game and random way back in the day and it would still be advantageous to play.
The playthrough requirements have now increased because the casinos now understand the ramifications of offering a table games playthrough with slot playthrough requirement percentages. Some casinos even go as far as to just save themselves the trouble of writing out bonus terms and charts that handle the playthrough requirements on various games, instead opting to restrict table games and video poker completely. Some casinos allow play with Bonus Money on Table Games, but the T&C’s state that any such play will not contribute towards the playthrough requirements. Some casinos would nullify any monies won while on a bonus if the player plays on table games.
The casinos also take nonsensical actions these days such as restricted games upon which players used to, “Opposite bet,” such as Pass/Don’t on Craps, or Red/Black on Roulette. The players were able to do that way back when because the playthrough requirements were so low, there would be absolutely no advantage to playing that way now. In fact, playing that way wouldn’t accomplish anything except for guaranteeing a loss.
These days, some bonuses that allow games other than slots can still be beaten, but it is often a pretty thin edge, and those bonuses are also few and far between. The days of old are gone where a player wouldn’t have to look around very long to find a great bonus, now it takes a ton of math and reading of T&C’s just to find a good one.
The Bonuses Aren’t Usually as High, or Cashable.
In our example, we discussed a fully cashable 200% deposit bonus. Fortunately, most casinos have not eliminated bonuses that actually convert to player funds that can then be withdrawn, but some of them have. This is especially true of casinos that allow Table Games to be played, or Video Poker, it is because the amount of the Bonus is going to get removed from the account upon making a withdrawal request or at the end of playthrough, anyway. When the Bonus itself is not cashable, tlow wagers are almost sure to yield a loss because the house edge is going to work against you. However, taking advantage of high Variance with the free funds initially might enable a player to make a huge bet to dramatically improve the bankroll, and then grind out the wagering requirements.
If you ever plan to do something along those lines, you have to be extremely careful to read the Terms and Conditions thoroughly. As we saw earlier, there will often be verbiage in there pertaining to the disallowance of, “Bet Structuring,” specific maximum allowable bet amounts while on a bonus or just general provisions against what they sometimes loosely deem, “Professional play.”
If you see a bonus upon which bet structuring is a reliable means to beat it, just make sure there is nothing in the rules preventing you from doing that before you avail yourself of that bonus. Not only might you find yourself forfeiting the bonus, but they may even report you to other online casinos as an advantage player, and then you’re going to have many fewer places to play as a result. Believe it or not, the right to use your name is one thing that some online casinos have you agree to in the terms. There’s nothing to worry about, though, they would only do that if you were blatantly cheating.
When I refer to a non-cashable Bonus, that means that the amount of the bonus is going to be removed from the account after the playthrough requirements have been completed. The result is that any withdrawal, as is sometimes stated in the terms, will have the amount of the bonus deducted from it before it is processed. With the example we used, the $1,000 would be deducted from the player’s balance upon cashing out. If the player sat there and made 15000 $1 bets, it’s extremely likely that the player will have lost money overall after the bonus amount is removed from the player’s funds. There is very little difference between a Bonus such as that as opposed to not having a bonus at all unless you are going to identify whether or not it is impossible to take advantage of a high variance method, and then be willing to do it, if so.
In order to play such a Bonus on Table Games, one must utilize a concept called, ‘Bet Structuring,’ and would want as much Variance as possible with the bonus funds. With a bonus such as the one in the example, if the player bet $1 at a time with even a 10x playthrough, the player has lost money (in 10,000 simulations) unfailingly after the $1,000 bonus is deducted from the player’s total after completion of the wagering requirements.
The lesson is that there are ways to play certain bonuses right as well as ways to play them very wrong. Much like taking some bonuses actually yields a worse expected result than just making a deposit and playing, playing a bonus incorrectly can similarly result in a loss that is all but guaranteed. Anyway, if you have any doubt as to the best way to play a bonus and whether or not the bonus will actually benefit you, then you would do well to shoot me a PM or jump on the LCB Forum and talk to the good folks who post over there and love online gambling. If anyone is going to know the best way to go about something, it will be one of the posters over there.
There is no exception to the statement that increasing the playthrough requirements makes a bonus worse. In some cases, it can virtually lock in a loss. I think the worst I have seen is an instance in which the player would have effectively had to bet 3000x his deposit + bonus, but they might have had that up there as a mistake. That’s the only reason I don’t mention the casino by name, because it’s different now. There are some situations, with bet structuring, that a player can take advantage of Variance to turn the bonus into a profitable proposition, and we will discuss those later.
The Terms & Conditions Find Other Ways to Make it Hard
I mentioned bet structuring, however, the Terms & Conditions of many Casinos specifically prohibit bet structuring. In fact, many of them go as far as to limit the maximum bet amount that the player is allowed to make, such as the $9.99 max that we saw above earlier. Some casinos at least have the courtesy to specifically define what they mean by bet structuring, so that the player knows precisely what it is he is not allowed to do, and then they will give certain ranges or percentages of the original deposit, which the player is not allowed to bet outside of. This is to prevent players from availing themselves of the HIgh Variance strategies designed to exploit bonuses that we discussed earlier. In fact, when it comes to a bonus that is never going to become part of your bankroll, that’s the only way to beat such bonuses.
In addition, many casinos outright forbid, ‘Advantage Play,’ or, ‘Professional Play,’ while not specifying what those terms mean. Does that mean that you know the best way to play a promotion and are just doing that? Would that make you a professional? Just because you happen to stumble on a good play shouldn’t make you a, “Professional,” in the eyes of the casino. In other words, a casino can decide that you have voided the Bonus and should have your account locked if they decide that the way you approached the promotion and games was done professionally. I feel sorry for the guy who legitimately takes a shot with a huge bet, perhaps out of frustration, hits and then is denied payment because they determine that he is a bet structuring professional online player!
I would not disparage an online casino for having such Terms & Conditions in and of itself, they can have whatever T’s&C’s they want to, but I would strongly suggest that you might avoid that casino if you are planning to play with any kind of known advantage. If you’re just playing recreationally, then you should be fine. The one exception I will make is that you can probably knowingly crush a bonus if you’re able to do it flat betting. I don’t know what anyone could say about flat betting. If you just want to play for fun at one of those casinos, have a blast! They have absolutely no problem whatsoever, at least not the ones we recommend, taking care of recreational players. In fact, most of the ones that we recommend would just take their lumps as part of doing business if you found a way to beat them.
In my case, I don’t gamble online for recreational purposes, so that wouldn’t apply to me. I really don’t have any personal desire to play online, unless I am doing so at an advantage. It needs to be a healthy advantage, at that.
The Players Have Somewhat Brought it On Themselves
Earlier, we discussed the sorts of players that wanted to try to collect every possible cent and would two-way bet on different games in order to grind out the playthrough requirements. Those kind of tactics were both brazen and stupid and have cost future online advantage players untold amounts of money. It’s quite possible that, without plays such as those, some of the casinos would have been much slower to figure out that it was their bonuses yielding an advantage to the players.
In fact, many of these players would use this sort of offset betting to play larger bet amounts and get through the playthrough as quickly as possible. It was not enough just to have such an insurmountable advantage, they wanted to make the money back much more quickly by betting huge on both sides and slamming through the playthrough quickly with a fixed loss on whatever it was they needed to hedge in the meantime. Again, that sort of activity is completely short-sighted. When you have an expected profit that is greater than the amount of your deposit to begin with, then there is no reason to play around just trying to get it done faster. Anyone who half-knows how to read a play log would be aware of what was going on immediately.
Opposite betting might consist of betting the Pass + Don’t Pass at Craps, or betting both Red/Black on Roulette or both Player & Banker on Baccarat. Roulette is the mathematically worst game to do something like that while Craps is the best if the player is able to Take and Lay Odds, provided, of course, that the Odds bets also count towards the playthrough. When a point number (4,5,6,8,9, or 10) would be established at Craps, the player could make offsetting Odds Bets and the total amount laid out on the felt would go directly towards playthrough with the player unable to lose. If a player is betting $10 on each side with 10x Odds, for example, and the point comes four, then the player would bet $100 in Odds on the Pass Line, $200 in Odds on the Don’t, and at that point, none of the bets could lose and the total amount on the layout would go directly into the playthrough requirements.
Not only is this method of play going above and beyond merely beating a promotion, the person doing it isn’t even gambling anymore and the tactic itself is also stupidly obvious to anyone who knows how to read a play log. I think it’s pretty amazing that the casinos did not catch on to what these players were doing much earlier. The one thing I do know is that it definitely screwed it up for everyone else, because there are ways to take advantage of bonuses without having to squeeze every last penny out of it. It’s short-sighted, anyway, as long as the bonuses are good, the players should want to keep them going for as long as possible.
Anyway, it was this sort of offset betting that caused many online casinos to not allow Tables to be played while on bonus funds, and of those that do, many do not permit Craps, Baccarat or Roulette to be played anymore. The funny thing about that is that offset betting, at least by itself, is no longer a viable strategy. You would have to have an advantageous play to begin with in order for that to even make sense.
The way bonuses are structured now, the playthrough requirements combined with bet restrictions would enable a casino to allow whatever game the player wishes to play to be played. In point of fact, if just those two things are in place, then there is literally nothing that the player can do to them. Offset betting wouldn’t matter, at that point, because the only thing that would be accomplished is the player guaranteeing himself a loss.
If a casino allows these games and the terms do not saying anything to the effect of offset betting voiding out any bonuses, then you can be sure that the promotion is probably not advantageous due to the fact that the playthrough requirements are too high for it to be so relative to the house edge, if not that, then simply because there are wagering limitations in place such that the only possibility for the player is losing overall.
Another reason these bonuses have mostly disappeared, or had their value significantly decreased, is because players would enlist family members and friends to play on their behalf, or would find some way of using ID’s issued to a different address to be able to play the same promotion multiple times. In fact, that was another fairly popular tactic back in the early days of bonus whoring. Highly advantageous bonuses will often result in people still doing that, including that major bust that came about last year, but it often technically doesn’t violate the Terms & Conditions as long as they are different households and different computers. In the case of the sting on the guy who ran that Facebook group, they were looking into him on the grounds that he had committed some cyber crimes and identity theft in the process of trying to exploit a bonus several times. If you want to have family members play on your behalf, just make sure that there is no glaringly obvious connection to them, only use family members if they have a different last name, unless of course your last name is very common, and preferably, if they don’t live in the same town or perhaps even the same state if they do have the same last name. Although, it does warrant mentioning that having a family member play from a different household is technically not a violation of the Terms and Conditions.
If you are going to partner up with your friends and family to exploit a terrific bonus should you find one, it is also positively essential to be intelligent and discreet. The large scam that I briefly mentioned earlier got outted because two of the Facebook characters were talking about it openly, on the Facebook accounts that were in their own names! Obviously, the casinos had that information and turned these discussions up pretty quickly upon doing an Internet search. Keep any discussions about what you are doing completely private and make sure that you’re not creating a record of it anywhere. The best place to discuss stuff of that nature is either in-person or on the phone. Do not go on Facebook discussing strategies or recruiting people to play at these casinos, that’s precisely how those other people got caught. Besides that, the people that you meet on there might decide to stiff you, especially if it’s a High Variance thing and they hit something huge. You can make them an authorized user on your credit card account if you can get one with a separate number, though it would be better to get one of those prepaid cards, or have the person use his card, and then you just give him cash. If you do make the person an authorized user on your account, then make sure the card has a different account number, or that’s obviously going to be a match in the records. Really, the prepaid debit card, if the casino will take it, is honestly the best way to go.
This sort of behavior would still represent a pretty clear violation of the terms and conditions of the casino, but there’s really no way for them to find out that they two people, in this case, have anything to do with each other.
Players would also often brag on Forums as to exactly what they were doing and where at. After that, they would cry foul when the casino saw it and would shut down their account, just like that Facebook group publicly roasted the casino they defrauded for non-payment. Casinos monitor social media and often check Google to look into someone, when there’s a hit, if the casino already suspects you of something, of course they are going to read what the post is about. If you’re exploiting a beatable casino promotion in a nefarious way while perpetrating identity theft, you shouldn’t have to be a criminal mastermind to know that is not the sort of thing you share on social media.
There are articles in our family of sites that discuss how to beat casinos, but casinos are generally aware of whether or not they are offering a promotion that can be beaten on one game or another. Sometimes a play will come along with tremendous expected value, though, such that there is almost no way that the casino knows about it. If you ever run into one of those, I would suggest either keeping it to yourself or only discussing it by way of private message. Certainly don’t talk about it on Facebook, obviously, as the casinos often search social media for mentions.
Another thing that you should learn from the mistakes players made when the bonuses were great is that a little cover play can go a long way. If you have a recurring play at an online casino, rather than a one-time bonus, then I would recommend using just a little bit of your winning and occasionally playing the slots, or something along those lines. One of the bigger tells that you have an angle is when you only play the same game all the time, so that’s likely to get your bonuses cut off if you have one that’s recurring. It also tips the casinos off as to what they need to look at in terms of their games being beaten.
There are still exploitable bonuses to be found if you’re willing to put in the legwork doing all of the math to analyze them. You also have to hop around from one casino to another to see what all of the different promotions are.
There are still many bonuses out there to be found, and not all of them are by way of welcome bonuses. In fact, sometimes after you have played a bit at an online casino, they will send you special promotions that have an even greater expected value than the game you played to begin with. Having a beatable new member bonus is certainly more common, it just depends on the casino. There are also several smaller places out there that offer unusually cashback terms, and things of that nature, but they haven’t established much of a reputation yet, so that can be risky. When beating bonuses was in its infancy, people would often enjoy exploiting a new member promotion only to be offered something just as good by E-mail.
No-Deposit Bonuses are a type of bonus in which the casino just gives you free money, or spins, as encouragement to check out the games there. Most of these have a very low expected value because any amount that comes off of the spins also must meet a (usually greater) playthrough requirement such that it effectively cannot be beaten.
There is a positive and a negative when it comes to No Deposit Bonuses. The positive is that you’re not making a deposit of any of your own money, so as a result, it’s impossible to lose. The negative with that type of bonus is that the value is generally negligible. Beyond that, the casinos will usually have a cap on how much you can win while playing on a NDB.
A.) Going back to the limit that a player can win on the NDB, that’s important, because it gives you a greatly diminished upside combined with an expectation of not finishing the bonus anyway. The value of some deposit bonuses is often greater than the maximum amount that it is even possible to win on an NDB. The result is that value ends up being left on the table because, even if you hit a slot spin for several hundred or over $1,000, you’re not able to cash all of it out. Beyond that, some of the NDB’s also have a minimum amount that can be cashed out, (often because the casino itself has a policy on a minimum amount that can be withdrawn) so that is also problematic for someone who thinks there’s value in being an NDB-exclusive player.
B.) The other reason above is that, even when you do win on the NDB or initial free spins, the playthrough requirements are such that the expected amount that you will end up with in your bankroll is $0.00. In other words, NDB’s are difficult to beat because they are specifically designed not to be beaten. There is some value to it for a player with virtually no bankroll in that no money has to be risked, and there is certainly a non-zero probability of winning something, so even though $0 is the expectation the value is more than that.
C.) Getting back to that minimum cashout amount, if a casino has a minimum cashout amount of $50 and you finish an NDB with a balance of $25, then you’ve got to continue to play until you bust out or get it back up to $50 so you can cash out. In other words, you’ve technically completed the playthrough, but if the goal is to withdraw, you still have to keep playing. Another alternative would be to make another deposit in order to bring your bankroll over the required minimum for withdrawing, but make sure to look at the terms because some casinos expressly prohibit that.
D.) The most important reason is because deposit bonuses just have a better value, in general. The only exception is if the deposit bonus is one in which you have an expectation of losing your entire bonus as well as any part of your deposit. When those types of bonuses come around, then taking an NDB can be justified because, if you wanted to lose part of your deposit, that’s easy enough to do without a bonus. Still, I would wait for the casino to roll out a better deposit bonus than take an NDB because taking the NDB may prohibit me from getting other bonuses in the future.
That’s why all of the bonuses I mentioned up top are Deposit Bonuses, NDB’s really don’t have much expected monetary value. Most importantly, taking an NDB would mean that you’re no longer a new player at the casino and that could prevent you from taking strong deposit bonuses in the future.
However, even Deposit Bonuses can come in different forms, so it’s important to understand the difference between one and another as it affects your expected value on a play and the way to approach the bonus.
Cashable Bonuses are becoming increasingly rare, and when they are offered, they are sometimes only offered with a game restriction to slots, keno and pull tabs. We saw above how you have to delve into the terms and conditions to determine whether or not a bonus is cashable, a Phantom Bonus or a Sticky Bonus. Understanding the differences between those is important because it impacts how you have to look at it to determine if there is any potential for a positive expected value. With cashable bonuses, after the wagering requirements have been completed, the bonus funds just become part of your balance, or they may have just always been in there as part of your balance the whole time you were playing the bonus through.
Phantom Bonuses look like they have no potential for a positive expected value, but actually, quite the opposite is true. If you’re playing at a casino where there are no maximum bet restrictions while playing on a bonus, then these sorts of bonuses will give you the opportunity to place a huge bet on a game to use the bonus to dramatically increase your bankroll and then grind out the playthrough. Usually you only dip into this sort of bonus after the cash balance has been lost with any winnings then going into your cash balance afterward. Unlike cashable bonuses, which often have a positive expected value without taking advantage of any Variance if you just grind out the best games (as we saw above) grinding out a Phantom Bonus with flat-betting would always result in an expected loss. The goal is that you make a longish shot bet with most of your bankroll and bonus, preferably all of it, and while you will lose that bet more often than not, when you win in it, you’ll have increased your bankroll many times over.
Sticky Bonuses are a bit different than Phantom Bonuses because the bonus amount just remains as part of your account until it is lost. In other words, you play the bonus amount first until it is gone or the playthrough has been completed. When the playthrough requirements are completed, you can then withdraw any winnings out of the casino and the bonus remains. These are different than cashable bonuses that can just be withdrawn completely when the playthrough is completed, but it’s not too bad, because you can at least continue to try to win more money with the bonus amount. From a value standpoint, the value is pretty similar to a Phantom Bonus and you would want to go with a high variance strategy initially.
These bonuses usually require a deposit of some kind, by occasionally, free spins will often have whatever they turn into effectively turned into a sticky bonus. Of course, if that happens, you are only able to win once.
Free Spins Bonuses:
are basically a form of No Deposit Bonus in the sense that casinos will often have any monies won off of free spins subject to a set of Wagering Requirements before anything can be won.
In other cases, the free spins are straight up which means that you just take the spins and can withdraw any winnings, as long as they meet the casino’s minimum withdrawal. Those are highly unusual though, and also, the results of the free spins will generally not meet the minimum withdrawal requirement. If they don’t, then you’ll have to continue to play with it until you either get up there or lose it all.
You’ll almost never see this, unless it is some kid of drawing prize or something along those lines, but rarely, the casino will just let you have free spins and then you can cash out whatever you win, if you want to. These aren’t that common because someone doesn’t have to be an advantage player to see why that’s a good idea. Even if there was a Free Spins bonus being offered, unless you have no bankroll, it’s better to look at the Deposit Bonuses to see if there is anything greater in value there.
For profit expectation, just multiply the RTP by the bet amount and number of spins. If the bet amount is $1.00 and you have 50 spins at a 96% RTP
1 * 50 * .96 = $48
So, your expected value would be $48 if it was immediately cashable.
Into No Deposit:
This is a more common type of Free Spins which involves taking the free spins, but then whatever is won off of those essentially turns into a No-Deposit Bonus. Since this bonus will have not required a Deposit, there will usually be a maximum cash out restriction as if it had just been a No-Deposit Bonus. The playthrough is also usually set higher than it is for other games because the idea is that whatever comes off of the free spins will be ground down to nothing and there will be no money to cash out.
Free Slot Tournaments also fall along these lines. The way they work is that, if you win, any winnings essentially turn into an NDB with a playthrough requirement on them. Again, this often comes with a greater playthrough requirement because the player did not need to deposit any of his or her own money in order to participate in the bonus.
One mistake that I made before I knew very much about gambling was to sign up for NDB’s at several casinos, my recommendation is to avoid them. Even if a casino is not offering a high value deposit bonus at a given time, they might, but if you take advantage of an NDB, you will no longer be a new player.
Besides that, they’re basically a waste of time because of the maximum amount that can be withdrawn from them. It ends up being a lot of work and a lot of casino sign-ups for very little profit.
How to Win Online in this New Environment
The best way to play depends on what type of bonus it is, as we discovered above, even deposit bonuses come in different forms which affects how you should approach them and the best way to play. The math behind at least figuring out whether or not a bonus might be beaten is pretty simple. It only gets complicated when you’re playing on a bonus that relies on Variance with a win big and grind out strategy. Those bonuses are mostly gone due to maximum bet restrictions.
Winning on No-Deposit Bonuses:
No-Deposit Bonuses, as discussed above, are designed so that the player does not have an expectation of finishing with anything. It’s possible, of course, but it is not the expectation. In some cases, the playthrough requirements will be completed, but the player does not a have enough of a balance to withdraw. The formula that you need to know to figure out how much you are expected to lose on a No-Deposit bonus is very simple:
(House Edge as a decimal) * (Playthrough Amount) = Expected Loss
In other words, let’s say you had a $100 No-Deposit Bonus with a 50x playthrough requirement and the best available game was a Blackjack game, (which is definitely a theoretical because most casinos wouldn’t allow that on an NDB) with an RTP of 99.5% and a House Edge of 0.5%. You would have to bet $5,000 in total bets, so here is the result:
.005 * 5000 = $25
You just take the $50 Bonus, subtract the $25 of it you are expected to lose, and you are expected to complete the bonus with $25. The problem is that the minimum withdrawal amount might actually be $100, so now you have to try to turn the $25 you finished with into $100 in order to cash out. It’s also possible that $100 is the maximum cashout and the minimum cashout at the same time, so sometimes (especially if you make high bets) you will finish with more than $100, but you only get $100 and the rest is reduced to $0. If you lose you lose, but there are restrictions on .
Winning on Cashable Bonuses:
The easiest way to figure out a cashable bonus is just to figure out the house edge, as a decimal, of the best game available multiplied by the Wagering Requirements to get a total expected loss on the amount that needs to be played through. If the Bonus + Deposit is greater than the amount, you have an expected win. If not, you have an expected loss.
Sometimes High Variance methods are even the best way to go on cashable bonuses, but again, many casinos have a maximum bet restriction while on a bonus or specifically forbid bet structuring.
When that happens, you’re basically just treating a cashable bonus like a Phantom Bonus in order to finish with some amount over your deposit. The good news is that it’s quick, you’ll either lose your big bets almost immediately or you’ll massively improve your bankroll and grind out the wagering requirements knowing you’ve already won.
That’s also the nice thing about being able to flat bet a game, though. The casinos cannot accuse you of bet structuring when you’re just flat betting a certain amount because a cashable bonus is beatable on its own.
Winning a Phantom Bonus:
Phantom Bonuses are a tough nut to crack. They are the types of bonuses where the only way to have an expectation of profit is a high variance method, unless the casino just has a game that returns over 100%, but I doubt that. It doesn’t mean that these bonuses are not worth looking into.
Unless they have maximum allowed wagers that are low while on the bonus or the casino prohibits bet structuring, then they are not worth looking into.
Again, most casinos do not have games available that return more than 100% as a base pay, so the only way that you’re going to be able to take advantage of a bonus such as this is to turn a negative game into a positive one. I’m going to go ahead and copy from myself because Vegas Crest Casino had one of the better examples of what I am talking about that I found. I also talked to one person who decided to play it according to my suggestion and won!
Here is a link and excerpt from an article I wrote on a promotion that was being offered at :
It seems that the Table Max for an Inside bet on Single-Zero Roulette for the Rival Software is $500, so that's what I want to do!
I want to give myself a reasonable chance of winning, so even though my profit would be better to nail a single number with a $500 bet and then grind through the playthrough requirements, I'm going to go ahead and do up to three six line bets for $500 each (win $2500 and return original wager) and then grind through the playthrough requirements on Video Poker, Blackjack (and Texas Hold Em Bonus isn't a bad one for speed and low Variance, despite the higher House Edge...Jacks or Better still offers the best overall return, though)
Okay, so here is how this could happen, you'll notice the new totals after a win are $3500, $3000 and $2500, and that's because we have to remove the original $500, so we are just looking at what we expect to profit off of the Bonus money.
Win on First bet: (6/37) * (3500-2070) = 231.891891892
Win on Second Bet: (31/37 * 6/37) * (3000-2070) = 126.355003652
Win on Third Bet (31/37 * 31/37 * 6/37) * (2500-2070) = 48.9483347482
Lose All: (31/37*31/37*31/37) * (-500) = -294.069452945
In other words, you are expected to win $113.13 on an initial outlay of $500!!! That's not an Expected RETURN, it's an Expected WIN! The result is an advantage of about 22.626% on the play.
If you need more detail as to what went on above, then I strongly suggest that you go and check out that article. You may also want to check the Terms and Conditions as well as any new promotions that may be at that casino. One thing I have noticed is that casinos willing to offer promotions with a positive expected value often come up with different types even if they discontinue one of them.
It seems counterintuitive, because you have to make a high house edge bet that has a low probability of winning in order to take advantage of the offer, but that’s the way that it needs to be played. THere’s no other way to play them profitably because anything else just keeps grinding your cashable balance down to zero. In fact, the smaller you bet, the worse off you are.
I have found even better plays than that before, but it takes some serious looking around and reading the Terms to make sure that the way you are planning to approach it does not violate them.
Winning on Sticky Bonuses:
Essentially, these are just Phantom Bonuses that enable the player to play the bonus balance over and over until it is gone. Even though the bonus funds can never be cashed, they can turn into a playable balance, multiple times, that can. These bonuses often come with maximum wager restrictions because the player could otherwise use that sticking bonus to make huge bets in an effort to score multiple huge cashouts. For that reason, these bonuses are pretty rare. I think at one point the casinos thought that these bonuses couldn’t hurt them because the player would not be able to actually withdraw the bonus funds. While it’s true the player can’t, he can use them to create multiple withdrawals.
The EV of one of these is much better than a Phantom Bonus because, with a Phantom Bonus, you’re using the bonus funds on a one-time basis on the front end as opposed to using them multiple times on the backend, as you can with a Sticky Bonus. Again, casinos have essentially got rid of Sticky Bonuses, or made it so that the bonus is removed as soon as the player makes a withdrawal.
If you have made a withdrawal and still have Bonus Funds left, just know that you’re probably not going to grind you way into a sizable enough profit for a withdrawal. Your best bet to get yourself another meaningful withdrawal is to bet big, play a high variance game, or best yet, play big ON a high Variance game! Either way, these would be some of my favorite bonuses if they were still around, but alas, they are not. If you happen to run across one, I’d really appreciate you letting me know.
Winning on Free Spins:
These are pretty simple, play them and cash out if you win. If there’s a playthrough after the free spins are over, just pick the best returning machine and hope for the best. You also want to bet big enough that you have a chance to go over the maximum withdrawal amount, but not by too much. Remember, anything that you finish over the maximum withdrawal amount is just money that you’re going to leave on the table as it cannot be cashed out anyway.
Some people like to play these on slots with a high variance strategy, betting as much as allowed, but that method makes absolutely no sense. What could did hitting for $1,000 do you if you’re only allowed to cash out $50? You want to play more than $0.05 at a time or something silly like that, of course, but you need to find a balance.
Assuming you’re playing it on the same slot game, the expected loss isn’t going to change on your total playthrough regardless of the size of your bet, so I’m not claiming that it does that. I’m just saying that you want to try to find a bet amount that gets you at or near the maximum cashout for a mid-range decent hit (and then drop your bets down and grind) but you don’t want to overshoot it by too much. Sometimes it’s a moot point as the casino restricts your bet amounts anyway.
There is no way I would recommend these unless you have no bankroll at all. There’s just not really much of a point to them because of how often you will lose trying to get to the cashout amount. Personally, I wouldn’t even play them if you have no bankroll because you might have a bankroll one day and will be able to take advantage of a good bonus. Could you imagine a bonus popping up with an expected win of $500, except you can’t play it because you took a Free Spins bonus at that casino two years ago? That’d be awful.
The fact is that the casino is not going to let you cash out potentially limitless funds when you have not made a deposit, so your upside on these things is often less than the positive value that could be enjoyed playing some other type of bonus.
General Tips on Winning:
I know I have said this before, but I’m saying it again, READ. THE. TERMS. AND. CONDITIONS.
If you run afoul of the Terms & Conditions, then there is nothing anybody will be able to do to help you if the casino decides to void your bonus and any winnings associated with the bonus. The fact of the matter is, even though they may be long and are sometimes complicated, you agreed to them.
If you have any confusion about any of the Terms, then I would recommend using the LIve Chat feature if the casino has one or E-mailing them if they don’t. If you use the Live Chat, make sure you ask for a transcript to be sent to you. Those are the two best ways to get clarification because then there is a record of the question that you were asked and the answer you were given. If you ask if something was within the T&C’s and the casino said yes, but then later said you violated them, you have proof that you were told you were allowed to play however you played.
If you ask Live Help, and the Terms & Conditions still seem ambiguous, as with the casinos that don’t want to give you their definition of, ‘Professional PLay,’ or, ‘Bet Structuring,’ then you should only play there if you are playing for fun and don’t mind losing your money. If you play slots, straight up, anyway, then there really isn’t much they can say to you.
If you fail to abide by the Terms & Conditions, then you are point blank free rolling the casino, which is not something that you want to do. If you break the Terms & Conditions, and lose your money in the process, then you have lost your money. If you violate the Terms & Conditions, but win on a bonus and have the bonus AND the winnings voided, the best case scenario is that the casino goes ahead and gives you your deposit back. If you, at worst, can lose money and, at best, can only break even, that’s what we call free rolling the casino. The casino can only break even or win, they can’t lose.
Online casinos will never go back to the way they were in the late-90’s or early 2000’s when they would hand you a profit on a platter and all you had to do was go in and take it. It’s much more difficult to win now and, even if you know what you are doing, there is a high probability of losing on high variance methods and a non-zero probability of losing money even when you have a positive expectation straight up.
There were a few fortunes made back then just sitting at home and taking advantage of online casino bonuses, but that’s not really going to happen anymore. If you’re willing to put in the legwork, then they could be used to supplement your income a little bit, if you’re EXTREMELY dedicated to finding them, but they’re not like they used to be. I don’t know if there’s enough out there to make a living on, and even if there were, you’d end up burning them all out and the living wouldn’t last very long.
In short, I don’t think that there’s much of a way to do it on a full-time basis. Not only are the bonuses not as good as they were once upon a time, but probably half of the casinos are offering bonuses that cannot be played at an expected win at all regardless of your angle.
The casinos also pay more attention to playlogs than they once did, and anytime a player has a sizable win, someone will usually go take a look at those. They generally are going to pay you, at least the ones we would recommend, as long as you played within the terms and conditions, but they might ask you not to take any more bonuses after that if they figure out how you beat them.
The only way to make any kind of living would be to have confederates who play on your behalf with your money because there are not enough profitable bonuses out there to sustain any kind of existence. Essentially, you would have to have the ability to play the best bonuses several times, but even that is going to dry up sooner or later because you’ll eventually run out of people.
You would have to make sure the casinos didn’t catch you, but as long as you’re careful with IP addresses and things of that nature, you would probably be in okay shape in that regard. JUst don’t talk about what you’re doing anywhere that leaves an online record.
The other thing that’s going to happen is that the casino will eventually notice that a bunch of new players are all playing a bonus the same way and while not all of them won, enough of them won such that it is clear that method results in an advantage. That’s usually going to result in an investigation, which can delay payment, but the players will be paid as long as the casino can’t find anything to link them all together. The problem here is that the bonus will likely be discontinued.
Even though bonuses are sometimes beatable, remember, that’s not why they are offered by the casinos. The casinos roll out the bonuses in the hopes that the player will ultimately lose money by either playing them sub-optimally, or continuing to play even if the player would have otherwise profited on a bonus. They really don’t want to outright encourage sharp play, but to an extent, they have to tolerate it. After all, they can’t really refuse to pay someone who abided by all the terms.
The best case scenario, I think, is that an individual player might be able to find enough expected value (without using multiple people to hit a bonus multiple times) to make a minimal living for a year, maybe two. There just aren’t many strong offers out there anymore and no sign of them coming back.
Basically, after that year or so, the player will have already played at every casino hat is laying out a bonus with a positive expected value and there will be no further bonuses for him to take advantage of. Most players would do well just to be happy if they can make a few bucks here and there off of the bonuses to supplement income, or result in a little extra spending money.
I don’t think that the bonuses are going to get worse in the near future though, because there’s really no way for them to do that. They’re already pretty bad not just compared to the early days, but also compared to just a few years ago. When I say, “Bad,” I mean for advantage players. Recreational slot players generally were not playing at an advantage to begin with.
The best way to pursue the online game is just to do it if you’re going to have fun. The value that’s out there now is not really sufficient to devote yourself to asd a full-time affair, though you might hit a big score one day by playing a bonus that requires a high Variance method. That would be fantastic, of course, but it’s important to remember that those High Variance methods have a low probability of winning.
Before you think about getting into online advantage play, there are some other factors that exist outside of the casino that are worth considering. Sometimes, there are practical matters that have to do with your individual situation, so EV is not going to be the only consideration.
One thing to look at is that, if you are depositing by credit card, then you may have to pay interest on that money unless you’re going to pay your credit card within the grace period. That’s why it’s important, even if there is a potentially good play, not to risk putting yourself in the hole financially.
Trust me, I know how badly it sucks to be staring a really good play in the eye but being unable to afford to play it, so don’t think you’re alone. Either way, it’s not worth doing if losing is going to put you in a tough situation. Just wait until you are in a better financial state and hopefully the play will still be around.
If losing would make you unable to make the payment on the credit card, then you shouldn’t play it regardless of what the value is. If you can’t afford to lose, unfortunately, you can’t afford to play.
The other thing is that any interest that would need to be paid if you lose also reduces your expected profit on what would otherwise be a decent play. You should only deposit into the casino if you have the cash to pay the credit card company to cover the entire deposit amount. That’s especially true with High Variance plays because you are more likely than not to lose on those, despite the positive expected value.
It’s important to realize that there is also a time investment in grinding out the playthrough requirements regardless of what made the bonus beatable to begin with. If you’re going to play the lowest house edge games, then you’re going to have the highest wagering requirements which, at a reasonable bet level, can sometimes take over 100 hours to complete. In other words, unless you have a ton of free time, even when you do win that money is going to be tied up for a few days or weeks. Even after that you have to wait to get the withdrawal approved.
It’s important to look at those considerations, as well as your expected profit per hour, to determine if the play is worth it. Just the expected profit is not enough. I don’t care about an expected profit of $200, for example, if it’s going to take me 50 playing hours to make that. That only comes out to four bucks an hour, which is good if you’re playing recreationally, I suppose, but not enough to interest me.
If you want to pursue beating bonuses pretty seriously, you can, just know that it’s going to take some time when you do find a great play. You’ll eventually get bored and maybe up your bets or want to play slots to break the monotony or just get it over with quickly, so you’ll have to stay disciplined. It sounds like nothing but fun until you’re on your seventieth hours of Aces & Eights!
Sometimes there will be a high expected profit per hour, which I consider anything over $10 if you’re just playing for fun and would be playing something else anyway and $20 if you’re taking it really seriously. Of course, the expected profit per hour often comes from the fact that the play is a High Variance one so, if you do lose, you will do so almost instantly.
Casino bonuses are never going to be what they once were, and I don’t think there are very many people out there, if any, who just play online casinos for a full-time living these days. However, if you’re willing to play in a disciplined way, can afford it and are not afraid of the occasional high variance play, then there’s still a little bit of positive expected value to be found out there.
We hope that the casinos we have highlighted up top as well as these tips will help you understand how to determine whether or not a bonus is positive, and if it’s not, whether or not it’s the sort of bonus that you want to play for fun. As you can see, we looked at seven different bonuses up there and found one that was at an advantage, so that should give you some idea of what to expect as you are looking for bonuses.
I would also recommend a little bit of cover play if you win really big using one of the initial High Variance methods. Generally, you’ll want to grind back on low house edge games, but switch from game to game a bit and generally just try to look like a maniac. While you want to bet small in order to grind out the playthrough requirements, mix a mid-sized bet in there every now and then just to make it look good.
If my job were to analyze a play log, for example, and I saw a $500 bet followed by nothing but $5 bets on a different game, as you can guess, it wouldn’t be very hard for me to figure out what happened there.
After the Wagering Requirements have been completed, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to maybe play a couple hundred hands of video poker if you won a ton of money. Even though the casino has to pay you as long as you have acted in accordance with the Terms & Conditions, that doesn’t mean that they can’t decide that you are no longer allowed to take a bonus. If they think you just got lucky, though, and were not playing at a positive expectation, then they would not believe that they have any reason to restrict your play.
Either way, if you find a great promotion, don’t start retirement planning because they are few and far between and often don’t last long when the sharp players start to catch on. You really shouldn’t expect to find a ton of value out there, my advice is to do it as a hobby.
The most important thing, whether you’re a recreational player or an advantage player is just to make sure that you are playing within your means. If losing would mean that you’d end up in bad shape, then don’t play regardless of the value unless it is literally impossible to lose.
The second thing is to make sure that you enjoy the process of finding, and trying to beat the beatable bonuses. You’re going to be completely miserable if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, because it can be a tedious process, so just make sure that you can have fun with it.
Essentially, you have to either enjoy gambling online or have to enjoy the process of looking for an advantage. I fall into the second camp, I like looking for advantages. I really don’t care too much about the games themselves, especially not when having to grind out a game like video poker or Texas Hold ‘Em Bonus for several hours. The games themselves get boring for me in a pretty serious hurry, the fun part for me is analyzing the promotions.
We hope that these tips will get you on the right track and that you enjoy playing the bonuses that we have highlighted for this quarter. Stop back in April and check out the next round of online casinos and bonuses that we will be spotlighting for the April-June period!
May the odds forever be in your favor.
Written by: Brandon James