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My personal motto is “if it’s for free, it’s for me,” which is why I tend to gravitate towards casinos with no deposit bonuses. These days casinos are handing them out hand over fist and if you’re anything like me you should be taking full advantage. But before you do, I would like to share a few things with you so you don’t walk into a trap and register with the wrong casino. Afterall, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Keep reading and you’ll know what I mean.

What is a no deposit bonus?

It’s exactly what it sounds like! It’s a bonus that you get without having to make a deposit. Casinos give these out for three reasons. They are either trying to get you to register an account with them, rewarding you for being a loyal customer, or they are trying to re-activate you if you haven’t been playing for a while.

Make no mistake, you won’t be able to keep getting no deposit bonuses after you register an account with a casino without making a few deposits here and there. It’s not like you register your account, bank your free spins or free bonus money, and then keep getting showered with more free bonuses. That’s not how it works.

Can I withdraw my no deposit bonus?

I’m still surprised every time someone asks me this question. Of course, you can’t. How would you withdraw 10 free spins on Starburst to your bank account? Also, there might be wagering requirements involved. So to be clear, the bonus itself, is not possible to withdraw, but it is possible to withdraw if you have a strategy in place.

There is a chance that you will get free cash without wagering requirements, but rest assured that the amount you get will be well below the minimum amount you’re allowed to take out from your casino account.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I will go into great details about all the different types of no deposit bonuses and what you should do with them.

How to get no deposit bonuses from casinos

The first no deposit bonus a casino will ever give you is when you register your account. This will either be free spins or bonus money. Most likely winnings will be capped and/or there will be wagering requirements involved. Nothing is really for free when it comes to online casinos, even when they you give you no deposit bonuses.

Depending on the casinos you signed with, you might have an opportunity every now and then to opt-in to cashback offers. As long as you don’t have to top up your account I would recommend that you go ahead and take the offer. Even if the money returned is bonus money that you’ll have to wager, it’s better than nothing.

Another way of getting a no deposit bonus is from the casino’s loyalty program, if they have one. Many casinos these days will enrol you in their loyalty scheme without asking. This is not a bad thing if you’re planning to stick around for a while.

What happens is that every time you wager on a game in the casino, you will earn points depending on the size of your bet. Normally you will get 1 point for every €1-€10 you play for. These points can later be converted into money.

The conversion rate will not be very good. Most likely you will be looking at 1,000 points for every €1 you get. And in worst case scenario you will have to wager the money before you’ll be allowed to make a withdrawal.

Some casinos may allow you to convert your points for tangibles like home electronics and casino merchandise or it could be possible to buy free spins or other casino bonuses. Personally, I will always go for money.

Fair enough, you may have to make a few deposits in order to rack up the loyalty points but converting them to either cash or bonus money doesn’t cost you anything. It’s like when you buy 10 pizzas and get 1 free. Sure, you bought the pizzas but at least you got to enjoy one without paying for it, so that last one could be considered a no deposit bonus. You with me?

Lastly, there is one more path to get a no deposit bonus, but this one is a bit of a gamble and it will most likely only work once or twice. Simply stop playing. Don’t visit the casino for a few weeks and check your inbox. Casinos hate to lose customers and will often send them free spins to get them started again.

But don’t think for a second that you can sit back and collect these types of bonuses every couple of weeks. Eventually the casino will give up on you. When that happens, come back here to find another casino that offers no deposit bonuses.

Different types of no deposit bonuses

A no deposit bonus can come in different forms but there is one type you will never get, free money that you can withdraw. That wouldn’t be a bonus, that would be a straight up giveaway. If you find a casino that’s just gifting money to players without any strings attach, then I will bet you anything that you have stumbled across a casino that won’t be in business for long.

From what I gather, there are mainly three different types of no deposit bonuses:

  • Free spins – Sure, the spins may be free but there are a few things you need to know before you start spinning. Firstly, your free spins are most likely given on a specific slot. Secondly, your spins will invariably be played for the absolute minimum bet available on that slot, usually €0.10 per spin. Thirdly, the winnings on your free spins will probably, but not necessarily, be capped. And lastly, the winnings from your free spins will either be with or without wagering requirements.
  • Bonus money – This is always nice, some free bonus money without making a deposit. Of course, there will be specific terms when it comes to how much you’re allowed to bet when you’re playing with bonus money and naturally you won’t be able to avoid wagering requirements. Don’t forget that game weighting will apply which means different games contribute more than others to meeting those wagering requirements, and some won’t contribute at all.
  • Cashback – You will have to have money on your account to be offered this no deposit bonus. The way it works is that you opt in to the offer and after a specific period of time you will get a percentage of your net losses, normally 10%, returned to your account as either bonus money, which will follow the standard rules above, or as cash that you can withdraw.

Now that you know a little more about different types of no deposit bonuses, let’s talk about your chances of winning any real money from these offers.

Can I win real money from no deposit bonuses?

The short answer is “yes, you can,” but there are a few things you ought to know before you get your hopes up and start planning a vacation to Hawaii. The chances of winning are really small, but a small chance of winning is always going to be a heck of a lot better than no chance at all.

A no deposit bonus without wagering requirements means, in theory, that the money is real and possible to withdraw. I say in theory because the winnings from your offer could be capped at an amount which is lower than the allowed minimum withdrawal amount.

Yes, this is a bit cheeky, but who are you to complain? You just won free money. So what are you going to do with your money? Well, you only have one option, continue to gamble. In this scenario I would suggest that you brush up on your Blackjack skills.

I was in a situation once where I got 20 free spins at €0.10 per spin on Dead or Alive by NetEnt. This game is probably the highest volatility slot ever made so chances of winning are not the greatest, but I got lucky and triggered the in-game free spins and before long I had capped out my winnings at €10. Now, the minimum withdrawal allowed by the casino was €20.

So I did what I always do in this situation. I took my €10 to the live casino and sat down at a Blackjack table. The maximum I was allowed to bet was €5 since I was playing with bonus money. I played two hands of €5 and won both, one was a blackjack. Which meant that I was sitting on €22.50 in stone cold cash. My money! And I withdrew a €20 right away. But this is obviously a rare occasion. And I was lucky that the winnings from my free spins came without any wagering requirements.

There is a very important thing you have to understand about the differences between cash and bonus money. Of course, bonus money always comes with a wagering requirement, but that’s not all. Bonus money falls in under several other rules that are important to know. For example:

  • Bonus money expires. That’s right. If you haven’t met the wagering requirement before a specific date, the bonus money will simply be taken from your account.
  • You are definitely not allowed to bet more than a certain amount each time. Normally it’s capped at €5 per game round regardless of game.
  • Game restrictions. When you’re playing with bonus money you’re usually not allowed to play any game in the casino. Certain games may be banned.
  • Game weighting applies. This means that some games contribute more than others to meeting the wagering requirements.

Why is it crucial to know and understand these added rules? Easy. You can break these rules. Just because it says that you’re not allowed to bet more than €5 in the terms when you’re playing with bonus money, doesn’t always mean that you can’t bet more.

Games that are banned from playing with bonus money will still open if you try, so it’s up to you to be aware of which games you’re allowed to play with bonus money. You can practically break almost every rule when you’re playing with bonus money, and if you do, you’re offer can be withdrawn and all your winnings confiscated by the casino.

If you do this habitually, the casino will deem you a bonus abuser and possibly close down your account. There’s an easy way to avoid all this, though. Read the bonus terms and conditions before you start playing.

Are casinos making money from no deposit bonuses?

They most definitely aren’t making any money when they give out no deposit bonuses. The money has to come from somewhere and it’s usually taken from the casino’s marketing department. It’s thought of as an investment to either acquire new players as part of the account registration bonus or reactivate dormant players who haven’t made a deposit for a while.

It most certainly isn’t a scam. The casino is not trying to fool you with a no deposit bonus. What they are really trying to do, obviously, is to get you to start making deposits. Afterall, it’s a business. Don’t ever forget that.

Everything about gambling is data driven in the end. And that door swings both ways. The casino collects and stores all sorts of data regarding your playing habits: what time of day and which days you play, for how long you play, how often and how much you deposit, which games you play, how much you bet each round. Basically, everything you do when you log in to your account is logged and stored by the casino.

Based on this information, the casino decides who should get what kind of offer, and when.

High rollers are not interested in no deposit bonuses. If you’re betting €5,000 per hand in Baccarat, 10 free spins at €0.10 per spin on Starburst is not going to be interesting. Casual players from Western Europe are more likely to get this kind of offer.

Players from Eastern Europe and quite a lot of African nations are often seen as bonus hoarders in the sense that they register accounts in all the casinos offering a bonus just for opening an account.

Can you claim multiple registration bonuses?

Yes, but you would be caught breaking the one bonus per player/household/IP address policy and you wouldn’t get paid. There are players out there who try to register multiple accounts to claim a bonus over and over. They are all, without exception, caught and their accounts closed. Changing the spelling of your name or registering with a different email address is of no use.

In fact, I would urge you not to even attempt this because you might just ruin it for everyone. You see, casinos have to either front the bonus money or buy the free spins from a games provider, which is either way an expense for the casinos, and since chances are pretty much 100% that you will get caught, the only thing you will accomplish is to piss of the casino manager.

That person may in turn decide to switch off the no deposit bonus offer entirely for players from your jurisdiction.

The better option is to register with different online casinos that offer a no deposit bonus when you create your account. This is perfectly fine. I know a lot of people with many casino accounts and they are regularly getting all sorts of bonuses and loyalty offers.

No deposit bonus codes

Sometimes you may have to input a special code when you’re logged in to your account to claim your no deposit bonus. These codes can either be found on the casino site or they’re emailed directly to you. You can also go looking on the Internet for bonus codes, but if you find one and it doesn’t work, or even if it does work, make sure that you’re actually eligible for the bonus.

And whatever you do, don’t share bonus codes you get in emails with friends. If they qualify for the offer they will get them. When players try to fib with bonus codes, casinos aren’t happy. They will ask all sorts of questions like:

  • Can you send a screen shot of the email you received?
  • What time and date did you receive the bonus code?
  • Which actor is the best Batman?

Basically, they will ask a bunch of questions and for verifications and trace back the source of the email in good ol’ James Bond fashion, and if you’re the culprit sharing the casino’s bonus codes, you can count on your account being suspended.

Hunting jackpots with a no deposit bonus

If you’re planning to register lots and lots of accounts to get as many no deposit bonuses as you can so you can go hunt for jackpots, then I have some advice for you. First off, you will need to find an offer that gives you bonus money to play with, free spins won’t do, and secondly, please be careful.

There are two types of jackpots: fixed and progressive. The smart move is to go after a progressive jackpot. For two reasons:

  1. If you win, it’s the game provider and not the casino that pays you the money.
  2. You’re not being a dick (pardon my language).

As for the second reason, if you go after a fixed jackpot, the casino is most likely the ones responsible for paying you the money. This may cause a lot of problems for the casino. Not the fact that they have to pay you, trust me, they’re good for it.

The main problem is that you most likely broke the terms of your no deposit bonus when you went for the fixed jackpot. Usually, these games are on the list of games excluded from play with bonus money from no deposit bonuses.

Now we get to another problem for the casino – your big mouth. No player on Earth would sit idly by and watch as the casino quietly refused to pay their jackpot winnings. Even though they have every right in the world not to. But imagine the news paper headline: “Online Casino Refuses To Pay Jackpot Winner.”

All press is not good press. So what if the player broke the rules and happened to win a €250,000 jackpot, the casino is good for it, right. So what if they are? If you go ahead and try to strongarm the casino via the press to pay you your winnings, it will only hurt other players in the long run and probably get you banned from ever receiving another no deposit bonus again, ever.

I have been to Malta and met with casino managers and trust me, they communicate across casinos and pay attention to what players talk about in forums. You will basically become persona non grata for life.

My no deposit bonus free spins strategy

This is another question I often get. What is my no deposit bonus strategy if I’m playing free spins? This depends very much on whether or not the offer is with or without a wagering requirement. I will share as many details as possible here, and at the end I will give a short summary. The devil is always in the details so unless you’re an experienced player, I would suggest that you read through this carefully rather than skipping ahead. Well, here it goes:

  • Free spins on a new game – I would never dive in and start playing without knowing what to look for or what makes the game tick. The first thing I would do is to log in to my account and open the game and play with fun money until I have triggered every possible bonus feature. This way I feel a bit more confident when it comes to what I should be looking for. Keep in mind that the free spins you get from the casino are just considered regular spins in the base game of the slot you’re playing. It’s always good to get an idea of what’s going on, especially if it’s a brand new release that you’ve never seen before.
  • Free spins on a game I know – Even if I know the game I got free spins on, I will still open it and play it for fun. Maybe it’s a superstitious thing to do, but at the very least I get a reminder of what’s going on.

It’s very rare that you don’t win anything on your free spins but of course if can happen. Normally each spin is played at €0.10 so you shouldn’t expect to walk away with more than a few cents. Still, there are two amounts you should know before you start playing:

  • The max amount you’re allowed to bet when you’re playing with bonus money, which can vary between different casinos. If my offer comes with a wagering requirement, then this is the amount I hope to win.
  • The minimum amount I’m allowed to withdraw because ultimately, this is the target I’m aiming for.

It’s only after I’ve played my spins that the strategy comes into play and it’s slightly different depending on whether or not I have to meet any wagering requirements. Let’s say that I got lucky and walked away with €5 from my free spins and that that is the maximum amount I’m allowed to bet when I’m playing with bonus money.

The end goal is always to get to a point where I can withdraw my money. I take a little different approach if there’s a wagering requirement. Let’s stick with me winning €5. The first few steps are always the same.

  1. Go to the live casino and take a seat at a Blackjack table where you can bet €5 and let it ride. If I win the hand I stay with the same bet (€5), lose means I quit and log out. I will keep playing until I either reach the minimum amount I’m allowed to withdraw, or I go bust.
  2. I will do the exact same thing if I’m playing with a wagering requirement but my play style is a bit different. Still, I will let it ride and either double up to €10 or go bust. If I double up, then I bet €5 on two hands, if I keep winning I will play as many hands I can with a €5 bet until I either win €100 or go bust.
  3. Great job! Let’s say I won €100. Now what? It’s time to get back to the slots. I will always go for Blood Suckers (97.99% RTP) by NetEnt. I set it to minimum bet level and autospin. I use the advanced settings to stop spinning if cash decreases by €80. I still need to have €20 to withdraw. Then it’s just a waiting game. To try and maximise what you are left with, you play 50 spins at a time and check your progress towards meeting the wagering requirement.

You don’t have to have €150 in your account to turn over €150. Of course, it’s a lot easier and you are guaranteed to be left with something. In this case, pick a slot with a very high RTP and play 150 spins at €1 each and whatever is left after your spins are done is yours to keep.

My strategy is frowned upon by casinos, I know. Some casinos even have in the bonus terms that your bets can’t differ by more than 10%. Which means that if you bet €5 from the get go, then the lowest you can bet after that is €4.5. The same goes if you start playing low, then you can’t increase your bet by more than 10% or you’d be in breach of the terms.

You see, this is why it’s so damn important to always read the general bonus terms. Otherwise you’d never know. And believe me, you can argue as much as you want with the casino if you break their rules and they decide to cancel your bonus and void your winnings. Onus is always on you to get acquainted with the terms.

Hopefully you feel a lot more confident and knowledgeable about no deposit bonuses now than before you read this text. There’s only one more thing to mention, and I saved this for last.

When should you not take a no deposit bonus

Maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot here, but I do believe that there are certain circumstances when you shouldn’t take up a casino on a no deposit bonus. Online gambling is not for everyone. Some players gamble way above their means and develop a problem.

If you’re honest enough with yourself and realize that you could be one of these players, and you haven’t played for a while, then no matter what no deposit bonus the casinos send you to “welcome you back” should be ignored.

It won’t be easy, I know. But this is the one time you need to stay strong. What you really should do is to log in to your account and self-exclude. As long as you’re self-excluded, the casino is no longer allowed, under their licenses, to send you any promotional emails or offers of any kind.

A lot of players don’t know this, but it’s a sure-fire way to be certain that you won’t be getting any emails or offers from the casino. The only thing they are allowed to send you is vital information regarding your account. For example, if your account has been dormant for so long that it’s about to get closed for good.

At this stage you definitely stopped receiving no deposit bonuses a long time ago.

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