A Guide To Bingo Bonuses
Your Guide To Bingo Bonuses & Where To Find Them
In this guide we'll be discussing the different types of bingo bonuses available, from free spins and loyalty bonuses, right through to no-deposit bonuses, welcome bonuses, reload bonuses and the T&C's that come with all of them.
You can jump to a specific section by clicking a link below, or continue reading to learn all there is to know about them..
Every bingo site will offer a bonus of some description - whether it be upon signing up, depositing, referring a friend, winning in a chat game or promotion, or even partaking in a Facebook competition. They're everywhere, literally - but why do we have them, and more to the point why do we seem to love them so much?!
A bonus is basically free money, or credits, given to a player so that they can play the bingo site's games for free, often without having to deposit any of their own money. They are also generally awarded as prizes in promotions and competitions.
Naturally, we all go mad for them, and why wouldn't we want to play our favourite games for free with the chance of winning real cash? Well, have you heard the saying "nothing comes for free"?
Bingo sites use bonuses as a way to get us to sign up with them, deposit or take part in a promotion - and it works! In many cases it's the deciding factor on whether or not to join a new bingo site.
But despite all the noise surrounding them and the benefits they offer, don't be fooled into thinking it's free cash - it's not, it's a bonus - a bonus which can't be withdrawn, and in most cases you can't even withdraw any money you win off it (more on that later).
Bingo bonuses can be enjoyed, but players should be aware of the terms before they accept the bonus or enter into any commitment or promotion where their own money is at risk.
Bingo bonuses can be enjoyed, but players should be aware of the terms of the bonus before they accept the bonus or enter into any commitment or promotion where their own money is at risk. Otherwise you may well be playing for a prize which can't be transferred into real cash.
Too often players go to cash-out their winnings from a "free" bonus, or enter promotions believing they will be able to walk away with real cash prizes, only to be disappointed.
Bonus terms are usually published alongside the bonus or promotion, and in the case of a promotion they should specify if the prize is awarded in bonus funds - usually it will be, and so can't be withdrawn. The things to look out for in the terms are the wagering requirements and sometimes the maximum amount which can be won off the bonus. Some sites even specifiy in their terms that no more than half of the bonus amount can be staked in any single game, otherwise the bonus and any winnings will be voided. Scary stuff huh?
No-deposit bonuses are welcome bonuses offered by some bingo sites as a way to entice players into signing up and playing their games for free. As the name suggests, they don't require that you make a deposit in order to get the bonus, but they do come with some very stringent terms to prevent abuse of the "free" bonus.
..Don't expect to win any real money from no-deposit bonuses..
No-deposit bonuses are a great way to test out a particular bingo site if you're not ready to deposit any money yet, or just to have a few games for free. However, don't expect to win any real money from them. Their wagering terms are usually quite harsh and can be upwards of 10x the bonus amount, making it very difficult for you have anything left to withdraw.
Unless you're looking for a bit of "practice play" these types of bonus should usually be avoided else you might find yourself very disappointed after having won some money only to discover you can't withdraw it!
Free spins are usually offered alongside a welcome bonus, but are also often awarded as part of a promotion, competition, or chat game.
Some bingo sites offer no-deposit free spins (similar to a no-deposit bonus) but again their terms can be very harsh and usually require that you wager the amount of any winnings several times over before you can withdraw, making it very unlikely that you will have anything left.
Again, they're a great way to test out a particular slot game, or just have a bit of fun, but don't expect to be able to withdraw anything you win. Caution should also be taken when free spins are offered as a prize in a promotion, as they will usually carry the same stringent wagering requirements and terms making it very difficult for you to transfer any winnings into real cash.
Welcome bonuses and first time deposit bonuses are in effect the same thing - they're a bonus which bingo sites offer as an incentive to make your first deposit and start playing their games.
They're are a great way to enjoy extended gameplay, but, as with all bonuses they have wagering requirements and terms associated with them, which usually state that you must wager a certain amount before any winnings can be withdrawn (see section on Bonus Terms, Wagering Requirements & Contributions).
Welcome bonuses usually have a minimum deposit amount which must be met in order to be eligible for the bonus (typically £5 or £10). They may also be a fixed amount, so you must deposit the required amount in order to receive the bonus i.e. deposit £10 and receive a £30 bonus.
Bonuses as a Percentage of the Deposit
Most bonuses are based on a percentage of the deposit amount. For example, a 300% bonus would translate as 3 times your deposit amount. So, if you deposited £10, and got a 300% bonus, you would receive a £30 bonus on top of your £10 deposit, or in other words, you would receive a total of £40 for only £10.
..A higher percentage doesn't always mean a better bonus, because the maximum bonus amount might be quite low...
Welcome bonuses usually range from between 100% and 500%. A higher percentage doesn't always mean a better bonus, because the maximum bonus amount might be quite low. For example, a bingo site offering a 500% bonus might only award you with a bonus up to £25, whereas a bingo site offering a 100% bonus might award you with a bonus up to £100.
Which one you should go for is down to personal preference - if you'd prefer to deposit a small amount but get a relatively larger bonus, then a higher percentage bonus might suit you better, but if you don't mind depositing a larger amount in order to get a larger bonus, then a higher maximum bonus amount might be more suited to you.
Maximum Bonus Amounts
If you'd prefer to get a higher bonus amount and don't mind deposting more, then you should pay attention to the maximum bonus amount offered. For example, some bingo sites might offer you a 300% bonus up to £30, whereas others might offer you a 300% bonus up to £300.
If you are claiming a bonus, always check the terms of the bonus before you deposit as you might not receive as much as you think if the maximum bonus amount is lower than you think.
Reload bonuses, often referred to as re-deposit bonuses, are similar to a welcome bonus except that these apply to subsequent deposits. Not all bingo sites offer them, others offer a reload bonus on the second deposit only, and others offer reload bonuses on every subsequent deposit.
Reload bonuses tend to be lower in terms of both percentage and maximum bonus amount than welcome bonuses, and act as an added incentive to deposit again and continue playing the bingo site's games.
Terms & conditions apply to reload bonuses in the same way as welcome bonuses, but they're usually laid out separately and the wagering requirements and maximum amounts differ from the welcome bonuses, so as always check the terms of the bonus carefully before accepting it.
All bingo bonuses come with some sort of terms and conditions attached to them. Money simply doesn't come for free, and certainly not when there are jackpots to be won!
The terms differ vastly depending on the type of bonus you've been offered. As mentioned previously, the most stringent terms come with no-deposit bonuses and free spins, but sometimes there can be "small print" terms which can be easily missed, so make sure you always check before accepting a bonus.
One condition which can appear from time to time, is the maximum win. Here, any amounts won off the bonus will be capped, and sometimes as little as £20. They generally appear next to very appealing offers, so check the terms carefully - especially if it seems too good to be true!
The most common bonus terms & conditions are the wagering requirements. Here, the terms will state that you must wager a certain amount before any winnings can be withdrawn.
Typically, you must wager between 2 and 5 times the bonus amount before any winnings can be withdrawn, but some bingo sites offer bonuses with no wagering requirements, meaning that once you have used up the bonus, any winnings can be withdrawn straight away.
..Caution should be taken when accepting any bonuses..as you may find that any winnings cannot be withdrawn until you have wagered the required amount..
Again, caution should be taken when accepting any bonuses, as unless you have a bonus with no wagering requirements, you may find that any winnings cannot be withdrawn until you have wagered the required amount, which might not leave you with anything to withdraw. For more information on wagering requirements read our guide on Bingo Bonus Wagering Requirements.
..Bonuses with no wagering requirements offer the best value for money..
Yes, they do exist! Bonuses with no wagering requirements offer the best value for money - they have all the benefits of a welcome bonus but with the added peace of mind that anything you win off the bonus can be withdrawn straight away.
The terms will usually stipulate that you have to wager the bonus at least once over, but this is normal - you have to spend the bonus in order to win anything anyway.
Make sure you bookmark our page featuring the best bingo sites with no wagering requirements so you always have an up-to-date list to refer back to.
Bonus with low wagering requirements still offer great value for money. A low wagering requirement would be deemed as 2x the bonus amount, perhaps even 3x. They allow you to take advantage of a welcome bonus, and still be in with a chance of bagging some cash which you can withdraw even after you've met the wagering terms.
For example, if you've deposited £10, received a £30 bonus, and the wagering requirement is 2x, then you would only need to wager £60 before being able to withdraw the bonus, as opposed to £150 if the wagering requirement was 5x.
If you do opt for a bonus with wagering requirements, care should be taken to understand what games contribute to fulfilling the wagering requirement.
..Not all games count when playing to meet the wagering requirements..
Not all games count when playing to meet the wagering requirements. This is because some games can be played in a way that theoretcially you'd come out with roughly even money (e.g. Roulette & Blackjack). Therefore games such as these often contribute much less to the overall amount you much wager.
For instance, let's say you have a £30 bonus and the wagering requirement is 2x. That means you must wager £60 before being able to withdraw any winnings. But, the terms might also state that only Bingo counts towards fulfilling the wagering requirement, and Roulette, Video Poker or Blackjack do not count at all.
Bingo games usually always count 100% towards the wagering requirement. Other games might still count, but at a reduced percentage, if at all, so check the terms! Slots and Scratch Cards for example usually only count between 5% and 25%, whereas Keno, Video Poker, Roulette and Blackjack usually don't count at all.
So, if you find yourself having to play to meet the wagering terms, make sure you check the bingo site's terms to find out which games are eligible, or, just stick to bingo games and you should be safe ;)