The Best Online Casino Bonuses for US Players in 2018
Online casino gaming is not going anywhere in 2018, and the pace of innovation keeps on increasing. Not only can you enjoy 3D slots, live dealer table games and plenty of promos – there are some excellent welcome bonus offers waiting for you to claim them.
As always, the trick is to identify the legitimate bonuses from the rest.
Some big name brands offer bonuses which take twice as long to clear as the average by having a high play-through requirement of restrictive ‘weightings’.
There is a lot of detail on this page, which will give you the knowledge to find the best bonuses for yourself. Below is a table summarizing my favorite US-friendly casinos – after that you’ll find information on making real money deposits, what to look for in the bonus terms and why you should never sign-up without first checking that the ongoing bonuses and rewards are top-rated.
US Casinos Bonus Offers 2018 – Real Money Deposits
Unless you live in Delaware, Nevada or New Jersey – you’ll need to go to offshore casinos to play real money games online. There are some big and well respected brands out there, including names like Intertops, Bovada and BetOnline. All of these have ways of getting money on board and your winnings back out again.
I have covered this topic in detail elsewhere here at Sit N Go Planet – here is a summary of the main methods of making real money deposits (which will enable you to take advantage of those casino bonuses).
#1 – Credit Cards: These work by using international purchasing capability. As long as your card works internationally (most do, though some are blocked until you request this from your bank), then your payment should go through. Visa, MasterCard and Amex are all accepted, though not all by all of the casinos.
#2 – Prepaid Cards / Vouchers: If your card does not work, you can always buy a prepaid one from a convienence store. I recommend checking with your casino on the best brands to buy before you head out. Some casinos also use other voucher / phone card options.
#3 – Person to Person Transfer: This refers to wiring money using global money transfer offices. Western Union and MoneyGram will not transfer to a gambling site directly, so you transfer to an individual who represents the casino instead. This is a reliable method, though you will need to pay a fee to the office which wires your money.
#4 – BitCoin: Virtual currencies used to be the remit of specialist casinos – these days many mainstream brands are also using this as a deposit option.
#5 – Bank Wires / Player Transfer: These are not universal, though you can still find casinos which will allow bank wires for large amounts of money. Player transfer involves using someone who already has a funded account to share their bankroll – this will have to be someone you know.
US Casino Bonuses 2018 – Overview of the Bonus Offers
Everyone notices the headline part of the bonus ‘100% to $1000, 200% to $500’ and so on. With a few exceptions, this is not the most important part of the bonus deal at all. The key factor is how many times are you expected to wager your bonus before it becomes yours to withdraw.
There are huge differences between the casinos in this area.
When you start to look at the fine print of which games count at 100% towards this wagering requirement and which are ‘weighted’ (only partially counting) then things get even more complex. This section of the article takes these things one at a time. First the criteria which you can use to quickly compare the bonus offers are looked at, and after that you’ll see some examples breaking down the offers of 3 of the biggest and best offshore US casinos.
Once you understand this section, my selections in the table above will start to make a lot more sense.
Casino Bonuses - What to look out for:
#1 The overall amount of the bonus will only be of interest if you have the money. If you only intend to deposit $200, then a $2000 bonus is out of reach anyway – and those extra play-through terms are not going to be worth it. The key point is that bigger is not always better!
#2 The percentage match. Most casino bonuses are at 100% match, adding $100 to your balance in bonus money for every $100 you deposit. Others are 200% matched, adding $200 for every $100 deposited. This is a significant difference, though (see below) the play-through has to be factored in.
#3 The play-through requirements. Also known as wagering or wager-through requirements. This is the number of times you have to gamble your deposit, bonus or both in order for the bonus to be completed and the amount available for withdrawal. Here are some examples
Deposit $100, Bonus 100% matched, 25x combined play-through:
This means you have to gamble the combined deposit and bonus amount 25 times. That’s $200x 25 or $5000 worth of wagers in this case.
Deposit $100, Bonus 200% matched 30x combined play-through:
This time you have $300 to play with, and so will need to gamble $9000 before your bonus is cleared.
Deposit $100, bonus 100% matched – 40x bonus only play-through:
Here the play-through looks higher, though only relates to the bonus part of your money, this makes the last bonus the easiest of the 3 examples to clear. You need to wager 40 times the $100 bonus, or $4000 before the money is yours.
#4 The Weightings: Casinos give different games weightings to show how much bets on each table count towards your bonus clearance totals. An example might be that casino A counts Blackjack bets at 25%, while casino B only counts them at 10%. This is important when it comes to table games, though most casinos count slots at 100%. There may be some lower house edge games like Video Poker or Craps which are completely excluded from counting.
#5 Check for Banned Games and Bad Terms: Some casinos exclude games from their bonus offers, while others have clauses which mean playing certain games when clearing a bonus can void the whole offer. I tend to avoid this kind of casino, and it is certainly worth checking out before you start your play-through. Usually, you will only find out you have made a mistake when you come to withdraw your money.
Alright, that’s the basics nailed – there are a lot of extras which come along with your bonus, including free spins on slots, return on losses on your first day(s), tournament entries and extra bonuses for playing mobile or live dealer games. I have covered those in a lot more detail in the individual reviews here at High Tech Gambling.
- Bovada Casino Review 2018
- BetOnline Casino Review 2018
- Drake Casino Review 2017
- Intertops Casino Review 2018
- Slots.lv Casino Review 2018
US Casino Bonuses Extras and Ongoing Promotions
This might seem like a strange thing to say in an article about casino welcome offers – but these are not the most important financial factor when deciding which casino to join.
The single most important factor should always be the ongoing rewards and promotions, let me explain why.
Most casino welcome bonuses will be gone in 30 to 60 days, hopefully you will have had time to get the maximum benefits by then. If you find a reliable casino with great service and a wide selection of games, then you will be playing there a lot longer than your welcome bonus lasts for. This means that over the long term, the ongoing rewards and extra promotions will have a far bigger effect on your bankroll than the welcome offer.
Ongoing Rewards to Look Out For
Reload bonuses are a must-see for me; these are similar to the welcome bonus offers for additional deposits. These range from 50% up to 100%. One US casino, BetOnline.ag, offer a perpetual 25% bonus on every deposit you make for life. More usual is to have redeposit offers for certain games or groups of games (slots, table games, live dealer games and so on).
Comp Points schemes give you points for your real money play that can then be exchanged for bonuses or even cash. Many of these are tiered. After you collect a certain number of points, you will move up to a new tier where the offers are better (and you collect points faster). If you are a high roller then you may well be invited to an exclusive VIP club which works in a similar way.
Tournament entries and free spins are common, and are often given as enticements to try out the latest slot releases. You might also be offered free chips (or an extra bonus) to try out mobile phone casino games or live dealer games.
Promos are the biggest differentiator, the best US online casinos offer regular promotions to their players which change on a weekly (or monthly) basis. These days I never join a casino before looking through their history of player promotions. If a casino values looking after their loyal players – this is how they will do it, make sure your casino comes up to scratch before you sign-up!
US Online Casino Bonuses – Summing it up
Here is my 3 bullet summary of what you should be looking out for when it comes to US casino bonuses.
- First, make sure your casino is legitimate. There are many long-running brands offshore with great reputations and fast cash-outs. You can find the list in my US online casinos page.
- Second, make sure you have a way of depositing and withdrawing.
- Third, check the play-through requirement and any excluded / badly weighted games. Make sure there are plenty of great rewards for loyal players, including comp points, reloads and a good history of one-off promotions.
After reading all the information above, my recommendations from the very top of this article should now make a lot more sense. Here they are once again – good luck at those tables!