Which Offers More Value: Deposit Bonuses or Free Bets?

Which Offers More Value: Deposit Bonuses or Free Bets?

What would you choose is deposit bonuses or free bets? How many online casinos would you wager there are? No study can put an exact number to it. But if one had to guess, it could easily be in the thousands. Online casinos actually started to crop up one after another since the early years of the internet’s infancy. Naturally, now there are so many that they have to tug at each other’s customer bases to keep their business growing. This fierce competition is one of the reasons why online casinos are so big on bringing in new faces.

Like their physical counterparts, all online casinos run promotional events. But the most common ones are probably sign-in bonuses or free bets (e.g., free spins). These welcome bonuses give a new player incentive to try their hand at gambling. But out of these two major welcome bonuses, which one is preferable? This is an oft unanswered doubt many newcomers have. The easiest way to resolve this question is the cost vs. benefits analysis of both. First, we need to understand what they are. 

Deposit Bonuses

Deposit bonuses also work around the same core idea as free bets. They are there to incentivize your gambling and a way to jump-start your pot. But the method is quite different. Free bets, as we have discussed, are basically a no strings attached gander at gambling. But deposit bonuses imply you need to actually deposit real money first. In fact, in many cases, the deposit bonus has a direct connection to the amount of money you deposit. 

For example, the casino might run an event where they give you a 150% sign-up deposit bonus. What this essentially means is that if you deposit $150 into your casino wallet, you will get 50% extra, i.e., a total of $150 bankroll that you can gamble with now. Deposit bonuses also can be locked behind promo codes that you get from casino affiliates. That is a bit of in-built advertising for those affiliate partners. Other than that, bonus codes are publicly accessible and available rather than arcane secrets. But with deposit bonuses, there are usually other caveats that come in different forms.

Free Bets

Generally, free bets are like a phantom money handout that acts as a betting wager. To clarify, suppose you get a $10 freebie. You can use it to wager as you will. But the only caveat is that you will not get the actual deposit money returned if you win. So let’s say you put an actual $10 in a 3/1 odds wager and win. Your total earnings will be the $30 you won, plus the original $10, i.e., $40. If that were to be a free bet, however, you do not get the original $10 back. Now, this is the most common and simplest condition as far as wagering requirements go. 

Generally, they may have one or two extra rules strung to it – such as actual deposit requirements before the casino will agree to hand you the free bet. But again, free bets are generally welcome bonuses. So in most cases, you only need to register an account and log into the online casino platform to retrieve it. 

The Caveats 

Indeed there is a catch. The casino is ultimately a business. Now, some people scam their way into multiple deposit bonuses and cheese the system. But in the case of those who play fair, the casino always gets the cake. The system, in practice, gives the big-picture profit to the casino.

Playthroughs, also known as wagering requirements, are almost universally present in all deposit bonuses. Let’s say the playthrough requirement is x3. That means you need to actually wager $300 real money before you can retrieve a $100 bonus. Needless to say, this also tends to be there with free spins or free bets. On top of that, you may need to complete this playthrough within a short timeframe, e.g., two weeks. These also sometimes count only in a handful of games and not the entirety of the casino games library. 


As one can easily see, there is no master-key answer to which mode of welcome bonus is superior. The amount of value they add is basically dependent on what your priorities are. Firstly, there are different terms and conditions which can make or break these deals. One would rather have $30 they can retrieve easily than $50 that they have to jump through many hoops to bag.

From a net profit standpoint, you stand to gain more from free bets. The average free bets have very few caveats, no paygating, and lets you get a free attempt in the casino game of your choice. On the other hand, if you are a casino veteran, you gain more over time from deposit bonuses. If you would otherwise play at the casino regularly, nothing is bad about some extra money on the table once in a while. 

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