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The biggest draw cards of online gambling are the new player and ongoing bonus offers. There are literally millions of dollars given away every month to players by the Internet's top casinos. Bonuses are however one of the biggest sources of complaints and problems for players. This is due to a number of factors.

Firstly it is important to look at why the casinos are giving away money. The reason behind the bonuses is that there is so much competition to get your business that if one casino offers a welcome bonus the others all have to as well in order to be attractive for new players. The intention of the bonuses is to give you a chance to get to try out the casino and it's games without too much risk to your bankroll.

In the early days of online gambling there was a trend which we could see was going to have to change. Casinos were offering bonus with no wagering requirements or terms and players were making a killing simply claiming the bonus cash and either withdrawing it without playing or playing a game such as roulette and betting on red and black at the same time for zero risk and then taking the bonus money. This would send any casino out of business very quickly.

Wagering requirements are now part of every bonus deal. In short these refer to the amount of times the money has to be played before it can be withdrawn. For example if you have a $100 bonus for a $100 deposit with a 20X wagering requirement you have to wager $2,000 before you can cash out. While this might seem like a lot of money you have to keep in mind that wagered counts for every bet you make, win, lose or draw. It is not uncommon to wager 40 or 50 times your deposit in only a short time frame and still have bankroll remaining.

Fast forward to today and the landscape of bonuses has changed dramatically. While there are still a lot of worthwhile offers there are also a lot of deals which as simply not worth taking up. For example we have seen bonus offers with a 100X wagering requirement or even worse bonuses with a 10X withdrawal limit. So how do you know which offers are worth cashing in on?

Before we answer that, let's take a look at the various types of bonus offers that you will find at online gambling sites. These include;

When evaluating a bonus offer there are several things to look for. The first thing to do is to click on to the terms and conditions page for the bonus offer. All good casinos will have clear and detailed terms where you can see the required wagering, the excluded games and if there are any hidden catches such as a withdrawal limit. Failing to read the bonus terms can lead to trouble so be sure to always check them out BEFORE you claim any bonus money.

The first type of bonus that you should cross of your list are those with withdrawal limits. For example some casinos have bonuses where you get a free $20 chip. This seems great until you win $20,000 and find out that the bonus only has a 10X withdrawal limit which means you can only win $200. While you might like the look of these offers they definitely turn sour if you hit a massive win.

The next thing that you should look at is excluded games. If your favorite game is not allowed to be played with the bonus then it is provably a better idea not to claim it as you will have to play games that you are not used to or expert in. Due to bonus abusers common games to be excluded are roulette, baccarat and craps.

In general the best bonuses that you will get are those offered to regular players. It is not uncommon for casinos to send out 100% match bonus offers every week to their regulars - often these bonuses have relatively low wagering requirements and can be huge for example we have seen a VIP promotion of a 50% bonus up to $5,000 free - big considering the average bonus is just $50.

Finally if you just want to play any casino games, want to be able to withdraw your cash at any time or are just not interested in the free money you can ask for no bonuses to be added to your account. While the free money can be good to try out casinos many players find that by not taking bonuses they avoid any chance of running into problems when they go to withdraw. If you plan to not take the bonus money we suggest that you email the casinos support as soon as you join.

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