What’s The Best Casino Welcome Bonus? Risk-Free Vs. Deposit-Match

Welcome bonuses are one of the main ways online casinos appeal to new players. Even if one has more games than another, an introductory offer could seal the deal for players on the fence about which to join. While there’s no rule against claiming all $9,875 in bonus offers—plus 950 free spins—playthrough requirements mean it’s best to go one at a time.

So which offer is better, risk-free betting or deposit-match bonuses?

Most Straightforward: Risk-Free 24 Hours

A few Michigan online casinos offer a risk-free first 24 hours of casino play – and it’s exactly what it sounds like. You can play most games of your choice within the first 24 hours after your first bet. If you have net losses at the end of your first day, you get it back in betting credits.

Risk-Free Bet Playthrough Requirements

The key thing to keep in mind with risk-free betting terms and conditions is that your net losses aren’t refunded in cash. Instead, you receive betting credits that must be bet through at least one time before you can withdraw it.

For example, if you earned loyalty points at an online casino and exchanged them for betting credits, you can’t just cash out. You have to turn the betting credits into cash by playing the casino games.

In some cases, only specific games are eligible for betting credits. All slots will likely qualify. Some table games with the best odds, such as live dealer blackjack, likely won’t qualify.

Most Free Chances To Win More: Deposit-Match Welcome Bonuses

If you win more than you lose with the risk-free bet, you’re not technically getting a welcome bonus at all. Instead, you’re playing with the peace of mind that you’ll get your losses back in betting credits.

With a deposit-match welcome bonus, you’re essentially doubling your first deposit up to a maximum amount. So if it’s a 100% welcome bonus up to $1,000 like at BetMGM Casino and you deposit $200, you’d receive an additional $200 in betting credits for a total of $400 in your account.

The best welcome bonus at an online casino in terms of playthrough requirements is BetRivers Casino (also known as SugarHouse Casino in Pennsylvania and New Jersey). While the deposit-match is 100% up to $250, the playthrough requirements for slots play is just 1x. That means you only need to wager the deposit and bonus amount once to cash out all associated winnings.

Deposit-Match Bonus Playthrough Requirements

If you play the slots, then you’ll likely find all playthrough requirements reasonable at legal US online casinos. The standard playthrough ranges from 5x to 15x. So if you deposit $100 and receive an additional $100 with a 10x playthrough, you’d need to wager $2,000 total before you can withdraw associated winnings. If you play slots for $5 a spin, that’s 400 rounds before you can withdraw, which isn’t too bad for the average slots player over the course of a month or so.

But if you play table games, you’ll likely notice that the games only contribute a small percentage toward the playthrough requirement. While slots contribute 100%, table games like roulette and blackjack only contribute 10% to 20%.

That means if the playthrough requirement is 10x but your go-to game only contributes 10%, the playthrough requirement is essentially 100x your deposit plus bonus. If that applied to $200, that’s $20,000 in wagering before you can withdraw, which is very steep for what’s a relatively small deposit.

Some players may still find that the contribution rate still makes the offer worth it for playing table games. To each their own, but most blackjack, video poker, and roulette players are likely best off skipping the deposit bonus in favor of a risk-free 24 hours – or opting out of the welcome bonus entirely.

How Do Free Spins Work?

Free spins are usually worth around $0.10 each and apply to a specific game. A time limit is also usually associated with the offer.

For example, the WynnBET welcome bonus is a 100% match up to $1,000 plus 200 free spins on the Divine Fortune slots (Divine Fortune and Divine Fortune Megaways). The free spins are credited after you complete the initial playthrough requirements for the deposit-match bonus (10x playthrough on slots play). The free spins also must be used within seven days of being credited to your account.

The winnings from free spins are usually betting credits, the same that you would receive from a risk-free betting offer. At WynnBET, the playthrough for betting credits is 1x for slots play.

Should You Opt-In For A Welcome Bonus?

Whether or not you should do a welcome bonus at an online casino comes down to the type of game you play. Do you like slots, table games, or both? Here’s how I see each avenue in terms of online casino welcome bonuses:

  • Slots-Only Player: Most online casino bonuses are worth it if you only play the slots. The playthrough requirements are reasonable and you can get a ton of extra money for playing your go-to games.
  • Table Games-Only Player: It’s possible that you’ll still want to do the welcome bonuses, but it’s pretty unlikely. Even a 50x playthrough is ridiculously high, and a 100x playthrough is even more outrageous. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be offered plenty of tables-specific online casino bonuses once you’re a member.
  • Both Slots And Tables: If you like the slots but also enjoy table games, stick to the slots until you’ve completed the playthrough requirements, then switch to table games (or keep playing the slots if you’d like). 

Biggest Online Casino Bonuses

The biggest online casino bonuses in the US come from WynnBET Casino and FanDuel Casino.

The WynnBET Casino welcome bonus is a 100% deposit-match up to $1,000 plus 200 Free Spins, which gives you the most free chances to win than any other offer in Michigan.

The FanDuel Casino welcome bonus is a risk-free 24 hours up to $1,000. That’s the highest risk-free betting offer at online casinos in Michigan. Note that FanDuel Casino is Stardust Casino in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and FanDuel Casino in Michigan and West Virginia.

If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, these are the two to choose. However, be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure the playthrough requirements and other stipulations fit your style of play. It’s also crucial to follow Responsible Gaming best practices.

About the Author

Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani (shown here at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas) is a highly experienced online gambling writer who specializes in online casinos and sports betting sites. From the nuances of bonus offers to winning strategies and beyond, his insights have helped countless remote bettors keep more of their money while having fun and staying safe.