Marketing is a vital component of running an iGaming business and an effective bonus system is a vital component of iGaming marketing. This is because online casino bonuses, bingo bonuses, sportsbook bonuses, etc. serve two primary goals of marketing:
- Acquisition – Drawing players to your site to become customers
- Retention – Turning customers you’ve acquired into returning, loyal players
Providing engaging and rewarding promotions to new and existing players can help your business compete and stand out from the hundreds of other brands who are offering the same or similar gaming content as you.
If you’re just starting out in the industry or if you’re looking for ways to enhance your casino marketing strategy, the right type of bonuses could be very valuable to your success. Here, Top Casino Solutions explores the main types of bonuses offered and what to look for when seeking a high-quality bonus system solution from a gambling software platform.
Best iGaming Platforms with Bonus Systems
Main Types of Bonuses
Bonuses provide player incentive. There are a number of different online gambling bonuses that you can include as part of the experience that you plan to offer your customers. Most customers are generally attracted to promotional offers that give them more for less or result in a special freebie or reward.
With that in mind, the following are some of the most common types of online gambling bonuses.*
Sign up Bonus / Welcome Bonus
This is an offer that is exclusively reserved for new players who register. It is one of the most powerful bonuses offered as it is this bonus that can help encourage a player to sign up, share their valuable personal data, and take that extra step of making a deposit.
For instance, common online casino welcome bonuses often come in the form of:
- First deposit bonus – Bonus funds awarded once a player makes their very first deposit.
- No deposit bonus – Bonus funds awarded after a player registers. No deposit is required.
- Free spins – Real money spins given on a specific game or games.
- A combination of bonuses and spins – Sometimes free spins are given with a bonus or there are multiple bonuses that can be claimed over several deposits, usually referred to as a “Welcome Package.”
The point of a sign-up bonus is to acquire new players and their information, while encouraging them to try a real money experience without risking any (in the case of a no deposit bonus) or too much of their own money in the process.
Sign up Bonus Examples
200% up to €100 Welcome Bonus
50 Free Spins with First Deposit
€25 No Deposit Bonus
200% up to €100 Welcome Bonus + 50 Free Spins
A deposit bonus is a type of promotion that is awarded only after a player has made a deposit. The bonus funds can be used for real money play and making real money bets on the specific games or sports markets that apply to the promotion.
Deposit bonuses are awarded to both new and existing players and vary in size depending on the reason they are given. For instance, a welcome first deposit offer for new players and a VIP deposit bonus will be higher than those given to existing, non-high roller players. Additionally, it is also common for free spins to be included with casino deposit bonuses.
Deposit Bonus Examples:
200% up to €100 Welcome Bonus100% up to €100 + 200 Free Spins
Match Deposit Bonus
A match bonus is a type of bonus in which the casino, sportsbook, etc. matches the players deposit up to a maximum amount. It is frequently offered to new and in-active players.
For instance, in the case of a 100% Match Bonus up to €100, if a player were to deposit €20, the casino would match the deposit with €20, bringing the player’s total bankroll to €40. If the player deposits €100 or higher, they will receive the maximum €100 bonus. This means, even if the player deposits €200, they will still only receive the maximum €100 from the casino, for a total bankroll of €300.
Match deposit bonus examples:
100% Match Bonus up to €100
200% Match Bonus up to €50
No Deposit Bonus
A no deposit bonus is exactly what the name implies: a bonus that is claimable without a player needing to deposit any of their own funds. These types of bonuses are usually used for acquisition marketing purposes, to encourage new players to sign up or to encourage dormant players who have previously signed up to return to the casino and play.
This bonus is often a small amount of money or a set number of free spins, etc. It gives players a taste of real money thrills without them having to risk their own money. However, the ultimate goal of this bonus is to encourage them to make a deposit.
No deposit bonus examples:
10 No Deposit Free Spins
€25 No Deposit Bonus
This is another type of deposit bonus. However, it is used for retention purpose. The objective to using this promotion as part of a casino bonus system is to re-engage with players who have not been playing and/or depositing after a certain amount of time (e.g. week, month, and so on). Essentially, it is a friendly way for the casino to welcome an in-active player back by enticing them with a special offer.
This type of bonus can have many forms, such as free spins, deposit bonus, match bonus, etc. It may also be offered to advertise a specific event or to promote new games. Regardless of what may be offered, reloads are usually limited time promotions with a fixed expiration period.
Reload bonus examples:
Get 1 for €1 Free Spins up to 50 Spins
Get a 50% Bonus + 50 Free Spins on select NetEnt Slots (use code: NETENT)
Get up to 100 Free Spins to play on a New Game
Get a 150% Bonus up to €350 + 1 Free Ticket to the Rocket Tournament
Free spins is a promotion that is specific to online slots games. They are frequently given as part of a no deposit or deposit bonus offer. They may even be awarded as a prize to winners of tournaments or other events.
No matter the reason why they are given, all free spins have a specific pre-determined monetary value (e.g. €0.10 per spin) and they can be used on specific games only, usually one or a handful of games from the same game provider.
Free spins examples:
Get 50 Free Spins on Starburst
Get up to 100 Free Spins on Book of Dead
Get 50 Spins on your choice of one of two games
Free bets are a common online sportsbook bonus that are usually given out to new customers, in-active punters or loyal bettors.
Free bets can be used for both acquisition and retention marketing purposes and tend to be given in the form of new customer offers or as a money-back special on specific races. The main objective is to entice betting and encourage loyalty.
Free bets examples
€20 Risk-Free Bet
Bet €50 Get €100 Free Bet
Money back as a free bet if your horse finishes 2nd by a head or less
Money back special if your hose finishes 2nd to the SP favourite
Cashback is another retention marketing tactic that is worth considering if your intention is to build a long-term relationship with your players. This is a loyalty reward meant to encourage valuable customers to play regularly by allowing them to recoup some of their losses.
Fixed or percentage-based cashbacks or offering another type of reward (e.g. free spins) that is issued to eligible players (daily, weekly or monthly) can help to keep them feeling valued.
15% Cashback on Mondays
Get Back 10% of All Your Lost Deposits
15% Weekly Cashback
Loyalty Bonus / VIP Bonus
These are bonuses and perks reserved exclusively for players who are a part of a VIP/Loyalty program. They are designed to improve retention and are often tailored to suit specific types of players depending on where in the loyalty club they land.
For instance, many loyalty and VIP schemes have multiple levels, with offers and perks increasing in number and value with each level.
Loyalty/VIP bonus/perks examples:
Invitations to exclusive events
Personal account manager
Higher deposit limits
Higher withdrawal limits
This is a bonus that is given to existing customers who successfully bring new customers to the site. Depending on the referral campaign, the customer will receive some type of benefit (e.g. a casino bonus, cash bonus, comp points/website currency, etc.) once the friend that they refer signs up and makes their first deposit.
Usually, customers who take part in these promotions are provided with a unique code or link that they give to their friends, which can be tracked by the casino so that the appropriate customer can be awarded for their referral. Refer-a-friend bonus programs are great for acquiring new players and improving retention by rewarding existing players for their loyalty.
Refer-a-friend example:Refer Your Friends Get a €50 Bonus
Ongoing daily, weekly, or monthly tournaments are another way that online casinos can draw in and retain customers. Offering freerolls (no entry fee) and buy-in tournaments (entry fee) that give customers the chance to win a share of prizes (e.g. free spins, cash, merchandise, trips, etc.) provides an extra thrill and an incentive to compete against other players to claim a top prize.
Many bonus systems offered by iGaming software platforms can provide you with all the tools and parameters you need to set up tournaments and rakes, such as a leaderboard, prizes, minimum number of bets to qualify, creating a prize money bank, etc.
Gamifying your site is an excellent retention marketing strategy that pairs well with a bonus system. There are different ways that you can gamify your site to make it more engaging and rewarding for players, including:
- Multi-level missions that lead players down different reward paths depending on their level (e.g. complete a mission, such as playing 50 spins on a certain game to collect points to unlock another mission, etc.).
- Comp points/website currency that is exclusive to your site (no real monetary value) that players can earn or collect and then use to purchase bonuses, free spins or even site merchandise.
- Tournaments with real-time leaderboards to encourage competition.
For online gambling business that offer more than one type of gambling product (e.g. casino, sports betting, bingo, poker, lottery, etc.), you can offer bonuses across verticals. For instance, you can:
- Include free spins for the casino with a sports betting sign up promotion
- Offer a sports betting free bet with a casino welcome bonus
- Provide players with choice and offer multiple welcome bonus options for specific products (e.g. slots, live casino games, sports, poker, bingo etc.)
- Offer a welcome bonus that can be used across all verticals for select games, sports markets, etc.
*The above list of bonuses and examples are meant only to provide a general idea of the type of online gambling promotions that may be possible. It is not a complete list. The types of promotions that iGaming businesses can offer vary from one to the next and may differ depending on a variety of factors, including jurisdictions, regulator laws, white label software tools, etc.
Bonus Terms and Conditions
No promotion is without terms and conditions and many – especially deposit bonuses (all types), free spins and free bets – are linked to wagering requirements. The purpose of wagering requirements is to ensure that issuing bonuses remains beneficial to the casino, sportsbook, etc.
Let’s face it, an iGaming business exists to make a profit, not because they like to hand out freebies to their customers. As such, operators add a layer of requirements that must be met before a player can cash out any winnings resulting from their bonuses, free spins, etc. These are known as wagering requirements or bonus playthrough requirements.
These requirements state the number of times in which a player must wager their deposit and bonus amount before they are permitted to cash out the bonus and any associated winnings. To put this into clearer perspective, consider the following wagering requirements example.
Understanding how wagering requirements work
A new player decides to take advantage of a 100% Match Bonus with x30 wagering requirements. The player deposits €50. The casino matches this deposit, so a total of €100 (€50 deposited by the player + €50 added by the casino) is added to the player’s account. The wagering requirements for this bonus offer is x30, which means that the total amount of €100 (deposit + bonus) must be played through 30 times before a cash out can be made. In other words, the total amount that the player must play through to meet the requirements is €3,000 (€100 x 30 = €3,000).
Taking this further, to understand how the casino benefits even more with its house edge (the mathematical advantage that the gambling game has over a player as they play over time) the average slots RTP (Return to Player) is about 97%, with the other 3% staying with the casino. Factored into the above wagering example, that’s €3,000 – 97% which equals €90 (the casino’s 3%). This €90 that automatically remains with the casino is higher than the initial €50 bonus the casino awarded the new player.**
**Note: The calculations from the wagering requirements example are based on averages and is meant to provide a basic idea behind the system. Actual results may vary and more detailed stipulations (e.g. types of games that count toward wagering requirements, etc.) may apply.
Not all bonuses have the same rules
Additionally, keep in mind that not all bonuses are created equal. For example:
- Some bonuses cam be withdrawn once playthrough requirements are met.
- Some bonuses are “sticky”, which means that they can never be withdrawn.
- Some bonuses may apply only to specific types of games (e.g. only slots but not table games or the live casino).
- Some bonuses may have limitations for max bet amounts.
- Some bonuses (particularly free spins) may have limitations on the max amount that can be won.
Due to the fact that there are so many stipulations, it is imperative that you make every effort to keep your terms and conditions as clear and concise as possible to ensure absolute transparency. Players should know that wagering requirements apply and should be encouraged to read the T&Cs before accepting any promotions. This is not only a good business practice but will also help to ensure you don’t breech any laws or responsible gambling codes of the regulator who issued you a gambling license.
How to Make a Bonus System Successful
Having the ability to integrate a bonus system and offer different promotions to customers is only the beginning of a successful bonus system strategy. To truly make this a system that will benefit your business and drive profits, you need the tools to make your system diverse, flexible and tailored to suit the desires of your customers.
For starters, affiliate marketing is an important part of your bonus system strategy in terms of acquiring new players. It is a cost-effect way to draw in new customers and is a win-win for your business and the affiliate. Not only can an affiliate advertise your site with the welcome offer, but depending on the program, you may be able to provide certain valuable affiliates with a special offer that is exclusive to their visitors/readers.
In terms of retention, the goal is to create a tailored customer experience that puts the right bonus in front of the right customer at the right time. This might sound like an impossible task, but when you have the CRM technology to track customer behavior and segment players, you’ll know how to match up a specific group of players with the promotions that are most likely to suit their preferences.
The more customizable your bonusing system is and the wider its parameters, the greater your ability to deliver stand-alone or complex bonuses that are triggered by a variety of characteristics that apply to specific time ranges and conditions, targeted at specific groups or even an individual player.
What to Look for in a Good Bonus System
Designing and building a clever bonus system may seem daunting, but with the help of the right white label or turnkey gambling software company, you’ll discover that they often have all the tools that you need to start you on the road to success.
With that said, here are some of the features to look for in a quality solution:
- Variety of bonus options (first deposit, deposit bonus, match bonus, reload bonus, etc.)
- Cross-product bonusing
- Seamless betting across bonus wallets and real wallets
- Bonus eligibility across all platforms (desktop, mobile, tablet)
- Player eligibility conditions
- Support for multiple languages and multiple currencies
- Loyalty/VIP system
- Detailed bonus reporting
- Single trigger bundled bonus programs
- Tournaments and rakes with a wide range of parameters
- Achievements and gamification (set up prizes, experience points, website currency, achievements, customer progress tracking, etc.)
- Customizable user levels
- Customizable bonus parameters (e.g. currency, country, game, payment method, deposit amount, customer level, wagering requirements, bonus codes, etc.)
- In-depth scheduling of campaigns and recurrence
Bonus System – Final Thoughts
No matter the type of iGaming business you choose, an intricate, flexible, gamified and transparent bonus system can help you make the most of your acquisition and retention marketing strategies. TCS makes it easy to find the iGaming software platforms that can deliver outstanding solutions to suit your business needs. Discover the right option for you in our software reviews today!