Almost every online casino has some sort of welcome bonus to help try and persuade you to sign up and use their website rather than their competitors. With a little bit of thought and cleverness, we can take these new-player casino bonuses and convert them into withdrawable cash.
But before we delve into casino bonuses, let’s talk about sportsbook bonuses. Making money from them is known as matched betting and is pretty easy and may be where you started off?
But right now because of the COVID-19 coronavirus most sports aren’t running so there aren’t that many matched betting offers available. But to try and keep customers casinos are offering better bonuses than normal. Now is a great time to try some casino bonus bagging – especially as we all need to make some more money!
- 1 Unlike Matched Betting, Casino Bonus Bagging Isn’t Risk Free
- 2 The Maths – How Casinos Make Money
- 3 The More We Play The Closer To Expected We Get
- 4 What Are The House Edges Of Different Casino Games?
- 5 How Casino Bonuses Work
- 6 How We Make Money From Casino Bonuses
- 7 Where To Find The Best Casino Bonuses
- 8 There Are Lots Of Different Types Of Casino Bonuses
- 9 USEFUL LINKS
- 10 FAQ
Unlike Matched Betting, Casino Bonus Bagging Isn’t Risk Free
Unlike matched betting, making money from casino bonuses is not risk-free. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be profitable and worth doing.
We call this notion EV (expected value). By using maths we can work out how much money we will make on average from the bonus. So why is that not risk-free? Because of variance. Each time we make a slightly different amount, but over the long term it averages to the EV.
If you understand what I mean then feel free to skip straight to the how casino bonuses work section.
Note: this can get quite complicated. If you want someone to explain it to you one-to-one then Oddsmonkey have an onboarding coach who will hold your hand when you sign up to their £17.99 a month service.
The Maths – How Casinos Make Money
Let’s say that we are playing a game of flip the coin, and because we’re fun people we’re also betting on it.
If we bet £1 a throw.
- I win £1 and you lose £1 if the coin comes up heads.
- You win £1 and I lose £1 if the coin comes up tails.
That is what we call a fair game.
There is risk – we could play 100 flips and I might lose money, or I might win money. But either way, it is just down to luck. Statistically, I am not more likely to win than to lose.
There is a 50% chance of me winning each throw, and a 50% chance of me losing each throw.
That is not what it is like in a casino. The casino has an edge.
Let’s change the rules slightly:
- I win £1 and you lose £1 if the coin comes up heads.
- You win £1.10 and I lose £1.10 if the coin comes up tails.
That is not a fair a game.
There is still risk – we could play 100 flips and I might make money. But I am more likely to lose.
On each coin toss I expect to lose 5p. We use this word “expect” a lot when it comes to making money from casino bonuses. It means the average in the long-term.
Here is a very simple tree showing you how we worked out that expected loss of 5p.
(0.5 x £1) + (0.5 x -£1.10) = -£0.05
That number becomes what is called the house edge. For every £1 we bet we expect to lose 5p.
If we play 1,000 flips, I will have bet £1,000 and expect to lose £50 (1,000 x 5p).
The More We Play The Closer To Expected We Get
Now we get a bit more complicated. The longer I play, the more likely I am to lose money.
I am not going to explain the maths here (email me if you want to know), but over 1 coin flip my chance of walking away with a profit is 50%. The coin can either come up heads or tails.
Over 100 coin flips my chance of making a profit has dropped to 31.7%, that’s almost a 1/3rd chance which still is quite high. I might decide that I’m feeling especially lucky and take that 1/3rd chance. But over 6,000 coin flips my chance of leaving with a profit drops only 1%.
That is how a casino makes money. If there are 60 people playing at your casino and each plays the coin flip game 100 times, then each person has a 31.7% chance of leaving with a profit. But as the casino is playing 6,000 total flips it only has a 1% chance of not making a profit overall. A pretty clever business model.
What Are The House Edges Of Different Casino Games?
Now you can’t actually play our coin flip game in a casino so let’s apply this concept to two real casino games.
Roulette. Is a very basic game which almost everyone understands.
There are 36 numbers not including the zero. Of those 36 – 18 are red and 18 are black. The number zero is not red or black. Each time the wheel spins there is an equal chance that the ball will land on any of the numbers 0 – 36.
If you bet on red and it comes up, you win your stake back. So a £1 bet would win £1.
There is an 18 out of 37 chance of a red colour coming up. That means that you have a 48.6% chance of winning, and a 51.4% chance of losing.
Let’s draw that same tree we did earlier but this time for roulette:
(0.486 x £1) + (0.514 x -£1) = -£0.028
For ever £1 bet we expect to lose 2.8p. That’s the house edge.
That’s pretty low. But roulette is not the casino game with the lowest house edge. That award goes to….
Blackjack. Forget card counting or anything you’ve seen in the films, your basic blackjack is the casino game with the smallest house edge.
There are many different rule sets for blackjack, and the house edge depends both on those rules and also on how close to perfect strategy the player is playing. But most games of blackjack have a house edge of about 0.5p per £1 bet (0.5%).
Let’s just think about that, 0.5%. That’s so low! It’s the equivalent of playing the coin flip game with the rules:
- I win £1 and you lose £1 if the coin comes up heads.
- You win £1.01 and I lose £1.01 if the coin comes up tails.
If we played 1,000 hands of blackjack at £1 a bet, we would have staked £1,000 and expect to lose just £5.
How Casino Bonuses Work
Thank you for sitting through all of that. Now that the basics are out the way let’s talk about the juicy stuff. How we can actually make some money from casino bonuses.
Just like with matched betting, most casinos offer new players an incentive to sign up and play at their casino.
Unfortunately, unlike with matched betting, there is no way we can hedge out our bets. But we can use this knowledge of the house edge to turn things in our favour. Provided the bonus is good, we can expect to make money.
Let’s take a look at one bonus that is currently offered by William Hill on their live casino.
To get the bonus, we need to deposit £25 and then place a series of bets that total at least £200. When we have reached that target and we contact customer service, a bonus of £25 will be added which we are then free to withdraw along with whatever is left of our initial deposit.
How We Make Money From Casino Bonuses
£200 sounds like a lot, but after what we’ve learnt about house edges and blackjack it shouldn’t sound so bad. Remember blackjack has a house edge of 0.5%.
Over £200 staked we expect to lose only £1. That means we expect to keep £24 of the bonus!
This is what we expect to happen.
- We deposit £25 into William Hill Live casino.
- We place 200 £1 bets. At the end, we have lost £1 and have £24 left.
- A £25 bonus is added to our balance.
- We withdraw our balance of £49 (£24+£25).
- We have made a profit of £24.
But, there is risk.
There is a chance we will lose more than just £1. There is even a chance of us losing more money than the bonus is worth. If we use up all of that £25 we would need to deposit more in order to finish the staking.
We won’t go into the maths on variance. But understand this. Blackjack has a house edge of 0.5% and a standard deviation of 1.15.
That means that at a £1 bet size there is a 95% chance we will make somewhere between £7.75 and £40.25. But it also means there is a 7% chance of making a small loss.
That is the essence of making money from casino bonuses. You are simply moving the odds to your favour.
Websites like Oddsmonkey and Profit Accumulator (more on them later) have calculators for working out your variance and house edge from different casino games. They also have strategy calculators to help you play the games optimally.
Whew. So after all that explaining, the actual steps were very simple.
But we had to go into all that details because it will enable you to look at more advanced offers and take advantage of them as well. Every casino bonus has different terms and you need to be able to work out what strategy to follow to get the highest ‘expected profit’ or ev from the bonus.
Which brings us on to the hardest part of making money from casino bonuses.
Where To Find The Best Casino Bonuses
You can only do that William Hill Live casino offer once, so to continue making money you need to find some more offers.
And the unfortunate truth is for more casino bonuses it is not profitable to make money from them. You need to find the diamonds in the rough.
You can do this in exactly the same way as you would when sports matched betting. And in fact, if you have done matched betting before you will probably already know the following two choices:
- Look through casino terms and conditions manually.
- Pay for a matched betting/casino bonusservice that finds offers for you.
95% of people pay for a service. Compared to the EV you can make the services are cheap, they give you a curated list of offers to work through, and they point out any dangerous loopholes in the terms and conditions.
My two favourite paid for services for casino bonuses are:
- Profit Accumulator. Free for your first few bonuses, then £19.99 a month.
- Oddsmonkey. Free for your first few bonuses, £19.99 a month.
Nowadays they are both pretty similar with largely the same offers but different communities, website feel and customer service. They each have free accounts you can try out so I suggest signing up to both and then choosing which one you like the most.
Note: this can get quite complicated. If you want someone to explain it to you one-to-one then Oddsmonkey have an onboarding coach who will hold your hand when you sign up to their £19.99 a month service.
There Are Lots Of Different Types Of Casino Bonuses
Wow what a beast of a post!
Let’s just finish on saying that there are lots of different types of casino bonuses and all have slightly different best ways to exploit them.
By now you should understand the concept of expected value and therefore making money from casino bonuses. You have a guide to tackle your first bonus and you have plenty of resources to help you research and find new offers. Good luck!
- My review of the best paid for matched betting/casino bonus services. These sites find the offers for you and provide detailed walkthroughs, for a price.
- A paid for service (£17.99 a month) where they research and find all the currently available offers for you. Each offer is provided with step-by-step instructions on how to make as much as possible.
- More details on casino wagering requirements.
- The Wizard of Odds has strategy tables and house edge information on most casino games.
- A detailed step-by-step guide to making money from sports bonuses – matched betting.
- My summer betting diary where I made £250 a week throughout the summer holidays.
- The longest running most detailed diary I have found. Unfortunately it stopped a few years back, but it is still very helpful. He made £57,467 from just risk free offers.
- The best matched betting and casino bonus forums.
What happens if I lose all of the £25 before completing the wagering requirement??
This is a very real risk and is also the reason why there is a chance of losing a small amount of money while completing the wagering requirement.
What you need to do is to deposit more money and finish the betting.
I hear people talking about ‘sticky’ bonuses or doubling up. What does that mean?
You should really join a forum and start asking people there. You are getting into some quite complicated areas with the potential to lose some large amounts of money if you make a mistake.
But in short: A sticky bonus is one that you can never withdraw. You can only withdraw the winnings. This means that the tactics we spoke about earlier don’t work. Doubling up is a technique to make money from them. You basically bet the whole bonus on red on roulette. If the bet wins you withdraw the winnings. If you lose you’ve lost the bonus which you couldn’t withdraw anyway.
What are the house odds of some other casino games?
- Baccarat – 1.06%
- 3-card Poker – 2.01%
- Craps – 0.34%
- French Roulette (you get 50% of your stake back if it lands on 0) – 1.35%
- American Roulette (two 0s) – 5.26%
- Slots – 3-10%. Average is about 5%.
Can I card count online blackjack?
No, you cannot. Card counting relies on the contents of the remaining cards changing as the rounds go on. In online blackjack the cards are shuffled every hand so the contents don’t change. You can do it with live blackjack – but I believe they shuffle regularly to make it more difficult. I have never tried.
I have a question that is not answered here?
Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to get back to you.
Can you make money from casino bonuses while self-isolating or under quarantine?
Yes you can! It is actually a very good time to do it because you can do every step of the offer from your home.