USA Gambling Reference Resource Center
All online casino sites offer real-money bonuses for new customers. All the casinos listed on this page have two things in common: 1) they have good, clearable casino deposit bonuses, and 2) they process and deliver cashouts fast. While slow cashouts have been more of a problem for US-based online casino gamblers, it's a relevant problem for online gamblers around the world. There are always going to be online casinos who care more about making money than respecting their customers, and then those that do the opposite.
Here's an explanation of how almost all online casino bonus offers work: you have a bonus offer like 100% up to $100 which means that the online casino will match your 100% of your deposit amount with a cash bonus up to $100. The maximum bonus you will get is $100 regardless of how much you deposit, but if you deposit a lower amount like $50, you will only get a $50 bonus.
Something's not making sense here, right? Why would online casinos give you that much money for free? You're right. While the money is ”free” in a sense, there are requirements that you have to fulfill in order to withdraw the money from your player account – in other words, the bonus money is yours to play with but not to cashout until you've completed the requirements.
Online casino bonuses have wagering requirements. The most common requirement is to wager X times the bonus amount plus your deposit amount. If you were to use the bonus offer mentioned above in full and therefore deposit $100 with a 31x wagering requirement, you'd have to wager $3,100 in order to clear the bonus.
Note: The size of the bonus is unimportant if you have no idea of its clearing requirements. Always pay attention to bonus terms and conditions, and look for exceptions such as higher requirements for certain types of games (for example, online casinos usually require more wagering for table games because they have a lower house edge if you play with optimal strategy). Here's Wikipedia's article about bonus disputes.
While some online casinos may come out with unconventional bonus offers, the most common forms of online casino bonuses are deposit match bonuses and no-deposit bonuses. In addition, many casinos have daily, weekly or monthly re-load bonuses that work the same way as deposit match bonuses but are for subsequent deposits.
To explain what ”no-deposit” casino bonuses mean, they're popular for certain types of players because they're as close to free money as you can get in the online gambling world. Basically, an online casino will give you a certain (low) amount of money to play with without requiring you to make a deposit, hoping that you will become a depositor somewhere down the line.
It's fun to take an advantage of no-deposit bonuses, but often they have strict wagering requirements when compared to standard deposit match bonuses and are therefore harder to clear (often impossible). An excellent resource for casino bonus promotions in particular is Beating Bonuses.
It's a well-known fact that the best online gambling sites rarely have the best bonuses. The truth is, bonuses are a relatively small part of a gaming experience and most casino customers are looking to gamble, not clear bonuses. By offering good-but-not-great bonuses, online casinos attract the right audience (and keeps out bonus hunters).
For example, you'll rarely find the best online casinos in the world offering no-deposit bonuses simply because they attract the wrong crowd – the customers who are looking to take money from the casino without giving anything back.
Still, even though you might find even better deals elsewhere, it makes sense to play at online casinos with reliable customer service, fast payouts and a great experience overall. Even though the bonus offer may not be the best possible kind, at least you know that you'll get the money fast and reliably to your account should you succeed in clearing the bonus.