Cashback Bonuses

Although not quite as common as enhanced deposits or no deposit bonuses, cashback bonuses represent a really valuable opportunity: the peace of mind that no matter how your luck plays out, you’re not going to go totally bust. If your top priority when it comes to online gambling is to manage your bankroll carefully and minimize losses, then cashback bonuses are right up your street.

Tristan Moore
| July 08, 2024 | Reading time: 8 min | Views: 15.7K

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On this page we’ve got the full story on cashback bonuses: how do they work, how do you claim one, how they stack up against other bonuses and more.

Everything you need to know before signing up for a cashback bonus is here.

How Does a Cashback Bonus Work?

Cashback BonusesWith a cashback bonus, the casino will refund a percentage of your losses over a certain period of time. They are designed to give you a second chance, so that if you go on a losing streak you can get some of your money back. 

Say you join a new casino and deposit $50. You play for ten days and end up losing all your money. Luckily for you, your welcome offer includes a cashback bonus of 20% over the first 14 days. At the end of the stipulated time period – two weeks in this case – your account will be credited with $10 (20% of the $50 you lost).

So even though you signed up and deposited $50, and used it up at the tables, you’ll end up having had $60 to gamble with.

Cashback bonuses are often offered as a welcome bonus for new players, but not exclusively. Lots of casinos and gambling sites also offer on-running cashback bonuses that run weekly, monthly or even sometimes on a single day.

Depending on the casino and the offer, your refund may be in cash (i.e., regular money you can withdraw right away) or bonus cash. Bonus cash comes with wagering requirements that need to be fulfilled before it can be withdrawn, which we cover on this page. You can also find cashback  bonuses that give you your refund in the form of free bets.

Why Do Casinos Offer Cashback Bonuses?

Casino Cashback BonusCasinos offer cashback bonuses for the same reason they offer all types of promotions and bonuses: to attract new users and encourage people to play.

In fact, cashback bonuses potentially make even more sense for casinos than other types of bonuses, since to claim one the player needs to have first used and lost some of their own money.

Unlike a free bet or a no-deposit bonus (which gives players the potential to win money genuinely free of charge), cashback bonuses only come into play after the casino has already gained some money from the player – so there’s no real chance of them losing money from the offer.

Basically, casinos know that if a potential player knows they can claim back some of the money they lose, they are more likely to play. Imagine you were told every bet you make for one day only will be refunded by 50% if you lose. You’re much more likely to log in and gamble on that day.

And even though they are essentially marketing tools, it doesn’t mean cashback bonuses can’t also be really useful for us.

How To Claim a Cashback Bonus?

Claim Cashback BonusesEvery casino has different rules for claiming bonuses.

Some cashback bonuses require a bonus code or promo code, which is a special password that unlocks a bonus. You can usually type it in during the registration process if you are new to a casino. Sometimes, you can type it in the cashier, or in your profile or casino account.

Other times however, cashback bonuses don’t require a bonus code. Instead they are just automatically in play for all players, according to their terms and conditions.

Bonuses where you need to take some kind of action – normally either a bonus code or by clicking on something in the cashier – are known as “opt-in” bonuses.

If you do end up losing some money over the stipulated timeframe your refund will normally be credited to your account automatically, although some casinos require you to request it. There is also always a limit to the amount you can receive.

All of this and more will be covered in the terms and conditions, which you should read very carefully. Knowing exactly what you need to do to claim a bonus, and exactly what type of bonus you’re eligible for is essential.

The Benefits of Cashback Bonuses

Cashback Bonus BenefitsSimply put, cashback bonuses mean you save money and minimize your losses – two things that appeal to all gamblers.

Since they only actually kick in when you have already lost money, cashback bonuses can sometimes be viewed as less valuable than other bonuses. After all, who wants to sign up to a casino and expect to lose?

But experienced gamblers are far too smart to fall into the trap of thinking like this.

Knowing that whatever happens you’re not going to go totally broke is a very comforting thought for all types of gamblers. Cashback bonuses mean that in the back of your mind you know that you have that extra bit of control, that no matter what happens you can fall back on your potential refund.

Cashback bonuses are also a rare casino bonus that actually comes in the form of cash, as opposed to bonus cash or free bets. That means that you can often withdraw your refund immediately if you want, without having to jump through hoops.

In this way, cashback bonuses are refreshingly straightforward. If you lose X amount over this period of time, you are entitled to receive Y back. Every little saving helps your bottom line over the long term, and cashback bonuses often represent more than a little saving when they add up.

Wagering Requirements

Cashback Bonuses Wagering RequirementsWhile lots of casinos offer cashback bonuses in actual cash with no strings attached, sometimes the refund does come with wagering requirements. As a rule of thumb, the higher the percentage of cashback on offer, the more likely there are to be requirements attached.

Wagering requirements, also known as turnover or playthrough, refers to the number of times you must gamble with some bonus cash before you can withdraw it. For example, 5x playthrough means you would need to use the cash to place bets totaling 5 times its value before it gets unlocked.

If you have $50 in bonus cash with a 5x playthrough, you’ll have to use the cash to make bets totaling $250 before it becomes regular cash you can withdraw.

If your cashback bonus does come with wagering requirements attached, you can assume they will be lower than those attached to an enhanced deposit bonus, or a no-deposit bonus.

Generally, the refund you receive does not come with too many awkward conditions attached. However, there are some other common ones you should be aware of.

Other Terms and Conditions of Cashback Bonuses

Expiry and Timeframe

Cashback Bonuses ExpirationThis is a basic consideration that will be clearly explained in the offer’s terms and conditions, but it’s one that you should never neglect. Every bonus comes with an expiry date, and you need to make sure it fits in with your gambling plans before you decide to claim it.

Casinos occasionally leave up old advertisements too, which on closer inspection have expired or are very close to expiring. It’s up to you to be aware of the end date.

The same is true of wagering requirements. Not only do you need to gamble with cash a certain number of times before it can be withdrawn, but you also need to do it within a given timeframe. Often you have a couple of weeks to unlock your cash, or else you lose it.

Opt-in Bonuses

As we mentioned before, sometimes you automatically qualify for a bonus but other times you need to opt-in. This can be via a promo code, emailing your casino or simply checking a box or clicking a button in your account.

Opting-in is never really too complicated, and as long as you read the instructions of the bonus carefully you’ll have no trouble. Just don’t assume you are eligible for a bonus without reading the conditions carefully.

Cashbacks Are Subject to Net Losses

Cashback Bonus Net LossThis is a very important distinction that some players fail to grasp. Net loss refer to the overall amount you have lost when you take into account all of your own money you have used to gamble, as well as any withdrawals you have made.

For example, imagine you have opted-in to a cashback bonus that refunds 10% of your losses over a 2 week period. You deposit $100 in the first week, work it up to $300 and withdraw it all. The following week you deposit $100 and end up losing it. So you deposit another $100 but by the end of the week you’ve lost it all and your account is empty.

Even though you have lost $200 in a week, you’re not eligible for any cashback. On all your activity over the two week period you are even, with no net losses.

Activity Based

Sometimes cashback bonuses depend on the player’s activity. Basically, the more you gamble in general the more valuable bonuses you will be offered. This is partly a way to reward regular gamblers.

Loyalty Programs or VIP Programs are the perfect example of this.

In these types of promotions, players get to rise through the ranks of the reward ladder the more they play, unlocking more benefits along the way. The higher your rank, the greater cashback bonus you will be eligible for.

Are Cashback Bonuses Legal?

Yes. Online casinos offer all kinds of bonuses and promotions to encourage players to sign up and play their games, and there is no law against them doing so.

Remember, a cashback bonus only becomes valuable if you’ve already lost some money. The casino giving you a little kick back of some of the cash you’ve already spent is totally legal.

As always, it’s extremely important to read the terms and conditions of any promotion carefully. Casino’s always cover themselves legally, so everything you need to know about how you can legally claim the offer will be covered – even if it is in small print.

Cashback Bonuses vs Other Types of Bonuses

The other most relevant bonuses to compare with cashback bonuses are no-deposit bonuses, and enhanced deposit bonuses.

With a no deposit bonus, the casino will provide you with a small amount of bonus cash as soon as you create your account, with no requirement for you to deposit any of your own money. Around $10 in bonus cash is a common no-deposit bonus, and it usually comes with some hefty wagering requirements.

With an enhanced deposit bonus, the casino will match a certain percentage of your first deposit with bonus cash, up to a certain limit. A 100% match up to $100 would be a common example, so that if you deposit $100 you’ll start off with $200 in your account.

Compared with these alternatives, cashback bonuses have some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Cashback Bonuses

  • Everyone appreciates getting some money back after going on a bad run, which is exactly what a cashback bonus guarantees. It’s also some extra insurance against going totally broke.
  • The money you receive from a cashback bonus is very often totally free of wagering requirements, so you can withdraw it right away if you like. Even if it does have turnover requirements, it’s guaranteed to be much smaller than that attached to no-deposit or enhanced deposit bonuses.
  • Cashback bonuses arguably end up saving you much more money overall. While getting some money to gamble with for free sounds more exciting, the wagering requirements mean it’s difficult to actually turn it into real profit. When you are using your own money to gamble, you know that any big jackpot you hit means a real win for you.

Disadvantages of Cashback Bonuses

  • Put simply, cashback bonuses are only useful if you lose. This just doesn’t appeal to some gamblers, no matter how practical it is.
  • You need to use your own money right off the bat. Welcome bonuses which offer bonus cash up front may be harder to turn into profit, but they are a good way of easing yourself into a new casino without too much financial risk.

FAQs about Cashback Bonuses

What is cashback bonus?

A cashback bonus is when the casino pays you back a percentage of your net losses over a fixed period of time.

Is cashback bonus free money?

Since you are only eligible to claim a cashback bonus if you have already gambled and lost money, it’s more like a refund of your own money than receiving free money.

How does cashback bonus work?

All you need to do is gamble as you normally would. If you win, great. If you lose, the casino will refund some of your money according to the terms of the promotion.

How to use cashback bonus?

Sometimes you’ll need to type in a promo code or contact your casino to activate your cashback bonus. Other times it gets applied to your account automatically. Everything is explained in the terms and conditions.

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Tristan Moore Tristan Moore

Content executive of Online gambling expert & player for the past decade. I help analyze casino payment methods and bonuses and sort out the best lists for quality gameplay for Betspinners.