Anyone who has meandered around NJ online casino lobbies long enough has probably noticed that most sites offer new depositors what’s called a match bonus.
Put simply, a site that offers this bonus vehicle will equal a player’s first deposit — usually dollar for dollar — up to a certain amount. For instance, if a site offers a 100% match up to $1,000, then players who deposit anywhere from a few bucks up to a grand will receive a bonus in the exact amount of their deposit.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Well, that’s because it is. But it’s important to note that NJ online casinos are not simply giving this money away, which is why it’s critical that players read the fine print of any bonus they partake in.
To help matters along, here are the five aspects of a match bonus players should be looking at before clicking “Submit.”
#1 — Monetary value
This one is difficult to overlook, as NJ online casinos typically plaster the monetary value of their welcome packages all over their lobbies.
Generally speaking, a bigger bonus is better. But size is certainly not the say all end all when it comes to the quality of a match bonus. Instead, it merely represents its upside, with larger bonuses possessing a greater upside and more flexibility than their smaller counterparts.
To wit, both 888 Casino and Betfair Casino offer new depositing players a 100% match up to $1,500, but as we’ll soon see, one bonus is decidedly better than the other. And in some ways, the offer from Play SugarHouse, which is capped at a seemingly paltry $100, is better than both.
#2 — Wagering requirements
In order for players to clear a match bonus to their cash wallet, they’ll be required to give the NJ online casino a certain amount of action. This action is known as the wagering (turnover) requirement.
It’s pretty obvious why casino sites affix wagering requirements to their bonuses. Otherwise, players would gravitate to the site in hordes, claim the bonus, and immediately cash out. Subsequently, the site would go belly up.
Make no mistake: The wagering requirement is far and away the most important facet of a match bonus. If it’s too high, the cashback value of the bonus takes a nosedive.
It’s because of the wagering requirement that a 100% match up to $1,500 on 888 Casino is a lesser deal than it is on Betfair Casino. On 888 Casino, players must wager their bonus 30 times on online slots to unlock it. On Betfair Casino, the turnover requirement is just 20x.
To clarify, that means 888 Casino players will have to wager $45,000 to clear $1,500 — equating to 3.33% cashback. To unlock the full Betfair Casino bonus, they’ll only have to wager $30,000 (5% cashback).
Here’s the good news: Players will notice that many NJ online casino sites offer bottom barrel wagering requirements of 10x or less. Play SugarHouse takes things a step further, offering an unprecedented 1x turnover requirement on all of its match bonuses.
We’re of the mind that any match bonus with a 10x or smaller wagering requirement is an exemplary offer worth taking advantage of. Even 20x gives players a strong chance to come out a winner.
And keep in mind, NJ online casinos do not only offer match bonuses to new players. Many sites, Golden Nugget Casino being a good example, roll out match bonus promotional offers on a nearly weekly basis — so be sure to check in often.
#3 — Game restrictions and contributions
Commonly, players will gamble enough to meet a wagering requirement only to find that they’re actually nowhere even close to unlocking their bonus.
Why does this happen? Two reasons:
- Some games do not contribute to the wagering requirement.
- Some games contribute to the turnover, but at a depreciated rate.
The reality is that NJ online casinos are free to pick and choose which games count toward clearing a bonus. And while most sites allow all games to contribute at least partially, a few do not. One instance is Borgata Casino, where only slot play contributes to the site’s wagering requirement, but the requirement itself is set low (10x).
Thus, if a game only contributes 10% that means players will have to wager 10x more on that game than on a slot to clear the bonus. That’s not exactly a small deal!
So why do NJ online casinos institute these rules? The working theory is that it has to do with a game’s return-to-player, or RTP. Games like Jacks or Better or blackjack have very low house edges compared to slots, so the lower contribution is a means of protecting the NJ online casino from exploitation.
Of course, some NJ online casino sites are extra generous, and allow all games to contribute at 100%. Upstart playMGM is a firm example — the wagering requirement is 20x for all games.
#4 — Match percentage
Sometimes, NJ online casinos won’t match a deposit dollar-for-dollar. Instead, the bonus might read “50% match up to $100” or “200% match up to $500.” Generally, all this means is that players will have to deposit more (or less) to reap the entire bonus.
For instance, for a 50% up to $100 match, players will have to deposit $200 to receive $100.
The only time the match percentage amount has an impact on the overall value of a bonus is when the wagering requirements task players with wagering the deposit + bonus.
As an example, if players take advantage of a 50% up to $100 match and must wager the deposit + bonus 5x to clear the bonus, they’ll have to wager $1,500, or 15x. If the bonus were a 100% match, then players would only have to wager $1,000, or 10x.
#5 — Time frame
All match bonuses come affixed with an expiration date, after which time the bonus funds are removed from player accounts.
It’s important to note that a player’s cash balance will never be touched. However, because wagers generally count against a player’s cash wallet first, and the bonus wallet second, players that lose their cash balance but have an outstanding bonus balance will be hung out to dry once that expiration date hits.
That’s why it’s imperative that players be realistic about how much time they have to gamble. Luckily, most NJ online casino sites offer a reasonable time frame (typically anywhere between 7 – 60 days) to work through the wagering requirements.