First deposit casino bonus UK

Lauri Ronkainen. Text updated:
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Online casinos start dishing out bonuses from the moment you sign up and make your first deposit. The deposit bonus usually consists of bonus funds to match your real money deposit, plus some free spins thrown on top. On UK sites, the first deposit casino bonus is often the best one. Compare first deposit bonuses with our handy tool!

Get 200% or more in first deposit bonus

When it's your money on the table, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Use our comparison tool to find the first deposit bonus best suited to your preferences. Try the quick filters. You'll discover the biggest bonus sums, the highest bonus percentages, the lowest wagering requirements and the most handsome heap of spins.

First deposit bonuses UK

Why compare deposit bonuses on Bojoko?

Most casinos go out of their way to give you something extra when you make a deposit. However, the quality and quantity of these goodies vary.

On Bojoko, casinos list detailed info about their deposit bonuses. You can find this info in the casino listings, complete with reviews from users and experienced casino testers.

We have also built a comparison tool that helps you find exactly the kind of online casino deposit bonus you're looking for.

Use the quick filters

The quick filters show you the most appealing first deposit bonuses in each category. Click on the filter name to see matching bonuses.

Create your own filter

If you want to refine your search beyond the ready-made filters, you can easily build your own:

  1. Go to the casino list
  2. Open the filter menu
  3. Click on Custom
  4. Pick your filter, select what info you want to see and click on Apply
  5. Click on Show results

First deposit casino bonuses

After you sign up, most online casinos offer to double your first deposit as bonus funds. In addition, you often get some free spins.

On this page, we look closely into the finer points of bonus money. We also have a dedicated page for Free spins.

How do deposit match bonuses work?

The bonus usually consists of a deposit match bonus and/or bonus spins. The casino matches your deposit in bonus funds, based on:

In UK-licensed online casinos, your bonus balance is separate from your real money funds (deposit and winnings).

If you win while playing with real money, you can renounce your bonus. However, if your real money runs out, the bonus acts as a safety net.

EXAMPLE: You take a 200% welcome bonus up to £100:

  1. Your deposit of £50 goes to your real money balance
  2. Your £100 in bonus funds (£50 x 200%) are credited to your bonus balance
  3. You can withdraw your remaining deposit and real money winnings at any time. However, this cancels the bonus
  4. If you lose your deposit, you start to play with bonus money
  5. The bonus funds are subject to strict terms and conditions, e.g. wagering requirements

Once you've met the conditions of the bonus, the remaining bonus balance becomes real money and you can withdraw it.

Read more about these terms in the section Deposit bonus terms and conditions.

Welcome packages

When you sign up to a casino and make your first deposit, you have the option to accept a bonus. Some casinos have only one new player bonus; others let you choose between different options. Many also offer a no deposit bonus upon sign-up.

The best value online casino bonuses can usually be found in the new player bonus package. These welcome bonuses are usually broken down into a few subsequent deposits. They all feature different bonus sums and percentages.

On Bojoko, the casino listings feature a breakdown of the welcome bonus packages. You can easily check out what the casino has in store for you after your initial deposit.

EXAMPLE: A typical new player welcome bonus package may include:

This may sound appealing, but you need to pay attention to the bonus percentages. If you're taking full advantage of any casino's welcome package, you're going to deposit much more than you're getting back in bonuses.

Although the example package amounts to a total of £1,000 + 100 free spins, you'd have to deposit £3,100 to get the maximum bonus. How? It all boils down to bonus percentages, which we cover below.

100%, 200%, 300%, 400% and 500% - How important is the bonus percentage?

The bonus percentage determines how much bonus money you get compared to your deposit. The bigger the bonus percentage, the less money you have to deposit to get the same amount of bonus.

Most online casinos offer 100% deposit match bonuses. However, the bonus percentage can go up to several hundreds.

Here's how different bonus percentages work in practice, with the example deposit of £10:

Many sites use the total balance in their ads. For example, you may see "deposit £20, play with £60". This may sound more appealing to the player. At the same, it blurs the line between your real money balance and the bonus funds.

As we explained in the section above, the bonus funds are separate from your real money balance. You get to use the bonus funds only after your real money balance is gone. You're not playing with £60 at once; you first play with £20 of real money and then with £40 of bonus. With real money, you can do as you please. However, the bonus funds may be subject to wagering requirements.

We have created quick filters for different bonus percentages. Return to our bonus list and discover welcome bonuses of 200% or more.

25% and 50% reload bonuses

With the first deposit bonuses, the bonus percentages are usually measured in hundreds. After that, most casinos get a little stingy. You've created an account, verified your info and registered a deposit method… you're not going anywhere, right?

Subsequent bonuses are known as "reload bonuses" in the casino lingo. The bonus percentages for later deposits are usually in the 25% to 50% region. With a 25% deposit, the casino only gives you £1 for every £4 deposited.

To be honest, this isn't a great deal, especially compared to the massive first deposit bonuses. However, if you change casinos more often than socks, sooner or later you'll run out of great places to play.

With that in mind, consider what you want to get out of bonuses. Bonuses are supposed to be an extra incentive to try out a casino and to reward active players. They're supposed to be a spice, not the main ingredient of the casino experience. If you expect to gain an advantage over the casino by using bonuses, you're in for a nasty surprise.

Bonus sums

Casino bonuses feature the maximum bonus sum. On Bojoko, we list bonuses in the format bonus percentage/bonus sum, e.g. 100%/£100. The casino will match your deposit with bonus money up to this sum.

Beyond that sum, you won't get any extra benefit from making a bigger single deposit. If your deposit sum goes over the maximum bonus limit, it may be better to split the deposit. You may get some extra goodies for the portion that would have otherwise been left unmatched.

You'll see the maximum bonus sum in the casino listings and our comparison tool.

High roller bonuses

A high roller is a person who likes to deposit big and play with huge bets. Standard casino bonuses may seem too low for them. Luckily, some sites feature bigger casino bonuses for them.

We have listed the highest welcome bonuses available for UK players. You can see them by clicking the Highroller bonuses quick filter on our casino bonus list. It shows only casino bonuses worth at least £400.

Deposit bonus terms and conditions

Most bonuses come with strings attached, and deposit bonuses are no exception. Casino reviews on Bojoko always list the Significant terms for each bonus. When you compare deposit bonuses, pay attention to:

Minimum deposits

All casinos have a minimum deposit limit. Because handling money transfers and onboarding new players aren't free, casinos try to incentivise players to deposit more on one go.

However, the casino's minimum deposit may not qualify you for the bonus.

EXAMPLE: The casino's minimum deposit is £10 but the minimum qualifying deposit for the bonus is £20. If you only deposit £10, you can play the games with real money but you won't get the bonus.

On our Minimum deposit casinos page, we list casinos where you can get a bonus with a small minimum deposit, starting from £1.

Excluded banking methods

Most casinos have a long list of supported deposit and withdrawal methods. However, your options for the first deposit are more limited.

Many casinos routinely exclude e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller from bonuses. Also PaysafeCard is occasionally on the exclusion list.

This may be down to KYC procedures but mostly for safety concerns. Since e-wallets provide a degree of anonymity, some casinos would rather play it safe and exclude them.

The UK Gambling Commission works to ensure that casino operators aren't used for fraud or money laundering. The UKGC is not the biggest fan of the methods listed above: the chances of rogue attempts on fraud and money laundering increases twofold with e-wallets.

Neteller and Skrill are often connected to bonus abuse. Players try to exploit loopholes in the terms and conditions to increase their chance of making a profit.

Additionally, e-wallets have some of the highest fees amongst deposit methods. This makes them both costly and risky for operators when they are offering a bonus.

Remember that some methods work for deposits only. Although you can top up your account with Pay-by-phone casino banking methods, they don't support withdrawals. If you want to get your winnings out, it's better to use a debit card, safer e-wallet options such as Paypal or bank transfers for your initial deposit.

Wagering requirements

Wagering requirements tell you how much you need to bet before the bonus funds are converted into real money and can be withdrawn. They're also known as playthrough or bonus rollover.

The wagering requirement is expressed as a multiplier of the bonus sum, e.g. 35x (B). However, it may also apply to your deposit (D) or both (D+B).

In most cases, wagering only begins when your real money deposit and winnings run out and you start to play with bonus funds. Even though you have only the bonus funds to complete the wagering, you may have bet the total sum of your deposit and bonus multiplied by 30 or more.

Rule of thumb: Any wagering requirement over 35x (B) is hard to complete.

A high bonus percentage usually goes hand-in-hand with high wagering requirements.

We explore this topic more closely and list relevant casinos on the Low wagering bonuses and No wagering bonuses page.

Maximum bets

The maximum bet is the biggest bet allowed on a single spin while you're wagering your bonus. 

For most deposit bonuses, the maximum bet is £5. Some casinos also have limitations for bet per payline and the max bet compared to the deposit.

Check the T&Cs to be sure.

Time limits

Deposit bonuses are only valid for a certain time. Once you make a deposit and claim your bonus, you only have a limited time to complete the wagering.

The wagering only starts after your real money balance is depleted, but the clock starts when you accept the bonus. However, you usually have a week or even a month or two to complete the playthroughs.

Check the expiration time to avoid any nasty surprises.

Restricted games

While wagering your bonus money, your game options at a casino are somewhat limited. Although you can play most slots, some high-RTP game types don't get you closer to completing the playthroughs.

Casinos have three mechanisms to restrict the games:

  • Banned - Playing these games breaches the T&Cs and voids the bonus
  • Non-contributing - You can play these games, but it doesn't count as wagering
  • Partially contributing - The bets placed in these games only count as part of their value

EXAMPLE: Playing live dealer blackjack contributes 10% towards wagering. Every £10 bet counts as £1 in wagering.

Bonus caps

Many bonuses have so-called "maximum conversion", also known as the bonus cap. This is the maximum sum you can win and withdraw from a certain bonus. Everything above that is confiscated.

EXAMPLE: You get a £50 bonus and the maximum win is capped at £250. After completing the wagering, you have £350. You can only withdraw the £250, the casino keeps the rest.

Minimum withdrawals

As with deposits, also handling withdrawals costs the casinos money. Besides, they'd rather see you playing that money instead of taking it home just yet. That's why casinos have a minimum withdrawal limit.

As a UK player, you have the right to withdraw your real money balance at any time. However, if your withdrawal is below the minimum threshold, the casino can charge additional handling fees. These can be several pounds, which makes the fees swallow up a large portion of your withdrawal.

In the past, players were able to reverse a withdrawal and to essentially play with any money they had previously decided to withdraw. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Gambling Commission prohibited reverse withdrawals. This measure aims to prevent players from betting away their winnings after they've requested a withdrawal.

Why do casinos offer deposit bonuses?

Offering players extra money and other goodies may seem counterintuitive due to the UK government taxing bonuses. Ultimately, handing them out is quite expensive.

However, the competition in the online casino industry is fierce. Deposit bonuses have become the norm and players expect to get some extra incentive to play at casinos. For many players, the deposit bonus is what makes or breaks the deal.

From the casinos' point of view, deposit bonuses achieve three things:

  1. A generous bonus helps them stand out from the competition
  2. The player needs to make a deposit to claim the bonus
  3. A one-time depositor may become a loyal customer, leading to later deposits

Casinos need to tread a fine line. On one hand, offering massive bonuses risks being over-indulgent and easy to exploit. On the other, handing out tiny perks makes the casino look stingy.

In most casinos, you can get the biggest bonuses with the highest match percentages upon your first deposit. The idea is to get you through the door. After that, it's the CRM (customer relationship management) team's job to make you a loyal customer. They do this by offering further bonuses tailored to your taste.

On our Best bonuses page, you can read Lindar Media's Acquisition Operations Manager James Booth's interview on bonuses.

How to measure the value of a deposit bonus?

When comparing bonuses, there are two main goals:

  1. Get the biggest bonus with the smallest deposit
  2. Complete the wagering and withdraw a big portion of the bonus

Often, these are mutually exclusive. As the bonus sum and the bonus percentage grow, so do the wagering requirements. These in turn hurt your chances of withdrawing.

This is what you need to know to calculate the expected value of a bonus:

Here's how you calculate what you will have left after completing the wagering. It's a bit tricky, so let's break it down into five steps:

  1. Bonus sum = Your deposit x the bonus percentage
  2. Total sum to be wagered = Your bonus sum x wagering requirements
  3. Expected loss = Total sum to be wagered x (1 - RTP)
  4. Expected value = Expected reward - expected loss
  5. "Return on investment" = Expected value ÷ original deposit

EXAMPLE: You get a 100% bonus up to £100. The wagering requirement is 30x (B) and the highest RTP allowed is 97%:

  1. Bonus sum = 100% x £100 = £100
  2. Total sum to be wagered = £100 x 30 = £3,000
  3. Expected loss = £3,000 x (1 - 0.97) = £90
  4. Expected value = £100 - £90 = £10
  5. "Return on investment" = £10 ÷ £100 = 0.1 = 10%

Why is the "return on investment" in quotes? You can calculate how much value you get compared to the money you put down. However, you shouldn't consider money spent on gambling an investment. Besides, the bonus money only becomes relevant after you've lost your original deposit. A consolation prize would be a more accurate term.

Remember, these calculations only give you averages. The RTP (return to player) of a casino game is based on the results of thousands of rounds. Your results within a single gaming session will vary.

Are deposit bonuses worth taking?

That depends on what you're after.

If you just want to prolong your play, every bonus benefits you, and some more than others. Since you're only focusing on the entertainment value, you could just go for the biggest pile of bonus money, the highest bonus percentage and a huge heap of free spins. Are you going to withdraw any winnings? Not likely. Are you going to have a good time trying? Sure!

Bonuses aren't exactly designed to give players a monetary advantage over the casinos. If you want to improve your chances of withdrawing some winnings, you have to choose your bonuses carefully. For that, your best options are no wagering and low wagering bonuses. The bonus sums may not be huge, though.

Bonuses that give you a fair chance to win are also easy to abuse. From the casinos' point of view, this has become a multi-million-pound problem in the UK alone. Casinos try to protect themselves by creating T&Cs that limit your chances of winning from bonuses.

Fortunately, the UK Gambling Commission has banned many of the unfair bonus practices. Unlike in the old days, you can always withdraw your remaining real money balance, including winnings.

This is called a "Forfeitable bonus". We explain it in more detail in the FAQ section below.

FAQ

🟠What should I watch out for before claiming a deposit bonus?

Many casinos feature deposit bonuses that sound appealing. To make sure the bonus is right for you, check out the following details:

Use our bonus comparison tool to filter and sort casinos based on these factors. In our casino reviews, you'll also see the Significant terms and conditions. Read them carefully to avoid nasty surprises, such as bonus caps.

🟠Which banking methods I can use to claim a deposit bonus?

Casinos exclude some banking methods from bonuses. Casinos usually ask you to make your first top-up with one of the following:

Although debit cards and wire transfers are practically always available, you may need to hunt for PayPal. Here we have gathered All casinos accepting PayPal.

You can read more about the Excluded banking methods in the T&C section.

🟠What are forfeitable casino bonuses?

In the old days, UK casinos could get away with great-sounding bonuses that weren't good for the player.

The old bonus rules bundled your real money balance and bonus money together. The wagering requirements were usually impossible to meet. If you took a non-forfeitable bonus, playing and winning with real money became irrelevant.

Starting 31st October 2018, all UK casino bonuses have to be forfeitable bonuses. You can forfeit your casino bonus and withdraw your real money deposit and winnings any time you want.

Related: How to measure the value of a deposit bonus.

🟠What is a sticky bonus?

A sticky bonus is the exact opposite of the forfeitable bonus. In a sticky bonus, the wagering requirement is usually low and the bonus percentage high. So far so good. However, the initial bonus sum is deducted from your balance when you withdraw our winnings. The sticky bonus itself can never be withdrawn.

A sticky bonus isn't usually a good deal for the player. In recent years, sticky bonuses have disappeared from UK-licensed casinos.

🟠Are there still banking method bonuses?

From the casinos' point of view, some banking methods are more beneficial than others. Understandably, casinos try to channel the players to use these methods.

The most common way is to remove handling fees. However, casinos also offer additional bonuses for people using the preferred banking methods. The bonus percentages aren't big, but they're sometimes added on top of your standard deposit bonus.

Banking method bonuses aren't as common as they were a couple of years ago. Also the set of payment methods available in online casinos have become more similar.

Related: Which banking methods I can use to claim a deposit bonus?

Article by:

Lauri Ronkainen

Lauri has worked in online gambling for 4 years reviewing hundreds of online casinos, bonuses and games. Lauri has a masters degree in history from the University of Tampere. He is a live casino aficionado who has also created his very own roulette strategy.

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