Are online casino bonuses a scam?

In this day and age, an unfortunate truth is that we’ve all become sceptical when we’re offered something for nothing. Our first thought more often than not is ‘what’s the catch?’ It’s this line of thinking that makes a lot of online casino bonuses seem too good to be true, with offers like $1,200 free, or matched deposit bonuses up to infinity causing our spider senses to tweak with suspicion.


The fact is that reputable casinos like the ones officially recommended here at offer legitimate bonuses that are scam-free and entirely safe. Unfortunately there are some rogue operations out there tainting the name of an otherwise well regulated industry, so we’ll take you through some of the things to be wary of when it comes to online casino bonuses.

What are casino bonuses?

Casino bonuses are promotions offered by virtual gambling venues to entice players to sign up with their site. They’re usually offered in the form of free spins or matched deposit bonuses, where the casino will equally match whatever amount you’re depositing up to a certain sum.

These welcome bonuses not only encourage players to register for an account but also give them a boost to their bankroll so they can have a more encompassing experience of the real money games offered by the venue.

Safe casinos with legitimate bonus offers

If ever in doubt, your best bet is to stick to the casinos recommended here on our site. Our team of dedicated professionals have personally tested and researched each venue to ensure that it’s operated under the highest of standards and ticks a long list of boxes regarding official licensing, safety and legality.

The bonuses at these casinos can all be trusted:

  • BGO Casino
  • Royal Vegas Casino
  • Casino-Mate
  • Guts Casino

Important things to consider

It’s vital that players only redeem cash bonuses at safe casinos in order to avoid being part of scams that extend far beyond simply not living up to a promised bonus amount.

Rogue casinos have been known to lure vulnerable customers in with incredibly tempting bonuses, using the offer as bait to obtain personal or financial details to use in fraudulent or criminal activity.

Playing at a reputable, licensed venue ensures that not only is the bonus offer genuine, but that your private information is protected by the highest level of Internet security as well as backed by a supportive security team.

As long as you carefully check the terms and conditions of each bonus you are signing up for, there is no need to be apprehensive about any of the alluring bonuses offered at our recommended casinos. Be mindful that all bonus offers come with fine print detailing certain stipulations surrounding how the bonus is obtained. For example, a matched deposit bonus may be given over a series of payments, or requires a minimum deposit to be made by the player before it becomes accessible.

It’s imperative that you check the terms and conditions attached to any bonus before depositing your hard earned money so you understand your requirements in order to avoid any disappointment down the track.

Types of bonus scams at illegitimate casinos

While our recommended casinos run completely above board and are scam-free, there is a long list of dodgy operators out there that have earned hideous reputations for themselves through bogus bonus offers.We’ve compiled a list of bonus scam examples so you know just what kind of things can go wrong when trusting your money to the wrong operator:

Grand Duke Casino Bonus Scam – while only in operation since 2011, Grand Duke has earned a bad name for itself due to bonus terms that are not awarded or impossible to meet, declared a scam by many duped players.

Like other casinos, Grand Duke enticed punters with a welcome offer, but has failed to meet this bonus on many occasion, citing non-existent terms and conditions as the reason. An example is a punter who used their bonus to play at an online slots game, deciding to cash in his winnings when he reached the $3K mark.

Grand Duke then refused to let him withdraw winnings, stating that the win wasn’t eligible as he’d used his bonus requirements on one game only. As infuriated players band together to check the fine print of the T’s and C’s, they came across bonus requirements that were impossible to meet and essentially warranted bonuses non-existent.

This bonus scam along with many other rogue operations caused the site to be blacklisted and eventually shut down entirely.

Oddsmaker Casino – this blacklisted casino used enticing welcome bonuses to get players to hand over their money in order to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting gamblers.

Offering new players a 100% matched deposit bonus up to $1,000 plus a 20% reload bonus a couple of times a week, their polished interface led players to believe they were gambling at a well-established and trustworthy casino, happily handing over their financial details in order to take advantage of this tempting bonus.

Instead the casino earned a track record of refusing to pay customers for legitimate wins, citing things like non-existent minimum wager requirements as the reason for non-payment. This is the perfect example of why online players need to steer clear of any unofficial, reputable venue.

Betfair Bonus Scam – this one is not so much a scam but a huge error that caused a massive drop in reputation for this otherwise highly respected gambling site. Back in 2010 Betfair released the ‘Casino Happy Hour Bonus’ promotion which ran for three hours and gave punters the chance to deposit up to $200 and receive a 50% matched bonus.

The problem was that there was no limit on how many times a player could take advantage of this offer, so essentially you could deposit $200 to receive the bonus as many times as you wanted within the promotional period. Word quickly spread about what was one of the best bonus offers in online gambling history, and thousands of players flocked to the site to reap the rewards.

Not surprisingly, Betfair lost hundreds of thousands of dollars (the exact amount is unknown) and responded to this conundrum and what was essentially an internal error by locking players out of their accounts, confiscating winnings and taking back any bonus deposits. This epic error has earned Betfair a place on many casino blacklists, as the company claimed it was players acting “against the spirit” of an unlimited bonus where in reality it was a huge company error by not correctly stipulating any limitations.

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