No Deposit Bonus
When Dire Straits sang about “Money for Nothing” back in the 1980s, they may have been talking about the no deposit bonus. Simply stated, a no deposit bonus is an offer from an online casino to a new player where it simply gives the player a certain amount of credits to try on its games for free. If that sounds too good to be true, you're right – there are actually quite a few strings on no deposit bonuses.
In contrast to a deposit bonus, the no deposit bonus doesn't require the player to actually transfer any money to the casino. All the player has to do is sign up for a free account, and the no deposit bonus appears in that account. Unlike other kinds of bonuses which are described in percentages, a no deposit bonus is a set amount, like $50.
The bonus can be used right away to wager on games in the online casino. The catch is that the bonus money can't be cashed out in any way – it can only be used for betting. There are generally no restrictions on which games can be played with the bonus, though some casinos do require it to be used only on certain games (for instance, only on slots).
The only way the deposit can turn into real money that can be cashed out from the casino is if it wins enough credits being wagered. In addition, the bonus usually needs to be wagered multiple times before it is cleared. For example, a $50 no deposit bonus may need to be used for a total of $250 in wagers before it is cleared. That means the bonus money might run out before it is cleared, and in fact, this is a common occurrence.
Assuming you have money left over once the no deposit bonus is cleared, that money generally can be cashed out. Online casinos set an upper limit on the money that can be won this way and often ironically require a deposit to access it, but you can indeed make a profit out of nothing with a no deposit bonus. It just isn't easy.