A seasoned pro will stalk Internet casino incentives like a fox, stealthily searching forums and scouring newsletters for the best ones and then pouncing. The hunt and “kill” of nabbing a great bonus is almost as much fun as taking home a jackpot. However, if you’re new to online gambling, the different options may seem dizzying. For those of you just starting, here’s a beginner’s guide to online casino bonuses. Things to Keep in Mind Many promotional offers will have a set of rules or guidelines you’ll need to follow before you’re able to cash out. As irritating as they may seem, they’re not usually there because the venue wants to withhold your earnings, but rather, to protect themselves from fraud. Naturally, a few dishonest betters jumped in as incentive programs were rolled out. They’d open multiple accounts, grab the free money, and cash out. To solve the issue, casinos began cross-referencing all data to make it difficult for someone to have several accounts for the same website. If you try to open more than one, beware. The operator may not say anything to you until you try to cash out, but may then seize your winnings from a duplicate account and ban you. In addition to better data management, online casinos also created playthrough requirements. Each website, and possibly every incentive program they offer, can have different rules. A lot of the time, they will require that you either play enough that the amount you plug into their machines is equal to what they’ve given to you free. Sometimes, though the amount they require you to play is a multiple of what they’ve given you as well. A few complex websites are also known to assign weights to different games, so that playing certain ones will allow you to cash out quicker. In these cases, slots commonly carry more weight than a game like poker, because they’re based on chance, versus skill. Welcome Bonus The welcome bonus is exactly what the name indicates, and most venues will offer one. Some websites will add a welcome bonus to your account at sign-up, while others may require that you enter a special code in order to receive it. Occasionally, a site will flat-out give you cash with no deposit as a welcome bonus. Most of the time, though, they will match the amount you deposit on your first visit. Seeing a 100-percent welcome bonus match is somewhat common. In these cases, you’ll get 100 dollars from them to play with if you deposit 100 dollars of your own money, for a total of 200 dollars in total gaming cash. A few places that do a 100-percent match are Win a Day, Royal Panda, MyBet, and Guts!. However, a few of them stand out as going the extra mile for newcomers, including Goldrun, which gives newcomers, a 175-percent welcome bonus and Leo Vegas Casino delivers an amazing 200-percent bonus. Most of them impose limits as to how much they will give you, if they work on a percentage, so be sure to read the guidelines. It’s also worth noting that some online casinos will do match bonuses for existing members, and it’s just a matter of keeping a keen eye out for the announcement. Free Spins Again, free spins are what one would expect. Sometimes they’re attached to a welcome bonus, as is the case with Guts Casino. They offer a match bonus and throw in 100 free spins, too. Other times, free spins are available for existing members by entering a promo code, and sometimes they just appear on your account when you log in. Each promo will have its own set of guidelines. There may be a stipulation that you have to deposit money and play through requirements are common as well. In these cases, even if you win, you’ll have to spin a specific number of times after your free spins to be able to withdraw. Free-Play Bonus Unlike the others, the free-play bonus is not quite so clear-cut. A free-play bonus is when a casino allows you to play their games for a set amount of time, without having to pay. It gets tricky, because sometimes you actually have to make a deposit to earn a free-play bonus, while other times, it’s just given or requires a code. Any money that you win during free-play is yours to keep, but there are sometimes play through restrictions with collecting. It may be tough to cash out on one, but they’re great if you want to check out a casino without having to pay. There are loads of different kinds of bonuses, and each one is likely to have unique rules. If you’re unsure whether an incentive is worth the effort to collect on, check with a seasoned player, or hit the gambling forums and find out what your peers are saying.