Blackjack Bonuses – the Good, Bad and Ugly


Regardless of the bonus being offered, all online casinos have rules that require players to meet wagering and playthrough requirements before becoming eligible to redeem their blackjack bonus rewards. You can find welcome, new player, and signup bonuses at When playing 21 online, remember that your money is probably worth more than the bonus offered. This fact is cleverly concealed in each casino’s voluminous bonus’ terms and conditions section.

Rather than relying on the gaming provider, you can determine the bonus’ worth on your own, here’s what to watch out for:

–           Wagering Requirement

This is the number of time your deposit and bonus must be wagered before you are qualified for the bonus. The bonus varies in casinos at an average of 20 to 40 times.

–           Game Contributing Percentage

This is the count each game earns towards making the requirement. For instance, for a game with 50%, you will need to wager twice as much. Slots contribute 100% which is basic, but games such blackjack, baccarat and roulette contribute less than 50%.  It could be a bit complex due to the variation amongst casinos.

–           House edge

This is the percentage of the total bets a casino expects to keep, usually over a long period. This house edge is common to almost all casinos, with a few exceptions. It determines how long it will take for the casino to make a profit. A casino game with a 1% house edge expects to make an overall profit of 1%.

–           Bonus Trap

The three factors listed above all pegs your betting at a limit where your blackjack promotional offer remains less than your expected loss.

Without a bonus reward, we can calculate expected loss as:

Amount wagered x House edge = Expected loss

This implies that you expect to lose $15 when you wager a $1000 on a game with a 1.5% house edge.

With a comp or bonus, your expected loss is:

((Deposit + Bonus) x Wagering requirement x (100 / Game %)) x House edge = Expected loss

This equation clearly indicates a higher loss overall than the expected bonus amount you will earn. Use careful consideration when estimating your earnings potential.

Short-term bonus or long-term rewards

Blackjack bonuses, in general, are a way to attract newcomers to the casino, and not specifically for pros. Long term players should stick to well-structured comprehensive loyalty plans as a better form of reward for their gameplay.