Casino promo code secrets that casinos don’t want you to know

Over the last decade or so online casinos have seen a massive rise in popularity and more people than ever before are now choosing to play at online casino sites rather than visit brick and mortar venues.

One of the major reasons why more players choose internet casinos over land based ones is that almost all offer welcome bonuses and ongoing promotions as part of their marketing strategy to get new customers through their doors.

A big part of these promotions is the use of casino promo codes which need to be entered during the deposit process to claim the intended bonus. In this article we will look at everything you need to know about casino promo codes including what they are, how to find them, how to use them and more.

What is a Casino Promotion / Bonus Code?

Put very simply, a casino promotion code is a unique string of letters and/ or numbers that need to be entered into the correct field when making a deposit at an online casino. The purpose of doing this is to opt-in to a pre-determined promotion run by the casino.

Promotion codes can be used to trigger anything from welcome bonuses, free bets, reload bonuses, cashback offers, free spins on slots and much more.

The purpose of making players enter a casino promotion code to opt-in to a bonus or offer is simple for the casino; to reduce the number of players that sign up that do not intend to deposit and those that don’t want their balance greened (more info below). Of course the onus is on the player to Enter the correct casino promo code in the correct field with the correct casino at the right time. More on this later.

Promotion codes can be used to trigger anything from welcome bonuses, free bets, reload bonuses, cashback offers, free spins on slots and much more.

Note that some promotions at casinos do not require a promo code to opt-in and instead offer automatic bonuses based on depositing players meeting certain criteria. However, in most cases to claim any type of offer at an online casino, a casino bonus code will be needed.

How to Use a Bonus Code at a Casino?

Using a bonus code at an online casino is very straight forward providing you have the right code for the right offer at the right time. If you fail on any one of these points you may not be able to claim the offer or get the green light.

To use a bonus code at a casino follow these steps:

  1. Check an Offer – First you need to have an offer to use a code with. Either grab one from the casino of your choice or from a third party site like ours here at PokerListings.
  2. Register At The Casino – Next you will need to register for an account at the casino (if you haven’t already). Make sure it is the casino promoting the offer you want to claim!
  3. Access Your Account – Once registered either login to your existing account or access your new account. Head to the cashier page.
  4. Select Your Payment Method – Choose the payment method you want to use (if given options) then enter the amount you wish to deposit.
  5. Find the Promo Box – Every casino is different but usually around the cashier button there should be a section for a bonus code (it might say ‘Enter Promotion Code Here’ or similar).
  6. Enter the Code – Type the bonus code into that box. This must be exactly as it was written (case sensitive sometimes!) or the casino won’t recognize it.
  7. Deposit & Get the Bonus – Finish making your deposit as normal and the bonus should be applied automatically (again, depending on the casino).
  8. Read the Small Print – Before you start playing, make sure you understand the T&C’s attached to the offer you just claimed.

Are Casino Promotion Codes Necessary?

If you want to claim an offer at an online casino, nine times out of ten the answer will be yes - you'll need a casino bonus code to opt-in. As we mentioned above casinos don't force you to enter a promo code to opt-in to an offer, but they aren’t going to wave down new players and ask them to deposit and then tick a box to get an intended bonus either.

Estimated 90% of online casino bonuses require a promo code.

In reality the use of casino promo code is commonplace among modern day operators and if you want to get the deal, you’re going to need to get searching for that code.

It’s worth noting at this point that while bonus codes are useful for claiming bonuses, they won’t hide the fact that you are playing with fake money.

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Playing with fake money means you are playing with ‘complementaries’ from the casino and as such they reserve the right to stick some terms and conditions on how you use those comps (aka a wagering requirement or rollover).

Basically every bonus you claim is going to come with some T&C’s and most casinos will require you to opt-in to get the bonus using a promo code in order to activate those terms and conditions. 

Where Can I Find Online Casino Promotional Codes?

There are multiple ways to find casino promo codes but ultimately it comes down to two main avenues: direct from the casino or from a selected media partner.

Direct From the Casino

The first place to look for a casino bonus code is on the casino website itself. Let’s face it, typing in “online casino bonus codes 2023” into Google and trawling through endless lists isn’t our idea of fun either!

There are a multitude of places you can check on a casino site to try and find a code:

  1. Promotions Page – A lot of online casinos have dedicated promotions pages where details of all current deals are listed. Check this page to see if a code is listed.
  2. Past Emails From The Casino – If you’ve played at the casino before there’s a chance that any codes you’ve overlooked could be hiding in old emails from the casino. Check your junk folder too!
  3. Social Media Channels – It’s becoming increasingly common for online casinos to promote their offers via social media channels so check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
  4. Gamble Responsibly Pages – Believe it or not, some casinos list their offers and the relevant codes on gamble responsible pages under things like greenlight and time out offers.

From Selected Media Partners

Probably the easiest way to find a casino promotion code is to grab one from a selected media partner.

Online casinos spend big money on acquiring new players and the bigger operators can afford huge marketing budgets to get their names out there.

Most of the time a new customer will first discover an operator through a TV advert or online banner and when they sign up and deposit, that player is known as a “marketed player”.

Operators also reward existing players with bonuses to encourage repeat custom and these are handed out via gamble responsible services or by logging into an account. These are known as “non-marketeted players.”

Payout Rates

Theoretically every player has the same chances to win watching an opponent miss a shot.

Where a company falls beneath the line is revealed by its treatment of customers in both the good times and bad.

This is where marketing partners like PokerListings come in.

All online casino bonuses that are designed to acquire new players (marketed players) come with a casino promotion code which we use to opt-in to those bonuses. We publish hundreds, if not thousands, of these offers on sites like PokerListings and our sister site with full breakdowns of the deal, how to claim it and the small print.

Effectentially we become the middleman between you and the casino so you can trust that the codes we provide are 100% legit and active.

Why Doesn’t My Bonus Code Work?

There are a number of possible reasons why your casino bonus code isn’t working, here are a few of the most likely explanations:

  • Wrong Code - Maybe the most obvious answer is also the right one. Double and triple check that you have the correct code for the correct offer on the correct casino. If any of those variables are different, the code won’t work.
  • Code Past Its Expiry Date – Most bonuses codes have an expiry date and if you try to use a code after that date has passed you won’t be able to redeem it.
  • Incorrect Application – Sometimes bonus codes need to be entered before you confirm your deposit rather than afterwards. Get in touch with support who may be able to assist.
  • Already Opted-In – It’s possible that you have already opted-in to the offer at some point in the past. The only way to be sure is to get in touch with customer support.
  • Offer No Longer Active – It’s possible that you have found an old bonus code for an offer that is no longer active. Check the casino promotions page for full details of the latest offers.
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Do All Casino Bonuses Require a Promotion Code?

Unfortunately for bonus hunters not all casino bonuses require a promotion code to opt-in, in fact it’s safe to say that the proportion is probably nearer 10% than 90%.

That’s not to say you can’t find yourself a decent offer without needing a casino promotion code because you can and will do from time to time, but for the most part if you see a deal that takes your fancy it’s a good bet you’ll need a code to get it.

Welcome bonuses almost always require a code so if you want to take full advantage of that free cash when you open a new account, you’d better get practicing finding the right boxes and punching in those sets of symbols.

Types of Gambling Promotion Codes

The vast majority of casino promo codes are tied into welcome bonuses but that’s not to say there isn’t a whole host of other offers available to existing customers. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of casino bonus codes you can expect to find:

Welcome Bonus Codes

By far the most common type of bonus code is one tied into a welcome bonus. This is the deal a lot of players try to grab when they make their first deposit at a new casino.

Usually a percentage match based on how much you deposit the welcome bonus is there to entice you to play at that casino rather than another. For example if a casino offered a 100% match welcome bonus up to $500 and you deposited $250, you would receive an extra $250 in your account taking your total balance to $500.

Reload Bonus Codes

Once the novelty of having multiple online casinos to play at has worn off, most players quickly realize that they need a way to keep their bankroll topped up. That’s where reload bonuses come in.

Very similar in concept to a welcome bonus, reload bonuses give you a bit of extra cash when you top up your account. The difference being that a reload bonus is aimed at existing players.

Again this is usually a percentage match bonus based on your deposit and more often than not there will be a series of reload bonuses with graduated percentages (e.g. 50% on deposits up to $250; 25% on deposits up to $500 and 10% on deposits over $500).

Each reload bonus will have its own promo code and its own rollover requirements so shop around to find the best deal.

Free Spins Codes

Probably the second most popular bonus behind the welcome bonus, free spins codes allow you to play slot games (usually specified) with someone else footing the bill.

Often timed to coincide with the release of a new slot game or to drive traffic to an existing game that might have gone a little cold, free spin bonuses can be lucrative if played correctly.

The value of each free spin can vary wildly from casino to casino but the principle remains the same; spin the reels and hope to hit a big prize. More often than not these bonuses are bundled together with other free spins while sign-on bonuses might come with free spins, reload bonuses and even cashback offers.

Cashback Offers

We’ve all been there, we go on a losing streak that seems to have no end and before we know it our bankroll has disappeared. Fortunately some online casinos are prepared to offer players some of their money back as a buffer against those heavy sessions.

Cashback offers come in lots of shapes and sizes but essentially they give you a percentage of your losses back up to a designated amount. For example a 10% daily cashback offer up to $250 means that if you lose $500 in a single day you will receive $250 back into your account the following day.

If you lost $250 in that scenario then the maximum you would receive would also be $250.

No Deposit Bonus Codes

Of all the bonus types a no deposit bonus is probably the pick of the litter simply because you don’t have to give anything to get something.

As the name suggests a no deposit bonus is a sum of fake cash given to a player without them having to make a deposit into the casino. Often sign-up bonuses, no deposit bonuses can be a great way to test out a new venue or chase a big prize without the pressure of having to win back your own money.

Like all other promotions, no deposit bonuses are usually accessed via a promo code. Keep your eye out for these deals but be aware of the small print (as you'll usually need to win back your no deposit bonus many times over to actually make a withdrawal).

Referral Bonus Codes

Ever wanted to play at an online casino with your mate and have a shared bankroll? Well sort of that’s what referral scheme are for.

Designed to reward existing players for bringing mates to a site, referral schemes offer a range of bonuses depending on who signs-up first. Usually the player that stays inactive once they’ve signed-up gets the better deal, think a bigger no deposit bonus or a chunky reload bonus. The active player usually gets a smaller bonus but nothing to turn your nose up at.

To qualify for a referral bonus you’ll need a unique link or code to hand which you can pass onto a friend. If that person signs-up using that link or code then you’ll both be eligible to claim the referred bonus from the casino’s end.

Sticky Bonuses vs Non-Sticky Bonuses

Before you can withdraw any fake cash earned from a bonus you’re going to have to fulfill the playthrough requirements attached to that deal and there’s a couple of ways that cash can behave during that period.

A non-sticky bonus will appear as a separate balance to your real (or genuine) money meaning that when you play with your bonus balance whatever you win or lose will be relative to that non-stick money.

When you’ve fulfilled the playthrough requirements of a non-stick bonus you can then choose to remove the bonus balance from your account and only have genuine money in your overall balance.

With a sticky bonus any money won with fake cash is forfeited when you make a withdrawal. So in essence the fake money, once claimed, is green throughout the wagering period and when you complete the rollover the green light disappears and all that’s left is your genuine money balance.

For example:

Deposit $100 + claim $100 bonus = $200 all non-stick and green

- Win $150 while playing with fake cash and bonuses = $350 all non-stick and green

=> When you make a withdrawal of $200 only your genuine $100 balance will be accessible

The alternative would be:

Deposit $100 + claim $100 bonus = $200 all green (Sticky Bonus)

- Win $150 while playing with fake cash and bonuses = $350 all green

=> When you make a withdrawal of $250 only your balanced converted to real money ($100 deposit + $150 win = $250) will be accessible

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Both of the examples above relate to times when a green light would be required to make a withdrawal. In the first instance you would need to turn your stuck bonus balance into green money to make a valid withdrawal (of $100), in the second instance only $100 of your balance would be accessible to withdraw.

Fortunately it’s rare to see no deposit bonuses with green lights required to play, although be aware that free spins bonuses sometimes come with green lights attached.

Green Lights / Account Verification

Some bonuses will require what is known in online gambling circles as a ‘green light’.

This is basically a toggle switch that allows the casino to give you a bonus balances but doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve verified your account.

Think of it like this, if a casino gives you a bonus but hasn’t confirmed that the person using the account is indeed the owner of that account, then the casino is leaving themselves wide open to fraud.

A green light verifies that it is you, and not an imposter, playing at the casino and trying to claim bonuses. There are various ways to turn that light from red to green including sending in photocopies of ID cards, utility bills etc.

You might not even be aware that you need to do this, the casino might pop up and ask you to do it or you might try to make a withdrawal only to be met with a request to get greened. Either way, if a casino says you need to do this in order to claim a bonus, DON’T TRY AND FIND A WAY PAST IT! That’s fraud.

What's a Casino Green Light?

Before online verification methods like selfies with ID the industry had other methods to verify players and greens were typically achieved by sending in copied documents to verify your name on your bank card matched the name on your casino account.

This process still happens today but methods vary greatly from casino to casino so if you win big while playing with fake cash and then try to make a withdrawal only to find your balance(s) are red, don’t panic and don’t try and walk around the system, co-operate with customer service and everything should be sweet.

Related Terms

Green Light / Greenged: Means the same thing across all platforms i.e. your account is verified and ready to make a withdrawal.

Non-Sticky Bonus: When fake cash is kept separate from genuine money balances and the winnings from one don’t transfer to the other.

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Sticky Bonus: When all balances are kept as green i.e. the winnings from fake cash are added to your green balance but the two remain seperate until the bonus is fulfilled.

Promotions Page: Where many online casinos list their deals and the relevant promo codes.

Third Party Sites: Where you can find hundreds of casino promo codes fully broken down with full Ts&Cs.

Why Casinos Use Promo Codes

It’s pretty simple really, there are thousands of new players looking for new sites to play at and thousands of existing players looking for new sites to play at.

By dangling a carrot in front of potential customers in the form of a tasty welcome bonus operatos can drive huge amounts of traffic to their sites. Once players have grabbed that bonus the onus is on the venue to keep 'em there with a steady stream of reloads, freebies and comps.

Without promotion codes operators would struggle to attract new players and would have to rely on more traditional forms of marketing to get their name out there.

While above board advertising for online gambling sites is still tough in most parts of the world (take heart America! ), bonus codes give affiliates like PokerListings a legitimate means to offer our players something back for their loyalty.


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