The best blackjack bonuses provide players with free funds while asking for little in return. Unfortunately, not all Internet casinos offer bonuses on their blackjack games, and those that do almost always require the player to risk additional money before the "free" money can be withdrawn.
While casinos are in business to make a profit, the imposed wagering requirements aren't entirely their fault. In the early days of online gambling, players known as "bonus whores" would sign up at a casino, cash out their free money, and then promptly leave without playing a game. In order to counter this self-serving behavior, the casinos were forced to implement rules to protect themselves. Thus, we have the rollover requirement.
What's a Rollover Requirement
If you enjoy receiving bonuses from online casinos, you need to be aware of rollover requirements. The term "rollover" refers to the amount of money you'll need to wager before you're able to withdraw the bonus from your account.
For example, let's look at a player who receives $100 in bonus chips thanks to a promotional offer. After reading the fine print (which is a must at Internet casinos), he realizes that the rollover is 20x. This means he's required to wager 20 times the amount of the bonus in order to withdraw it. Since the dollar value in this example was $100, the player must wager $2000 before he can withdraw the original $100 bonus.
It should also be noted that not all casino games count towards satisfying the rollover. Some games may be outright prohibited, while others might count at a diminished rate.
Higher Requirements for Internet Blackjack
While some casinos offer great blackjack bonuses, it's important to remember that the rollover requirements are often higher than with other casino games. This is due to the lower overall house edge, which is around 0.5% when using basic strategy.
For our first example, let's assume the player gets $100 in bonus blackjack money and is required to meet a 20X rollover. He'll need to risk $2000, but the 0.5% house edge means the player is going to lose an average of $10 (2000 x 0.005) while playing through the money. Of the $100 bonus, they'll still make a $90 profit.
Now let's look at a casino that requires a rollover of 200X. In this case, the player must wager $20,000 before the initial $100 bonus can be withdrawn. With the 0.5% edge in place, the expected losses would amount to $100. This means that by the time the player meets the rollover requirement, their $100 in free money would have been cancelled out by their losses.
Examples of Online Blackjack Bonuses
This section is intended to give you an idea of the kinds of blackjack bonuses you can expect to find at various online casinos. I've listed examples from Bovada, but keep in mind that the offers found elsewhere may differ dramatically.
Blackjack Weekends - Running from Friday through Sunday, this promotion allows the player to earn up to $100 in bonus chips while playing different versions of blackjack. For every 200 casino points earned, the player is eligible for a $10 casino chip bonus. Before the bonus or any resulting winnings can be withdrawn, a 20X rollover requirement must be satisfied.
Blackjack Sundays - If you play on Sunday, you'll earn an extra $21 when you hit your first blackjack of the day (with a minimum bet of $5 per hand). In order to withdraw your $21, you must satisfy a 20X rollover requirement.
For each blackjack you hit during the day, you'll receive one entry into a drawing for $2,100. The drawing takes place 48 hours after the end of the promotional period.
The $1.5 Blackjack Booster - During the promotional period, hit 10 blackjacks while betting a minimum of $5 per hand and earn a $10 casino chip bonus. This bonus is subject to a 20X rollover requirement.
Sit, Hit, and Split to Sin City - During the promotional period, you'll earn a $1 bonus each time you wager $21 on a hand of blackjack. You can receive a maximum of $50 per week and $200 during the promotional period. All bonus chips have a 20X rollover requirement before they can be withdrawn.
For each $21 wager you make, you'll receive an entry to win a $10,000 trip to Las Vegas. There's no limit to the number of entries you can receive, although games of single and double deck blackjack don't count towards the promotion.
Before you sign up for an online casino, it's always a good idea to read the terms and conditions. I also suggest selecting a location such as Bovada Casino based on their reputation and overall quality instead of free money. As you should have learned from this article, even the best blackjack bonuses aren't as simple as they initially seem.