History of online casino bonuses

Bonuses and rewards in the gambling world always fascinated us at Arcade and Gaming history. The last decade has been a trembling road, but everything is indicating that online players will get closer to a win in the end. It’s first now in the latest years that online casino bonuses been going from just sounding attractive) to really being worth playing, with decent rewards, without any tricks involved. There are good reasons that the extreme no wagering sites such as NoWagering Casino launched first in 2019.

This website is run by two of veterans from the gaming industry. After taking the journey towards more relevant and honest bonuses, they got a clear vision. “A world with fair and clear casino bonuses containing relevant wagering requirements”. So how did we end up here? Let’s go into how the bonuses used to be 20 years ago or even further back, when the first websites went live.

1995 - Since 1995, a few of the major software developers were launched such as Microgaming and Cryptologic. Those are two major brands that lays the foundation for a new area of more rewarding slots online compared to land based casinos. In fact, while land based venues offer somewhere between 64-75% return to player (RTP), the top online casinos are above 97% RTP and a huge amount are above 93€. When people start to understand the huge negative winning possibilities when playing at physical casinos, they will likely explore the online sites even more.

1998 – Everything was still new, and any website already live was considered a great place to play. After all, there were not many available online casinos back then. The bonuses were more or less nonexistent and nobody asked for any non-wagering casino bonuses. In fact, you were happy if it was possible to find a place online to enjoy at all since the level of internet connections and the available options were very limited.

1999Billionaire Bill Gates and Microsoft became partners with NineMsn, an Australian based Internet service company that was co-owned by a local casino mogul, Kerry Packer. CNN and other newspapers speculated that Microsoft would go into gambling in Australia, but this never happened. Today, Ninemsn changed name and business plan into Nine and now they run as a newspaper instead of an online casino.

2001 - After just a few years online, 888 Casino offered new players a 20% match bonus up to $ 200. After a few months the bonus increased to a 100% match bonus of up to $ 200. The competition started to get slightly harder, but it was still only a handful of serious online casinos offering any kind of relevant bonuses.

ENG: 2003 – When launching, they were called Casino.net. In an attempt to spice up the brand, they changed name to Party casino which became one of the hot sites back then. Even if the bonus was surprisingly low, the company manage to operate thanks to low competition and a decent and the fact that almost nobody asked for bonuses to get started.

2005 - Clarion Events and their IGB Live brand started their first iGaming show in 2005. They currently hold a big event related to online casino in Amsterdam every summer.

2006, there was a major blow for worldwide internet gambling. This was the year when the U.S. introduced the unlawful internet gambling enforcement act by FTC. Luckily, this law was only introduced in United States of America and all other countries could continue to enjoy online casinos and increasingly better bonuses. But for Americans, legal internet gambling was dead from now and for over a decade going forward. Europa was the top place for online gaming and that is true still today, thanks to the lobbying in America to limit online gambling, made by Adelson and similar high profiles according to Haaretz.

was the year when iGaming and online casinos seriously started to be discussed in Sweden. It was the year when the first iGaming Forum event went live and famous profiles such as Anders Strom, the founder of Unibet, was active on stage together with Michael Knutsson from NetEnt.

2012, BGO was released, the first brand from what later become BGO World, a major company in the UK market. They have MiniMe as the mascot, together with Paris Hilton. What an odd combination, however, it seems to work in the casino world. The Australian online gaming market is at the same time growing at a record pace, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.

is the year when a couple of brands take cashback on casinos more seriously. It’s quite a different new approach compared to earlier registration or match bonuses that gives players more to play with. Instead, cashback that has been a huge type of reward in sectors such as groceries shops now entered the online casino niche. Trends are changing all the time and there are many good reasons why, how and why casino cashback is getting popular among why it’s worth to care about it. After all, there are many types of bonuses and this is just one of the least well known that’s worth to consider.


2017 was a year when the European online gambling market reached a more mature stage. Never before had so many new casinos been launched and such a variation among brands. Malta is increasing the its lead to other jurisdictions and becomes the given place for most European online casinos to operate. Sweden and Netherlands are discussing regulation, but no clear rules are set for those markets. In U.S, the state of New Jersey had 10 online casinos equal to their land-based brands, such as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City.


In 2019 the Swedish gaming market was regulated, and many more countries were considering which direction to go. In 2020, it’s likely to be a similar licensing in Netherlands as Sweden and additional taxes will be put on all profits. 2020 will likely also see many more no wagering casinos or at least bonuses with lower wagering requirements. The main reason for that is because casino players are starting to understand how worthless or even contradictive that many bonuses are today. If accepting a bonus with 50x wagering condition, it’s like having almost zero possibility to win. Many players are therefore either abandoning bonuses or depositing into a fair casino with acceptable conditions where it’s possible to win. In 2020, it’s expected that the European online sector for casinos will rise to €24.7 billion, according to European Gaming and Betting Association. Europe’s share of the global gaming market will be 48.9%, EGBA reports.


Article created on Monday Dec. 09 2019 at 15h33
Last updated on Thursday Feb. 13 2020 at 22h05
Accessed 1760 times.