A casino bonus is any kind of extra money or feature that is given to a punter in exchange for their support. This usually takes the form of signing up or adding money to their account, though some casinos might grant offer exclusive bonuses for using certain payment methods, or because a player reaches out to their support staff.
Casinos started offering bonuses in the late 90s as a way to compete with other casinos for punters, and to make players more comfortable with the idea of online gambling. It sounds silly in 2021, but there was a time where many people didn’t understand what the internet was, and there was a natural distrust of it. That said, as more and more punters flocked online and started claiming bonuses, casinos found that they were losing money. At the time, bonuses weren’t regulated like they are today, so players could easily game the system and walk away with huge profits.
To protect their investments while still rewarding players, casinos imposed stricter terms and requirements on when bonuses could be withdrawn. Wagering amounts and requirements were put into place so that punters couldn’t just take out any bonuses they claimed without first playing at a casino. This system isn’t perfect, but it does encourage players to continue to play at a casino. The extra deposits made by punters to try to meet a bonus’s wagering requirements also stops the casino from losing too much money.