Sticky vs. Non-Sticky Casino Bonuses: What's the Difference

Published by Ethan on September 26, 2021

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Published by Ethan on September 26, 2021

When it comes to online casino bonuses, not all are created equally, with some providing you with much more than others. While we’re aware that there are different types of bonuses, as these come in the form of deposit match offers, free spins, and in some cases no deposit bonuses, these will fall under one of two segments, stick or non-sticky bonuses.

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In gambling terms, sticky will refer to a rule or condition that will be locked in place, whereas non-sticky refers to something that’s subject to change. Having a clear understanding of what’s being offered to you is a fundamental aspect of ensuring that you have a good gaming experience. This is often where most players make the mistake of rushing into accepting an offer simply because of the large numbers that are advertised on the homepage of the casino.

This often leads to immense levels of disappointment and the spread of misinformation by users that failed to understand the Terms and Conditions. Let’s take a closer look at sticky and non-sticky casino bonuses along with how they differ from one another.


Understanding Wagering Requirements

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Wagering requirements are implemented as part of the Terms and Conditions of a welcome offer to prevent players from exploiting the offer. This would usually be done by players making the initial deposit and quickly withdrawing the bonus cash, and it’s quite obvious how this could be detrimental to the well-being of the online casino. Unless stated otherwise, an online casino will always have a wagering requirement in effect.

This requirement can be as low as 15x the amount wagered or it can be as high as 70x the amount wagered. You’re probably asking yourself what these figures mean, so allow us to explain. Let’s say that you’ve signed up at an online casino that’s offering a 100% deposit match bonus up to the value of $1,000. This means that the casino will match any amount that you deposit provided that it’s above the minimum deposit limit and $1,000 and below.

However, the casino will also state that there will be a 30x wagering requirement that has to be met before you’ll be able to make a successful withdrawal. So, you’ve deposited $500, which means that you’ll need to play through $500 thirty times before you will be able to make a withdrawal. 500 x 30 = $15,000 that you will need to go through, which is a fair chunk of cash.

Needless to say, the wagering requirements that come with a welcome offer are as important as the bonus amount itself.


How to Meet the Wagering Requirements

The Terms and Conditions will give you a clear indication of what needs to be done to meet the wagering requirements. While there will be a minimum deposit that has to be met to qualify for the bonus offer, there might be particular banking methods that will disqualify you from claiming the offer.

Certain games that are offered at the online casino will have different wagering contributions. This will determine how much of the bonus will be met in the form of a percentage. Slots will usually count for 100% of the wagering requirement, whereas games such as Blackjack, Poker, Baccarat, and so on will only count for 50%, sometimes less.

All of the games will be mentioned in the Terms and Conditions, which will make it easy for you to determine which games, should be avoided.


Getting the Most Out of Your Bonus

While all slots will count for 100%, not all of them are created equally; this is where you will need to factor in the RTP that a slot presents. The lower the RTP of a particular game, the higher the variance will be. This means that payouts won’t occur as often but you can expect to land on larger amounts. The higher the RTP the more frequent the payouts will occur; however, they won’t be as high.

High RTP games are perfect for meeting the wagering requirements of a welcome bonus as you will be playing through the amounts while simultaneously topping up your account with sporadic wins. Once you’ve hit the amount needed, make the switch to lower RTP games and ride out the amount that you’re required to play through.


No-Wagering Requirements

There are online casinos out there that don’t require any wagering requirements. While these casinos are booming in popularity, the amounts that you can win are usually quite low. But don’t let this put you off as you can still generate a decent profit from the small number of free spins or low deposit match offerings.

These profits can be held and won’t have any hidden fees or anything shady that comes along with it.


Understanding Sticky Bonuses

Now that you have a clear understanding of the concept of a welcome offer and the wagering requirements that will need to be met before you can take advantage of the profits, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the meat and potatoes of this segment. Unlike standard bonuses, sticky bonuses can’t be withdrawn from an online casino.

As previously stated, there are online casinos that will provide you with either a small or a large bonus offer. However, there is a vast range of these offers that are sticky or they will have plenty of strings attached that will be incredibly challenging to meet. A standard bonus will offer you a deposit match bonus that will match the amount or offer a portion of the amount that you’re depositing into your account.

Another part of the standard bonus that stands out is the presence of no deposit bonus offers, which will allow you to start playing right off the bat without the need to deposit cash into your account. As you can imagine, this is an incredibly popular type of bonus, despite the profits being capped and minimal, it can always be viewed as a gift from the casino.

Any bonus that can’t be withdrawn from your casino account is classified as a sticky bonus, and this might seem to have nothing but disadvantages, but this is where you’re mistaken. Sticky bonuses will usually provide you with a large sum of cash that’s usually a deposit match of 100% or in some cases up to 200%. The bonus amounts could see you end up with upwards of $2,000 in bonus cash.

While this might seem futile in the grand scheme of things as you won’t be able to withdraw any of it, if you make a rather large deposit, you could use this as an opportunity to place larger bets and potentially land some big wins.


The Problem

One of the primary issues regarding sticky bonuses is that players are often enticed by the large numbers that are advertised on the casino site and this could leave them severely disappointed when they realized that they’ve signed up at an online casino that’s offering them a sticky bonus. This is where reading and understanding the Terms and Conditions that are provided by the online casino are extremely important.

Sticky bonuses will automatically be removed from the total once you attempt to withdraw the cash from your account. One of the key phrases to look out for when reading through the Terms and Conditions is “for wagering purposes only”. This is a clear indication that the bonus will never enter your personal bank account.


The Perks

Sticky bonuses shouldn’t be seen as the bane of your existence as there are a few benefits to having the bonus cash at your disposal. It’s a matter of perspective, as you won’t be able to withdraw the cash, hence, you could use it to place massive bets to gain some sort of profit. Another great perk of this type of bonus is that you are less restricted when it comes to the games that are at your disposal.

This is because the wagering requirements are significantly less stringent, which means that you will meet them whether you’re playing slots or table games. There are online casinos out there that make it very clear to you that the bonus cash and the cash that you’ve deposited into your casino account are very different and are often placed into separate casino accounts.

Ultimately, sticky bonuses can provide you with an extended gaming experience at some of the best online casinos available. To truly capitalize on this offer, you will need to meet the wagering requirement that’s indicated in the Terms and Conditions of the casino.


Understanding Non-Sticky Bonuses

Fundamentally, non-sticky bonuses are the opposite of sticky bonuses and they are not as common as their sticky counterparts. The non-sticky bonus doesn’t require you to meet a wagering requirement for you to successfully withdraw cash from your online casino account. To make a clear distinction between non-sticky and sticky bonuses, think of your cash and the bonus cash being stuck together or not being stuck together.

If you’re unclear of what kind of bonus you’re dealing with, odds are that it’s sticky, as these will generally come in the form of a deposit match bonus with a wagering requirement. Whereas non-sticky bonus will often not present a wagering requirement and there are aspects of it that make it seem like it’s more of a giveaway than anything else.


The Problem

Due to the nature of non-sticky bonuses, don’t expect them to generate vast profits as this would end up losing the casino quite a bit of cash over a short timeframe. You will also be given clear instructions on what you’ll be allowed to do and what will result in the loss of your bonus. This means that the games that you’ll be able to play will be mentioned in the Terms and Conditions of the bonus.


The Perks

One of the best things about using a non-sticky bonus is the assurance that you have while using it, as you’re almost guaranteed to walk away with something. If a deposit is required, this will be used first, meaning that you won’t be obligated to meet any wagering requirements presented by the casino. This is a major perk as it could provide you with some quick cash that can easily be withdrawn.

More online casinos are starting to offer non-sticky bonuses and despite the small amount that’s offered, you’ll still be able to have a good time while using them.


What Should You Choose?

Both bonus types present their share of pros and cons; however, it depends on the type of player you are and what kind of experience you’re after. If you don’t like the idea of having to meet a wagering requirement then non-sticky bonuses will be more appealing to you. But if you like the idea of having to work for your cash while being able to explore a vast inventory of games that affect your wagering requirements, then the sticky bonus will work out.

Hence, it’s subjective and the only way to truly find what would work for you is to try both of them and document your experiences. The minimum wagering requirement to qualify for most bonus offers is around $20 and this means that you could easily deposit it and start small.



Ultimately, bonuses aren’t always required to be taken, as there are players that opt to ignore these offers and dive headfirst into their favourite games, and as an experienced player, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do that too. However, these offers can also allow you to explore different types of games while working towards a larger ‘goal’.

Sticky and non-sticky bonus offers have come a long way since the initial offers that were presented to players when online casinos started to gain some traction. The choice is yours, and that’s the luxury that we have, as we’re able to take advantage of various offers, compare them to one another, and find the offer that suits us the best.

Author: Ethan

Ethan Miller is an online casino expert with a tremendous knowledge of all casino games, games strategy, online casino bonuses and reviews. Ethan is the casino content chief editor at Casinofy

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