Online casino bonuses are ten a penny these days, with almost every operator offering new customers some sort of incentive to sign up.
They aren’t right for everyone, but many players happily take up these offers so as to enjoy the bonus funds or deposit match or whatever the specifics are of the offer at the casino they have chosen.
But what if you were to take a bonus offer and then hit a progressive jackpot?
Incredibly unlikely as it may be, it is a question many people have pondered, so our team did some digging. We looked through online archives, asked players and experts for their experiences, and more.
Here’s everything we learned about progressive jackpots and bonuses.
Is Winning Progressive Jackpots Using a Bonus Allowed?
This is the first thing you should check out when taking any bonus. The site’s rules will stand in all situations, and they are not all the same, so before you register or look at anything else, read the Terms and Conditions.
In order to create an account, you have to agree to the Ts&Cs by ticking a box, so studying them is essential as you can’t claim ignorance after the fact.
When it comes to progressive jackpot wins with bonus money, some sites have thought ahead and covered this. Their legal teams have been thorough and it has been forbidden in the Ts&Cs.
So that’s the end of it really: if the terms say you can’t win a jackpot using bonus funds then you can’t win a jackpot using bonus funds. Other sites though, often the bigger ones, will allow jackpot wins with bonus funds, even if they have capped winnings from regular play.
The rules around this, what ever they are, will always be very clear, but why? Aren’t jackpot wins so incredibly rare as to make it almost an impossibility? Well, casinos do this for a couple of reasons.
- Legal liability. Remember, no matter how friendly online casinos seem, their goal is to win your money just like your goal is to win theirs. If you were to win a progressive jackpot using a bonus and their rules were unclear, they would have to fight tooth and nail to escape paying the win legally. Legal fees are expensive, and the process is a massive headache, especially for a high-profile casino. With an explicit mention in the Ts&Cs, they avoid this risk.
- Costs. Think about it. Why do casinos offer bonuses in the first place? To get you through the door and win your money. But winning a jackpot with money they gave you in the first place gives them nothing. For any sites that don’t allow jackpot wins from bonus money, this is why.
What If Winning a Progressive Jackpot with a Bonus Is Allowed?
If there’s an explicit mention in the Ts&Cs about not winning jackpots with bonus money, you can kiss your chances of a jackpot win with bonus money goodbye.
If it is allowed, however, you will be able to keep anything you win subject to all the other terms and conditions.
In an imaginary scenario where this had occurred, here’s how we would recommend you proceed:
- Take a screenshot. If you can, grab a screenshot of the win as it will timestamp it and be great evidence of what you saw on your screen. Keep this image safe and take several if possible.
- Contact support immediately. Send them a chat message, email, or give them a call, pick whatever method will get you a response the soonest. Try all 3 if you want. There have been cases when software bugs caused people to celebrate prematurely, only to find out that the win wasn’t valid. Wait for official and written confirmation before you spend a penny of what you think you have won.
- Call a professional. We know your first instinct is to contact your friends, but you’ll need professional advice with this kind of money. You might need a legal eagle to help if there is any sort of dispute with the casino, and you will definitely need a qualified financial advisor if the win is significant.
- Ask about the casino’s withdrawal policy. For example, some sites might have special measures for large jackpot withdrawals.
In most cases, jackpot wins will flag on the casino’s system and a customer support team member will access your details and give you a call to tell you how to proceed, so you might not even have to do any of the above, but it’s best practice to in any event.
Most casinos are very detailed in their terms but there may be one or two out there who are more ambiguous, and may require further investigation and clarity.
Has Anyone Ever Won a Jackpot Using Bonus Funds?
We have no data on exactly how many times this has happened, but one such lucky winner was a man known only as A.F.
He was using his mobile phone to play some slots at an online site called Luxury Casino, and since he had recently celebrated his birthday the casino had gifted him $50 worth of bonus money.
His favourite game was Microgaming’s, Major Millions, a 5 reel progressive jackpot slot, so he decided to use the funds starting with that game.
The jackpot at the time stood at $1,009,402.70, and A.F is recorded as having said:
“The jackpot was over a million dollars, and I was using free money, so I had nothing to lose!”
He had only been playing for two minutes when ‘the reels started flashing and the bells started ringing’ – much to A.F’s surprise and delight.
He said he was going to buy a house with his winnings, and there is also some photo evidence of him enjoying some time on holiday.