Why the Expected Value of No Deposit Bonuses is Important and What You Should Know

By Courtney

No deposit bonuses are very desirable because they give you as a first time player at an online casino the opportunity to play real money virtual casino games 100% for free – with no financial obligation – and even keep what you win. Players can claim these no deposit bonuses using a code provided by the online casino. Online casinos that offer these bonus offers win because they know exactly how enticing these bonuses are and that a percentage of all the players that claim them will go on to become regular depositors.

What Is Expected Value (EV)?

Even though no deposit bonus offers are completely free and only require you to sign up for a free real money account to claim them, some are more worthwhile than others in terms of their expected value (EV).

In a nutshell, the expected value is a known mathematical formula-based concept that allows you to calculate whether a particular no deposit bonus – or any other online casino bonus – will likely be more or less financially viable to claim.

Put in another way, the EV of a bonus is the expected average value you will be left with in trying to play through the wagering requirement.

If after working out the EV of a particular bonus you’re left with a positive value, it means the bonus has a good chance of paying you out (but no guarantee) before your free funds run out. Take careful note of the word “chance” here. Remember, you are playing game with great variability and anything can happen during a sequcne of random outcomes (spins, deals or any other event).

A positive expected value typically means that a bonus offer has more desirable (fewer) wagering requirements vs. the bonus amount awarded. A negative value, however, means your chances of cashing out winnings from a no deposit bonus are not as great.

Now you may be asking yourself how a 100% free online casino bonus can have a negative value. Well, from a free play point of view, any and all no deposit bonuses deliver by letting you experience real money games for zero money. However, if your aim is to cash out the maximum allowed winnings from a bonus, the more stringent its wagering requirements, the harder that can be and the greater the likelihood it’ll have a negative expected value.

How to Calculate No Deposit Bonus Expected Value

Now that we’ve covered why working out the expected value of every no deposit bonus you come across can help you identify bonuses to claim and those to stay clear of, the question remaining is how to calculate no deposit bonus expected value? To start, you need to ‘plug’ a handful of values or variables into an EV equation, which you’ll find listed alongside most online casino bonus offers if not highlighted in their respective terms and conditions.

For instance, the three most common casino bonus values you’ll require are the total bonus offer, the house edge of the particular game that can be played using said bonus, and most importantly, the wagering requirement of said bonus which you’ll find clearly listed in the bonus T&Cs. With these variables at hand, you’ll be able to work out the expected value of pretty much any bonus being offered by any online casino or mobile casino anywhere.

The next step is to insert the values above into the expected value equation or formula which is expected value = maximum cash out – (house edge x wagering requirement). Before we demonstrate EV with an example, however, you need to understand that EV is meant as an average in a given time frame. In other words, it’s positive or negative outcome may not impact your bonus experience specifically, but players in general over time.

Consider, for instance, a no deposit casino bonus for $20 that has a wagering requirement of 20x that you intend to use to play European Roulette, a game with a house edge of 2.5%. Here’s how the formula looks with each of the above no deposit bonus values inserted:

EV = total bonus – (house edge x wagering requirement)
EV = $20 – (2.5% x (20x $20))
EV = $20 – (2.5% x $400)
EV = $20 – $10
EV = +$10

In this example the EV is a positive or plus $10 which means this is a no deposit bonus ideal to claim. However, would that still be the case if you came across the same bonus but it had a wagering requirement of 60x instead of 30x. Let’s find out:

EV = total bonus – (house edge x wagering requirement)
EV = $20 – (2.5% x (60x $20))
EV = $20 – (2.5% x $1,200)
EV = $20 – $30
EV = -$10

In this case, the wagering requirement is too stringent, as you can see from the negative EV.

To continue with the above bonus example, what would happen if you decided to use it to play Caribbean Stud Poker instead of Roulette, a game with a 5% house edge? Let’s find out:

EV = total bonus – (house edge x wagering requirement)
EV = $20 – (5% x (20x $20))
EV = $20 – (5% x $400)
EV = $20 – $20
EV = 0

In this case the EV is zero which is the same as a negative value meaning you have a 50/50 shot of the bonus paying you out. In the world of gambling, 50% is amongst the best odds you’re likely to come across, which means you should definitely claim this bonus.

No Deposit Expected Values Compared

Now that you know how to calculate no deposit bonus expected value, let’s compare 10 no deposit bonuses offered by our featured online casinos and see how they weigh up against each other. Don’t be put off if they have negative values. Remember, they’re just an average or general representation. There is nothing to say that luck won’t rain down on you.

No Deposit Online CasinoTotal Bonus OfferWagering RequirementHouse Edge (Slots)EVPlay Now
21Dukes Casino

Casino Venetian

Fair Go Casino

Grand Fortune Casino

iNetBet Casino

M Casino

Slot Boss Casino

Sloto Cash Casino

Touch Lucky Casino

Uptown Aces Casino


Conclusion on Expected Value No Deposit Bonuses

Knowing how to work out the expected value of no deposit bonuses can come in very handy if you pick and choose a lot of online and mobile casinos to play on based on their 100% free bonus deals that don’t require a deposit to unlock. In that case it makes perfect sense to pick virtual casinos with bonuses that you have the greatest chance of cashing out from.

That said, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that most online casino players – new and old – claim no deposit bonuses purely for the opportunity to try out one or more of a casino’s real money games for free. For them being able to cash out / bank winnings is an added bonus, with the enjoyment of “getting something for nothing” their primary goal.

On this site you’ll find that we feature many of world’s most popular and reputable online casinos with no deposit offerings. Regardless of their bonus expected values, we stand by the quality, generosity and honesty of every one. In fact, we’ve carefully selected all of these sites based on a multitude of factors that go beyond just the generosity of their bonuses.

About The Author

Hi, I'm Courtney, the Webmaster at No Deposit Kings - We provide visitors with free and easy access to real money casino gaming thanks to no deposit casino bonuses offered by our hand-picked selection of online casinos.

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