Online Casino Bonuses Explained in Laymen’s Terms
Over the years, we’ve come across many new entertainment forms. Casino games as a whole have been one of them for a very long time. However, in the last two decades, even these games have been adapted for online use.
A major attraction of the online gambling industry is the online bonus you get. These are rewards the casino operator provides to the players for signing up, playing real money games, and so on.
In our experience, we’ve seen many new players struggle with understanding the bonuses and their underlying terms and conditions. For this very reason, many players miss out on an online bonus that they otherwise could’ve benefited from.
Let this page be your ultimate guide to online casino bonuses as a whole. We’re going to break different types of bonuses as well as how to comply with the terms and conditions so that you can make the most of your time.
Which Casinos Offer Bonus & Why?
That’s a good question. Why do online casinos even offer bonuses? It’s a valid argument because land-based casinos usually don’t offer these bonuses. The most obvious reason behind offering an online bonus is, of course, to attract more players. Then again, there’s more to what meets the eye.
Most land-based casinos are usually pegged with a hotel or resort where they get foot traffic all the time. And if it’s a tourist spot, they don’t even need a hotel to draw customers. On top of that, brick-and-mortar casinos have more recurring expenses. Be it the rent for the property, the energy bills, complimentary drinks, staff management, and whatnot!
Considering all these expenses, it doesn’t leave much room for a physical operator to offer any further bonus. Online casinos, on the other hand, have the luxury to spend on marketing because they don’t have to put up with the recurring expenses of land-based casinos.
As a result, they use the funds to offer online bonus to the players to stand out from the competition. By competition, we mean the other online casinos and there are thousands of them all over the world at this point.
Top Online Casino Bonus Offers in Canada
So, what are the bonuses you can expect from an online casino? Although there are no concrete rules on what a casino operator can and cannot offer, there’s a stereotype to the industry. In this section, we’re going to cover all the known forms of an online casino bonus at an online casino. If you come across any new type of bonus, chances are it’ll belong to one of the categories below.
This is the most heartwarming bonus you can get from an online casino and the reason is right in the name. A welcome bonus is reserved for the new players only, one per house. The “per household” term is important to note because if someone else from your home has already claimed the bonus, you won’t be able. The physical address, as well as the IP address, must be different.
For the most part, online casinos in Canada offer a deposit match bonus on your first or first few deposits. The most common match percentage is 100%, which is also known as a “deposit match bonus”. When you deposit an amount, the casino matches it exactly and credits it to your bonus account.
Let’s understand the bonus with an example. “100% match up to $1,000” is a very common expression among online operators. It means your deposit will be matched up to $1,000. If you deposit $500, you get a $500 bonus. If you deposit $1,000, you get a $1,000 bonus. However, if you deposit $1001 or more, you still get a $1,000 bonus because that’s the maximum it can go.
Also, there will most likely be a minimum deposit requirement. In Canada, it ranges between $10 and $20. So, your bonus range is basically from the minimum deposit requirement to the maximum conversion amount.
Many casinos offer other forms of casino bonus such as free spins, cashback, or even unrelated bonuses. By unrelated bonuses, we mean it can be anything that you can categorize as a reward. It might be Amazon vouchers, it might be an overseas trip, it might be staying at a luxury hotel, it might be prizes like smartphones, laptops, and whatnot.
The bottom line is that the welcome bonus can range anywhere in the spectrum of rewards based on how creative the operator can be.
No Deposit Bonus
A “no deposit bonus” is a reward that you get for not depositing. Well, let’s rephrase it. It’s a bonus that you can avail without having to make a deposit. It’s unique in the sense that for all of the other iGaming bonuses, whether it’s an online casino or an online sportsbook, you need to deposit real money first.
As a no deposit bonus initially comes right out of the casino operator’s pocket, very few are willing to offer it. As a result, you get these bonuses once in a blue moon. Also, the associated terms and conditions are stricter than usual.
Just like the welcome bonus, a no deposit online bonus can be anything depending on the operator’s creativity. It might be a cash reward, free spins, free chips for live games, or even real prizes like Amazon vouchers and the rest from the category.
When you get a no deposit, it’s most likely going to be right after you sign up. That makes it a “sign up bonus” or a “registration bonus”. Many people confuse a sign up bonus with a welcome bonus because that’s “welcoming” you in a way too. But in our opinion, the term is reserved for no deposit bonuses you get after registration.
A good example of a no deposit is a $5 bonus on sign up. Or, it might be 10 free spins. You never know. Many casinos launch tournaments as “drops & wins” and in a way, those are no deposit bonuses too.
Remember we said that the associated terms and conditions are harder to comply with? It’s mostly the high wagering requirements. We have seen upwards of 200x wagering requirements on no deposit bonuses before.
If we have to pick a type of bonus to play, we’ll go with free spins. It’s one of the most user-friendly bonuses in online casinos. They’re enjoyable, they’re easy to claim, and they’re easy to use.
A “spin” is basically for an online slot. The reels in the game spin for a while to land the symbol combinations. If you turn the “turbo spin” or “quick spin” feature in the game, the duration will come down by a lot. Then again, it’s still considered a spin.
For each of these spins, you need to set a bet value based on the coin value and the number of paylines. If it’s a fixed payline slot, you can only assign the bet value.
When you get these spins for free, that’s free spins. Unlike real money spins, you can’t set the bet value because they come predefined. Also, the spins will only work for preselected games. They will only show up when you open the right game.
You cannot get any value from the free spins themselves other than using them to play the games. However, you can keep the winnings you generate from them. Also, the wagering requirements will apply to the winnings and not to the value of the spins.
The only drawback of free spins in our opinion is the limited conversion potential. We’ve barely seen a free spins bonus going over $200. It’s usually $100 or less. Also, they’re very short-lived. You’re instructed to use the spins within a day or two after you get them. But it’s no issue because using the free spins is not a time-consuming task at all.
It’s the wagering that takes time and you should get plenty of time to do that. Most casinos offer at least a week to complete the wagering. The longer you get, the easier it becomes for you to do it.
Cashback is a very popular bonus but they’re not as common as a welcome bonus or a free spins campaign. And when you do get a cashback bonus, it’s calculated based on your real money losses.
Ideally, it’s calculated over a week or a month. In that time, if you lose over a certain threshold, the casino credits some of the losses back to keep your spirits up.
A good example of a cashback bonus is “10% cashback on weekly losses”. The terms and conditions section for this bonus will also specify the exact time when the promotional period starts. “Sunday 00:01 to Friday 11:59” is a valid duration for a weekly cashback bonus.
If the minimum threshold of losses is $500, it means you need to lose at least $500 during the week on real money games. There’s also a maximum limit to how much you can win from this bonus, like all the other ones, of course.
So, let’s say you lose $2,000 during the week and you’re supposed to get 10% of it back. The maximum bonus conversion is capped at $100.
You’re supposed to get ($2000 x10%) = $200. However, as the bonus is capped at $100, you’ll only get $100.
The biggest benefit of cashback bonuses is that there are no wagering requirements whatsoever! You get the funds directly in your real money account, ready to withdraw.
There’s another version of cashback bonuses where the bonus amount is calculated based on your real money deposits. Instead of the loss, you need to go over a certain threshold with your deposits.
The only difference between a deposit-based cashback and a loss-based deposit is that you have to complete the usual wagering requirements as the other bonuses.
Multiplayers are exactly what they sound like. They “multiply” things. In this case, it’s your bonus. Or, winnings. Very few online casinos actually offer them and there might be lots of different variants of the bonus.
If you’ve played slots before, you may know that the majority of them have multipliers within the game. If you’re lucky enough to hit the multiplier, you can boost your winnings. Most games offer up to 15x in-game multipliers but there are always exceptions.
A reward multiplier, on the other hand, is not part of any specific game. Rather, it’s a promotional campaign that runs on a clock. For the duration of the promotion, your winnings will be boosted according to the assigned multiplier.
The multipliers usually hover between 5x to 15x but we’ve seen casinos offering up to 100x! So, anything is possible as long as you can get the right offer.
VIP Rewards/Loyalty Rewards
VIP programs have recently become very popular among casino players in Canada. You can expect some of the biggest bonuses if you’re a part of any VIP or Loyalty Program.
VIP and Loyalty programs are often used interchangeably among players. They are similar in a lot of ways but there are some fundamental differences as well.
A VIP program is most likely to be tiered. It means players have to climb the ranks gradually based on real money wagers. The more you play, the higher you can rank. Also, most VIP programs reset the meters at the end of the month, or when you complete 30 days in the program. The higher you rank, the more rewards and perks you can expect from the operator.
As for the loyalty program, it’s mostly point-based. The more you play, the more points you accumulate. It’s usually pegged to a monetary value. For example, you may 1 point for every $10 you wager on slots. And it might be 1 point for every $15 you wager on live dealer games. It varies from casino to casino based on their policy.
The points you accumulate can later be used to claim real money rewards. You may get free spins, casino credits, cash bonuses, higher cashbacks, higher withdrawal limits, and so on based on your loyalty programs.
The same rewards go for VIP programs as well. So, it’s not hard to understand why players confuse between VIP and Loyalty programs.
The Terms and Conditions Explained for All Players
On our primary bonus page, we’ve had a detailed discussion on the potential terms and conditions you need to stick to. On this page, let’s go a step deeper and contextualize the casino bonus terms and conditions. Let’s go over the common terms and what they mean in Canada.
This is one of the only terms that only apply to casino bonuses and sports betting bonuses. For other industries, you don’t have to wager the bonus. Wagering requirements are basically multipliers that indicate how much you need to spend before the withdrawal.
For example, if the bonus terms say that you need to wager it 40 times, it means you need to multiply the bonus value by 40 and spend it first on games. So, if you’re rocking a $100 bonus, the wagering requirements for you will be $4,000 on games.
And if the terms state that the WR is on both the bonus and the deposit, you need to spend $8,000 instead of $4,000, given that it’s a 100% match bonus. It looks like a lot because it is. But if you have plans to keep playing at this particular casino in the long run, it’s worth it to give it a shot.
Most online casinos have something known as a “wagering contribution table” or “game weighting table”. It’s there to list the weight of the games. For example, slots have a 100% weight or contribution toward the wagering. It means if you play $5 worth of slots, the entire amount will count toward the wagering.
Table games, on the other hand, may contribute 10% to 20% of your total bet. As you can see, slots are better if you want to complete the wagering quickly. Some games, however, are excluded from the accepted games list and you should find all of them on the T&C page.
If we’ve learned something the hard way, everything in life expires. That includes the online bonus you get at online casinos, of course. In Canada, there are mainly 2 types of expiry dates. You get a primary deadline to use the bonus and then a secondary deadline to wager it.
There’s no idealized timeframe that an operator should offer for the wagering. It depends on how intense the bonus is, what are the game weights, how much is the wagering, and lots of other things.
It’s your job to figure out what kind of expiry dates are good for you. Some players may be fine with 7 days for a 40x wagering requirement while other players might feel that a month is a more comfortable zone for them.
When you’re completing the wagering requirements, you can’t just bet as you want. You need to be part of a system. And that system is managed with a maximum bet or max bet restrictions. It simply indicates the value that you cannot go over for a single bet. If it’s capped at $5, it means your bets should be $5 or less. If you place a larger bet, you can surely play but that bet won’t count for the wagering.
The maximum bet usually ranges between $2 and $10. The higher it is, the better it is for you because you can get it over with pretty quickly.
No casino bonus ever comes with an “unlimited” winning potential. It’s the upper limit that’s known as the maximum conversion in the iGaming industry. It goes for cash bonuses, no deposit bonuses, free spins winnings, cashbacks, VIP rewards, and every other online bonus you can think of.
There’s no way you can get blindsided by this restriction because it’s always mentioned in the terms and conditions section for the specific bonus. We always encourage you to read them before you actually opt for them.
Cash bonuses usually let you play all the games in the casino’s library. For free spins, however, you can only play a few of the selected games. The operator either lists the accepted games or the excluded games, whatever makes the most sense.
Deposit Method Restrictions
Last but not least, you need to look into the deposit method restrictions in the T&C section. Many online casinos don’t allow players who deposit with Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal to participate in the promotions.
Best Casino Bonus Picks in Canada
How can we close this guide without giving you the best casino bonuses in Canada in one place? We’ve gathered 5 best bonuses where we’ve blended welcome bonuses, free spins, cashbacks, no deposit bonuses, and other common ones.
Lucky Days Casino Welcome Offer
Lucky Days is currently offering a whopping $1,500 monetary bonus along with 100 free spins on an online slot. The game actually changes from time to time. At the time of writing, it was Big Bass Bonanza and before that, it was Book of Dead.
The $1,500 bonus is broken down into 4 steps and you get one installment after each deposit. So, it’s essentially a welcome package instead of a first deposit match bonus.
If we randomly ask a Canadian player to name the most famous online casino in the country, chances are they’ll answer JackpotCity. It’s a household name at this point and the bonus it offers has a major role to play. Apparently, you can win up to $1,600 from the first four deposits, $400 for each of them.
King Billy Casino
If the bonus volume is something to go by in an online casino bonus, King Billy takes the win. You can win a jaw-dropping $2500 in real money as well as 250 free spins on the first four deposits! The casino also launches a no deposit bonus campaign from time to time.
Are casino bonuses fruitful for players?
For the most part, yes. It ultimately depends on how friendly the terms and conditions are for the bonuses. If you stick to our list of bonuses and online casinos, you can surely boost your bankroll.
What are wagering requirements?
Wagering requirements are the money you need to spend on games before you can withdraw a bonus. It’s usually denoted as an integer multiplier.
Are casinos allowed to impose wagering requirements?
Yes, they are. Wagering is actually imposed to prevent bonus abuse. If you just claim the bonus and withdraw it immediately, there’s no room for the casino to make any money. It’s a business institution after all.
Do I need to use bonus codes?
It depends on the operators. Some operators need them while others don’t. If there’s a promo code you have to use, the casino will list it on the T&C page.
What is the best online casino bonus for Canadian players?
As mentioned above, there exists a plethora of online casino offers depending on the online casino style. All you have to do is to read carefully every available bonus's terms and conditions. At that step you will be able to pick up the bonus that fits your goals easily.