“Let’s give you free money to double your bankroll!”
You’d never hear this walking into a bank, but when it comes to online casinos it’s completely normal. Casinos compete fiercely for new players, which means they love to hand out extra money to you to lure you in.
So what are casino bonuses?
If you walk into a brick and mortar casino and prove to be a loyal customer, the establishment may choose to reward you with free drinks, comps and other perks.
Obviously, that’s not possible in the world of online gambling – no online casino is going to send you free drinks. What online casinos can -and do– offer you, are other types of rewards in the form of casino bonuses.
These bonuses are usually offered to you in the form of free money, free games or cash back.
Casino bonuses tend to be more generous online than offline for one simple reason: online casinos can afford to give more because they don’t have the same overhead expenses as land casinos in Canada or elsewhere. Online casinos use this advantage to offer bigger bonuses and better odds, which is one of the key reasons players are taking their gambling online.
Understanding bonus match-up percentages
Most casino bonuses consists of two numbers: match-up percentage and maximum bonus. For example, a typical bonus could be 100% up to $300.
What do these numbers mean?
The maximum bonus amount is exactly what it sounds like. It tells you how much you can get. You can get less if you want to, and often you will (for reasons we’ll get to in a second).
The match-up percentage tells you, that the casino will match the amount you deposit with the percentage indicated.
Let’s look at the example I used, 100% up to $300.
The casino is going to match-up your deposit with 100%. So if you deposit $100, the casino is going to give you another $100 and you have doubled the money you can play with (your $100 + casino’s $100 = $200 to spend).
This is how it works up to the maximum. In our example the maximum is $300 (“up to $300”), so anything you deposit over $300 is not going to be matched. For example, with a deposit of $500 you’ll get to play with $800 (your deposit of $500 + the maximum bonus of $300).
Pay attention to the percentages. It is very common that a casino’s welcome bonus consists of several bonuses. In these cases usually only the first bonus has a 100% match-up, the rest could be up to 25% or 50%.
Understanding wagering requirements
Casino bonuses never come without certain terms and conditions. Most often they state what you need to do before you can get a payout.
Players don’t always pay attention to the terms and conditions and are surprised that bonuses come with strings attached. However, if you think about it, it’s clear that there has to be some kind of limits in place: if casinos just handed out free $100 bills, they’d be bankrupt in a hurry.
While bonuses at Canadian casinos tend to be fair, it’s still important to make sure that the offer is best suited to you and your gaming style.
One of the key terms of a casino bonus is its wagering (playthrough) requirement.
Wagering requirement specifies how many times you have to wager the bonus before you are able to withdraw it from your account.
Wagering requirements are indicated in the terms and conditions of the casino bonus as a multiplication.
If you see 20x for example, you will know that you are required to wager the bonus amount twenty times before you can withdraw your winnings.
For a $200 bonus 20x playthrough would be 20*$200 = $4000. This may seem like a lot, but all the bets you make are included. So for example if you play roulette with $50 and win some, lose some, you’ll find out that during your session you actually bet thousands of dollars – not just $50.
Most players never need to worry about wagering requirements. If you simply play enough, you’re going to match any requirements. Still, we’ll cover the wagering details below. Also, if you are highly interested in learning more, Bonus.ca lists wagering requirements in their casino bonus section.
Which are the best games for fulfilling play-through requirements?
Not all casino games count equally towards play-through or withdraw requirements.
Some casinos will exclude certain games from counting towards play-through requirements altogether. Games excluded are typically the ones with very low house edges, so games like blackjack and video poker.
Some games might not be excluded, but they can count only part of the bet towards wagering requirements. For example any bet made in blackjack could contribute 10% of its value towards wagering limits, so a $10 bet would contribute $1. This policy is common at popular Playtech and Microgaming casinos.
By far the best games to play towards meeting wagering requirements are slot machines.
Slots count 100% towards wagering requirements pretty much always. Slots are also good in the sense that you wager a surprising amount of money when you play them. If you pull out $10 CAD and play $1 rounds, you probably end up wagering anywhere between $30 – $100, because you keep getting small wins which you then wager again.
Types of casino bonuses
There are many different types of casino bonuses. Match-up bonuses are common, but you will find plenty of other kinds of promotions too.
A welcome bonus, also known sign-up bonus or a first time deposit bonus, is usually the most generous of all the offers found at online casinos.
The sites want to make a great first impression and will all it can to get you through its virtual doors. As such, a welcome bonus is a great way to enjoy free money and free games.
A welcome bonus will usually match your first deposit with a certain percentage as explained above.
Just a reminder: It’s not only the size of the bonus offered that’s important, but also the wagering requirements. Check to see the play through requirements before signing up for a bonus. Of course, there’s no use redeeming an extremely generous-sounding 200% match bonus, for example, if your favorite game doesn’t contribute towards it.
No deposit bonus
Now that you understand how a welcome bonus works, let’s take a look at a no-deposit bonus.
These work in a similar way to a welcome bonus except that they don’t require that you make a real money deposit. After you sign up with the online casino, your account will be credited with casino credits. You can use the money to test-drive the games and software.
You can almost never cash out your no deposit winnings. Most casinos consider your winnings a bonus and to get it, you need to deposit and meet play-through requirements – just like everybody else.
We here at Canada Casino.net aren’t too enthused about no-deposit bonuses: they are often falsely advertised as free money, even though that’s not what they are. And on top of that, their terms & conditions are usually worse than normal bonuses’. You are almost always better off getting a normal match-up bonus.
It’s not only new players who enjoy bonuses. Once you’ve redeemed your welcome packages, the casino will do everything it can to make sure that you make more deposits and stick to the site.
You’ll therefore be offered reload bonuses that, again, differ from site to site. Some may be offered on a weekly basis, some only once a month.
Reload bonuses are sometimes called loyalty bonuses because they reward you for showing loyalty to the site by depositing into your account time after time. In some cases, the more you deposit – both in terms of amount and frequency – the higher the size of your loyalty bonus.
Cashback bonuses are exactly as their name implies – the chance to get cash back on your gaming action.
A 10% cashback offer, for example, means that if you lose $50 at the casino, you’ll be credited with $5 back into your account. This is a great way to take the sting out of gaming sessions that don’t go as well as you planned.
Free spins are a particularly attractive type of a bonus: You get to play a great game (you can bet that the casino chooses its best game for the spins) for free for a few rounds.
How the winnings of free spins are handled varies. Some casinos consider winnings extra bonuses, which have playthrough requirements. Some, most importantly Guts Casino, state that whatever you win is yours and you can do whatever you want with the money.
Casino bonus tips
- Familiarize yourself with the different types of casino bonuses available in the industry before signing up. You want to make sure that you understand the difference between a welcome bonus, a reload bonus, a no-deposit bonus, cashbacks and everything in between.
- Read the terms and conditions of any casino bonus you are thinking of redeeming. A bonus is a type of financial transaction in every sense of the word, and you want to make sure that you’re getting the best returns on your bankroll. It’s no use signing up for a bonus that requires you make a $100 deposit, for example, if you only have $50 to wager with. Make sure that you understand the wagering requirements so that you’re not surprised with playthrough demands.
- If you’re not sure about certain aspects of a casino bonus, don’t hesitate to contact customer support. Most online casinos catering to Canadian players have 24/7 support available to answer any questions or queries about bonuses, as well as games, payment methods and other issues.
This dirty little trick could get you bigger bonuses at your favorite casino
Shhh, don’t tell this to anybody, but we have a little trick that gets you more money at your favorite casino.
The trick is: … don’t play there!
Yes. Don’t play at your favorite site for a while.
What happens next is that the casino’s automated software alerts its customer service team of the fact that they’ve lost a loyal customer. They want to win you back and to do that, they’ll send you a bonus offer.
And that’s the trick. Some players use this very efficiently. For example Betway, Spin Palace and Royal Vegas have the same games. So play first at Betway. Then stop and go to Spin Palace. Then stop and go to Royal Vegas. By this time Betway has sent you a custom bonus and it’s time to start over… Sneaky eh?
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