The online casino market is massive these days. With casino games increasingly available for mobile devices, and almost 90% of Canadians now owning a smartphone, competition is fierce amongst casino operators.
One of the best ways a new casino can stand out from the crowd in such a competitive market is with their bonuses. From Welcome Packages to game-specific promotions, the options are varied. For a newcomer to online gambling, choosing the best bonus can be something of a challenge.
That’s why we wrote this article. Over the next few hundred words, you’ll discover all about the different bonuses on offer and what separates an actually great promotion from just a great sounding one. Let’s get going!
Types of Bonuses at Canadian Casinos
Bonuses at Canadian online casinos are pretty much the same as they would be from the casinos of any nation with legal online gambling. Of course, if you’ve no experience playing at any casinos, they’ll still be a mystery to you!
Generally speaking, online casino bonuses can be divided into the following categories. Some bonuses will fit into more than one category. Also, it’s worth noting that no casino bonus type is actually better than any other. The potential to profit from a promotion depends on its specific terms and conditions. More on this later though.
Welcome or Reload Bonuses
The first type of bonuses you’ll encounter at an online casino is the Welcome Bonus. What differentiates a Welcome or Signup Bonus from other promotions is that players can only trigger them when they are new to a casino.
Typically, Welcome Bonuses are larger in overall cash value than any subsequent promotions you’ll receive. This is because a Welcome Bonus attempts to convince players to sign up at a casino and, often, to make a deposit. Once you’ve registered at a casino, you’re more likely to revisit it. Therefore, there’s a lot of value in getting a player to create a new account!
Reload Bonuses are the other main type of online casino promotion. These refer to any promotion awarded to existing players. They might be a weekly bonus or one that coincides with a sporting event or holiday. Every (non-excluded) player at the casino is eligible to claim such promotions.
Less common are player-specific Reload Bonuses. These might be rewarded to high volume players as a way of showing gratitude. Alternatively, they might coincide with the player’s birthday. Typically, these player-specific reload bonuses will be delivered via email, text message, or the casino’s internal messaging platform.
Both Welcome Bonuses and Reload Bonuses can take many forms. We discuss the most common below.
No Deposit Bonuses
No deposit bonuses are a consistently popular form of promotion. This is because the player gets a shot at winning real money with no requirement to deposit. Essentially, they represent a rare instance of positive expected value offered up by the casino. Although terms and conditions will usually make it very difficult to actually win cash using a no deposit bonus, the possibility is present without the player risking any money.
No deposit bonuses usually take one of two forms: free spins and bonus cash. Both will be subject to wagering requirements, time restrictions on their use, and often cash-out limitations. They’re also usually much smaller than other types of bonuses in terms of the number of free spins or amount of bonus cash received.
Deposit bonuses require the player to make a deposit in order to trigger the promotion. They typically involve the casino matching a player’s deposit with a percentage of promotion cash. Sometimes, a deposit will award a set number of free spins too.
Since players do risk their own money on a deposit bonus, the casinos will often be more generous in the amounts they’re willing to offer. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see $10,000 promotions at some iGaming venues!
Although they’re still subject to wagering requirements, time restrictions, and sometimes cash-out limitations, they’re not usually as harsh as those associated with no deposit promotions. As part of a deposit bonus, you might also receive both free spins and bonus cash.
Some casino bonuses are only eligible for a specific game. The launch of a new slot at the casino might coincide with a bonus that’s only available for that title. Similarly, you may encounter promotions that are only for use with games like blackjack, roulette, or live casino games.
Another type of bonus is the timed bonus. This is where the casino will credit a player’s account with a comparatively high amount of promotional cash. The player must then race to complete the wagering requirements within a set period of time. If they manage it, the money leftover will become real, withdrawable cash. If not, they’ll surrender the remaining promotional funds when the bonus expires.
These are less common than matched deposit bonuses and the no deposit bonuses discussed above. However, they can be a lot of fun to play through and potentially lucrative if they feature favourable wagering requirements.
What Makes a Great Online Casino Bonus?
As you can see, there are loads of different online casino bonuses out there. However, the different types of bonuses aren’t necessarily an indication of their overall profitability.
For example, although there is no chance of losing money with a no deposit bonus, if the terms and conditions are particularly harsh, the likelihood of taking money from it might be tiny. By contrast, the player may stand to lose money using a deposit bonus but the terms and conditions might be so favourable that they’re actually expected to win money if they follow an optimum strategy.
Basically, the terms and conditions of a promotion determines its overall profitability. Here’s what to look out for when comparing bonuses. It’s important to consider all of the following when deciding between two or more online casino promotions.
- Wagering requirement – The terms and conditions will tell you how many times you need to bet using your promotional cash. The wagering requirement will usually be represented by a number followed by an X. Generally speaking, the lower the number, the better the promotion.
- Game eligibility – Different online casino games have different average return-to-player ratings. Blackjack, for example, can be played with a very low house edge. Meanwhile, some slots and bets on table games can offer a very poor return-to-player rating. High RTP-rated games are often limited in their contributions to wagering. When looking for a great casino promotion, you want to favour those that have high RTP-rated games that contribute 100% to wagering. Never attempt to play through a bonus with games that do not contribute 100% to wagering.
- Cash out limitations – Some casinos will limit the amount you can withdraw from a promotion. Funds in excess of this figure will be automatically surrendered upon completing wagering. Needless to say, you should favour bonuses that offer the highest potential cash-outs.
- Time restrictions – Similarly, you might find time restrictions mentioned in the terms and conditions. The time restriction means that you must use your promotional cash within a certain period. It can range between a couple of hours, to weeks or even months. Tight time restrictions on wagering force players to bet bigger, which invites a greater chance of busting out. Generally speaking, the longer the bonus eligibility period, the more likely you will be to win something – if all the other terms are favourable, that is!
No Such Thing as the Best Bonus Type!
As you can see, the type of bonus offered by a casino is actually much less important than its specific terms and conditions. If you’re wanting to scout out the very best online casino promotions, it’s important to understand the wagering requirements, cash out limitations, and how playing different games will be more or less lucrative to the player. You can also use a guide such as CasinosCA.org to understand what makes a bonus good or bad.
Once you understand all that, you can compare different promotions yourself. You can then use your knowledge to favour the most lucrative and dismiss those that are unlikely to yield profits in the long-term. Happy punting!