If you’re looking to maximize your online gambling experience, one of your first steps should be to start taking advantage of the numerous bonuses and promotions available. You can give your bankroll a significant boost; play a round or two without risking your own cash; and win non-cash prizes, like show tickets or a weekend getaway.
But not all bonuses and promotions are created equally. They come in all shapes and sizes, so you need to scrutinize which ones are worth it for you and how you play. Finding the right ones can be tricky. There are a number of terms and conditions you’ll need to learn before you click ‘accept’. Luckily, Casino Guru is here to help you through the murky differences to help you recognize what’s actually worth it.
This page is your guide to the types of bonuses and promotions online casinos offer, and a way to keep updated with the latest promotions available to Canadians. Most promotions require an access code, so we’ll make those available to you as well. We even provide a Bonus Calculator to help you determine the most lucrative bonuses based on how you plan to play. Explore below!
Casino Bonus Calculator
If you sign up for a bonus, that’s exactly what you want it to be: a BONUS. It should enhance your playing experience, not take away from it. This calculator will help you determine which bonuses are worth it for you.
Just enter the amount you want to play (or deposit), and our calculator will show you the online casinos offering the ideal promotions for your budget. Whether you want to start small or you’re already a high roller, there’s something out there for you!
Types of Online Casino Bonuses
When business competition is fierce, customer benefits are plentiful. And in no industry is this more true than online casinos. Because of the easy-access nature of the web, online casinos actually offer better bonuses than their brick and mortar equivalents; players who don’t like what they see can easily logout and login somewhere else. So, there is a massive variety of bonuses out there for you to explore.
It can be overwhelming at first, but it’s important to understand the details of the bonus you’re playing to avoid surprises when you decide to cash out. Some bonuses cannot be cashed and are just for the experience of playing the game, while others can be withdrawn. Some types of promotions (such as loyalty programs) can give you exclusive access to VIP offers you won’t see otherwise.
Brush up on the types below:
Most online casinos offer new players a bonus just for signing up. These bonuses can help you beef up your bankroll early on. Although, some of these welcome packages come in stages that unlock as you make deposits. If you only plan on playing a couple rounds, you may not get the full benefit.
Note that these bonuses are only for first-time players to a given casino. Once you have an account, you won’t see this kind of offer again. Be sure to use Casino Guru to stay up to date with best welcome bonuses available online.
Deposit and Match Bonuses
Some online casinos offer a special kind of welcome bonus by matching the first deposit you make in your account. For example, if you sign up with $1,000, the casino will deposit the same amount in your account, meaning you now have $2,000 to play with. This can be a great way to start playing on the right foot.
The amount a given casino will match varies and depends on the current promotion. Also, be aware that this type of bonus usually comes with terms and conditions that include wagering requirements (also known as playthrough requirements). More on that below.
Cash Back Deposit Bonuses
This is another kind of bonus available to first-time players. The cashback bonus (also called the Loss Back Bonus) is a guarantee that safeguards your initial deposit. Say you start playing at an online casino with a Cash Back Deposit of $100, and you deposit $100 when you register for an account…then lose it all. The casino will refund the $100, so you can start playing risk-free.
No Deposit Bonuses – Free Money Bonuses
If you’re not too sure about making a deposit with an online casino, No Deposit Bonuses (also called Free Money Bonuses) can be a great way to get the lay of the land before really committing, since, as the name suggest, it requires no deposit to play.
These bonuses are usually only available to new players to help them learn a game, and more often than not, the money cannot be withdrawn. Make sure to read the terms and conditions with these offers. They can be more strict than other kinds of offers, so you’ll want to understand what you’re agreeing to.
Free Games or Free Spin Bonuses
Free Game or Free Spin offers are another way to try online casino games for free. These are usually restricted to slot games, so you don’t get the variety of options you get with, say, No Deposit Bonuses, but you usually get to cash out any winnings right away.
Refer a Friend Bonus
Many online casinos will give you bonuses just for sharing the love. If you refer a friend to play with them, they’ll give you something in return. These types of bonuses come in many forms, from straight cash to free spins. Make sure to keep up to date with the latest promo codes, so you can redeem your reward.
In-game bonuses are most common in slot games and are awarded during game play. They can come in the form of free spins, wild symbols, multipliers, bonus rounds, and scatter symbols.
Loyalty Programs and Player Rewards
Pretty much every online casino will offer you some kind of loyalty program, where you can earn rewards for playing. But, know that some reward programs are a whole lot more rewarding than others. Make sure to research the details.
Programs may offer exclusive promotions or let you redeem points for cash. The points you collect will depend on the size of your wagers and what games/how often you play. For example, wagering $100 on slots may earn you more points than wagering the same amount on table games.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: online casinos are competing for your loyalty. One way they do this is by holding random draws. It’s a pretty simple structure. When you play at a certain casino, your name is entered into a raffle.
Then, you earn chances to win in proportion to the amount you wager with them. At the end of the raffle, the winner is announced. Most online casinos hold these draws throughout the year and offer an assortment of prizes.
Your Ultimate Online Casino Bonus Checklist
You don’t want to waste precious playing time slumped over your keyboard, rigorously researching bonuses to enhance your games. Use the simple checklist below to easily find and take advantage of the most profitable bonuses:
- Refer to our list above or use our calculator to find vetted bonuses and promotions that make sense for how you play.
- Know the deposit required to activate the bonus, and make sure it’s in your budget.
- Understand the wagering requirements (or playthrough requirements) needed to make a withdrawal.
- Read the terms and conditions of the bonus.
If you’re brand new to online casinos or you’re looking for somewhere new to play, look for a casino with:
- A great loyalty rewards program.
- A sizable welcome bonus with reasonable wagering requirements.
- The ability to accept a wide range of payment methods.
- A variety of promotions on a variety of games or actions, like free spins, random drawings, and friend referrals.
What are Wagering Requirements or Playthrough Requirements?
Most bonuses and promotions you find online come with wagering requirements. This is the amount you need to wager before you can withdraw your winnings from a bonus. These requirements are in place to prevent players from cashing out bonuses as soon as they get them, and to ensure the bonus goes toward more plays. We’ll break down how the requirements work.
Let’s walk through an example.
Say you accept a Deposit Bonus that matches your first account deposit, which is $200. Now you have $400 in your account to play with. But, the bonus comes with a wagering requirement of 10x. This means you’ll need to wager 10 times the bonus in order to cash out (10 x $200 = $2,000).
Some casinos will calculate the wagering requirement a little differently. While some just require you wager 10x the bonus, others require you to 10x the bonus + the amount of the deposit. Therefore, some requirements may be 10x and others are actually 20x. Because of these differences, make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully before accepting it.
These requirements can seem a little high. In our example above, you would need to stake $2,000 before you can withdraw any winnings you make from your bonus or the bonus itself. However, this doesn’t mean you have to lose $2,000 before you get your $200 from the casino. But you do have to bet $2,000. Depending on the house edge on the game you’re playing, you could still be at a statistical advantage to come out ahead.
Also, know what games meet the requirements. Some games are not included in the bonus, so you could bet $2,000 on a game that doesn’t get you any closer to being able to withdraw your bonus. Other games might get you a little closer, but don’t have the same percentages. For example, what you bet on slots could contribute 100% of its value to your wagering requirements, but what you bet on blackjack might only contribute 10% of its value to the requirements.
At the end of the day, wagering requirements can make some bonuses way better than others, even when those others look more attractive on the surface. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of checking these requirements and making sure you’re comfortable with the terms. Be sure it matches your playing style and budget before you agree.
If you’ve read through this entire guide, you should be able to confidently evaluate the bonuses and promotions that online casinos offer you. We’ve broken down the most common bonuses you’ll come across, the pros and cons of each, and the terminology associated with them.
When we review online casinos, the quality of the bonuses they offer are one of many attributes Casino Guru takes into consideration. Because, we know how important a good bonus is to you, the player. If you haven’t already done so, check out our lists above to find the best bonuses available to Canadians, and take advantage of them!