Sports Betting Bonus Guide
Check the list above for top sports betting bonuses for Canadian gamblers.
Online sportsbooks are not shy to lure you in with lucrative bonuses. They have money to spend, and if you’re smart, you can get (even a lot of) extra money to bet with. On top of your sports betting bonus, you’ll also receive free slot spins, casino bonuses and whatever else the gambling site can think of.
Here’s the three most common type of sports betting bonuses available at Canada-oriented gambling sites:
- Deposit deal
Deposit to receive more money to bet with. For example: deposit $50 to receive $50 bonus and bet with $100.
- Risk-free bet
Make a bet. If you win, you keep what you won. If you lose, the betting site pays you back.
- Free bet
The sportsbook provides you with free money to bet with. Most often you get to make a $10 – $20 free bet after making your first deposit.
The promotions have terms and conditions, which you have to meet to cash out. More about them below.
Deposit bonuses match your deposit with bonus money you can bet with. These promotions hand you more extra betting money than any other promotions.
When you sign up to a betting site, you’re sometimes offered a chance to get a deposit bonus.
Deposit bonuses consist of two things: the maximum amount of extra cash you can get and a match-up percentage. For example, 100% up to $50.
Here’s how to interpret an offer like “100% up to $50”:
- The first number (100%) is the match-up percentage. In this case, if you deposited $50 the betting site would calculate your bonus like this: $50 * 100% = $50.
- The second number ($50) shows you that the maximum you can receive is $50. If you deposit a sum that would result in a bonus bigger than $50, the rest is ignored, and you’ll receive $50.
Putting all this together: if you deposited $50 at a site offering 100% up to $50, you’d end up with $100 to bet with (your $50 + $50 in bonus money).
Clearing a betting bonus
Before you can withdraw your winnings, you need to meet a rollover requirement. Every deposit-based sports betting bonus comes with a rollover requirement.
The rollover requirement is usually stated somewhere in the terms & conditions (aka “the part of a gambling website nobody reads except the editors of Bonus.ca”). This number tells you how many times you need to wager your money before you can cash it out.
For betting, the rollover requirement is usually 3 to 5 (compare this to casino bonuses, which have a rollover requirement of 30 to 50).
In sports betting bonuses the rollover requirement is most often calculated like this:
Wagering needed before cashing out = rollover * (bonus money + original deposit).
You deposit $50 and receive $50 with a rollover requirement of 3
You need to wager: 3 * ($50 + $50) = $300
You need to bet with certain odds for your wager to count towards clearing your bonus. This limit is often 1.50. Bets below the limit are ignored as far as clearing the bonus goes.
The rollover requirement doesn’t depend on the currency or sport. However, sometimes players from different countries have different play-through requirements. The good news is we Canadians tend to be classed as no-risk by online sportsbooks and therefore we always have very low rollovers (yay!).
When you place a no-risk bet you either win the bet or get your money back.
Risk-free bets (often incorrectly called “free bets,“ which are explained below) are common betting bonuses.
Deposit bonuses are usually only available for new customers only. Risk-free bets are mostly available for existing customers. These kinds of loyalty promotions are common especially during big sporting events like NHL playoffs, big soccer events (World Cup, Champions League) and U20 Hockey Worlds.
A typical risk-free bet allows you to bet a somewhat low amount (typically $10 – $50) on a specific match. Most often the market (the exact thing you bet on: number of goals, result, etc.) is also limited.
If you win with your no-risk bet, great. You keep your winnings.
If you lose with your no-risk bet, the betting site refunds your stake.
The important thing about losing:
Depending on the internet sportsbook you bet at, you either get your stake back automatically, or you need to contact customer support after the match is over. Make a note of this, as plenty of gamblers forget to claim their funds. When you do get money back, it’s usually in the form of a “betting token,” which means you can bet again but you can’t cash it out immediately.
Like most sports betting promotions, risk-free bets usually have a minimum-odds clause and a maximum win amount. Typically you need to bet with odds of at least 1.75 to qualify. The maximum win depends on the sportsbook, big online sportsbooks like Betway limit the win to tens of thousands ($30.000 typically). So it’s rarely a worry.
Free bets are the simplest betting promotion there is: the sportsbook hands you a lump sum of money (most often $10 or $20), and you bet it.
These promotions are not of the “no deposit” -style. Instead, they’re reserved for customers who’ve shown they’re willing to put their money on the line. For example, at LeoVegas’ sportsbook, you’ll receive a $10 free bet once you’ve bet $10 of your own money first.
Free bets have simple terms and conditions. As long as you don’t split the bet and don’t exceed a time limit there’s nothing of consequence to know.
Here’s free bet terms and conditions in a nutshell:
You can’t split free bets. If you receive, for example, $20 then you need to bet $20 on a single market.
- Minimum odds and maximum win
There’s usually no minimum odds you have to meet, but there’s a maximum you can win. The maximum tends to be in the tens of thousands, so it’s not something to worry too much about.
- Time limit
Free bets have strict time limits. Usually, you only have seven days to use a free bet token you’ve received.
Best Canadian Betting Sites in 2018
You’ll find all the best Canadian sports betting sites and bonuses from the list above. Below you’ll find all the best bookies for different sports, and we go through different types of betting bonuses you’ll run into.
Best for Mobile Betting: LeoVegas
LeoVegas is the best sportsbook for Canadians betting on the go. It’s an instant play sportsbook (no downloads needed), fast, and easy to navigate. Just get the LeoVegas sports bonus and you’re set.
You can play at LeoVegas with your phone, as long it is a smartphone (so no Nokia 3310’s) or a tablet. The sportsbook works smoothly on iOS and Android. You can use an iPhone, Samsung or even a Windows Phone and you can always get your bets in quickly at LeoVegas.
They offer one of the best overall sportsbooks in the planet. They’ve got very competitive odds, their selection of sports is right up there with the best of them, and they cover Canadian payment methods better than anyone (yes, they’ve got Interac, too). It’s a no-brainer for anyone who uses their phone or an iPad for betting.
Best for In-play / Live-betting: LeoVeags
LeoVegas’ sport section is the best option for in-play betting if you’re betting go the go. It is fast, highly responsive on mobile and you’ll get your bets in in no time. You can bet plenty of sports live, such as:
Leo’s in-play sportsbook is very mobile optimized, but not necessarily the best option if you solely use a desktop for in-play betting. For desktop-only live betting, you should head over to 888 Casino’s sports section. It’s smoother on a desktop than Leo’s, and they offer pretty much the same sports and leagues as LeoVegas does.
Best for UFC & Boxing: Mr Green
You’ll find a huge amount of markets for UFC and boxing betting at Mr Green. For biggest fights, you’ll also get markets such as over/under round betting and method of victory. And yeah, you’ll get live odds too.
For UFC and boxing, there’s always various markets to bet on for the main card of noticeable fight night at Mr Green. For the undercard, you’ll typically see a market for the bout winner and over/under round betting. It’s common for markets to open the closer the fight night comes. You’ll rarely see a lot of markets a week before the fight (unless Anthony Joshua is involved), but on the day of the fight they open more markets and lift their betting limits so you can get more dollars in.
In case you’re a hardcore MMA fan and follow Bellator or KSW, that’s no problem. Mr Green usually doesn’t have in-play betting available for Bellator or KSW, but you’ll always get bout odds for these fights too.
Best for eSports: Betway
Betway is by far the best sportsbook for your eSports betting. They don’t just stick to the majors, as they offer lots of smaller tournaments like Hellcase Cup in CS:GO. League of Legends and CS:GO are the hardest best eSports, but Betway’s also got games like Rocket League and Starcraft Broodwar.
Not a lot of bookmakers have a separate section right on their front page for eSports, but Betway has taken a real stand in embracing eSports. You might even recognize their logo if you’ve watched Majors on Twitch. They’ve sponsored ESL Cologne, CS:GO Pro League, and booked two sponsorships for major ESL events in 2018. They’re also a long time sponsor one of the most storied franchises in eSports history, Ninjas in Pyjamas.
eSports betting can be very lucrative, as there aren’t as much stats available yet for the oddsmakers. While oddsmakers have massive amounts of data for hockey and football, eSports is still a new kid on the block, so you can definitely make a buck if you know what you’re doing. Betway’s offers so many tournaments and games, in which you have an excellent chance to gain an edge if you have a good grasp on how Fnatic matches up against Cloud9 in CS:GO, or Serral against Classic in Starcraft.
Best for CFL: Bodog
Think the Argonauts can repeat what they did in 2017? Then head over to Bodog, they’re the best choice for CFL betting. They’re hands down the best bookmaker for CFL.
Argos come in as underdogs for the 2018 season, as Bodog have them at 9.00 for lifting the Grey Cup. According to Bodog, last years runner-up Calgary Stampeders come into the season as favourites at just 3.00. And why wouldn’t they, as they’re led by the experienced Bo Levi Mitchell under center.
Best for NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB Betting: Unibet
Unibet is the top bookie for major sports leagues. They offer a vast amount of markets for every game for each of the biggest sports in Canada. They especially excel in NHL, where you’ll find tons of betting options from regular match betting to player props like Connor McDavid’s over/under points.
You can bet each sport in-play, too. Come playoff time, they’ve got every game on offer, and you can bet all the action live. In the regular season, you’ll get selected games to bet in-play, but you’re always certain to get at least a game or two for to bet live each day. You’ll see the games highlighted with “LIVE!” highlight between the game and the odds section.
You’ll find all the biggest sports at every sportsbook, but you’ll rarely come across such selection that Unibet offers. Another great option for NHL or NBA betting is LeoVegas (especially on mobile), while 888 Casino and Guts are solid options for MLB and NFL.
Best New Betting Sites of 2018: LeoVegas, Guts
The best newcomers in Canada have to be LeoVegas and Guts. Both of them are established operators over in Europe, but now they’ve brought their A game to Canada, too. Tasty bonuses, Canadian-friendly payment methods, and sports that Canadians are interested in all play a part.
Guts offer the best value for your dollar with Guts sportsbook bonus. You’ll get a 100% match up to 100 dollars. LeoVegas bonus is a $10 free bet, which activates right after you’ve made your first bet worth 10 dollars.
Get Guts 100% deposit match bonus:
- Open your account through this link
- Fill the sign-up form
- Click “Deposit”
- Choose your go-to deposit method
- Choose your deposit method and add the bonus code GUTSSPORTS
- Confirm the transaction
- Your balance should now reflect the 100% deposit match up to $100 – if the dollars don’t show up, ask Guts’ live chat to add the bonus
Get LeoVegas $10 free bet:
- Open your account by clicking this
- Fill the sign-up form
- Click “My account”
- Click “Deposit”
- Choose your deposit method (you don’t need a bonus code)
- Confirm the transaction
- Bet $10 as your first bet with odds of 2.00 or higher, and you’ll receive the $10 free bet
Online Sports Betting in Canada 2018
Deposit and Withdrawing
Getting your dollars in and out of sportsbooks is easy. The easiest ways are to use instant banking, Interac, or credit cards like Visa and Mastercard. Depositing is instant, while withdrawals take a couple of days.
The most popular banking methods for Canadians:
- Visa / Mastercard
- Instant banking
- Paypal (currently unavailable for gambling transactions in Canada)
- Neteller / Skrill (currently unavailable for gambling transactions in Canada)
Lately, online bookies have become more and more friendly towards Canadians. They’ve brought on deposit options familiar to us like Interac and eCheck. Also, instant banking option already supports multiple Canadian banks. For example, 888 Casino allows direct bank transfers from 6 Canadian banks, Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank included.
Getting your money out is easy, although a bit slower than depositing. The most common way is to cash out winnings is to receive the funds to your bank account. Unlike deposits, cashouts aren’t instant. They take about 1h – 2 days to clear depending on the site. Then it takes another day or two until the funds are on your account. If you’re playing at an eCheck-accepting casino like LeoVegas, it’ll take anywhere between 2-4 business days for your money to get to the sportsbook with eCheck. eChecks work in similar fashion to paper checks, so it’ll take some time for banks to clear the transfers.
If for whatever reason, you require instant deposits AND instant cashouts, then you need to bet in Bitcoin. See our Bitcoin page for details.
Is online sports betting legal in Canada?
Yes, it is. Canada has a “do what you want” attitude towards online gambling.
Where many countries restrict their residents access to online gambling, Canada’s attitude is mostly “we don’t care, do what you want.” This approach means in practice that you can legally bet as much as you like at any online gambling site.
Is sports betting income taxed in Canada?
No, if you aren’t a professional gambler. Casual players can bet what they want, win what they want at all times. But if gambling is your sole income and Canada Revenue Agency deems you as a professional gambler, you need to pay income tax on your wins.