Casino Bonus Q&A
We get a lot of questions about casino bonuses, here’s the answers to the most common ones. Send your own questions via our contact page.
Do Canadians get better bonuses?
Yep. Canada is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to big casino bonuses.
Online casinos vary their bonus offerings depending on which country they’re targeting. Players from some countries get bigger bonuses, some smaller and some unfortunate players aren’t eligible for any. We Canadians are in luck, as Canada is on the group of countries which gets the biggest bonuses.
Getting the bonuses is easy too. Canada is a big country with lots of eager players, so you’ll find Canada-friendly banking methods like (eCheck, Interac, PaySafeCard, Visa/Mastercard, Instadebit…) at all major gambling sites. You’ll be spinning real-money slots in no time.
What are casino bonus codes?
Some casinos use special codes to hand out promotions that you couldn’t get without knowing the code.
Some online casinos have special codes, which give out something else than the site’s standard deposit bonus. Typically these codes are entered at the cashier when you deposit. They are called “bonus code”, “promo code”, “promotional code” or something similar at the deposit screen.
Many gamblers like hunting for these codes. Some more experienced gamblers are keen on finding them, because the codes often improve the casino’s standard welcome bonus. For example, they might give you a bigger bonus, add free spins to the welcome package or do something similar.
While bonus codes used to be commonplace at casinos, most of them are now shying away from using them. They rather design a good bonus package that fits all new players and save all the hassle that goes into managing multiple promotions.
When there are bonus codes available for new or established casinos you’ll find them on the list above.
How can I withdraw when I play with casino bonus money?
Before cashing out you need to meet the terms and conditions of the bonus.
Casino bonuses always (always!) have a bunch terms and conditions attached to them. Before you meet these requirements you can’t cash out. Needing to play according to the rules is something you need to accept when taking advantage of a promotion. For full explanation of this issue see Terms And Conditions below.
There are some rare casinos, like Rizk, let you cash out before clearing your bonus. In this case you forfeit the bonus and any winnings earned with it.
Can I play without a bonus?
Yes. Almost all online casinos let you play with no bonus.
Especially more experienced online gamblers often want to play without a bonus. The reason for not wanting a bonus is easier cash outs: since there’s no bonus, there’s also no wagering requirements to clear and nothing else to slow down your cashouts. Playing without bonuses is especially common at Bitcoin casinos, where super-fast cashouts are the norm.
You don’t need to choose any kind of a “no bonus casino” to play without bonus money. Almost all casinos, like Karamba, let you forfeit any bonuses. Simply contact the customer service of your chosen gambling site and they’ll let you know how to deposit without getting a bonus. Often they supply you a code that you use at the cashier, using the code eliminates any bonuses.
What kind of promotions are there?
Most common type of promotion is a match-up bonus. It gives you extra cash to play with based on how much you deposit.
While casinos like to advertise “free money”, getting that free cash usually requires a deposit. The most common type of bonus is a deposit match, which matches your deposit with extra cash. For a full explanation of the most common types of casino promotions see Types of Bonuses below.
Does my choice of banking method matter?
It can. Some casinos don’t give welcome or sign-up bonuses if you use certain deposit methods, but Canadians don’t have to worry.
A new trend in 2018 at online casinos is to limit player’s access to bonuses depending on how they deposit. This policy probably has a lot to do with how much trouble on average the casino has with players who use certain deposit methods.
The deposit methods that often are excluded from receiving any promotions are the two gambling-specific e-wallets, Neteller & Skrill. Us Canadians aren’t effected, as the two e-wallets can’t be used in Canada. But for our international readers it’s a good bit of info, as those two are quite popular outside Canada.
Canadians don’t have to worry about banking method limits when it comes to bonuses. We can deposit with credit cards, or the likes of eCheck and Interac, and we’re always eligible for bonuses.
Good choices for depositing:
Can existing players get new bonuses?
Yes. You’ll receive promotions straight into your inbox.
Sign up at any online casino and deposit, you don’t need to worry about receiving more bonuses. You only need to keep an eye on your email inbox. While casinos don’t always feature existing players’ promotions on their home page, they’ll send them via email directly to you.
Typically the offers you’ll receive as an existing player are either free spins or match-up bonuses. The latter tend to be smaller than welcome bonuses, but on the other hand they also have more lax terms and conditions. For more information see loyalty and retention bonuses below.
Can I really get free casino money?
Yes you can. It’s just not going to be very much, most often $5.
Free casino money is a casino promotion, where you can get a bit of money ($3 or $5) without depositing. Free spins, where you can play real-money spins on an online slot machine, is a similar promotion to no-deposit bonuses.
Both of these promotions, free spins and no-deposit bonuses, are rare and appear and disappear at different casinos with little warning. The best way to get one is to keep an eye on Bonus.ca Free Spins Page.
Are my casino winnings taxed?
No worries, your winnings are tax-free.
We know that many gamblers like to use bonus money for playing jackpot games. This naturally raises the question if you’d get taxed if you hit a big win. Lucky for you, the answer is no. In Canada you won’t get taxed when you win money on a game of chance.
The only situation where gamblers are taxed on their winnings is if you were deemed a professional gambler. In practice this never happens in Canada. The only situation where it could plausibly happen was if you were a professional poker player and won big playing online poker. Your casino winnings are tax-free for sure.
Do I get the same bonuses with mobile devices?
Yes. Gamble with a cell phone, laptop or whatever device you want to; your bonuses will always be the same.
Back in the early days of mobile gambling casinos sometimes offered different bonuses depending on what device a customer used when signing up. Now in 2018 these days are long gone. At every casino you get the same bonus regardless if you’re on an Android phone, iPhone or iPad or a laptop or whatever else device.
The only, tiny, exception to this rule is that sometimes gambling sites offer something extra when you use a mobile device. Most often this has something to do with the gambling site launching new games. For example, you might get an extra bonus for trying a site’s mobile live-dealer games. This kind of a thing is rare, however.
Types of Casino Bonuses Explained
Casinos love to throw around words like “sign-up bonus”, “free spin” and “welcome package”. Let’s cut through the fancy marketing words and see what you can really get.
Match-up bonuses are the biggest and most common casino promotion. They form the basis of almost all welcome packages (multi-part bonuses).
Online casinos limit the size of their bonus offers. No matter how big the amount of money advertised on a sign-up bonus, the sum is in reality tied to how much you deposit.
Match-ups always show two things: match-up percentage and the maximum bonus size. A typical example is something like “100% up to $100” on your first deposit.
The casino multiplies your deposit with the percentage shown to calculate your bonus. So if the percentage is 100%, your bonus will be the size of your deposit.
Of course, the match-up percentage makes a huge difference. “200% bonus up to $100” would require you to deposit $50 to get that extra $100. “25% up to $100” would require you to deposit $400 for that $100!
Always check for the match-up percentage. Some casinos like hiding it especially when describing their multi-part welcome package. You shouldn’t be too surprised to find that a three-part bonus has match-up percentages 100%, 50%, 100% (middle bonus tends to have the smallest, btw) while the advertised maximum bonus size is the same for each.
The formula for calculating how much you’d need to deposit for the maximum bonus is: maximum bonus / the percentage * 100
For example, 200% up to $100 would be calculated as:
100 / 200 * 100 = $50, so by depositing $50 you’d get an extra $100 for a total of $150.
Because nobody really likes math all that much, casinos nowadays tend to go for “deposit $50, play $150” kind of bonus descriptions instead of “200% up to $100”. We here at Bonus.ca whole-heartedly support this new development.
If you enjoy playing slot machines, extra spins is the best casino promotion for you.
Often erroneously called free spins, extra spins are something you get when you deposit (so they’re not exactly free). They are real-money spins on a slot machine and they’re in many ways the best bonus you can receive.
So why are extra spins the best bonus? Simply because they have the least terms and conditions attached to them. Most casinos treat extra spins as any other slot spin: play the online slot and keep what you win – no strings attached!
If this is a promo you’d enjoy receiving, check out the list at the start of the page – there’s many casinos that do extra spins. Guts (who came up with the concept) is a well-known site for enjoying extra spins.
Another great thing about these spins is that most of the time you get them in addition to a match-up bonus. Extra cash and extra spins to play – not too shabby.
Existing Players: Loyalty, Retention & VIP
As an existing customer you receive a wide variety of bonuses.
While gambling websites and forums mostly talk about new player bonuses (aka welcome bonuses), existing players do get a wide variety of extra rewards coming their way too.
Getting new players into a casino is expensive, so each casino has a retention team whose job it is to keep current customers happy. Most of the time the casinos keep you happy by offering loyalty bonuses and a VIP-scheme.
Loyalty/retention bonuses are usually smaller than sign-up bonuses, but often come with extra free spins. The terms & conditions of these offers are usually the same as sign-up offers or slightly more lax (for example, a lower playthrough requirement).
Most casinos run a VIP-scheme, where your real-money gaming accumulates VIP points. Once you hit a certain number of points, you’re eligible for different kinds of rewards. Mostly these rewards are special deposit bonuses or a chance to exchange your VIP-points into cash.
Besides spins and extra money, casinos often run different deposit lotteries where your deposit can win you something fun.
Deposit lotteries are a common sight at online casinos when a new iPhone model comes out. Typically they work so that your deposit is a ticket for a draw, where you can win something fun (which, for some reason, is almost always the latest iPhone).
Casino Bonus Terms & Conditions Explained
Casino bonuses are the number one reason for complaints players have about gambling sites. While many like to blame casinos’ aggressive marketing, the reason for plentiful complaints falls on both parties. Players tend to be so eager to gamble, that they ignore the terms and conditions that are attached to every casino bonus. Online casinos, on their part, should do a better job of explaining these terms and have them more visible.
Make no mistake: when you play with bonus money, you need to follow certain rules. Here we explain the most common terms & conditions casinos attach to their bonuses. These rules don’t make it impossible to win, but they do limit what you can and can’t do while playing with your extra cash.
What are rollover / wagering requirements?
Wagering requirement tells you how many times you need to wager your bonus before you can cash out.
Most common limitation attached to casino bonus offers (especially welcome bonuses) is a rollover requirement.
Rollover requirement, also called a wagering requirement or a play-through requirement, dictates how many times you must wager your bonus funds before you can withdraw them.
Most online casinos have a rollover requirement of 30 to 50.
Here is how a rollover requirement works:
Let’s say you get a casino bonus of $100 from a casino that has a 30x rollover. Now you need to wager 30 x $100 = $3000 before cashing out.
This sounds like a lot, but it’s less than you’d think. Since both winning and losing rounds, as well as playing with the winnings, counts towards the limit, betting $3000 is no big deal. It’s 300 rounds of $10 slots spins for example.
Note that not all games count towards the requirement. This is called a game contribution limit.
When you wager towards a rollover requirement, not all casino games are treated equally. Some games contribute less than the full bet size towards the wagering requirement.
How much each game contributes towards playthrough requirements changes from casino to casino, but these are typical numbers (Microgaming casinos often have these exact numbers):
- Slots: 100%
- Casino Holdem: 50%
- Roulette: 10%
- Video poker: 10%
- Blackjack: 5%
- Blackjack Switch: 0%
These numbers are quite generous. Many casinos simply state: video slots 100%, classic slots 75%, everything else 0%.
Note that the video slots category covers the most played slots in Canada like Siberian Storm, Thunderstruck, Blood Suckers and others. So you can play your Lobstermania bonus without worrying about contributions.
When you play a game with a percentage smaller than 100%, your bet is multiplied by that game’s percentage and the result is counted towards clearing your bonus.
For example using the above numbers, a $20 bet on Roulette would contribute $20 * 10% = $20 * 0.1 = $2 towards clearing your bonus.
You can’t wager more than a certain amount (10% of your deposit) when playing with bonus money.
When you play with bonus money you should keep an eye on your wagering. All casinos limit how much you can bet with your bonus funds. Most of the time the maximum bet size is tied to your deposit (maximum bet could be 10% of your deposit), sometimes it’s a certain sum (“$5”). If you wager more, you’ll be in breach of terms & conditions and can’t cash out.
While the rule by itself is reasonable, how it’s enforced is often not. Most casinos don’t warn you in any way if you’re about to break this rule! It’s incredibly easy to bet more accidentally, so be vigilant and check how much you can wager and keep your bets under the limit.
Casino bonuses have a longer shelf-life than fish, but shorter than cheese … that is to say you only have a limited time to meet clear them.
Casino bonuses are not available forever. There’s usually a time limit for both when you can get a casino bonus and how long you have to clear it (clearing = meeting the rollover requirement).
Welcome bonuses are usually only available during your first week as a client of the casino.
Most casinos are quite relaxed about this limit: if you happen to spend the first week playing free games just for fun, you can contact customer support to get your casino bonus if you do decide to deposit. You are almost guaranteed to get the bonus, since after all the casino wants you playing with real money.
After you have received your bonus, you have a certain amount of time to reach its playthrough requirement. Normally you have 30 days to clear your bonus.
Tip: Play Slots & Ignore T&C
If you don’t care about the finer points of terms & conditions, simply play slots.
You don’t really need to worry about the small print. As long as you remember that you can’t withdraw your bonus in real Canadian dollars right away, you’re golden.
Easiest way to clear a bonus is to play slot machines and not care about the whole issue. As long as you’re betting under the maximum bet limit and keep the wheels spinning you’re going to get the most out of your bonus.
How to Choose the Best Casino Bonus?
- Decide on the amount that you’re willing to deposit and gamble with. Never play with money you can’t afford to lose.
- Based on what you’re going to deposit, select your bonus from the casino bonus list. We update our listing on a weekly basis with all the latest offers and we only promote trustworthy, licensed casinos like Royal Vegas.
- Either play slots or read the small print. While it doesn’t matter to slot players, table game and video poker fans should check out the details: wagering requirements, maximum bet amount, and restricted games.
- You should educate yourself on the casino you choose. If you choose to play for example at 21.com, you should always read our 21.com review first. Reading our reviews is a sure-fire way of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a casino.
- Now it’s time to play. Sign up to a casino from the “get this bonus” buttons above and you’ll receive the welcome offer when making your first deposit.
- You can see your withdrawable balance and required wagering amount from your ‘my account’ section from the lobby. There are many ways that you can follow the progress of your bonus and if you’re lost, all the casinos listed on Bonus.ca have strong customer service and most of the operators offer live chat support on their website.
- Enjoy the online casino action