A GUIDE TO ONLINE CASINO BONUSES
The online gambling market in Canada is extremely competitive and in order to differentiate themselves from their rivals, all real money casinos will use an array of bonus promotions. This starts with the welcome bonus, often mixing free spins with deposit matches over one or more deposits. Then, once a gambler is a regular customer they will normally be eligible to claim more bonuses each week, with the value often dependent on how much they have deposited and wagered over the previous 7 days or more. Other casino offers regularly used to incentives players to join and keep spending include cashback bonuses, re-load bonuses, no deposit free spins, loyalty programs, casino VIP clubs, competitions and prize draws, refer a friend schemes and live casino bonuses. In this article we will explain what each of these means. We will also explain which terms and conditions are the most important to look out for and how to compare different promotions. We hope that this will help you to choose the right bonus from our list and get the most out of your casino play. You can also check out our free spins no deposit offers page for free slots play on registration.
BEST CASINO BONUSES
CASINO WELCOME BONUS
The regular welcome bonus package is the one we all know and love. All the bonuses in the main list on this page fall into this category. The welcome offer is the blockbuster headline each casino uses to attract gamblers through their doors. These is no restriction on how much a Canadian casino can offer its customers so these promotions can be pretty generous and they generally are. They also regularly apply to more than just one deposit, sometimes as many as four or five. The casino welcome bonus is an opportunity for an operator to let you see how good their product is and how much they are prepared to comp their customers. Typically the package will include a first match of 100% or 200% extra plus as many as 200 free spins that may come in groups of 10 or 20 per day for 10 or more days.
Our favourite casino welcome bonus is currently the one from Casoola. Go there today and you can claim up to $1,500 in bonuses on your first four deposits, plus 200 free spins for Play n Go’s awesome Reactoonz Slot. This includes a first deposit match of 100% up to $300. Find our more in our Casoola Casino Review.
FREE SPINS BONUS
Perhaps the most often used bonus tool to keep slots players interested is free spins. These are just what they say: free plays on your favourite online slots in Canada and the chance to win real money or bonus funds without spending from your own balance. Free Spins may come as part of your welcome package, maybe even for as little as $1, or sometimes on registration with no deposit required. Always check to see how the winnings are paid out as some promotions are classified as ‘keep what you win’ where winnings come as withdrawable dollars, whilst other free spins winnings are paid in bonus money which will be subject to wagering requirements before they are converted to real money. More on that in a moment.
Our favourite free spins bonus is from Casumo. This is a no deposit free spins offer, available for anyone who registers a new account at Casumo, regardless of whether they fund that account or not. Players get 20 spins to wager on Push Gaming’s famous Jammin’ Jars slot. You can find out more about this offer and others in our Casumo Casino Review.
RE-LOAD CASINO BONUS
Getting your name on their database is just the start for online casino operators. They want you to keep depositing and wagering and offering a re-load bonus is a great way to do this. Re-loads are simple. They offer a bonus incentive to make a deposit, usually from 25% extra right up to 100% or 200%. If you deposited $100 on a 25% reload bonus you would receive $25 extra into your account. If you deposited $100 on a 200% reload bonus you would get $200 extra into your account. Re-loads may be standard offers once a week or once a month, but sometimes they are used to entice a player back when they haven’t been online for some time, or as a gift at Christmas, or on your birthday. Like all bonuses, re-loads come with wagering terms, so make sure you are aware of these before you deposit.
CASINO LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Loyalty programs are another incentive scheme used by most casinos in Canada to keep hold of their customers. Unlike re-load bonuses which are one off promotions, loyalty progams generally reward players for every cent they wager, every deposit they make, and many other actions they take whilst logged-in to their account. Typically every $10 or $100 wagered will be rewarded with 1 loyalty point. When a customer has enough points then these can be traded in for bonus funds, free spins, or even non-cash items like watches, laptops, TVs, or even holidays. Of course, higher value gifts require more points and will only really be in reach for the very biggest VIPs.
Our favourite casino loyalty program is the innovative one created by the team behind Casumo. This ground-breaking program rewards players with points and trophies for everything they do on the sites, including spinning in slots tournaments and completing tasks like consecutive wins on slots or blackjack hands. Casumo players progress through different levels and earn belts like sumo wrestlers, with the top level being black belt. The further up the program you go, the better the rewards become.
VIP CASINO BONUSES
The very biggest spenders at online casinos in Canada are classified as VIPs and most operators will run a VIP program for their most valued players. Sometimes entry levels are transparent, but often it will not be advertised how much you need to wager or deposit to quality to become a VIP, but instead a VIP manager will invite you when you hit the mark. VIP customers are always treated to a wide range of perks and exclusive offers that include enhanced re-load and free spins bonuses, birthday bonuses, super-fast withdrawals, personal account management, hospitality tickets to big sporting and music events, tailored luxury gifts, early access to new games and exclusive VIP tournaments with stellar cash prizes.
Without being a VIP it is not possible to know what each casino listed on this site is offering it’s customers. However, we are aware from speaking to gamblers who spend big, and also from our conversations with VIP managers in the operations teams at our partners sites, what kind of service each is giving to high rollers. And our recommendation for anyone who is looking to spend big, is 888 Casino. This is very trusted brand with years of experience in the industry. They have handled a lot of high value customers and their VIP team are excellent at what they do. You can read more in our 888 casino review, or head directly to their site to sign up today.
MOBILE CASINO BONUSES
The truth is, mobile casinos are no different from desktop casinos. Every operator has created their product, including the games, so that they can be played on any device or operating system. Even if you are exclusively playing on your mobile then you will still qualify for all the bonus packages listed on this page. Registering and depositing through your mobile phone is no different either. Just remember to opt in to any first deposit bonus that you wish to claim then play as normal. Very occasionally there will be a mobile-only offer at some casinos, so look out for these, although they are a rarity.
TOURNAMENTS, COMPETITIONS AND PRIZE DRAWS
Another promotion tool regularly used by online casinos to incentivise their customers to keep spending is a prize draw. You will see these on and off throughout the year, in particular during summer months or over the Christmas break. Prizes might include big holidays, cars, or smaller items like laptops, mobile phones or household goods, and sometimes bonuses and free spins. To take part in a prize draw usually you will be required to meet certain criteria like depositing and wagering. Each deposit, or money spent on wagering, will earn you points on a leaderboard or tickets in a raffle. Leaderboard competitions work like tournaments where the player at the end with the most points wins the top prize. Raffle-based competition winners are drawn at random from the pool of entrants.
Not all casinos run competitions and those that do will run them irregularly so it’s best to keep your eyes on the promotions pages of your favourite sites to find out what’s on each month. In recent years one of the best casinos for prize draws has been Play OJO where gamblers have won holidays and cars just for wagering small sums on the games!
REFER A FRIEND BONUSES
Our final casino promotion type is the Refer a Friend program. These are not as common as they used to be, but there are still some operators who run them. The concept is simple. Just let your friends know about your favourite gambling site and when they sign up and deposit you will receive a gift of free spins or bonus money as a reward. In order to trigger the reward you will have to send your friend an email using the automated Refer a Friend invite form on each site. Everything else is done for you.
UNDERSTANDING CASINO BONUS TERMS AND CONDITIONS
If you decide to go ahead and take up one of the bonuses on this page then you should familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions before you do. That means understanding how much you must deposit to qualify, what you will get when you do, and what you can do with your bonus funds or free spins. Almost all bonuses come with a series of terms and conditions that protect the casino from customers who play for free and then walk away with lots of money. The following guide should help you to choose the right bonus and get the most from it.
MINIMUM DEPOSIT AND MAXIMUM BONUS
First of all, when you see an offer like 100% extra FREE, you need to ask yourself two things. How much do I need to deposit to claim this offer, and what is the maximum amount in bonus funds and free spins that I can claim? Most bonuses are only valid for deposits of $10 or more, though you will find some that can be claimed for as little as $1 or $5. The maximum bonus that you can claim will usually be $100, though in some cases it may be as high as $500. You will notice on this page that the Casoola promotion, for example, has a first deposit bonus of 100% up to $300. This is important to understand because if you deposit more than $300 you will still only receive $300 in bonus funds.
The wagering requirements are arguably the most important part of the terms and conditions of an online casino bonus, and usually the most difficult to understand. They require a player to stake their bonus funds a specific number of times before they are converted into real cash. During this wagering, much of the bonus money is lost and so in this way an operator can ensure that they keep promotional funds in their cashier rather than moving it into a customer’s pocket! That might seem unfair, but remember these are free casino chips, giving you the chance to try the games without spending your own money. If you get very lucky you will still walk away with some cash, but the casino is turning the odds further in their favour by adding wagering requirements for bonus funds.
As an example, if a $10 bonus comes with a 30x wagering requirement then you must stake $300 before it becomes withdrawable cash. Sometimes the wagering requirement will apply to the bonus AND the deposit. In this case if the wagering requirement is 30x and you deposit $10 and receive a $10 bonus then you must wager $600 before the bonus becomes withdrawable. Usually the restriction will apply to winnings generated by the bonus too.
It’s also important to note that not all games contribute the same amount to the wagering requirements. This is where a feature called ‘game weighting’ comes into play. Most slots will contribute 100%, but some table games, and some slots with a very high Return to Player (RTP), or low house edge, will contribute less, typically 25% or even 10% in some cases. This is the operator working hard to protect themselves against players abusing bonuses and walking away with cash winnings without any intention to come back and deposit later. Some table games contribute nothing at all to wagering requirements so if you are a live table player then make sure you read the terms of an offer very carefully before you start playing.
Another way that casino operators protect themselves from bonus abusers winning large sums with bonus money or free spins is by restricting how much a player can stake on one spin or card hand. This is referred to as the maximum bet. In most cases the value is $1 or $5 per spin and you will find it tucked away somewhere in the terms and conditions of an offer. You should always check this because not all games will automatically enforce the restriction on bonus money stakes and if you go over it you may find your bonus and winnings are voided.
Another point to look out for in the terms and conditions of any promotional offer is the maximum amount a player can win from their bonus money. Operators now cap this at anywhere from $100 up to $1,000, once again to protect themselves from losing too much money from bonuses. You may not know that this restriction is in place until you go to make a withdrawal of winnings from your bonus. If you are over the limit at this point the cashier team will limit your transaction to the top value stated in the terms of the offer. Beware, this can be a shock if it happens to you! Another reason to be fully aware of the terms of your sign up or other offer.
Often bonuses will not be valid for some games. This is most often the case when referring to free spins. In fact, in many of the bonus packages listed on this page the free spins are only valid on ONE slot. The good news is that operators will always choose from the most popular titles to make the bonus attractive to new gamblers. The most common games used for free spins offers are NetEnt slots like Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest and Aloha! Cluster Pays. Other operators whose games appear in free spins promotions are Microgaming – Immortal Romance and Thunderstruck 2 – and Play n Go – Book of Dead and Reactoonz.
PLAY WITH FREE SPINS
If you take up an offer that includes free spins then it’s important to see how they work. Remember, these are different to the free spins that are triggered in online slot games when scatter symbols land on the reels. Here your free spins start when you open the correct game after completing the qualifying action. Sometimes free spins will be displayed in your account next to your balance, other times there will be an icon displayed in the lobby next to the correct game logo. Open the game and you will be ready to start using your free spins.
Usually the free spins will be at the lowest stake level in the game, typically 10c. Sometimes they will be a little higher, at 25c but rarely more. Remember, if you win with your free spins the funds may be credited to your bonus balance rather than your cash balance and you will need to meet the wagering requirements before they can be withdrawn.
NO DEPOSIT CASINO BONUSES
Remember that whilst some bonuses have a minimum deposit value as we have already mentioned, it is also possible to collect a no deposit bonus at some casinos. This means exactly what It says – you are given free spins, and in some rare cases, free bonus credit, to try the games as soon as you register an account and before you’ve even made a deposit. Operators have been using no deposit bonuses for many years as the most attractive incentive to persuade new players to join. Whilst you can claim a bonus without depositing it is extremely unlikely that you will ever get paid out winnings in cash from this offer. Instead, every bonus on registration comes with strict terms relating to winnings generated that prohibit withdrawal until wagering requirements have been met.
Remember, the top no deposit free spins offer currently available is Casumo’s 20 spins on Jammin’ Jars, but we recommend you keep checking our site for more offers each month.
RESTRICTIONS BY PAYMENT METHODS
Finally, always check to see if your preferred payment method is valid for an online casino bonus. Some operators restrict bonuses to credit cards and a small number of alternative payment methods. In particular, deposits made via eWallets like Neteller, Skrill and Paypal are usually not valid. This is because these payment options are ripe for bonus abuse as the customer can be anonymous and sign up multiple accounts and claim the welcome package multiple times without being flagged. If you want to use eWallets to deposit and withdraw from a casino then we recommend that you make your first deposit with a credit card in order to qualify for the bonus and then switch to an eWallet for all subsequent deposits.
To learn more about the many different cashier services available to casino players in Canada, check our payment guides page.
HOW TO CLAIM A CASINO WELCOME BONUS
Ok, now you know everything there is to know about bonuses, here’s our short step-by-step guide on how to claim a bonus.
- Choose from The Casino Heat list of the best online casinos. All the sites listed here are fully licensed and offer a wide selection of the very best games. Read our reviews to find more information on each one, including the significant terms of each offer.
- Go to your chosen casino and sign up. In most cases you’ll need to enter your full name, email, address, date of birth, and sometimes your bank card details.
- Is there a no deposit bonus? Then claim that and enjoy your free spins or bonus money.
- Read and understand the terms and conditions before you deposit so that you don’t get caught out on things like minimum deposit values, maximum bonuses, eligible games and maximum winnings.
- Make a deposit using a valid payment option, not forgetting to use a bonus code if one is required.
- Start playing! Have fun, and good luck!
- Remember to come back to The Casino Heat next time you are looking for a new casino to play at. Our bonus page is regularly updated with new offers.
Which is the biggest casino bonus in Canada?
There are many casinos offering bonuses to new players in Canada. Currently one of the biggest is Temple Nile who are giving away $1,500 plus 100 free spins across the first four deposits made by new registrants. Temple Nile is a fully-licensed casino with a huge range of slots. For value, this is amongst the best casino bonuses on the market.
Can I keep what I win when I use a casino bonus?
Every casino bonus will have its own terms and conditions and you must read these before you claim to be sure what you are getting. Some, but not all, pay out winnings from free spins and bonus funds in cash. The best example of this is Play OJO who have a policy of ‘keep what you win’. All their free spins offers come with no wagering requirements. Currently you can claim up to 50 free spins with your first deposit at Play OJO.
Where can I get free spins?
There are many casinos where you can claim free spins when you join. Sometimes these are credited on registration. For example, Casumo give 20 free spins to new players in Canada right now. However, most operators will require a deposit first. Casoola are currently offering 200 spins as part of their welcome offer.
Can I claim more than one welcome bonus from one casino?
No, because operators only allow each customer to have one account. So you will only be able to claim one welcome bonus at each site.
What is a cashback bonus?
Cashback bonuses are a way to pay back something to players who lose. Typically, an operator will give back 10% to customers who lose on a given day, or over a month. The losses are usually calculated as a percentage of the value of wagers minus wins.
Where can I claim a Live Dealer Bonus?
Live dealer bonuses are quite hard to find because of the high Return to Player in table games which makes them a bonus liability. In short, it is easy to play through your bonus without much loss. There are live table bonuses, but to mitigate against any losses, operators will set very high wagering requirements on these. Casoola, from Genesis Global, currently has a 100% match offer to play live blackjack.
Can I claim a casino bonus when I play on mobile?
Yes, all casino bonuses are available on both desktop and mobile. More than 50% of casino play is now through a handset so operators are sure to comp mobile play in the same way they do gambling on any other device. There are a few mobile-only bonuses too, but they are pretty rare.