Why do casinos give bonuses?
Online casino bonuses are some of the best tools that casinos use to attract players to their websites. Going by the name, bonuses are free money that a casino gives you for joining their platform or as part of the promotion. However, you need to keep in mind that you need to complete the requirements outlined in the terms and conditions before you can withdraw any money.
Casinos give these incentives to extend your playtime while you try out their services without risking too much of your own deposit. Most casinos also give a chance to try out their games in free play mode so you can learn the games without risking or winning anything.
Different casinos give out different bonuses, and it's not always easy to follow what a specific offer means. You can learn the differences in bonuses and how to get them in our bonus round up.
Splendid Bonus Example from Rizk Casino
What type of casino bonuses available in Canada?
Different Canadian casino sites
offer varying bonuses. The type of bonus you receive will depend on the casino, the game you select, and the amount of money you stake. It is essential to understand what type of bonuses are available and what you need to do to get the bonus, and how can you use them.
The type of bonuses available in Canada
- Match deposit bonus
- Free spins with no deposit
- Free money without deposit
- Cash back bonus
- Refer a friend bonus
Which Casino Bonus Should You Choose?
At this point it should be perfectly clear that there are many different types of online casino bonuses that can be claimed. We have discussed several of them right here on this page, and we’ve gone into even more depth on our separate pages about No Deposit Bonuses and Welcome Bonuses. We have also explained how to compare similar bonuses by calculating their expected values.
But now we need to address perhaps the biggest question of all. Namely, which casino bonus should you choose?
As you can imagine, this question is a lot easier to ask than it is to answer. That’s because there is no one-size-fits-all bonus that is equally suitable for everyone. We all have quite different aims, expectations, bankrolls and preferences, and so the type of bonus that best suits one of us probably won’t be the best one for you, and vice versa.
Casino Bonuses and Ideal Types
Perhaps the first thing we can do is take a quick look at each different bonus type and suggest the type of player that we think it would be ideal for:
No Deposit Bonuses are ideal for those who are brand new to online casinos and want to test the water without risking any of their own money. Because these bonuses reward a new player just for signing up for an account, they make it possible for him or her to try a few games at the casino’s expense.
Match Deposit Bonuses are best suited to those who have tried online casino gaming and want to get the most play as they can from their available funds. Because this kind of player already knows that they like casino gaming, they will probably be prepared to invest more at the outset than someone who is brand new to the hobby. Having that deposit matched by the casino can therefore give them quite a bit of bonus cash to play with.
Cashback Bonuses are ideal for those who want to bet with some intensity over a reasonably short period of time. This could include high-rollers, of course, but it can also include someone who wants to do a lot of gaming even to modest stakes. Since both of these types intend to give the casino plenty of action, they are the ones who would benefit most from cashback deals.
Refer a Friend Bonuses are best suited to players who have a bunch of friends they would be happy to refer to their chosen casino. That sounds rather obvious, but many people like to keep their casino gaming private for one reason or another. In those cases, a refer a friend bonus isn’t likely to be of much use.
Take the Casino Bonus Quiz
If the ideal types just discussed don’t help you to choose between available bonuses, you might want to take our simple Bonus Ranker Quiz. Simply answer the four multiple-choice questions below and then consult the result.
Q1: How much do you want to deposit before playing?
B) As little as possible.
C) Enough for a week of gaming or more.
Q2: How much experience do you have of playing at online casinos?
B) A little.
C) I’m an expert.
Q3: How many online casinos do you plan on joining?
A) I have no idea.
B) One or two.
C) As many as possible.
Q4: How often do you intend to play at your chosen online casino?
A) Once or twice a month.
B) A couple of times a week.
C) Most days.
When you’ve answered these four questions, make a note of which answer you have selected most often. Having done that, refer to our Cosmopolitan-style conclusion below:
Mostly A’s: No Deposit Bonus
We would suggest that you start by looking at online casinos that offer No Deposit Bonuses. At this stage of your gaming career you are still figuring out the ropes, so you won’t want to commit much time or money. A No Deposit Bonus won’t require any cash from you, nor any other commitment. Simply sign up and start exploring.
Mostly B’s: Match Deposit Bonus
You’re probably not completely new to online casino gaming, but you’re not a casino gaming fanatic either. You just want to get maximum bang for your buck and enjoy as much gaming as you can in one or two sessions a week. This makes you a prime candidate for a match deposit bonus. Look for 100% as a minimum, as anything less is a tad cheeky. However, be cautious about extravagant bonuses of 300% or more, as they often have much higher wagering requirements.
Mostly C’s: Cashback and Deposit Bonuses
If you answered mostly C’s then we would suggest focusing on cashback and larger deposit bonuses. Your higher activity levels should make the cashback offers worthwhile, and if you want to join several online casinos you can take advantage of multiple deposit bonuses on the way. Even better, you probably won’t be put off by any higher wagering requirements you encounter.
Match Deposit bonus
If you've visited an online casino website, you may have come across a match deposit bonus. This is perhaps the most common type of casino bonus, and this is what most people are looking for, but if you don't know how they work, it can end in disappointment instead of winning something.
What is a match deposit bonus?
Match deposit bonuses are usually offered to new players when they join an online casino. Online casinos use this bonus to attract new players to their website, and as a consequence, match deposit bonuses come in huge sums. Unfortunately, these bonuses usually have high playthrough requirements
favouring the casino. This is especially true for casinos with many players. We suggest to always check the bonus terms and conditions for the wagering requirements. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it might as well be
No deposit bonuses
Going by the name, a no deposit bonus is offered by online casinos through no deposit promotions. During this promotion, you'll be given free bonus money without making a deposit.
You can use this free money to play at the casino as set out in the terms and conditions.
No deposit bonuses come in two forms:
- Free spins with no deposit - You will get the spins as soon as you complete the registration process. The casinos usually offer 10-50 spins as a part of their promotions. More often than not, these free spins can only be used on specific slots.
- Free money without deposit - With this bonus, you will be given the free bonus money once you're done with the registration. However, it is important to note that you might not be able to cash out this bonus and only use it to play with it. You can withdraw your winnings from the bonus once you met the wagering criteria.
How much is a no deposit bonus?
Since no deposit bonuses are free of charge, most online casinos limit these bonuses to not more than $5. Some well-established casinos could offer up to $10 for new players.
Loyal customers get cashback on their gameplay. It's the same principle as to how land-based casinos offer free meals or room upgrades to their high rollers and VIPs.
In online casinos, the cashback bonus is a little different. Some online casinos give cashback bonuses to all of their loyal players, and some will only do it as part of their loyalty or VIP loyalty programmes where they make weekly or monthly cashback.
The amount given as a cashback bonus depends on the amount you lose playing at the casino. The cashback bonus is paid directly to your account and can be withdrawn without any wagering requirements.
How cashback bonuses work?
There are slight differences between how casinos deal with cashback. In some of them, the bonus can only be earned by playing selected casino games
. In other casinos, the bonus will be calculated over some time: daily, weekly or monthly. The bonus also can be capped at a certain amount, which could be $100.
Refer a friend bonus
To get this bonus, you need to invite a friend, and they have to sign up, deposit and meet the wagering requirements. To get the bonus, you will need to share a unique link you get from the casino website. With the refer a friend bonus, both you and your friend will benefit.
Casino bonus rules
Like any other service offered by the casino, bonuses are subject to terms and conditions applicable to all players. Having a look at the conditions will help you claim the bonus and understand how to use it.
Wagering requirements are set by online casinos
to prevent losses and stop players from abusing the bonus offers. Playthrough requirements, or more often called wagering requirements, have two types.
- Specific bets
Casinos sometimes specify which games can be played using the bonus. For instance, you might only be allowed to play the Spartacus Gladiator of Rome and the Queen of the Wild games using a welcome bonus.
- Rollover requirements
You can't withdraw cash unless you fulfill the wagering requirements set by the casino. This could be anywhere from 20x times, but some casinos set it much higher to like 40x-50x. Try to find casinos with lower requirements, so you have more chances to withdraw some winnings. Welcome bonuses and no deposit bonuses have the highest wagering requirements.
Other terms and conditions
Apart from the wagering requirements, you need to have a look at the bonus expiration date.
There is a time limit on bonuses to encourage players to use them quickly. Once the bonus expires, it can't be claimed. Welcome bonuses usually give you 30 days to fulfill the wagering requirements. If the wagering requirement is not met, the casino can revoke the bonus plus any winnings as a result of the bonus.
Casino bonuses are given for the sole reason of getting new customers. While you benefit from the extra money as a player, you need to look at the terms and conditions set by the casino before making any deposit or start playing.
How to Compare Online Casino Bonuses
Ask most people how they compare online casino bonuses, and they’ll probably tell you that they focus on size. ‘The bigger the bonus, the better!’ they might exclaim. ‘If a $100 bonus is good, then a $500 bonus must be five times better!’
This is a very common approach to weighing up how good casino bonuses are, and it certainly sounds quite logical. Unfortunately, it isn’t usually the best way to compare bonuses for the simple reason that different casinos play by different rules
We’re talking about Terms and Conditions here and playthrough requirements in particular. If all online casinos attached the exact same wagering requirements to their bonuses, a straightforward comparison of the amounts being offered would be perfectly adequate. The problem is that they don’t.
Consider how you might compare the following two bonuses:
Now, which of these bonuses is better?
- A 100% first deposit bonus worth up to $100 with a wagering requirement of 3 on any games.
- A 100% first deposit bonus worth up to $200 with a wagering requirement of 10 on any games.
If all you are interested in is getting as much gaming action as you can, the second bonus with the higher maximum is obviously better. But if you want to know which bonus is genuinely more valuable
in mathematical terms, you need to calculate
something called Expected Value
Expected Value and how to calculate it
Expected Value tells you how much any given bonus could be worth to you after taking wagering requirements and the available games into consideration. The available games are important because different games give the house varying levels of advantage over you. If you can only play slots in order to meet the wagering requirement, then the house edge
on those may be anything from 3 to 10% or even more, depending on the slots you play. If you can play any games at all, you should take the house edge of the game
you intend to play when working towards the wagering requirement.
To calculate the Expected Value of a bonus, you need to first calculate the wagering requirement, then multiply by the house edge
of the game you will play. If the result is less than the bonus being offered, your Expected Value is positive
, which is a good thing. However, if the result is more than the bonus being offered, the Expected Value is negative, which is a bad thing.
Expected Value Calculation Examples
Having defined how to calculate Expected Value, we will now walk you through a couple of examples using the bonus offers described earlier.
The first example concerns a 100% deposit bonus of up to $100 with a wagering requirement of 3
. In other words, you need to wager your deposit and the bonus once before you will be able to withdraw it. If you deposit $100, you’ll get $100 in bonus cash, giving you $200 in total. Multiply that by the wagering requirement (x3), and you’ll see that you need to wager $600.
This bonus allows all games to be played, so let’s assume that you intend to play European Roulette and bet on even money shots, which have a house edge of 2.7%
Your calculation would therefore be $600 x 2.7% = $16.20
The bonus is worth $100, so you have a positive Expected Value of $83.80 ($100 minus $16.20 = $83.80).
In other words, if you experience a perfectly average set of results, you can expect to lose $0.027 for every $1 you bet
. Since you’ll be wagering $600, you can expect to lose a total of $16.20 by the time you meet the requirement.
The second bonus was 100% up to $200 with a wagering requirement of 10
. All games are allowed, so we will once again assume that you bet on even money shots in European Roulette for a house edge of 2.7%. In this scenario, your calculation would be:
$200 deposit + $200 bonus = $400
$400 x 10 = $4,000 wagering requirement.
$4,000 x 2.7% = $108
You can therefore expect to lose $108. The bonus is worth $200, so the Expected Value is a positive $92.
A Guide, Not a Promise
This Expected Value calculation can help you to compare bonuses from several different casinos, each of which might have different wagering requirements. However, you should note that an Expected Value is a guide, not a promise
. It is based purely on long-term statistical averages
, so do bear in mind that you could easily fare worse - or better - than the value predicts.
With that important caveat in mind, the Expected Value calculation can be very useful. And the next time someone asks you how you compare online casino bonuses, you’ll have a completely rational and objective response waiting for them.