Welcome Bonuses Explained in Detail
Welcome bonuses are among the best known and the most generous online casino bonuses in existence. Aimed at new players, it is not uncommon for a casino to double, triple, or even quadruple your first deposit. On the one hand, this is a marketing strategy designed to get you to sign up and play with one casino instead of another, but at the same time, there is no real reason for a player not to take advantage of a good offer.
However, many new players don’t quite understand how these welcome bonuses work, which leads them to believe one of two things:
- Bonuses are just a scam to get you to deposit, or
- Bonuses are awesome and casinos are giving you free money just like that.
While the first misconception is much more present, there are also those who adhere to the second one. It is important to understand that neither of these convictions is true and they can make you miss out on great opportunities or cause a lot of frustration stemming from wrong presumptions.
Bonus restrictions & playthrough requirements
You have probably heard the term playthrough or wagering requirements when talking about online casino bonuses. The playthrough defines the monetary amount you need to place in wagers before releasing the bonus.
For example, if you deposited CAD 100 and received a CAD bonus with 35x playthrough requirements on the bonus amount, you would need to bet a total of CAD 3,500 before you are allowed to make a withdrawal. Trying to withdraw before meeting these requirements will often lead to forfeiting the bonus amount and any related winnings.
Another thing that often confuses players, especially less experienced ones, is the fact that not all games contribute the full amount towards wagering requirements. For example, there is a big difference between placing those 3,500 in bets on blackjack tables or on slots.
At the Royal Vegas Casino, new players receive 100% bonus up to $250, with the wagering requirement of 40x the bonus amount. So, a player taking full advantage of the bonus should place a total of $10,000 in bets. If this $10,000 is used for playing slots, the amount will account for 100%, so as soon as you’ve played through the 10k, your bonus will become free.
However, if you’ve used the same amount on blackjack tables, you would have only cleared $1,000! This is because blackjack bets account for only 10% towards the wagering requirements at Royal Vegas (and most other online casinos for that matter).
Make sure to always check out specific rules, requirements, and restrictions for welcome bonuses to avoid any confusion or cost yourself money. Online slots will usually account for 100% at most Canada-facing online casinos, with an exception of a few select games, but terms and conditions for other table games will vary between different casinos.
How to Cash In: Bonus Clearing Techniques
Now that you understand what playthrough requirements are and what it means when a casino offers you CAD $500 completely free, you are probably wondering if it is worth it and what the best way to meet these requirements is.
If you read earlier passages, you probably understand that you stand the best shot playing slots. With 100% of your bets counting towards wagering, this is definitely the fastest approach. However, not all slots are created equal.
Your best bet is finding a slot with a good payout rate of 96%+. Although not as common, these games do exist and if you spend some time looking around, you will probably find them. These slots are low variance and will let you place a lot of bets with balanced payouts. Your goal is to hang around even while slowly moving towards meeting the playthrough.
Clearing bonus playing other online casino games like blackjack is much more difficult. With only 10% of each bet counting, you will need to play a lot of hands before bonus money is finally set free. Also, be very careful about what is allowed while playing on bonus money. Most casinos will not let you use betting systems like martingale or make sudden big changes in your bet sizing.
Cashable vs. Non-Cashable Bonuses
One important distinction in the world of online casino bonuses is whether they are cashable or non-cashable. While casinos often don’t advertise this on their main page, you will usually find it in their terms and conditions, where they state that the bonus is issued for “playing purposes only.”
So, non-cashable bonuses will not let you keep the amount you were initially awarded. You get to keep your initial deposit and any winnings, but the bonus amount itself is deducted either after meeting the playthrough requirements or when making a withdrawal.
Pick Your Bonus
There are various bonus types out there and, depending on what type of a player you are, some of them will serve you better than the others.
- No deposit bonuses are usually given out to new players to let them test the games and decide if they like what they see. These are usually quite small, insignificant amounts, but Canadian players are welcome to take advantage of most of these offers. They can help you get a feel for a new casino and make up your mind about depositing. These are also nice for players who want to try and win something without risking anything.
- Monthly reload bonuses are great for players who play on regular basis. Although usually not as generous as welcome bonuses, they can still boost your bankroll nicely and playthrough requirements are often easier to meet.
- Refer a friend bonus will work great if you have some friends who enjoy playing online casinos but don’t have an account with the one you are playing at. Extend an invitation to them and everybody gets rewarded. This is a win-win situation, really.
- Preferred payment method bonuses are nice if they are offered for the method you generally use, but otherwise are not worth the bother. The extra 10% or so you stand to get is definitely not worth the trouble of setting up a whole new payment method. Unless you were planning to do it anyways, in which case, good for you, get that cash!
- Free play bonuses are similar to no deposits, but these will let you play for a certain amount of time to try and win as much as you can. The maximum amount is usually limited and before you are allowed to use your winnings, you will usually have to make a deposit first. So, these are like reverse deposit bonuses.
- Free spins are always nice, whether you are a new player or a casino veteran. A casino will offer you 10, 20, 50+ free spins on a particular slot (or a few) and anything you win will be added to your account. However, playthrough requirements will usually apply on these winnings.
- High roller / VIP bonuses are reserved for the big players and are usually extended to them either privately or based on meeting certain goals. These bonuses are designed to make the players feel special and can significantly boost their bankrolls as they often reach in the five-figure territory.
Conclusion: Know Your Bonuses
Online casino bonuses are great; there is no doubt about that. The free money given to you by a casino can help you win more and keep you in the game longer, so there is hardly a reason to ever refuse a nice bonus offer.
However, you need to understand that these offers don’t come without particular requirements and restrictions, most of which have been discussed in this article. Make sure you understand them fully and thoroughly before accepting and starting to play.
Our recommended casinos have numerous great offers for Canadian players, from free spins to big welcome bonuses for small timers and high rollers alike. Feel free to check out what’s out there and pick the one (or a few) that fit your situation and playing habits the best.