Bonus Hunting in Online Casinos for Canadian Players

Quintin van Wyk by Quintin van Wyk Published: April 1, 2024

Over the years, the landscape has changed dramatically when it comes to the types of deals and promotions that players can take advantage of in the online casino world. In the early days of the industry, you had a lot of options for big bonuses with very limited terms and conditions. However, in 2024, things have changed with much more strict policies surrounding real money promotions. While you can still take advantage of a lot of offers, players have to be a bit smarter about which deals they claim and more careful about how they go about getting value from them.

bonus hunting

What is Bonus Hunting?

The idea behind bonus hunting is using a bit of math to determine the average profitability of a casino offer. Traditionally, this term was used with bigger promotions like welcome packages. However, it can really be used with any type of promotion that they would offer players on any level.

This may sound complicated, especially the part about using math to break down promotions and bonus offers. You shouldn't be intimidated, however, because the process is straightforward and easy to learn. What's more is that it's particularly formulaic, so once you know how to do it for one offer, you can do it for pretty much any deal out there.

bonuses worth hunting

How to Decide if an Online Casino Bonus is Worth Hunting

You only need a few pieces of information to decide if a bonus is worth hunting. This includes the wagering requirements, the amount of value you're getting from the deal itself and the average house advantage from games that you would play with that offer. With just those three pieces of information, you can use the following process to evaluate the average profitability of the promotion.

Suppose for the following example that we want to take advantage of a 150% match offer with a $100 deposit to get a $150 bonus, it has wagering requirements of 25 times the bonus and deposit, and we'll play a game with a 2% house edge to clear it. Down below, we'll show you the exact process to follow to decide if it's a good deal for this style of hunting.

  1. Start by finding the total play-through requirement in monetary terms. In this case, it's 25 times the total of the $100 deposit and $150 bonus, which comes out to $6,250 total.
  2. To find out how much we'll lose on average while clearing the offer, multiply that play-through total we just found by the average house advantage of the game(s) that you will be playing with the offer. In this case, we'll want to find 2% of $6,250, which is $125.
  3. Finally, to decide if it's a profitable offer, we compare that average loss from the wagering requirements to the size of the bonus itself, which is $150. Since the bonus is higher ($150 vs. $125), we know that it's a profitable promotion.
best bonuses to hunt

Online Slot Bonuses Are the Best Offers to Hunt

Over the years and in modern times, online slots have been the game of choice for players who like to analyze and hunt these types of deals. The reasons for this are actually pretty simple. Slots offers are generally the most common with the lowest wagering requirements when compared to what you can find for any other type of game. What's more is that it's not difficult to find low RTP slots to keep the average loss from the play-through requirements as low as possible. When you combine all of this, it's not hard to see the appeal.

  • No Deposit Bonuses

    Virtually all no deposit bonus offers are centered around slot play. The primary benefit to hunting these is that there's not really a way that you can end up down. Instead, you can only win money or break even. Because of this, they're generally the best place for players to start when trying to strategically take advantage of promotions.

    On the most fundamental level, they work by giving you a free chip or free spins without a deposit required. Note that if you have the free spins version, your winnings are combined together to act like they were a single free chip, so the two styles are essentially the same idea at the end of the day. From there, all you have to do is clear the given wagering requirements, and you're well on your way to cashing out and turning a profit. However, just keep in mind that you can't request a withdrawal for more than the deal's particular max cash out amount.

  • No Wager Free Spins

    Another easy type of promotion to take advantage of is when you're given a set of free spins with no wagering requirements. All you have to do is play through the free turns, and you've got some cash on your hands to the tune of however much you picked up in winnings. Note that these no wagering free spins are frequently attached to other types of slot offers like deposit bonuses, and you don't necessarily know ahead of time how much you can expect to earn in winnings from them.

    Because of this attachment to other offers, you may not be able to cash out right away due to withdrawal restrictions from wagering requirements attached to other bonuses. However, you can still include an approximate value for these types of free spins when doing the math to decide if a bonus is sufficiently "hunt-able" or not.

  • Minimum Deposit Casino Bonuses

    Another common type of slot-focused offer that is interesting from a hunting perspective is the minimum deposit bonus. The idea is that certain casinos have really low minimum deposits for these specific deals that can be as low as $1. You typically get free spins or some type of small deposit bonus (or both) at these low levels. While the value you get isn't large in the absolute sense, the risk to reward ratio is very favorable since you're depositing so little.

    The best way to approach these from a hunting perspective is to start off by making sure you know the terms and conditions. Maximum cash out amounts and wagering requirements are the two things to focus on the most. Once you have those in mind, you can target games that keep your RTP high with a moderate volatility in an effort to work off the wagering requirements without running up your payouts so high that you cross far over the limit of what you can cash out.

The History of Hunting Online Casino Bonuses

The history of hunting offers for Internet gambling and casino play started in the mid-1990s with the first sites to compete against each other. In an effort to attract players, the casinos would offer special bonuses that on the surface are similar to what you see now with welcome packages and sign-up deals. However, because the industry was in its infancy, a lot of people quickly discovered that these offers could be exploited without very much effort.

For about the first ten years that casino sites were around, the popularity of bonus hunting grew and grew. People who had no interest in playing the games normally were jumping in to take advantage of these generous promotions with terms that offered little protection for the people running the brands. Because of the lack of experience of the operators in the industry, largely because it was only a few years old as a concept, and because they were initially willing to take a loss in order to get a new customer, it took a while for them to catch on to what was happening.

How Operators Adjusted to Mass Hunting of Their Offers

Eventually, the whole concept reached the point of ridiculousness, and the operators realized that they had a problem. If they offered promotions with no strict regulations, people who had no intention on actually playing the games normally would show up to exploit their generosity. This is when things like game restrictions, maximum cash outs and strict wagering requirements became the industry norm. The truth of the matter is that not having these terms and conditions in place would ultimately mean they wouldn't be able to offer the bonuses at all due to hunting them en masse.

about bonus hunting

Pros and Cons of Bonus Hunting in 2024

In the modern environment, it's clear to see that terms and conditions are a bit more tight than they used to be. Along these lines, there are new pros and cons to using this type of calculated approach to deciding which offers to take. To make sure that you have an accurate view of what this is like in the present day, we want to make the advantages and disadvantages of this approach as clear as possible in the following.

  • Many people simply find it fun to do the calculations and to try to find approaches to make offers as outright profitable as possible.
  • Even if you aren't "hunting" per se, you can still get a lot of good information about these promotions by knowing how they work on a detailed level.
  • Profitable bonus offers are still out there to be found even if they aren't as exploitable in an over the top way.
  • Some players find that the time and effort it takes to identify profitable deals aren't ultimately worth the reward.
  • You may prefer to spend your time actually playing the games instead of combing over the details of various promotions.

The Difference Between Bonus Hunting and Bonus Abuse

Some people try to take part in a type of abuse of these promotions that's actually something different, but because the terms can be unclear, there's often a lot of misunderstanding around what they mean individually. Abusing these deals involves stepping outside of the rules to try to take advantage of offers in unethical ways. A common example of abuse is someone trying to claim the same new player no deposit bonus over and over with fake names and details. You'll notice that this nothing like how we describe the process of hunting.

In the past, back before proper checks were put in place for these types of things, this kind of abuse could be fairly successful in the sense that shady individuals could make money from doing so. However, in the modern environment, it's a complete and total waste of time. Every legitimate online casino will have strong identity checks in place that you simply will not be able to trick. If you try to get around this by going with more shady sites, then it doesn't work because you often won't get paid in the first place, making this type of abuse fairly pointless.

use casino bonuses

How to Take Advantage of Casino Bonuses Online

You have three main avenues or approaches when it comes to modern hunting and taking advantage of the available promotions. The first is when you're a new player and have just registered for a given site. Second, you could be an established player who has already claimed a welcome package for a given casino. Third, you may decide to simply skip the promotions completely. Your available options for each can vary quite a bit, and we want to make sure that you understand what you have at your disposal so that you can make the best decision for yourself.

Using Bonus Offers for New Players

When you're starting out at a given location, you typically have some different sign-up deals available. How you pick and choose from these will depend on what you're looking to play and how much you'd like to deposit. Aside from traditional match-based welcome offers, there are three main styles of promotions that new accounts can get. What follows is our advice for how to get the most from each of them.

  • No Deposit Free Spins and Free Chips - The trade-off with no deposit bonus offers is that you don't have to risk anything, but the play-through and maximum cash out values are typically very restrictive. If you like the games that you're allowed to play and don't mind restrictions on what you do with your funds, then they can be your best option in many cases.
  • High Roller Bonuses and VIP Deals - For players who specifically want to play for higher stakes than most, you can often get a better set of terms and conditions if you're making a larger deposit for a VIP bonus. Accordingly, these can easily be the best value for a player by far as long as you don't mind making a sizable deposit all at once.
  • Minimum Deposit Bonuses - The best minimum deposit casinos for Canadians allow you to get solid deals for as little as $1, $5 or $10. This can include everything from free spins to percentage match deposit bonuses. Just remember that smaller deposits mean stricter terms and game restrictions, usually meaning that slots are the main focus.
  • Golden Tiger

    New Players Get a Great Value at Golden Tiger

    An awesome example of getting a tremendous value as a new player can be found at Golden Tiger. They offer a low minimum deposit amount of $10 in exchange for a set of 150 free spins as one part of what they have available. Additionally, you can earn up to $1500 in bonuses inside of your first five deposits as a part of their overall sign-up package. Along with a huge selection of top titles from many of the most popular providers in the industry, these deals are up there with the best that you can find when you're new to a given site.

The Best Casino Bonuses for Existing Players

Once you're established at a given site, you may not want to jump around to somewhere new. When you find yourself in this position, you'll often be given a different set of available deals that are frequently ongoing or that can be used on some type of regular schedule. This offers the advantage of knowing ahead of time what to expect from upcoming promotions. Down below, we'll give you an overview of each of the main options for existing players and what to look for.

  • Cashback Rewards - The idea behind cashback rewards is to give you back a percentage of any losses for a free chance to hit some extra wins. This can be given through a points-based loyalty program or as a one-off promotion. In either case, the terms are typically favorable with no maximum cash out, low wagering requirements and limited game restrictions.
  • Reload Offers - With a reload bonus, you're given an opportunity to top off your bankroll and get paid at the same time. While the bonus amounts are typically smaller than those found in welcome packages, the wagering requirements are smaller, and the other restrictions are much more flexible. That helps to make using these frequently a pretty good deal for existing players.
  • Game-specific Bonuses - Sometimes you'll be given opportunities to claim deals for very specific games or genres. You shouldn't go for offers to play games that you're ultimately not interested in, but at the same time, if you see one for a type of title that you do enjoy, you can frequently find more favorable wagering requirements than with more generalized promotions.
  • Yukon Gold

    Yukon Gold Has Strong Bonuses for Existing Players

    If you'd prefer to stick to one site over the long run, then you'll love the offers that Yukon Gold has for loyal players. It starts off with a 100% match up to $150 on your second deposit. This is after claiming 150 free spins on the Mega Money Wheel, an instant millionaire making title, for a deposit of as little as $10. Frequent reload bonuses and opportunities for other types of ongoing rewards help to make this a top pick for existing player accounts.

Refusing to Use Online Casino Promotions

In some cases, you may decide to forgo these deals altogether. That may be because you don't want to deal with the wagering requirements or maximum cash out restrictions, or it may just be because you don't want to have strings attached to your experience. Whatever the case may be, choosing to refuse casino bonuses is something that you should always remember is a viable option. Never fall into the line of thinking that you absolutely must claim one of these promotions if it's not something that seems favorable to you.

How to Refuse a Casino Bonus

The process of skipping over a bonus offer without needing to claim it isn't as complicated as it might sound. In the following, we'll give you the most common process that you'll want to follow to make sure that you don't get stuck with a bonus attached to your account. However, it can be helpful to message support before making a deposit to ask if that particular casino has a different policy about how to make it happen.

  1. At many casinos, you can simply make a deposit without selecting a bonus offer of any kind or putting in a code. You may get a warning to make sure that you know what you're doing, but in these cases, you can simply go right past it and deposit without the added promotion.
  2. Some sites will automatically add offers in certain situations out of convenience for the majority of players who want them. If this is the case, then after making your deposit, contact support immediately afterward and before you start playing to ask them to manually remove it.
  3. In any case, make sure that you do not start your real money play before verifying that the bonus is not attached to your account. This is the safest and easiest way to refuse one of these offers.

Putting It All Together

The decision to hunt or not is completely up to you, and there is no "one size fits all" option. Instead, you should look at what goes into it and decide if that's something that you enjoy or not. If you do enjoy it, then you should consider doing it. However, if it's not something that feels fun for you, then you are under no obligation to join in at all. You may simply find that you'd rather enjoy the games instead of analyzing the different promotions in so much detail.

About the Author
 Quintin van Wyk
Quintin van Wyk - Lead Editor

Quintin is a strategic wordsmith and avid gambling enthusiast who has been editing and writing content for the iGaming industry for over 10 years. With the gaming industry constantly expanding and evolving, he is ready to guide both newcomers and experienced players with comprehensive news articles, unbiased casino reviews and informative how-to guides you can trust.

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