In less than a generation since they were first introduced in the mid-1990’s, online casinos have changed the way we look at, undertake and understand gambling. In 2018, research has now shown that for the first time in history, the majority of Canadians now have their first lifetime interactions with gambling in an online environment and not in a land-based casino, race track or lottery office. It is just another example of how the internet helps in our communications, makes our shopping easier, and has forever changed the way that businesses operate these days. Like many industries, gambling has also witnessed a huge change due to the disruption of the internet. Online gaming is a now business generating of billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide, including Canada. Along with a mobile device or a personal computer, and internet connection, you can play online casino games, claim online casino bonuses or bet to win big on sporting events taking place anywhere in the world. Online Casino & Online Bonus History In the history of online casinos and casino bonuses, the Free Trade and Processing Act of 1994 in Antigua and Barbuda is considered to be a ground-breaking and extremely important event. With the introduction of this law, the small Caribbean nation state was considered free to now offer licenses to companies looking to establish the very first online casinos on the internet. 1994 saw many companies beginning online casino businesses. The UK-based company Microgaming is widely accredited for being the first online casino in the world. As avid followers of the online casino industry are undoubtedly aware, Microgaming is still in business to this day (mostly as a software and online casino games developer) and it is widely considered to have an excellent reputation and produce the very best online casino games in the business. At the time, Microgaming were instrumental in the development of the technology and the financial systems of online gambling. In the early days, there was not much competition among the online casino companies. Subsequently, there was not any real concept of casino bonuses as they exist today. However, as more and more companies became involved in the emerging online casino business, competition steadily grew among the online casinos. As a result, rapid improvement was witnessed in terms of the software and technology, while extra features were also being added at a frenetic and constant rate. Multiplayer games and movie and TV themed slots helped to increase the popularity of the emerging online casino industry. At this time, the online casinos first started offering casino bonuses in order to get and permanently stay ahead of the competition. Online Casinos began giving welcome bonuses or sign up bonuses in order to persuade new customers to play at their casinos. These bonuses were also used as a way to lessen any perceived security risks that can often be associated with anything new (in particular, anything at all new or revolutionary to the world of gambling). Early online casino bonuses were very generous and had fewer terms and conditions associated. Today’s online terms and conditions are quite lengthy in comparison. It could be argued that now however, that terms and conditions are better explained and the excellent customer service provided by independent and unbiased online casino review sites was non-existent in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, there has been little change in the basic principle of online casino bonuses. The players still deposit a chosen amount and are usually offered with a bonus that will either be equivalent to or greater than the sum which is deposited. The change now is in terms of the complexity of the rules (another great reason to go through an independent review site for unbiased advice). Due to higher market competition, more players, and more bonuses abuse, term and conditions become more ‘wordy’ for a few years. However, in the last few months, there has been a noticeable shift back towards welcome bonuses that are less complex, and easier for online players to understand. Moreover, another factor affecting how online casino bonuses are offered and administered is the legislation and regulations regarding the online casino bonuses themselves. Types of Casino Bonuses Now Available Currently, the types of bonuses are many and varied; Welcome or Sign Up Bonus Also known as sign up bonus or a new player bonus, the ‘Welcome Bonus’ is probably the first thing you will probably notice on the website of an online casino. The majority of Welcome Bonuses are usually 100% match bonuses, if you deposit a certain sum, you effectively receive double the amount. For example, if you have signed up to an online casino offering a 100% match bonus and you make a deposit of CAD $ 100, then you would have a total of CAD $200 of online casino play. Many bonuses can be very generous, offering as much as a 500% matching bonus, while other online casinos can be much lower. Online players should read the terms and conditions of their welcome bonus thoroughly, and look out for the wagering requirements, the type of games that are included or not (slots, table games or video poker for example) and the maximum cash out amounts when making their choice. Free spins (from as few as 10 free spins, and currently up to 1000 free spins) of certain online video slots can sometimes be provided in online casino welcome bonuses as a form of extra incentive. Daily/Weekly/Monthly Bonuses In addition, many online casinos offer daily, weekly and monthly bonuses as well. Aside from the welcome bonus, online casinos sometimes offer daily, weekly or monthly bonuses when players make subsequent deposits. Check the promotions page of your chosen online casino for details. Payment Method Bonuses These types of bonuses are quite uncommon; however, they are seen from time-to-time. Some online casinos offer such bonuses upon making a deposit through a particular payment method. It is particularly designed for encouraging players to use a specific payment method, usually one that charges lower fees to the online casino for processing your payment. Refer a Friend Bonus As the bonus name indicates, these types of bonuses are usually triggered after a player refers a friend to an online casino. The player usually receives the bonus when their friend signs up and deposits an amount with the online casino. Find the Best Online Casino for You Remember, if you prefer to leave the hard work up to us in assessing that best online casino bonuses, you can stick with our range of recommended Online Casinos for Canadians that we have independently reviewed without bias, fear or favor, thereby ensuring that the casino you choose is safe, offers, the type of games you prefer, and has an attractive welcome bonus for you to take advantage of, and earn a few extra dollars Good Luck and Great Gaming!