Wagering requirements are one of the most important concepts to understand when playing games at an online casino using any kind of bonus, including no deposit bonus codes. Our guide to wagering requirements will explain everything that you need to know about how they work, plus tell you what you should be looking out for.
What are wagering requirements - and how do they work?
Let's start right at the beginning - what exactly are wagering requirements? In essence, this is the protection online casinos give themselves when they make bonuses and promotions available. Wagering requirements make sure that they are not going to be left out of pocket.
A wagering requirement means that bonus money given as part of a promotion must be bet a certain number of times before it can be withdrawn. At most online casinos, bonus money is held in a different balance in their cashier. Once the wagering requirements have been met, if there is any cash left in the pot, it is then converted into real money that can be withdrawn.
Guidance from the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom says that online casino customers must be able to "withdraw winnings made with their own funds, no matter how much or how little they have played" regardless of the wagering requirements that are in place.
Wagering requirements should be displayed clearly on an online casino site where it is promoting its offers, but players should also take time to read the relevant terms and conditions. Checking the small print can help casino customers to understand wagering requirements in full before they decide whether or not they want to gamble at a particular online casino site.
How do you calculate the wagering requirement of an online casino bonus?
Wagering requirements are usually displayed in the following form: 10x, 25x, 50x, 100x and so on. So, if a wagering requirement at an online casino is 10x, this means that the bonus funds given out by the operator must be gambled 10 times in total before they can be withdrawn.
Let's say an online casino offers a deposit match bonus of $50 when you make a deposit of $50. This means you would have to gamble the bonus money to the value of $500 to unlock the bonus money and turn it into cash.
In the same scenario, if the wagering requirement was a lot higher at the x50 mark, then you would have to wager the bonus funds to the value of $2,500.
Calculating the wagering requirement is quite simple. All you have to do is multiply the monetary value of the bonus cash with the number of the wagering requirement - so 50 x 50 for example.
Naturally, the higher that a wagering requirement is on an online casino, the harder that the terms and conditions are going to be to meet. Casino customers may therefore opt to ignore promotions and offers where they do not feel the wagering requirements are realistic to hit.
Why do online casinos have a wagering requirement?
Even casino customers who understand how wagering requirements work might not realise why they have been put in place by operators.
Firstly, wagering requirements are designed to make sure that players do not simply play at a new site with bonus funds and withdraw the winnings. Promotions and offers are launched to bring new players to a casino site, but there is nothing in it for the operator if these people never actually gamble with their own real money.
From the point of view of the online casino companies, the bonus funds they hand out are seen as an investment. While they might be risking losing some cash to players who get lucky and beat the wagering requirements, many will find it difficult to trigger what needs to be done to unlock the funds into real money. The idea is that new players will go bust during the wagering requirements and then start playing with their own cash.
Anti-money laundering regulations are also one of the reasons why online casinos use wagering requirements. Without this level of protection, it would be seen as too easy for criminals to deposit 'dirty' money into a cashier and then withdraw clean cash after playing with bonus funds.
Fair wagering requirements for each bonus type
Casino customers must make up their own minds on whether or not wagering requirements are fair and therefore worth taking when browsing the best online casino promotions. It is also worth pointing out that wagering requirements work in essentially the same way for all bonus types.
It does not matter whether players take a free spins bonus, a no deposit promotion or an offer for a deposit match bonus, there is still going to be a wagering requirement to work through. Whether you win from free spins or a deposit match bonus, wagering requirements still count.
No Deposit Bonus
No deposit bonuses are increasingly being offered by online casinos. The major benefit of this type of offer for casino customers is they do not have to stump up any of their own cash when they sign up for an account. On the flip side, the wagering requirements can be quite high.
Very rarely, an online casino might launch a no deposit bonus without wagering requirements....
No Deposit Bonus Wagering Requirement Example:
For example, new players at the Betfair Casino who are from the United Kingdom can currently get 30 free spins to be used on online slots when they join. Winnings are paid in real cash and there is no wagering requirement to work through.
Usually, though, wagering requirements for this type of offer will be around the 50x mark. Any online casinos with a lower wagering requirement for a no deposit bonus are worth checking out, while those that are considerably higher than 50x might be best avoided by new customers.
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No deposit free spins deserve some additional explanation, you will often see a bonus that offers a number of free spins with no deposit required. These are best explained by example:
Free Spins Wagering Requirement Example:
Spin Casino offers 100 free spins on the "Mystical Zodiac" slot (USA and UK players excluded), no deposit required. The bonus has a wagering requirement of 50x and states a maximum win of $20.
What this means is that once you have used the 100 spins, and have a positive remaining bonus balance, you may "keep" up to $20 in bonus money. This is NOT free cash. It is treated EXACTLY like bonus money, i.e. you have to wager these bonus credits 50 times before you are allowed to make a cash withdrawal.
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Any money won from no deposit free spins is treated as bonus money by the casino and will be subject to wagering requirements.
Deposit Match Bonus
Naturally, the wagering requirement for a deposit match bonus is always going to be lower than for a no deposit bonus, usually by a significant amount. This is because there is a lot less risk for the online casino to have to mitigate against - a customer has already made a deposit of their own money into their new account.
Match Bonus Wagering Requirement Example:
An example of a deposit match bonus with high wagering requirements from an online casino in the United States can be found at Slots Empire. New players can get a 220% deposit match bonus, which goes all the way up to $1,000. However, the wagering requirement for the offer is 70x, which is high for this type of deal.
Typically, wagering requirements for deposit match bonuses are between 20 and 50 times, although there is a lot of variation across the industry. The bigger the bonus, the higher the wage requirement is likely to be. Offers with smaller bonuses might have lower wagering requirements in order to try to tempt new players into signing up for an account.
Is it possible to beat or avoid wagering requirements at an online casino?
Sadly, there are no quick ways to beat or avoid the wagering requirements that are usually in place at an online casino for their offers and promotions. But players at online casinos should not necessarily see wagering requirements as a completely bad thing.
After all, were wagering requirements not used, no deposit bonuses and deposit match bonuses would be a lot less appealing, if there were even on the table at all. Players should therefore treat the wagering requirements as something of a necessary evil.
Keep in mind that due to wagering requirements, online casinos are in a position to boost your bankroll by double or even treble your deposit.
Overall, this has to be seen as a good thing despite wagering requirements often being rather challenging to get through, converting the money into real cash at the end.
What does the future hold for wagering requirements?
This is hard to predict as online casinos are always trying to be more innovative than their rivals when it comes to the promotions, bonuses and offers that they make available to customers.
What seems likely is that wagering requirements will still be present for these offers and promotions. However, it might be the case that they take a different form in the coming years. Online casinos will want to keep making their deals as appealing as possible to new users.
This could mean wagering requirements start to come down as the competition between the various online casinos operating on the internet continues to become even more fierce.
Even if there are major changes ahead in how wagering requirements will work in the future, online casinos will have to implement something similar. This will be in order to protect themselves from things such as bonus abuse and potentially money laundering as well.
Wagering requirements - FAQ
Our guide should hopefully have given you a thorough understanding of what wagering requirements are, how they work and how to make the most of online casino bonuses.
However, in case there are still questions you want answers to, we have put together an FAQ:
This is the holy grail of wagering requirements at online casinos. When an offer or promotion says there is no wagering, players do not have to play through the bonus cash to unlock it.
Anything they win from bonus money, free spins or no deposit offers is theirs to keep. No wagering is very rare and when these offers come up they tend to be snapped up very fast.
Most online casinos keep bonus funds from their offers in a separate part of your balance. This means it is easy to see what you have to spend in terms of your real cash and bonus funds. Held funds refers to the bonus money that has not been spent and is yet to be unlocked.
Players who fail to meet the wagering requirements of an offer before running out of bonus funds will simply have to start using their own cash if they want to continue to play on the site. Bonus money will just never be converted into real cash that can be withdrawn from an online casino.
Wagering requirements often come with staking contributions, which will be detailed in full in an online casino's terms and conditions. For example, not all casino games will contribute 100 per cent to the value of the wagering requirements. Typically, online slots do contribute 100 per cent but casino classics such as roulette and blackjack will usually be set at a much lower rate. Casino customers should choose their games carefully when meeting wagering requirements.
If players have deposited their own cash to get a casino offer, they should be able to withdraw that money regardless of their progress towards a wagering requirement. However, be aware that in the majority of cases, an online casino will void your active promotion should you choose to make a withdrawal during the wagering requirement process. Always check the terms and conditions of your chosen online casino site for their rules and regulations on this matter.
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