No matter where in the world you’re playing from, one of the biggest hooks for the international online gambler is the sometimes quite amazing bonus offer. We all love the incredible bonuses that global online casinos offer new and regular players: welcome bonuses, deposit bonuses, free spins – FREE MONEY!
But we often forget that nothing in the world is truly free and that all these bonuses come with terms and conditions – and the one that is most often overlooked or misunderstood is the wagering requirement.
The fact that many players ignore the not-so-hidden fine print in bonuses is well evidenced by the complaints against online casinos. The vast majority of complaints comes down to online casinos not paying out winnings or withholding winnings, and most of these are because players have not understood the wagering requirements and have thus forfeited their money.
Wagering requirements are terms and conditions set by online casinos that relate to bonus offers.
The international online and mobile casino market is booming, with new online casinos opening on a seemingly daily basis. With so much competition out there, even the big players like Casino.com, 888Casino, LeoVegas, and the like need something to entice new players and ensure that their existing players come back for more.
Enter the bonuses.
These bonuses can run from pretty basic free spin welcome bonuses to tiered bonuses to monthly bonuses over an entire year – and that’s not including the loyalty bonuses or frequent play ones.
The most popular welcome bonus is a deposit match where a new player signs up and gets, for example, a great-sounding bonus of 100% match on their 1st deposit. This means that if the player deposits $100, the online casino will give them a ‘free’ $100 extra to play with bringing their bankroll total to $200.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
But there is always a wagering requirement or playthrough attached. In the example above, the bonus $100 may come with a 40x wagering requirement.
This means that the player must bet 40x the bonus amount before they can withdraw any winnings.
$100 x 40 = $4,000: the player must bet $4,000 before they can withdraw any winnings.
Changes the game a bit, doesn’t it? Because now you must play $4,000 before your winnings can be withdrawn.
Online slots free spins also have wagering requirements. If, for example, you get a 50 free spins bonus with a 20x wagering requirement, it means you have to spin the reels 20x before you can claim and withdraw any winnings.
To sum up: a wagering requirement is a condition placed on bonuses where you have to bet the bonus amount a certain number of times begore you can withdraw any winnings.
It’s quite simple: multiply your bonus amount by the wagering requirement.
An online casino offers a welcome bonus of 100% match on first deposit up to $100. 30x wagering requirement. Minimum deposit $10.
To qualify for the welcome bonus, you must deposit AT LEAST $10. And the MAXIMUM amount you can deposit and claim is $100.
The online casino will match your deposit with a contribution of their own.
You must wager the bonus amount at least 30 times before you can claim any winnings.
Let’s say you deposit $10 to qualify for the welcome bonus. Your online casino account will reflect your $10 plus a bonus $10, giving you a total of $20 to play with.
You decide to play online slots at max bet for $1 a spin.
On your third spin you hit a $500 jackpot. Lucky you!
But you’ve only bet a total of $3 ($1 per spin x 3 = $3). So, you can’t withdraw those winnings. You must play for a total of $300 before you can withdraw any money ($10 bonus x 30 wagering requirement = $300).
Take note: some international online casinos will add your bonus and your deposit to the wagering requirement. So, in the above example, your wagering requirement amount will be $600 ($10 deposit + $10 bonus = $20, multiplied by 30 = $600).
Most online casinos will put your winning into a ‘pending’ account until you have played through the wagering requirement and then all your money is available to you.
You can use your bonus winning to continue playing and accruing the total you need. If you win regularly and continue playing, this adds to your wagering requirement as it is part of your money that you are playing with. If you lose everything, then your wagering requirement is void – generally, and we really urge you to make sure you read and understand the specific wagering requirement at your chosen online casino.
There are three reasons for this:
1) It helps to entice players to join the online casino or to play for longer at the online casino.
2) It gives players a little extra boost in their bankroll to try out different games and test the casino.
3) It is a method to combat international money laundering by not allowing criminals to deposit criminally-gained money into an online casino account and then immediately withdraw it as legitimate ‘winnings’.
The obvious answer is to avoid redeeming any bonus offers. But, if you think the offer is good and you don’t mind the terms and conditions, then the best and easiest way to have fun and complete the wagering requirement is by playing online slots. Online slots have a very high variance which means you can win regularly but it takes a lot of playing which helps to reduce your wagering requirement.
Gambling is all about luck and if you hit an unlucky streak, you may find yourself struggling to complete the wagering requirements. Check which games have the biggest percentage contribution to your wagering requirements and bet as much as you can to burn through your bonus funds.
A lot of international online casinos will have certain games that are excluded from the wagering requirement. For example, playing slots can count 100% to your wagering requirement, while playing video poker counts only 30% toward your wagering requirement, and playing blackjack will count 0% toward your wagering requirement.
In general, the higher the house edge, the more the game will contribute to your wagering requirement.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS – we cannot stress this enough – ALWAYS make sure you read and UNDERSTAND the terms and conditions and are aware of which games count what towards your wagering requirement. There is no worse feeling in the world than thinking you’ve won only to be denied, and potentially banned, because you didn’t completely understand the rules.
Not always. You must read the terms and conditions before you start playing. There are a lot of games that are excluded from the wagering requirement. These are normally games that have a very low house edge like roulette or blackjack.
Yes. The most common term is wagering requirement but different online casinos in different territories may call it a playthrough or a rollover.
It’s all related to the bonus. Don’t think of the bonus as free money, think of it as an opportunity to add to your bankroll and let you try out the casino and the games with less risk. Use it to play higher bets than you normally would. Try new games. Play with it and you’ll soon learn that there are tons of ways to have fun at an online casino.
And, if you happen to hit a nice juicy jackpot, make sure you have completed the wagering requirements BEFORE you try and withdraw any money to avoid a VERY frustrating and disappointing experience of having your winnings denied!
Look for bonuses that offer low minimum deposits and low wagering requirements if you want to get to playing with your own real money faster.
Online gaming is all about having fun and, hopefully, winning a little cash. But don’t ever think it can be a way of making a living. There are no strategies for guaranteeing a win, it’s completely and utterly dependent on luck so always go into a game with a fun not profit mindset!