All those FREE spins and bonuses might just come with a catch
A common complaint from players is how online casinos handle bonuses. Marketing materials highlight the huge bonus amounts on their site and promotional emails, etc, but the reality of withdrawing a bonus as chard cash is often far from simple.
But this makes sense.It would be a strange marketing strategy for casinos to give hundreds of pounds to each player just to register and open an account? The reality is that most casino bonuses are heavily restricted, almost always bound up in ‘wagering requirements’ that range from difficult to pretty impossible.
What are wagering requirements?
Wagering requirements (sometimes referred to as playthrough requirements) dictate a set number of times you need to gamble the bonus amount before you can access your bonus. Sometimes the wagering requirement applies just to the bonus amount, while other times it applies to the deposit + bonus. This distinction is key as it can make a big difference.
For Example: ACME casino offers 200% on the first deposit of up to £25. That gives players the opportunity to get a £50 bonus cash, but first they must meet the wagering requirements.
The terms and conditions may state that 'bonuses carry a wagering requirement of twenty-five (25) times the total amount', which means a player will have to wager 25 times the total of the deposit and bonus. In this case, that amounts to £75 (£25 deposit + £50 bonus) multiplied by 25, or £1,875.
These restrictions provide the layer of protection casinos need. Otherwise, this is a system that could be open to widespread abuse, and no company can hand out free money without getting value in return. It’s a well-documented practice across online casinos (& sometimes sports betting bonuses as well).
From a practical perspective, the wagering demands mean that bonuses can differ greatly in value. A £10 bonus might be better value than a £500 bonus if the wagering requirements are much lower. The former might allow you to actually withdraw your bonus and any associated winnings, without having to gamble a huge amount (and potentially lose that amount) in order to unlock withdrawals.
While this is definitely above board, it does leave players feeling a little aggrieved. The answer is to look beyond the marketing hype and read the terms and conditions carefully - where you’ll find any applicable wagering requirements or other terms that could hold up your progress.
What is a good wagering requirement?
What makes for a good wagering requirement has changed. Previously a 25x play-through requirement on the bonus was considered a good term. Recently though, some casinos demand up x50 on the bonus, so 30x or 35x would now be considered ‘good’ wagering demands. There is a tool here, that can help you decide whether the bonus is achievable and of any value.
Common casino bonus conditions
Every casino bonus offer will clearly reference the significant terms and conditions (as required by UK regulations, to provide an explicit link between bonus marketing materials and the associated T&Cs).
However, look out for these other potential restrictions:
Game Contributions – The main way casinos make bonuses more difficult to claim is by restricting you to playing high variance games, such as online slots. Games that allow the player to make low-risk bets, like odds-evens in roulette, usually only contribute a percentage of the value wagered to the overall play-through total.
Time limits – Make sure to find out how long you have to fulfill the wagering requirements. The bigger the bonus, the better – but not if you only have seven days to meet the requirements.
Betting limits – One way casinos can make it difficult to meet wagering demands is by restricting how much you can bet at any one time. If you normally bet £10 on each spin of the roulette wheel, but you are limited to betting £5 to qualify for wagering requirements, it’s going to take twice as long to meet the total required.
Withdrawal Request – The majority of online casinos will void your bonus if you request a withdrawal before the bonus is played through
In many instances, the bonuses are optional, and depending on the terms it might even be in your interests to reject a certain bonus – especially if you’re just looking to play a couple of games (or are in the middle of wagering through a previous bonus).
Beware impossible wagering requirements
From a well-known online casino - The welcome bonus is pitched at 100% of the first deposit, up to £250. So, you deposit the £250, receive your additional £250 bonus, and you’re good to go.
Except, looking at the terms and conditions. The wagering requirement here is 30x, and that includes your original deposit. So you’re looking at spending 30 x £500 in order to claim any of the winnings from your bonus – £15,000. This is almost certainly impossible in casino gambling unless you truly are defying probabilities. The result is a lot of disgruntled players.
Wagering requirements aren’t a secret, protect yourself and read the terms and conditions first, before you’re drawn in by any bonus amount.