How Wagering Requirements Work for Online Casino Bonuses

If you ever claim and play with casino bonuses online, you will come across the term wagering requirements. It is a common rule applied by almost all online casinos. You will see this term in the bonus rules section, accompanied by a multiplier – something like “30X” or “60x.”  

Wagering requirements play a crucial role in deciding if you can actually get your hands on the cash you win during bonus play. If you violate this rule, all your bonus win money will be canceled! Online casino forums are riddled with complaints from players who have suffered this fate. 

So, you must learn everything about wagering requirements before playing online casino bonuses. On this NoDeposit.Guide page, we will tell you all you need to know about wagering requirements – why casinos use them, how they work, and how to pick the best ones.

The Quick Guide to Wagering Requirements

For the sake of convenience, we have split this guide into two sections. This one here will give you a quick introduction to wagering requirements, with short answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

The concept behind wagering requirements cannot be adequately explained in a few sentences.

So after this FAQ section, we give detailed explanations for all the topics addressed in these questions below:

A wagering requirement is a rule linked to online casino bonuses. They kick in when you win money while playing with a bonus. To comply with the wagering rule, you will have to play with your winnings repeatedly at the casino – the number of times you need to do this is specified by the ”X” multiplier you see in the wagering requirement, usually between 20x and 60x.

Simply put, casinos rely on wagering requirements to avoid losing money. When players win cash using a free bonus or try to withdraw a bonus without playing it, the money has to come out of the casino’s coffers. A wagering requirement reduces this risk.

Once your bonus is exhausted, the wagering rule will activate. Before making a withdrawal request, you have to place bets on slots/eligible games at the casino using your bonus winnings. With each bet, your balance is reduced. If you win cash during this process, it is added to your balance – and you can use this amount to place further bets. Eventually, one of two things will happen – you will either run out of cash, or you will complete the wagering requirement with money left over for withdrawal. You can withdraw any leftover funds.

Bet size limits, game contributions to wagering (weighted), excluded/restricted games, and win limits all have a major impact on how you fulfill the wagering requirement at a casino.

It depends on the casino and the type of bonus. For free spins, the wagering requirement is calculated based on winnings alone. With deposit match bonuses, it is up to the discretion of the casino. Some casinos allow players to complete wagering on the bonus amount only – this is much better, as completing a wagering requirement tied to bonus + deposit is much harder.

What Are Wagering Requirements?

A wagering requirement is a type of bonus rule commonly used by online casinos. If you ever accept any kind of casino bonus – no deposit bonus, welcome deposit bonus, reload bonus, free spins – chances are you will have to deal with a wagering requirement. 

You are bound by this rule as soon as you claim the bonus. Always check the bonus rules for the wagering requirement details before claiming an offer.

The relevant statement in the bonus rules section of the casino will look something like this:

Wagering Requirement: 30x on bonus + deposit
OR
Playthrough Requirement 60x on free spin wins

The term “playthrough” is a less common alternative for wagering requirements – they both mean the same. A wagering requirement will always have that “x” multiplier with the number next to it. You can quickly spot this rule using that feature. 

That multiplier is linked to one of three things, depending on the type of bonus:

  • The bonus cash
  • The bonus cash + your original deposit amount
  • Any cash wins from bonus free spins

When you multiply this x number with one of the three things on the list above, you will get your target amount. This is the total value of bets you have to reach using the money in your account.

Here are some examples to help illustrate this point:

Example 1: No Deposit Free Spins

Example

100 Free Spins No Deposit Bonus at Jumba Bet Casino

The wagering requirement is 60x bonus winnings.

Let’s assume that you won $20 using this free spin offer. Using the wagering multiplier on your bonus wins, we get: $20 bonus X 60x wagering requirement = $1200

Using the $20 in your account, you have to place bets until the total value of the bets reaches $1200. If you succeed any remaining cash will be released to your withdrawable balance.

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Example 2: Deposit Bonus

Example

300% Sign Up Bonus at Wild Joker Casino
Wagering requirement 35x bonus + deposit

Let’s assume that you deposit $20 and get $60 as bonus cash under this offer.
Unlike in a no deposit bonus, here we are dealing with a deposit and bonus cash.

Using the same equation, we get the following result:

($20 deposit + $60 bonus) X 35x wagering = $2800.

You have to place wagers worth $2800 using the balance left in your account, before making a withdrawal request.

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Why Do Casinos Use Wagering Requirement?

Online casinos have very compelling reasons to use wagering requirements, even if the players dislike the extra hassle imposed on them by these rules. Let’s look at it from a business perspective. After all, online casinos are in this business to earn profits, right?

First, let’s consider what would happen if a bonus did not have a wagering requirement. Keep in mind that some of these casino bonuses can double or triple your initial deposit.

Wagering Requirement

Several things will most likely happen:

  • Some players will withdraw the bonus money straight away.
  • Others may wager their deposit and then cash out on the bonus.

In both these scenarios, the casinos end up with a net loss, as players get more money than what they deposit in the casino.It will lead to a situation called “bonus abuse” – players claiming bonuses with no intention of becoming paying customers at the casino.

It gets even worse if the bonus involved is a no deposit bonus – without wagering requirements, they effectively become free cash handouts by the casino!

Now you understand why wagering requirements are so popular among online casinos. They are extremely effective at preventing bonus abuse. By forcing players to wager bonus cash and winnings, they help casinos maintain the “house edge.”

How Casino Wagering Requirements Work?

The aim of a wagering requirement is to ensure that most of the bonus money given to players ends up back in the casino itself. They work because of the concept of “house edge” – all casinos and gambling games operate under this universal principle – the odds are always slightly stacked in favor of the casino. 

A few lucky players will win large sums, and most players will win often enough to keep them coming back for more. But in the long run, the casino will always make a profit due to the house edge. And the more you play, the higher the chance of this happening. 

A casino wagering requirement enforces a multiplier on your bonus cash – often, you are asked to make wagers worth 30 or 60 times the bonus. This involves making a lot of bets – and each losing bet reduces your balance. 

While you will get the occasional boost from a winning bet, over time, the balance will run out. When that happens, it means that the wagering requirement has worked as intended by the casino. Only a lucky minority will get enough winning hits to keep the balance going until the completion of the wagering requirement.

Deposit Cash vs Bonus Cash

At an online casino, you will have two different kinds of balances. Deposit cash is the money from your pocket – it usually comes with a 1x wagering requirement, whether you claim a bonus or not. If you deposit $/€/£100, you will have to make wagers worth at least that amount before withdrawing. This is to prevent criminals from using online casinos as a front for money laundering.

Bonus cash balance is what you have when you claim a match deposit bonus. This balance will only be used once you have used all the deposit cash in your account.

This is what happens when you claim a bonus and plays:

  • You deposit $/€/£100 and get a $/€/£200 match bonus.
  • You play some slots – first, the deposit cash will be used for placing the bets.
  • Once that $/€/£100 is finished, the casino will start deducting from your $/€/£200 bonus balance.
  •  

    This is the point where the wagering rule kick in – each bet you make with bonus funds will contribute to your wagering target. In general, bets made with deposit cash do not contribute to the wagering requirement. There are exceptions, but those casinos are quite rare.

    Top Tip

    Check your casino account to find the current progress on bonus wagering requirements. At some casinos, they even have progress bars for quick access to this information.

    How Casinos Apply Bonus Wagering

    You can easily find the answer by looking closely at the wagering requirement definition under bonus rules.

    After the multiplier, it will say one of the following:

  • X Wagering on Bonus: In this instance, the wagering is only applied to the bonus received, the qualifying deposit is not a factor. Most often seen with no deposit bonuses, since they do not require a qualifying cash deposit.
  •  

  • X Wagering on Bonus + Deposit: This requires you to also include the original deposit when calculating your wagering burden. A common sight with most welcome bonuses and reload/matching bonuses.
  •  

  • X Wagering on Winnings: Here, you will be calculating the wagering requirement based on the money you won using the bonus. This is almost always found in the case of free spins.
  •  

    Occasionally, some casinos will use the first method, even when a cash deposit is involved. Such bonuses are quite valuable, as the wagering requirement on bonus alone is much lower than a requirement on bonus + deposit.

    Here is an example to explain the difference:

    Example

    Example: 300% Sign Up Bonus at Jumba Bet Casino

    Consider these two scenarios, with a $/€/£100 deposit and 60x wagering:

  • Only Bonus: A 60x wagering on $/€/£300 bonus will give you a wagering requirement target of $/€/£9000.
  • Bonus + Deposit: A 60x wagering on $/€/£300+100 will give you a larger target of $/€/£12,000.
  • With $/€/£3000 removed from your wagering burden, the first scenario is more advantageous for the player.
    But you don’t often have this option at online casinos – deposit + bonus is the norm at most sites.

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    Top Tip

    You should prioritize casino bonuses where the deposit is not included in the calculation of wagering requirements.

    Understanding Restricted Games & Game Weightage

    This is another huge factor where you have to be extra careful when picking the games to fulfill your wagering requirement. Casinos will usually specify that certain games are out of bounds when you are betting with bonus funds. Slots from certain vendors, high RTP table games, live dealer games, and jackpots are often found on restricted game lists. 

    Game weightage is another concept that can seem a lot more complicated.

    In the bonus rules, you will often find a table with different game categories and percentages allotted to them, like so:

    • Video slots, keno, arcade, bingo: – 100%
    • Poker table games: – 20%
    • Blackjack & Roulette: – 10%
    • Craps: – 5%

    What this table means is quite simple – during wagering, if you play eligible video slots/keno/bingo, for each dollar bet, the casino will reduce 100% of that bet value from your wagering requirement.

    Let’s explain using an example:

    Example

    Example: 200% Sign Up Bonus at Jumba Bet Casino
    Wagering requirement 60x bonus plus deposit

    If you add £100 and get £200 as bonus cash, your wagering target is $1200.

    Here is how much would be deducted from that $1200 if you were to bet £100 of
    your bonus balance on these different categories as shown in the sample table above:

  • Slots: 100% of £100 = £100
  • Poker: 20% of £100 = £20
  • Blackjack: 10% of £100 = £10
  • Craps: 5% of £100 = £5
  •  

    As you can see, if you want to quickly finish the wagering requirement, there is no point in playing any game that does not contribute 100%.
    Playing other game categories drastically reduces your chances – for instance, to get the same effect as a £100 bet on slots,
    you would have to wager £500 with poker or £1000 with blackjack!

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    Top Tip

    When in doubt about game weightage, just pick a slot game that is not on the restricted list. Video slots always have 100% game weightage for wagering, at all casinos.

    How to Avoid Wagering Requirements

    Avoiding wagering requirements is not a viable option if you want to play with casino bonuses. Virtually all online casinos impose this restriction on their bonuses and promotional offers.

    However, there are some online casinos that offer a solution to pesky wagering requirements.

    Wager-Free Casinos – What Are They?

    To stand out from a very crowded field, some casinos have started offering bonuses without any wagering requirements. It has become extremely popular among players due to the clear advantage it offers. But not many casinos are inclined to offer this type of bonus for the same reason. Finding a wager-free casino is not easy, as they are quite rare.

    Example

    Example: 200% Sign Up Bonus at Lucky Creek Casino
    Wagering requirement 60x bonus plus deposit

    If you add £100 and get £200 as bonus cash, your wagering target is $1200.

    Here is how much would be deducted from that $1200 if you were to bet £100 of
    your bonus balance on these different categories as shown in the sample table above:

  • Slots: 100% of £100 = £100
  • Poker: 20% of £100 = £20
  • Blackjack: 10% of £100 = £10
  • Craps: 5% of £100 = £5
  •  

    As you can see, if you want to quickly finish the wagering requirement, there is no point in playing any game that does not contribute 100%.
    Playing other game categories drastically reduces your chances – for instance, to get the same effect as a £100 bet on slots,
    you would have to wager £500 with poker or £1000 with blackjack!

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    Top Tip

    You can also search for low wagering casinos – sites that promise to keep wagering limits lower than the competition.
    The multipliers will be less than 30x or 20x at these casinos.

    Other Important Rules Related to Wagering Requirements

    So far, we have already discussed important rules like game weightage and restricted games. There are a few other rules that have major implications on casino wagering requirements and how you tackle them.

    Bet Size Limits

    When playing with deposit cash, your bet sizes are limited by the game. You are relatively free to decide how much you want to bet. Some allow you to place $/€/£50 or $/€/£100 bets or more.  But this freedom is limited when you play with a bonus balance. 

    A common upper limit found at many online casinos is $/€/£5 – this is generally the maximum bet size allowed during bonus play. Why do casinos do this?

    To understand, you need to remember two things in gambling:

    • Casino wins sizes are based on random multipliers that affect your stake.
    • The higher your initial bet, the bigger the potential payout.

    Even though the size of the bet does not have an impact on your winning chances, there is an increased risk for the casino if players are allowed to set their bet limits. Setting a lower limit ensures that even if you hit a high win multiplier on a slot, the payout is not unduly large.

    Let’s see this in action with an example:

    Example

    Example: 200% Sign Up Bonus at Jumba Bet Casino
    60x wagering requirement on bonus

    You claim this offer with a 100 deposit and get a $/€/£200 bonus cash balance. Your wagering requirement is $1200.

    Here are two scenarios:

  • No Bet Limit: If you could wager 100 per spin, you only need a 60x multiplier on your win to clear the wagering requirement.
  • $/€/£5 Bet Limit: to hit a big win capable of wiping out your wagering requirement with ease,
    you would need a win worth 1200x, which is a very remote possibility.
  • A slot game is much more likely to pay out a 60x multiplier on a winning spin rather than a 1200x multiplier.
    The lower bet size stacks the odds heavily in favor of the casino.

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    Validity Period

    Bonuses have validity periods ranging from 24 hours to a week or more. If you don’t claim and use the bonus within this period, you lose the benefits forever. But there is another aspect that many players don’t recognize – the validity period is also linked to the wagering requirement at many casinos.

    At such sites, if you don’t complete the wagering requirement before the expiry date of the bonus, the winnings will get forfeited. Unscrupulous casinos often set high wagering requirements in combination with short validity periods – resulting in players failing to fulfill wagering requirements within the deadline.

    Win Limit

    This rule is also called the cashout limit at many casinos. It comes into action after the wagering requirement. If you clear the requirements and still have a positive cash balance in your casino account, you will have to contend with the cashout limit.

    It imposes a strict limit on the amount of cash you can withdraw from a particular bonus. If the casino sets the cashout/win limit at $/€/£100, it means that you can only withdraw $/€/£100 from your account after wagering. Any leftover amount from your bonus balance is forfeited.

    Top Tip

    Read the casino bonus terms thoroughly and see what they say about bonus validity and its impact on wagering. If there is any ambiguity, contact customer support before claiming the bonus.

    Why You Should Pay Attention to Wagering Requirement

    The wagering requirement should be your prime concern when looking at a casino bonus, period.

    At first glance, a bonus that promises a 300% boost may sound like an amazing offer. But if it is saddled with a steep 60x wagering, the bonus value plummets. Taking it to the other extreme, a 50% bonus offer with 10x wagering will give you a much better chance of withdrawing cash from your bonus balance.

    Wagering Bonus
    Top Tip

    When comparing two bonuses, pick the one with the lower wagering requirement multiplier, even if it means getting less bonus cash.

    Naturally, the only way to deal with bonus wagering is by paying attention to the fine print – go through the bonus rules and casino terms from top to bottom. Even if it is a boring chore, you will regret not doing it when you lose your winnings due to rule violations. 

    If you want to avoid much of that hassle, there is another way – just check out our reviews of online casinos and no deposit bonuses here at NoDeposit.Guide. We mention all the important bonus terms, including wagering requirements, so that you don’t have to trawl through walls of text on the casino pages!

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    How To Find The Bonus With Best Wagering Requirements

    A great casino bonus is a combination of several desirable features. On the top of that list would be the wagering requirement.

    Here is a simple ranking of wagering requirements, ranked from best to worst:

    1. Zero Wager or No Wagering requirements at all is exceptionally good
    2. Anything below 30x is considered great/ideal
    3. Between 30x – 45x is considered the industry standard
    4. Between 45x – 60x is considered poor
    5. Above 60x is just unfair/unreasonable (except in no deposit bonuses)

    Also, do note that the above ranking /ratings are based on the assumption that the wagering is only applicable to your bonus balance. If both deposit and bonus balance is involved, only consider offers that have a wagering requirement below 30x.

    Top Tip

    A simple rule of thumb when dealing with wagering requirements – the lower it is, the better your odds of withdrawing cash!

    Apart from the wagering multiplier, these are the important features you should look for when picking the best bonus:

    • Avoid casinos with wagering above 45x whenever possible.
    • Try to pick casinos that apply wagering only on bonus credit.
    • Avoid casinos with win/cashout limits below $/€/£100
    • Avoid casinos with low bet limits (below $/€/£5)
    • Prioritize casinos with offers linked to high RTP slots.
    Published on: 2021/05/31

    About the Author

    Hi, I'm Ian, the Chief Editor at NoDeposit.Guide - With hundreds of reviews and thousands of no deposit bonuses, NoDeposit.Guide is certainly your one-stop destination for free online gambling. Our bonuses are updated daily and we pride ourselves on providing the highest percentage of working bonus, worldwide.