What Are Wagering Requirements?
A wagering requirement is a rule applied to online casino bonuses. You can find them on the Terms & Conditions of almost all match deposit bonuses, no deposit bonuses, and free spins at online casinos.
The wagering requirement is displayed as a multiplier – like 30x or 60x. That number gives you an indication of the number of wagers you must place with the bonus before you can make a withdrawal request. If it is a free spin bonus, you place bets with your winnings.
Casinos started applying this rule on bonuses to prevent players from taking advantage. If there was no wagering, players would be free to claim a bonus and then withdraw the funds immediately – gaining free money at the expense of the casino.
By locking the bonus funds and forcing players to place “x” number of bets before requesting a cashout, casinos can put an end to bonus abuse. Wagering requirements keep the casino safe from significant financial loss due to bonuses.
Wagering requirements are also called playthrough requirements. The multipliers involved can go as low as 1x, but with most no deposit bonuses you will find it varying between 30x and 90x. The lower that number is, the better the odds are for the player.
How Casinos Apply Wagering Requirements to No Deposit Bonuses
The mechanism of wagering requirements (WR) on no deposit bonuses is quite easy to understand.
There are two main types of no deposit bonuses and wagering works differently on each, like this:
- No Deposit Cash Bonus – WR is applied on the number of credits you received as the bonus.
- No Deposit Free Spins – WR is applied on the amount you win using those free spins.
To better explain how the wagering requirement works on no deposit bonuses, we will use two separate examples, from real online casinos.
Wagering Requirements on No Deposit Casino Bonus
Casino: Grande Vegas Casino
Bonus: $30 no deposit bonus.
Wagering Requirement: 60x
After claiming this bonus, you have to use that $30 (plus any extra cash you win using the bonus)
to make bets worth “X” to complete your wagering requirement.
To find X, use the following formula:
$30 bonus multiplied by 60x wagering requirement = $1,800.
Once the total value of your bets reaches $1800, you are free to make a withdrawal request.
The remaining funds in your account can be withdrawn, subject to a few other bonus rules explained in a later section of this article.
Wagering Requirements on No Deposit Free Spins
Casino: Lucky Creek Casino
Bonus: 50 free spins on Bright Star
Wagering Requirement: 60x
Once you use those 50 free spins and win money, those funds are added to your bonus balance. Imagine that you won $20 using the free spins.
Your wagering requirement, based on the same formula as before, will look like this:
$20 free spin win x 60x wagering requirement = $1,200.
Once your cumulative betting value reaches that $1200 target, you are free to withdraw any remaining bonus funds to your bank account.
How to Identify a “Reasonable” Wagering Requirement
Casinos are free to decide the wagering requirements for the bonuses they offer players. It is up to you to decide if a particular bonus is worth your time. One quick thing to remember is that no deposit bonuses are free – there is no harm in claiming a bonus, no matter how “high” or “low” the wagering is.
In this context, “reasonable” refers to a bonus that gives you better chances of withdrawing any cash from your bonus play. An unreasonable bonus wagering is so high that you have next to no chance of making any money, even if you are very lucky at the slots.
Here is a table to give you a rough idea of the different values we see as wagering requirements:
- Shuffled cards
- Flipping coins
- Drawing straws
The basic idea is quite clear from that table – a lower wagering requirement is considered better if you are keen on getting some money out of a no deposit bonus. But unfortunately, the story does not end there. While wager requirement is the key factor, it is not the only one involved in this discussion. Several other factors can also have a major impact in deciding how much cash you can withdraw with a no deposit bonus.
The “Other” Bonus Terms That Matter When Picking a No Deposit Bonus
The wagering requirement is one among the half a dozen or more terms that make up the bonus rules section at an online casino.
For a no deposit bonus or free spin, you have to pay attention to these other rules as well:
- Max Cashout Limits:
A cashout limit is always applied on no deposit bonuses. Usually, the limit is set at $100 – but it can go as low as $20 or as high as $200. How it works is quite simple –you are only allowed to withdraw bonus balance up to that limit (after wagering).
Cashout limits add another layer of protection to casinos when they offer free bonuses to players. They prevent casinos from suffering huge losses due to luck or chance. Also called a win limit, you will encounter this rule after completing your wagering requirement.
For example, if you complete the $1200 WR from a previous example with $150 as balance, if the bonus cashout limit is $100, you can withdraw a hundred bucks. The remaining $50 is canceled by the casino.
- Permitted Games:
Casinos do not allow players to use bonus funds or free spins on just any game/slot. They usually restrict bonus play to a select list of games. And this is not random – the excluded games usually have HIGH volatility and RTP – factors that improve a player’s chance of hitting big winning combos.
When giving out no deposit bonuses, casinos want to limit your chance of winning money as much as possible. This is important from a wagering perspective – if you have a large amount of win money from bonus play, it can drastically improve your chances of completing the wagering requirement and still having a lot of money leftover for cashout.
So, the casinos exclude any game or slot they deem as “high risk” – with jackpots, big win multipliers, and favorable RTP for players. But there is no standardized list of excluded games – it varies from casino to casino. You have to be careful when using bonus funds on games – always check the list of restricted/permitted games. You can find the list on the casino T&C page.
- Game Weighting Percentages:
Another key concept is the weighting of game contributions to your wagering requirement. All game categories do not contribute equally to your wagering requirement. It depends on the weighted percentage assigned to each category by the casino. This information is usually found in the ‘general bonus rules’ section of the casino.
Here is how game weighting works – any game from a category that has a 100% weightage will contribute the full dollar amount of each bet. In other words, if you bet $1 on a game with 100% weightage, that entire $1 is added to your wagering requirement progress. Usually, slots and bingo/keno games are weighted at 100% – they offer you the best chance of quickly completing your wagering requirement.
Other games are not worth the trouble, as the weightage ranges from a measly 1% to 25%. This is usually the case for live dealer games, blackjack, roulette, poker, and other types of table games. If you wager $1 on blackjack with 25% weightage, it will only contribute 25 cents to your wagering progress.
But all these distinctions are rather moot when you are playing with no deposit bonuses or free spins – you are only allowed to use them on select slots or bingo games anyway! But if you ever play with a match deposit bonus, game weightage will become an important consideration, especially if you are interested in using your bonus funds on anything other than video slots.
- Time Restrictions and Expiry Dates:
This one is fairly straightforward – no deposit bonuses usually expire within 24 hours. You have to play the bonus and complete the wagering requirement on it before that expiry period. Otherwise, the casino will void your bonus funds/spins and any winnings.
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Final Thoughts on Wagering Requirements
No deposit bonuses give you a risk-free chance to test new casinos and slots, with the added promise of a chance to win real money. But you have to realize that these bonuses are not free cash.
Rather, it is free betting money that comes with a mandatory wagering requirement. You cannot avoid wagering requirements when playing a no deposit bonus. The best you can do is claim bonuses with low wagering – it will give you a better chance of withdrawing your real cash wins!