Wagering requirements: The small print nobody reads


This is a guest contribution by Markus Jalmerot of No Wagering Casinos. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.

wagering-requirements-the-small-print-nobody-reads-minHave you ever heard, thought about or actually fully read the entire “wagering requirements” for an online casino? It’s a rather specific type of text that often comes with multiple pages of terms and condition or endless bonus paragraphs. Depending on which country you live in, the rules vary significantly for how specific casinos have to be about what their bonuses contains. Here, we go through what you should consider about wagering before starting to play, alternatively, before setting up a new brand.

Why does the small print in wagering requirements matter?

We all love casino bonuses. From free spins to matched deposits, there are plenty of offers that one cannot ignore at online casinos. However, have you ever thought, heard, or even taken your time to get familiar with the wagering requirements small print? Expert online casino players know that most attractive bonuses have a catch disguised as wagering requirements. Often, many players get caught up because they did not bother, or even consider it worthy to read through the hidden clauses in the small print. Though familiar, they are the two words no player wants to hear or read. Common questions that every online casino player should answer are; what are the wagering requirements, why are they important, and how do they work? Keep reading to discover what are the risks and advantages of reading wagering requirement clauses.

Understanding the small print ensures you get value for your money. Also, the clauses largely determine your playing style. You have to strategise and adjust your bets and betting behaviour to meet the wagering requirements successfully. Betting experts and enthusiast online gamblers know that the biggest bonus isn’t always the best.

Depending on how low the wagering requirements are, even the smallest bonus can prove to be the most attractive. That is the power of understanding wagering requirements.

What is a wager?

One must first understand what a wager is in order to understand wagering requirements. A wager is the bet amount that one places per bet. In online casinos, a wager is the amount of money you stake in each bet, be it sports match, the spin of reels, the hand of cards, or your favourite online slot. Also, depending on the wager requirements, it can be defined as the overall amount that you place on bets in a specific session or period.

What are wagering requirements?

The existence of wagering requirements is tied with the presence of offers and bonuses. Such bonuses can be for new sign-ups, or existing players in the form of matched deposits and free offers. They include free bets, cash bonuses, and free spins.

It seems hard to walk away from free goodies, right? Well, such offers come with strings attached, beware! The bookies call these “strings” wagering requirements. They are stipulations that indicate how a player must wager a certain amount of money or bonus before they are eligible to make withdrawals. Notably, one must comply with all the requirements successfully before collecting any winnings.

How wagering do requirements work?

Wagering requirements are different for each bonus type. The common variables are bonus validity, which shows the time within which one must meet the wager requirements, bet limits, contributing games, and amount multipliers.

When dealing with a cash bonus, a player will have to bet through a specified multiplier before requesting withdrawals.

For instance, if you are presented with a wagering requirement of 50X, you will have to bet your bonus amount fifty times over. Assuming you were presented with a £100 bonus, you will have to wager the bonus fifty times before claiming any winnings. That means your bonus winnings can only be converted into real money after reaching £5,000. The formula is shown below.

Bonus Amount (£100) X Wagering Requirement 50 = Total Bet £5,000

The wagering requirements of free spins bonuses are slightly different. If you were presented with free spins bonus with a 40X wager requirement, the wagering conditions apply to the winnings one redeems from free spins. That’s because the free spins do not have a specific monetary value. Assuming you won £50 from free spins, the £50 must be wagered forty times before it can be converted into real money.

Also, depending on the casino requirements, players might encounter a ‘sticky’ bonus. Such are wagering requirements that factor in your initial deposit in the wagering formula. For example, if you deposited £100 and got £100 as a matched bonus, the formula adds your initial deposit to your bonus amount and then multiplies the sum total by the wagering multiplier. The formula is shown below.

(Bonus Amount £100 + Initial Deposit £100) X Wagering Multiplier £50= Total Bet £10,000

Games contribution towards wagering requirements

It’s also known as game weightings. The game contribution clause determines your betting strategy. Not all wagers you make on every online casino game contribute 100% towards meeting the wagering requirements. It’s worth noting that your blackjack strategy or exceptional poker skills might not be what you need to complete wagering requirements. However, avid slot players should not find it a hustle in completing the requirements. Most slot games contribute 100%, depending on the online casino you are playing on. Generally, video poker, roulette, and table games only contribute about 10-20% towards your wagers.

Notably, certain games are excluded altogether by some online casino providers.

What does game contribution mean? Well, it’s easily explained. Assuming the wagering requirements are 30X and you were awarded £50 bonus, you will have to wager up to £1,500. Now, if you selected a game with only 20% contribution, for every £100 you wager, only £20 will count towards completing the £1,500 target. That’s why it’s important to go for games with higher, if not 100%, contribution.

Time limits or bonus validity

Time limit, or rather bonus validity, is the period with which one has to fulfil the wagering requirements after receiving a bonus. Also, the time limit applies to the duration by which you have to claim a bonus before the offer expires. Generally, most online casinos have a bonus validity of seven to 14 days. The clock starts ticking once the bonus has been claimed. The main purpose of the bonus validity, from a casino’s perspective, is to put the player in a rush. The player will be gambling large amounts to meet the wager requirements within a limited period, which may result in player mistakes; thus a profit to the house. Developing an effective wagering strategy to beat the house in wagering requirements becomes vital.

While some casinos only have 24-hour bonus validity, others extend the duration for up to 30 days. Therefore, it’s imperative to read through the terms and conditions of this small print to avoid any tearful surprises.

Are there online casinos with no wagering requirements?

Bonuses and promotions with no wagering requirements can only be found in very few online casinos. Such casinos save online gamblers the stressful wagering hoops that are often characterised by small, but dire mistakes. The cash bonuses and free spins offers are mainly presented to online players during registration or as an ongoing promotion. The no wagering requirements may change after claiming your first bonus. Therefore, reading the small print ensures you understand whether the subsequent promotions will be offered with or without wagering requirements. Most online casinos offer no wagering bonuses as one-time promotions.

Often, no wagering promotions tend to be the most attractive and modest. The casinos offer a small amount of cash bonuses and few free spins. Reading through the hidden clauses in the small print exposes the terms and conditions which the no wagering bonus is subject to. Such conditions include maximum winning caps, maximum bets, and game restrictions.

Low wagering casino bonuses

Most casinos do not bound players to huge wagering requirements. There’s a good selection of online casinos that offer bonus promotions with low wagering requirements. Generally, a wagering requirement that is below 20X is considered low.

Of course, completing a wagering requirement below 20X can be difficult too. Adopting a good betting style and adjusting the betting budget can give a player an edge. Stay on the lookout for no wagering requirement free spins. They are profitable. Lastly, comparing bonus wagering requirements across different casinos ensures you get a bonus whose requirements are realistic to you.

What else to look for in the small print?

Maximum bets

In between the lines of the small print that no one reads, you will find a clause indicating the specific amount of bet you can wager per game. The limit varies depending on the online casinos’ terms and conditions. Generally, free spins are limited to a maximum of £5 per wager/spin.

Though bet limits in wagering do not decrease or increase the chances of winning, they certainly take you a little longer to complete the wagering requirements. The positive side of it is that the player gets a chance to enjoy his/her favourite titles for a little longer.

Maximum win caps

Claiming an appealing bonus, completing the wagering requirements, and coming out profitable is not all you need to start celebrating at times. Some casinos are not always generous when players get lucky and land on big winnings.

With the usual high wagering requirements, making a big profit at the end is a difficult task. Many players end up making loses. However, some players get lucky and land on big amounts. When that happens, some casinos might cap the player’s winnings. It’s always the best idea to have heads up by paying attention to the small print’s hidden clauses. Failure to which you might start celebrating too early!

Restricted and forbidden countries

Most online casinos have a list of banned countries. The ban restricts players from certain countries and regions from claiming their bonuses and promotions. The list varies from each online casino. Generally, it’s due to two reasons. First, online casinos restrict players from specific countries due to the high level of abuse of bonuses. Mostly, players from the Middle East and certain regions of Europe are restricted from claiming sign-up bonuses due to the high level of frauds such us multiple account registrations and fake documentation. Matched betting is an example of bonus abuse.

Secondly, some casinos might offer their bonus to players from countries that only bring in quality players. This ensures that the new players are indeed registering to play and not to take advantage of the bonus. Also, the ban aims at minimising the number of dormant and inactive accounts. For example, most NetEnt casinos offer no deposit bonus to Western Europe and UK players only. Players from other countries can only redeem less attractive bonuses. That said, it’s important to read the small fine print keenly to know if you are eligible to redeem the casino bonus.

Strategies to Complete Wagering Requirements Successfully

The best strategy for completing the wagering requirements is by maximising your bets on games or titles that contribute 100% towards wagering requirements. Worth noticing, one should choose the games with the highest return to player rate (RTP) from the list of games that contribute 100%. Mostly, slot games with higher RTP give players more chances to make a profit.

Another strategy is doing detailed research and locating casinos with the lowest wagering requirements. Additionally, look for casinos that offer No Wagering free spins. This ensures your winnings from free spins are converted to real money without being subjected to any wager requirements.

Choosing a licensed casino whose operations are regulated by well-known gambling commissions ensures fairness and trust when playing. Gambling regulations impose strict regulations to ensure the casinos are operating on clear terms.

The small print that nobody reads determines how easy or difficult it will be for a player to complete the wagering requirements. The fine print offers greater simplicity and transparency to players before they claim any bonus. Always make sure you read and understand the hidden clauses to have an easy experience with online casino bonuses.

What should new casino operators consider?

Considering all mentioned above, gamblers are getting more aware of the bonus requirements. A few years ago, it often works rather well with high wagering requirements. Today, operators are facing way less players if their bonus is not fair enough. So before going live with any new casino online, make sure to set the wagering requirements to something reasonable. Otherwise, you can expect way less customers then your main competitors.

About the author:

Markus Jalmerot is the co-founder of No Wagering Casinos, a site devoted to find online casinos with no or low wagering requirements. They aim to detect bonus traps and make reviews of the latest casino sites with fair wagers or cashback on bonuses.