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Bonus wagering requirements at online casino sites

If you’ve taken advantage of a bonus offer at an online casino before, chances are you have been burned by the wagering requirements hidden in the terms and conditions. We explain what wagering requirements are, why casino have them, and the quickest way to clear play-through requirements so you have full transparency of how online casino bonuses work to avoid disappointments in the future.

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Available to residents of United States

What is a wagering requirement?

A wagering requirement, also known as play-through requirement or roll-over rate, is a stipulation attached to a bonus offer at an online casino site. It means the amount of bonus money given to you by the casino must be wagered a certain number of times before you can withdraw the bonus money or any cash won using the bonus money.

For example, an online casino may offer a 100% matched deposit bonus capped at $100, with a 40X wagering requirement attached. This means if you make a real money deposit of $100, the casino will match your deposit by $100, giving you $200 to play with. However, the extra $100 must be wagered 40 times before you can withdraw that bonus money, or any money won when betting using that bonus money.

Or in other words, a $100 bonus with a 40X wagering requirement means $4,000 must be deposited and wagered at the casino before you will actually benefit from that $100 bonus you received. Ouch, right? When dealing with online casino bonuses, the old adage is usually accurate – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Who do casinos have play-through requirements?

Yes, wagering requirements suck, but they are a necessary evil required to keep online casino vendors in business. In the early days of online gambling, casinos offered sign-up bonuses with no wagering requirements, which led to people signing up for accounts just to claim the bonus money, withdraw the cash and never return to the casino again.

Play-through requirements ensure the casinos don’t go bankrupt and people don’t exploit these offers, while still enticing players with a little something extra.

Do all games clear wagering requirements equally?

No – another important thing to be aware of is not all games contribute towards wagering requirements equally. For example, most slot games will contribute 100%, while some table games may contribute as low as 10%.

For example, here is how different games contribute towards meeting play-through requirements at one of our top-rated casino sites, Mucho Vegas:

  • Slot games (excluding specified titles): 100%
  • Table games: 10%
  • Video poker: 10%
  • Live Dealer Casino: 10%
  • Any other game: 10%

Samples of online casino bonus wagering requirements

A major bummer about wagering requirements is the amounts are usually huge – we are not just talking about a measly 2X or 5X play-through here. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are the wagering requirements attached to sign-up bonuses at some of the world’s leading online casino sites:

We recommend our readers always familiarise themselves with the exact wagering requirements of an online casino site they are interested in before signing up and depositing real money, and compare your options for the best possible value.

Other terms and conditions of casino bonuses

It doesn’t stop at the wagering requirements – there are several other terms and conditions attached to online casino bonus offers. In addition to clearing play-through requirements, casino bonuses may come with minimum deposit amounts, country restrictions, game exclusions, expiry dates and more. This is why we can’t express how important it is to read the fine print of any offer. If you don’t read through the terms and conditions, you’ll only have yourself to blame when you find yourself disappointed by a provision further down the track.

The end of wagering requirements may be in sight

As the popularity of online gambling continues to grow, gambling regulators are starting to enforce stricter advertising guidelines for online casino vendors, introducing new rules casino operators must comply with when advertising bonuses to players. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has partnered up with the UK advertising authority, now requiring all online gambling operators clearly advertise any wagering requirements attached to a bonus or promotion.

These compliance regulations have been fully embraced by some online casino vendors, doing away with wagering requirements entirely. For example, BGO Casino introduced a new bonus scheme known as “Fair Spins” where new players can claim free spins upon sign up, which have zero wagering requirements attached. With greater transparency now required, we expect many more online casino vendors will follow suit and start to tweak their bonus offers to be more player-friendly, without so many impossible wagering requirements being buried deep within the terms and conditions.

In the meantime, always be sure to read the fine print of any bonus offer or promotion when depositing real money to an online casino site.