Every player loves a casino bonus. Whether it’s free spins on slot machines, a new deposit match, or a no deposit bonus, most casinos offer them because players want them!
But experienced hands like myself know that not all bonuses are what they appear to be upon first inspection.
When you read the small print, there are some interesting conditions:
Minimum Deposits– The smallest amount you’ll need to deposit to activate a bonus. No deposit bonuses are exempt from these.
Win Limits – The maximum amount you can win in terms of real money you can withdraw.
Wagering Requirements – The number of times you’ll need to bet a bonus before you can withdraw it.
I’ll be covering the latter here. After you’ve read through this, you’ll know how wagering requirements work, what a fair deal is, and some tips for completing them more often.
What Are Wagering Requirements?
The first thing to know about wagering requirements is that they go by several other names. Some casinos call them playthrough requirements, and others call them rollover requirements. It depends on the casino, and it also depends on what part of the world you’re playing in. More often than not, the term “playthrough requirements” is used when referring to sports betting bonuses, whereas the other two refer to casino bonuses.
Wagering requirements aren’t difficult to understand, but they do confuse lots of new players. Put simply, they are the number of times you have to bet a casino bonus before you can withdraw it. The example below will help demonstrate the concept.
Casino ABC is offering a 100% deposit match up to $100 for all new players. The wagering requirements are 20x. This means that if you deposit the full $100, you’ll have to make $2,000 worth of wagers before you can withdraw the bonus.
Some players immediately scoff at wagering requirements and dismiss casino bonuses which have them as a scam.
This is a mistake for three reasons:
Casinos are businesses, and they have to manage their risk. They can’t afford for too many players to win and withdraw bonus cash.
Wagering requirements are not impossible to beat. In fact, I’m going to give you some tips for completing them below.
There are lots of casino bonuses with low wagering requirements which are much easier to beat. I’ve seen some with wagering requirements of 3x.
Wagering requirements can seem like a scam if you don’t read the terms and conditions and don’t understand them. However, as an intelligent player who has read this far, that’s not going to happen to you. Instead, you’ll know all about wagering requirements and will carefully pick which games you play to have the best chance of beating them.
Not all casino bonuses come with requirements at 20x. I’ve seen them from as low as 3x all the way up to 100x. I hope it’s obvious that you have virtually zero chance of beating bonuses with 100x wagering requirements. I’d say anything over 40x is getting close to impossible to achieve.
Imagine the same $100 bonus mentioned above with a requirement of 40x. All of a sudden, you have to make $4,000 worth of bets with the bonus cash before you can withdraw it. You’ll have to be incredibly lucky to win and successfully wager that much.
Read the terms and conditions carefully. Some casino bonus offers only ask you to wager the bonus amount. Some others ask you to wager the bonus on top of anything you win. This makes a world of difference.
Game Weighting: Not All Games Are Equal
Another important concept to understand about casino wagering requirements is game weighting.
When you make a bet, each game has a “weight” which counts toward the requirements. At most online casinos, slots have a weight of 100%, whereas games like blackjack might only have a weight of 10%.
What does this mean for you as a player? It means that for every $1 you bet on slots, $1 counts toward wagering. However, if you bet the same $1 on blackjack, only $0.10 counts toward meeting wagering requirements.
Why do casinos do this? It’s because of something called the house edge. Games like blackjack have an incredibly small house edge (advantage). Giving you 100% game weighting on blackjack on a bonus would tilt the odds in your favor, and the casino would soon go bust. With slots, casinos have a much greater house edge, so they can afford that risk. Again, it all comes back to business and risk management.
My advice is to use casino bonuses to play slot machines. You can flip over to play table and card games after you’ve met wagering requirements. Until then, play slots, hope for a big win, and meet wagering requirements that way.
How to Beat Wagering Requirements
If I knew how to beat wagering requirements every time, I’d be an incredibly rich man. Sadly, I don’t have such a secret, but I do have some tips to help you beat wagering requirements. You won’t win every time, but these can help you do so more often.
Choose a Low Wagering Bonus
You’d be amazed at how many players go for a bigger bonus with higher wagering requirements than a smaller one with lower wagering requirements.
We humans love something for nothing, so you can’t blame naive players for this. However, as an experienced player, I’d much rather have a $50 bonus with 10x wagering requirements than a $500 bonus with 40x wagering requirements.
I know I stand almost no chance of beating the second type, but with a little luck and a wagering requirements strategy, I can beat the first type.
Low wagering bonuses are those with wagering requirements below 20x. I’ve reviewed thousands of online casinos in my time, and I’d say the average is in and around 30x. There’s downward pressure on this as more casinos eliminate wagering requirements, but for now, anything below 20x is a fairly good deal. Obviously, the lower the better.
Always go with a bonus with lower wagering requirements, even if that bonus is smaller in monetary value.
Have a Strategy to Beat Wagering Requirements
Some people claim there are no effective strategies for slot machines, you simply have to spin and hope for the best. That may be true when playing slots on an average day, but it’s not true when it comes to beating playthrough requirements.
Here are a couple of strategies to beat them:
Make small bets on low variance slot machines. These games pay out small amounts more often. This means you can rack up plenty of wins without depleting your balance quickly. With an hour or two to spare, you should be able to meet wagering requirements. Play minimum stakes and don’t forget to consider the RTP, too.
The second strategy is the exact opposite. You’ll want to play medium or high variance slot machines and play with medium stakes. Preferably, they should have lucrative bonus features with beefy multipliers. You should play these with a larger number of free spins, such as 100 or 200. The big (but less frequent) wins will keep your balance topped up long enough to beat wagering requirements.
You can decide what the best strategy is for you. It depends on your appetite for risk. Personally, I prefer to make small bets on low variance games. There’s something about long losing streaks that unsettles me, so I prefer to avoid high variance games as a general rule.
Pick the Best Slots for Wagering
Each casino bonus will have a list of approved games you can use free spins and bonus cash on. I can tell you that you’ll almost never be able to play progressive jackpot slots like Mega Moolah with free spins.
You should decide what the best slots for wagering are after considering the following questions:
Which strategy are you going to use to beat wagering requirements?
How many free spins do you have at your disposal?
What’s the RTP of the slot machine you’re considering?
Remember, you can’t always pick any slot machine you want. Most casinos will give you a choice of a few games, but some bonus offers are conditional upon playing a specific game. In that case, the casino chooses for you and the above doesn’t matter.
In my experience, some of the best slots for wagering are NetEnt games.
I recommend playing the following games with free spins:
All of these slot machines strike the right balance between RTP, volatility, and sizable wins. Luckily, lots of casinos offer free spins on Starburst. You might have to dig a little deeper to find free spins on the other two.
Are There Casinos With No Wagering Requirements?
Yes, there are, and they’re becoming more popular. These casinos emerged in the hyper-competitive UK market and have caught on like wildfire. As more players become aware of how difficult it can be to beat wagering requirements, they’re opting for no requirement bonuses.
Is there a catch to bonuses with no requirements? I wouldn’t call them catches, but there will usually be a deposit required, and there will almost always be a roof on what you can win. For example, you might be able to withdraw $1,000 maximum. That’s not bad, but you’ll still want to be aware of it before accepting a deal.
I firmly believe that casino bonuses with no requirements will be the future. I predict that the bonuses will get smaller, but fewer players will feel cheated and bonuses will ultimately be fairer. That can only mean good things for online gambling.
Good luck with beating wagering requirements, and don’t forget to check out our approved gambling sites to see what you could claim.
Based out of London, I began freelance writing for the UK section of GamblingSites.org in October of 2019. Having worked in the gambling industry for over 10 years, I now have the pleasure of adding this site to my list of accomplishments as a casino writer. ...
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