Wagering Requirements Explained – What are they, how do they work, and how do you beat them?

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If you have ever taken a walk in the online casino world, you would have heard of wagering requirements.

While “wagering requirements” is a term vastly used in the gaming and gambling spheres, many players do not fully understand it. It is also one of the leading reasons why many players have had to forfeit their winnings.

This article is a helpful guide that will not only help players fully understand what wagering requirements are, but also help players avoid the pitiable experience of winning money in gaming sites but not being able to withdraw them.

In this article:

What are Wagering Requirements?

A wagering requirement (also known as playthrough requirements or rollover requirements) is the amount of money that players who claim bonuses must wager before they’ll be allowed to make cash withdrawals.

You face wagering requirements only when you claim casino bonuses. We fully explained the different online casino bonuses in an earlier article. When you make cash deposits and play online casino games with the funds; winnings obtained go into your real money account, and you’ll be able to withdraw them at any time.

However, except otherwise stated, when you claim a bonus, the bonus funds go into a separate wallet – the bonus account. This time, winnings obtained will also go into the bonus account. Unfortunately, funds in the bonus account cannot be withdrawn. You read that right! You’ll have to convert bonus money to real money, and have them moved from the bonus account to the real-money account. Only then can you withdraw them. This is where “wagering requirements” comes in. You convert bonus money to real money by meeting specific wagering requirements.

Wagering Requirements Examples

Wagering Requirements are usually stated:

  • as a multiple of the bonus amount
  • as multiple of the bonus amount plus deposit amount
  • as a multiple of the bonus winnings

1. As a multiple of the bonus amount

You’ll find this wagering requirement attached to match bonuses. In this case, only the amount received as a bonus must be wagered a number of times before withdrawals will be allowed.

Consider the following bonus offer: 50% match bonus up to $100. Minimum deposit $10. 40x wagering requirement apply.

The 40x wagering requirement means that any amount you receive as bonus must be wagered 40 times before you can make a withdrawal. Thus, if you pay-in the minimum deposit amount ($10) and receive a $5 bonus (being that it is a 50% bonus); the wagering requirement is calculated: 40 x $5, which is $200. This means that before you can withdraw, you must wager a minimum of $200. Also, if you claim the full $100 bonus. The wagering requirement is calculated: 40 x $100, which is $4,000. This means that before you can withdraw, you must wager a minimum of $4,000.

2. As multiple of the bonus amount plus deposit amount

You’ll also find this wagering requirement attached to match bonuses. In this case, the sum of the amount deposited and the bonus received must be wagered a number of times before withdrawals will be allowed.

Also, considering the bonus offer: 50% match bonus up to $100. Minimum deposit $10, and wagering requirement of 20x deposit amount plus bonus amount.

The wagering requirement can also be written as: 20x (D + B). That is, you add the deposit amount and the bonus amount, and multiply it by 20. Thus, if you pay-in the minimum deposit amount ($10) and receive a $5 bonus; the wagering requirement is calculated: 20 x ($10 + $5), which is $300. If you claim the full $100 bonus (by depositing $200); the wagering requirement is calculated: 20 x ($200 + $100), which is $6,000.

3. As a multiple of the bonus winnings

You’ll find this wagering requirement attached to Free Spin offers. In this case, it is the winnings obtained from using the Free Spins that must be wagered a number of times before withdrawals will be allowed.

Consider the following bonus offer: Get 50 Bonus Spins on Starburst. Minimum deposit $10. Bonus Spins expire in 7 days. Bonus Spins worth $0.10 each. 10x wagering apply.

Since each Spin is worth $0.10, the 50 Bonus Spins are worth $5. Thus, upon claiming this 50 Bonus Spins offer, $5 will be credited to your bonus account. However, this $5 is not your bonus, so it is not what the 10x wagering requirement applies to. Rather, the $5 credited is what you’ll use to play for your bonus. Winnings obtained when playing using the Free Spins is your bonus. The “winnings” are credited to your bonus account, and it what the wagering requirement apply to.

Thus, if you “win” $150 when using the 50 Bonus Spins, the wagering requirement is calculated: 10 x $150, which is $1,500. This means that you’ll have to wager a minimum of $1,500 before you’ll be allowed cash withdrawals. If you win just $20 when using the Bonus Spins, the wagering requirement is calculated: 10 x $20, which is $200. This means that you’ll have to wager a minimum of $200 before you’ll be allowed cash withdrawals.

More About Wagering Requirements

While it is important to know and understand what the wagering requirement is when claiming a casino bonus, it is also important to know and understand the “other baggage” (associated terms and conditions) that comes with wagering requirements. These include (but not limited to): validity period, maximum bet cap, and game weighting.

1. Bonus Validity period

This is the amount of time that your bonus is valid for. Should you claim a bonus, play casino games with it, and have winnings; you will not have all the time in the world to meet the wagering requirement so as to be able to make cash withdrawals.

In other words, the Bonus Validity Period is the amount of time you have to meet wagering requirement so that bonus funds are converted into real money for withdrawal. If you’re unable to meet wagering requirement before this window closes (the end of the validity period), you’ll forfeit your bonus and any winnings obtained. Thus, you’ll want bonus offers with fairly long validity period.

2. Maximum bet allowed when using bonuses

This is the maximum bet you are allowed to place when playing casino games using bonus funds. You cannot simply place a few big bets so as to quickly meet wagering requirements. Technically, you can, but the end result will be the casino confiscating your winnings.

Online casinos set a maximum bet limit for bonus plays which is usually much lower than the maximum bet limit for real-money plays. Thus, that the maximum bet amount for a particular casino game is $8 does not mean that you are allowed to bet $8 when using bonus funds. When trying to meet wagering requirements, if you place any bet whose value is above the maximum bet allowed for bonus play, when you meet wagering requirements and try to withdraw, the casino will cite you for breach of its terms and confiscate your winnings.

Always look at the fine prints to find out the maximum bet amount allowed when using bonuses. It is usually given either as a fixed amount. An example of this is: “The maximum bet while a bonus is actively being played through is $8 per round and 50c per line. Failure to follow this condition may result in forfeiting any winnings”.

Also relating to “the maximum bet allowed when playing using bonuses” is something in a group of actions that online casinos term “irregular game play”. One example of irregular game play often mentioned is: “placing single bets equal to or in excess of 30% or more of the value of the bonus credited to your account until such time as the wagering requirements for that bonus have been met”.

What does all of this mean? Consider the “50% match up to $100” bonus offer. If you deposit $20, you’ll get a $10 bonus. Even if the casino’s maximum bet for bonus plays is $8 per round, if you place an $8 bet, it will be considered irregular game play (and your winnings will be confiscated), because the $8 bet is more than 30% of the bonus you receive.

3. Game Weighting (Contribution of games to wagering)

This is the percentage of a bet that will count towards meeting wagering requirement. Casino games do not contribute equally to wagering. So, you need to play the right games if you are going to meet wagering requirement and be allowed cash withdrawals.

You’ll meet wagering requirement quicker by playing games with high contribution to wagering. However, it’ll be relatively difficult to meet wagering requirement if you play games with low contribution to wagering.

Consider the following game weighting of an online casino:

  • 100% – All Slots (excluding Progressive Jackpots), Keno & Scratch Card games
  • 8% – All table pokers, all roulettes, all video/power Pokers (excluding All Aces and Jacks or Better video pokers), all blackjacks (excluding Classic Blackjack) and Casino War
  • 2% – Classic Blackjacks, All Aces video pokers, all Jacks or Better video pokers
  • 0% – All baccarats, all craps, Red Dog, Sic Bo, Progressive Jackpots

The 100% weighting of Slots means that a $1 bet on Slots will count as $1 towards meeting wagering requirement. The 8% weighting of Table Pokers, Roulettes, and Video Pokers means that a $1 bet on these games will count as $0.08 towards meeting wagering requirement. Lastly, the 0% weighting of Baccarats and Craps means that these games do not count towards meeting wagering requirement.

Thus, if you claim bonuses in this online casino, for any hope of meeting wagering requirement, you’ll want to be playing slots. It’ll be very difficult to meet wagering requirement if you play the 8% or 2% weighted games, and it’ll be impossible to meet wagering requirement if you play the 0% weighted games.

Why do Online Casinos set Wagering Requirements?

Generally, online casino players hate wagering requirements, especially when these are perceived as unfair. The question then is why online casinos continue to set wagering requirements.

Some online casinos, and their apologists, will tell you that wagering requirements are in place so that casinos can comply with anti-money laundering regulations, arguing that these prevent fraudulent persons from cleaning their illegal monies by depositing them into casinos and immediately withdrawing.  However, this is some very false argumentation.

  • First, wagering requirements are attached to bonuses. If you deposit, and do not claim bonuses, you’ll not have to face wagering requirement.
  • Secondly, online casinos actually have a condition in place to check money laundering activities. The condition is that “every fund deposited in an online casino must be wagered at least once” before withdrawals can be made.

Thus, the 10x, 30x, or 70x wagering requirement you’ll contend with when you claim a bonus has nothing to do with the complying with anti-money laundering regulations.

So why do wagering requirements exists? Though, most casino enthusiasts will not admit it, the honest answer is that wagering requirements exists so that it’ll be difficult for players to withdraw free money from online casinos.

Yes, casino bonuses and winnings received from bonus plays are free money. However, as business ventures, no online casino sets out to give players free money. Thus, when the casinos create their bonus offers, they put “hoops” in place to make it difficult to turn any bonus funds you receive into real money that can be withdrawn. Wagering requirements happen to be some of those hoops. This is why, in an earlier, we warned that wagering requirements can easily turn bonuses to dangerous traps.

If wagering requirements are “hoops” that make it difficult to turn bonuses into real money for withdrawals, the next logical question is whether wagering requirements are legal. That is, is “wagering requirements” a scam?

The short answer to this is: NO. You’ll agree that “Terms and Conditions” apply to virtually every offer in the business world. Since online casinos are also business ventures, “terms and conditions” also apply to their offers. “Wagering requirements” happen to be one of such terms applying to casino bonus offers.

The legal requirement is that gambling sites should clearly publish their “Terms and Conditions”. Every gambling site out there publish their Terms and Conditions, and the wagering requirement is usually nestled somewhere in those pages. That said, it is only when an online casino does not display its “bonus wagering requirements” that it can be considered scam.

Why do people get trapped by Wagering Requirements?

Make no mistake, wagering requirements and associated conditions continue to put many punters into trouble, leading to their winnings being forfeited. Why is this the case? We think the answer is inexperience, ignorance, or laziness; or some combination of these.

The wagering requirements and associated conditions are listed in “Terms and Conditions” pages of gambling sites, so every punter only have to look them up and proceed accordingly.

However, the inexperienced punter may not even know that these terms exist. He/ she sees that “deposit $20 and get free $100”, gets excited at the prospect of “free money”, and rushes to claim the bonus. The lazy punter knows that some conditions apply to that “free money” offer, and that these conditions are in the “Terms and Conditions” page. But he/ she will not find the time or drive to read up. The ignorant punter will look up these terms but may not fully understand them; or he/ she may fully understand these terms but may somehow breach one or more.

How do you Beat Wagering Requirements?

The first and most important step in beating wagering requirements is to read the fine prints to get a clear understanding of the conditions that apply to your bonus. Afterall, it’ll be nigh impossible to beat something that you do not understand.

This cannot be emphasized enough. Before signing up for any bonus offer, read applicable terms and conditions.

Then play games with high contribution towards meeting wagering. These are usually the slots. However, watch out for “game exclusions”, as there are some slots you cannot play when using bonuses.

When wagering on slots to meet wagering requirements, two strategies that most punters use are: play high bets on low variances slots, or play low (or medium) bets on high variance slots. Either strategy works just fine. However, when playing high bets on low variance slots, ensure to not place any bet above the allowed maximum bet amount for bonus plays.

Conclusions

Conclusively, wagering requirements is the amount of money you must wager before you can make cash withdrawals (if you claim a bonus). Wagering requirements make casino free money anything but “free”. They exist to make it difficult to turn bonus money into real money for withdrawals.

However, hope you saw “difficult”, and not “impossible”. Thus, despite the wagering requirement hoops, it is possible to meet wagering requirements and turn bonus money into real money that you can withdraw and enjoy.

Know that wagering requirements are not some scams. It is very legit; as long as the wagering requirement and associated conditions are listed in the Terms and Conditions pages. They continue to trap punters because of inexperience, ignorance or laziness. You only need to look up and understand the “terms and conditions” of any offer before jumping at it.

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