Wagering requirements and why online casinos have them

Online casino sites offer all kinds of enticing bonuses and promotional offers that you won’t find from a land based casino, but due to the wagering requirements hidden in the terms and conditions, online casino bonuses are not all that they seem. We explain what wagering requirements are, how they work and the fastest way to clear wagering requirements to get access to your bonus money.

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What is a wagering requirement?

A wagering requirement (also called play-through requirements or rollovers) is a stipulation found in the terms and conditions of an online casino bonus offer. It relates to how much money a player must first deposit and bet at a casino site before any of the bonus money, or winnings made using the bonus money, can be withdrawn into cold hard cash.

Why wagering requirement are the worst

Wagering requirements suck, plain and simple. While new advertising regulations established in part by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission now require online casino vendors to be more transparent about the conditions attached to their bonus offers, many players remain oblivious to the concept of wagering requirements and find themselves disappointed and angry when it comes to making a withdrawal. In fact, criticisms about wagering conditions are one of the most common complaints lodged against online casino operators.

For example, a casino site may offer a welcome bonus that includes a 100% matched deposit up to $100. On the surface this sounds like a sweet deal, but that bonus offer might come with a 35X wagering requirement, which means you will have to deposit 35 times the amount of your bonus (35 X $100 = $3,500) before you are actually able to withdraw that $100 bonus or any of the money you won when betting using that bonus money.

This may not be a big deal for high rollers or regular players who spent a lot of time at casinos, but for the recreational player who simply enjoys throwing down a small bet from time to time, wagering requirements can make it near impossible to benefit from the bonus money. This is why it’s ultra-important that players read the terms and conditions in the fine print of any online casino bonus before making a deposit, to ensure you fully understand what is required of you before the bonus money is officially yours to keep.

The purpose of wagering requirements

No matter how annoying wagering requirements are, think of them as a necessary evil. Having play-through requirements in place essentially protects casino operators from going out of business, safeguarding against people signing up for an account just to claim the bonus, only to withdraw the bonus money and never play at the casino again. This is exactly what happened in the early days of online casinos, so operators were forced to implement play-through requirements to protect themselves. Unfortunately, the sentiment of “you can’t get something for nothing” is essential in ensuring the online casino industry continues to exist.

Where to find information about wagering requirements

When playing at a casino site with certification from the UK Gambling Commission, you may see information about wagering requirements clearly displayed on the bonus advertisement or promotional banners, but for most sites you will have to do some digging. All bonus offers provided by legitimate casino operators will have a “terms and conditions” section attached and this is where you will find information about play-through requirements, game contributions and any other exclusions.

Do all online casino bonuses have wagering requirements?

The vast majority of casino bonuses do come with wagering requirements attached, but the introduction of new advertising standards means some casino sites are starting to find new ways to restructure their bonus packages to make them wager-free to appeal to more players. For example, BGO Casino launched an entire campaign dedicated to its new ‘Fair Spins’ welcome bonus, where new players get 50 free spins (labelled as “fair spins”) to use on their first real money deposit, with no wagering requirements attached.

Some online casinos also offer a smaller “no deposit bonus” in addition to their major welcome bonus, which may include a small number of free spins or a couple of bonus dollars with no play-through requirements.

Top-rated online casino sites and their bonus requirements

The wagering requirements vary between casino sites, with most starting around the 25X mark and some reaching as high as 50X. Different bonus offers within an individual casino site can also have different wagering requirements, so always double check before making your deposit. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are the wagering requirements attached to welcome bonuses at some of our top-rated casino sites:

Fastest way to clear play-through requirements

Another thing to be aware of when clearing wagering requirements at an online casino is that different games and game types contribute towards wagering requirements differently. For example, at Mucho Vegas Casino, slot games contribute 100% towards rollover requirements, while all other games contribute only 10%. This is pretty standard across the board, but you should always check the terms with the casino you’re playing at to see how their games contribute towards play-through requirements.

Some online casinos also have a limit on the time you can take to clear wagering requirements before your bonus money expires, with many of them capped at 30 days.

From the information above, you can see how important it is to make sure you understand the wagering requirements, game contributions and expiry dates attached to any bonus offer you intend to claim at an online casino. We strongly encourage players to familiarise themselves with these terms and always read the fine print of any offer.

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