Wagering requirements, play through requirements, bonus rollover, bonus turnover? Most players would have seen something similar on the promotions page at an online casino or in the site’s terms and conditions (if you have bothered wading your way through no doubt many pages of fine print).
There’s good reason why we make a big fuss over this topic, as it is the single most controversial issue between players and online casinos and has been for many years.
This article in our In-depth series deals with wagering requirements, what they mean, how they work, the pitfalls, and how to make sure you use them to your advantage.
Why Wagering Rules?
Here’s the short answer: Because there is no such thing as “free money”. Simply put, the casino protects the house edge that it has over players by placing prescribing rules that determine what a player can and can’t do with the bonus, and when the bonus money can be turned into real cash.
If you really want to maximize your bonus money to work to your benefit, we suggest you read the long answer in the rest of this article.
Imagine for a minute the casino gave you free cash and an open license to play any game? The immediate affect on any given gaming session you engage in (regardless of the game) is that the casino has shortened the house edge in your favor. Remember they calculate their profitability by take vs payout (in simple terms that is).
Now imagine it’s not just you, but a few hundred or even thousands people? Frankly, that’s not a casino that is going to be around for very long.
For this reason, the online casinos imposes bonus wagering requirements that rebalances the odds back in their favor, whilst still giving the player something for free.
“If there was one bit of print every player must read before playing at an online casinos, it has to be the bonus wagering requirements.”
Let’s take a simple example of a 10% bonus up to $500 free (in this case, the first deposit match bonus at HYPERLINK<7 Sultans Casino>), with a stated playthrough requirement of 30 times the bonus. This means that the equivalent of 40 x $100 = $4,000 needs to be wagered before the bonus money in effect gets turned into real cash.
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Caption: Example bonus play through requirements – 7 Sultans Casino.
Do note that some casinos might require you to wager the bonus amount PLUS deposit amount, in which case the above example would have a required wagering volume of $6,000.
So do all games make an equal contribution towards this wagering total? So can you play slots, video poker, or even roulette? Yes and no. Read on.
Game Eligibility And Contribution to Wagering Requirements
Microgaming casinos are fairly consistent when it comes to the games that can be played with bonus money, and that will contribute towards reaching the required wagering volume.
Again, using our example above at 7 Sultans Casino, the game eligibility is clearly outlined, i.e. the games that you can play with this bonus.
As you will see, some games only contribute only a percentage of each wager on the game towards the required wagering volume. Also note:
- If a game is not on this list: DO NOT PLAY IT WITH THE BONUS. Some casinos have a nasty rule that will cancel the bonus if you do and even confiscate your own cash,
- Look through the terms and conditions for specific wager types that are not allowed. For example, you can assume with near 100% certainty that NO online casino will allow you double or nothing bets on video poker games with bonus.
We urge our visitors to familiarize themselves with the related specifics at every online casino they use.
To make things easier for you, our Editorial team has red flagged critical clauses in our casino reviews.
Where Do I Find The Rules On The Casino’s Website?
There should be a link on the bonus / promotions page (frankly if there isn’t a clear link, it raises suspicion).
In each of our casino reviews, we list detailed eligibility rules and game contributions for their bonuses.
What Are The Penalties For Not Following To The Rules?
Unfortunately as in many other industries, there are people who abuse promotions. As a result, casinos have introduced penalties with varying degrees of severity to safeguard themselves against abuse.
Novices casino gamblers from time to time make an innocent mistake; all the more reason the read the wagering requirements carefully.
Where we feel that penalties are unfair or too stringent we publish a red flag in our reviews.
Typical penalties may include:
- Void of bonus monies in the event of playing an ineligible game or making prohibits wager (e.g. double up bet);
Void of bonus monies due to early cash out penalty. This involves making an attempt to cash out winnings prior to fulfilling the wagering requirements. We always recommend sending an email to casino support if you are not sure whether you have fulfilled the requirements;
Void of bonus monies due to the placing of a series of very large bets.
Bonuses are a great way to stretch your bank roll but it cannot be emphasized enough that players should make sure they are 100% familiar with the casinos’ terms and conditions to avoid any disappointment.