Free spins and match bonuses are any player's dream. However, the wagering requirements can sometimes be the underlying nightmare if you don't understand them fully! Wagering requirements have been part of the experience of every online casino player for a long time now. Very few, if any, online casinos will offer a bonus with no wagering requirements.
Understanding the rules and adhering to them can be tedious at best. The question is this: can one actually take any steps to beat wagering requirements when you play at an online casino?
What are Wagering Requirements?
Casinos enforce a number of terms and conditions that players are required to fulfil before they can withdraw winnings from a bonus.
One of the most common of those is the expected wagering requirement (also called the “playthrough requirement” or “rollover amount”). This defines the number of times a player is required to play through a bonus amount before they can withdraw winnings (or sometimes the bonus PLUS deposit amount as you will see later).
Wagering requirements can apply to bonus credits as well as free spins bonuses. We will discuss this in a later section.
To illustrate, let’s consider the following example:
A casino offers a match bonus of 100% up to $200 and prescribes a 35x wagering requirement on the bonus amount. This means you will need to wager your bonus amount 35 times before you can withdraw winnings from it. If you deposit $200 you will need to play through $200*35 = $7,000 in total wagers placed before you are permitted to cash out.
It gets even more complicated, not all games contribute equally towards fulfilment of wagering requirements. Slots usually contribute 100%, while games like blackjack and roulette contribute much less, or sometimes not at all. It is critical to understand what games you can play with the bonus.
Why do casinos have wagering requirements?
Like any other business, the casino is driven by profits. Bonuses are risky for online casinos because when used correctly they can tip the odds ever so slightly in favour of the player.
Think about it for a second, a bonus gives a you a free shot at winning. If you win with bonus money and continue to win enough until you manage to clear the wagering requirements, the casino is out of pocket. This is not ideal for them.
How To Calculate The Wagering Requirements For A Bonus
Let’s recap our example above to make sure this is completely clear:
Scenario 1: The casino offers a 100% match welcome bonus up to $200 on the first deposit, with a 35x wagering requirement on the bonus amount. This means that for you to withdraw winnings from this bonus you will need to wager the bonus amount 35 times.
Assuming you made a deposit of $200 and got another $200 as bonus funds courtesy the 100% match clause, you get $400 to play with. To withdraw any winnings from this bonus, you will need to wager the bonus amount of $200 a total of 35 times, i.e. $7000 ($200 x 35).
Scenario 2: Now let’s change things up. Let’s say the casino offers a 100% match welcome bonus up to $200 on the first deposit, with a 35x wagering requirement on the bonus and deposit amount.
If you made a deposit of $200, the total funds you get to play with are $400 ($200 deposit + $200 bonus). To claim winnings for this bonus, as per the terms and conditions attached in the form of the wagering requirement, you will need to wager the bonus and deposit amount 35 times. This means you will need to wager a total of $14000 = $400 x 35, the $400 being the combined amount of the $200 deposit and $200 bonus.
Wagering Requirements for Free Spins Bonuses
Let’s take a quick look at how the wagering requirement plays out for a free spins bonus. Here you must wager the winnings from the free spins a pre-specified number of times.
In principle, the winnings from free spins become bonus credits which are subject to the same wagering requirements as a match bonus. Don’t make the mistake by thinking free spins winnings are real cash!
Let’s look at an example:
A casino offers a 30 free spins bonus. The wagering requirement for this bonus is 30x and the terms specific that you may win a maximin of $100 using free spins.
If you manage to win with the spins, the wagering requirement would be $100 x 30 = $3000. One condition that is prominently seen in most free spins bonus apart from the wagering requirements is the maximum bet clause: the casino limits the maximum bet you can place while playing to fulfil wagering requirements. The maximum bet using a free spins bonus is usually around $5.
How to Beat Wagering Requirements
Is it possible to beat wagering requirements at all? The answer to that question is yes, but it’s not easy and it requires discipline on your part. All you need is a little bit of time - it shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes - using your computer (or mobile device) to get up and running after going through our checklist. We provide some tips below:
Choose the Right Games to Play
Ensure that you choose the right games to play. This is important because different games contribute differently towards the fulfilment of wagering requirements. For instance, pokies almost always contribute 100% towards fulfilment of wagering requirements, while games like blackjack contribute minimally or not at all. That is why it would make sense to choose pokies to play when you are looking to fulfil wagering requirements.
However, a word of caution: read the fine print carefully because there are some pokies that do not contribute towards the wagering requirements, and the one place that will give you this information is the casino’s terms and conditions page. The best option is to play slots that contribute towards wagering requirement fulfilment and come with a high RTP (Return to Player percentage).
Here are some examples of Aussie pokies with the highest RTP percentages:
Choose online pokies with the highest possible RTP percentage. This is easy to research online.
Choose Your Style of Play
It is important to be able to freeze on a style of play because this will help determine the kind of games you will go after. Based on your play style you can pick up one of three possible slot types:
- High variance pokies: These are slots that offer huge payouts; the catch is that they don’t pay out too often. They are good to use if your play style is gung ho, i.e. you play with the intent of picking up a huge win. The negative element to high variance games is that they don’t pay out too frequently. However, should you hit one of them the wins are mammoth.
- Low variance pokies: These are games that pay out frequently, but pay nominal amounts. The chances of a big payout are very low with these games.
- Medium variance pokies: These games use a combined strategy of high variance and low variance. The percentage of low wins to high wins is more or less the same. They come with loads of cool features and exciting bonuses to give you a bigger shot at winning. When it comes to medium variance pokies, the key is the timing; playing them at the right time is important. For instance you could start off playing aggressively using a high variance game. If you win you get a sizeable payout. And if you see that wins are quite infrequent, you can switch to playing low variance games to even out the scales a bit.
Choose the Right Casino
Chose casinos that use software from reputed providers. Their algorithms are tested and verified, These casinos are usually player-friendly and will have bonuses that come with low wagering requirements. These are also places that follow the laws of the licensing jurisdiction completely.
Use only casinos using verified and tested games. Pick one from our Real Money Casino page.
Read ALL the Fine Print Carefully
Ensure that you read the fine print in the casino’s Terms and Conditions section carefully. This, together with other terms like the possibility of a cap on the minimum and maximum deposit and withdrawal limits, gives you complete knowledge of the bonus and its wagering requirements.
Going through the terms and conditions is important because it gives you the complete picture of the different conditions attached to a bonus.
Read the bonus fine print. Look for restricted games, maximum bet amounts and any conditions that may stop you from cashing out your winnings. Take your time doing this, you will thank yourself later on.
Choose the Right Bonuses
You can go through the list of bonuses and choose the ones with non-sticky bonuses. This means that the wagering requirements in these casinos will apply only to the bonus amount, as against in sticky bonuses where the wagering requirement is on the bonus and deposit amount.
You could also look to play using wager-free bonuses. These are bonuses, usually small and mostly no deposit bonuses or no deposit/wager-free spins, which don’t come with a wagering requirement. The bonus size doesn’t matter because whatever you win you get to keep, at least the maximum cap amount, and that too without having to make a deposit to claim them.
Pick casino bonuses with the lowest wagering requirements.
Here are some great examples:
True Blue Casino: This casino offers loads of cool bonuses, including a 340% no playthrough bonus! This is RARE and worth a shot!
Roo Casino: This casino offers a cool welcome bonus of 200% up to AU$5000, with a low wagering requirement of 20x the deposit and bonus amount.
24VIP Casino: This casino offers a number of exciting bonuses, including a ‘24VIP Match Bonus’ of up to $1200 + 240 Free Spins over 3 deposits, with a low wagering requirement of 15x the deposit and bonus amount.
Use an Accepted System that The Casino Does Not Prohibit
One way to further maximize your chances of winning is to play using a so-called “system” Now a word of caution. Most casinos will clearly state in terms and conditions that should they suspect the use of a betting system they can close your account and confiscate your winnings.
Betting systems range from the very simple (maximal wagering) to very complicated increment betting systems like the Martingale. Whether they work or not when playing slots is a debatable subject.
The simplest strategy advocated by slots players id to place fewer large bets, but casinos mostly frown upon this.
If you are going to follow a strategy placing fewer, larger bets, make sure you do not wager more that the prescribed maximum bet amount allowed in the terms and conditions.
Can We Avoid Wagering Requirements at All?
Wagering requirements are like a necessary evil, and that is not just for the players. If you use a bonus, there will be wagering requirements, see them for what they are. They help to boost your bankroll.
One way of avoiding wagering requirements is to refrain from using them at all! You will need to inform the casino before the bonus is allocated.
The Future of Wagering Requirements
As long as bonuses exist, wagering requirements are here to stay. Online casinos need to protect themselves against bonus abuse. Make sure you read the fine print and use bonuses carefully to prosper!