This is one of those gambling terms used in slot games that’s essential to know and understand as a beginner. Though, even well-practised players can use some brushing up on the specifics sometimes!
Casino welcome bonuses usually come with a set of conditions that need to be met before you can withdraw your winnings as cash and wagering is a key one used across all casino games, be it slots, bingo, instant win or card games.
When you receive bonus money from an online casino, more often than not, you will be asked to fulfil a wagering requirement before you are allowed to make a withdrawal. If you don’t meet these wagering requirements, your bonus money will never be converted into real money for withdrawal.
They are always listed in the offer or the site’s terms and conditions but can be a bit confusing if you’ve never seen the term before. Here’s our short guide to everything you need to know!
A definition that makes sense
A wager is simply the name for the money that is spent on a bet. You could say either “I put down a 10¢ wager on one spin” or “I bet 10¢ on one spin”.
Therefore a wagering requirement is simply the required amount you will need to bet in order to meet the conditions of the deal.
You could think of it as how much you will need to play through before you can withdraw your winnings. Alternatively, a casino might frame it as a requirement that you need to play through before they will award you a bonus.
Wagering requirements are usually written as a number with an x to demonstrate the number of times you will need to play through. For example, 10x means play through the amount 10 times or 30x means play through the amount 30 times.
So, if you had a £10 bonus with a 40x wagering requirement, you would need to play through $400 before you can withdraw your winnings.
You can do this any way you want – you could bet 10¢ 4000 times, or 20¢ 2000 times, or $1 400 times – any combination works, as long as the total comes to $400.
Remember, this is not the amount of money you need to lose, it’s only what you need to play through. Whatever is left over at the end is yours to continue playing with or withdraw.
To find out what the wagering requirement is on a deal, look for the terms and conditions listed with the offer. Usually, this is in the fine print under the promotional image, but you might also need to click a link to a longer page of terms and conditions. From there, you can search the page by clicking Ctrl + F and typing “wagering”. This should take you to the place in the text that clearly indicates the wagering requirement of the offer.
Why do casinos have wagering requirements?
Casinos are in the business of making profits – don’t get your hopes up thinking they want to give away free money. If they offered new customers free spins or welcome bonuses without requiring you to put in any of your own money, they’d go bankrupt quite fast! Players would simply accept the offer and immediately withdraw the cash.
From the casino’s perspective, wagering requirements are there to ensure people play the game and hopefully enjoy it enough to stay loyal to the site.
Are wagering requirements a con?
Wagering requirements are a legitimate and commonplace condition at almost all casinos. As long as you understand what you’re getting, you can match your expectations accordingly.
Remember you’re ultimately getting a bonus for free. Take our example from before: if you had a $10 bonus with a 40x wagering requirement, you would need to play that bonus through 40 times before you could claim winnings. So, if you’re lucky and make $400 off the bonus, it’s yours to withdraw! But you might not make it that far before you lose too often and run out of money – no worries. All you’ve lost is a free £10, and you hopefully had fun doing so! Any of your own money you deposit won’t have a wagering limit and is yours to play with and withdraw as you like.
The only exception to this is that some casinos include the initial deposit you made in order to get a bonus within its wagering requirement. This is not common, but it’s worth checking the terms and conditions to be sure if it applies.
You can expect a casino to set its wagering requirements anywhere between a 5x and a 50x depending on the game. Note that online blackjack and roulette often have lower wagering requirements than slot games.
Essentially, the lower the wagering requirement the better if you’re looking to snap up cash quickly. If you have more of a long-term strategy with slots, this won’t matter as much. If you find a deal with a wagering requirement on the lower end of the scale, lucky you! If the requirement is much higher, it’s not necessarily a write-off. Consider how much you like the casino in general and whether the bonus comes with any additional benefits that make it worthwhile.
How can I use this information to my advantage?
There is no way to guarantee to project a series of results on any slot machine as they work by random number generators. Each result is entirely random and independent of all the results that came before. Some card games can be counted at land-based casinos, but computers make that feat a lot harder as the deck gets continuously shuffled to ensure unpredictable results.
Some players like to calculate their potential winnings from a casino deal by taking into account the wagering requirement, RTP (find out more about what RTP is here) and volatility of a game. However, we recommend choosing a casino you find fun and entertaining as this tends to count for a lot more than a strategy.
What are wager-free bonus offers?
There are some casinos that will give you a bonus deal with a 1x wagering requirement or none at all! They are also called ‘zero wagering’ bonuses. The benefit of these is that any winnings from these sorts of bonuses are immediately accessible to the player once they’ve been won.
These are not to be confused with no-deposit casino bonuses. These are welcome bonuses which do not require the player to deposit a sum of money before they can receive the bonus. Check out our guide on how to play slots for free if you’re interested in making real money out of a casino without having to spend a penny, but be warned, it’s likely you’ll eventually have to put some money down in order to withdraw big, worthwhile results!
Now that you’re up to date on wagering requirements, be sure to brush up on some other online casino know-how, such as how to play slots for free!