How Online Casino Wagering Requirements Work

Chloe Wilson - EditorChloe Wilson - 03 February 2021 in Features

Wagering requirements are perhaps the most confusing and frequently discussed bonus terms. They also largely determine a casino bonus' actual value and separate excellent casino bonuses from mediocre ones.

In this article, you will learn precisely how wagering requirements work. We explain how they apply to different bonuses, what bonus terms you must consider when wagering a bonus and what constitutes a reasonable and fair wagering requirement. By the end of this article, you will be able to effortlessly assess different bonuses and find the best deal.

A 1-Minute Crash Course In Wagering Requirements

We will be covering each aspect of bonus wagering in great detail as you read this, however, here is a crash course that will give you a relatively comprehensive understanding of wagering requirements in less than a minute:

What Is a Wagering Requirement? What Is a Wagering Requirement?

A wagering requirement specifies how many times you must play through the value of your bonus, or free spin win before you can withdraw your bonus winnings. Casinos generally apply wagering requirements of 30 to 70 times your bonus or free spin win.

Why Do Online Casinos Have Wagering Requirements? Why Do Online Casinos Have Wagering Requirements?

Casinos apply wagering requirements to ensure that you do not simply withdraw a bonus. If casinos did not have wagering requirements, it would not be financially sustainable for them to offer players bonuses.

How Do Wagering Requirements Work? How Do Wagering Requirements Work?

You start wagering a bonus when you have used all funds in your cash balance and start playing with bonus credits. With every spin you play, the casino will deduct a corresponding amount from your bonus wagering requirement. When you play other games than pokies, only a percentage of your stake is subtracted from your wagering requirement.

In the case of a no deposit bonus, you start to wager the bonus credits immediately as there will be no cash funds required to claim the bonus credits.

What Other Bonus Terms Must I Consider? What Other Bonus Terms Must I Consider?

You must always consider bet size limits, win limits, game weighting percentages and excluded games. Further down, we explain everything you need to know about casino bonus terms.

What Are Wagering Requirements and Why Do Casinos Have Them?

Casinos have wagering requirements to ensure that you do not claim a bonus and instantly withdraw the money that you have received or won.

Typically, an online casino will require you to play through the value of your bonus between 30 and 70 times. The higher a wagering requirement is, the harder it is to complete.

Wagering requirements are always expressed as a number, and depending on what bonus you have claimed, they will be applied to:

  1. The amount you have won with free spins.
  2. The amount of bonus credits you have received in the form of a no deposit bonus or match deposit bonus.
  3. The amount of bonus credits you have received and your qualifying deposit.

Let us look in more detail at one of our recommended bonuses to demonstrate how casinos apply wagering requirements:

Taking Ozwin Casino's welcome offer for example, you can see that new players receive a $10 no deposit bonus with a 60x wagering requirement. This means that you must stake $600 to convert your bonus credits to real money that you can withdraw.

$10 bonus x a 60x wagering requirement = $600 to wager.

Wagering Requirements - Example 1
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How Match Casino Bonuses Work

To fully understand bonus wagering, you must first grasp the basic principles of how the balances in your account work.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Good to know Your account has two balances - a cash balance and a bonus balance.
  • Good to know Funds that you deposit are credited to your cash balance. Bonuses are added to your bonus balance.
  • Good to know You always play with the cash funds first. Once you have exhausted the funds in your cash balance, you will access your bonus funds. It is at this point you start wagering your bonus.
  • Good to know You can only withdraw funds from your cash balance.
  • Good to know Bonus funds are transferred to your cash balance once you have completed the wagering requirements associated with the bonus.

The Wagering Process Explained

Once you have used the money in your cash balance, you will start playing with bonus credits.

From this point onwards, all spins and hands you play will count towards your wagering requirement. You can always check how much you have left to wager in your account settings.

Below, we have claimed PlayCroco’s welcome bonus to illustrate how the wagering process works.

A player's bonus balance and wagering requirement as it is displayed immediately after redeeming PlayCroco Casino's $10 no deposit bonus.
This bonus has a 60x wagering requirement.

PlayCroco Example

The player plays a $1 spin on 5 Wishes. This spin yields a $3.88 win.

PlayCroco Example

The $3.88 is added to the player's bonus balance, and the wagering requirement is reduced by $1.

PlayCroco Example
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How Different Games Affect Your Wagering Requirement

When you play pokies, the casino will deduct an amount equivalent to your entire stake from your wagering requirement. If you play a $1 spin, your wagering requirement will thus decrease by $1.

When it comes to table games, video poker and live casino games, only a percentage of your bet will count towards your wagering requirement. This is known as game weighting, and the exact percentages may vary from one casino to another.

Casinos generally apply game weighting percentages of 5% to 25% on games other than pokies. If you bet $1 on a 10% weighted game, only $0.01 is deducted from your wagering requirement.

These images show game weighting percentages at Kings Chance and WildCardCity Casino, respectively. As you can see, there are significant differences to consider.

Permitted Games - Example 1 Permitted Games - Example 2

Wagering Requirements Apply to Different Kinds of Casino Bonuses

This is how wagering requirements apply to different kinds of bonuses:

  • No Deposit BonusesNo Deposit Bonuses The wagering requirement is applied to the amount of bonus credits you have received.
  • No Deposit BonusesFree Spins The wagering requirement is applied to the amount you have won with your free spins.
  • No Deposit BonusesMatch Bonuses The wagering requirement can be applied solely to the bonus amount, or both the bonus and its qualifying deposit.

Wagering Requirements for Match Bonuses

When it comes to match bonuses, a casino may apply its wagering requirement to both your bonus and its qualifying deposit.

If you claim a bonus with a wagering requirement applicable to both the bonus and its deposit, you will have to stake a considerably larger amount to wager your bonus. In other words, you are a lot less likely to complete the wagering requirement.

Let us use two of our exclusive match deposit bonuses to demonstrate the difference:

Example

Kings Chance and King Johnnie offer 100% match bonuses of $10,000 and $6,000 respectively. These are the wagering requirements of each bonus:

Kings Chance: 50 times your deposit and your bonus.

King Johnnie: 50 times your bonus only.

For the sake of comparison, let us say you deposit $100 and receive a $100 bonus from each casino. The respective wagering requirements now look like this:

Kings Chance: $100 + $100 deposit = $200 x a 50x wagering requirement= $10,000 to wager.

King Johnnie: $100 bonus x a 50x wagering requirement = $5,000 to wager.

As you can see, you only stake half as much if you claim King Johnnie's bonus. The higher the bonus percentage, the more drastic the difference between a regular wagering requirement and one applied to both your bonus and deposit will become.

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Bonus Terms That Affect Your Bonus Wagering

In conjunction with their wagering requirements, casinos have several other bonus terms that you must consider when wagering a bonus.

These bonus terms are:

Win Limits Win Limits

Win limits restrict how much of your bonus winnings you can withdraw. Casinos generally only apply win limits to no deposit offers to ensure they cannot lose more than a certain amount on their free bonuses. Win limits can range from $20 to $250.

Bet Size Limits Bet Size Limits

Since casino wins are always a multiplication of your stake, casinos can effectively manage risk by merely limiting your bet size. Therefore, most casinos apply a bet size limit of $5 per spin when you play with bonus credits.

By limiting your bet size, casinos reduce your chances of hitting big wins that can leave substantial funds in your account even after you have completed your wagering requirement.

Let us look at a hypothetical example to put all this into context:

Let us assume that you claim Woo Casino's $300 bonus which has a 40x wagering requirement.

You deposit $100 and receive a $100 bonus. Once you have exhausted the funds in your cash balance, you are left with the following:

Bonus balance: $100

Amount to wager: $4,000

Let us say that you are playing Wolf Gold which has a win multiplier. Assume that you pay a $25 spin and immediately hit the 2,500x max win. You are now left with the following:

$25 spin x a 2,500 win multiplier = $62,500 bonus win.

$4,000 wagering requirement - $25 spin on Wolf Gold = $3,975 left to wager.

$62,500 bonus win - a remaining wagering requirement of $3,975= $58,525 in withdrawable funds.

As you can see, you are left with a considerable balance even after you have subtracted the remaining wagering requirement.

Let us now take the same example and apply the common $5 bet size limit. In such a scenario, this is what you are left with:

$5 spin x a 2,500 win multiplier= $12,500 bonus win.

$4,000 wagering requirement - $5 spin on Wolf Gold = $3,995 left to wager.

$12,500 bonus win - a remaining wagering requirement of $3,995= $8,505 in withdrawable funds.

As you can tell, the imposed bet size limit drastically reduces the casino's financial risk.

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Excluded Games Excluded Games

Casinos exclude pokies with high volatility and RTP percentages for the same reason they implement bet size limits - to limit your chances of scoring massive wins that leave substantial amounts in your bonus balance after your wagering requirement is completed.

Therefore, all casinos have a list of excluded games that you cannot play with bonus credits. If you wager a bonus on ineligible games, the casino will confiscate your bonus winnings.

However, some casinos exclude a lot more games than others. Therefore, you must always compare the excluded games to ensure that you can play as many of your favourite games as possible. You can always see excluded games in our casino reviews.

These images show the signifcant difference between the number of excluded games at Casino Chan (first image) and BitStarz (second image).

Excluded Games - Example 1 Excluded Games - Example 1

Bet Size Limits Game Weighting Percentages

As we have already explained, game weighting percentages significantly impact your chances of wagering a bonus and vary considerably from one casino to another.

You should always compare game weighting percentages when you intend to wager a bonus on live casino games, table games or video poker. We always display a casino's game weighting percentages in our reviews.

The excluded games at True Blue Casino and Reels of Joy, as they are shown in our reviews. As you can see, there is a staggering difference when it comes to Blackjack and Video Poker.

Game Weightings - Example 1 Game Weightings - Example 2

What Is a Reasonable Wagering Requirement?

Wagering requirements can vary significantly from one casino site to another.

See this chart to determine whether a bonus' wagering requirement is reasonable:

Wagering requirementWhen applied to your bonus or free spin winWhen applied to both your bonus and its qualifying deposit
35x or lessGreatGood
35x to 50xStandardDecent to High
60x to 70xHighUnreasonable
70x or moreUnreasonableAlmost unheard of

How To Choose An Online Casino Bonus

As you can tell, there are several aspects you must consider when choosing a bonus and comparing wagering requirements.

With time, you will get more familiar with all the different aspects and assess bonuses effortlessly.

In the meantime, we have devised a useful checklist that you can use to quickly assess and compare our exclusive no deposit bonuses:

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