Online casino bonuses are associated with wagering requirements. Those are the pesky terms and conditions you need to meet to be able to cash out your winnings.

WHAT ARE ONLINE CASINO WAGERING REQUIREMENTS?

Ever heard the expression: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch? 
Ultimately, somebody’s got to pay the piper. Despite this, everyone loves a freebie, and why not – it’s a complimentary gift to enjoy. We can probably count on our fingers the number of places that offer free cash to people. Luckily, you don’t have to search too hard – online casinos are one of them. 
If you play your cards right, you may just score a winner with online casino bonuses and promotional offers.

But first, you must meet the wagering requirements. These are the terms and conditions tacked on to the bonuses available to you. Read them carefully, comply and you will be able to cash out a winner!
Wagering requirements go by another name, playthrough requirements. This refers to the amount of money that must be wagered before you can cash out your winnings. A couple of examples will help you to understand how to meet a wagering requirement:

Let’s assume that your favorite online casino is offering a 250% match bonus on your first deposit and it has a 10 X wagering requirement

If your first deposit is $100, you will receive $250 in bonus cash, so the total bankroll in your account is $350. Can you cash out $350 right now? No. You must meet the 10 X wagering requirement first.

  • If the online casino requires you to wager 10 X the deposit + the bonus, you will need to play through $350 X 10 = $3,500.
  • If the online casino requires you to wager 10 X the bonus only, you will need to play through $250 X 10 = $2,500.

Can you spot the difference? The devil is in the details. The way you approach a welcome bonus and its wagering requirements is by carefully evaluating whether you need to wager the bonus + deposit, or only the bonus amount with the multiplier.

Once you have met the playthrough requirements (wagering requirement), you’re free to cash out your winnings…. almost. If only things were that simple. There’s more to bonuses and wagering requirements than meets the eye.

HOW BIG CAN WAGERING REQUIREMENTS GET?

As a rule, you can expect bigger bonuses to be associated with bigger wagering requirements. You will need to play through your bonus + your deposit many more times when you’re offered large upfront bonuses. 

The multiplier is often referred to as a bonus turnover or even a bonus rollover. Online casino bonuses are typically bigger than online bingo bonuses, and therefore associated with bigger wagering requirements. The standard online casino playthrough requirements can range between 20 X – 50 X, sometimes even more.

Luckily, you don’t need to worry about finding the terms and conditions of bonuses – they are clearly displayed for everyone to read. You can always ask customer service about the fine print of these bonus offers if you’re a little uncertain. 

Some bonuses are easier to understand than others, particularly wager-free bonuses at casinos. These are offered as free spins bonuses, or no deposit bonuses, and they are typically associated with certain requirements before you can process a withdrawal.

It’s not only the size of the wagering requirement that matters, it’s the time constraints too. Many online casinos will have expiration dates on bonuses, and a limited time within which you must meet the playthrough requirements, failing which it will be forfeited. Knowing this, you can safely map out how to meet your wagering requirements and claim your cash. 

If you have a big bonus and a substantial wagering requirement, you may not be able to clear that bonus. That’s why it’s not always a good idea to go for the biggest bonuses; it may be in your best interests to simply go for a smaller bonus with easier to satisfy wagering requirements.
You might have to work hard to clear the playthrough requirements in a limited timeframe, and if you’re required to wager thousands of dollars – the bonus may not be a realistic proposition.

First, decide whether you wish to claim a bonus with a wagering requirement on the bonus + deposit amount, or simply on the bonus amount. Once you have the wagering requirement number – 10 X, 20 X, 30 X, 40 X, or 50 X, you simply multiply that by the number. This indicates exactly how much you must bet before you can cash out. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REAL MONEY BONUS AND A STICKY BONUS?

A real money bonus will automatically be converted into real cash in your account once you’ve met the wagering requirement. 
Let’s assume that you registered at your favorite online casino, and it is offering a $200 bonus with a 10 X playthrough requirement on the bonus. This means that you will need to satisfy the $2,000 playthrough requirement before you can cash out. Now, let’s spice things up and assume that you win a $10,000 jackpot with your bonus.

With a real money bonus, the $200 bonus will be credited to your account once you have wagered $2,000. You could withdraw everything from your account ($10,000 + $200) as soon as these terms and conditions have been satisfied.

However, if you have a sticky bonus, you will be able to withdraw the $10,000 jackpot, but the bonus will remain in your account and you will be able to play with it. It is sticky because you can’t withdraw it! Be advised that some online casinos may even deduct the sticky bonus from your cashout amount even though they’re not supposed to.

Real money bonuses are typically subject to high playthrough requirements. They may even be backend loaded, meaning that you will have to meet the playthrough requirements before you see the bonus.

Any winnings that you accumulate with a bonus will be held in escrow – a pending status – while you’re meeting the bonus wagering terms. You may be curious to understand how you meet these wagering requirements. There’s only one way to do this: play real money casino games. You will continue betting until the bet amount meets the wagering requirement amount. The goal is to try and meet your wagering requirement by playing with winnings that you have accumulated through your bonus. Try not to chase $200 in bonus cash with $2,000 of your own cash!

HOW TO WITHDRAW FUNDS FROM YOUR ONLINE CASINO ACCOUNT?

When a wagering requirement is in place, you will be restricted in terms of how much you can withdraw. Once you meet the playthrough requirements, you will be able to withdraw your funds. If there is a sticky bonus in your account, that stays with the online casino. Remember that online casinos typically require players to wager at least the amount that they have deposited before any withdrawals can be processed. This is standard practice with anti-money laundering regulations.

If you are eager to withdraw your funds before you have cleared your bonus, you will need to comply with the T&C of the online casino first. As stated above, there are minimum wagering requirements in place to prevent people from using online casinos for money laundering purposes. You may be required to give up a portion of your bonus, or all of it, depending on the rules of the online casino in question.

Things get a little more complicated when you are currently trying to clear multiple bonuses in your account. Since each bonus is associated with its own wagering terms and conditions, you may find yourself in a situation where you are struggling to keep up with the playthrough requirements on each bonus. Begin by understanding which amounts you cannot cash out at all. The following examples will help you to understand how to process withdrawals from your online casino account:

  • Let’s say you make a $200 deposit and you receive a $100 sticky bonus. If you comply with the wagering requirements for this bonus, and you win $200 more than you bet, what happens next?

Your total account balance at this point is $200 (initial deposit) + $100 (the sticky bonus) + $200 (your winnings after meeting the wagering requirements) = $500. Congrats! You are doing well. After patting yourself on the back, you find out that this online casino is also offering a multi-deposit bonus valued at 50% on additional deposits. Let’s say you deposit another $100 and you’re eligible for a $50 re-deposit bonus. Now your account balance has increased by $150.

Perhaps your wedding anniversary is coming up next week, or a relative has a birthday and you want to buy them a gift. You navigate to the cashier in your account and click the withdraw button. However, you have not yet met the wagering requirement on the $50 bonus you received. You will be surprised to learn about your options at this point. Online casinos have different rules and regulations when it comes to early withdrawals of bonuses:

  • Certain online casinos may not permit withdrawals if there is any balance subject to uncleared playthrough requirements.
  • Certain online casinos may permit you to withdraw only cleared cash balances. In this case, your cleared cash is $200 + $200 in winnings = $400. The $100 sticky bonus remains with the casino. You will have to forfeit the $50 re-deposit bonus in this case.
  • Certain online casinos may permit you to withdraw cleared cash balances, but all bonus money will be forfeited. In this case, you will have to forfeit the $100 sticky bonus and the $50 redeposit bonus.
  • Certain online casinos may allow you to withdraw cash balances with no penalties. However, you will not be able to withdraw the additional deposit of $100 subject to wagering requirements. 

All these wagering terms and conditions can be a little overwhelming. Truth be told, there are many more T&Cs associated with bonuses and withdrawals. We will limit our discussion to these options. The reason why online casinos make a big deal of wagering terms and conditions is to maintain the integrity of online gambling.

Credibility and transparency are important to licensed online casino operators and this is precisely why compliance is mandatory. Be sure that you understand all the terms and conditions before you deposit at an online casino. We will be addressing this topic in the next section.

ALWAYS READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS

mobile game player

Bonus wagering terms and conditions are loaded with fine print. Read them carefully so that you know which games qualify and which games don’t. For example, slots typically contribute 100% towards meeting the wagering terms and conditions of bonuses, while skill-based games like blackjack may count minimally, or not at all. Be sure you know which games you can play and which games you can’t play when you’re trying to meet playthrough requirements. 
Case Study at 888casino: 100% Match Deposit up to $100

One of the leading online casinos, 888casino provides comprehensive information on meeting bonus requirements. Bonuses come in all shapes and sizes, including jackpot vouchers, FreePlay, in-game bonuses, and free spins. These are in addition to regular deposit bonuses, match bonuses, re-deposit bonuses, and the like. Assuming a 100% bonus on your first deposit up to $100, let’s see what this entails for a typical online casino player:

  • Eligibility is restricted to new players only
  • The bonus will be credited to the player's account upon deposit
  • Players are only eligible for one welcome bonus per household
  • All bonuses are subject to wagering requirements of 30 X the bonus amount
  • Winnings can only we withdrawn once the wagering requirement has been met
  • Not all casino games contribute towards meeting the playthrough requirements
  • Players must complete the wagering requirements within 90 days or else forfeit the bonus and winnings associated with that bonus
  • Any attempts to cash out before wagering requirements have been met will result in the bonus + winnings being cancelled upon cashout
  • Players are not allowed to have received welcome bonuses from the casino in the past

Certain bonuses are exclusive offers. In other words, you will not be able to claim them if you have other bonuses at play in your account. If you have multiple bonuses, and you’re trying to meet the wagering requirements on all of them, things get a little tricky.

The numbers can be a little confusing, so stick to the basics. Always check to see whether the wagering requirements apply to the bonus, or the bonus + deposit. Is it a sticky bonus? Is it a real money bonus? Which games contribute 100% towards meeting the playthrough requirements? Which games contribute minimally towards meeting those requirements?

TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF WAGERING CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SPECIFIC CASINO GAMES

We cited the example of 888casino’s bonus terms and conditions above. This online casino has specific wagering contributions associated with individual games, for example:

  • Slots games including classic slots, video slots, and progressive jackpot slots games typically contribute 100% towards meeting the wagering requirements.
  • This means that slot machine games will give you the most bang for your buck when you’re trying to meet the playthrough requirements. Every dollar contributes a dollar towards the playthrough requirement.
  • Games like Poker, Triple Card Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Roulette, and Caribbean Poker contribute 20% towards meeting the wagering requirements.
  • This means that the above games will only give you $0.20 on the dollar when you are meeting your wagering requirements. If you have a $500 playthrough requirement, you will need to play $500 x 5 = $2,500 worth of these games to meet the playthrough requirement. 
  • Video poker, Baccarat, Live Blackjack, Live Roulette, Hi-Lo, and related games contribute 10% towards meeting the wagering requirements.
  • For a $500 playthrough requirement, you will need to play $500 X 10 = $5000 worth of the above games to comply with wagering terms and conditions.
  • Craps games contribute 5% towards the wagering requirement on the 100% match bonus up to $100. For this game, you would need to wager 20 times more than you do on slots to meet the playthrough requirement. A $500 playthrough requirement requires $500 X 20 = $10,000 worth of play.

HOW DO FREEPLAY BONUSES, FREE SPINS, AND JACKPOT VOUCHERS FACTOR INTO THE EQUATION?

In the case of 888casino’s welcome bonus offer, FreePlay and free spins expire after 14 days. If you have unused free spins or FreePlay offers available, they will be deleted from the account after 14 days. Any winnings that you accrue from FreePlay bonuses and free spins are subject to T&C associated with these bonuses. Winnings that result from FreePlay or free spins will be credited to the player’s account after the free spins or FreePlay has been completed. 

Jackpot vouchers are a form of bonus that is offered to players from time to time. They are used exclusively for jackpot games and cannot be transferred to other players, converted into cash, or used with other jackpot vouchers. Jackpot prizes that are one with jackpot vouchers are not subject to wagering requirements. This is an important point to bear in mind.

WHY DO ONLINE CASINOS LIKE WAGERING REQUIREMENTS ANYWAY?

Nothing for nothing right? Online casinos are in the business of making money – just like any other business. However, they are eager to get you off to a good start with bonuses. A wagering requirement is the only guarantee that this type of business will not go out of business – imagine if online casino players were simply cashing out their bonuses and their winnings and not meeting any wagering requirements? Online casinos work hard to attract players and the most appealing marketing strategy is a bonus.

If this all seems a little too complicated, you could always simply deposit cash, reject the bonus and cash out your winnings. It would be a shame to give up a premium welcome bonus package though.

All online casinos have strict policies in place to prevent money laundering. Some folks take illegitimately gained cash and deposit it at online casinos, only to withdraw it immediately thereafter. This is known as money laundering. That’s why online casinos require you to wager at least as much as you have deposited before you can withdraw your balance. 

About the Author
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With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.