Page updated on: 08.04.2019
Casino Bonus Wagering Requirements Explained
When you sign up in an online casino and you play with bonus money, you won't get the bonus money for free. The casinos give you this money as an incentive to try out the casino, and to play longer for your money.
Bonus money can never be immediately cashed out. You will have a play the bonus money, or sometimes the deposit plus the bonus, an x amount of times before and once you have fulfilled the wagering requirements you can request a withdrawal.
The wagering requirements in the casinos can vary greatly, and it is important that you make yourself familiar with the bonus terms and conditions before playing with bonus money.
Wagering requirements and bonus turnover
Let's assume you make a deposit of €100 and you get a bonus of 100% from the casino, i.e. €100 in bonus money. This means that you have now €200 to play with. Let's also assume that the casino applies wagering conditions of 35x the bonus amount.
In this scenario you will play with your real money first, and once your real money is used up you will start playing with the bonus balance. Since you have received €100 in bonus money, and the casino applies wagering conditions of 35x the bonus you will need to stake a total of €3,500 in the games.
Now this sounds relatively high, but you have to see the bonus money as a free second chance to win some cash. When you play the slots it is unlikely that you lose in every spin, so you will keep winning and losing, and each time you spin the reels it is counted towards the wagering.
In most cases you will lose the bonus money, but it is not unlikely that you can play through the wagering requirements and even cash out some money in the end.
Limitations for winnings from bonus money
The bonus itself can not be withdrawn, you have to play through the wagering requirements first in order to cash out. Some casinos apply limits of how much you can cash out with bonus money, and others don't.
Especially no deposit bonuses or other free cash bonuses often have a cap on winnings, which is likely to be around €100 or €200. This means, that even if you win more, you will only be able to cash out a certain amount, and the rest will be kept by the casino.
In most casinos the regular deposit bonuses don't have these kinds of conditions, and if you win a lot, you can cash it all out. In any case, read the bonus terms and conditions carefully before playing with bonus money.
Relevance of game contributions for bonus wagering
Another thing that you need to make yourself familiar with when playing with bonus money is how much the games contributes to the bonus wagering. As you might already know, casino games have different chances of winning.
Slot machines for example are completely random, and you have no influence on the result of the spin whatsoever. However, some games, like Blackjack or Roulette can be played in a certain way that will lower the house edge of the casino and give you an almost 50% chance of winning.
You might think now, that these games would be the best games to play with bonus money, and to try to play through the bonus wagering requirements, but you will probably be disappointed to hear now, that most casinos exclude these types of games, or their contribution is very low.
In the terms and conditions of the casino, or in the bonus terms you can usually find a mention of game contributions when you play with bonus money. Most slot machines have 100% contribution, table games are often around 10% or lower.
The percent figure means that the specific share of your wager is counted towards fulfilling the bonus wagering requirements. For example, if you play a spin at a slot machine for €1, and that game contributes to 100%, your full wager of €1 will be counted towards the wagering requirements (with the example of needing to fulfil €3,500 in wagering you would now have €3,499 left).
If you use your €1 wager to play for example a Roulette game that only contributes 10%, then only 10 cents are counted towards the wagering requirements (with the example of needing to fulfil €3,500 in wagering you would now have €3,499.90 left).
This means that you will have to play a lot longer to fulfil the wagering requirements and be able to cash out.
The game restrictions help the casinos prevent bonus abuse, and give players a fair chance of winning. Some casinos offer specific bonuses for table games with higher contributions, but most casinos give you 100% game contributions for slot games.
In some casinos you won't even be able to play table games or live casino games with bonus money, and the contribution will be 0%.
Many casinos also exclude jackpot games with large progressive jackpots, which means that you won't be able to win a huge jackpot when playing with bonus money.
Best slots to play with bonus money
Answering this question is tricky, because it's depending on your own style of playing the games and your own preference. There are slots with a high variance where you will likely lose the bonus money balance quicker, but in turn you get a chance to score a higher win.
Slots with a low variance usually give you more winning spins, but with lower amounts, but this will mean that you would have a longer play time, and maybe even get a chance for a higher win.
The best thing is that you take a look at the different types of slots and try them for free, and then pick a game that you like and that suits your needs.
It's also important that you take a look at the list of excluded slots at casinos, as many games, including progressive jackpot games, cannot be played with bonus money.
Minimal risk betting with bonus money
Minimal risk betting is a practice where you only bet on the options carrying the lowest risk of loss. This is valid for bonus money played at table games, or when you use bonus money to play through to special features in slots.
For example, a casino that offers a live casino bonus will usually mention minimal risk betting in the bonus terms. A minimum risk wager is for example a bet on red or black at Roulette, or bets that cover a large amount of the number of roulette.
Before paying out winnings derived from bonus money, the casino will conduct a check of how you've played the bonus, and if they find that you've applied minimum risk wagering they will likely void your winnings. You can find more specific detailed on the low risk wagers in the bonus terms of the casino.
Maximum bet sizes for bonus money play
Many casinos also apply a maximum bet size when you play with bonus money. This means that the amount you can bet in any spin at a slot or place a wager at a table is limited.
The tricky thing is though that this may not be limited while you're playing the game, and only when you wish to withdraw your winnings, once you've turned over the bonus, the casino will check your game-play and void the winnings if you've played with higher stakes.
It's important that you keep in mind the maximum bet rules of the casino when you are playing with the bonus, and read the fine print of the bonus terms.
Expired bonus money or extra spins
Bonus money also has an expiry date. This can be weeks or months, but you need to take a look at the time you have to turn over the bonus.
Similarly, if the casino gives you extra spins, you often have only 24 hours to claim them and then maybe just a few days to turn over winnings. So better play them quick before they're gone!
The wagering requirements indicate how many times you have to play through the bonus money before you can cash out winnings from the bonus. This is indicated by a number often between 30x and 60x of the bonus money received. Bonus money itself cannot be cashed out, you'll need to fulfil the wagering beforehand. Read more about how the wagering works, and other important bonus terms in the article on this page.
Many casinos have a requirement that you need to turn over the bonus money amount received, and sometimes you can cash out winnings achieved with your cash balance before using the bonus, which will mean you forfeit the bonus. A requirement of bonus plus deposit is usually more restrictive and you have to wager a much larger amount to turn over the bonus.
There is no definite answer to this question, as it depends on the type of slot you prefer. A high variance slot may lead to faster depletion of your funds, but in turn it gives the chance for a massive win, and a low-medium slot will give you a more balanced game, where you can play longer for the money, but with a lesser chance to hit a huge jackpot.
Usually, table games are excluded from bonus money play, but there are some casinos that give you specific table game bonuses. However, in most cases, table games, or live casino games contribute much less to the wagering, often around 10% to 20%, so take a look at the respective bonus terms.
The game contributions should definitely be looked at, as they give you information about the games you can play with bonus money, and how much they will be weighted for the wagering. Most slots contribute 100%, while table games or other instant games may contribute much less, or nothing at all. Some slots and jackpot games are even excluded.
These terms can vary greatly in the casinos, so it's important that you also take a look at the game weightings.
Nowadays, most casinos exclude a list of lots from being played with bonus money. This is a direct result of these games having been previously used for bonus abuse, for example when the bonus funds were used to collect items or play through to bonus features, only to be switched with real money when the features would start.
Some of these games include Robin Hood - Shifting Riches, Holmes and the Stolen Stones, Castle Builder and Tomb Raider, to name a few.
Playing these games with bonus money may not be possible, or the games won't contribute to the wagering, which would mean that you just loose the funds. Also, should you manage to turn over the bonus, the casino will check your game-play before initiating a withdrawal, and if they see game-patterns that are not permitted, they will void the winnings.
No, minimal risk wagering is not permitted to be used with bonus money, especially not for the reason to fulfil the wagering requirements of the bonus. The casino will check how you've used the bonus money, and they will void your winnings if they find you've played the bonus with minimum risk wagers.
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