Wagering requirements – Everything you should know about them and how to deal with them

Whenever we talk about bonuses and the terms and conditions attached to them, we inevitably also talk about wagering requirements. You may also find them as playthrough requirements or sometimes bonus wagering. We’re here to tell you what wagering requirements actually are, how to calculate them and how to complete them.

What are wagering requirements

Whenever you claim a bonus at an online casino, the bonus comes with its own terms and conditions. Wagering requirements are the most important part of those terms and determine the number of times (and therefore money) you will need to wager your bonus funds before you are able to make a withdrawal and claim the bonus money as real cash.

They are usually displayed as such:

  • 35x (B) – This means you need to wager your bonus funds 35 times.
  • 30x (D+B) – This means you need to wager your deposit and your bonus funds a total of 30 times. (See below what that actually means.)

These are standard examples but wagering requirements can be very different between various online casinos. Usually, when reading an online casino review, the wagering requirements it imposes should always be detailed. If that’s not the case, you may not be looking at an unbiased review.

Additionally, wagering requirements detail how much time you have to complete them, how much game types contribute in achieving your goal and how high your maximum bet may be when completing the wagering (i.e. it’s almost always set at €5, meaning any wagers above that are null and void when completing your wagering).

How to calculate playthrough requirements

This is a lot less difficult than some may think. Calculating how much a bonus needs to wagered will help you determine how much of an offered bonus you may wish to claim.

If you see a bonus of 100% and up to €100 with wagering requirements of 30x the bonus funds, you calculate the required wagering as follows:

  • €100 (B) x 30 = 3,000

In other words, you need to wager €3,000 in order to convert your bonus funds to real cash.

Another example is this: a 100% bonus of up to €200 with wagering requirements of 25x your bonus and deposit.

  • (€200 + €200) x 25 = (€400) x 25 = €10,000

And yes, both of these are absolutely common examples. Above examples show you, why it may not be a good idea to claim a bonus in full. Every bonus has a minimum required deposit and if you really want to claim a bonus, it is a good idea to restrain yourself and claim less than the full amount.

When attempting to complete the bonus wagering, you will always need to be aware of how much time you have to do so. The industry standard is 30 days. Meaning, after 30 days your bonus funds and any winnings from it will expire if wagering has not been completed.

But we have seen anything between 3 days to an unlimited amount of time. Free spins are an exception. Some casinos only allow 24 hours to complete wagering, but in such cases, we’re talking about a relatively small amount of free spins you received to begin with.

Why do wagering requirements exist?

As a matter of fact, bonus conditions are one of the most common reasons casino players experience problems with a given casino. They have either not read the terms completely, didn’t understand them fully or simply ignored the conditions laid out to complete the wagering requirements. This usually means that you’ll be able to find plenty of complaints against just about any casino regarding their bonuses and how a casino has simply forfeited the bonus funds and any winnings from it.

Unless you signed up at a rogue casino, however, a reasonable explanation for a casino’s actions can always be found in their terms and conditions. Those tend to be extremely strict in most cases because the casino needs to protect itself from fraudulent activities. Casinos are licensed through various gambling jurisdictions (such as the Malta Gaming Authority, Curacao eGaming or the UK Gambling Commission), which allows them to operate legally in many countries.

Licenses include many regulations, among them legal requirements to prevent money laundering and other criminal activities. Wagering requirements are implemented for that very reason.

Obviously, a casino also can’t just give away free money in huge amounts, so they make it somewhat difficult for players to cash out their bonus funds. But the main reason is to prevent any kind of fraud.

Different games contribute differently

This is also a big issue because the different types of games contribute differently when you want to complete your wagering. Casinos always need to detail how much the games contribute, though some may keep things simple and others are more comprehensive.

A simple example:

  • Only slots contribute 100% to your wagering, except high RTP (Return to Play) games such as… *it follows a list of slots that usually don’t contribute at all

In above case, no other games contribute towards wagering at all. Such casinos do exist.

A comprehensive example:

  • Slots and ‘other games’ = 100% (except high RTP slots, see list)
  • Classic slots = 75%
  • Roulette and Baccarat = 10%
  • Blackjack = 5%
  • Live games = 5%
  • Video Poker = 0%

Other games are usually scratch cards, bingo, keno and such games that defy classification.

What does this mean?

Playing slots to complete your bonus wagering usually means you get one for one, i.e. wagering €1 means €1 closer to your goal. But playing live games means only €0.05 of each €1 you wager will contribute to your wagering. In other words: stick to slots.

What’s fair and what’s not

We’ve already shown you two examples of what’s common, but we want to give you a better idea of what you can expect to find at the many different casinos. Whilst online casinos have very good reasons to implement wagering requirements, some can be considered fair and almost generous, whilst others are extremely difficult to complete and can only be considered unfair.

What can be considered fair?

  • Wagering between 20x and 40x your bonus funds (below 20x is very rare, though more than 40x is not); 25x for bonus and deposit (that already equals 50x in total)
  • Only wagering bonus funds
  • Getting at least 30 days to complete the wagering
  • Most or even all games contribute to your bonus wagering (this is rare but not unheard of)

What can be considered unfair?

  • Having to wager your bonus funds alone more than 45x, and for bonus and deposit together anything above 25x.
  • Having to wager your deposit on top of your bonus funds
  • Getting less than 30 days to complete the wagering
  • Only slots contribute, and sometimes even only slots from a small number of developers (often excluding NetEnt or Microgaming slots)

Accepting an offer that fulfils our idea of what’s fair will keep you on the safe side. You may still not want to claim the full bonus amount, but at least you have a realistic chance of completing the wagering. In most other instances you don’t.

Do make sure to read the full bonus terms in any case. Sometimes you may get wagering requirements of 45x with 90 days to complete them and not just slots contributing. That’s probably an offer you can take. Whereas it might be difficult to complete 20x wagering in only 3 days when only slots contribute. The possible combinations of what you might encounter are virtually endless. Above is only a rough idea of what to look out for.

Wagering free spins

Free spins always have their own wagering requirements. Free spin winnings are generally converted to bonus funds, which then has to be wagered a certain amount of times as well.

Most commonly, you will find between 25x and 45x of required wagering for free spins. Less is rare (though there are wagering-free spins as well, but that’s a different topic) and we haven’t really seen more than 45x. Most casinos will actually go with 30x or 35x.

Once again, it’s important to note that you’re usually not allowed to wager more than €5 per bet and that different games contribute differently. Game contribution tends to be the same across the board, however, regardless of whether you need to wager deposit bonus funds or free spin winnings.

Further wagering requirements

One last thing on wagering requirements. Most online casino customers are aware that bonus funds and free spin winnings need to be wagered before a withdrawal is possible. But almost all online casino terms and conditions also detail that a regular deposit may have to be wagered at least once before you can make a withdrawal again.

This means, you may make a deposit of €20 and you will then need to playthrough €20 before you can request a withdrawal again.

Once again, this is a protective measure against money laundering. It means, no one can simply make a deposit and follow it up right away with a withdrawal. In such cases, casinos almost always apply a penalty fee (which can be 30% high).

So, whatever you do, make sure to read all terms and conditions.

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