Wagering Requirements: What Are They and What Do They Mean?

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BetMGM Aug 16, 2022, 10:28 AM

If you’ve been scouring the internet and looking for the best casino sites to play your favorite casino games, you’ll have come across a range of enticing online casino bonuses and read about “wagering requirements.” But what exactly is a wagering requirement and how does it affect you as a player? This article covers everything you need to know about them and the role they play in online casino games.

But before we get into that, it’s important to understand what a wager is.

What is a wager?

If you’re completely new to the world of gambling, you may not be familiar with the term “wager” or wagering. Simply put, a wager is another term for a bet. This can refer to bets that are placed on online slots and casino table games played at an online casino, as well as bets at online sportsbooks, live poker tournaments, or even informal wagers between friends. It can also refer to an amount of money bet over a period of time. For example, you may have wagered a total of $50 during your last live poker tournament.

What is a wagering requirement?

“Enjoy 100 free spins!” “$50 free no deposit bonus!” “Welcome bonus up to 300%!” 

Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced online gambler (or anyone in between), you’ve probably seen promotions like these that casinos offer to encourage players to sign up. However, if you’ve played on a casino site before, you’ll also know that there’s often fine print that comes along with these offers. 

This fine print is known as a wagering agreement or play-through requirement. It usually states that the player must meet a minimum betting threshold to reap the benefits of their sign-up or promotional offer, or to claim any winnings they’ve made. While there are some incredible benefits of loyalty programs at online casinos, it’s important to understand the wagering requirements before signing up.

Why do wagering requirements exist?

Sign-up rewards, “sticky bonuses,” and other promotional offers exist to encourage new people to join a site and to benefit existing customers. These incentives allow the best online casinos to reward players with extra time or credit on their favorite games. Casino bonuses add a dynamic to the entire gaming experience by providing you with extra opportunities to play – and who wouldn’t want extra bonus money when playing online slots or casino table games? It’s certainly a great way to check out a new game without risking your bankroll.

The various kinds of wagering requirements

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Let’s delve a little deeper by looking into some of the different bonuses you can enjoy and the wagering requirements they might have.

Free spins

To cash out the money you make from free spins on an online slot machine featured as part of a casino bonus, you’ll need to wager an amount that’s several times your winnings. This amount is calculated by multiplying your total winnings. For example, if you win $50, and the wagering requirement is “20 times,” you’ll need to wager $50 a total of 20 times ($1,000) before you can claim your winnings. It’s important you’re aware of this rule before you start playing to avoid disappointment when you try to claim any money you won from free spins.

Match bonuses

The wagering requirements around match bonuses work similarly to those for free spins. If you deposit $50, the casino will match that $50 as part of a “match bonus.” If the wagering requirement is 20 times, you’d need to wager the matched deposit 20 times to meet the wagering requirement (so again, $1,000 in total in this example.)

However, players should also be aware that some online casinos may include your initial deposit as part of the match bonus. So if you deposit $50, and the casino matches with $50, you’d need to wager a total of $100 20 times to meet that wagering requirement (which would amount to $2,000.) It’s clear why reading the fine print is so crucial!

No deposit bonuses

The wagering requirements for a no-deposit bonus (where you’re given money to play with, but you’re not asked to deposit any funds of your own) also make use of the multiplier system based on the amount that you receive. If you receive a $50 no-deposit bonus, and the wagering requirement is 10 times, you’ll need to bet a total of $500 to meet the wagering requirements before you can access any winnings. Depending on the wagering requirement set by the casino, no-deposit bonuses can be a great way to enjoy games without having to immediately hand over your own money. 

Other possible regulations

Before you agree to claim a bonus, it’s important to read the terms and conditions (you may see them shortened to “T&Cs” or “Ts and Cs”). In addition to the bonus-specific rules, there are other regulations that may affect whether or not a player clears the wagering requirement.

Your bets only count after you’ve cleared your deposit

If you claim a match bonus, any games you play will first make use of your deposited money. After this money has been used, any bonus credit or additional deposits will begin to count towards wagering requirements. 

This may not always be the case, so it is advisable to check whether this rule applies to your bonus before you start placing your bets.

Certain games may not count towards wagering requirements

It’s important to know that certain games may only contribute a percentage of your bet towards the wagering requirement. In some cases, it may not contribute to the wagering requirement at all. This is usually decided by the game’s return to player (RTP) value, which is a statistical calculation (represented as a percentage) that reflects how much (on average) the game pays back to players after a certain period.

For example, slot games with a low RTP may contribute the full amount that you bet towards the wagering requirement. In contrast, live table games with a high RTP may contribute much less. 

No matter which game you decide to play, check that the bet you want to make counts towards the wagering requirement before you commit your money to it.

Your bonus is only valid for a limited time

Be sure to find out how long your bonus is valid so you can take advantage of it before it expires. There’s nothing worse than missing out on an incredible bonus because you forgot to check its expiry date. Some bonuses are only valid for a day, while others might be active for several months – it varies depending on the type of bonus.

Be careful about picking up additional bonuses

While a bonus may seem too good to pass up, it’s essential to read the fine print before you accept any new or additional wagering requirements, as you may accidentally break the rules laid out by the casino. As a rule of thumb, you should always aim to clear your current wagering requirement before accepting the next to avoid any possible issues.

Some games, types of bets and strategies may be banned

Casinos will define any bets or strategies that could be used to exploit the system, such as low-risk bets or playing low-contribution games, and then playing high-contribution games with your winnings. Certain games may also be banned from play while you’re completing wagering requirements. You also have a betting limit (the maximum you’re allowed to wager,) which is defined according to the game you play.

Failure to understand these specific rules, which are fully explained in the terms and conditions, could result in losing your bonus balance. You could also forfeit any winnings you may have accrued. Notably, most online casinos will have additional disclaimers, warning players that any attempt to exploit the system, even if not listed, will violate the wagering requirements agreement. If the casino finds that you have violated this agreement, it may cost you your bonus and winnings.

Find out if cashback applies to bets

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If you’re a regular casino player and like to make the most of your gambling deposits, you’ll most likely have investigated the cashback offers available at your favorite casino site. Cashback offers are a great way for regular players to save cash if they’re on a losing streak, but you’ll need to confirm with the casino whether these offers apply to bets made when completing wagering requirements.

Not all bonuses set wagering requirements

While it’s necessary to be aware of the rules regarding bonuses that have wagering requirements, you should also note that some bonuses come without strict regulations. These are usually bonus features or free spins on slots that aren’t part of a larger promotion. If players win anything off these bonuses, many casinos will only require a small deposit before they can claim their winnings. Again, be sure to take a look at the conditions for each bonus so you can have a great time enjoying them!

Discover the best games to play at a casino with BetMGM

If it’s going to take you some time to meet the conditions for a wagering requirement, it’s wise to choose a casino that offers you a great time, like BetMGM. Our online casino offers the latest casino games, including live dealer casino games like roulette and blackjack, and classic slots such as Starburst and 88 Fortunes. If you prefer table games, we have an enticing range of online poker, blackjack and roulette for you to try out when you register with BetMGM. Our promotional bonuses will keep you coming back as you explore our extensive list of online casino games.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.