A wagering requirement, or playthrough requirement, is a term every online casino-goer has come across. It’s inextricably linked with almost all bonuses available on gambling sites nowadays, particularly the sign-up offers.
Players likely consider wagering requirements to be an obstacle, while casino operators deem them necessary. The truth could be some of both. This guide will provide information about casino wagering requirements: what they are, how they work and what to watch for.
What is a wager?
The wagering requirement is by far the most complex parameter from the bonus terms and conditions page. It can be tricky even for seasoned players to fully understand its underlying mechanism, which is why we’ll start with the basics.
In casino terminology, a wager is a real money bet on any type of game, including classic slots, progressive slots, poker, online bingo, table games and/or live dealer games. In some instances, the term can pertain to the amount of money that contributes to the completion of wagering requirements.
What are wagering requirements?
A casino wagering requirement is a figure that shows how much money you must bet on qualifying real money games before being able to withdraw the bonus and collect any winnings associated with it. It’s expressed as a multiplier anywhere from the 1x to 50x range, depending on the offer. As a rule of thumb, the higher the size of the casino bonus, the bigger the multiplier.
In some instances, requirements pertain only to the awarded bonus money. In other cases, though, it refers to the sum total of the deposited cash plus the bonus credits.
Why do casinos have wagering requirements?
The main reason why online casino sites impose wagering requirements is to prevent money laundering practices. By not being able to simply deposit money on the site and withdraw it instantly, criminals cannot use gambling sites as a money-laundering platform.
Playthrough requirements also prevent players from abusing the bonuses. If not for these stipulations, bonus hunters would hop from one casino to another, exploiting offers along the way without having to wager a single cent.
You can think of wagering requirements as a mutual agreement between the two parties — the casino and its users. The casino gives something (bonuses and promotions), but in return asks you to stick around for a while and try your luck on real money games.
How do wagering requirements work?
If you’re a beginner in the world of online gambling, some of these phrases may be unfamiliar, so here’s an example of an online wagering requirement. For the sake of explanation, we’ll use a welcome bonus from Golden Nugget Casino — a 100% matching bonus up to $1,500 on your first deposit.
This offer carries a 10x wagering requirement, which means that you need to spend 10 times the total sum of your deposit plus the bonus cash before being able to request a withdrawal.
It’s important to note that playthrough requirements apply to free spin offers, as well. Since these don’t have a fixed monetary value, the multiplier applies to the winnings that derive from free spins.
How to calculate playthrough on a casino bonus
The formula for calculating the requirement is quite straightforward — you merely have to multiply the bonus or the bonus plus your deposit, depending on the terms, by the requirement number.
Going back to our Golden Nugget welcome bonus example, let’s say that you deposited $100. Since this is a 100% match offer, when your deposit settles, you will have a total of $200 to play with. Since the bonus has a 10x requirement, to turn it into withdrawable cash, you would have to wager:
- $200 x 10 = $2,000
When it comes to free spins, this is the formula: winnings from free spins multiplied by the requirement number.
If you were to claim the Golden Nugget sign-up offer, you would get 200 free spins on the 88 Fortunes Megaways slot on top of the deposit matching bonus. Say you won $500 from your welcome bonus free spins. That would mean you would have to wager $5,000 ($500 x 10) to become eligible for withdrawal.
How to meet playthrough requirements quickly
Meeting wagering requirements may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re playing in an online casino that has player-hostile terms and conditions. Some gambling sites have ridiculously high playthrough requirements, making it virtually impossible to capitalize off the promotional offerings.
That said, in most places, you’ll have a realistic shot at meeting the playthrough requirements. All it takes is a little bit of luck, proper game selection and detailed knowledge of all the factors associated with the process.
Important terms and conditions
It’s always a good idea to go through the terms and conditions page before claiming the bonus. Reading the fine print can give you vital knowledge that you can use to your advantage later on. This information can help you dispose of wagering requirements quickly and cost-efficiently.
Here are the key items from the terms and conditions that you may want to pay attention to before triggering the bonus:
- Minimum deposit— Minimum amount of cash you must deposit to qualify for the offer. It’s usually between $10 and $20.
- Stake limit — Almost every bonus has a stake cap — the maximum allowed stake when playing with the bonus cash. Be careful not to exceed this limit, as the casino might confiscate your bonus and any associated winnings.
- Time limit — Once you activate a bonus, you’ll have a limited amount of time to use it up — usually seven to 14 days, but sometimes longer.
Choose your casino wisely
If a casino offers a huge welcome bonus, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth your time and money. You have to look past the size of the offer and focus more on the attached terms and conditions, most importantly wagering requirements. This multiplier can make or break your chances of cashing in on the bonus.
Moreover, you need to make sure that your chosen site is legitimate and safe to play at. Only if you opt for a casino that’s legal and licensed in your state will you be sure that you won’t get scammed in some way. Game selection is also important— the more versatile the library is, the easier it could be for you to spot an opportunity, one that will help you meet the playthrough requirements faster.
Choosing the right casino game
Not all games contribute to the completion of wagering requirements equally. At most sites, online slot games count at 100%, whereas other games (casino table games and live casino games) have a significantly lower wagering contribution, potentially 0% to 20%.
Slots, then, might be what you decide to play to meet the requirement. But as you’re probably aware, not all slots give you the same chance of winning. This is reflected in the return-to-player rate, which refers to the amount of money a slot pays back to players over time. The higher the RTP, the better your chosen slot will be for meeting any requirements.
The bottom line is that you should choose high RTP slots (over 96%) when playing with the bonus money — these games will give you the best chance of clearing the wagering requirements.
No deposit bonuses and wagering requirements
No deposit bonuses also will likely have playthrough requirements. To calculate a requirement on a no deposit bonus, you will have to use a slightly modified formula from the one earlier. The only difference is that you would take out the deposited sum from the equation. That leaves:
- Awarded bonus money multiplied by the requirement number
For example, if you receive a $20 bonus with a playthrough requirement of 20x, you would need to wager up to $400 before you could withdraw any of the winnings. When it comes to no deposit free spins, the same principle applies as with “regular” free spins: The requirements apply to your winnings.