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Wagering requirement

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When it comes to many different kinds of online casino promotions, from sign-up spins to multi-tier welcome packages and beyond, there are a few terms and conditions that can be very confusing for the uninitiated. In fact, even some casino regulars get tripped up because of the small print that comes part and parcel of near enough every deal. And one of the most significant terms you will come across is the wagering requirement that must be met before any winnings resulting from your free spins and/or bonus funds can be withdrawn. Even most cashback offers are paid out in bonus cash – again with those wagering requirements in tow. But have no fear! GoodLuckMate is here to explain all the ins and outs of these common clauses and we’ll do it all in plain English – no legal knowledge or a taste for legalese will be needed here today. We’ll begin by explaining what exactly the concept means in practical terms for you as a player at online casinos and why brands attach these things to their deals. Then, we’ll swiftly move along to how you can calculate how much you need to play through before you can get ahold of your winnings. Along the way, we’ll also cover how different game types are treated differently in terms of their contribution and give you some top tips for satisfying the terms as quickly and painlessly as possible. Lastly, we’ll go over the typical promotional periods you’re likely to find out there. So, let’s get started!

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What Does Online Casino Wagering Mean?

All right. So, you’ve seen a great deal at an online casino from one of our top lists, or you’ve read a review of a casino on here, but you’re not really sure what it means when the terms prattle on about wagering requirements. Well, let’s start with the basics and build from there.

A wager is any bet made on a specific outcome happening. This can be choosing red or black in roulette, for example, staking €10 on your favorite football team to win the league this year, or spinning the reels on one of the many thousands of online video slots available. Taking the latter as a likely use-case, let’s say you’ve set your number of active paylines, chosen your line bet, and decided that you want to bet a total of €5 on the next spin. Win or lose, you will have wagered €5. Easy!

With that out of the way, we can extend this out. If you carry on betting €5 per spin for another 20 times, you will have wagered a total of €100. Remember, this has nothing to do with winning or losing. You could be looking at a cashout of €1,000 from your initial €100, or you could have lost it all. Either way, you will still have wagered €100 on that slot over the course of your session.

The same thing goes for 10 bets of €10 on blackjack or one bet of €100 at a sportsbook site. In each of our examples, you will have played through a total of €100. The point is that it has nothing to do with winning or losing, and that’s super important to keep in mind.

How to Calculate Wagering Requirements

When you first look at a typical wagering requirement for an online casino bonus, the numbers might look quite scary. They might say something like ‘you must wager your bonus 35 times before being able to withdraw any winnings resulting from your bonus’. That’s a fairly standard set of terms right there.

But what if you claimed a €100 bonus when you first signed up? Well, that means you need to play through 35 times those €100, which works out to be a stress-inducing €3,500! This is a serious sum of money for many players, of course, and some may think it is impossible to achieve. But, we need to remember that wagering does not mean you will lose €3,500. Instead, it means you must make bets totaling that amount, but you could go on a run that brings in more than you lose – you can always win while meeting the requirements!

So far, so good. Another way you might see these kinds of T&Cs written is that you must play through both your deposit and bonus. This makes calculating the wagering requirements a tad tricker, but it’s nothing too taxing.

Let’s say you took a 100% bonus up to €300, and you decided to max it out by depositing the full €300. Our hypothetical deal’s wagering requirements state that you must wager both the bonus and the deposit 30 times. Well, in this case, simply add the bonus and the deposit amounts together (which gives us €600 in this instance) and multiply that by 30. This gives us a target of €18,000 (€600 times 30).

Okay, simple! And, again, that’s a huge total. Still, always remember you could be chalking up some wins along the way, too.

The Contributions for Each Game Type

If you think that understanding what does wagering requirement mean is enough, you’re wrong. Things get a tiny bit more complicated by the fact that most casinos rate each game’s contribution differently. Additionally, many online operators entirely exclude some casino game types. Alternatively, they provide a fairly lengthy list of slots, for example, that cannot be used to meet the wagering requirements. Also, even money bets on roulette might not count either, simply because the risk of you losing money over time is deemed to be low compared to other games or betting patterns.

To get around this, a casino may state that only slots (and sometimes instant-win scratch cards) will contribute towards wagering at 100%. Meaning, our calculations above hold true if you only play those games and avoid any of those on the excluded list. That’s fairly easy to understand, but what happens when a game is given a percentage of less than 100?

Table games such as roulette, blackjack, and baccarat are often given a very small contribution percentage of around 5%. Compared to slots, which are often rated at 100%, this pales in comparison, of course. Therefore:

  • If you play through €100 on the allowed slots, you will have cleared €100 from your wagering total.
  • That same €100 on baccarat (at just 5%) will only have cleared €5, i.e., 5% of €100.

This certainly does not mean that you can’t happily play your favorite table games – only that it will take much longer to satisfy the terms of the offer, and it may turn into a bit of a grind after a while. That’s why we always recommend playing slots when meeting the requirements, simply because it’s far faster, easier, and more fun doing it this way.

Best Slots for Wagering

Before we mention the best slots for meeting online casino wagering requirements, we must briefly explain the concept of volatility. Namely, low volatility or low variance slots give frequent yet small wins. Their opposite is high volatility slots that grant massive winnings, but these are far in between.

As you can guess by everything stated before, you need low volatility slots to meet the playthrough. These will give you small wins that will prolong the playing time. The longer you play, the more likely you are to meet the rollover.

Here’s a list of such low variance reel machines that make meeting the wagering requirements a tad easier:

  • Starburst by NetEnt
  • Holmes and the Stolen Stones by Yggdrasil
  • Babushkas by Thunderkick
  • Bloodsuckers by NetEnt
  • Vikings Go Wild by Yggdrasil

The Promotional Period and Other Terms

Time restrictions are another important consideration when taking on an offer and committing to satisfying the requirements. Before being able to withdraw your winnings, you must meet the rollover within the promotional period or time, which is also known as the bonus expiration date.

Typically for a welcome bonus, you are given up to 30 days to complete the wagering requirements. This is more than enough time to get it done, especially if you are playing 100% contribution games like video slots. However, you may be given much less time, from two weeks down to around seven days. Then, the pressure is on to make sure you play through the required amount within the given timeframe.

So, always make sure to check how long you have and make a note of the deadline to keep yourself on track. In this way, you’ll never be caught out, and the casino won’t void your bonus and winnings.

Free Spins Wagering Requirements Explained

When it comes to free spins, you will normally (unless they are wager-free spins) have to play through the amount you win. So, if you receive 20 free spins on the house and end up winning €100 from them, you will need to play through that €100 by however many times are stated in the terms and conditions.

All of the above considerations come into play here, from excluded games and different contribution percentages to the overall time in which you have to satisfy everything. Also, winnings from free spins are normally capped, so you won’t have a very high total to reach. And finally, if you ever get confused about the total you must reach, simply get in touch with customer support, and they will give you the definite figure in writing!

Restricted and Forbidden Countries

Finally, we’ve come to the last thing you must consider when it comes to casino bonus playthrough terms. Some casinos accept players from numerous countries, yet they restrict bonuses to players from certain jurisdictions. For example, European gambling sites may have different terms for players from Sweden and consumers from the UK.

Therefore, it’s important to always check whether a bonus is available to consumers from your country. Here at GoodLuckMate, we tend to add this essential information for every bonus we list. Still, it’s always smart to double-check. Otherwise, the operator may close your account and ban you for breaking the bonus rules.

Wagering Requirement – Conclusion

Of course, wagering requirements can seem confusing at first, or else they might seem to throw up some very heady numbers that make you want to hide away in a corner. But as we have shown through this article, they are easy to understand once you know what they’re asking you to do. Plus, as we have stated multiple times, wagering does not equate to losing a certain amount of money. In fact, it’s more than possible to out the other side with even more money than you had before starting to play through the total required. So, have no fear, shop around for the best promotions right here at GoodLuckMate, and enjoy your fabulous bonuses!

Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus GrendaUpdated: 06 Jun 2022
Nerijus is one of our top writers here at GoodLuckMate, and he knows exactly what casino players want to read about. He got started in the iGaming industry as a player, more specif...

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