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What Does Online Casino Wagering Mean?

A wager is any bet made on a specific outcome happening. This can be choosing red or black in roulette, staking £10 on your favourite football team to win the league this year, or spinning the reels on one of the many thousands of online video slots available. The bet you place is your wager. The outcome of that wager, if you win or lose, will not impact the amount you wagered at all. In short, wagering is all about the bet, not the result of it. 

If you bet, for example, £1 per spin 20 times, you will have wagered a total of £20. Remember, this has nothing to do with winning or losing. You could be looking at a cashout of £1,000 from your initial £20, or you could have lost it all. Either way, you will still have wagered £20 on that slot over the course of your session.

The same goes for 10 bets of £2 on blackjack or one bet of £20 at a sportsbook site. In each of our examples, you will have played through, thus wagered a total of £20. 

Standard Casino Wagering Requirements

An online casino can choose to set its wagering requirement, as this is up to its discretion. Some choose to set a low requirement to give their players a fighting chance to complete it, while others set the requirement so high that you’ll need more than just your fair share of luck. As a player, you should always compare the wagering requirement for the bonus you’re offered with the industry standard to know whether the terms are fair. 

Nothing is set in stone, but the norm has become a wagering requirement of 35x your bonus money or 30x your bonus and deposit. It should be noted that these are the standards for the best online casino bonuses, and other standards apply for bonuses made for sports betting, bingo, scratch cards, poker, or any other kind of game categories you might find at online gambling operators. 

Below, we’ve explained how most bonus wagers work, but be aware that a casino might also make up their requirements for the wagering of a bonus. So always read the terms of the specific bonus offer you get so you know what you need to do to cash out your winnings. 

Wagering Your Bonus Money

If the bonus terms for your match-up offer state that you have to wager your bonus 35 times before you can withdraw winnings from it, this is often called a second chance bonus. If you, for example, get a 100% bonus up to £100, and you take full advantage of it by depositing £100, then your wagering requirement is £3,500. But you can’t start wagering the bonus right away. 

Before turning over your bonus money, you’ll need to first play for and lose the £100 you deposited. Once you do that, the bonus is your second chance, and you can now start playing to wager through £3,500. If you manage that, what you have left on your account from the bonus winnings will be converted into real money you can now withdraw. 

If you are lucky enough to win a lot before you start playing with bonus money, meaning that you don’t lose your real deposited money, you can request a withdrawal whenever you want. You’ll have to forfeit the bonus, but everything you’ve won from your deposited money can be withdrawn at any time. 

Playing and losing your deposit before playing with bonus money can start as the standard method. However, there are always exceptions, so read up on the terms to find out what applies to your bonus. 

Wagering Your Bonus Money + Deposit

If the deposit bonus states that you must wager your deposit and bonus 30 times, then you’re looking at a wagering requirement of £6,000. This might seem like a worse deal than the one described above, where you only wager the bonus, but that’s not always the case. The reason for this is that you’ll usually start wagering right away. You don’t need to lose your own deposited money before you can start working on the wagering requirement. 

Since the wagering towards the bonus requirements starts immediately, you have more of a bankroll to work with to complete the required wagering. More money to play with is always beneficial, increasing your chances of winning. 

One thing to keep in mind is that if you win and want to withdraw before the wagering requirement is completed, you can only withdraw winnings from the real money you have. If it’s a 100% bonus, half of your balance will be real money, and the other half is bonus money. To forfeit the bonus by requesting a withdrawal would mean that half of your balance is deducted from your account. 

Wagering Your Free Spins Winnings

Winnings from free spins are typically subject to a 35x wagering requirement, although it’s quite common for no deposit free spins to require higher wagering, as it’s a free bonus. But casinos normally stick to their standard wagering requirements even for free bonuses. 

The trick with wagering free spins winnings is that you’ll never know how much you’ll need to wager before you have played your spins. It’s not the value of the free spins that determine what needs to be turned over, but the winnings from the spins, as that is your real bonus. If you’re lucky and win a lot from your free spins, the wagering requirement will be high, while it will be low if you don’t win much from your spins. 

Since there is (almost) never any real money involved in the requirement for the wagering of free spins, you won’t be able to request a withdrawal before you’ve converted your free spins winnings into real money. 

The Contributions for Each Game Type

You're mistaken if you think that understanding what wagering requirements mean is enough. Things are complicated a bit further by the fact that most casinos rate each game’s contribution differently. Additionally, many online operators provide a fairly lengthy list of slots, and even entire game types, that cannot be used to meet the wagering requirements. Also, bets for a large portion of the possible outcomes on, for example, roulette might not count either, simply because the risk of losing money over time is deemed 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 100% contribute towards wagering, meaning that our calculations above hold 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%, which pales compared to slots, which are often rated at 100%. 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 favourite 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 and easier.

Best Slots for Wagering

Before we mention the best slots for meeting online casino wagering requirements, we must briefly explain the concept of volatility, also named variance. Namely, low volatility slots give frequent yet small wins. Their opposite is high volatility slots which grant massive wins, but these are few and far 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 will meet the rollover. A quick big win on a high volatility slot might do the trick as well – if you’re lucky enough to get one. 

The Promotional Period and Other Terms

Time restrictions are another important consideration when taking on an offer. 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 enough time to finish, especially if you play 100% contribution games like video slots. However, you may be given much less time, from two weeks 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. This way, you’ll never be caught out, and the casino won’t void your bonus and winnings.

Bonuses With the Best Wagering Requirements

The best bonus wagering requirements you can get are the ones that don’t have one. Yes, some bonuses come without this requirement! For free spins, this would mean that you can instantly request a withdrawal of your winnings, as what you win from them is paid out in real cash rather than bonus money. 

You might find match-up bonuses that also come without a wagering requirement. Usually, this will be a second chance bonus, so you’ll have to play for and lose your own deposited money first, but once that’s done, the bonus will be real cash. Alternatively, you might not be able to withdraw the bonus itself, which means you’ll need to wager it once, as the winnings from the bonus bets will be paid out as real money. 

But if you find a bonus with a wagering requirement, it’s always best to choose the ones with the lowest required turnover. Here at GoodLuckMate UK, you’ll see the wagering in the fine print accompanying all listed bonuses. That way, you can easily find the bonus with the best wagering terms. 

Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus Grenda
Last Update: 12 Dec 2023
Nerijus Grenda is a prolific contributor to the GoodLuckMate site. With a deep understanding of the online casino industry, gained from his own experience as an avid player, he offers valuable insights on what sets the best casinos apart from the rest. As a writer, Nerijus shares his expertise through expert analysis and thoughtful commentary on various topics related to online gambling, including casino reviews, game guides and industry trends.

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