Page updated on 19.11.2020

What are Bonus Wagering Requirements and Terms - How Do Casino Bonuses Work?

To some gamblers, finding the latest casino bonuses is almost like a mission, and there is no shortage of them offering welcome packages. Often, the first promotions available to players are no deposit casino bonuses because there is no deposit required – just register a new player account.

For punters who decide they want to make the first deposit, then they qualify for other online casino welcome bonuses. It might take the shape of a free spins bonus, match deposit bonus or both. Some casinos often offer a cashback bonus in place of the other bonuses.

Where bonus money is concerned, there's always bonus terms and conditions, which is why we've put together this article to cover some of the most common points.

Casinos with the Best Welcome Bonus Packages

You can check out our Top-10 casinos with low bonus wagering requirements. Each recommendation has a review that looks at available slots, casino games and live casino, bonus terms, casino withdrawal methods, casino rewards VIP and more.

Bonus Wagering Requirements

Our casino bonus guides are intended to introduce you to typical casino bonus wagering requirements. No bonus wagering requirements guide should replace the actual reading of a casino's bonus T&C.

We'll start but telling you what might already seem obvious. Bonus money isn't really free because there are terms and conditions, which usually require a deposit. Despite this reality, there are plenty of players who still see value in these casino promotions as do we.

It's worth mentioning that some players do not opt-in to claim a bonus as they do not like the bonus terms.

General Bonus Terms & Conditions incl. Playthrough Requirement

When you read about a low wagering casino bonus, it is referring to the playthrough requirement (also called rollover requirement or turnover requirement). It is the total monetary value of all of your bonus money wagers that you must make, expressed as a multiple which typically ranges from about 25x to 50x. The casino applies a playthrough requirement to discourage bonus abuse.

Remember that bonus money is casino money and not real money. It explains why bonus money is kept separate from your deposit balance. You cannot withdraw bonus money unless all the wagering conditions are followed.

In the table below, the 'Wagering Bonus Money' columns present your cumulative wager as the product of the 'Wagering Requirement x (multiple)' and 'Bonus Money
(Bonus Match %)'. This formula applies mainly to the signup no depot bonus, free spins bonus and cashback bonus.

With match deposit bonuses, some casinos base their playthrough requirement on the product of the total deposit + bonus money in the 'Wagering Deposit + Bonus Money ' column and the multiplier in the 'Wagering Requirement x (multiple)' column.

An example based on a deposit of 100 €/$/£:

Real Money Deposit Bonus Money (Bonus Match %) Total money to play with Wagering Requirement x (multiple) Wagering Deposit + Bonus Money Wagering Bonus Money Wagering Deposit
100 50% 150 20x 3000 1000 2000
100 100% 200 20x 4000 2000 2000
100 200% 300 20x 6000 4000 2000
             
100 50% 150 30x 4500 1500 3000
100 100% 200 30x 6000 3000 3000
100 200% 300 30x 9000 6000 3000
             
100 50% 150 40x 6000 2000 4000
100 100% 200 40x 8000 4000 4000
100 200% 300 40x 12000 8000 4000

As you can see, the higher the wagering requirement, the higher the value of the wagering bonus money. This explains why the smart player is on the hunt for the lowest wagering requirements casinos. In theory, the lower the wagering requirements, the better the chances of winning real money that you can cashout.

A glass half full player might alternatively view higher playthrough requirements as an opportunity to stretch their fun and maybe win some more!

All things being equal, a playthrough requirement based on the 'Wagering Bonus Money' rather than the 'Wagering Deposit + Bonus Money' is favourable.

Casino Game Weightings

Up until now, we've assumed that each dollar/euro/Pound sterling (or other currency) counts as a dollar/euro/Pound sterling in playthrough. This is not always the case, as some game categories are less than 1:1 (100%). Take the following example:

Game Contributions

Video Slots and other games 100%
Classic slots    75%
Table games   20%
Blackjack games        15%
Jackpot games/live casino/ Video Poker:      0%

The total wagering bonus money of a 40x playthrough requirement on $/£/€100 bonus money:

Video slots: $/£/€100 x %100/100% x 40 = $/£/€4,000
Classic slots: $/£/€100 x %100/75% x 40 = $/£/€5,333
Table games: $/£/€100 x %100/20% x 40 = $/£/€20,000
Blackjack games: $/£/€100 x %100/15% x 40 =$/£/€26,666
Live casino: $/£/€100 x %100/0% x 40 = $/£/€0

Compare the results to the 'Wagering Bonus Money' column in the table above. The conclusion here is that the higher the game contribution, the lower the total playthrough requirement.

Other Bonus Terms

Bonus terms also include a minimum size when a first deposit is required and a maximum allowable wager per round. Sometimes the casino will state that deposits using particular methods will disqualify you from the bonus. Often these include Neteller and Skrill.

Keep in mind that bonuses have a limited shelf-life, so don't wait too long to use them.

You may also find that the terms prohibit particular strategies when it comes to wagering with bonus money. One such strategy is referred to as minimal risk betting. In roulette, it would be betting on both black and red at the same time. In Baccarat, it would be betting on the player and banker at the same time.

In slots, you cannot use the bonus money to trigger bonus features, then close the game with the intent of returning to play the feature for real money.

No Deposit Signup Bonus Free Spins or Bonus Money

The no deposit signup bonus might be the most popular type of new player casino promotion because there is no need to make the first deposit. In fact, all you need to do is signup at a casino that offers it to players from your country. Remember to opt-in!

In return, the casino will award you with some free/extra spins or bonus money. The difference is that free/extra spins can only be used on online slots / online pokies /one-armed bandits. Once you've used up your extra spins, any winnings are bonus money and not real money.

No deposit bonus money may be used on more than just slots, as they can include instant games (such as scratch cards), some table games and live casino games. Qualifying games may be different at each online casino. Still, they will all likely be fan-favourites such as Gonzo's Quest or Starburst by Netent in the case of slots.

In addition to the general bonus terms above, there are often two additional bonus conditions. The first is that the maximum cash withdrawal from a bonus is usually capped. Even if you won $/£/€5,000, you might only be able to withdraw $/£/€100.

Second, before you can cashout your winnings, you may need to make a first deposit.

Match Deposit Bonus + Free/Extra Spins Bonus

The match deposit bonus is often combined with a free spins bonus in a welcome package, but this is not always the case. First, the casino will match your real money deposit by a percentage (typically 100% - 200%) up until a maximum amount.

The match deposit bonus can either apply to the first deposit but can often apply to the first 3 or 4 deposits. It required you to opt-in, sometimes by inputting a bonus code, selecting it from a pull-down menu or even ticking a box.

The match deposit bonus may be used on many slots and table games. There are also live casino match deposit bonuses available in some places where you can play on live dealer games.

An extra spins bonus often range from 100-300 and available on a selected slot(s) by the casino. The slot may be different amongst certain countries, but they are all popular with players. The casino might change them up every few months, but some slots such as Gonzo's Quest and Starburst made years ago have endured.

Like the match deposit bonus, free spins are subject to general wagering requirements where winnings are treated as bonus money. The free spins are typically divided evenly over several days (like 10) and have very short expiration lives.

The playthrough requirement and minimum required deposit may or not be the same as the Match Deposit Bonus so check the T&C.

Cashback Casino Bonus

The cashback bonus may be offered in place of a traditional match deposit and free spins bonus. It kicks in (usually a specific time or within 24 hours) after a player has drained their first deposit balance, crediting back bonus money or real money. Treat it like a second chance that lets you play longer. Cashback is typically in the 10%-20% range.

Real money can always be withdrawn, subject to minimum withdrawal requirements, but bonus money is subject to general bonus T&C. The playthrough requirement can vary quite a bit, and we've even found ones as low as 3x the bonus money.

Back to bonus overview

FAQ

A playthrough requirement is sometimes called a rollover or turnover requirement. It is the combined monetary value of all wagers of the bonus money or bonus money + real money deposit.

It is a bonus where the playthrough requirement is lower than average. At FortunaOnlineCasinos.com, we consider low bonus wagering to be 40x or lower on the bonus money. Some casinos will apply the playthrough multiple to both the bonus money + first deposit raising the playthrough.

The answer is tricky because there is no need to make the first deposit to qualify. However, suppose a balance remains after satisfying all the wagering T&C conditions. In that case, a first deposit may be required to make a withdrawal.

When it comes to bonus money turnover, €/£/$ 1 wagered does not always mean €/£/$ 1 of turnover. The reason is that some games are less than 100%. For example, live casino games may have 5% (€/£/$0.05 turnover for every €/£/$1 wagered). Most slots, excluding jackpot, have a 100% ((€/£/$1 turnover for every €/£/$1 wagered).

Most operators apply a maximum withdrawal limit which can differ between casinos. If this is the case with your casino, then remember to temper expectations beforehand.

Casinos will never allow a bonus money cashout because it is not real money. Bonus money will only become real money if you comply with all the bonus T&C.

The answer is yes they will find out. It's easy to accidentally breach a term while playing with bonus money if you don't read them carefully. Some players may use a prohibited strategy, or wager more than the maximum amount.

Before processing a cashout request, the casino will review all of your activity looking for any breaches that would void your winnings.

If you are interested in a bonus, you must opt-in to receive it. You are not obliged to claim any bonus if you don't like the bonus T&C. There are advantages and disadvantages for opting-out. Most players do opt-in as it is often what they look for in a new online casino.

A welcome casino package is one or more bonus promotions for new players. It is often a match deposit bonus with free spins on a game(s) chosen by the casino.

The casino will always present a limited choice of games that you can play with free spins or bonus money. Sometimes, there is no choice at all.

Yes, some casinos do offer a cashback bonus for bonus money or real money when you make a first deposit and drain your balance. The amount typically ranges from 10% - 20%.

Yes, you must be a new player to qualify for a welcome bonus. Regular players will often find cashback, reload/match deposit and free spins. They can also benefit from tournaments and competitions for positions on a leaderboard.

Typically, players from the UK, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Poland, Sweden, Norway, India and Finland will qualify for a bonus. For legal reasons, the bonuses may not be the same or even available in all countries. If your country is not mentioned here, you should check the bonus T&C to see if you qualify.

Yes, Bitcoin casinos that also accept other cryptocurrencies will offer a welcome package to players who make deposits in altcoins.

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