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Understanding Wagering Requirements of Casino and Sports Bonuses

Almost all bonuses at gambling sites come with a wagering requirement.

In this article, we will explain what these are, why they exist, and what different types of wagering requirements you may encounter, which can be better or worse for you.

What Is a Wagering Requirement?

A wagering requirement – also known as a turnover or playthrough requirement – is a multiplier that represents how many times you have to stake a received casino or sports bonus before cashing it out.

Let’s illustrate this with three examples of bonus offers.

  1. You deposit ₹1,000 to receive another ₹1,000 extra in bonus.
  2. You receive 50 free spins as a bonus from which you win ₹1,000.
  3. You receive a 20% cashback on net losses which earns you ₹1,000.

In all of these scenarios, you are likely to have a bonus balance of ₹1,000.

There are exceptions to the rule as some deposit bonuses, free spin offers, and cashbacks are credited as pure cash.

But for the sake of explaining wagering requirements, let’s assume that it’s all bonus money.

For these three offers the wagering requirement could look as follows:

Bonus TypeBonus AmountWagering RequirementWagering Needed
Deposit bonus₹1,00030x₹30,000
Free spin offer₹1,00040x₹40,000
Cashback bonus₹1,0005x₹5,000

As you can see, the total wagering needed is calculated by multiplying the received bonus amount by the wagering coefficient.

For sports betting bonuses, the wagering requirement often includes minimum odds.

This means that only wagers placed on specified odds or higher will count towards the wagering.

For instance, if the minimum odds are 1.70, only bets with odds 1.70 or higher will count.

How a bonus and wagering requierment can be presented
The image shows how a wagering requirement can be displayed on a real bonus offer at a casino

The Implications of a Wagering Requirement

The implications of a wagering requirement is that you can't withdraw any of your received bonus funds until it has been completed.

Additionally, some types of wagering requirements won't let you cash out your own, deposited funds either. We will cover this more thoroughly later in the guide.

What Happens Once a Wagering Requirement Is Fulfilled?

As soon as the wagering requirement is completed, all bonus money will become real money. This money is now yours to spend however you like. You can continue playing at the casino or you can request a withdrawal.

It’s not unusual that a withdrawal connected to a welcome bonus will trigger a KYC request. This is to make sure you are in fact a new customer who hasn’t previously claimed the bonus with another account.

If you want the fastest casino withdrawals, it's a good idea to go through KYC verification as the first thing after signing up for a casino account. Normally, you don't have to wait for the casino to request it to.

Why Bonuses Come With Wagering Requirements

Bonuses come with wagering requirements…

  • To prevent players from instantly cashing out their bonus
  • To allow for various types of bonuses to exist
  • As a requirement set by regulators to prevent money laundering

A casino or betting bonus is no different from real money. It’s a cost for gambling sites to offer.

Imagine if there were no restrictions and any bonus received could be instantly withdrawn.

How many would deposit just to get a bonus and then cash out their deposited amount + received bonus to make a guaranteed profit? Everyone!

This would not be a sustainable business strategy. The casinos would go bankrupt in a heartbeat.  

So why are gambling sites offering bonuses in the first place if it’s costing them money?

It’s considered to be an investment. With the help of bonuses, they’re able to attract and retain players.

If they had it their way, they wouldn’t be offering any bonuses at all as this is cutting their profits. However, since the online gambling industry is extremely competitive, they are forced to.

Ask yourself what casino you would rather play at; one that has no bonuses or one that regularly gives you some? For most people, the latter is a no-brainer.

By offering bonuses with wagering requirements, not only do the casinos entice you, but you are also forced to play with them – at least temporarily until the wagering requirement has been fulfilled.

There are also legal reasons behind wagering requirements

All legitimately licensed online casinos must follow a bunch of rules if they are to keep their license.

For instance, you must always withdraw money to the same method you deposited with.

Another rule is a wagering requirement. To abide by anti-money laundering laws and prevent other eco-criminal activities, casinos must have wagering requirements in place. 

This is why – if you read the general terms and conditions at casinos – you will find a clause that says that any deposit to the casino must be wagered a certain number of times (usually 1 – 3).

Why you must wagering a deposit before withdrawal
The image shows how a wagering requirement on deposits is displayed as a rule in the general T&C of a casino

How Wagering Requirements on Bonuses Can Differ

There are many ways that bonuses and their surrounding wagering requirements can be designed which ultimately affects how valuable a bonus offer is.

Here's a breakdown:

  • Wagering requirements can be based on the received bonus or the received bonus + deposited amount.
  • Sometimes deposited money and bonus money are separated and sometimes your entire balance becomes a bonus.
  • Sometimes you use deposited money before the bonus balance and sometimes it’s split 50/50.
  • Sometimes all wagered money counts towards wagering and sometimes only bonus money.
  • Sometimes you can cash out winnings made from deposited money and sometimes you can’t.

And here's an explanation of each:

Wagering Requirements Can Be Based on the Received Bonus or the Received Bonus + Deposited Amount

Let’s say you’re taking part in a deposit bonus that gives you 200% up to ₹10,000. This means that if you deposit ₹500 you will receive an additional ₹1,000 as a bonus.

If the wagering requirement is set to 30x, this could either mean that you have to:

  • Wager a total of ₹30,000 (30 * ₹1,000) before being able to withdraw, or
  • Wager a total of ₹45,000 (30 * (₹1,000 + ₹500)) before being able to withdraw

It all depends if the wagering requirement is based solely on the received bonus or also on the deposited amount.

This is something you want to take note of whenever you take part in a bonus that requires a deposit as it can have a huge impact on the total amount you have to wager.

Example of wagering only the bonus money
Wagering bonus money only
Example of wagering both bonus and deposit
Wagering deposit and bonus money

Sometimes Deposited Money and Bonus Money Are Separated and Sometimes Your Entire Balance Becomes a Bonus

Whenever you’re taking part in a bonus two things can happen:

  1. The bonus received is separated from your real money balance (deposited amount).
  2. Your entire balance becomes bonus money (deposited amount + received bonus).

If you’re depositing ₹500 to receive ₹1,000 in bonus, you could either have a real money balance of ₹500 and a bonus balance of ₹1,000, or, a real money balance of ₹0 and a bonus balance of ₹1,500.

This matters because, with some wagering requirements, only wagers placed with bonus money will count towards the wagering.

Sometimes You Use Deposited Money Before the Bonus Balance and Sometimes It’s Split 50/50

Again, let's assume you have deposited ₹500 to receive ₹1,000 in bonus. Let’s also assume that you’re spinning on a slot with a ₹10 stake. This would either mean that:

  • ₹10 is used from your deposited, real money balance, and ₹0 is used from your bonus balance, or
  • ₹5 is used from your deposited, real money balance, and ₹5 is used from your bonus balance

Any winnings made from your wagers are split proportionally. The portion that comes from the real money will be credited as real money and the portion of winnings made from the bonus balance will be credited as bonus money.

Although incredibly rare to come across, you may also find a bonus where the bonus balance is used before the deposited, real money balance.

All of this matters because with some bonuses, you can cash out your deposited money and winnings made from them without fulfilling the wagering requirement.

Sometimes All Wagered Money Counts Towards Wagering and Sometimes Only Bonus Money

Let's assume you grab a bonus where only wagers placed with bonus money count toward the wagering requirement.

Now, if your real money and bonus balance are separated and the former is used first, you can never make a profit from the received bonus without losing your own deposit.

When bonus money contributes towards wagering
This is how it may look like at a casino when only bonus money contributes towards the wagering requirement

Sometimes You Can Cash Out Winnings Made From Deposited Money and Sometimes You Can’t

Let’s say you deposit ₹500 to receive ₹1,000 in bonus and the bonus is designed so that deposited money is used before your bonus balance.

You then start spinning on a slot and after just five rounds of betting ₹10, you get lucky and hit a big win of ₹50,000.

Your real money balance is now ₹50,450 (₹50,000 + deposit of ₹500 – ₹50 for five spins) and your bonus balance ₹1,000.

Let’s say the wagering requirement of the bonus is 30x (bonus + deposit). This means that you will have to stake a total of ₹45,000 before being able to withdraw (30 * (₹500 + ₹1000)).

This is true for many bonuses as if you would cancel the bonus (which you always have the option to do) all winnings would be removed from your account, only leaving you with your deposit.

However, there are also those bonuses where you can cancel the bonus and only lose the received bonus + winnings that were made from the bonus balance. In the above example, the win was made from your real money balance, not the bonus.

This means that if you don’t want to fulfill the wagering requirement, you can cancel the bonus and only lose your bonus balance of ₹1,000 and then withdraw all of your winnings + deposit (₹50,450).

Bonuses that come with this wagering condition are generally the best ones.

Important Terms and Conditions When Wagering a Bonus

All bonuses come with various terms and conditions that tell you everything you need to know about an offer. This is where you find all the information we have already covered in the article.

In addition to these, there are also other conditions that can influence your wagering and ultimately, the overall value of a bonus. They include:

How to find the wagering requirements
The image shows an example of where you can find the terms and conditions and how the full terms and conditions could look at a casino

Time limits

Most bonuses have a time limit to them. This means that if the wagering requirement is not fulfilled within the stated time frame, the bonus will be removed from your account.

It’s often a reasonable time limit that is easy to meet, such as a couple of weeks or even months.

However, in some cases, it can be very short. This is especially true for free spin bonuses. With these, you may experience that winnings made from your free spins must be wagered within 3 days or even 24 hours.

Time limit on wagering requirement
The image shows you how a time limit can be displayed in the terms and conditions

Maximum Cashout Limit

A cashout limit means that any winnings made from a received bonus are limited to a certain withdrawal amount.

Let’s say that the cashout limit is set to ₹5,000 and you win ₹10,000 from your bonus. Upon cashout, you would only be able to withdraw ₹5,000. The rest of your winnings would be forfeited.

A cashout limit is rarely used in combination with a deposit bonus that has a wagering requirement. It’s most commonly found with bonuses that are free from wagering or promotions that give you a bonus for free.

How a maximum cash out can be presented in wagering requirement terms and conditions
The image shows how the cashout limit can be displayed in the terms and conditions of a casino

Game Contribution to Wagering

It’s quite rare to find that all casino games contribute equally to a wagering requirement. This means that a wagering requirement of 30x could actually be 60x or even 300x on some games.

Here’s a common example of what game contributions can look like:

  • Slots: 100%
  • Live casino: 10%
  • Table games: 10%
  • Video poker: 10%

If a bonus has a wagering requirement of 30x, this is the wagering requirement that applies to games that contribute 100% (usually slots).

If a game only contributes 50%, only half of the stakes made on that game would count towards the wagering.

In our example above, the wagering requirement would be 300x for live dealer games, table games, and video poker as only a tenth of all stakes placed on these games would contribute.

Banned Games

While slots usually contribute 100% towards the wagering, it is common to find that some machines are excluded (banned) from the bonus.

This means that you aren’t allowed to play these games as long as the bonus is active on your account and thus, you can't wager the bonus on them.

This rule exists because some games are designed in a way that makes it possible for players to get an unfair advantage over the casino that allows them to bypass wagering requirements.

It could for instance be that a lucrative bonus feature will be triggered once you fill up a bar in a game, which is increased for every wager that you place.  

Why you can't wagering a bonus on slots like tower quest
The image is an example of the slot Tower Quest which has a progression mechanic

There are those that abuse features like these by using their bonus balance to fill the bar up to 99%. They do this in several games – until there is no bonus money left. After that, they make a deposit to clear the last 1%.

This will trigger the bonus feature with a real money balance instead of a bonus balance, which means that all winnings from the feature will be credited as real money. This means that there won’t be any wagering requirement to fulfill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I withdraw the bonus money I've received?

The bonus money can’t be withdrawn until the wagering requirement it comes with has been fulfilled. Once it has, the funds will be transferred to your real money balance and be withdrawable.

What is the best way to wager a casino bonus?

The best way to wager a casino bonus is on a slot machine with a high RTP and low volatility. This will maximize your chances of ending up with a positive balance after the wagering requirement has been met.

Why is my wagering going so slowly when playing blackjack?

Blackjack usually has a low wagering contribution of 10% and sometimes can't be wagered on at all. With a 10% contribution, only 10% of the wagers made count towards the wagering requirement which is why it will be slow to complete. Casinos often set these low contributions due to the low volatility and extremely high RTP (99.50%) that blackjack offers during perfect play.

Do casino bonuses always come with wagering requirements?

The vast majority of casino bonuses do – especially deposit bonuses – but not all. You may come across free spin offers that are wagering-free. These may, however, have a maximum cashout limit to them.

Do cashback bonuses have a wagering requirement?

Some do and some don’t. This is something that will vary a lot between different gambling sites. If a wagering requirement does apply, it usually isn’t very high.

Does wagering only come into play when using bonus money?

Sometimes. There are different types of bonuses and with some, you will only wager the received bonus by playing with the bonus balance. This is not always the case though. Many bonuses are also wagered when using real money balance.

What happens if I do not meet the wagering requirement?

The received bonus will be lost along with any winnings that have been made with the bonus balance.

What does wagered 30 times mean?

If a bonus needs to be wagered 30 times, you have to stake the received bonus amount 30 times. If ₹1,000 is received as a bonus, wagering 30 times would mean staking a total of ₹30,000. If the bonus was received from a deposit, it may be that the wagering requirement also applies to the deposited amount and not only to the received bonus.

Mattias Fröbrant is a passionate iGaming journalist renowned for his comprehensive reviews of over 300 gambling sites in India. With a remarkable 17-year gambling experience and a background working for industry giants like Betsson Group, Mattias has earned recognition as a leading expert in the Indian online gambling field.

At GamblingBaba, Mattias’s commitment to providing accurate and easily digestible information shines through meticulously researched reviews, guides, and news articles. His strong belief in honesty and transparency ensures that readers receive the most reliable insights on the Indian gambling landscape.

To get in touch with Mattias, connect via Linkedin.

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