Why Do Casino and Sports Bonuses Come With Wagering Requirements?

If you’ve ever used a bonus at a gambling site, you’re probably somewhat familiar with wagering requirements. But do you know why casinos have them and do you know about the many different types of wagering requirements that exist that can be better or worse for you? I will cover all of this and more in the following guide.

The short answer to why casino and sport bonuses come with wagering requirements is to keep you playing at the casino and to prevent the casino from losing too much money by offering the bonuses.

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What Is a Wagering Requirement?

A wagering requirement – also known as a turnover or playthrough requirement – is best described as a multiplier that represents how many times you have to stake a received 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 that you win ₹1,000 from
  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 A deposit bonus is a promotional offer that will give you some kind of bonus when making a deposit. This is usually additional money, but can also be free spins on a slot machine., free spin offers As the name implies, free spins are simply free spins on a slot machine. You get to spin on a slot for free a certain amount of times and keep all of the winnings that are generated. and cashbacks Cashbacks are bonus offers that will either return some of the losses you've had within a certain period of time or give you extra money based on your wagers. Have you lost ₹1,000 over the weekend, it may for instance be that ₹200 is returned to you. 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 like the following:

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

On mobile swipe left/right to see the entire table

As you can see, the total wagering needed is ₹30,000, ₹40,000 and ₹5,000. This is simply calculated by just multiplying the received bonus amount with the wagering requirement.

For sports betting offers, you must know that the wagering requirement often includes minimum odds. This means that only wagers that are placed on those specified odds or higher odds 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 you how a wagering requirement can be displayed on a real bonus offer at a casino
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What Are the Implications of a Wagering Requirement?

Until you have fulfilled it, you won’t be able to make any type of withdrawal unless you’re first canceling the bonus.

I have now covered the basics of wagering requirements. Things can, however, get a bit more complicated as wagering requirements can be designed in many different ways. I will get to this later in the guide, but to give you a preview of the complexity, wagering requirements can:

– Be based on your deposited amount as well as your received bonus

In our example above, this would mean a wagering requirement of ₹60,000 for the deposit bonus as opposed to ₹30,000 (30 * ₹1,000 bonus + ₹1,000 deposit)

– Be tied or not be tied to real money winnings (winnings that are made from your deposited amount as opposed to being generated from your bonus balance)

This means that sometimes you’ll have the option of canceling a bonus to cash out winnings made from your real money balance and sometimes you’re forced to fulfill the wagering requirement no matter what.

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 too unusual that a withdrawal that is connected to a welcome bonus A welcome bonus is a bonus that only new players who are signing up to a gambling site will receive. It's often more valuable than other bonus offers. You can find a list of different welcome bonuses here will trigger a KYC request. This is to make sure that you are in fact a new customer who hasn’t claimed the bonus before with another account.

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

This Is Why Bonuses Come With Wagering Requirements

Let me answer this briefly before going into the details. Bonuses come with wagering requirements:

  • To prevent players from instantly cashing out the bonus balance (which would ruin the casinos)
  • To allow bonuses to exist (which gives us players an added value)
  • As a rule set by regulators to prevent money laundering from happening

A casino or betting bonus is no different from real money. It’s a cost for gambling sites to be offering. 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 the deposited amount + received bonus to make a guaranteed profit? I know I would!

This would certainly not be a sustainable business strategy. The casinos would go bankrupt in a blink of an eye.  

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 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 play at; one that has no bonuses at all or one that regularly gives you bonuses? For most players, the latter is a no-brainer.

This is why gambling sites are offering bonuses that have wagering requirements. Not only do you get tempted to play with them, 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 are required to follow a bunch of rules if they are to keep their license. You may for instance have experienced the phenomenon of being asked to withdraw to the same method that you deposited with. This is one of these rules that they are required to follow.

Another is a wagering requirement. To follow regulations that come with their license and to abide by anti-money laundering laws, the casinos must have wagering requirements in order to prevent money laundering and other eco criminal activities. 

That’s why – if you read the general terms and conditions at casinos – you will find a clause that says that any deposit made must be wagered a certain number of times (usually 1 time).

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

This Is How Bonuses and Wagering Requirements Can Be Different

As already mentioned, there are many ways that wagering requirements can be designed:

  • Wagering requirements can be based only on bonus or also on deposited amount (Read more)
  • Sometimes real money and bonus are separated and sometimes your entire balance is bonus (Read more)
  • Sometimes you use real money before bonus balance and sometimes it’s split 50/50 (Read more)
  • Sometimes all money counts towards wagering and sometimes only bonus money (Read more)
  • Sometimes you can cash out winnings made from real money and sometimes you can’t (Read more)

Wagering Requirements Can Be Based Only on Bonus or Also on Deposited Amount

Let’s say that 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 make a withdrawal, or
  • Wager a total of ₹45,000 (30 * ₹1,000 + ₹500) before being able to make a withdrawal

It all depends if the wagering requirement is based solely on the received bonus or also on the deposited amount. This is something that you may want to take note of whenever you take part in a bonus that requires a deposit.

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

Sometimes Real Money and Bonus Are Separated and Sometimes Your Entire Balance Is Bonus

Whenever you’re taking part of 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.

Why does this matter you ask? Let’s have a look at some of the other differences that bonuses and wagering requirements can have and you’ll get your answer.

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

Let’s continue to assume that 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 real money balance and ₹0 is used from your bonus balance, or
  • ₹5 is used from your real money balance and ₹5 is used from your bonus balance

This does of course only apply in those scenarios where your real money balance and bonus are separated from each other.

Do note that any winnings that are made from real money will always be credited as real money and any winnings that are made from a bonus balance will always be credited as bonus money.

Can’t bonuses be designed so that bonus balance is used before real money balance?

They can, but it’s very rare to come across this. Almost all offers are designed so that real money balance is used before the bonus.

Why does it matter how the balance is used?

You’ll find the answer below.

Sometimes All Money Counts Towards Wagering and Sometimes Only Bonus Money

This means that some bonuses (often referred to as parachute, lifeline or non-sticky) only act as an extra chance to win money in case you would lose your deposited amount.

If only bets used with bonus money counts towards the wagering requirement and real money is used before the bonus balance, you can never make a profit from the 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 Real Money and Sometimes You Can’t

Let’s say that you deposit ₹500 to receive ₹1,000 in bonus and the bonus is designed so that real money is used before your bonus balance. Your start spinning on a slot and after just five rounds of betting ₹10 you get super lucky and hit a big win of ₹50,000.

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

Let’s say that the wagering requirement of the bonus is 30x (bonus + deposit). This would mean that you would 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 and only your deposit would be left on your account.

However, there are also those bonuses where you will be able to cancel the bonus and only lose the received bonus + winnings that are made from the bonus balance. In our 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 could cancel the bonus and lose your bonus balance of ₹1,000 then withdraw all of your winnings + deposit (₹50,450).

Important Terms and Conditions to Know About When Wagering a Bonus

All bonuses come with various terms and conditions that are basically rules and information that tells you everything you need to know about an offer. This is where you find out about wagering requirements and all of the things that I have listed above.

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 like at a casino

What I’ve already mentioned about wagering requirements is not everything there is to know about them though. There are also other conditions that can influence your wagering, which can affect the overall value of a bonus. These conditions are minor, but nonetheless vital for players to know about. They include:

Time limit

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. The welcome bonuses A welcome bonus is a bonus that only new players who are signing up to a gambling site will receive. It's often more valuable than other bonus offers. You can find a list of different welcome bonuses here at the Indian online casinos I personally recommend are often generous on this point.

In some cases, bonuses do, however, come with a short time limit. This is most commonly seen with free spin offers. Here you may experience that winnings that are made from your free spins have to 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

This is one of the worst conditions that a bonus can come with. Luckily it’s not used very often.

A cashout limit means that any winnings that are made from your bonus are limited to a certain withdrawal value. 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 you 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 an example of what it could 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%, this means that only half of the stakes made on that game would count towards the wagering.

In our example above (which is often how it looks), 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.

Why is this you ask? Because the games are designed in a way that makes it possible for players to get an unfair advantage over the casino (usually with some kind of progression mechanic). It could for instance be that a lucrative bonus feature A bonus feature is a mechanic in a game (usually slot) that is extra valuable (have the potential to pay a lot). It can be designed in many different ways. For instance give you free spins that multiply all of your winnings by a certain amount. will be triggered once you fill up a bar in a game.  

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

While most players won’t think of this, there are those that abuse the mechanic by using their bonus balance to fill this 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 features with a real money balance instead of a bonus balance, which means that all winnings from the features will be credited as real money. This means that there won’t be any wagering requirement to fulfill.

Here are a few of the games where this abuse is possible (which are usually banned):

  • Castle Builder 2
  • Tower Quest
  • Super Monopoly Money

A lot of Indian gambling sites won’t let you enter the banned games with a bonus active. This is, however, not always the case. It is in fact possible to play the games at some casinos even if you have a bonus. Doing so doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get in trouble. Chances are slim that you would accidentally do a legitimate bonus abuse and legit casinos aren’t looking to punish honest players.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The bonus money can’t be withdrawn before the wagering requirement that 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?

If you're looking to profit from it the best way is to find 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?

This is because the bonus has a low wagering contribution on Blackjack. In other words, if the wagering contribution is 10% and the wagering requirement is 30x, the real wagering requirement on Blackjack is actually 300x. 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 spins 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 though.

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 requirements?

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, this means that you have to stake the received bonus amount a total of 30 times. So, if ₹1,000 is received as a bonus, wagering 30 times would mean playing for a total of ₹30,000. Do note that 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.

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