Bonus Cash/Casino Credits/Bonus Funds
Online casino bonuses rely on a concept called bonus cash, casino credits, bonus funds, or a similarly worded phrase. For the most part, bonus cash works just like real money. The only difference is that you can’t withdraw it. Any attempt to do so will forfeit the money to the casino and terminate whatever bonus it was awarded as part of. Bonus cash needs to be turned into real money. This is done via a process called wagering.
Wagering is a way the online casinos reduce the potential losses they may incur when offering bonus promotions. Without wagering requirements, the industry would be forced to halt promotions altogether. There would be nothing to stop people just depositing real money, claiming a bonus, and cashing the whole thing out without ever having played a game. This would cripple the businesses’ profitability.
A wagering requirement enforces a mandatory amount of money that the player needs to bet before bonus cash becomes real money. Only when it is satisfied will the player be able to withdraw any funds associated with the offer.
Whilst online casinos do not always include the wagering requirement as part of their marketing materials, you will always find a link to the terms and conditions associated with an offer. In this document, you will find many of the terms we define below. This includes the overall wagering requirement itself.
Typically, you’ll find that a wagering requirement is a multiple of the amount of bonus funds you receive. It will usually be referred to as a number followed by an “x”. For example, a 35x wagering requirement on a £10 bonus will require that you to bet a total of £350 before you can withdraw any of the funds associated with the promotion.
Wagering doesn’t need to be completed in a single bet. Any sized bet on an eligible game will be considered as a contribution to the wagering requirement. In the example offer above, 350 bets of £1 will be just as valid as a single £350 bet.
Winnings generated when wagering will be awarded as bonus cash too. This stops the players being able to make a withdrawal each time they win some money. However, the winnings do not increase the total amount of wagering. If you won £1,000 on the first bet of the above £350 wagering requirement, you would have £1,349 of bonus cash in your account but only £350 worth of wagering to complete.
A lot of the time, your bonus cash will be awarded directly as part of the promotion you are claiming. A casino might 100% match your first deposit with bonus cash. However, other bonus offers also make use of the concept of bonus cash too. For example, with a no deposit free spins bonus you’ll get a set number of free spins to use. The winnings generated from these free spins will usually be subject to wagering requirements.
Any winnings from completing the wagering will again be awarded as bonus cash but will not increase the total wagering required. It’s, therefore, much better to hit a jackpot during the wagering than it is when actually using free spins. If you hit a £1,000 jackpot on one of the free spins and winnings from the promotion were subject to 40x wagering requirements, you’d need to bet a rather daunting £40,000 before you could withdraw. If you only won £10 from the free spins but hit the same £1,000 jackpot during wagering, your total playthrough requirement would be £400, meaning you’d be guaranteed to take home at least a decent chunk of your winnings.
The lower the wagering requirement is, the more likely you are to complete it before busting out. Look out for low wagering casinos using NoDepositFriend and give yourself more chance of taking cash home.
For most online casino bonuses, particularly welcome bonuses, the casino awards the bonus cash that needs wagering following a deposit. There will be terms and conditions associated with this deposit too.
Typically, casinos will exclude some methods of deposit from claiming a welcome bonus. Options like Neteller, Skrill, and other e-wallets are very easy to setup and do not necessarily require a person to prove their identity before they can start using them. This means that players could create multiple accounts and claim multiple bonuses. Since casinos strictly limit their bonuses to one per individual or household, they forbid people from claiming them using deposit methods that do not enforce KYC checks.
As well as excluding some methods, you’ll find that the deposit needs to be in excess of a specified amount. This, like all details, will be defined by the terms and conditions document. The minimum bonus awarded might be as low as £5 or £10. Eligible deposits made in excess of the quoted figure will trigger the bonus.
Similarly, there will be a maximum bonus amount. This is usually the figure presented on the casino’s marketing materials. For example, a casino promoting a 100% match deposit bonus of up to £500 will award £500 in bonus money when a player deposits £500 or more. Funds deposited in excess of the £500 will not result in a larger bonus being awarded. However, they may actually increase the total overall wagering requirement.
Casinos consider their promotional offers as marketing tools. They award them to enrich a player’s experience. Even with wagering requirements, they realise that they will lose some money to lucky players hitting big pay-outs at opportune times. However, casinos do not consider bonuses as a way to enrich a player will very little risk.
Attempts to play games in a way that gives an unfair advantage to a player or a group of players are considered abuse of the goodwill of the casino. The terms and conditions will almost always include a clause that states that the casino can remove the bonus funds giving no notice or explanation to the player if they believe bonus abuse is taking place.
The clause detailing this will often reference the use of VPNs or users setting up multiple accounts. What other things the casino considers bonus abuse are not typically mentioned in the terms and conditions. The company does not want to give away information to players about how they might be able to engineer an edge through what the casino considers dishonest play.
Another method by which casinos attempt to limit their losses from bonuses is by varying the contributions made by different games towards the total wagering requirement. Different casino games provide different levels of profitability for a casino. There can be quite a large difference between the lowest house edge games and the highest.
For example, if you were to play 100 hands of blackjack, betting £1 each time, with perfect strategy, you’d be expected to lose less than £1 to the casino. If you were to make 100 spins of £1 on a 90% RTP rated slot machine, you’d be expected to lose £10 to the casino.
Completing wagering requirements by playing blackjack would obviously be a much better idea than using a low RTP slot. However, a casino’s contribution clause makes it so that this is not the case.
Very high RTP rated games will be limited in their contributions to wagering or be excluded from contributing at all. The terms and conditions document will have a list of games that contribute 100% to wagering (each £1 bet will reduce the wagering remaining by £1). Better propositions for the player might be limited to contributing 50% (for every £1 bet as part of wagering, the total remaining reduces by 50p).
Other games, like blackjack, will be limited even more harshly. They might contribute 10%, 1%, or not at all. A 1% contribution effectively multiplies the total wagering requirement by 100. In the example we used above, the £40,000 wagering requirement would effectively turn into a £4 million playthrough requirement if blackjack was favoured and only contributed 1% towards the requirement.
The final important term relating to wagering requirements to define is the bonus’s expiration date. The bonus funds are only valid for a specified amount of time. Any remaining funds will be forfeit to the casino when the specified period passes.
Don’t worry though, if your bonus funds were part of a deposit bonus, any of your actual deposit that you haven’t spent yet will not be taken from you. The company just removes its own bonus contribution from your account. However, when betting on games, most casinos will take from the player’s own money before using bonus funds.
This is intended to stop a form of bonus abuse that would ensure a risk-free potential to profit. If the casino used the bonus funds first, the player could simply make big bets using the promotional cash. If they won, they could attempt to complete wagering as normal. If they lost, they could just ride out the period of the promotion not betting any of their own money. Their deposit would revert back to regular money and they could withdraw it after the bonus expires. As businesses, casinos are not interested in ways to give completely risk-free methods of using their products to their members.