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Wagering Requirements at Online Casinos Explained

Wagering Requirements at Online Casinos – An Explainer

If you play at an online casino and accept one of their bonus offers, you will notice that almost all of them will have something called wagering requirements attached to them. Wagering requirements can be difficult to understand for the new player and can even feel like a scam to some at first glance, so we will explain them in this article.

What is a Wagering Requirement?

When an online casino gives you a bonus offer, it will normally take the form of bonus money. The difference between bonus money and real money is that the casino will let you withdraw the real money whenever you want but they won’t let you withdraw the bonus money until you have fulfilled the wagering requirements. This is because the casino wants to give you more playtime without giving away too much free money. The wagering requirements make it so that the majority of the people who get bonus money fail to convert them to real money.
So, what is a wagering requirement? It is the number of times you need to wager your bonus money before it becomes real money and it is expressed as a multiple, for example x40. If you get $50 bonus money from the casino with a x40 wagering requirement attached to it, you need to place bets for a total of $50 x 40 = $2000 with the bonus money before it becomes real money. All of the bonus money attached to a bonus you finish the wagering requirements on will turn into real money that you can withdraw.

Are Wagering Requirements a Scam?

Fulfilling the wagering requirements is not easy. If you play slots for example, you will statistically lose about 4% of your bet every bet, letting you place bets for about x25 your money (if you don’t change your bet) before going bust. Which is less than the average wagering requirement, and usually, you will do worse than this. This means that statistically you won’t finish the wagering requirements, feels like a scam, right?
Luckily for you though, and for gambling in general, these are games of chance and sometimes you get lucky enough to beat statistics, and win more, sometimes way more than expected. These are the times when you will have a chance to meet the wagering requirements because the added cash will let you wager more times, hopefully enough to get over the threshold.
The casinos have calculated all of this of course, and it’s the reason the wagering requirements are set at the levels they are. The casinos don’t want to give away money for free but if no one makes real money wins with the bonus money it wouldn’t be very enticing either. The middle ground is where wagering requirements come in, some players will get lucky and make real money wins with the bonus money, but the majority won’t, lowering the marketing cost for the casinos.
Casino bonus wagering
Bonuses are not free money, but can be a lot of fun if you know the rules

Wagering Requirement Contributions

Not all games are equal when it comes to wagering requirements. Our discussion above was with slots and their roughly 4% house edge in mind. Many of the table games in a casino will have a much lower house edge than that, like Baccarat with a house edge around 1%. That would mean you could wager money a x100 statistically. Fantastic! We’ll just play Baccarat instead of slots and almost always finish our wagering requirements!
Well, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? But of course, the casinos have thought about this, so they lower the contribution that table games make to the wagering requirements. A common value is 10%, meaning that if you bet $50 on say blackjack it will only count as you having wagered $5. Other games will have different contributions, or in some cases, not count at all against wagering requirements. So be on the lookout for what the wagering requirements are for what games and what games don’t contribute at all, so you don’t get any nasty surprises.

Should You Use Bonuses?

It depends on how the bonus is structured. If it doesn’t lock down your normal deposit money in any way it is a decent deal. This is because the bonus money is just an added chance to win once you’re done playing with your deposited money (you nearly always have to finish your real money before you get to play with your bonus money). You either finish the wagering requirement or you don’t, but you didn’t really lose anything other than the time that you spent playing with the bonus money.
This is not the only way that bonuses can be set up, however. It is quite common for the casinos to clump your deposited money together with the bonus money into a single sum and setting the wagering requirements on the total sum (or just the bonus money, there are many variants). This locks down your real deposited money and makes it, in effect, bonus money. This is in many ways a bad deal, while you still gain the bonus money you can’t get a nice little win while playing for your deposited money and call it a day, your money will be stuck in the bonus. The casinos that use this kind of bonus will often compensate for this problem with a lower wagering requirement like x20. Is that enough to compensate for your real money becoming bonus money? I can’t really answer that for you, I think it’s a bad deal, but you might value it differently. At least you know how it works now so you can make an informed decision.

TL; DR: Yes if your deposited money isn’t converted into bonus money, probably not otherwise.

What is a Good Wagering Requirement?

As we discussed above, while playing slots you will statistically be able to turn your money over 25 times, give or take a bit depending on the game you play. Your actual results will vary of course, but the casino thinks about this in terms of statistics because with a lot of players playing, the actual results will converge on the statistical ones. So, they add a bit of safety margin to make it so some people manage to fulfill the wagering requirements but not too many. This will often be around an extra x10-15 or so, putting the wagering requirements at x35 to x40. Once you go above this it’s starting to be a bad deal, and worse the higher you go.
Bonus requirements for casinos
Make sure you are aware of the small prints of your bonus before you commit to one!


Wagering requirements are a necessary evil for the casinos because they can’t very well give away too much free money, but if they don’t give away anything their offers will no longer be enticing. With wagering requirements in the x35-40 range and no tying down of the deposit money, they do offer something enticing that should be able to draw you in. Just be wary of the more rotten deals that lock your deposit in or have unreasonably high wagering requirements and you will be fine.

See you in the next one!

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