Why do casinos attach wagering requirements to their bonuses?

If like us you’re always on the hunt for the biggest and best casino welcome offers, you’ll no doubt have shared the same frustrations we have when it comes to wagering requirements. 

Time and again we’ve felt like the luckiest punters in the world upon discovering a welcome offer that promises an incredible amount of wager free spins, huge matched bonuses and even a huge wad of bonus cash all because we’ve chosen to bet at their casino. 

However, upon carefully and meticulously reading through the smallprint it quickly becomes evident that there’s a lot more to these generous welcome bonuses than meets the eye. Those two dreaded words we keep on seeing crop up absolutely everywhere have returned to haunt us again… Wagering requirements, and it’s driving us crazy! 

Have you ever stopped and wondered why online casinos are so insistent on attaching wagering requirements to so many of their offers? As unfair as they might seem at the time, there is some reasoning behind them, but before we get into that let us explain exactly what wagering requirements are and how they work. 

What are wagering requirements and how do they work? 

Wagering requirements are a set of conditions that state how many times over a player must play through their bonus before they can withdraw any winnings from their chosen casino, more specifically winnings that have come as a result of the welcome bonus given to them.

You’ll often find that wagering requirements can differ wildly based on the casino, however the most common wagering requirements do tend to sit between 10x wagering and 40x wagering. So if you come across anything in that region then we’d say you’re probably being offered a fair and honest deal. However, anything above that and you’re in for an uphill battle.

Unfortunately, there are some operators out there that aren’t at all fair when it comes to the wagering requirements they’ve attached to their welcome offers. These casinos are asking players to play through their bonuses as many as 100x over in order to withdraw winnings.

Of course, this is a near impossible demand. If you were to receive a £100 bonus with 100x wagering requirements you’d be expected to place a massive £10,000 worth of bets on slot games before you could even withdraw a single penny. Chances are you’ll have run out of money long before you met the wagering requirements. 

Why were wagering requirements originally introduced? 

Back in the early days of online casinos there were very few strictly enforced rules and regulations, and as a result both players and operators ran amok. 

Rogue bonus hunters would work together to source the most generous offers in order to win as much as they possibly could from operators using low-risk strategies such as even money bets, only to never be seen again once they’d made that first withdrawal.

In response, online casinos fought back by introducing restrictions that stopped players from coming along, accepting welcome bonuses and then running with whatever winnings they could get their hands on. 

This is how wagering requirements as we know them were born, in order to combat unscrupulous players who were repeatedly taking advantage of operators’ generosity.

However, the issue now lay with the fact that these operators were not effectively communicating with the players in order to convey the message that wagering requirements had been enforced on a lot of their offers. 

As a result, players were only discovering these restrictions when they found that they couldn’t withdraw any money, when it was far too late to do anything about it. 

As the relations between players and operators continued to sour it fell to both the UK Gambling Commission and the Competitions and Markets Authority to help repair this fractured relationship. 

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 was introduced, one of the stipulations of this Act forced operators to be significantly more transparent with players, ensuring that they clearly displayed any wagering requirements within the main body of the offer.

How more transparency dramatically changed behaviours

As you can imagine, when faced with the stark reality of having to play through their bonuses many times over, players turned their back on the casinos that weren’t offering them what they perceived to be fair value for their time and money. 

As a result, this then led to a completely new war, this time amongst operators who were stumbling over each other to pull in brand new players. They achieved this by offering them casino bonuses with lower and lower wagering requirements, a complete turnaround in comparison to earlier years in which wagering requirements were snuck into every offer.

Eventually this back-and-forth led to a small number of casinos adopting a much welcome wager-free approach and as a result the no wagering casino was officially born! Heralding a brand new era of casino bonuses that were transparent, honest and most importantly fair.

Can wagering requirements be beaten? 

Being realistic, there is no magic system that allows you to actually ‘beat’ wagering requirements. It truly is all down to a great deal of luck and an even greater deal of patience. 

All players can really do to prepare for wagering requirements is by doing the math, working out exactly how much needs to be wagered before they’re able to make any withdrawals.

That said, If you’re playing with bonus cash rather than free spins you do have the opportunity to play more aggressively than you normally would, which does boost your chances of winning big on multipliers and bonus rounds. 

If you do get lucky then you’ll be in the unique position of being able to play through your funds a lot quicker than you would have done picking up smaller wins here and there. 

Ultimately though, regardless of how much bonus cash or free spins you’re given, as long as there are high wagering requirements attached you’re going to struggle to get your hands on those winnings… The only way to truly beat wagering requirements is to avoid them altogether, opting for a fair wager-free casino bonus.

What’s the best way to go about finding the fairest casino bonuses? 

We get it, it can be tempting to go for the biggest, chunkiest casino welcome bonus out there and just hope and pray you can work your way through the wagering requirements, however there’s a much better way to go about this. 

Like we suggested, if you want action with little to no risk then go for a no wagering casino bonus, it’s unlikely you’ll win thousands of pounds from these bonuses, but they will get you off to a good start. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for even more free spins, and aren’t afraid of putting some effort in to withdraw your winnings, a low wagering casino bonus could be the one for you. 

Everybody plays differently, there’s no one sure-fire way to play, and that’s the beauty of casino welcome bonuses, each one is tailored to suit a different kind of player. 

If you’re not afraid of wagering requirements, then by all means go at them head on, they’ve not been put there to inconvenience you… They’re there to protect the casino. However if you really are looking for fairness, transparency and most importantly value then it’s best to avoid wagering requirements altogether. 

Gaming Act 2005