Bonuses and Wagering Requirement

Online Casino Guide PhotoThanks to the many leading online casinos, the online gambling industry is rapidly expanding. The demand for online games is on the rise as more and more players opt for this type of entertainment. It is no surprise that this is the case since online casinos offer a number of advantages. Without doubt, one of the best things about these casino websites is that they feature various types of bonuses, some of which are even exclusive to online users. If you take advantage of these special deals, you will be able to enhance your gambling experience significantly and have a great time without even having to leave your home.

Thanks to the available bonuses the online casinos offer, you can enjoy your favourite game for much longer. In addition, in skill-based games such as blackjack, in order to manage to apply your strategy correctly and make a profit, you need to be able to stay long enough in the game until a winning streak occurs. At first glance, all types of bonuses seem like nothing but a brilliant way to boost your casino balance. However, this is not always the case as every available bonus has wagering requirements which determine to a huge extent whether it is truly beneficial or not.

Types of Casino Bonuses

Since online casinos offer various deals and bonuses to allure as many players as possible, it is no wonder that there are several types of bonuses available in almost every casino website. Even though every online casino features exclusive promotions and bonuses, there are several types which are universal as they are offered by almost every casino website. They include Welcome Bonus, No Deposit Bonuses, High Roller Bonuses, Refer-a-Friend Bonuses, Regular Bonuses, Preferred Payment Bonus and others. Generally speaking, there is a suitable bonus for all types of players, regardless of their betting habits and gaming style.

Welcome Bonus

The Welcome Bonus or otherwise known as Sign-up Bonus, is undoubtedly the most widespread type of bonus. As its name indicates, this bonus is available exclusively to new players when they join the casino platform for the first time. In order to be able to take advantage of it, you are required to make a deposit whose minimum amount is usually set in advance. Depending on the terms and conditions of the bonus, it can apply either only on your first deposit or on your first three or four deposits.

This type of bonus is usually shown in percentages along with the maximum amount you are able to get from it if you manage to meet the set requirements. For instance, some online casinos offer a welcome bonus of 100% up to £300, meaning that if you deposit £100, the casino will give you the same sum as a bonus. This type of bonus is also known as a Match Bonus due to the fact that it matches the amount of your first deposit.

Casino Welcome Bonus Photo

No Deposit Bonus

Another very popular type of bonus that is offered by various online casinos is the No Deposit Bonus. As its name hints, in order to take advantage of it, you aren’t required to make any deposit. The amount of these free funds depends on the casino of your choice, but in general it is much smaller than in the welcome bonus since you don’t have to deposit any money. Thanks to this type of bonus, you are given the opportunity to try the respective online casino and determine whether it suits your needs or not without risking your own funds.

High Roller Bonus

It is fairly easy to guess the meaning behind this type of bonus as its name is quite transparent. In general, it is suitable for players who have the means to deposit a substantial amount. Usually, the required amount is around £1000-£1500 and in some cases, it is worth investing so much money as later on the same sum is added to your casino account. If you are an avid player whose betting style is more extreme, this bonus is a great way to double your initial funds.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus

With this type of bonus, the online casinos aim at promoting their website and attract more players. If you invite a friend who is willing to register and make a deposit at the respective online casino, you will be rewarded with a particular amount. This way, you have the opportunity to not only play a casino game with your friends but also get some money for doing so.

Refer a Friend Bonus

Bonuses for Depositing with Certain Payment Methods

Bonuses are sometimes offered for depositing with specific payment methods. Some online casinos prefer to process players’ funds, for one reason or another, by using a particular payment solution. As a result, they encourage their customers to deposit with the respective payment method by offering them a bonus. Therefore, it is a good idea to check these payment methods beforehand to decide whether they correspond to your individual needs.

Regular Bonuses

Some online casinos offer bonuses on a regular basis, meaning that at a particular time every week or month you are able to take advantage of them. Furthermore, if you are a regular customer, the chances that you will be sent special offers on your email regularly are quite high. In general, the more you play real-money games, the more you will be eligible to exclusive bonuses. For the players who frequently place substantial bets, most online casinos organize special events and VIP programmes as a gesture of appreciation.

Wagering Requirements

As already mentioned, every online casino bonus has wagering requirements, also known as playthrough or turnover requirements. The terms and conditions of the respective bonus are an important aspect you should always consider before you opt in for any promotional incentive. Wagering requirements vary, depending on the online casino and the type of bonus.

Remote gambling operators impose them to protect themselves against bonus abuse and bonus hunting. With no wagering requirements in place, there would be nothing to prevent players from claiming bonuses and withdrawing them immediately after redemption without placing any real-money wagers.

Some bonuses are cashable but only after you have met their wagering requirements. Others still have a playthrough attached to them but can only be used for betting purposes and are impossible to withdraw. In some cases, before you can use your bonus, you are required to wager the deposit amount as well as the bonus amount. It is indicative that such strict conditions render many bonuses disadvantageous to players.

Therefore, it is really important to consider the playthrough requirements in advance. For instance, if the playthrough of a particular bonus is set at 30x and the bonus amount is £150, you are required to wager the bonus value 30 times before you can withdraw it. From this, it follows that the lower the wagering requirements, the better for the player.

Wagering Requirements

Calculating the Playthrough of Deposit Match Bonuses

Calculating the amount of money you must wager to release the free credits from your bonus balance is a matter of simple mental calculation, at least in most cases. Several factors bear consideration, including the playthrough, the bonus amount, and whether the triggering deposit is included in the wagering requirements.

What follows is an example from the UKGC-licensed 32Red Casino which currently offers a 150% bonus match on first deposits. Kudos to the operator for laying out the terms attached to its welcome offer in a clear and unambiguous manner, which is not always the case with some other casinos. Let’s unpack the other conditions related to the welcome bonus in question.

  • First deposits qualify for a 150% bonus match capped at £150.
  • Wagering requirements of 50x are attached to the bonus amount only.
  • Slot, slingo, scratchcards, and keno contribute 100% to clearing the wagering.
  • Players must use their welcome bonuses within one week of qualification.
  • The minimum qualifying deposit for obtaining the bonus is set at £10.

The deposit amount is not included in the wagering requirements in this case, so you can calculate your playthrough by using the following formula:

Bonus Value x Wagering Requirements (WR) = Total Wagers

Assuming you trigger the bonus with a minimum deposit of £10, the total amount you must wager to clear the playthrough will be equal to £750 (£15 x 50). A £50 deposit qualifies for a £75 bonus, in which case you must wager £3,750 (£75 x 50) in total before you can request a withdrawal. Players who obtain the maximum bonus of £150 with a £100 deposit must place £7,500 (£150 x 50) in bets to meet their wagering requirements.

This playthrough might seem difficult to clear but this should be no issue for customers who play regularly. We would like to point out that the above calculations are applicable to bets placed on games with a 100% contribution to the playthrough.

Online slots, keno, slingo, scratchcards, and other instant win games typically all belong to this category but you better double-check the game weightings when playing at a different casino. The calculations will run differently when you play games with a lower weighting as you shall see shortly. The formula is slightly modified when the playthrough includes the triggering deposit.

(Bonus Value + Triggering Deposit) x Wagering Requirements (WR) = Total Wagers

Here is a hypothetical example of how the calculations will run if triggering deposits are added to the equation. The turnover is again set at 50x. Assuming a player has triggered a 150% match bonus with a £10 deposit, they must spend £1,250 (£15 + £10) x 50 before they request a withdrawal, or else the online casino will forfeit the bonus credits. Respectively, a higher deposit of £50 will trigger a £75 bonus, in which case the overall amount required to clear the playthrough will jump to £6,250 (£75 + £50) x 50.

Calculating the Playthrough of Free Spins Bonuses

Free spins are commonly awarded to online casino players, either individually or as part of the welcome bundles. This type of bonus provides customers with the opportunity to test new slot releases in a risk-free manner but is not associated with a specific cash amount. Wagering requirements are again in place but the playthrough multiplier applies only to the winnings players have generated with their free spins. It makes sense players must use a different formula to calculate the amount they must wager to turn over the winnings from their bonus balance.

Free Spins Winnings x Wagering Requirements (WR) = Total Wagers

By means of example, we shall assume you claim a bundle of 10 free spins on NetEnt’s Starburst slot. You play through your bonus rounds and are lucky enough to generate £25 in winnings. To convert the profits into cash, you must bet them 30 times over. The total amount you must wager would be equal to £750.

Game Weightings

As we previously noted, not all games have an equal contribution to the playthrough. Known as game weighting, this is another subtlety you should take into account so that you can play the games that will help you clear the playthrough quickly. All this valuable information is included in the terms and conditions of the respective bonus.

The game weighting bears consideration because it impacts the overall amount you must bet to convert your bonus into cash or betting credits. The lower the weighting, the more wagers you must place to turn your bonus over. Remote gambling operators tend to attach higher playthrough contributions to games that carry greater house edges, and vice versa.

Game Weightings

The games that yield minuscule house edges gravitating around half a percent or less are sometimes completely excluded, and either have zero contribution to the playthrough or are prohibited to play with active bonuses. It all depends on the policies of the respective gambling operator. The table below contains the playthrough contribution percentages of the different categories of games available at 32Red and 888casino.

Examples of Game Weightings from Two UK-Licensed Casinos
32Red Casino888casino
Game CategoryPlaythrough ContributionGame CategoryPlaythrough Contribution
Online slots*, keno, slingo, scratchcards 100%Online slots, scratchcards, keno, arcade, and instant win games100%
House-banked poker (except the varieties listed below)50.00%House-banked poker20.00%
French Roulette, video poker, blackjack, pontoon, baccarat, Sic Bo, Poker Ride, Caribbean Draw Poker, Red Dog, 2-Hand Casino Hold’em, Dream Catcher, and more 10%Blackjack, roulette, baccarat, video poker, live dealer games10%
Other roulette games20.00%Craps5.00%
Classic Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, All Aces Video Poker, Casino Hold ‘Em, Vegas Strip Blackjack, and more2%N/A
*Certain slot games at 32Red are completely blocked from bonus play and betting on them might result in bonus forfeiture. Some examples include Blood Suckers, Dead or Alive, and Piggy Riches. Craps has zero contribution as well. The information is accurate as of March 2023.

Let’s back our example up with some calculations that hopefully will make things easier to comprehend. The simplest way to determine how these reductions will affect the wagering requirements is to first calculate the overall playthrough on games with full contribution, i.e 100%. We already did this for 32Red, so we shall use the figures from our original example where players must wager £7,500 to clear the 50x wagering requirements of a £150 welcome bonus.

To figure out the amount you must wager on games with lower weightings, we must divide the overall playthrough of full-contribution games by the reduced percentages expressed in a decimal format. As you can see below, the amounts you must turn over are significantly higher when you play low-contribution games at 32Red.

  • £7,500 / 0.5 = £15,000 for house-banked poker
  • £7,500 / 0.1 = £75,000 for French roulette, pontoon, baccarat, etc.
  • £7,500 / 0.2 = £37,500 for other roulette games
  • £7,500 / 0.02 = £375,000 for All Aces video poker, Atlantic City Blackjack, Casino Hold ‘Em, etc.

As the calculations above indicate, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell to clear the wagering requirements of your bonus while playing games with a 2% contribution. Few, if any players, can afford to pour £375,000 into an online casino within such a short timeframe. From this perspective, playing slots is the best course of action for those who intend to claim online casino bonuses.

Calculating the Value of Online Casino Bonuses

Seasoned players often hunt for offers that yield higher value and typically identify them by looking at the attached terms and conditions. This enables them to determine whether they can profit from or break even with a given bonus. The house edges of the games also bear consideration and the bonuses must be cashable rather than sticky. You can use the following formula to establish whether the bonus you are interested in offers good value.

Bonus Amount / Overall Playthrough = Break Even Point

Let’s assume you have claimed the £150 bonus at the casino from our original example where you must wager £7,500 on online slots, keno, or scratchcards to fulfil the playthrough requirements. Your calculations will run as follows: Break Even Point = 150 / 7,500 = 0.02. You can convert the result into a percentage by multiplying it by 100.

It follows that you must play slots or keno games that yield a house edge of no more than 2% (98% RTP) to break even with this welcome bonus. The rest of the games that qualify for bonus play must carry even lower house edges for you to break even under these bonus conditions. Here are the exact figures we arrived at:

  • House-banked poker: (150 / 15,000) x 100 = 0.01 x 100 = 1%
  • French Roulette, pontoon, baccarat, etc: (150 / 75,000) x 100 = 0.002 x 100 = 0.2%
  • Other roulette games: (150 / 37,500) x 100 = 0.004 x 100 = 0.4%
  • All Aces, Atlantic City Blackjack, Casino Hold ‘Em, etc: (150 / 375,000) x 100 = 0.0004 x 100 = 0.04%

Assuming you are reluctant to go through these mental gymnastics, you can always skip on the maths and use a bonus value calculator like the one featured in the screenshot below.

bonus value calculator
Dozens of online bonus value calculators are available for free use.

Other Bonus Terms to Consider

Bear in mind that most bonuses have limited validity and are removed from players’ accounts after expiration. Players who fail to meet the wagering requirements within the designated timeframe will have their bonuses voided. Welcome offers are restricted to one bonus per customer, account, email, residential address, and IP. Players who violate this rule are typically labelled bonus abusers and are disqualified from further participation in promotions.

Most online casinos also restrict customers to one active bonus at a time, meaning that you cannot claim multiple offers at the same time. Restrictions are imposed on the maximum amounts customers can bet while playing with a bonus. Placing higher wagers than what is allowed normally leads to bonus forfeiture.

Last but not least, certain deposit methods are sometimes excluded from bonus redemption. The casino will not credit the free monies to your account if you have deposited with a disqualified payment solution even if you have met the minimum deposit requirements. In the case of 32Red, only new players who deposit with debit cards are eligible for welcome bonuses.


What are sticky bonuses?

Sticky bonuses are bonuses that you can use to place bets but you cannot withdraw. The biggest advantage of sticky bonuses is that they give you the chance to complete your wagering requirements much easier as you have more funds to spend. There are two types of sticky bonuses. The first type enables you to withdraw all of the winnings you have generated thanks to it and after that, the bonus is no longer available to you. The second type enables you to cash out your winnings, but after this process, it is not removed from your profile. This bonus can be used even if you have requested a withdrawal which makes it more beneficial.

What are cashable bonuses?

Cashable bonuses are the opposite of sticky bonuses – you can withdraw the bonus amount. However, in order to do so, you have to meet several requirements such as the wagering requirements. Needless to say that it is extremely important to also make sure that you comply with the terms and conditions of the respective bonus. If you fail to do so and you request a withdrawal, it is possible that not only the bonus but also your winnings will be voided.

What are casino comps?

The word comp is the abbreviated version of complimentary and it basically means extra perks that casinos offer players as a gesture of appreciation for being their customers. The comps you will get while playing depend on your betting level as well as the length of your gaming session. For players who know how to make the most of every game, comps can be extremely beneficial as they can reduce the house edge greatly.

Blackjack is among the games which can bring you the most in comps. In order to be able to receive comps, you need to get rated by the respective casino. For this purpose, you have to possess a special player’s card which you have to hand to the dealer at the beginning of your gaming session. It should be noted that every casino has its own policy regarding these types of incentives which is the reason why the value of your comps might differ from one gambling establishment to another.

What is a wagering requirement?

Every casino bonus has a wagering requirement which you need to meet in order to be able to cash out the winnings from it. It indicates the total amount of all bets that have to be put before you can withdraw your bonus or winnings. Most casinos have wagering requirements of 20x or 30x, meaning that in order to release the bonus in your account, you need to bet respectively 20 or 30 times the bonus amount and in some cases, the deposit amount as well.

Do all casino games contribute in the same way towards the wagering requirements?

No, they don’t. Each type of casino game contributes differently towards the wagering requirement of the respective bonus. For instance, Slots have a 100% contribution, whereas games such as Casino Hold’em and Blackjack – only 5%. Other casino games such as Roulette and Video poker also don’t fully contribute as usually, their contribution percentage is also below 100%. The exact terms and conditions of the bonus strictly depend on the casino of your choice and thus, it is best to read them carefully in advance.