When you start out playing at online and mobile casinos, you will soon find yourself inundated with ‘free cash’ offers. This ‘£100 Welcome Bonus’ here or that ‘£20 No Deposit Bonus’ there – at first it might sound like an excellent deal and even we think it's important to feature this information in our reviews. Who doesn’t like having money simply given to them? Generous! Every website you visit seems to make these free money promises, but surely, it must be too good to be true? Indeed, it is. You will quickly come to realize that access to this money is restricted by many rules and conditions, including the wagering requirements.
Fret not if you have no clue what wagering requirements mean. This guide will get you up to scratch with everything you need to know about those tricky T&Cs that are nearly always included in the fine print of the great casino offers. We will also tell you how you can give yourself the best chance of coming away unscathed and pocket some of the cash that is offered!
In this guide…
Click to jump to a particular section.
- Wagering Requirements
- Getting the Most Out of Your Bonuses
- 3 Online Casinos with Low Wagering Requirements
Generally speaking, casino bonuses were much simpler back in the 2000s. They were a present from the casino and came with no, or much less, terms and conditions and were easier for players to fulfill. However, now that things are getting more complicated and the days of low wagering requirements are in the past, we felt the need to guide our loyal readers through the minefield that wagering requirements can be. Thus, in this section we will tell you the very basics of what they are, explain why casinos have them and give you valuable tips and hints on how to fulfill them and get yourself some cash.
What are wagering requirements?
It sounds very complicated and scary, but it's not at all! In a nutshell, wagering requirements are part of the terms and conditions applied to bonuses given away by online and mobile casinos. In other words:
Wagering = Betting
Requirements = Something you are required to do
Wagering requirements = Amount you are required to bet in order to get your bonus
It can’t get simpler than this! So, in exchange for the bonus money, the casinos make you bet a certain number of times before you can cash out any of the money that was offered to you for free. The wagering requirement attached to a particular bonus or promotion will be presented as a number and an ‘x' (multiplier), for example 20x or 45x, ‘x' meaning times.
Wagering requirements in practice
So, hopefully we established that wagering requirements are just another way for the casino to specify how many times you have to stake the bonus money to withdraw the full amount. Generally speaking, the larger the bonus – read ‘too good to be true’ – the more likely it is to have a large wagering requirement imposed. In the casinos that we encounter everyday, the wagering requirements usually range from 5x to 55x, which is similar to what we find when we feature various promotions.
To put it all in more practical terms, if the casino gives you £20 of free money with a 20x wagering requirement attached to it, you must wager £400 (£20 X 20 = £400) to withdraw that free £20. As you can tell, they really make you work for your money. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose when you stake that £400, or whichever other amount. No portion of the free money can be withdrawn until it has been bet through at least 20 times. So, to get the “free” £100 welcome deposit match bonus with a 20x wagering requirement, you will need to wager £2,000, which equals to a 5% gain in real terms, presuming you incur no losses (highly unlikely). You must weigh up the pros and cons of every bonus to see if it is likely to benefit you in the long run.
Another scenario is even more sinister. Some casinos place a wagering requirement not only on the bonus cash, but also on the initial deposit (if this was a deposit bonus). If you deposit a £100 into your account and get a £100 deposit-match bonus with 20x wagering requirements attached to it, neither the free cash nor your initial £100 deposit are available for withdrawal until both amounts (£200) are wagered through 20x. This would mean you’d have to wager £4,000 to cash out the £100 in free cash.
Why do casinos have wagering requirements?
As confusing – and as much pain in the players' behinds – as they are, wagering requirements are an absolute necessity at online and mobile casinos. Without them, casinos would be much more reluctant in offering welcome bonuses and other regular promotions, which excite the players and liven up their day.
Typically, the wagering requirements are set by the risk management team within the casino and different bonuses and promotions can have different wagering requirements attached to them. In other words, it is highly unlikely that all promotions at any one given casino will have the same wagering requirements. This is necessary so that the casinos can protect the bonuses they give away and offset the risk that it takes by offering you free money.
You can also think of it this way. We are all familiar with supermarket promotions, but they often specify the number of items that can be bought at a special price so that no one person takes too much of an advantage. Imagine ice-cream was on sale at half price, so I went to the supermarket and tried to buy all the pints available. The cashier would stop me from doing so, as the special offer specified that only five units are available per customer at that special price.
So, you can think of wagering requirements as a tool for casinos to curb unwanted behaviour by players. Admit it, if there were no wagering requirements, you’d just take the free money and run.
Where can I locate the wagering requirements?
Alright, so wagering requirements are here to stay, but where can I read about them at the casino? As these binding wagering terms are not something that the casinos would want to shout about, sometimes they subtly mention them in the terms and conditions section. If you are truly lucky and the casino is as transparent as it can be, the wagering requirements will be included in the ‘more information’ part of the bonus or promotion for ease of access. And if you cannot seem to find the wagering requirements anywhere, do not assume there aren’t any. Before you joyously assume that you can get all the free cash there is on offer, contact the customer support and ask for their help in learning about the wagering requirements.
It is not surprising that most of the complaints are lodged against online casinos because of issues pertaining to wagering requirements and rules. It is always YOUR job to check the requirements before accepting any bonus as the casinos wipe their hands clear of any responsibility in their terms and conditions.
Fulfilling the wagering requirements
This section is where things get slightly more complicated, because rarely do wagering requirements come just on their own. There are other constraints too, such as wagering the required amount within a set period of time and on certain games only.
Whereas the time constraints are pretty straight forward (you’d have to meet the wagering requirements in 30 days, for example), the casinos also place different percentages on certain games that count towards the contribution to meet the wagering requirements. In other words, the casino will allow you to contribute towards your wagering requirement amount only by playing on some games and slot lovers will rejoice that slots usually count for 100% of their bet value towards the wagering requirements.
Other games, like Blackjack or Roulette, may not count at all or count for a measly percentage like 10%. These percentages vary and aren’t consistent at all in the industry. The casinos do this because certain games are easier to place larger numbers of bets on than others and they have a lower house edge. This means that the profit margins for Blackjack and other similar games are quite low for the casino, so again, they are trying to minimise their own losses.
Perhaps, it’s best explained with an example:
You received a bonus of £100 with a 20x wagering requirement at your favourite casino, where slots count a 100% towards the wagering requirements, video poker counts as 80%, Blackjack as 10% and Roulette as 25%.
You then proceed to bet these amounts on the games to meet your wagering requirements:
- £30 on slots – 100% of £30 = £30
- £20 on video poker – 80% of £20 = £16
- £20 on Blackjack – 10% of £20 = £2
- £20 on Roulette – 25% of £20 = £5
Add all of those wagers up and you will find out that £53 has been counted towards meeting your wagering requirements, as opposed to the actual £90 that you spent, perhaps thinking that it would all count.
Similarly, if you wish to get through all of your wagering requirements for that £100 bonus with 20x wagering requirements on a game that counts as 50%, you’d have to stake a whopping £4,000 (100 x 20 x 100/50).
How to keep track?
The maths are confusing enough to think about, but what if you actually had to manually calculate everything? Thankfully, most casinos make it easier for you to keep track of how you are progressing with the wagering requirements by keeping your ordinary balance and the bonus/free cash balance with the wagering requirements separate. Any winnings with outstanding wagering requirements will appear in a pending balance until the requirements are met and you cannot withdraw any cash from it. This pending account is automated and refreshes itself. That way, you know what you still have to wager to be able to cash out the bonus.
However, there are casinos that don't make it this easy for you to keep track of things, perhaps as another sure-way to prevent you from cashing any part of their bonus. In actuality, this might create a lose-lose situation – you can't get any sleep because you are doing the math about the wagering requirements you still have to fulfill and the casino might lose you as a customer if at some point you get fed up, cancel your account and simply choose another casino. We would certainly recommend one that has separated the two accounts, because it signifies that they are committed to transparency and customer service.
Getting the Most Out of Your Bonuses
Some people might not give a hoot about bonuses, especially if they are the type of people who prefer being rewarded for their loyalty instead and be well looked after by the casino, but if you do care about bonuses, this section will offer you a few tools to make your life simpler when it comes to wagering requirements. There are many ways to clear wagering requirements and many strategies to use, but what we are the most interested in is that you get the most out of your bonuses.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you are evaluating a bonus is that you don't have to accept it. Many casinos make it easy for you to opt out if you so wish and others make you go through the customer service representatives to notify them that you do not wish to use the bonus promotion. So think long and hard and you might as well get some free cash!
Wagering requirements matrix
For those among us who prefer visual learning, we have devised a wagering requirements matrix. The X axis defines bonus offerings of a casino, which could be unattractive, normal or attractive. The Y axis defines wagering requirements, which can range from complex, normal or easy. Of course, our classifications are subjective and what we would see to pass as easy wagering requirements may not seem that easy to others. Nonetheless, the sequence in which we would expect any regular gambler to prioritise his or her choices is ranked from P1 to P5. Clearly, the P1 category offers the highest rewards with the least amount of work required. Who wouldn't love to play at casinos that offer attractive bonuses and easy wagering requirements? Unless you absolutely loathe their games, that is. We would also recommend going for the P2 and sometimes, after careful consideration, taking advantage of the offers at casinos that would fall under the P3 category.
Wagering requirements may not always be an obstacle, although they are most of the time. At times, you may choose to play at a casino with unattractive bonuses, but easy wagering requirements instead of a casino with decent bonuses, but tough wagering requirements. So, weigh up the easiness of the wagering requirements at a particular casino, evaluate the attractiveness of the bonus offer and place both on the graph. That way, based on your own personal judgement, you can decide whether you wish to take advantage of a bonus with the specified wager requirements or not. And we hope this matrix will help you choose wisely!
Wagering requirement bonus calculator
We've devised another tool to help you easily assess if you wish to take advantage of a bonus offer or not. Simply input the required data and the calculator will update itself automatically. Some casinos may have unique terms and conditions, such as capping the winnings before you fulfill the wagering requirements, different wagering requirements for different bonuses, or requiring that you wager your deposit amount as well. Therefore, this calculator only offers an estimate of your actual requirements. Be sure to contact your casino's customer service to confirm!
Top 20 UK casinos and their wagering requirements
For quick access and comparison, we’ve scoured the Internet and checked every casino’s Terms and Conditions with a fine-toothed comb. Here are our Top 20 UK Casinos and their Wagering Requirements. We’ll add more casinos to the list in the future.
|Casino||Wagering Requirements||Free Cash Welcome Bonus||First Deposit Match||Second Deposit Match||Third Deposit Match|
|Pocket Fruity||25-30x||£10||400%||10% Weekly Bonus on all further deposits|
|mFortune||0x||£5||100%||10% Bonus on all further deposits|
|Karamba Mobile||35x||100 Free Spins||100%||–||–|
|Pocket Win||2x||£5||100%||10% Bonus on all further deposits|
|Guts||35x||100 Free Spins||100%||50%||50%|
|Bet and Move||50x||£5||100%||100%||100%|
|Virgin Games||2x||–||200%||10% Weekly Bonus on all further deposits|
|Touch My Bingo||50x||£5||100%||100%||100%|
|Next Casino||30-50x||–||100%||50% Monthly Bonus on all further deposits|
Beating wagering requirements?
As tempting as it may be to try and illegally circumvent the wagering requirements, it could land you in a considerable amount of trouble. Wagering requirements are usually specified and are part of the terms and conditions, which you agree to when you accept the free cash offer. The casinos calculate wagering requirements in an automatic/computerised way, so unless their servers malfunction, you will have to fulfill the wagering requirements. It's never worthwhile trying to evade the wagering requirements as you will most certainly be kicked out of the casino or even run into legal issues.
A sample technique on fulfilling the wagering requirements
While many people may simply play regularly and hope to somehow fulfill the wagering requirements, there are many strategies on how to get the most out of the welcome bonuses and free cash incentives offered by online and mobile casinos. And those strategies are welcome – players who are familiar with casinos will know how hard it is to wager £500 with a £20 in the bank. That is unless you score a high win right off the bat and sulk at all the other poor suckers still needing to fulfill their wagering requirements.
Here is a sample strategy that could work well for you, but use it at your own discretion. The ultimate goal here is to cash out as much as possible of the given bonus with as little risk as possible. Again, you may feel that you work better with high risk and a pressurized environment instead. For the sake of this example, let's just say you got a £100 bonus with a 10x wagering requirement attached. You will thus have to wager £1,000 to cash out.
- Find a medium to low variance slot (lots of small wins and not huge wins few and far in between) that counts a 100% towards the wagering requirements
- Make sure that the slot has as high a RTP% (return to player) as possible, ideally 95% or more (in an ideal scenario, this would mean that you'll win £950 out of the £1,000 wagered)
- Spin at 50p or lower, because you will have to spin a looot of times
- Don't up your bet or change the slot no matter how tempting it may be (instead, take breaks or reload the slot) to minimise risk
- Hit the wagering requirements and withdraw the money – don't be tempted to keep on playing or try to score a big win as you will most surely lose the money
This strategy is indeed quite boring and you probably won't score big, but the goal is to clear the wagering requirements and earn some money for all your hard work. You can look forward to getting the most of that £100 bonus if you follow this strategy and everything goes more or less to plan.
3 Online Casinos with Low Wagering Requirements
Casinos with low wagering requirements are a rarity and are hard to come by. However, here are three that will give you the best chances of claiming that bonus.
- mFortune – We couldn’t start off with a better casino to showcase in this guide. After all, 1.1 million users should be onto something! They claim to value their players so much and constantly offer them bonuses and loyalty free cash. And the most important thing of all? The wagering requirements on bonus credit is a beautiful, round zero. You heard it right. When you receive a bonus at Mfortune, you won’t have to wager it 50 times and you get to keep all of your winnings. It’s also an award-winning casino that accepts mobile phone deposits and has dozens of unique games designed in-house – all the more reasons to give Mfortune a shot if you are looking for great wagering requirement conditions. Do keep in mind that other terms and conditions will still apply to those bonuses.
- BGO Vegas – When we tried to ask the affiliate manager at BGO Vegas why the wagering requirements at this casino were so low, he pointed to the fact that they have good controls in place and a philosophy that people love bonuses. Indeed, with the 5x wagering requirements on bonus cash and frequent promotions, no wonder this casino, featuring some of the most popular games in the industry, is so popular. Of course, there is also the star factor with Verne Troyer and Dan Bilzerian representing the casino and an absolutely gorgeous, cross-platform compatible and mobile friendly environment to play in. So if you love your no-deposit bonuses, bonus matches, cashback and loads of free spins, you will fit right in at BGO Vegas. Can you beat the Boss?
- Ladbrokes – At Ladbrokes casino, the online equivalent of the hugely popular land-based giant, the wagering requirement is 20x. And while that might not seem that great as it is a moderately high wagering requirement, Ladbrokes allows you to meet the wagering requirements by playing games that don’t normally count towards meeting wagering requirements at other online and mobile casinos. For example, all varieties of Texas Hold’em, Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, Stravaganza, Craps and Sic Bo count at 20% towards the wagering requirements. Playing at this casino will be great for those who want to take advantage of their very generous welcome bonuses and regular promotions, but don’t want to wager 30x or 45x on slots only- that could get tedious indeed.