Whether or not you are a regular player at online casinos, some of the jargon can be a little confusing. Here we will look at one of the more recent additions to the online casino glossary of terms – no-wagering bonuses, also called wagering free bonuses. First it’s necessary to understand what is meant by both a bonus and wagering, so let’s start there.
What is a Bonus at a Casino?
Bonuses are rewards or incentives given to players at online casinos, often for making a new account, or for remaining loyal to that particular site. There are many different types of bonuses, but here are some examples of common types of bonuses:
- Deposit match bonus: Deposit a certain amount of cash in your account, and the casino will match a percentage of it with bonus cash. These are often given to new customers (welcome bonus) or when making a new deposit in an existing account (reload bonus).
- Free spins: Often given in conjunction with a deposit match, free spins are a chance to spin the reels on one or more selected slot games at no cost.
- Cashback bonus: Some casinos also pay players a percentage of their losses back into their account.
What are Wagering Requirements?
Wagering or playthrough requirements are the ‘strings attached’ to most bonuses – a condition that the bonus amount (or winnings gained when playing with the bonus amount) must be wagered a certain number of times before the money can be withdrawn.
Wagering is usually stated in the bonus terms, showing the number of times it must be played – for example 30x or 50x. In practice, this means that a €10 bonus with 50x wagering requirement needs to be played to a total value of €500 before any winnings can be claimed.
Not only that, but in most cases there are some games that contribute less to the wagering requirements. These tend to be the table games with a lower house edge, and therefore a greater chance that the player will make some money on them. It’s not unusual to see in the terms and conditions that these games contribute only 10% to wagering requirements – and sometimes nothing at all.
As we can see, wagering requirements make it very unlikely that players will ever make any winnings on the bonus amount. No-wagering bonuses are those that do not have this condition attached to them. If you win money while playing with the bonus, it goes directly into your casino cash account and is available to withdraw. As a result, they are very sought-after, and remain relatively unusual in the online casino world.
Rare though they may be, they do exist. For example, if you are a player in Finland, here you can find the best Finnish wagering free bonuses (In Finnish: Kierrätysvapaat bonukset). There are a few kinds of no-wagering bonuses, and they differ from regular bonuses in some key ways.
No-wagering deposit bonuses
Given either as a welcome offer or a reload bonus, the amount will be significantly smaller than on regular bonuses. While a typical deposit bonus will offer what looks like a generous amount – let’s say a 100% match up to a maximum of €200 – a wagering free deposit bonus is more likely to be a smaller, fixed amount like €5 or €10.
While this may not look as impressive as the larger amount, it actually has a greater potential to win money. The €200 comes with wagering requirements that are difficult to fulfil, while any winnings gained on the smaller amount are yours to keep.
No-wagering free spins
Similarly, free spins without playthrough requirements just mean that you can keep any winnings you make on the free spins.
Most cashback offers come without conditions. The casino returns a portion of your losses to your account as cash, over a given period of time.
Why do Casinos Impose Wagering Requirements?
While they may seem unfair, there is a good reason that most casinos put these conditions on bonuses. In a competitive market, a large welcome bonus can make them stand out from the crowd and entice new players to sign up. However, if there were no wagering requirements on such large amounts, the casinos risk losing out to bonus abuse.
Bonus abuse is when players make a new account, play with the bonus and withdraw their winnings, then move on to another casino to claim the welcome bonus there. This was fairly common practice in the past, which is why wagering requirements were instated at most casinos.
Are Wagering Requirements Always a Bad Thing?
If you find a casino that you like and it has a wagering requirement attached to the bonus, it’s not necessarily a reason to reject it. You can often choose to opt out of the bonus, or simply view the bonus money as a way to play for free and get to know the games.