Though bonuses are not the reason for online casino gaming, they play a much more important role than is apparent. There are several online casinos powered by the same software provider or the same set of software providers. It is the bonuses offered that create the difference between such online casinos. Therefore players evaluate bonuses critically before deciding whether or not to sign up at an online casino.
If you use bonuses, you need to read the fine print
All online casinos offer bonuses in order to attract players. However, bonuses are not amounts that can be taken home. Online casinos want players to stay with them. It is the wagering requirements attached to bonuses that ensure players will not walk away after claiming the bonus. Players will receive the benefits from the bonus if and only if they succeed in meeting the wagering requirements.
Many newbie players do not read or understand the wagering requirements and assume incorrect expectations from the bonuses. When these are denied the players feel aggrieved and cheated. eCOGRA is one of the oldest and most reputed independent agencies engaged in online casino dispute resolution. In its latest annual dispute resolution report it states, “Disputes submitted for potential breaches in bonus and promotional rules remain the highest in volume.” The report further adds that if the bonus terms and conditions were properly understood then the bonus disputes could be significantly reduced.
Benefits of Casino Bonuses
You should also be absolutely clear as to what benefit you can expect from the bonus.
- If you successfully complete the wagering requirements and end up with some winnings from playing the bonus, you can take home the winnings up to the maximum limit specified.
- If you fail to complete the wagering requirements you get nothing.
It is for this reason that understanding wagering requirements is important when claiming a bonus. Once you fulfilled these there is very little that can go wrong.
Wagering requirements have multiple components. The objective in each case is to ensure that players wager sufficient amounts before they get the benefits from the bonus. These include:
- The amount of the wagering requirements
- Game contribution for wagering requirements
- Time to complete wagering requirements
- Maximum bet limits for wagering requirements
The Amount of Wagering Requirements
The calculation of wagering requirements is shown below for a deposit bonus. These wagering requirements are usually expressed as so many times the deposit and bonus.
- Deposit amount = $100
- Bonus = 100%
- Bonus amount = $100
- Wagering requirement = 20 times the deposit and bonus
- Total amount to be wagered = 20 x (100 + 100) = $4,000
Once you claim this 100% bonus (in the given example) you will have to wager $4,000 at the online casino, which is precisely the objective in offering the bonus.
The amount having been calculated, the wagering requirements work in the following way.
- When you wager from the bonus and win your bonus balance increases.
- When you wager from the bonus and lose your bonus balance decreases
- You have to keep winning from playing the bonus till you wager at least $4,000.
- If your bonus balance becomes zero before you can meet the wagering requirements then you do not get any monetary benefit from the bonus.
If you complete the wagering requirementsand are left with a sum in the bonus balance then the following process is adopted.
- Assuming the bonus is non-cashable, the bonus amount will first be removed from the balance.
- Then the amount up to the limit of maximum winnings will be transferred to your cash balance.
- Any leftover amount will be removed leaving zero bonus balance.
Game Contribution For Wagering Requirements
All casino games do not carry the same level of risk. Slot games (pokies), keno and scratch cards are based purely on luck and have comparatively higher levels of risk. Casino games like blackjack and video poker need a fair level of skill and have comparatively lower levels of risk. Players will find it easier to complete wagering requirements on the games with lower risks. Online casinos offer bonuses for free and expect players to take certain levels of risk.
This leads to game contribution for wagering requirements. The exact details would be different for different online casinos, but the following would generally applicable.
- Slots, keno and scratch cards contribute 100% towards wagering requirements. The wagering requirements as calculated above do not get enhanced.
- Some lower risk games would contribute 50% towards wagering requirements. In this case the amount of the wagering requirements gets doubled.
- Online casinos may even specify lower contributions or even exclude some games altogether.
There is another associated condition that is very important. Minimum risk wagering is not allowed. This is explained below.
- In roulette you bet $1 on red and $1 on black, $2 in all.
- If either colour wins you are quits.
- If 0 is called, you lose $2, but this happens only 2.7% of the times.
- You can complete the wagering requirements with nominal risk.
Online casinos not only forbid this but may debar players from claiming any bonuses in the future.
Time To Complete Wagering Requirements
The objective of bonuses is to increase player activity at the online casino. Therefore you cannot have all the time in the world to meet wagering requirements. The time given varies from a few days to a few weeks depending mainly on the bonus size. If the wagering requirements are not met in time then the bonus and winnings accrued thus far will be removed.
Maximum Bet Limits For Wagering Requirements
Consider the following scenario for a $100 bonus with $4,000 wagering requirements.
- You bet $50 on slots and win $500
- Next you bet $300 and win $2,000
- Next you bet $1,000 and win $5,000
- Next you bet $2,650 and complete the wagering requirements.
You will have to be extremely lucky to achieve the above sequence, but the point is that the online casinos want you to wager for longer periods. So they set a maximum limit on the bet size, which would be of the order of $5.
Is It All Worth It
It would be evident that players will not complete wagering requirements all the time. If you think that is unfair consider the following.
- Bonuses are offered for free.
- If you do not complete the wagering requirements you do not lose any money from your pocket.
- And you get to play casino games without spending money.
- There is always the chance that you will derive monetary benefits from the bonus.
Bonuses are “nothing to lose and maybe something to win” opportunities.