Playing bingo online is a lot of fun. Especially when you start winning and activating various promotions at your favourite site. So, bonuses are fun, games are good, winning is even better. But, you know what isn’t fun? The wagering requirements. They’re the necessary annoyance on pretty much every casino site out there, a handbrake for the thrill-ride. If you’ve ever wondered why they are so prominent, what typical wagering requirements entail, and whether it is possible to avoid them somehow, we’ve compiled a handy guide that should answer all of your questions. Let’s dive in.
What is Wagering and How to Calculate It?
A new bingo site may give you a lucrative welcome bonus once you sign up and deposit funds to your account for the first time, but you can’t just outright claim that cash. After all, if the casinos and betting sites were just giving out money, they would have fairly short careers. Instead, sites employ the so-called wagering requirements. They’re a catch 22 of all bingo and slot sites that hand out welcome bonuses or run any ongoing promotions.
It all starts with a deposit. Let’s say a site offers a free bingo promotion if you deposit and play through £10. In this case, let’s imagine that the promotion adds another £10 to your account to spend on bingo games. So far, so good, you’ve just gotten yourself more bingo tickets “for free”. Here’s the catch. The winnings you make with those bonus bets are locked on your account. You can’t withdraw them; only play with them again and again. This is because the site has specific bingo wagering requirements, i.e. a set number of times you will have to bet the whole amount you received as your initial bonus until your winnings unlock and become withdrawable.
For bingo, the usual requirements are x4. In our case, that means we need to bet that initial £10 bonus four times before we can collect all the winnings. In total, we need to wager £40. The math is simple – you just need to work out how many times you’ll have to wager the bingo bonus amount, and that will give you the site’s wager requirements.
Additionally, the site may put a time limit on your bonus, requiring completion of wagering within a certain amount of time (anywhere between a week and a month, typically). If you don’t succeed within the allotted time, your bonus disappears.
Since every site is different, so too are their wagering terms and conditions. A bingo site may have a different set of rules for its mobile bingo apps. This is especially true for slots, as you’re usually given free spins as part of the first deposit bonus, along with free bingo tickets. Slot bonuses often come with very high requirements, ranging from x30 to as much as x85. When it comes to slots, wagering requirements are calculated based on the initial winnings you collect from your free spins. On more casino-focused websites, welcome bonuses can also include matched cash deposits, which are then used to determine further wagering prerequisites.
On rare occasions, the requirements take into account both deposit and the bonus value. That will be clearly stated in the terms and conditions and the promotion itself. Calculations are exactly the same as with regular bonuses, only this time you are multiplying both your deposit and the bonus funds.
Common Bonus Terms
The terminology different gambling sites use isn’t really set in stone. While, yes, most of them will tell you their promotions come with casino wagering requirements, others may call it a rollover, playthrough requirements, or even wagering obligations. It’s worth learning these phrases to avoid any misunderstandings when signing up at bingo sites.
Reading the fine print is also very important. Sites often put additional restrictions on each of their promotions, making the road to cashing in that bonus even bumpier. Here are some of the most common additional terms you may encounter aside from the time limits:
- Maximum bet
It’s very common for a site to put a limit on your bets when you’re spending the free casino cash. This prevents players from placing big bets, and no wagering requirements page is without this clause. As always, the exact rules change per site, but the usual limit is £5 per bet on slots and £1 per bingo draw.
- Bonus claim deadline
This practice isn’t as common nowadays since bingo sites usually try to automate the process and get the bonuses into their players’ accounts immediately. But, for free spins, you’ll often find they have a pre-set expiration time, usually 24 hours after receiving the bonus. The same goes for free bingo tickets, as these are just initiators for the real prize, which you still have to win.
- Wagering contribution
After the basic wagering requirements are explained, casino sites will often mention that different games contribute differently to unlocking your bonus. For example, a game may contribute 50% to the wagering, meaning that your £1 bet is counted as £0.50 towards the total wagering req. This is, of course, only true for sites that offer multiple game types.
Difficulty and Learning More About Wagering
At this point, you should have a clear picture of how difficult each site’s wagering prerequisites actually are. Bingo is famous for having some of the lowest wagering requirements around, in some cases starting at just x1 and rarely going above x4. On the flip side, card games such as blackjack barely contribute to meeting wagering reqs. That’s because these kinds of games aren’t as luck-based as, say, slots or bingo. Remember, casinos still want to earn money, so they design all of their bonuses in such a fashion that they usually end up with a positive balance even if you manage to withdraw your winnings.
The wagering will usually be explained beneath each promotion, but it’s always worth visiting a site’s T&C page to learn about its bonuses in more detail. Arm yourself with knowledge and have fun playing!