A Beginner’s Guide To Bonus Wagering Requirements

Bonuses are free playing money given by online casinos. You cannot immediately cash out the bonus amount and take it home. You have to first wager it at the casino.

Wagering requirements provide a precise number value to the amount you have to wager. Unfortunately, many online casinos do not explain how wagering requirements work. As a result, players often end up choosing seemingly better bonuses, but the cashing out of which is made difficult by cumbersome wagering requirements.

In this article, you will learn how to calculate wagering requirements for different types of bonuses through examples from win real money online casinos. This will enable you to compare different bonuses, including new no deposit bonuses and free spins based on their wagering requirements. You will also be made aware about the other terms and conditions attached to online casino bonuses. Once you are through, you will be absolutely comfortable in comparing bonuses and choosing the ones that are best for you.

A Quick Summary of Wagering Requirements

We start with a summary of the important issues concerning wagering requirements, but urge you to go through the entire article for a complete understanding of the subject.

What Is a Wagering Requirement?

A Beginner’s Guide To Bonus Wagering Requirements  A wagering requirement is the most important condition attached to a bonus. It enables you to work out the amount that you will have to bet in order to derive a benefit from the bonus. The amount to be bet will come from the bonus and winnings from betting the bonus.

Why Do Online Casinos Impose Wagering Requirements?

Bonuses are free money given by online casinos as an incentive to play there. If you are permitted to withdraw the bonus without playing it, then the online casinos would not afford to give bonuses. Wagering requirements ensure that you play through the bonuses a specified number of times, before you get a cash benefit.

How Do Wagering Requirements Work?

When you place a bet from your bonus and win, the amount is added to your bonus balance, giving you more money to bet. If you are able to bet the amount specified by the wagering requirement this way, without the bonus balance becoming zero, then you can cash out the permitted amount. However, if you exhaust the bonus balance without completing the wagering requirement then you do not get any benefit from the bonus.

The First Few Steps of Wagering a Bonus

  Total Amount Bet Bonus Balance
Given $20 bonus $0 $20
Bet $1 $1 $19
Lose bet $1 $19
Bet $2 $3 $17
Win $10 $3 $27
Bet $2 $5 $25
Win $10 $5 $35

Other Important Bonus Terms and Conditions

We will explain these later in the article. Here we just mention some of the bonus terms and conditions.

  • Maximum cash out limit
  • Maximum bet limit
  • Game contribution to wagering
  • Games excluded from wagering
  • Time after which bonuses expire

Why Bonuses Have Wagering Requirements

Bonuses are free amounts given by online casinos, even if against a deposit. They are given as an inducement to play at the casino. Wagering requirements are imposed to ensure that the bonus is wagered a number of times, usually between 25 and 60, before you can get a monetary benefit. If this is not done then online casino bonuses would not be commercially viable.

The wagering requirements are always expressed as a multiple of an amount, which depends on the type of bonus.

  • Free spins: the winnings from the free spins.
  • No deposit bonus: the amount of bonus.
  • Deposit match bonus: the amount of the deposit and the bonus.

Tip: The Woo Caino No Depoit free spins bonus has a wagerign requirement of 50. This means your winninga have to be wagered 50 times before you may cash out. Say you win $50 after using the free spins.

You will need to wager 50x50=$2500 to free up bonus credits and cash out.

Explaining Online Casino Bonuses through Cash and Bonus Balances

When you sign up at an online casino, your account will have two components: cash balance and bonus balance.

  • Cash Balance: Your own deposits, permitted cash out of bonuses and winnings from betting these two go here.
  • Bonus Balance: Bonuses, winnings from free spins and winnings from betting these two go here.

The steps involved in wagering the bonus are given below:

  1. You always wager from the cash balance first, till it is completely exhausted.
  2. Then you start with the bonus balance, and it is at this point that the wagering of the bonus commences.
  3. If you exhaust your bonus balance without completing the wagering requirements then the bonus is lost.
  4. If you successfully complete the wagering then the permitted winnings will get transferred to the cash balance and the remainder in the bonus balance will be annulled.
  5. The amount transferred to your cash balance can be used for wagering just like your deposited funds or can be withdrawn from your account.

How Wagering Requirements Work

You start meeting the wagering requirements, once you start betting from your bonus balance. You will need to track the following parameters from your account settings after logging in.

  • The wagering yet to be met: This is the initial wagering requirement minus the amount already bet. It will be directly displayed in your settings.
  • The bonus balance: The amount you have on hand at any time from which to meet the wagering requirements.

We explain this using the welcome bonus from Slots of Vegas Casino:

When you claim this bonus, your bonus balance will show $25 and your wagering requirement will show $750 (25 x 30).

If you bet $1 on 5 Wishes and win $3.88 win. Your bonus balance will first be reduced by $1 and then increased by $3.88 and will show $27.88 at the end of the spin. Your wagering requirement will decrease by $1 and show $749.

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Contribution to Wagering Requirements for Different Game Categories

All casino game categories do not contribute fully and equally to meeting wagering requirements. When you play online slots, the wagering requirement will be reduced by the full amount bet. This is referred to as 100% game contribution. This is mostly true of scratch cards and keno as well.

When it comes to other categories like table games and video poker, the full bet will not count towards your wagering requirement. Online casinos apply game contribution ranging from 5% to 25% on these games. Suppose you bet $1 on a 10% weighted game. Your bet amount will be reduced by $1, but the wagering requirement will be reduced by only $0.10.

We urge all our readers to wager bonuses only on slots. It makes no sense whatsoever ever to go for games with less than 100% contribution.

Wagering Requirements for Different Kinds of Casino Bonuses

You are likely to encounter the following three types of bonuses at online casinos:

  • No Deposit Bonuses: The wagering requirement is the given multiple of the bonus credited to your account.
  • Free Spins: The amount won with your free spins becomes the bonus and the wagering requirement is the given multiple of this amount.
  • Match Bonuses: The wagering requirement is usually the given multiple of the bonus and its associated deposit. Sometimes it is specified as the given multiple of the bonus only.

Wagering Requirements for Match Bonuses

Match bonuses are the most commonly encountered and we illustrate these using two real examples from our recommended online casinos.

  • PlayAmo Casino: 100% bonus up to $1500 with wagering 50x the bonus.
  • Jackpot Jill Casino: 125% bonus up to $7500 with wagering 50x the bonus.

For the sake of comparison, let us say you deposit $100 in each online casino. We show the calculation for the wagering requirement in each case.


Deposit amount: $100 | Bonus amount at 100%: $100 | Wagering requirement at 50x bonus: 50 x 100 = $5000

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Jackpot Jill

Deposit amount: $100 | Bonus amount at 125%: $125 | Wagering requirement at 50x bonus: 50 x 125 = $6250

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Sign up and receive a 20 Free Spins on Buffalo Power

Other Bonus Terms that Affect Bonus Selection

When you have to take a call on whether or not to claim a bonus, there are some other terms that have to be evaluated. We discuss them in this section.

These bonus terms are:

  • Maximum cash out limit
  • Maximum bet limit
  • Games excluded from wagering
  • Time after which bonuses expire

Maximum Cash Out Limit

The bonus is free money given to you and you can win a great deal from it. If online casinos allow you to cash out the full amount, they will not be able to survive. Hence, usually there will be a maximum cash out limit specified. The bigger this limit, the better is the bonus.

Maximum Bet Limit

The objective of a bonus is that you spend time wagering at the online casino. By imposing a maximum bet limit, the online casino ensures that you place more bets in order to complete the wagering. Without such a limit, you may place a big bet and win more than enough to cover the wagering at one go. This puts the online casino in a higher risk situation. Most online casinos impose a maximum bet limit of $5.

We illustrate this reasoning with an example:

Bitstarz Casino

Offers a $10,000 100% bonus with a wagering of 40x the bonus and deposit.

You deposit $100 and get a $100 bonus.

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Once you have exhausted the funds in your cash balance, your situation is as follows:

  • Bonus balance: $100
  • Amount to wager: $8,000

You bet $25 on Wolf Gold and immediately hit a 1,000x win.

Your revised situation is now as follows:

  • Bonus balance: $100 - $25 + $(25x1000) = $25,075
  • Amount to wager: $8,000 - $25 = $7975

Even if you do not win anything from your remaining bets, you will easily meet the wagering requirement and have a handsome surplus left over. In the alternative case, you bet $5 on Wolf Gold and immediately hit a 1000x win.

Your revised situation is now as follows:

  • Bonus balance: $100 - $5 + $(5x1000) = $5,095
  • Amount to wager: $8,000 - $5 = $7995

After the win you still do not have enough funds to cover the wagering requirement and will have to win more. The risk to the casino is less in this case.

Games Excluded from Wagering

Online casinos do not permit bonuses to be wagered on all games. Generally progressive jackpot slots and live dealer games are excluded. Individual online casinos have their own list of excluded games and you must check this before selecting the games.

If you bet on an excluded game, the bet will get used up, but it will not count towards the wagering, and the win from the bet could be forfeited as well.

Time after which Bonuses Expire

Bonuses are not kept open forever. The terms and conditions will specify a time period within which the wagering has to be completed. If you fail to do so then the entire amount in your bonus balance could be forfeited. If you are comparing bonuses then go for the one that specifies a longer time. Once you claim a bonus, make sure you finish the wagering in the stipulated time.

What Is a Fair Wagering Requirement?

The first thing you must check is whether the wagering requirements apply to the bonus only, or both the bonus and the deposit. Then you can make use of our ratings given below.

Applies to Bonus or Free Spins Wins

  • Excellent: 25x or less
  • Good: 25x to 40x
  • Standard:50x to 60x
  • Below par: more than 60x

Applies to Bonus and Deposit

  • Excellent: 20x or less
  • Good: 20x to 30x
  • Standard:30x to 35x
  • Below par: more than 35x

Selecting the Best Online Casino Bonuses

You should be aware of how to compare and select online bonuses for two reasons:

  • Comparing welcome bonus packages offered by online casinos plays a major role in deciding which online casino to sign up at.
  • In an online casino you can claim only one bonus at a time so you must make sure that you pick the one that works best for you.

We have prepared a checklist that will help you in this task. Try it out to compare our exclusive no deposit bonuses:

  • For no deposit bonuses go for the bigger bonus or the larger number of free spins.
  • For match bonuses compare the bonus percent as well.
  • Choose bonuses where the calculated wagering requirement is lower.
  • Avoid online casinos that specify a maximum bet size below $5 per spin.
  • Avoid online casinos where the maximum cashout limit is less than $100.
  • Make sure there are allowed games that contribute 100% towards wagering.


You must read the detailed bonus terms and conditions before you register at an online casino. If you are not clear about any clause then contact customer support. Make sure that you do not violate any clause because that could result in the bonus being forfeited.

It is very important you realise that you will not be able to cash out on every bonus you claim. There will be times when you will not complete the wagering requirements. This is a part of the game. Remember, you have not lost anything, you have just missed an opportunity to win something.

Steven Ellis - Editor in Chief

Hi there! I'm Steven. Editor in Chief at NoDepositFriend.com. We are constantly updating our site to make it the best resource for no deposit bonuses. Our ever evolving site is packed with useful information, tips and tricks that you will not find anywhere else. Our aim is to keep you playing longer and winning more.

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