Something that the vast majority of online bingo and casino sites have in common is welcome bonuses, plus the wagering requirements that come with them.
This system has become quite universal, which makes it a lot easier for players to understand, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes any sense at all to newcomers.
The wagering requirements on slots and bingo can be very confusing and lead to disappointment, so it’s important to understand them before accepting bonuses and other offers.
Knowing that bonus money has to be balanced by requirements, how to actually meet them and what they mean for players will help you to have a smooth, fun experience at new bingo sites.
Wagering requirements are a limitation put in place by online casinos for two reasons; the first is to prevent players from simply taking bonus money and running (the site would be empty in hours!) and the second is to prevent fraud and money laundering – criminals can’t just deposit cash and then take it out again to confuse the money trail.
Wagering requirements are only used when players take some kind of bonus or free spins.
Typically, if you have a bonus of 100% (so you deposit £10 and get £10 bonus credit) then you will need to wager through that money several times before you can withdraw any winnings.
The standard wagering requirement for slot games is 40x. In other words, you need to play £400 to meet the requirements of the above example. Bingo sites tend to be much more forgiving, asking for just 2x or 4x wagering on bonus money.
The best bingo and casino sites will make it very clear how much you need to wager, ideally with a display built into your player area. If in doubt, contact the support team of your chosen site. Once you’ve met the requirements, you can withdraw any more winnings.
You should always be wary of any special terms and conditions you find on a bingo or casino site. Knowing exactly where you stand will avoid any disappointment later if you want to withdraw a win from bonus cash. However, this does not mean that wagering requirements are to be feared!
The process is very standard and almost universal across online gambling. They take new players by surprise sometimes, but they are very normal.
The main downside is that a high requirement of 40x or more can sound like a huge target to reach.
These requirements can be hard to fulfil, but bear in mind that as you play and your balance goes up and down, you’re actually playing through bigger amounts than it seems. You can meet them before you know it, if you get lucky on the bonus cash and subsequent plays.
Of course, you can always decline a bonus if you’d rather see exactly how much money you have to spend and withdraw.
The short version is – play the games! Each time you buy bingo tickets or spin the slots, or place a bet on a casino table (more or less), you make a contribution to your requirements. Many sites will let you see a display of your progress on your account area.
The key thing to watch out for is the weighting of different games. This should be made clear in the terms and conditions of your bonus.
For example, on some sites, wagering has to be done on certain slot games. Or, the ratio may just be better for bingo than for slots.
Casino games are the ones to watch, as some games will only contribute a small amount of each bet towards your requirements.
The reason for this is that some games are relatively predictable (such as betting on both red and black on roulette, in order to quickly zip through the requirements).
Some sites do ask for less than others. As such, some may have a 4x wagering requirement on bingo play, whilst others may offer up to 50 free spins on your first deposit, with no wagering and no maximum win - a very tempting offer indeed and well worth looking for.
Note that there may be depositing fees, however.
Also, look out for certain bingo sites that have done away with requirements altogether! This is achieved by crediting your bonus as pre-bought tickets, so you get less choice in where the money is used, but anything you win is entirely yours to keep. For example, you may get £70 of tickets for a £10 deposit, without any requirements.
This includes free spins too, but the most you can win is capped at £1.50 so again, the terms must be checked out.
Another possible offer – deposit £25, get £50 free and you have no requirements to meet. This is a rare thing in the online bingo world, so it’s well worth checking them out!
You can see a selection of the latest welcome bonuses on our bingo and slots comparison pages to find the best offers, then you can check the wagering requirements with ease once you arrive at a new site.
Bret Allen is an experienced journalist and freelance copywriter who specialises in the gambling sector and has written for various publications as well as one of the largest online gaming companies in the UK – Gamesys. Bret has a particular interest in slot games and knows his RTPs from his RNGs.
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