Playing at an online casino can be a real pleasure. However, have you ever felt as if you win a lot of money and free goodies while playing the games you love but never get to see it when you cash out? This is a rather common complaint. What most people do not understand is that there is no real free lunch. When an online casino is generous enough to offer you large bonuses and free cash for almost nothing in return, you should not get your hopes up.
Though the money is yours to have, you need to understand that there are certain wagering requirements. So before a online casino player can withdraw money from their casino account, they should read the wagering requirements. These requirements are simply in place to prevent players to withdraw the free bonuses without ever spending a single penny of their own.
A lot of websites offer deposit bonuses. These are the bonuses that you get every time you deposit any money on the casino. For instance, if you deposit $30, the casino offers a 20% top up. So you have $36 to wager. This is a very attractive offer, so most people do not think of reading the terms and conditions attached.
What is a Deposit Bonus?
Every online casino has two kinds of bonuses – the no deposit bonus which is usually given at the time of signing up with a new casino and the deposit bonus which is given when the player makes a deposit and the casino tops it up with the percentage of the deposit. When a casino player opens up an account and makes the first deposit, the casino automatically adds a separate account known as your bonus account. All your bonus money usually goes into this account. The bonus money may not be released into your account immediately but as you keep depositing, the bonus money is transferred into the deposit account in a step by step manner.
The deposit bonus amount is usually a percentage of your deposit. There may be an upper limit to the bonus you get. For instance, the website may specify 100% bonus to a maximum of $200.
Is This Bonus Free?
You may think that this bonus is free, of course, the casino says so, but the fact is that every bonus comes with a condition. In order to unlock the bonus, a player has to either make a specific deposit or play a specific number of hands. Some bonuses can be unlocked by playing 100 hands while some of the larger bonuses may have to be unlocked by playing 1000 hands as well. It all really depends on the casino and their wagering or play-through requirements. Different casinos have different wagering and play-through requirements so make sure you have read them well.
In some casinos, you may be able to play with your bonus money as soon as you have received it into your account, but you may not be able to cash out the money till you play a certain amount of hands or deposit some money. You can ask about the wagering and play-through requirements on the game room forums.
What is a Wagering Requirement?
A wagering requirement is the number of times online players have to play through the deposit amount of the bonus and the deposit in your account. Once you wager the required number of times, you will be able to cash out the money. The risk management team of the casino usually sets this number, so the wagering and play-through requirements may be different for different games and different game rooms. Generally, the higher the bonus, the higher will be the wagering requirements. If the bonus is not very strict, players may have to wager 15 times. The stricter bonuses may require players to wager 40 to 50 times. Again, this varies from one casino to another and there is no standard number.
For instance, if you are getting a 100% bonus up to $100 with a wagering requirement of 20x, you will have to wager a lot. If you have deposited $100, and your play-through requirement is 20x your deposit and your bonus, the calculation runs very high.
$100 (deposit) + $100 (bonus) = $200
Now the wagering requirements are 20x, this means:
$200 X 20 = $4000
You will now have to wager $4000 before you can cash out your $100 bonus. Unless you play this amount on the casino, you will not be able to cash out your bonus.
Often casinos have different percentages of play-through requirements on different games, which can be really confusing for any online player. Typically slots wagering requirements are much higher than any other game. Card games may have less wagering requirements. This is because slots usually have higher bonuses, more players and great jackpots. The wagering requirements are not really consistent in the industry and therefore it is important for players to be a little vigilant and ensure that they read about the wagering requirements before they get too excited about getting big bonuses.
Gambling watchdogs report that casinos powered by Microgaming software may usually have a clear bonus system which pays consistently across all games in all casinos. So if you have been playing on any of the casinos powered by Microgaming, you should know what to expect.
Are there Any Cashable Bonuses?
The play-through requirements may be enough to put any casino player confused, but there is a silver lining. Online casinos do have cashable bonuses too. These bonuses are exactly what they claim to be. They can be cashed out simply by meeting very low wagering requirements on select games. However, though the wagering requirements are very low, they are still there. The bonus will be voided if you try to cash it out without meeting the wagering requirement. Read the terms and conditions carefully because the voided amount could include any of your winnings too. If you are not sure how much wagering is required for cashing out, you should contact the customer support centre and find out the requirements.