With just a fast Google search, you can find a plethora of attractive casino welcome bonuses, each promising hundreds of pounds in bonus cash and a lot of free spins in exchange for a simple sign-up and deposit. Are these deals, however, everything they’re talked up to be?

Yes, these bonuses appear to be excellent, giving players the opportunity to gain an advantage while betting with a specific slot site; after all, who doesn’t appreciate a freebie?

However, the unpleasant reality is that no matter how appealing an offer appears, there is almost always a hidden catch – wagering requirements – that can swiftly derail your online slots experience.

What are the wagering requirements and how do they work?

To put it another way, wagering requirements are a restriction that prevents players from withdrawing money earned as a consequence of a welcome offer or bonus rapidly.

Wagering restrictions are a simple way for the casino to introduce a level of risk on the part of the player, implying that while they’re still getting free money to play with, there’s no assurance that they’ll walk away with any of the casino’s money.

The complexity of wagering requirements varies from casino to casino; there is no specific minimum or maximum limit, but it’s safe to say that the lower and more beatable the criteria are, the more fair and honest the casino.

One casino, for example, may offer players £100 in bonus money with a 50x wagering requirement. This would imply that the gambler would have to wager a total of £5,000 before any wins could be withdrawn. The unfortunate reality is that most players will lose all of their bonus funds long before they ever come close to achieving the £5,000 withdrawal barrier.

The higher the wagering restrictions, the more impressive the bonus is. It’s not always a good idea to select the most lucrative offer from an operator because you’ll quickly realise you’ll never be able to meet the wagering requirements unless you become extremely lucky and trigger a lucrative in-game feature.

What is the purpose of wagering requirements?

Wagering regulations exist for one simple reason: to help govern what was previously a wild and lawless atmosphere in the early days of iGaming.

When online casinos initially began to appear in the early 2000s, players would gather in private forums to discuss which operators were offering huge bonuses that might be used to make quick money.

Casinos began quietly adding wagering requirements to their offers in response to the carefully curated and targeted bonus abuse, but they weren’t widely publicising this other than the odd line or two hidden deep within the terms and conditions that hardly anyone bothered to read, which obviously didn’t go down well at all.

Players began to realise that they were essentially depositing monies into an online casino, only to never see them again due to the obscenely high and well-hidden wagering requirements. Finally, regulators and the government had to intervene, and the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 was enacted, forcing casinos to be more honest with potential consumers. In the end, a happy medium was reached that satisfied all sides.

Other drawbacks that stymie online casino players

Players should be aware of a few other things when working through wagering requirements, as casinos often impose other restrictions on their deals, such as preventing players from playing a casino game with a low house edge, such as roulette, or an online slot game with an incredibly high RTP (return to player).

Weighting of the game

All games have distinct weightings, which will have a significant impact on how players choose to play when they initially sign up and claim a welcome bonus. Most gamers will go directly to the online slots because they always contribute 100% to the wagering requirements.

If you don’t like online slots, you’re in a bit of a pickle, because popular card and table games like roulette, blackjack, and even poker only count for a small portion of the wagering requirements (around 10 percent or 20 percent at most).

It’s always a good idea to read the terms and conditions of a welcome bonus before accepting and depositing any funds, because not only are games weighted, but you may also be limited to playing a specific set of games that have been chosen for having an RTP and variance that benefits the operator more than the player, but that doesn’t mean players won’t win playing them.

Size of maximum bet

Casinos also use a maximum permissible bet size restriction on any bonus money wagers to discourage unethical players from using low-risk strategies to meet wagering requirements. This is usually around £4, so keep that in mind if you want to place greater wagers.

The worth of free spins

You should also become familiar with the free spins value that the operator allows players to use, as some will only value the free spins at 10p each, which will almost certainly never return enough winnings to meet the wagering requirements.

What is the greatest method for gamers to take when it comes to casino bonuses?

In the end, it comes down to how patient players are with wagering requirements, as it can be a tedious uphill battle that not everyone can handle.

If this describes you, don’t despair; many forward-thinking gamers prefer no-wager slots over those that come with large bonuses and severe wagering requirements.

These slots are played at no-wager casinos and slot sites that provide fair and honest bonuses that allow you to keep all you win with no strings attached. Players receive a small number of free spins that can be played without any stress or strain because there are no gameplay restrictions.

Although your bonus won’t be as large as one with wagering conditions, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to withdraw any winnings at the end of the game. We’ve removed all of the frustration from the equation, and that’s a game changer for us.