Online casinos use bonuses to attract new business and reward loyal customers with cash. Bonuses are such a big part of the online casino industry that entire websites and forums exist highlighting the best available bonuses. When you read reviews of online casinos, discussions of bonuses (especially welcome bonuses or deposit match bonuses) normally make up the bulk of the review. Online casinos go out of their way to advertise their bonuses, usually with pop-ups or large graphics on their homepage.

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How Do Online Casino Bonuses Work?

Online casinos use different types of bonuses to reward different types of players. The most common casino bonus is a deposit match bonus, an offer from the casino to match your deposit up to a certain amount at a given percentage rate, such as a 100% match up to $200. To earn that bonus cash, you have to make a valid deposit then wager a certain amount of money at the casino within a specific period of time. The conditions of casino bonuses vary widely from one casino to the next.

To earn your online casino bonus, you’ll have to hit a wagering requirement, sometimes called a bonus rollover. This means you have to bet a specific amount of money before you get your bonus funds. Some bonuses require a large playthrough requirement while others might offer an easier to clear casino bonus.

Outside of so called no-deposit or instant bonuses (where an online casino puts a few bucks in your account to get you started, no deposit necessary), every online casino bonus will have certain requirements. These bonus requirements, also known as terms and conditions or T&C, let the player know the parameters of the bonus offer. In order to know how a particular online casino bonus works and to earn your bonus cash, you have to understand the bonus requirements.

What Are Bonus Requirements?

Bonus requirements are the rules of the casino bonus. Sometimes called wagering requirements, these rules and regulations dictate how much cash you can earn, how you earn it, and the ins and outs of gaining access to your online casino bonus reward.

Today’s online casino bonus requirements include restrictions on what games count towards clearing bonus cash, high wagering requirements (as high as 50 or 60x at some casinos), and short time periods in which to earn your bonus. But online casino bonus requirements were not always that way.

In the early days of online casino gambling, bonus requirements looked almost nothing like they do today. In the late 90s and early 2000s, bonus requirements were more player-friendly. Games that are now normally excluded from wagering requirements (blackjack, roulette, etc.) were eligible to clear your bonus. The most obvious difference between bonus requirements a decade ago and the ones you’ll find today is the difference in wagering requirements.

Gone are the days of 4x or even 10x wagering requirements. These low bonus rollovers meant that you had to wager much less to get your bonus cash than you do today. For example, if you were offered a 100% match up to $100 with a 4x rollover, you’d only have to bet $800 before your bonus cash appeared in your player account. That may sound like a big amount, but compared to the 30x and 40x requirements now common at online casinos, it’s nothing. The same bonus offer with a 40x wagering requirement would require you to bet $8,000 before you earned your bonus.

Why did online casinos change their bonus requirements so drastically? Today’s bonus requirements are designed to prevent bonus hunting, a practice whereby online gamblers would join sites and take advantage of the bonus offers to earn free cash, not intending to become a regular customer of that casino. These bonus hunters would play just enough to clear their wagering requirements, then withdraw their funds, turning a profit on the casino’s generosity.

Online casinos with low bonus requirements are difficult to find. The online gambling industry has moved away from those easy-to-earn bonuses to the point that many bonus offers seem impossible to clear for all but the wealthiest high rollers. You can still find some bonus offers with more reasonable requirements, though the vast majority of online casino bonuses cannot be called low.

Examples of Bonus Requirements

Let’s take a look at the welcome bonuses offered by two very different casinos. Neither of these bonus offers can be called low, though the subtle ways in which the two bonuses differ can give you some idea of the variety to be found in online casino bonus programs.

Betsson Casino uses a weighted bonus clearing system common among today’s online casinos. Weighted bonus systems allow wagers on any game in the casino to count towards clearing the bonus. The catch is that each game contributes different to the requirement. The default wagering requirement at Betsson is 25x the amount of the bonus. For example, to win $10 worth of bonus cash, you’d have to bet $250 to clear the bonus.

At Betsson Casino, slot machines are the only games that are weighted at 100%, meaning every cent you wager on slots counts toward clearing your bonus. Other games contribute smaller amounts, depending on the house edge. Games with a higher edge contribute more, to encourage gamblers to play the higher risk games.

If you thought a 25x wagering requirement was bad, check out Club USA casino’s bonus requirements. To earn your bonus at Club USA Casino, you have to bet 50x the bonus amount. That means that earning just $10 in bonus cash will require $500 of wagers on the casino’s games. Like with Betsson, not all games at Club USA Casino count towards earning your bonus. Specifically, bets on baccarat, craps, sic bo, and roulette will not help you clear your bonus.

Since it costs twice as much to clear your bonuses at Club USA than at Betsson Casino a low bonus requirement casino, though you still face a 25x rollover requirement at that site.

What is a low bonus requirement to one player may seem extremely high to another. In today’s online casinos, it is hard to find a bonus requirement lower than a 20x rollover; they just don’t make casino bonuses like they used to. Instead of hunting for online casinos with small rollover requirements, focus on finding one with a set of requirements that let you earn a little bit of bonus cash. In other words, you may not find very low bonus requirement at online casinos, but if you do your homework, you can find casinos with acceptable bonus requirements.