Guide to Understanding Online Casino Bonus Terms and Conditions
One of the biggest ways that online casinos attract new customers is through online casino bonuses. These bonuses are typically match bonuses, free spin bonuses, or a combination of the two. While these bonuses seem fairly straightforward, there are terms that you need to understand before signing up.
Today, we will take a look at some of the fine print of common online casino bonuses and how you can find this information at online casino sites.
The Structure of Online Casino Bonuses
When looking at online casino bonuses at a majority of online casinos, most players tend to overlook the terms and conditions of those offers. This is such a common occurrence that some online casino regulators have set new standards for these bonuses. We will talk about those standards in a bit.
For now, we will look at the standard structure of a bonus. Let’s assume you sign up for a Welcome Bonus at an online casino with a match bonus of 100% and 50 free spins. On the surface, it seems that you will get matching funds and free spins, and you can play as you’d like.
That’s not the case as there are terms to these bonuses. Most bonuses come with a playthrough requirement on the bonus that’s subject to a wagering requirement. This also applies to the free spins in most cases. For some bonuses, you may be restricted on the types of games you can play. Let’s take a deeper look at these terms.
What is a “Playthrough” Requirement
The playthrough requirement is the amount of times that you must play through your bonus in order to cash it out. For example, if you get a 100% match bonus and deposit $100, you will get $100 in bonus funds. Those funds must then be wagered a pre-determined number of times before you can withdraw it.
Typically, the playthrough is 25x to 40x of your bonus. In our earlier example, you will have to wager between $2,500 to $4,000 in order to cash out. Some casinos may require you playthrough both the bonus and your initial deposit, meaning you’d have to wager between $5,000 and $8,000 before you can cash out.
Online casinos take this requirement to the next level by enacting wagering requirements on their bonuses.
What is the Wagering Requirement
If you bet $100 on blackjack, you’d expect $100 to go towards your playthrough. That’s not the case with online casinos. Each game has a different percentage that it contributes towards the playthrough. This is the wagering requirement.
The percentage that each game contributes towards the playthrough can vary from casino to casino but most follow a fairly standard format. The only games contributing 100% to the playthrough are online slots, Keno, and scratch cards.
From there, the percentage that each bet contributes drops dramatically. On average, most Blackjack games contribute only 50% to the wagering requirement with some Blackjack games contributing as little as 10%. Games such as Video Poker, Baccarat, and Craps will generally only contribute 10%. Often, you’ll find a large number of games that don’t contribute anything towards the wagering requirement, meaning you’re wasting your time using them to try and clear your bonus.
Free Spins Also Have Limits
Most free spin bonuses also come with limits similar to that of match bonuses. Often, they come with their own playthrough requirement on earnings that’s separate from the match bonus. If you win $50 on free spins that have a 30x playthrough, you must wager $1,500 in addition to the match bonus playthrough in order to cash out.
Also, earnings on free spins are generally capped by online casinos. The standard cap is around $500, but may be as low as $50. So don’t bother playing progressive jackpots with your free spins as if you hit, you won’t get paid.
Lastly, free spins are generally restricted to a single game or a selection of games. Also, you generally must play your spins on these games before playing any other slots or you risk losing those spins.
What are the Consequences of Violating These Terms?
Pay close attention to your play when using an online casino bonus as a violation of the terms could result in forfeiting your bonus. In some cases, you must only play games that can clear the bonus before cashing out.
Also, be mindful that your bonus is a timed one. Generally, you will have up to 30 days to clear your bonus. However, some casinos may require you complete your offer in a week’s time. Offers involving free spins must generally be used within 24 to 72 hours.
If you are uncertain whether you’re still playing on your bonus, it is a good idea to contact customer support and have them check.
Finding the Fine Print of Bonus Offers
Online casino bonus offers all have terms and conditions that are located at the website. Generally, you must go to the terms section of the website to find this fine print, but some casinos now list offer terms directly in the ads for the promotion.
Note that you may have to dig to find all of the relevant information as some sites have buried them pages deep in their general terms. However, this practice is beginning to change due to the actions of select regulators.
The Future of Online Casino Bonuses
Progressive organizations such as the UK Gaming Commission have begun establishing new requirements regarding casino bonuses, making them easier to understand and in some cases requiring the elimination of old school practices.
One welcome change is the requirement of simpler terms and the listing of terms on promotional offers rather than burying them on a random Terms and Conditions page. Generally, you’ll find the terms in a paragraph at the bottom of the offer.
However, the best change is the requirement by some regulators to do away with the old school way of offering casino bonuses. The UKGC and others are pushing online casinos to offer wager-free online casino bonuses and bonuses that do not have any restrictions on cashing out. This means that if you get a 100% bonus on a $50 deposit, you get $50 to play with and can cash it out whenever you want.
This latest change is one that is being slowly adopted, but one that benefits online casino players. In the future, players will not have to worry about online casino bonus terms and can enjoy their bonus play without restrictions.