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Casino Bonus Wagering Guide

Casino Bonus Wagering Guide

Found in the fine print of the terms and conditions, most online casinos in Canada have bonus wagering requirements. Although it is viewed by most Canadian players as the biggest hurdle to claiming any value from a casino bonus, there is quite a bit more to wagering requirements than the dreaded multiplier you see in the bonus terms.

In this guide, we will be digging deep into the mechanics of casino bonus wagering requirements to figure out how they work and what you can do to get the most out of them.

Updated by Ralph Trayfalgar

What Are Wagering Requirements?

Wagering requirements are one of the many types of clauses worked into the terms and conditions of casino bonuses. Like its counterparts that you rarely ever see on the bonus headline, wagering requirements affect both how and how much money you can expect to get from the bonus, adding an extra dimension of nuance to an already complicated question. 

If you have spent any time at all looking for online casinos in Canada, you will have likely stumbled upon listings like this:

Bonus banner
Welcome bonus website banner

These are, of course, banners promoting the bonus offers from a couple of casino sites. As we already noted, wagering requirements are almost never explicitly shown on the front. 

How to Find Bonus Wagering Requirements

With this in mind, where is the wagering requirement on those examples, exactly? If you don’t know yet, don’t worry, take your time to figure it out.

Found it yet? Here are the answers – For the first banner, the wagering requirements are hidden in that tiny bit of text that says “Terms apply”, while the second banner hides their wagering requirements in the grey information button. 

Now, clicking on these links will reveal the truth of these bonuses: 

Bonus details to check out
Bonus funds are subject to wagering requirements before they are converted to cash and can be withdrawn. This wagering is x35 the total of bonus money, deposit and Extra Spins.
Sample wagering requirements details
The wagering requirements at ExciteWin are 35 times the initial amount of the deposit and bonus received. The wagering requirements of winnings from bonus spins are x40.

We can see from the examples above that the wagering requirements for the Miami Dice bonus and Excitewin bonus, respectively, stand at around 35 times the value of the bonus, with some slight variations in between. 

How Casino Bonus Wagering Requirements Work

Now that we have a good grasp of what wagering requirements look like out on the internet, let’s now understand how they work and in turn, figure out how to clear their, sometimes astronomical, hurdles.

To recap, wagering requirements need you to play for real money before you can cash out any winnings that you earned from the bonus amount. The way this usually works is through a system of three different ‘wallets’, which we’ll explain below with an example.  

Now, it should be clear that different online casinos in CA will have different policies on their wagering requirements; as such, our example below may not be accurate to all casinos. We encourage you to read and understand casino terms and conditions of where you will be playing, to get the most accurate information on how their bonuses work. 

Calculating the Value of a Wagering Requirement

Say, for instance, that we claim a 100% deposit match welcome bonus that gives us C$100 in casino credit and 100 free spins worth C$0.10 each with a 20x wagering requirement. To find out how much we need to wager to clear the requirement, we can do a bit of basic maths:

( C$100 + ( C$0.10 * 100 ) ) * 20 

= ( C$100 + C$10.00 ) * 20 

= C$110 * 20 

= C$2,200

The value of our wagering requirement comes out to C$2,200. 

Held Funds and Wagering Requirement Wallets

With our benchmark established, we can now go about actually trying to clear our wagering requirement, and to do that, we will need to introduce you to the ‘wallets’ we mentioned a bit earlier.

First, let’s lay out our initial deposit, bonus money, free spins, and the wagering requirement on a table:

CashBonus MoneyFree SpinsHeld FundsRemaining Wagering Requirement
C$100C$100C$10C$0C$2,200

Each of the above columns represents a sort of ‘wallet’ in which a different casino fund source is stored. All of the other columns should be pretty easy to understand based on what we’ve already covered, but the ‘Held Funds’ serves as the storage location for any winnings that you made with your bonus money. 

With this in mind, let’s now say that you used up all of your 100 free spins from the bonus’ selected slot games and earned C$1,200. These winnings go into your Held Funds, leaving us with a table that looks like this:

CashBonus MoneyFree SpinsHeld FundsRemaining Wagering Requirement
C$100C$100C$0C$1,200C$2,150

Let’s now also spend our bonus money, which wins us about C$500. Updating the values again, we will find that our balances look like this:

CashBonus MoneyFree SpinsHeld FundsRemaining Wagering Requirement
C$100C$0C$0C$2,700C$2,050

As we can see, we are racking up quite a bit of money in our held funds, but haven’t made a pretty significant dent in our remaining wagering requirement. However, we have yet to reveal a key detail.  While your held funds can’t be withdrawn until after you clear the wagering requirement, you can actually use them to wager on games. 

Knowing this, let us now spend C$2,050 on various games, from which we also manage to win C$3,000. This gives us our final balances, which look like this:

CashBonus MoneyFree SpinsHeld FundsRemaining Wagering Requirement
C$100C$0C$0C$3,650C$0

Now, since the bonus wagering requirement has already been cleared, the C$3,650 we have in our held funds will now go to our cash balance, which we can now withdraw or use on other wagers at our leisure. 

Some Caveats

If it wasn’t already obvious, our example scenario above is very much an idealised one. There are all manner of caveats you will need to look out for before you buy into an online casino bonus with the intent of trying to cash something out. 

First off, the fact of the matter is that most Canadian players will rarely, if ever, have the same kind of luck that will allow them to pull off something even remotely similar to our example scenario. Barring landing an actual jackpot, the far more likely outcome is that money and/or bonus free spins you get will all vanish into thin air with barely any wins to even recoup your bonus money.

It is also important to note that wagering requirements aren’t the only thing you have to worry about in your attempt to cash out the casino bonus. There are a whole host of other terms and conditions that casino operators add to their bonuses to make it as hard as possible for players (CA and otherwise) to walk away with wins at the casino’s expense. Some of these terms and conditions include:

  1. Time limits:

    Clear the wagering requirement within the allotted time period or any held funds are automatically deemed forfeit. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal at first glance, it ends up becoming a serious problem when the time limits of some bonuses can have the player dropping thousands of dollars in the span of 7 days.

  2. Game weighting:

    Different types of games are set by the casino to contribute less of its wagers to the bonus requirement (if not none at all). That is, if you wager C$10 on a game that only had a 50% weighting, only C$5 will actually count towards your remaining wagering requirement.

  3. Game restrictions:

    In addition to game weighting, the money or spins you get from bonuses may also be locked to certain games in the online casino catalogue. Operators typically do this to maximise their potential earnings from the bonus, and achieve this by blocking out casino table games and a number of slots games because of their high RTP.

  4. Wager limits:

    Some online casinos in CA may also limit the maximum amount of money you’re allowed to wager per game, in order to bottleneck how quickly you can spend any held funds in your account and make it harder to avoid it.

Types of Wagering Requirements

Of course, there is also the issue of choosing what sort of wagering requirements you want to deal with when you’re looking for online casino bonuses in Canada. While different online casino analysts will have differing opinions on which wagering requirements fall into which categories, we at InsideCasino consider the following ranges when we refer to certain tiers of wagering requirements:

What Bonus Wagering Requirement is Right for You?

Based on everything that we’ve covered so far, which kind of wagering requirements should you look for in your online casino bonuses? As a bit of a recap, below are quick summaries of what you can expect from the casinos and bonuses that have different types of wagering requirements:

Bonuses with higher wagering requirements are often found in no deposit bonus casinos, where the higher multipliers compensate for the lack of a deposit requirement to keep player withdrawals difficult.

Bonuses with moderate wagering requirements are typically found on the larger and more well-known online casinos in Canada, as their larger size tends to push them towards more ‘traditional’ approaches. These larger casinos also tend to offer larger libraries of games, more robust customer support options, and more fleshed-out loyalty rewards programs.

Bonuses with low wagering requirements are rare, but typically offered at smaller online casino sites as a way to attract new players. While they don’t have as much of a reputation yet, these sites can have a lot to offer if you are willing to take a chance with an untested site.

Bonuses with no wagering requirements are the opposite of no deposit bonuses in that they require a real money deposit from you before you can claim the bonus. These no wagering bonuses tend to also have relatively low bonus values compared to the others.

The fact of the matter is that wagering requirements shouldn’t matter. Above all else, playing online slots is meant to be fun. It is therefore very important to avoid falling for the trap of attempting to ‘beat the house’ and walk away with more money than you brought logging in.

Believe it or not, all online casinos specifically use the ‘chance to beat the house’ as a selling point to lure in players, as it stands in opposition to the strict exchange of money for entertainment that you get from just about every other video game in existence.

Of course, we are not here to tell you how to use your hard-earned money for gambling. You as the player have full control over what kind of bonuses you want to claim and which new casino sites you want to claim them in.

But as online gambling experts ourselves, we at InsideCasino do want to ensure that your gambling sessions stay fun at the end of the day, regardless of the wagering requirement that welcome bonus comes with.

Wagering Requirement FAQs

What are wagering requirements?

Wagering requirements are terms applied to online casino bonuses that need players to bet a certain amount of money before they can cash out any winnings from that bonus.

Can you withdraw a casino bonus?

Based on the terms and conditions, you can withdraw from a casino bonus. Many casino sites hone in on this fact as a bit of a selling point. However, wagering requirements and other restrictions make it difficult to pull off in practice.

What happens if you don’t meet wagering requirements?

If you fail to meet the wagering requirements of a casino bonus, any winnings you earned from the free spins or bonus money provided, will be forfeited.

Why do casinos have wagering requirements?

Most online casinos in Canada implement wagering requirements and other restrictions as a way to deter bonus abusers – these are players that find and exploit loopholes in casino terms and conditions to manipulate the value from bonuses.

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