Free bets and casino bonuses invariably have terms and conditions. And to properly compare different casinos and choose the best deals, you must understand how bonus terms impact your chances of winnings real money.
So let’s get into it:
Wagering requirements greatly determine your chances of cashing out bonus winnings.
Here’s what they are and how they work:
- Free bets and free spins winnings are always added as bonus funds to your bonus balance.
- You can’t withdraw funds in your bonus balance – to cash out, you must convert the bonus funds to real money.
- To convert the bonus money to real money, you must play a specific amount determined by the casino.
- The casino calculates this amount by applying a multiplier to your bonus or free spin win. This multiplier may vary significantly from one casino to another and ranges from 10x to 70x.
- When you’ve played the requested amount, you complete the wagering requirement.
- Any funds left in your bonus balance are moved to your cash balance. You can now cash out your winnings.
All free bets come with win caps that restrict how much of your winnings you can cash out. These limits may vary from casino to casino and typically range from $10 to $200.
Bet Size Limits
Casinos want to ensure they can’t lose too much money by giving away bonuses.
And since all wins are a multiplication of your stake, they can effectively limit risk by simply capping your bet size.
Therefore, most casinos won’t allow you to play more than $5 per spin or hand when using bonus funds.
We can demonstrate the effectiveness of this strategy by looking at an example.
Let’s assume you’re lucky enough to hit the 500 max win on a spin in Starburst.
Look at how your bet size yields massively different wins:
- $5 spin x the 500x max win = You win $2,500.
- $20 spin x the 500x max win = You win $10.00
You’ll never be allowed to use your free bet on any game you like. Casinos always exclude specific game categories and titles from bonus play.
You can find excluded games listed in the casino’s t&cs, and it’s essential you find out which ones they are before you start wagering a bonus.
If you play ineligible games, your bonus and winnings will be confiscated.
Game Weighting Percentages
Games don’t contribute equally to your wagering requirement. In fact, some game categories are way better when it comes to wagering bonuses.
It all boils down to what game weighting percentages the casino has set for its games.
A game’s weighting percentage specifies how much of each bet counts towards your wagering requirement. If a game is 100% -weighted, your entire stake is considered – in other words, your wagering requirement decreases by $1 for every $1 you play.
If a game is only 10% -weighted, a mere $0.10 is subtracted from the wagering requirement when you play a $1 spin. Consequently, you’re much less likely to complete the wagering requirement before running out of bonus funds.
When it comes to game weighting percentages, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Slots are usually 100%-weighted and thus ideal for bonus wagering.
- Live dealer games and table games have weighting percentages ranging from 0% to 20%. It’s nearly impossible to wager a bonus on these games.
Free bets tend to have short expiry dates. You must often use your bonus in 24 hours and wager winnings in a week or less. Always check the expiry dates to ensure you don’t miss out!