Wagering Free Bonuses



Want to try your hand at an online casino? There are plenty to choose from that operate all over Europe and Scandinavia, but it’s not always easy to decide where to play. One of the confusing factors for newcomers is that there is a lot of jargon which may not be immediately understandable.


So, let’s examine one of these bits of casino-speak and learn what it’s all about. The topic under study is wagering free bonuses, and by the end of this quick read you will know exactly what that means and why it could be of interest to you.



Casino bonuses and wagering

Before we go any further, we need to have a quick word about bonuses. These are the tempting offers dangled by casino sites to get you to sign up with them. They are, on the surface, a lot more generous than any promotion you will find at a land based casino. And they can afford to be – online gambling sites can run at a fraction of the cost of their brick and mortar counterparts.


A standard welcome offer for new players might be a double your money bonus. The player deposits some of their own cash, and the casino matches it. Some of these go up to several hundred euros. Naturally, there’s a catch, and this is where our second bit of jargon comes in – wagering requirements.


This is the limiting factor for these extravagant bonus offers. Essentially, the wagering requirements mean that you cannot claim any winnings from a bonus until you have played it through a certain number of times – typically around 30x but sometimes as much as 50x or even more. What this means is that you must gamble the value of the bonus that many times – so for a €100 bonus that’s €3,000 worth of bets. Unsurprisingly, not many players walk away in profit.



What is wagering for?

Back in the day, when online casinos were relatively new, it was a bit of a wild west scene. Regulation was haphazard, and casino operators were still figuring out what worked and what didn’t. Gamblers being a canny lot, they saw an opportunity to exploit the casinos and went with it. So-called bonus hunters went from site to site, signing up and using the welcome offer to win some money on games with a low house edge like blackjack. When they had used up the bonus, often with a decent win, they would be off to do the same at the next site. In some cases, the casino even allowed the bonus to be withdrawn as cash immediately.


Casinos don’t like losing money, so they needed to close the loophole. Wagering requirements were the obvious answer, and they also restricted the type of game that could be used to fulfil them – no more blackjack. Massive wagering requirements meant that they could offer bigger-looking bonuses and thus attract more customers. But they had all but eliminated the risk to their bottom line.



Wagering free bonuses

As wagering went up, players were presented with bigger and brighter bonuses, but little chance of winning any cash. Some would argue that, in the age of responsible gambling, a big bonus with high wagering is actually a good thing. Since gambling is supposed to be a leisure activity and not a means to really win much money, players were simply getting more time to have fun on the games. It’s a valid enough argument, but the prospect of never being able to win does take the shine off somewhat.


So, enter wagering free bonuses. Have we come full circle? Not quite – the reasons for wagering requirements are still there. Casino sites have come up with ways to offer low or zero wagering without affecting their profits too much. Low wagering, classed as anything below 20x, tips the balance slightly more in favour of the player, but the house still has the advantage. These low wagering bonuses are usually a bit smaller than the ones offering hundreds of euros in bonus credit.


Wagering free bonuses do exist, and they are on the rise in European casinos. The vast majority of them are applied as a free spins offer. This means that the casino gives a certain number of spins for free on a selected slot machine, and the player is entitled to keep any winnings as cash. the casino mitigates the cost in a couple of ways. First, free spins are usually applied only when the player makes a cash deposit. Second, the value of each spin is set by the casino. A look at the small print reveals that most of the time the spin value is quite low and so the resultant wins won’t be too lavish.


Wagering free bonuses are a bit of a win-win for players and casinos. Attractive to customers, and a real chance of winning some money, while remaining low risk for the provider. We predict that the number of no wagering bonus offers will continue to rise.