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‘Get up to £100 in free bets’. It’s certainly a line that catches the eye, isn’t it? Shame about the often ridiculous wagering requirements attached. What does it all mean though? We have a look at everything you need to know.
What are wagering requirements?
The term wagering requirements is frequently stated in the small print underneath bookmaker promotions. They can be linked to every aspect of a bookies site too with sportsbook, casino, bingo and more offers all affected. So, what does the phrase actually mean?
Its a two-fold explanation really. If you take a second to grasp that wagering requirements are generally linked to any free bets or promos then the two things to consider are whether the bookmaker stipulations come before or after the offer has been triggered. Most people think of the latter; in a scenario where the free bet is triggered immediately the requirements the bookie lays out means that any winnings you earn as a result of your free bet can’t just be withdrawn to your bank account.
Instead you have to go through the process of wagering i.e. betting a certain amount of money; in more simplistic terms, you have to put your money at risk before the bookmaker will allow for your winnings to be withdrawn. The flip side of this is where the bookie ‘dangles a carrot’ but you have to do certain things before you can access it. Some offers will make you do both.
As you might have started to gather, unfortunately, wagering requirements come in all different shapes and sizes. This means you’ll need to check out the terms and conditions each time you claim a freebie to see what hoops you have to jump through.
What are the different types of wagering requirements?
We’ve just touched on the fact that the terms bookies apply tend to have differences in them; that makes it impossible to offer up a one size fits all explanation and solution for you. Thankfully, the specifics behind the wagering requirements tends to be where the major difference occur rather than having hundreds of different types. You will, however, need to understand the different types that do exist.
Here we are laying out reasons as to why you have to take promotional offers with your eyes wide open and then we decide to throw to concept of no wagering out there. What’s this? Well, it’s probably exactly what you’re thinking it is. Despite online bookies putting their offers up in lights at every turn, there are some out there where they run promotions with absolutely no wagering requirements attached to them. You take the offer and if you win, you win.
It’s not just something small players in the market do either. SkyVegas, for example, run a ‘Prize Machine’ on a daily basis. Their one request is that you opt in to play but their prizes range from a free spin all the way up to £100 cash with absolutely no wagering attached.
The key takeaway here is that any offer that doesn’t have wagering attached can be played out as follows; bet, win, withdraw.
We’ll move on to actual wagering requirements with a look at how most free spin markets work. You likely don’t need us to tell you but the ‘free spins’ call out exists on nearly every online casino. It’s an attractive hook for gambling fish to nibble on because 50 free spins, for instance, can help you scoop some pretty handsome returns. So, if you do win big on your free spins what happens?
Well, most offers of this nature come with small print that will state something along the lines of ’10x wagering requirement’. This only becomes effective if you win money from your free spins. For arguments sake, let’s say you win £25 from you free spins. That’s happy days but you cannot take that money yet. You’d need to wager those winnings again and again until you’d hit the level stipulated in the terms and conditions. In our example of a 10 x wagering requirement, that means a £25 free spins win would need to be turned over 10 times i.e. until you’ve bet £250. Only then would you be eligible to withdraw the winnings.
First things first, free spins is a self-explanatory term. Matched deposits is perhaps less so. What is it? A matched deposit is very simply where a company will look at how much you deposit with them (usually on your first deposit) and match it i.e. if you deposit £100, they’ll give you £100 ‘free’. These sort of bonuses exist everywhere but are extremely prominent in the world of online bingo because it’s the sort of offer that fits best with the game itself.
In respect of the wagering requirements these promotions bring about they usually go one of two ways, both of which sound very similar but have one huge difference. Let’s say we’ve just made that £100 deposit triggering a bonus of the same amount. You might find terms stating that you have to wager the bonus five times; this means you’d need to put five times your bonus amount at risk; in our example this means 5 * £100 = £500 before you can withdraw.
The other similar requirement matched deposits regularly see are deposit plus bonus wagering; this is calculated in the same manner as what we’ve just looked at but rather than being the £100 starting block it would be £200 i.e. 5 * (£100 + £100) = £1,000. This is because the betting site demands your bonus and deposit amount are added together before being multiplied up by their wagering requirement. WinkBingo is an example of a bingo site asking for this form of wagering requirement on their deposit bonus – although, it’s worth noting they only want you to turn it over twice rather than five times.
Free bet offerings
The most common place you’ll find free bet offerings is within the sports book side of a bookmakers site. Typically speaking, the wagering requirements attached to a free bet will be significantly less painful than that of the free spins and matched deposits we’ve just touched on. Why? Well, most of the time, the terms and conditions will require you to hit certain triggers before giving you access to the free bet.
Let’s take the example of the William Hill who offer two free bets of £15 at the stage of sign up. Not every punter that registers with William Hill will receive the freebie because not every punter will follow the rules the terms and conditions set out. The small print states that in order to qualify for the free bets, a bettor will have to a) deposit £10 and b) wager that £10 on a bet meeting a minimum odds requirement of 1/2. That initial risk is you meeting the bookies wagering requirement.
How much do wagering requirements vary between bookmaker?
The prospect of dealing with wagering requirements can be daunting. We get that. We also understand that seeing some of the ridiculous levels out there make it feel like ‘what is the point?’ but it shouldn’t; there are huge swings in how strict the terms and conditions are. We’ve already touched on a small example from SkyVegas of no wagering but PaddyPower are currently offering 100 free spins with zero wagering attached too. That’s the low end covered i.e.zero wagering, there are also people out there who only want the bonus turned over once or twice.
Unfortunately, there are plenty who go to the other extreme too. It’s not rare, particularly in the casino world, to see 40 x. This would take a modest £10 and mean you need to go through the £400 wagered mark before you can withdraw.
Should you avoid offers with wagering requirements?
It’s not as simple as saying yes or no but, for us, we’d never shy away from promotions with wagering requirements attached to them. They can carry massive value.
That said, we’d also never suggest walking in to a new offer completely blind. It’s horrifically painful but it is worth checking out the terms and conditions; too often you see punters angry and complaining because they’ve been misled. The truth is, they probably haven’t read or understood the ‘rules’ of the promo.
The reason we make this point is that the terms bookies apply might turn you off what otherwise looked like a decent promotion. We’ll use an example of the easier to meet requirements attached to free bets; many bookies will offer a free bet in the second half of a football match if you wager £X during the first half. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? At least it does until you mention that the ‘first half wager’ we refer to has to be made in-play with a minimum odds to meet with every aspect of that only offered as a caveat in the fine print. You have to consider things like ‘will there be bets offering value against those odds?’ .You could get sucked into wagering for the sake of it.
The other big thing we feel it important to note is associated to wagering requirements where you have a significant playthrough e.g. 100x. Rattling through 100 times your freebie value could suck a vulnerable gambler down a dangerous road. If you think you’re at risk of slipping into irresponsible gambling habits then reach out and try to avoid those temptations, particularly where the terms will force you to sit in front of your screen for however many hours.
There you have it, our guide to wagering requirements.