Welcome bonuses are designed to look attractive, to make it seem like you are getting piles of free money, and often with some free spins thrown in too. It seems counter-intuitive to turn down freebies, but at the same time, most of us are suspicious of the “catch”. In most cases, the catch is the wagering requirements that we have to fulfil before we get to withdraw the winnings from our free spins and bonuses.
But this begs the question. Is it better to turn down the bonus completely, and fund your own fun without any freebies from the casino? Or is it better to take the bonus and go through the process of fulfilling the wagering requirements?
There are several aspects to consider. One is the emotional boost we get when we receive something for nothing, like a birthday gift or an unexpected windfall. Combine this with the sense of achievement we get from negotiating a very good deal, and you can see how our happy hormones would be affected.
Another aspect is hard numbers – will you be better off with or without a bonus? Because factors like luck and varying wagering requirements come into play here, it is difficult to have a clear-cut answer, but we take a closer look at the variables to gauge whether it is better to accept a welcome bonus or to play on your own dime.
The Catch – Wagering Requirements
Most bonuses have wagering requirements attached, which means that you have to wager a certain amount before the bonus funds are exchanged into withdrawable cash funds. The wagering requirements vary, depending on the casino. Some have 35x wagering requirements, which does not seem as much, as 50x from a different casino, but you need to look at what these wagering requirements actually apply to.
For the sake of illustration, let’s say Casino A has 35x wagering requirements, but these apply to both the bonus and the deposit. This means that if you make a deposit of $10, and receive a bonus of $10, your wagering requirements will be 35×20. You will have to wager $700 before you can withdraw your winnings. Casino B may have 50x wagering requirements, but these apply to the bonus amount only, so the calculation for the same deposit and bonus would be 10×50. You need to wager $500 before your bonus funds are converted to cash funds. These are the simplified calculations, assuming you are playing pokies which have 100% contribution towards wagering. If you play table games, it is much more complicated, because each dollar you wager could contribute much less than 100% to the wagering requirements. Now, assume that the casino has given you some free spins too. Usually, winnings from free spins are treated as a bonus, so you would have to fulfil the wagering requirements on these too.
Fortunately, you do not need to keep track of these calculations as the casino will do so for you, and some will even have a section where you can check how far you have progressed with your playthrough requirements.
Advantages Of A Welcome Bonus With A Wagering Requirement
Wagering requirements look like a huge financial tie and seem complicated as well, but there are definite advantages to accepting bonuses despite the wagering requirements.
Most people play because they enjoy the thrill of the game, for entertainment, and for the chance to win a big pile of money. A casino bonus extends your playing time significantly. Depending on the deposit match percentage the casino gives you, you could double or triple your deposit (or even more), which effectively doubles or triples your playtime and your opportunities to win. If you have a run of luck and don’t chase losses, you could play through your wagering requirements in no time, and still, come out on top.
This leads to another advantage: most casinos have a rewards programme where you earn points every time you wager. While you are playing your bonus and giving yourself opportunities to win, you are also earning loyalty points.
Playing with a bonus also gives you more freedom to try new games. There’s a sense of liberation that comes with playing with free money, so it may encourage you to explore games you may not have considered with your “own money”. Free spins, which are simply a different kind of bonus, tend to be allocated on new or popular games, so you have the opportunity to try those for free, while the casino pays.
Welcome bonuses with no wagering requirements
Welcome bonuses that have no wagering requirements are rare, and if you do find them, then they tend to be for very small amounts, with capped winnings. There are exceptions of course, like the unbelievable no wagering deposit bonus you can get at Vegaz Casino. This welcome bonus has no play-through requirements – you just need to wager your deposit and bonus amount once. If you find one of these welcome offers, check the terms and conditions as well as the casino’s licence, online reviews and customer service, which is what we did when we reviewed Vegaz Casino. If everything checks out, grab the offer. There are not many casinos available online that can match a large, wager-free welcome bonus.
And the winner is….
In games of chance, there are no guarantees, but it stands to reason that the more opportunities you give yourself to win, the better. The other side of the argument is that the longer you play, the more opportunities you give yourself to lose, too. The casino bonus is positive, the wagering requirements are negative. If you can find a balance between the two, it is worth taking a bonus for the extra play-time and the freedom to explore new games. If you prefer to have complete control of your funds and want to make a withdrawal without worrying about calculating any play-through requirements, it may be best to forfeit the bonus offer. The first prize, however, is a casino bonus without wagering requirements. If you can find a reputable casino that gives a welcome bonus with no play-through requirements, grab it fast!