No Wagering Bonuses
Some bonuses at online casinos come attached to frustratingly high wagering requirements, which is why no wagering bonuses are hugely popular, giving players the opportunity to redeem a bonus without having to meet a specific wagering threshold.
We’ll help you find the best no wagering bonuses so you can enjoy a hassle-free gambling experience. Online Casino Gems’ comprehensive guide to no wagering bonuses also includes online casino reviews and directions on how to claim these incredible offers.
Everything you need to know about No Wagering Bonuses
No Wagering Bonuses: What You Need to Know
For some online casino players, wagering requirements are the bane of the bonus game. Nothing takes the value out of a bonus quite like a high wagering requirement. Essentially, a big wagering requirement means that the vast majority of players who take advantage of welcome bonuses and reloads will enjoy no benefit other than extending their gameplay, perhaps winding up a little less behind than they might have without the bonus. In the end, the house always wins.
Of course, the house also wants new players and competes fiercely with every other online casino--including the many new ones constantly coming on stream--for the betting dollars of gambling enthusiasts. The word is out on wagering requirements. Players hate them, meaning there is a value proposition in offering bonuses unburdened by wagering requirements.
That’s just what online casinos are doing. “No-wagering” or “zero-wagering” bonuses have been around for a while, but online casinos have been offering them more and more as competition for a new player base ramps up. These bonuses are risky for casinos, and they’re not in business to lose money, so they tend to protect themselves with Terms & Conditions--making these kinds of bonuses equally frustrating for players. Still, if you have ever cursed the name of the inventor of wagering requirements, at least you can dig into various no-wagering bonuses and see if they suit you better.
What Are No-Wagering Bonuses?
To understand the appeal of a no-wagering bonus, it’s important to understand what wagering requirements are, and why players find them so frustrating.
Look at it from the perspective of the online casino for a moment. Bonus packages offered by online casinos fork over hundreds of dollars in cash to each new player. This begs the question—why don’t players just withdraw this bonus cash and pocket it, rather than bet it on games of chance with a house edge that makes them likely to lose?
If players immediately withdrew their bonuses en masse, casinos would bleed red ink on a regular basis. One of the key tactics online casinos deploy to combat this effect is by imposing wagering requirements on the bonus cash.
This effectively means that you can’t withdraw the bonus cash immediately. You can only withdraw it eventually … if any of it is still left after you satisfy the wagering requirement.
This requirement usually expresses itself as a “playthrough minimum,” representing the number of times the gambler must “play the bonus through”—that is, bet the amount of the bonus. To make matters worse, playthrough sums on deposit-match bonuses usually apply to both the matching bonus and the initial deposit.
How many times must you play through the bonus? Usually, enough times that the odds created by the house edge erase the gains represented by the bonus and turn them into losses. We’re talking 20x, 40x, even 100x. Sure, a few lucky players will win and come out ahead, but most players can only count on the bonus to allow them to play longer before they end up behind.
Consider the math of a $200 bonus with a 40x wagering requirement. Let’s say that the player chooses a game with a relatively favorable 3% house edge. To meet the wagering requirement, the player must bet $8,000.
$8,000 bet on a game with a 3% house edge is likely to produce $240 in losses for the player, putting the player $40 behind rather than $200 ahead.
And so, no-wagering or zero-wagering bonuses eliminate the need for a wagering requirement. Whatever other Terms & Conditions apply to the bonus, a wagering requirement is not one of them.
Why Do Casinos Give No Wagering Bonuses?
Casinos give no-wagering bonuses, frankly, to stay competitive. Other online casinos have started offering them, and if an online casino doesn’t offer one of their own, the players are more likely to divert their business to places that do have them.
So how do they stay profitable by giving away money that you can withdraw immediately? Several ways:
- No-wagering bonuses are typically fairly small. We’re talking tens of pounds, not hundreds.
- No-wagering bonuses typically still require a deposit, usually a minimum deposit far in excess of the bonus amount. In order to get money out, you need to put money in.
- No-wagering bonuses are typically offered in conjunction with other bonuses and high wagering requirements, making it more than likely that you will end up behind placing the bets you must place to justify the deposit and get the rest of your bonus cash.
How to Claim a No-Wagering Bonus
No-wagering bonuses typically are not any more difficult to claim than bonuses that do have a wagering requirement. If they are part of a welcome bonus, you will have to create a new account and prove by background or identity check that you are a first-time account creator.
The steps vary based on which casino we’re talking about, but in general, the steps look something like this:
- Create a new account. Your identity will be checked based on your name, address, phone number, email address, and other identifying traits.
- Check to see if a bonus code is required to claim the bonus. Some bonuses populate without extra steps, but others require a special promotional code. Don’t miss this step, or you may miss out on your bonus.
- Link a payment method like a credit or debit card, ACH, mobile wallet (Neteller, Paysafecard, PayPal, Skrill), or cryptocurrency wallet (Bitcoin, etc.).
- Make your first deposit with that payment method.
- Your bonus cash should populate immediately and be available for withdrawal by the linked payment method of your choice.
The Fine Print: Watch the Terms & Conditions
Wagering requirements are one aspect of the bonus Terms & Conditions that you don’t have to worry about--at least, in theory.. However, casinos don’t just give away money with no strings attached. If you don’t understand those strings, it’s easy to lose the value of your bonus. Don’t let that happen to you. Check the T&Cs carefully, looking for the following factors that could affect your ability to take advantage of a zero-deposit bonus:
One of the ways in which online casinos stay profitable, even while giving out no-wagering bonuses, is by setting higher minimum deposits in order to release them. These deposits often come with a deposit match bonus that is subject to a wagering requirement, incentivizing the player to place many bets even if they pocket the no-wagering bonus.
Effectively, the no-wagering bonus just becomes a little something to make the deposit-match a little bit bigger. One way or another, the casino will get you betting. Trying to cheat the casino out of bonus money is not a viable business model. It’s their sandbox; they make the rules, and you should only step in if you intend to play by them.
No-wagering bonuses are great little infusions of cash … unless the casino decides to play dirty! Read the T&C very carefully–come online casinos try to slip in a wagering requirement, even on the “no-wagering” portion of the bonus. Maybe there’s less of a wagering requirement (1x, 5x, etc.) but it’s still a misnomer to call a bonus a “zero-wagering” bonus if it carries a wagering requirement greater than zero.
For players who do want to bet their no-wagering bonus cash, it may be restricted to bets on certain games, often slot games only or even certain slot games. Once again, we see how the casino works behind the scenes. Slot games tend to have a higher house edge, meaning the casino is more likely to come out ahead on the aggregate of bets placed on them, even when handing out copious bonus cash.
While you may be able to withdraw your bonus cash immediately, pay careful attention to maximum withdrawal restrictions. An online casino may cap the amount of cash you can pull from your bankroll per day, per week, or per month. The no-wagering bonus is unlikely to come close to the withdrawal limit, but it’s still something to pay careful attention to when considering signing up for an online casino, especially if you intend to become a high roller.
No-wagering bonuses may have even lower max withdrawals on orders as low as £50.
Our opinion of withdrawal limits is that they are not ethical. Casinos impose them in case they don’t have the liquidity to pay out on a huge jackpot. That’s not your problem, though. You should have access to your money when you need it, including the no-wagering bonus cash.
No-wagering bonuses sometimes come with time limits. The bonus cash must be wagered or withdrawn within that time limit or else it is forfeited. The time limit could be weeks or even days. Make sure you don’t wait too long to take advantage of a no-wagering bonus.
Make the Most of Your No-Wagering Bonus
When you take the time to select the best bonus package for your gaming habits, it behoves you to get the maximum value possible out of it. Take some time to think about how to make the most of a no-wagering bonus so you can be confident that your choice of casino is the right one.
Read the Terms & Conditions Carefully
It bears repeating—before you select a casino, and certainly before you make a deposit to try and access the bonus, read the Terms & Conditions thoroughly. This applies to both no-wagering bonuses and bonuses with wagering requirements, but especially to the no-wagering variety.
If you value the no-wagering aspect of the bonus, you definitely don’t want to be sucked into a no-wagering bonus that actually has a secret wagering requirement. Other things to look for include withdrawal limits, time limits, minimum deposits, and restricted games.
Pay Attention to Time Limits
Especially note the time limit. No-wagering bonuses are not very restrictive, so you don’t want to let one slip through your fingers just because you didn’t mark your calendar. Make sure to keep track of your bonus status, and be ready to bet or withdraw it on schedule so the bonus doesn’t disappear before you have the chance to use it.
Withdraw Bonus Cash Immediately
Reasonable people may disagree about this fact, but generally speaking, the advantage of a no-wagering bonus is the fact that you don’t have to wager it in order to withdraw it.
Enthusiastic gamblers may choose to leave the bonus cash in the bankroll to be used for bets. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this … but by withdrawing it immediately, you increase the value of any other deposit-specific bonuses because it represents a cash value that you didn’t have to leave in your bankroll while still claiming the full bonus.
If you want more money to bet with, you can always deposit it later. In fact, you may also qualify for reload deposit matches by making second, third, fourth, or fifth deposits.
Withdraw Winnings Immediately
If you decide to leave the bonus cash in your bankroll and try your luck on the eligible games, congratulations—you and online casinos are a match made in heaven! It’s your bonus cash, so you’re more than free to bet it to your heart’s content.
However, if you happen to get lucky and score a win with the bonus cash, we strongly recommend that you withdraw your winnings immediately. Your winnings from a no-wagering bonus are also eligible for immediate withdrawal. If you want to maximize your bonus, don’t chase winnings. Get your cash while the getting is good. In fact, now would be a good time to withdraw the rest of the no-wagering bonus as well.
The popularity of no-wagering bonuses is an exciting development in the online casino industry. If wagering requirements have burned you in the past, it may be time to look for a welcome bonus package that includes a no-wagering deal. An online casino that offers one early on is more likely to offer more of them to their current players in the future.
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