One of the potentially more confusing aspects to get your head around when playing online bingo, are wagering requirements. You might also see them called ‘play through’ requirements or ‘churn’.
If you’ve never taken a bingo offer you might not have come across them, but you might still have seen them mentioned and wondered what it was all about.
In a nutshell, wagering requirements are a way for online bingo companies to make their great sounding bonuses a little less bonusy – and if bonusy is not a real world, well it is now.
They are a term of the bonus that makes sure the company isn’t just handing out free cash, and they can quickly turn a great offer into one that is absolute pants if they are too high.
So have a quick read of this article and you will know when to take that bonus and when to move along and keep looking.
Bingo Bonus Offer With Wagering Requirements
Offers with wagering attached are also very common on casino sites, but the good news for us bingo bunnies is that they are usually much lower for bingo than they are for casino.
A typical bingo offer might come with 4x wagering whereas a casino offer could be as high as 50x.
The easiest way to explain this is with a good old example, so let’s play a game of make believe and pretend you have found the following offer:
- Sign up and deposit £20 and get a £20 bonus!
- 4x Wagering on bonus
Great, you’ve got £20 worth of free bingo tickets. The only problem is, you have to play through £80 worth of tickets before any winnings from your bonus tickets are unlocked. How did we get to £80? Easy:
- £20 x 4 = £80
The good thing is that if you win some money you can use that to clear your wagering requirements. So you can use the money you win from tickets bought with the bonus to clear the wagering requirements.
If that’s a bit confusing, here is a table showing an imaginary week’s bingoing using the £20 bonus example above:
|Day||Money Spent Today||Money Won Today||Total Wagering Met||Total Funds Remaining|
|Day 7||£5.00||£10.00||Already Met||£30.00|
*Remember, the £20 cash deposit will also be in the total funds but we left that out to keep the table as simple as possible.
So, using £20 worth of bonus money, the player wagered through almost £100 worth of bingo tickets, with the total funds in their account going up and down, and finished up with a nice little profit.
The player met the £80 wagering requirement on day 6, so everything won after that was real withdrawable money, leaving them with £30 to withdraw on day 7 if they wanted to, or they could use it to keep playing.
It’s worth quickly mentioning that if you also play side games, these will almost certainly have different rules when it comes to the bonus. The meanies.
You either won’t be able to use bonus funds on side games, or if you do, only a small percentage of what you spend on them will count towards the wagering requirements.
So if side games only contributed 10% to the wagering requirements and you spend £10 of your bonus spinning the reels, only £1 of that would come of your wagering total, so you would still have £79 to go.
The terms will be specific to each site, so do make sure you understand them so you don’t end up disappointed.
Why do Bingo Wagering Requirements Exist?
Online bingo is big business, you must have noticed just how many new brands are popping up all the time?
Well that makes it very competitive too, so bingo companies are always trying to attract new players and then keep them playing at their site, and to do this they have to make it worth their while.
This is why they are always running sign up offers, or regular customer bonuses. However, running these promotional campaigns obviously costs money, so they also need to come up with ways to limit the expense, because remember, you won’t be the only one taking advantage.
Wagering requirements are one of the ways they do this.
They make sure you can’t just get your bonus cash and withdraw it straight away. They also give the company a chance to get some or all of the money back and this limits how much the promotional campaign costs them overall; only a small number of players who take the bonus will manage to convert it into real money.
There is also a legal reason; to prevent money laundering, all money must be played through at least once, which stops criminals depositing stolen dirty money one week, then withdrawing it a week later as clean cash.
Other Terms to Look Out For
In the example we used above, the wagering conditions only applied to the bonus, but in some cases the terms will state that they apply to the deposit as well as the bonus.
So a £20 deposit to get a £20 bonus with 4x wagering would actually take £160 worth of wagering to unlock your winnings. Not £80.
This is bad news because it means you have to play through more money before your bonus money and any winnings are unlocked, so if you have the option, always go for an offer that only applies to the bonus amount.
The other thing to take into account is any time limits. Often a bonus will expire after a certain amount of time, and so will any winnings that you have got from it unless the bonus terms have been met.
That means that if you have won £35 from your £20 bonus money (lucky you), but you have only wagered £75 worth of bingo tickets by the deadline, those winnings disappear (unlucky you).
This doesn’t affect money in your account from before you used the bonus, only winnings that came directly from using the bonus money.
Also, be aware of spend order, where many sites will require you to use your cash deposit before using the bonus money, so you effectively have to lose your deposit for the bonus money to become playable; and look for any max win terms which put a cap on the amount you can win or convert using bonus money. Obviously, a bonus first spend order is preferable and either no win cap or a high one.
Last but not least, almost all terms state that if you make a withdrawal before your wagering requirements have been met the bonus will be null and void along with any winnings from it.