How to calculate an online casino bonus
Casino bonuses are an exciting and enticing part of the online casino experience. They can seem a little complicated, particularly for inexperienced players, and some jargon may be hard to decipher without guidance. This RightCasino guide will clear all of those questions up and give you the tools you need to understand online casino bonuses better.
What is a casino bonus?
Let’s start with the basics. A bonus is something a casino offers that gives players more opportunity to play. A bonus can include bonus cash, which is then spent on slots, table games or any other product the casino offers.
Free spins can also be part of a bonus and a player can use these free rounds on a specified game or games without spending their own deposited cash. Casinos can also include cashback offers, loyalty points and other perks in their bonuses.
Some casinos offer combinations of perks, such as a deposit match in addition to a bundle of free spins, and some also offer players a choice between two or more bonus packages.
Calculating a casino bonus
A player is likely to come across a deposit match bonus fairly often as these are a popular choice with online casinos. Most are displayed like the following example:
100% up to £200
There are two parts of this bonus that we must consider. The first is the percentage. This will determine the proportion of the deposit match. In this case, the first deposit will be matched in full as it is a 100% bonus. Bonuses can include any percentage the casino chooses though most tend to set match percentages between 25% and 100%.
The second part of the bonus is the match limit. In this example, it is £200. That means that the player’s first deposit will only be matched up to £200, no matter the size. For example, a £500 first deposit would yield £200. A £50 deposit would yield £50 in bonus cash.
What are wagering requirements?
Online gambling would be a very short-lived industry if casinos went about giving away free bonus money. To ensure that the casino isn’t simply handing out free cash with no return, a large proportion of bonuses have what is called a wagering requirement.
In the easiest terms, a wagering requirement determines how much cash a player would need to wager before they are allowed to withdraw any winnings derived from a bonus.
Wagering requirements can be applied to bonus cash and/or free spins winnings and some casinos set different wagering requirements for the individual components of a bonus. Let’s use an example to illustrate
Our Example Casino has a bonus package that include a 100% deposit match up to £200 and 25 free spins on one particular slot. Let’s assume that our first deposit is of a nice round £200. Now, in the fine print, we can see the phrase ‘x35 wagering requirements’, applied to both bonus cash and free spins winnings.
This means that our £200 in bonus cash would need to be wagered 35 times (200 x 35 = 7,000) before we are allowed to withdraw any winnings. The same goes for any cash won through the 25 free spins.
As you can see, wagering requirements create a bit of an obstacle between the player and their winnings. This is one reason why it is so important to check the bonus terms before claiming. Wagering requirements can vary immensely, with some imposing rates of x5 and others of x50. It is not uncommon to see wagering requirements with a time limit either – failure to wager the required amount will result in the forfeiture of the bonus perks and any winnings.
Casinos also impose another restriction on how a bonus can be used, specifically related to wagering requirements. This is the game weighting system and we will explain that next.
Casino game weightings
Following on from our example above, let’s say we have to wager £7,000 to release winnings from our bonus. Most casinos allow players to meet wagering requirements with the majority of games on their site. However, not all games contribute to these requirements in the same proportion. This is called game weighting.
These weightings, like other aspects of casino bonuses, are determined by the casino itself but there are some patterns we have observed. Most slots are weighted at 100%, with table games and live casino weighted at substantially less – closer to 10%.
Let’s say we wanted to get started on those wagering requirements and choose our favourite slot, which happens to be weighted at 100%. We bet £50 on this slot. Because it contributes 100%, the slot has made a £50 dent in that £7,000. After this session, our wagering requirements are now down to £6,950.
At our Example Casino, table games are weighted at 10%. If we wager £50 on rounds of blackjack and roulette, this will only lower our outstanding requirements by £5. Considering our starting requirements were at £7,000, we would need to wager £6,995.
It’s also good to note that most casinos place some limitations on which games can contribute. While the category of Slots may be weighted at 100%, some slots (usually the ones with exceptionally high RTP values) are excluded entirely. At most casinos, jackpot slots are too.
Things to keep in mind
The most important thing to remember about casino bonuses is that they are not for everyone. Don’t feel pressured into accepting a bonus you are not happy with. You can have a perfectly good casino experience without ever claiming a bonus!
If you are interested in bonuses though, you should be prepared to do a little research before hitting that tempting ‘CLAIM NOW!’ button. Some casinos offer better terms than others, some might offer bonuses that appeal specifically to slots players or to table games fans.
Our News section is a good place to find out about bonuses but casino sites too are an important resource. Always read the terms and conditions, looking out for important info like wagering requirements and game weightings.