Bonus Terms and Conditions
You’ll find a huge selection of great welcome bonuses and ongoing promotions to boost your bankroll at the best online casinos, but they rarely come without strings attached.
When we’re reviewing online casinos, we take a close look at all of the attached terms. These can include wagering requirements, time limits, game restrictions, payment exclusions, winnings caps, and game weighting, all of which can have an impact on how useful a bonus is. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of a bonus before you claim it to make sure you aren’t caught out by an unwelcome surprise.
Online casino bonuses and wagering requirements are regular bedfellows — in short, wagering requirements block withdrawals against your bonus-related funds until you have wagered its value a certain number of times over.
On average, you can expect wagering requirements of 35x attached to your bonus. Anything lower than 35x is considered ‘low wagering’, with anything above being ‘high wagering’.
Let’s say you’ve claimed a 100% up to £100 matched deposit bonus in full, with 35x wagering requirements attached. The total you have to wager in order to make deposits is calculated in one of two ways:
- Bonus value x wagering requirements = total to be wagered
- (Initial deposit + bonus value) x wagering requirements = total to be wagered
It’s important to know which method the online casino you’ve selected will use, and the details of this can be found in their terms and conditions.
If your online casino of choice uses the second method, your wagering requirements will be considerably harder to clear, as you can see here:
- £100 x 35 = £3,500
- (£100 + £100) x 35 = £7,000
Wagering requirements may be the most important factor to take into account when you’re browsing through bonus offers. If you’re unlikely to wager £3,500, or £7,000, within the stipulated time, and you intend to make withdrawals against any winnings you gain through your bonus, you might be better off looking at another option.
As a rule of thumb, wagering requirements are typically steeper for the best casino bonuses, meaning that satisfying the requirements might be more realistic if you’re a high-roller.
Of course, cashing out bonus funds may be unrealistic for many players, but that doesn’t stop the bonus from being a good way to get acquainted with a site without having to wager your hard-earned cash.
A term closely tied to wagering requirements is game weighting, and it’s another aspect to consider when you claim a bonus at one of the best online casinos. Essentially, this dictates how much a bet on a certain game contributes to these aforementioned requirements.
So, how does it work? Let’s use Casumo as an example: new players get a 100% deposit bonus up to £25, subject to 30x wagering requirements on the combined deposit and bonus. If you take full advantage of the offer, that puts the wagering requirements at £1,500 (£50 x 30) of your own money.
Here are the game weightings attached to the bonus offers at Casumo:
- Slots (unless otherwise stated) – 100%
- Video poker – 100%
- Live casino and RNG poker games – 10%
- Roulette – 10%
- Baccarat – 10%
- Blackjack – 10%
- All live casino and RNG wheel game variants – 50%
- All other games – 100%
Casumo’s welcome bonus has 30x wagering requirements which you’ll need to meet before you can withdraw any related winnings. Play £10 on slots and it’ll count as £10 towards the £1,500 total. However, play £10 on roulette or blackjack and it only counts as £1 — that’s 10% of the stake value. This can seriously drag out the requirements; if you only played roulette, you’d have to bet ten times as much money (£15,000) to meet them.
Believe it or not, Casumo’s approach to game weighting is somewhat lenient. Even the best online casinos may completely disqualify table games such as blackjack from counting towards wagering requirements. They do this to prevent players meeting the requirements too easily by using low-risk bets. For example, the house edge in single-deck blackjack is roughly 0.5% when played with perfect strategy. If it was weighted at 100%, you could theoretically meet the wagering requirements with only a £7.50 loss to yourself. Ultimately, these sites are businesses, and all the best casinos would quickly shut down if they lost too much money on player bonuses.
Game weighting is found at pretty much all UK casino sites, but you’ll often have to dig through the full T&Cs to find it — it might be located on a separate page to the main bonus terms.
Nothing in life lasts forever, and that’s just as true of a casino bonus. This term is usually easy enough to find — it’s often in the small print under the offer along with the wagering requirements and minimum deposit. Time limits stipulate how long you have to use your bonus, after which any unused portion will be forfeited.
How long you get varies widely. The best online casinos give players ample time to play through their bonus, perhaps 30 days or longer, but some UK casino sites give you just three days or less. There’s a correlation with the type of offer: free spins usually come with tighter time limits in the realm of a week and under; matched deposits are more commonly a couple of weeks to a month. You might even find multiple time limits within combined matched deposit and free spins offers, like 30 days to use the bonus credit and three days to use the spins.
Many of the best casinos feature free spins packages spread over multiple days — say, 100 free spins released in five daily instalments of 20 spins per day. In this case, you’ll usually get just 24 hours to use your free spins before you can claim the next bundle.
One final consideration: this time limit usually includes the wagering requirements too. Fail to meet these within the clock and you’ll forfeit any winnings associated with the bonus. Short time limits add an extra layer of difficulty to completing steeper wagering requirements, so it’s important to choose a bonus that suits how much money and time you want to spend. Setting a budget is an essential aspect of responsible gambling, whether it’s over days, weeks, or months — don’t let an offer’s time limits sway you from sound decision-making and controlled spending.
So, you’ve signed up at one of the best online casinos, made your first deposit, and got your hands on a juicy free spins bonus. You’re spinning away and then — jackpot! You’ve netted a huge win and it didn’t cost you a dime. It seems too good to be true, and unfortunately, it usually is. Most UK casino sites enforce winnings caps on their bonus offers, which are an upper limit on how much you can convert into withdrawable cash from a promotion.
The size of the cap can vary dramatically, but it’s generally proportional to how favourable the other terms of the bonus are. For example, a low wagering bonus might have a smaller win cap as it’s easier to convert the bonus into real money. Likewise, no deposit bonuses often come with the lowest caps around — after all, you don’t have to stump up anything to claim them. Again, it comes down to the fact online casinos are a business.
No deposit free spins could come with caps of around £5–£10, while £100 is a common amount you’ll see on standard bonuses. There are no hard and fast rules here, but winnings caps can seriously diminish the value of a bonus so always check before you claim. It’s also possible to find winnings caps where jackpots aren’t restricted, meaning the full amount is yours to keep if you strike lucky.
While the very best online casinos give their players ample choice when it comes to using their bonus, there’s a strong chance you’ll run into game restrictions at some point. Whether it’s a specific slot or the exclusion of live dealer games, these terms dictate what you can — and can’t — use your bonus on.
Matched deposits tend to be the most flexible, giving players access to table games like roulette and blackjack, as well as free rein on the slots. There’s usually a list of exceptions which can be found deeper within the full T&Cs — excluded games frequently include particular jackpot titles, live casino games, games with unusual features, or anything with a particularly low house edge.
Live casino is often excluded in the game restrictions. If you want to use a bonus to play live dealer games, some of the best online casinos run promotions specifically catered to this genre.
Free spins are the most limited bonus, often valid on just a single slots title. Luckily, top UK casino sites aren’t stupid — they pick fan favourites and time-tested games for their offers. If your free spins bonus is released in multiple bundles, you might even get access to multiple games. SpinYoo’s welcome offer is a great example, with 20 daily free spins on a selected game for five days: Starburst, Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead, Fire Joker, Gonzo’s Quest, and Big Bass Bonanza.
If your bonus requires a deposit to unlock it, an essential step is checking the terms for payment exclusions. Using an excluded payment method will disqualify you from receiving the bonus. e-Wallets like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller often find themselves on this list.
There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that it’s supposedly easier to commit bonus abuse or fraud with these services, purely because less information is required on the user’s part to open an e-wallet account than a bank account.
Secondly, many e-wallets also charge seller fees, meaning casinos can incur a charge when a player claims a bonus with one. As bonuses are offered at the chance of a loss on the casino’s part, an upfront charge for offering one to a new player isn’t in the casino’s interests.
Debit cards are your safest bet when it comes to deposit bonuses. They’re virtually always eligible so there’s no chance of missing out. Other methods like prepaid cards and pay by phone bill are usually okay, but it’s important to check the T&Cs so you’re not caught out. The best online casinos give players flexibility and tend to offer at least one e-wallet option when claiming a bonus.
Another consideration is whether the casino has requirements around withdrawing via the same method you deposited with — in that case, make sure you’re happy using the same method for both banking steps. In the case of prepaid cards and pay by mobile services, you may be required to withdraw via bank transfer as these options don’t support payouts.